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OUR WHY Suicide Survivor | A Mental Health Warrior


WOMEN Taking Fashion by Storm

By Kena'i & Rae When Ending


Getting Through That Moment of Blah? By: Tyana Straughn

Health: "Nuts"...

How can they Keep Us From Going Nuts???

Warrior Zone:

Life After Diagnosis

The Ultimate Mental Health Inspiring Q & A with



Summer 2018


Mother & Daughter Fights Back...



Do You Need Help???

or Maybe Your Love One or Friend??? If You Need Help NOW Call 911 or Suicidal? 1800-SUICIDE (1800-784-2433) 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255)

Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 2)

CRISIS TEXT LINE Text "TALK" to 741741 NAMI Helpline M-F, 10 am - 6pm ET 1800-950-NAMI Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 1) LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline: 1866-4-U-TREVOR We Fight Foundation, Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448)

Every 5 days a child under the age of 13 dies to suicide -CNN 90% of those who die by suicide have underlying mental illness - NAMI 2018 50% of mental illnesses begin before the age 14.


28 8

Meet the RallyUp Team

24 When Ending A Relationship Goes Wrong?... TJ Woodard

10 Founder's Letter

26 Getting through that Moment of Blah!!! ... Tyana Straughn

11 Behind the Scenes with RallyUp

27 Health & Wellness The Benefits of Nuts

13 RallyUp FASHION Full of Confidence & Beauty

28 Cover Story Silent CRIES...What Every Parent Should Listen For

17 Warrior Zone: Featuring: Jeffrey Pitts, DRISCOE, Eric Grantham, Tai Campbell

♥ Yourself is a MOVEMENT designed to uplift & empower. Without love for ourself we cannot LOVE OTHERS

Follow @loveyourself_usa. Make your purchase today at Use Code: RALLYUP & 15% will be donated to We Fight Foundation Inc.

Volume 1 July 2018 Founder & Editorial Director Nikita Powell EDITORIAL Managing Editor Tyana Straughn Editor at Large Tamika Woodard Photo Editor & Producer Tinisha Curl Fashion Director Kena’i Hollingsworth Fashion Editor Rae Williams Beauty Editor Nekesa Smith Contributing Writer Jada Carrington

Seeking Contributer writers, Guest writers and Interns.

Serious inquires only. Contact us if you want to join a team with a purpose!

When It comes to Mental Health... what's the main thing that stops you from getting professional help??? Send your response to and Your Answer May Be Featured in our Next Issue!!!

Natural Radiance

Beauty lifestyle company hair Products | Education

Nekesa J. Smith CEO/ Founder Nekesa Natural Radiance Hair Loft salon 404-835-2117

All About the

Nikita Powell

Founder & Editorial Director A word people often use to describe me is Real. One thing I'll never change about myself is my compassion and empathy for people. When I look in the mirror I see God’s Grace & Mercy. I'm my most authentic self when I am surrounded by my love ones. I maintain my mental strength by praying, meditating, self-love, listening to gospel music & motivational speakers and by striving to fulfill my purpose in life.


Tyana Straughn

Managing Editor A word people often use to describe me is passionate. One thing I'll never change about myself is that I love hard. When I look in the mirror I see an unfinished product, greatness still in the making. Perfectly imperfect! I'm my most authentic self when I feel comfortable. I maintain my mental strength by listening to music, praying, looking at my children, and exercise.

Tinisha Curl

Photographer & Photo Editor

A word people most often use to describe me would be unique. One thing I will never change about myself is having the passion and drive to make my dreams come true. When I look in the mirror I see someone who has been through rough times but will never stop living her best life. I’m my most authentic self when I’m with my daughter. Being her mother makes me strive to be the best version of myself at all times. I maintain my mental strength by taking time for myself and allowing myself to feel the emotions I try to keep hidden from everybody.

Tamika Woodard Editor at Large

A word people often use to describe me is passionate. One thing I’ll never change about myself is my ability to encourage others even through my own circumstances. When I look in the mirror I see a strong beautiful woman of God. I’m my most authentic self when sharing my gifts and talents with those in need. I maintain my mental strength by prayer/relationship with God, positive affirmations and surrounding myself around supportive people.

Nekesa Smith

Beauty Editor A word people often use to describe me is creative. One thing I’ll never change about myself is my ambition. When I look in the mirror I see Royalty! I'm my most authentic self when I am teaching. I maintain my mental strength by prayer, my faith & belief.

Rae Williams Fashion Editor

A word people often use to describe me is optimistic. One thing I'll never change about myself is being positive and finding the silver lining in every situation. When I look in the mirror I see Unrefined beauty and strength. I'm My most authentic self when....I’m around people I love who I know love me. I maintain my mental strength by praying and journaling.

Jada Carrington Contributing Writer

A word people most often use to describe me is positive. One thing I’ll never change about myself is my optimism and my willingness to be different. When I look in the mirror I see a beautiful, intelligent, strong woman who refuses to give up. I’m my most authentic self when I'm writing. I maintain my mental strength by being transparent with my feelings and going to therapy.

Kena’i Hollingsworth Fashion Director

A word people often use to describe me is unique. One thing I'll never change about myself is my perception of reality. When I look in the mirror I see someone who’s trying to make the world a better place. I'm my most authentic self when I am doing something artistic and creative. I maintain my mental strength by remembering the reason I fight and doing what’s right.



pproximately 10 years ago, my life changed forever. I lived through any parent’s nightmare...finding your child unconscious due to a suicidal attempt. It was the longest 3 days ever in ICU! The continuous prayers, not only asking God to keep my daughter here with us, but most importantly for guidance. I was clueless! Of course, I wanted to know why she would do such a thing, but most importantly I needed to learn how to care for my "mentally ill" teenager. I struggled and fought to save my daughter who was on a journey to survive her bipolar disorder. Parenting to any child is challenging but parenting to a child who have mental illness, or any disability takes things to another level. Our family went on an emotional roller coaster ride. I am so blessed to present to you the Premiere Issue of RallyUp Magazine! That place of my life that caused me one of my greatest agonies...God turned it into one of my greatest ministries. The first ministry birthed was We Fight Foundation Inc.; which you will see sprinkled throughout the magazine. I bring to you what I believe will provide a platform for our mental health warriors to shine! Make sure you check out Our Warrior Zone which is dedicated to our warriors who are striving & thriving! Our magazine will be more of a mental health guide for not only the people who suffer from mental illness, but for their families and friends too. Their entire family and support system can benefit from learning and understanding the "whys" of mental illnesses. In turn, it will help one deal with their love one who struggles with mental illness on a day-to-day basis. We all know at least one person who struggles with mental illness because it exists throughout the world. It does not discriminate! It exists in every culture, race, age, religion, economic does not have a preference! I pray this ultimate guide to mental health will help someone and/or their love one live through it, live with it, and definitely not allow the mental illness to define them! This premiere issue will cover so many areas. I believe you will walk away enlightened and inspired to LIVE!


Laughter is Good for our Mental Health Mental Illness is Real and it can affect anyone! Dark days will come, but there will also be days full of sunshine and laughter. Like the day we were blessed with during our photo shoots. The atmosphere was Amazing! Being a suicide survivor, we cherish her smile and do not take her laughter for granted in remembrance of all of her days she battles her bipolar disorder. It may be you or someone you know who is "striving to live." Be encouraged! You are in a dark place now but better days are coming! You will not feel like giving up everyday. You will gain your will back to live! You will find your laughter again! Laughter reduces mental tension and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more. Both sides of the brain are stimulated during laughing encouraging clarity, humor and creativity and better problem solving ability.

Remember laughing? Laughter enhances the blood flow to the body’s extremities and improves cardiovascular function. Laughter releases endorphins and other natural mood elevating and pain-killing chemicals, improves the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to internal organs. Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease, cancer cells as well as viral, bacterial and other infections. Being happy is the best cure of all diseases! ~Patch Adams Make up byMake up by: TJ Woodard @makeupwithtj. Photo Credit by: Tinisha Curl

♥ Yourself is a MOVEMENT designed to uplift & empower. Without love for ourself we cannot LOVE OTHERS @loveyourself_usa Love Yourself Self Empowerment 2018


I didn't always have confidence nor did I notice my beauty but I found strength my inner beauty and learned to love me! Now, I don't need no one to tell me I'm Beautiful...I Know I Am!!!


A soft blue and white pinstripe button down bell sleeves off the shoulder top from: Navy blue cotton pencil skirt from:

Photo Credit: Tinisha Curl This sheer lightweight airy tunic from is detailed with a whimsical floral print, hi-lo hem, and a polished button front paired with light washed high washed distressed shorts from

for extra tummy control, with tan strappy wedge sandals from for a figure-flattering spring time look.

The lighter-than-air dress from works with the blue floral print to create a look that is the embodiment of spring. The stretch waistline and hi-lo hem flatters your figure while giving the look flow. You can pair it with a dark blue half cut denim jacket from or let those arms go free with a cute bracelet from confidence is key and what makes you feel beautiful.

“Your Outer Beauty is a Reflection of your Inner Beauty� #CallMeKenai

GRABBING SUITS Photography by Maria Tornberg


Photography by Jose Pagan

Blue Bathing Suit- This is a unique bathing suit that is bound to grab attention and compliments! This bathing suit is from a boutique called @APlusLosAngeles. The high waisted bikini bottom is one of my staples for extra tummy control! Finding a style that suits you is important to feeling your best when you strut your stuff at the pool or beach! This bathing suit may be perfect for those who are not 100% comfortable with the idea of being in a bathing suit, as not very much skin will be showing. This top also can be paired with a maxi skirt or shorts to ease into the idea of wearing the bathing suit.

Pink Top/Black Bottoms - You can never go wrong with a black colored high-waisted bikini bottom! You can literally mix and match it with any top, black is slimming and almost always gives a seamless look! This bright pink is perfect for a day at the beach or doing water activities! This top and pair of bottoms are from Old Navy. Remember, it's about feeling good- when you feel good, you look good so play around with styles and colors until you find what you like! Don’t be afraid to try new things, but always remember that you need to feel comfortable with yourself and the things you choose to wear.

Photography by Ashley Wall via iPhone X

Mixed Print Ruffle Top/Black Bottoms This top makes this pool-look super fun. With a top like this, it also accentuates or creates a waist line for ladies who may have more of a box shape like me. Finding suits that play up your assets is a major key to feeling super confident when you put on your bathing suit! This top is from Zara and the bottoms are from Raisins Curve. I remember cringing at the thought of wearing a bikini and wondering what others may think when they see someone my size in a bathing suit in general. Then I remembered my love for the water and how much I enjoy beach activities. I decided not to let the fear of what others may think of me hold me back from having fun and began feeling good in what I wear!

We Fight Foundation hosted its First Annual Rally on November 12, 2018. The event was hosted at the Busboys and Pœts in Hyattsville, Maryland. This was the launch of We Fight Foundation and the Founder Nikita Powell wanted to honor her daughter Kena'i Hollingsworth along with other warriors who strives daily to overcome mental health illnesses. We also had rapper Driscœ, Tai Campbell featuring Eisha’s World dancers with the Anti Bullying Challenge. Honorees included guest speakers Mr. Paul Cottman, Megan D Whitfield, Minister Missy Jacobs, Lakesha Williams, and guest vocalists Eric Grantham, Kyara Cheeks, and Rachel Gaskins. The night also included several sponsors such as Fleet DJ’s Next of Kin, WWEN 92.4, The night was filled with love in support of the warriors who shared testimonies, songs, words of encouragement and inspiration.

By: TJ Woodard Photo Credit by: Domoniquephotography

This event was one for the books and for a first time gathering it showcased the talents of an all star lineup hosted by Shenee Edwards.

Warrior Eric Grantham lifts up the name of the Lord and brings the crowd to their feet.

Motivational Movements posted a selfie on Instagram after performing at the We Fight Foundation 1st Annual Rally. There’s not just “you” or “me”’s WE! We have partnered with our next generation; our youth & young adults. We are encouraging them to love & believe in themselves and their FIGHT because we already believe they are destined to be great! We are teaching them how to not allow their mental illness to define them.” ~Nikita Powell, founder

We Fight Foundation Warriors pose for a group photo catching a quick selfie as they celebrate life and the end of a successful event.

The vision of Nikita Powell was felt as the words rang loud and clear. “I Fight, You Fight, We Fight Together.”

We Fight Foundation Inc. discovered that there is a link between Creativity & Mental Health. Our #RallyUp2SaveLives Movement provides a foundation for talents, gifts and most importantly healing through performance arts. Join us annually at our rallies and subscribe to our magazine. We seek to educate all on mental health and promote awareness about suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health diagnosis by sharing our personal testimonies and strategies on how to overcome; informational events and resources.

Nikita Powell Anxiety

Kenai Hollingsworth Bipolar disorder (Manic Depression)

Tamika Woodard Anxiety

Mental Health Warriors

Fighting Back Against the Battlefields of Our Mind The best way to undo stigma is to try to lead by example showing others that you are LIVING a meaningful & prosperous life with mental health challenges and disorders. You are NOT Alone, I fight, You fight, We Fight Together!

Tai Campbell Brain Injury

Eric Grantham Autism

Jada Carrington Anxiety & Depression

Q & A with Pastor Jeffrey Pitts

RallyUP Magazine Founder: Nikita Powell Interviews Pastor Jeffrey Pitts...Our Featured Mental Health Warrior RUM: You are an advocate for mental health awareness, why is mental health so important to you? Pastor Pitts: Mental health is so important to me because not only have I battled with depression, psychosis, mania and anxiety. My Father passed away about a year ago from alcoholism and we know that addiction is also a mental health issue. He struggled with depression and other things as well and I have seen the darkness and horrors that it brings to not just us but people around us and I want to be someone that helps break the stigma and let people know that they are not what there labeled, there is hope and Jesus is the answer! RUM: Do you feel that mental health is just as important as physical health? If yes, Why? Pastor Pitts: Absolutely, and in some ways even greater because people who have mental health problems cause their bodies to become sick. Many people who have mental health problems get so worn down and lose hope that they give up on taking care of themselves and attending to day to day priorities such as bathing, cleaning the house or eating well. Mental health is not like a stomach ache where you can take Pepto Bismal and

it goes away. You have to work your way through this and it takes time to renew the mind and begin to see freedom. RUM: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) defines mental illness as a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling and mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with same diagnosis such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Depression etc. From a spiritual perspective, Pastor Jeffrey, do you feel mental illness is a "demonic illness," and to "cure it" it must be cast out? Pastor Pitts: I'm careful with that! Not everyone that has a mental illness is demonically possessed. Maybe they just have unresolved trauma that has led to other mental health problems. We look at a person with schizophrenia and immediately say they have a demon. What if their symptoms are from a molestation that has been untreated or they have witnessed abuse or a murder and it caused them to become traumatized. I do believe that this world is demonic and we don't battle against flesh and blood but, we also have to take a look at the realities of things. Are there

spirits of insanity? Absolutely! Are there spirits of depression? Absolutely! We must discern how to handle people who come in the church with these symptoms. We need more people who can walk the afflicted through their trauma and not scream in there face and just immediately think there possessed. His world is full of spirits so of course we’re fighting daily. We have to make sure they know how to handle it. If a young lady has been molested and is showing signs of depression and cutting herself well let's get to the root issue as to why it is that she feels that she hates herself and blames herself. Let's get to the root issue before we start saying people are demonically possessed. RUM: You spoke of the Renewal of Your Mind. When did you first see yourself no longer as a Victim of your past, your pain, your diagnosis and your thoughts but an Overcomer because of the renewal of your mind? Pastor Pitts: When I started applying the scriptures to my life I started to see my mind began to change and that Jesus is the only one that can "cure" me. Renewing of the mind is a process and it is life-long. I still struggle with things today, but I'm not where I was. I have been in two

mental institutions and many therapy sessions, but it was only when I applied scripture and the “Holy spirit” that I could actually see myself free. The world labels us and tells us this is our diagnoses and we just need to live with it. That's not what the Bible teaches us though, it says we are more ban conquerors in Christ Jesus and by his stripes we are healed. I saw myself about ten years ago knowing that I'm a victor and I will overcome. It's by “HIS” spirit and “HIS” will that I am able to stand tall and say no weapon formed against me will prosper. We will overcome and we will break the stigma of mental illness. RUM: What changed your life? Pastor Pitts: The Love of God changed my life. His caring nature knowing that even though this world offered me only sickness and depression he offered me life and love and peace! The way Jesus loved me when no one else could. He never left me or forsook me! I will be forever grateful He never left me even in the midst of my drug addiction and mess. RUM: What steps are you taking to help break the stigma of mental illness? Pastor Pitts: I am telling everyone about the hope we have In Jesus. Letting anyone who battles with mental illness know that they are not alone and if they need help to reach out. Don't be ashamed that you struggle, it's ok to not be ok! I am

going to start groups for people who have any form of mental illness to come and learn ways to reprogram their brain and heal their bodies through the word of God! Talking about it brings healing and deliverance with prayer and faith! I'm going to go on tour and be a voice for this world to break the stigma of that this just the way you are. The world hears depression and its immediate rejection or judgment. This must be broken because everyone deserves to be loved and accepted. RUM: People refer to others with mental illnesses as "crazy" "weird" and other hurtful words... What comforting words would you give our young readers who is coming up against all the negative attitudes & stereotypes towards people with mental illnesses? Pastor Pitts: Don't let it get to you. Just love the ones who don't understand and know that you’re not misunderstood. You can be a voice to the nation and tell everyone there not alone. Get around people who do understand and don't seek acceptance from this world. Your perfect just how you are to Jesus and you are so loved! You are a world changer and a bright star that shines in the dark! Don't let people label you and section you off, be the perfect you that God has created you to be. You will see the victory!

harming themselves... what encouraging words do you have for them? Pastor Pitts: Don't give up! Talk to someone and know that there is a silver lining in this. Don't seclude yourself and let the enemy tell you that you will never make it out or there is no hope because that is a lie from the enemy. Get a journal and write down your thoughts. Find out where your triggers are and replace them with scriptures that will renew your mind. Let God walk you through your trials and do t be afraid to face your pain. God has created you to have a sound mind. Don't give up and think that you don't matter because you do. Stand tall and be a light for others who need a voice. Let's do this together. We will make it out! God bless you! Nikita Powell Founder & Editorial Director of RallyUP Magazine

RUM: Lastly, it may be a young reader who thought of giving up or

Pastor Jeffrey Pitts Bio: Pastor Jeffrey Pitts Jr. was born in Greenfield,In December 24th 1986 Pastor Jeffrey & his beautiful wife and then grew up in Indianapolis. He was raised in a alcoholic home to a Father who was a Police Officer and a mother who worked for the government. His life begin to go down hill at an early age, as He was raised in a heavily violent home with abuse and drug addiction. Going out to the streets as a teenager he began to sell drugs at an early age. Jail became normal with many stays in rehab as well due to drug addiction and battling severe mental health issues. Pastor Jeffrey Pitts answered the call to ministry at the age of 21 and began to preach all over the United States followed by helping pastor a church in Indianapolis. Not dealing with past trauma and sins his mental health began to decline even more and he went into an phycotic breakdown causing him to end up in a mental facility. He has been labeled with several mental disorders but rose up against the lies of the enemy and defeated them by the power of God. Such things as Paranoid Schizophrenia, Depression with Psychosis, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, Trauma and many more but he never received any of it because he new greater he who is in him then he who is in the world. Jeffrey Pitts is Senior Pastor of The Upper Room Of Indianapolis,Inc and had a huge Facebook platform where he openly talks about mental health and is going to start going on tour called “Break The Stigma Tour” where he will be talking bout how to cope and del and thrive through mental health disorders. WE ARE NOT A VICTIM TO OUR BIOLOGY SAYS PASTOR JEFFREY and by the power of the Holy Spirit we have the race to heal and change our circumstances.

Be on the lookout for more information on him and reach out on  @jeffreypitts  @preachwithpassion

Meet Driscoe Baltimore, Maryland Native, Sean Driscoll, known as “Driscoe”, is an aspiring hip hop artist that is a breath of fresh air. Equipped with the unique creativity, a comical personality, and a deep passion for music; Sean pours his heart and soul into his artistry. During his sophomore year in high school, Sean was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis. It was during his hospital stay for treatment that his music started. Dealing with racing thoughts, Sean began to craft rhymes and wrote them down to cope with his diagnosis. Passionate lyrics help him pour out raw emotions on tracks that help to illustrate how to persevere through problems people face in everyday life. “Without content and meaningful lyrics, there would be no Driscoe,” he says. In dealing with Bipolar Disorder, Sean felt it was necessary to attack the stigmas using his music. Driscoe is a relatable and down to earth person with a personality that automatically draws others to his music.

Happiness involves having family and friends that love you and enjoy spending time with you, living life to the fullest with no fear, also to live your life doing what you want to with your career choice. Work doesn’t always have to feel like work if it can make you happy, ~Driscoe. The drive Sean has to succeed is so amazing that he will not let anything make him waiver in his pursuit of a music career. Driscoe does not want to only be known for his musical talent, but he wants to give back as well. In high school he raised $1000 in a benefit concert and donated the money to the hospital unit he stayed in during his initial diagnosis. “I want to use music to not only help myself but to help others as well. My goal is to impact a life a day. I feel like if we all lived that way the world would be a better place.”

Clothing: Ethink Clothing Co. Photo Credit: Olivia Eutsler

Driscoe received the mental health warrior award at We Fight Foundation, Inc. first Annual Rally @ the Bus Boys and Poet in Hyattsville, MD. DRISCOE contact info: @driscoe and

Warrior for Warrior Zone Eric Grantham is a 13 year old with Autism Spectrum Disorder, some speech delay, Heart

disease and asthma. Eric's desire is to become a bishop someday. He loves to listen to gospel music and researching information on his ipad. He also loves singing gospel music. Eric songs, "What's His Name," "Wonderful Jesus," and his latest single, "God Lift My Name." Eric loves church and he loves to wear the word JESUS cut into his hair. He has a very compassionate side for the things we take for granted. Eric loves the sun! ...he says, "Jesus is in the sun!" Eric loves Babies, owers, the elderly, and the homeless. He wants to be a huge star. There are two documentaries on you tube about Eric. (Part 1) Eric's Faith Eric's Heart (Part 2) Eric was invited to a private meeting with Bishop TD Jakes. Eric has met so many celebrities and people of greatness. God is already lying the foundation for Eric life.

You may inquire about purchasing Eric Grantham CDs at harmony1202@comcast. Subject: RallyUp Mag

Eric received the mental health warrior award at We Fight Foundation, Inc. ďŹ rst Annual Rally @ the Bus Boys and Poet in Hyattsville, MD.

TAI Campbell Tai Campbell is a community activist and he leads a nonprofit organization, Taken Back Our Community (TBOC). He was influenced at a young age by his father’s interest in chess, music and boxing. When Tai was eight he suffered an unfortunate accident that resulted in a brain injury. As a result, he experienced cognitive, social and physical issues. He used the skills his father taught him in chess, music and boxing to get through the difficult times at school and in relationships. Music was his first love and he found that he was a talented rapper and could write rhymes that were recognized by his community as profound. Tai receiving the trophy

Today, his organization is focused on developing community programming for adults and children balanced across Mind (chess), Body (boxing) and Spirit (music). His most recent venture, Eesha’s World is built on a unique concept for a multi-cultural kid’s performing arts program. This program teaches kids to give back to their community and spread positive messages through their original music and dance.

Tai Campbell received the mental health warrior award at We Fight Foundation, Inc. first Annual Rally @ the Bus Boys and Poet in Hyattsville, MD. contact info:  @Taicampbell  @tai.campbell.5.

How many times have you typed “I’m fine” while crying? How many times have you said “I’m fine” to someone when really all you felt was sad and depressed? How many times have you said “I’m fine” just to keep the peace? Well trust me, you aren’t alone. “I’m fine” is one of the most used terms and biggest lies out there. Sometimes we say it so often that it becomes a natural response or even worse, we start to believe the lies we tell and we continue to mask the pain. The truth is, saying anything other than “I’m fine” would mean that we would have to open up and address our issues and for many of us, that’s just something we aren’t comfortable or prepared to do. So we just say “I’m fine” and keep it moving.

I”m Fine They ask me if I'm ok, I say yeah I'm fine and they believe the lie, or is it even a lie, sometimes I look at the darkness as a comfort zone, a place to go when I can't take the stresses of the world, the dark isn't bad, it's what's in the dark that's scary, so I guess that makes me scary, a monster, a creature or whatever else that isn't natural but hey atleast I'm not afraid anymore, I rather be the intimidator than the intimidated, putting fear in what once put fear in me, finally for once being totally in control or am I so far in the dark that I have lost control, maybe I'm so far gone that I need help, I need to be rescued, rescued from what you ask, rescued from myself, it's hard to win the battle when the war is against me, myself and I... just can't take it anymore, I'm stuck in the dark and all I want to see is the light but maybe that's what I'm most afraid of because once I see it I can never go back, my life will change forever because the light means either I have I left or I have stayed to long and confusion is such a time consuming place

Poetry Corner

see the truth is I'm not ok but I am fine with that,

and I rather be free of it all so stop asking me what's wrong, how can explain something that I don't even understand myself, stop asking me am I ok because I won't know how to answer you, and please don't even think about asking me if I'm fine because if you do I will be forced to tell you the truth By: Jada Carrington

If poetry is your way of coping, we are looking for you! Become a contributor writer for RallyUp Magazine! For inquiries...

When Ending A

Relationship Goes Wrong? By TJ WOODARD

Breaking up with a guy or a girl is not how it used to be. I remember in school if you broke up with someone or someone broke it off with you, there would be some hurt, anger and then the feeling of heartbreak. Maybe even a little embarrassment especially when your friends would find out about it. It would lead to an awkward day at school when passing each other in the hall or seeing them with someone else; it could make you want to turn the other way before they see you or cringe in your chair. As adults, breaking up tends to be slightly different. The hurt, pain and the heartbreak, is still the same but how we handle it is different. Sometimes it is a clean break, where we can both part ways. Other times, it can be messy and an all- out war. However, breakups back then are not the same as they are today. My have times changed. Breakups have now become deadly ending in homicide and even suicide. The question is why? What has changed in the way we deal with relationships and how we handle rejection? Why does a breakup end up with a life or several lives being lost? We ask, is there a bigger issue? Are we missing something? More and more youth and adults are dying, because of a relationship coming to an end. This is becoming more common and should not be something we become so desensitized to that we no longer see this as a concern but more as “there’s another one.” Headlines now read “Young Male Shot and Killed Girlfriend and Himself” or “Husband Kills Wife and Himself” or vice versa. The question is why? We must take a deeper look at the cries for help prior to a murder-suicide. What are the signs? What would lead a person to kill their significant other and themselves. What should we be looking for? Some signs to look for are:

• • • • •

A history of physical violence A pattern of violent behavior Substance/Alcohol abuse Inability to handle rejection Mental/physical health related issues

This is heartbreaking. We should be more proactive in ensuring that our loved ones and those suffering get the help that they need. Identify problems immediately and speak out about it. We should not have to lose another life at

the hands of another before we do something about it.

Here are some ways to handle stress and rejection. • Embrace the change. Recognize that maybe this is for the best. • Let IT GO! Don’t hold on to a person that doesn’t want to hold on to you. • Allow time to heal from the hurt. It is called recovery for a reason. • Forgive the person who hurt you and forgive yourself. • GET HELP if you need it. It’s okay to talk to someone. Many may not agree that THIS IS a mental health issue. THIS IS something that needs to be discussed and not just swept under the rug. THIS IS something that as a community, we need to take a stand for the sake of our youth. Acknowledging the signs and getting help before it’s too late will make a world of difference. Resources are available. Use them.

Negative Thinking. Rape. Lust. Sickness. Ungratefulness. Tragedy. Worthlessness. Domestic Violence. Death. Do any of these words resonate with you? In Born Overcomers: A Guide to Overcoming, best-selling, award-winning author and speaker, LaKesha L. Williams shares about her trials in a very open & transparent way. Think of this book as a guide that will point you to the Ultimate Overcomer, Jesus Christ! The powerful testimonies of LaKesha and four Featured Overcomers are designed to instill hope and inspire you to begin experiencing the overwhelming freedom that can be found in overcoming just as they did! #overcomersguide

Are you dating, considering dating or have dated and are tired of making the same mistake? Are you tired of trying it your way and getting the same results? Have you lowered your standards for the sake of loneliness? Do you feel unworthy of true love? Have you thought to yourself that dating is difficult and times have changed? Have you given up for finding love altogether? In the Queen’s Guide to Dating the Christian Way, TJ Woodard and Alton L.Fitch show you that following God’s instrustion as it pertains to dating will change the course of your relationships. They encourage you recognize you are roualty and should be treated as the Queens that you are. God has someone He designed espcially for you, and if we stay on course He will give you the desires of your heart. After being divorced twice, TJ has learned that in dating there’s only God’s Way and if she stays in the will of God her King will soon fin her.

Dating and Staying in the will of God


Getting through that moment of BY TYANA STRAUGHN

Today was NOT a good day for me!! Usually I am the UPlifter, the encourager, and the motivational speaker into everyone else’s life, but today it is so hard to find some of that for myself. Have you ever had a time when you felt like your life was crumbling apart right before your very eyes?WOOOOOOO!!!I can just SCREAAAMMMMM!!!Today! yes today!Everything seems so wrong. During these times my emotions seem to be extra sensitive and every situation seems to be heightened. Today, yes today, I’m not feeling very adequate. My self-esteem is very low almost non-existent and nothing about me seems right. Myhair isn’t turning out right, my clothes aren’t fitting right, andI’m feeling extra fat. I just feel BLAHHH!! And to top it off I am about to start my cycle. Wait!Wait a minute!! Is that what it is? That can’t be it.What about when I felt this way last week, or last month, or how about last year?Nonetheless, whatever may be adding to this, I know my feelings of BLAHness are valid. It has been months now since I lost my job and the reality of it is, as much as I need to work and need a job, I don’t want to work for anyone ever again, but I have to work to provide for my family. I am looking for jobs everywhere and anywhere. It seems the jobs that I want I am not qualified for or I get the email back that they hired another candidate. I have even been told I am over qualified for a position. This job search thing is really getting the best of my self-esteem and making me feel really worthless right now. I am not too proud to work anywhere because I have children and bills that require finances, so being picky is far from my reality. I feel stuck and I am doubting my purpose and my calling. A purpose and a calling that has been confirmed by God, spoken over my life by pastors and people in different places and states, and confirmed with me but today, YES TODAY, I am doubting my purpose. With me not working right now, all of my bills are starting to get backed up and so with every phone call it’s either a request from current or past bill collectors and I am starting not to want to answer my phone at all, but it may be a job. My cable was turned off this morning, car finance company keeps calling about my car note. Electric due. I looked at one of my sons as he left out for school this morning and he needs some new shoes. Wow!! I can’t even buy my children the things they need! what type of parent am I??!! I am not a parent that buys my kids all the newest fads that come out or that just buy material items just to have in an abundance of, nothing like that, but my son legitimately needs some more new shoes and I have zero dollars and zero cents to my name at this time. As a parent this hurt to not be able to provide

for your children. Oh, did I mentionmy marriage is in shambles. We’ve been separated for years now and there is no sign of recovery so a decision for divorce has been made. This is enough to make anyone feel BLAH right?! Blah you say, what is Blah? Blah to me is that feeling when you have too many emotions that you can’t begin to describe just one. It Is an over-whelming feeling when all of your emotions are warring at the same time. The dictionary’s definition of blah is -a feeling of physical uneasiness, general discomfort, or mild depression; malaise., and when I first started having this feeling of blah my doctor defined it as me having an Anxiety-Panic Disorder. All in all, no matter the definitions given this iswhat I was feeling. So, I began to write because what I have learned over the years is that writing is very therapeutic for me when I have these feelings. The reality of life is that we will have issues and problems will come and as I started to write out all that I was feeling and all that was wrong with me, God made me re-focus on all the things that was right and take my focus off of the things that I thought was wrong. It is a normal process that we as humans go through as we go through our own personal life challenges, to put attention on those issues. It is a part of human nature. But it can be a dangerous place for us if we make that our primary focus. OK, so I lost my job but since losing my job my bills are paid, my important bills like rent. Who said cable was important. It’s too expensive anyway and I was able to make payment arrangements with the other bills. My kids and I haven’t missed not one meal. My children are healthy, doing great in school and although one of my sons needs new shoes, his current shoes have no holes in them and are in pretty good condition. I also began to write about the other great things in my life. My mom is alive after having 2 major, life changing surgeries where the outlook was her possible end, God saw fit that she is still here!! You see some of these things were quite the opposite at a time in my life. I was homeless living in a hotel with my children. I had electric turned off, car repossessed, and all of these things while working a very good paying job. The more I wrote, the more I was able to look at the what IS and stop looking at the what ISN’T. I also was able to see how God delivered and brought me out of those past experiences as I recollected the what WAS moments. It is so easy to

get in a rut and get down and depressed when you feel like everything is going wrong, but it’s during these times you have to remind yourself of all the many great blessings in your life. Feelings are fleeting and what you feel at one moment may not be the same way you will feel in the next moment. It is with great importance to not allow any negative feeling or emotion to dominate and take over. Be careful NOT to allow that momentary feeling to be an overall of who you are and who you are still destined to become and most importantlyNEVER make a permanent decision based off of that temporary feeling. Seasons change. These blah moments usually come for a number of reasons. One, they come as distractors from the enemy. To distract you from the goal, take your mind off of the greater purpose and make you feel defeated. Focusing on this moment can leave you stagnant if not careful. Sometimes these Blah moments come to humble you and remind you to stay grounded and connected so you don’t get the Big Head, overly confident, and forget where you came from and where your true strength comes from. These moments make you more relatable, empathetic, sympathetic, and compassionate towards others, if you allow them. I believe It is often in these BLAH moments where your purpose and gifts are conceived or birthed. While in the problem sometimes you can find the best solutions and this way pass it on to others to help them get out. Whatever the BLAH moment has for you it is my greatest desire and hope for you that you allow it to catapult you to your place of greatness! Hold on! I promise you if you see 20 things WRONG, if you take a moment, God will show you 20,000 reasons RIGHT! Destiny and purpose, awaits you on the other end of your MOMENT of BLAH so let’s persevere together!!

How they can

help us to NOT go nuts!!!

Tyana D. Straughn When it comes to mental health it is so interesting to find that there are many different natural ways and natural foods that are so simple yet helps us with our oh so complicated brain. First off, let me start by saying that I am NOT a medical doctor nor a nutritionist. However, I am not a lover of medication therefore this leads me to always look for natural treatments for any illness or impairment. It has been found that mostly all illness has natural treatments that are based on your diet. Yes, that’s right what we eat can treat some of the symptoms or may even prevent some of the symptoms associated with a sickness. This is not to say that if you were prescribed a medication from your caring physician to disregard that, but this is to say that there are some other natural ways to help with whatever maybe ailing you in addition to your already prescribed medication. I was so amazed when I was looking up natural treatments for depression and other mental issuesto learn that nuts are a great for brain health and can be considered anantidepressant food. Walnuts are considered a real brain food. Some jokes have been made surrounding the walnuts appearance saying that a walnut actually looks like the shape of a skull on the outside and the inside looks like the human brain. The advantages that come from walnuts is built around the fact that theyare one of the richest plant-based sources of Omega 3 fatty acids which arevery good for the brain’s chemical balance and are a great source of relieving stress. Although some may say that walnuts are high in fat content, they are also known that in conjunction with a healthy diet they actually can help assist with weight loss.

Also, other studieshave proven that there are other nuts that have been known to help serve as antidepressants outside of the walnuts such as cashew nuts, almonds, and peanuts. These nuts contain B Vitamins and Magnesium which are good for a healthy mood. For example, cashews not only taste delicious and can be used as substitutes for butter and cheese and need I mention it’s one of my favorite nuts, but it is great for the brain. Cashews are packed with iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Omega 3 fats and these nutrients have been known to ward off mild depression and anxiety. The amino acid Tryptophan which comes from cashews,improves the uptake of Serotonin in the brain and becomes a precursor to the anti-depressant hormone itself. The Magnesium is very important to the healthy mood and the nervous system helping with treating bouts of anxiety. The Vitamin B6 also helps with the uptake of the serotonin in the body as well and in collaboration with the Tryptophan, a relaxed and calm state is created fighting off an anxious mood.

So, the next time you feel like you may be going just a little nuts, grab you a bag of nuts instead!!


Warning Signs Every PARENT Should Listen For By: Nikita Powell ver since I was little girl, I was always different. At the age of 13, I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Being officially diagnosed finally gave me a little information on what was happening in my head. Not everyone in my family was accepting of my illness and some even believed “it was an excuse for crazy people to “act crazy”. My mom became my strength, but my father became my trigger and for many years my siblings were afraid of me. While trying to come to terms with my illness, I began to gain weight from the different medications that I was taking which this caused me to become the target of bullying my 7th grade year in school. I lost friends, my grades dropped, and I began to lose my will to live. Not only did I feel alone at school, but I felt like a stranger in my own home. After one very dark night, I had enough. Two weeks after my 13th birthday was the first of five attempts on my life. I went through three different facilities, engaged in self-harm, substance abuse, endured being raped, insecurities, spiritual emptiness, physical, mental and emotional abuse. After years of searching for strength, I finally found it within myself. I finally realized I am NOT my illness! It does NOT and will NOT define me! I am NOT crazy or hopeless! I am special! I found confidence in my beauty!


"I am my daughter's #1 Supporter! I fight, she fight, We Fight Together!" and say you going to have mental illnesses. In fact, as a parent we want to take all our children’s illnesses, hurt and pain away. When we are unable to, we feel hopeless.

You just read my daughter’s story, which was not my story to tell. However, I want to give you insight from a parent/caregiver perspective. As parents, we tend to place goals and dreams on our children before they can decide themselves. As soon as they are born, we start examining their little body parts; then we start thinking about what they can grow and be. If their hands are large,we think maybe they going to play basketball. If their fingers are long, we think they may play the piano. As they grow tall with elegance, we think they going to be a model. No parent looks at their child

I was that hopeless parent watching her child’s life waste away before her eyes. It seems like it was only yesterday because that is the tattoo that this event left on my heart. Everything happened so fast. Just hours before her suicide attempt , she came from school saying her day was “ok” and she was going to take a nap after she eats her snack. I investigated her response “ok” but she did not give me any details other than “it was just ok.” If I would have had any clue that her response was going to lead to her attempting suicide, I would have asked more specific questions.

I believe in my heart that those who were contemplating suicide cried out for help all the way to their face of death because every conversation I had with my daughter after her many attempts, she would say, “I didn't want to Mommy, but…” then she would tell me at that moment what triggered her.

I call them “silent cries.” It saddens me because I overlooked her “silent cries” that led up to her first suicide attempt. “I didn’t want to Mommy, but I couldn’t take it no more! Why did they stop liking me Mommy? I got tired of being called fat and ugly every time I went to school,” my daughter cried out to me momentarily; before things started going haywire medically. Those words pierced my soul and of course I went through the mental and emotional beat down because I noticed changes in her behavior, but I wrote it off as “she's a teenager trying to find herself.” I'm sure many parents can relate. See, the family moved to Georgia, it was a new school and the new transition started off I thought. We would pick her outfits out for the week; all the way down to the accessories. In fact, if she did not have matching earrings, I would make some to match her outfit because I wanted to make sure she look cute everytime she went to school because I knew kids were cruel. These were our special moments. My daughter loved it! She would line her clothes in the closet by the days of the week; in which she planned to wear them. This worked for a little while, but I forgot about the jealous and envious kids who tear other kids walls down to build theirs up...the bullies! That’s what pushed my daughter over the edge.

Now, can I place ALL the blame on those cruel kids...No! Because the signs were there! They were not loud signs, but the signs were there! Kena’i lost interest in picking her clothes out for the week; although it was bonding time for us. In fact, she started calling it stupid and would give me so much

attitude anytime I would ask. She started not to care about what she wore to school. It got so bad that she started leaving for school with her hair a hot mess. I went back and forth for a long time, wishing I had went to the school to investigate but I didn't want to “embarrass her.” Just a little advice, a day of embarrassment can be forgiven but the guilt of overlooking suicidal ideation will hurt for a lifetime.

depression. On several occasions, it got so bad she had to be hospitalized. This is why it is so important to learn the signs and get your child help early before it is too late. Her first attempt of suicide was at the age of 13. I reflect back to that parent and teacher conference with her elementary teacher a lot because I could have found help for my daughter before it led to that devastating day.

Learn the warning signs! But remember, some signs may be “louder” than others so never reduce the importance of having one sign versus multiple signs. I made this mistake on several occasions. When my daughter was around 8 years old, one of her elementary teachers requested a parent conference. This meeting was not like a normal teacher’s and parent’s conference, this teacher wanted to talk to me about my child’s mental status displayed at school. The teacher told me that my daughter either wanted to sleep all day or she was agitated and confrontational towards her peers and teachers; often times she was sent to the principal’s office because it was so distracting to others. She just wanted to be left alone but in school that was impossible. The teacher didn’t hesitate, nor did she beat around the bush. She just asked…”do you think your daughter is depressed?” Depressed??? When she asked me , it was almost like she was calling my child a name! I was dare you put that label on my child! So of course, my response was not yes. It was…”No! She’s often misunderstood and Kena’i just likes attention; even if it is negative.” 100% Denial! Because I started noticing similar behaviors at home but worse! At that time, I was not educated on the warning signs. I did not know someone can be depressed and aggressive at the same time. I thought to be depressed you are just really, really sad and they isolate themselves. Wrong! In fact, my daughter’s depression starts out with her displaying irritation, agitation and aggression verbally and/or physically before she went into a deep

Not everyone’s story ends like mine. We thank God daily for sparing my daughter’s life the multiple times she attempted suicide. The Bible says, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life” (Psalm 138:7). As her mother, I had to ponder on that question...Why did God spare her life? After her first attempt she survived she had a story to tell. I knew God spared my daughter’s life for a purpose. I had to specifically ask God what was my purpose. It was my duty to seek specifically what my purpose was as her mother. Through my continuous prayers, meditation and quiet time with God; We Fight Foundation Inc. and now RallyUp Magazine were birthed. How can I let others; especially parents and/or caregivers know they are not fighting alone? We dedicate our lives to suicide prevention and mental health awareness. My daughter and I are on a mission! We #rallyup2savelives!

RallyUp and fight with us! Too many people are fighting silently with mental illnesses and have contemplated suicide. Start by educating yourself on the warning signs listed below. There is no “I” in this fight! It is “we!” Talk • • • • • • •

If a person talks about: Killing themselves Feeling hopeless Having no reason to live Being a burden to others Feeling trapped Unbearable pain

Behavior Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change: • Increased use of alcohol or drugs • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods • Withdrawing from activities • Isolating from family and friends • Sleeping too much or too little • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye • Giving away prized possessions • Aggression • Fatigue Mood People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods: • • • • • • •

Depression Anxiety Loss of interest Irritability Humiliation/Shame Agitation/Anger Relief/Sudden Improvement

Reference: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Photo Credit: Tinisha Curl


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