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#RallyUp2SaveLives

Mental Health

Magazine

What's The Score?

ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE By: Lex Morgan

Mental Health Confession

SUICIDAL FACES By: Jada Carrington

Strength for the

Overwhelmed by Andrae Hayden

Fashion

The Body Positive Zone

Warrior Zone V: Kayla Sampson

Standing in her Truth

What Image Have

You Taken On by Denise Walker

Are You At Risk?

Passive vs Active

Suicidal Thoughts

by Tynesha "Tyi" Flood

Postpartum Depression

Tried to Take Me Out

by Dara Jones

STACY-ANN BUCHANAN

Mental Health During Pregnancy Stacy shares how she copes with Anxiety & Depression

Features:

Founder of CalebKids KEISHA JACKSON Founder & CEO of ABSoulute Fitness ROB BROWN

Stronger Than My Struggles

Melony Hill Summer 2019


SUMMER ISSUE 2019

OUR FIGHT Laughter is

one of the best

MEDICINES

I FIGHT, SHE

FIGHT, WE FIGHT

TOGETHER

photo  by Cash Captures

Her Sunshine My Strength


If you need help now or feeling suicidal call 911. 1800-SUICIDE (1800-784-2433) 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255) CRISIS TEXT LINE Text "FIGHT" to 741741 A free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis

www.therapyforblackgirls.com Residential Crisis Services, Mosiac Community Service Phone:(410)938-5030 www.mosiacinc.org/programsservices/residential-crisis-program Hours of Operation:24/7

NAMI Helpline M-F, 10 am - 6pm ET 1800-950-NAMI

Spanish Suicide Hotline Phone:(800)784-2432 or (888)628-9454 Hours of Operation:24/7

We Fight Foundation, Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448) www.wefightfoundation.org available crisis chat line.

The Trevor Suicide HelpLine Phone:(866)488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org Hours of Operation:24/7

TEEN LINE 1800-852-8336 www.teenlineoonline.org

Veterans Crisis Hotline Phone:(877)838-2838 www.veteranscall.us/ Hours of Operation:24/7

Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 1)

Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Hotline: 1866-4-U-TREVOR

American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org/

NAMI National http://www.nami.org/ Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 2) Family Crisis Center, Inc. Phone:(301)731-1203(Hotline) www.familycrisisresourcecenter.org/ Hours of Operation:24/7

American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) http://www.adaa.org/

Family Crisis Center for Domestic Violence Phone (410)828-6390(410)285-7496(Emergency Safe Shelter) Hours of Operation:24/7 Korean Suicide Hotline Phone:(855) 775-6732 www.koreansuicidehotline.com/ Hours of Operation:24/7

National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ Obsessive Compulsive Foundation http://www.ocfoundation.org/ Mental Health.gov https://www.mentalhealth.gov/ Apps The Safe Place notOK App

National Hopeline Network Phone:(800)442-4673 www.hopeline.com Hours of Operation:24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline,RAINN Phone:(800)656-4673 www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline Hours of Operation:24/7 In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.~ Mental Health First Aid Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. ~Mental Health First Aid

www.wefightfoundation.org


RALLYUP & See What's INSIDE 09 Meet The New Contributors 11 Behind the Scenes 12 Fashion Section: The Body Positive Zone 16 Mental Health Confession: “Suicidal Faces” By Jada Carrington

33

18 Faith and Mental Health Strength for the Overwhelmed | By Andrae Hayden God’s Strength is in Our Weakness | By Vanity Dawson What Image Have You Taken On? | By Denise M. Walker 21 Poetry Corner Denise A. Kelley Lorelai Symmes Kena'i Hollingsworth Lei 24 Theory Is Dope: Eleven By Amanda Fludd 27 Postpartum Depression Tried to Take Me Out By Dara Jones 29 Worrior Zone V Kayla Sampson 31 What’s Your Score? By Lex Morgan 33 Cover Story Stacy-Ann Buchanan 36 Peripartum and Postpartum Depression By Vanity Dawson

38 PARENTS’ MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS: It’s Okay to Put Yourself First By Rhonda Wood 39 Making Difference Kiesha Jackson Rob Brown 41 ARE YOU AT RISK? Passive vs. Active Suicidal Thoughts By Tynesha ‘Tyi’ Flood 42 Beauty Summer Refresh 44 Special Features: Melony Hill Crazy Like A Fox Tour 46 Health & Wellness Lemon Tumeric Chicken Plate O' Greens By Dani Pope


Vol. 2 Num. 3 Summer 2019 Founder & Editorial Director Nikita Powell-Cottman Managing Editor: TJ Woodard Asst. Managing Editor: Vanity Dawson Associate Editor: Paul Cottman Article Editor : Denise M. Walker Fashion Director: Kena'I Hollingworth Fashion Assistant: Tyshia Douglas Beauty Editor: Nekesa Smith Photographer & Photo Editor: Chamille Cash Asst. Photographer & Photo Editor: Tinisha Curl Media & Marketing Intern: Isabelle Tyshing Contributer Writers: Jada Carrington Vanity Dawson Dasia Wood Tynesha "Tyi" Flood Amanda Fludd Kristin Freeman Kena'i Hollingsworth Lorelai Symmes Dara Jones

Guest Writers:

Lex Morgan Rhonda Wood Andrae Hayden Denise A. Kelley Denise M. Walker Elyse Lancaster

Lei Dani Pope

Seeking Contributer writers, Guest writers and Interns.

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

rallyupmagazine@gmail.com

Tell Us...How are you raising awareness about mental health??? Send your response to rallyupmagazine@gmail.com and Your Answer May Be Featured in our Next Issue!!!


Be GR8 Today All Day Everyday! Make Your Purchase at www.gr8clothingline.com Use Code RALLYUP & 15% will be donated to We Fight Foundation Inc. to help them FIGHT for Mental Wellness & Suicide Prevention.

: @gr8clothingline : GR8 Clothing Line : 2022772934

#allmentalhealthmatters


FOUNDER'S LETTER Its Our One Year

Anniversary!!!

L

ook at God! July 9th, 2019 marked a whole year:) As I look back over my journal and notes when God first placed a magazine in my spirit in 2013, I wrote down all that was spoken to me in detail. I was a little discouraged and frustrated because I did not have the resources to get started at that time. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” ~ Phil 4:6

Always remember that God is intentional. I didn’t realize that God was only revealing his plan to me so I can “get in position.” Often we miss our blessing because we are not in position to receive it. As the years past, God was helping me make divine connections and cleaning up some mess I had going on at that time not knowing he was setting it all up for the birth of RallyUp Magazine. He knew the people and resources I needed for the magazine to be successful and the people that needed to be removed because of the negativity that was attached to them. We Must Have Faith and Trust the Process! This is only the beginning! Thank you for joining us on this journey! Most importantly, thank you for joining Our Movement to #rallyup2saveslives through our magazine by normalizing the conversations of mental illnesses; especially in our minority and African American communities... PERIOD! We are giving people hope. We are providing a platform to spread awareness. We are letting them know they are not alone. We are in this Fight Together! The Fight Continues; Blessings,

08 | rallyupmagazine.com | Summer 2019


Meet The New CONTRIBUTORS Amanda Fludd @therapyisdope Contributing Writer Five Fun Facts My favorite color is Yellow. I love Curry Goat. I hope to do more traveling over seas. I hate cleaning dirty pots I'm ambidextrous but was raised a righty because my mama didn't want to owe the devil money!...lol.

You must know: How do you take care of your mental health?... I try to stay active through running. It's where i'm the most free and it automatically reduces stress. When I go long periods without running or doing quick workouts at home the tension builds in my mind and body and I just feel sluggish and not at my best self.

Denise M Walker

@authordenisewalker Contributing Writer & Article Editor Five Fun Facts

I am a minister.. I have been married for 20 years. I am a mother. I am an educator. I am the founder of Hope-in-Christ Ministries, LLC. You must know: How do I care take of my mental health? I take care of my mental health in several different ways. First, I set aside time for prayer and meditating on God's word. Next, I have learned how to say "No." It is a complete sentence. Finally, I ask the LORD to help me balance my time and find time to rest.

Kristin Freeman Contributing Writer Five Fun Facts

My favorite bible verse is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) My favorite place I’ve traveled to is Montreal, Canada My dream vacation is a cruise to Malaga, Spain I enjoy taking nature photos I prefer sunrises over sunsets You must know: How do I care take of my mental health? I've been blessed to find a wonderful mental health and wellness coach, who is helping me focus on practicing self-care and how to create the present and future I would like to have.

Chamille Cash

@cashcaptures Photographer & Photo Editor Five Fun Facts

I love to cook! Beetle Juice is one of my FAVORITE movies Im pretty tall (6ft) and LOVE it! I play Soprano & Alto Sax Always down for a random adventure! You must know: How do I care take of my mental health? Mental health is important on so many levels. I try to keep myself together by taking moments to pray, breathe/focus, listen to music, dance, going for a long walk, or doing something that brings me joy. Growing up I had extreme anxiety and was scared of ANYONE that wasn’t family. After overcoming that, I struggled with depression when I suddenly lost my mom. The first few years were tough but doing the small things above helped get me back to me! Now I’m in a great space and able to help others.


Take Suicidal thoughts seriously and Get Help!

I did and I feel Much Better! We Fight Foundation, Inc. Photo by Cash Captures Vice Chair - Kenai Hollingsworth

: 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448) : www.wefightfoundation.org

FIND A THERAPIST WHO WILL MAKE YOU DO THE WORK By Kristin Freeman

Have you ever sat in a therapy session wondering, am I really getting anything out of this? Therapy has been something of a go-to for me as I’ve battled depression, anxiety and PTSD for much of my life. No matter how deep the depression is, I’ve always found therapy to be a welcome release, if for no other reason than it allowed me to talk about something other than the negative, suicidal thoughts that were swirling around in my head. I spent countless hours “shopping” online for the “perfect” therapist. Looking for the face that was welcoming, safe and comfortable. Looking back over my therapeutic relationships, I realize that several of them took on the form of venting sessions, like those I may have with my girls over coffee. I had become completely at ease with my therapist on the surface; however, like we sometimes do with friends, I continued to holdback the darkest of my thoughts that I should have been releasing. There came a time when I was more invested in my therapist liking me and making them laugh than my mental health. I wasn’t about to shatter the image they had of me in my happy place with the reality that I was still in the grasp of a major depression and thought of suicide more often than I had admitted. I was afraid that would break our bond. Any time I felt a therapist getting too close to the pain I had hidden so deeply or asking one too many probing questions, I would shut down like a temperamental child. On more than one occasion I made an excuse as to why I had to end my sessions altogether. “I simply wasn’t ready,” or “I hadn’t met the right therapist” or a combination of both. That is until 2017, when two hospitalizations in three weeks led me into outpatient therapy once a week for nine months. I met my therapist Marie* when I was a patient in the hospital. And yes, I was comfortable from the moment we met. For some reason, this time it was different. She did not hold back her opinion on mental stability and she challenged me right from the start. Where I had previously run away from that kind of therapist, this time was different. Perhaps it was because she had already had much of my history down on paper or perhaps it was because she was seeing me at one of my darkest moments and there was no need to hide. Working with Marie I learned that, for me, “good therapy” did not necessarily mean it was going to be easy therapy. Good therapy required me to process events of the past and examine how it, and my own choices, were affecting my present. I did not leave every session with a smile on face looking forward to next week. Some weeks I left with tears in my eyes, other weeks I left angry. It is not easy having to face the things that are hurting you or causing you pain. Good therapy requires action steps from both client and therapist. It requires transparency on your part and active listening from the therapist with intentional results. In working with Marie, I was pushed when I had to be and held accountable when I needed it. I was supported every step of the way. Although I may not have realized it at the time, I came away with tools that I still use every day. So, you may be wondering, what should I look for in a good therapist? Although what’s considered “good” is specific to each person, however these are the main things you may want to look for in the first few sessions: I. Does your therapist specialize in your specific illness or area of need? This is important in order to ensure that you are receiving the appropriate type of treatment. II. Did your therapist ask you about your goals for therapy? If you’re not sure what your goals are, they should help you figure it out. III. Does your therapist seem to be too judgmental? During therapy, we may reveal things about ourselves that are hard to hear. No matter what you say, your therapist’s response should never make you feel bad about yourself or your experiences. IV. Has your therapist given you homework or tools to utilize in between therapy sessions? Homework often enhances the effectiveness of therapy and may help you from reverting to negative patterns in between sessions. V. Ask yourself, are you comfortable with your therapist? Use your instincts. Do you feel safe during your sessions? Are you able to be open with your therapist? Your comfort level is key to your progress. Therapy is a not just a healing experience, but a learning experience, if you do the work. Find a therapist who will make you do the work! *Pseudonym


We Need Each Other on This

JOURNEY This journey called LIFE alone is challenging! “The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength”. Our daily fight can be tough! … but when you have someone FIGHTING with you, it gives you so much more strength. We need each other ... We Need JOY as we need air. We Need LOVE as we need water. We Need EACH OTHER as we need the Earth We Share. ~Maya Angelou

photos  by Cash Captures Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 11


n o i FASHION t c Se You Are Entering... THE BODY POSITIVE ZONE

No Negative Self Talk, Negative Body Image or Excuses Allowed Here 10 DAILY AFFIRMATION FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH 1. I Am Enough 3. My Feelings Matter 5. I Will Get Thru This! 7. I Am Great 9. I Have The Power & Will To Live 12 | rallyupmagazine.com | Summer 2019

2. I Am Strong 4. I Matter 6. I Deserve To Be Loved 8. I Can Find Peace & Happiness 10. I WILL SURVIVE;


SUIT IN CONFIDENCE

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Body Confidence does not come from trying to achieve the perfect body. It comes from embracing the one you already have. Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 13


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I Am Obsessed with becoming a Woman Comfortable In Her Skin.


HELLO GORGEOUS

I am Strong I am Beautiful I am Enough I LOVE MYSELF

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 15


MENTAL HEALTH

CONFESSION

“SUICIDAL FACES”

S

By: Jada Carrington

ome days are truly harder for me to get through than others. Some days I feel extremely low but you never would be able to tell because I'm good at masking how I feel. I'm able to navigate through and do what I need to do, (well on most days). Did you know that a person could look like everything is fine on the outside and still be suicidal? Smiles don't always mean happiness. Sometimes smiles are merely just masks to cover up the pain. Trust me I know, I've been out with my friends and family laughing and smiling on the outside while thinking about killing myself. I've been able to complete a whole days’ worth of work effortlessly without a complaint while still feeling like death. I don’t always have a reason for feeling suicidal. At times it’s just a feeling that comes over me. It can be very hard to explain because many people want concrete explanations and if you don’t have a specific reason, they just assume that you’re just making it up. There is nothing logical about suicide or suicidal thoughts. It isn’t always going to make sense. There isn’t just one particular way to be depressed or suicidal. Some people can be highly functional while some people can be completely crippled by it. Being suicidal doesn't always look like pill bottles, tears or suicide notes and then sometimes it does. Sometimes it looks like your average everyday person. Sometimes it looks like your role model or hero. Sometimes it looks like your friend or family member. Sometimes it looks like your co-worker, boss, teacher, or associates. Sometimes it’s loud and sometimes it’s quiet. Sometimes it looks like all of those things. Sometimes it looks like you and yes sometimes it even looks like me. That's why it's so important to check up on folks, even the “strong ones” because you never know how someone may be feeling or what they may be going through. My point is, please educate yourself and learn the signs to recognize if someone is suicidal because suicidal thoughts do not discriminate. It can attack any person at any age, at any time.

Check All That Apply...  Continuous feelings of sadness; hopelessness  Irritable or Anger  Vocal outbursts or crying  Social withdrawal  Difficulty concentrating; grades dropped  Increased sensitivity to rejection  Low Energy and do not want to participate in extra curriculum activities at school or home.  Change in appetite (increased or decreased)  Feelings of worthlessness or guilt  Thoughts of harming themselves  Anxious  Change in sleeping in patterns (insomnia or excessive sleeping)  Thoughts of death or suicide.

If your child is experiencing these symptoms, please seek help. Depression is Real! and It's Treatable! Make an appointment to rule out any underlying medical issues. (Resources & Numbers pg.3) If there are suicidal thoughts, seek medical attention immediately!


by Lumont Deshield

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STRENGTH FOR THE Overwhelmed By Andrae Hayden

God does't dispense his love based upon a sliding scale of brokenness...No matter the type of brokenness; physical or mental! Man may categorize you as "bipolar, etc." In the eyes of God, your status is Simply "Beloved." You can LOVE & SERVE God ….AND See A Therapist! Welcome to Faith & Mental Health!

SCRIPTURE

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22 (ESV)

DAILY AFFIRMATION Today, I bring all my troubles to you. I leave them with you, because I know that you will strengthen me in return. You will take the heaviness in my heart and my mind, and you will replace it with your peace. My mind and spirit will be made new. You will heal all the broken places in my life because you love me and care for me. Taken from “Devotionals for the Mind” by Andrae Hayden Available now on Amazon.com Andrae Hayden was born in Washington, DC. She is a devoted wife and mother. For years, Andrae battled depression, while suffering silently through her pain and struggles. As a survivor, she dedicates her life to motivating, and encouraging others to push through their pain and mental anguish, to find their purpose through Jesus Christ. Her book “Devotionals for the Mind” is designed to help her readers realize that they are not alone in their journey for mental peace. Through mentorship, she openly shares her life experiences, and important lessons learned along the way. Her passion is to motivate and teach youth by providing information and resources to aid in a successful overall well-being, with direct focus on the mind, body, and soul. Her motto is “healthy children grow into healthy adults.” By creating effective programs that strengthen the overall well-being of our children, our children will be better equipped to face life’s challenges more effectively as they become adults.

Let’s be the ones who Talk About Mental Health so Much that our Next Generation Never Feels the Stigma ♥

We Fight Foundation Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448)

Photography by: Ben White on Unsplash

Do you have burdens? Do you have fears? Do you have anxieties that keep you up at night? Does your mental anguish take away from the joy and happiness in your life? When life gets overwhelming, we must learn to cast our burdens on the Lord, because they are not ours to carry. Prayer is the best way to release life’s frustrations. When we stand before the Lord in prayer, he will carry our load and give us the strength to endure.


Faith & Mental Health

GOD’S STRENGTH

is in Our Weakness By: Vanity Dawson

uicide ideation is the thought of suicide or taking your own life. Who’d ever think I’d be sharing about the time I was having suicidal thoughts? It sure wasn’t me! That was one experience I thought I could take to the grave with me. Well, that wasn’t the plan God had for me. See, when I asked God to fill me up it was so I can pour out into the world. There are so many ways God uses us and for me, its sharing my many life stories of trials and tribulations. We all have loved ones who faced suicidal ideation at some point in their life. The thought will creep up “I don’t want to live anymore” or “I’m ready to die because I’m tired of living a life full of pain.“ Never in a million years did I think I’d share with a loved one my own suicide ideation experience. I wanted them to know I am here for them and they are not the only one in the world going through suicide ideation. I wanted them to know God will one day use them to share their story with someone who will need them, and they aren’t alone. Just four years ago I was cutting my wrist because I was filled with so much pain. Everywhere I turned was pain and I was ready to leave this world. I was asking God to take me out! I knew it wasn’t my time and I had to think “what about my son.” Instead of dying, which deep down beyond the “I’m ready to leave” was an “I would rather feel peace instead of pain.” I’d cut my wrist with a razor and although it was relieving at that moment, I didn’t realize I was causing more physical pain to myself aside of the physical abuse I was experiencing from my roommate. Eventually, I stopped cutting and tried to figure out another way to deal with my pain, but I still had to look at my scars daily. Today, at this very moment, I still must look at my scars. Today, I boldly showed my scars to a loved one and said, “I used to do this!” There is another way to deal with pain. You do not have to go that route. The pain we think we are releasing from cutting isn’t an effective way for peace. We must first talk about the feelings we are harboring inside and address the root of the pain. Dealing with the cause of the pain allows us to see our situation from a different perspective so that we can work through what is bothering us. We must also remember that there are too many people on this earth that care about us and love us. If for a moment you start thinking nobody loves you, which is a lie from the pits of hell then tell yourself that you love you. Tell yourself that your creator loves you, which is the most important thing to remember. God loves you! God loves me! Everyday, when you look in the mirror at your perfect and wonderfully made face, say “God loves me!” Say, “I love me!” That’s what really counts, and nobody can take that away from you. During every storm, there are moments where we can give God glory and share the testimony with someone else. If you feel like you want to hurt yourself, lean in on God’s strength and you will rise.

As a suicide survivor and Christian, T-Kea has often felt torn between her relationship with God and mental illness. After witnessing domestic violence and drug addiction, she struggled with suicidal thoughts from 12-years-old until her second suicide attempt at 24-years-old which led her to a psychiatric unit. When she reached out to her church family, their comments pulled her away from church even though she understood their hearts were pure, but they lacked education on how to handle mental health challenges. T-Kea addresses generational trauma, shares her darkest moments, insecurities, how she worked toward healing, rebuilding her relationship with God, and offers mental health resources. It is her hope that when readers are finished with the book, they prioritize their mental health, and realize they can pray and see a therapist.


Faith & Mental Health The Bible says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). This is a foundational scripture that we must take hold of every day. What does it mean to be made in God’s image? Well, image means likeness or representation. If I represent God or if I am made like Him, then I should see the beauty of who I am because of the beauty of God. When we think of Him, we don’t think of anything less than amazing. There was a time I didn’t accept this as my truth. From the time I was a young girl until adulthood, I struggled with depression. I experienced much trauma growing up. Therefore, I found myself feeling sad, crying a lot and isolating myself from others. I walked in fear, rejection and a lack of trust due to my experiences. As I got older and met those walking with Christ, I noticed there was something different about them. They had this unexplainable peace, joy and hope in their eyes. They knew who they were, even with their flaws. I wanted that for myself. You see, although I struggled with depression, I had to come to realize that wasn’t my identity. I had taken on the image of my youth and even those things that occurred in my adulthood. Depression began to reign in my life. At first, I couldn’t shake it. Then, one day, a beautiful woman of God began to tell me about my true image, the image of Christ. I had been carrying so much; I was bound by all of it. I couldn’t see God’s Image in me. How could I be? I am not good enough. I have issues. Those were my thoughts. I remember asking God a very hard question, “Why do you want me when no one else did?” It wasn’t that everyone had walked away from me. That was how I felt at the moment, how I saw things through my lenses. I had developed contaminated lenses, and that amazing

WHAT IMAGE HAVE YOU TAKEN ON? woman of God had come to assist and replace those lenses. She began to pray for me and sow seeds of truth, God’s truth. I come to sow the same seeds. You are who God says you are. Therefore, if we were created in the image of God (and you were), you too must take off all other images that consume you. Yes, like me, you may have a struggle and/or a diagnosis. However, none of it negates the truth about Christ. That’s your true identity! Pastor Denise M. Walker Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc. My True Identity

76% OF SUICIDES ARE MEN

Please Take Time And Check on the Men in Your Life!

www.wefightfoundation.org


POETRY CORNER Fear-LESS By: Denise A. Kelley

I’m panting – I can’t breathe - My air supply feels thin I’m shaking - my palms are sweaty I’m no longer in control, I can’t seize this feeling 5-4-3-2-1 Here comes another episode 5-4-3-2-1 I’m about to explode! When I think about the prison I live in within, my chest gets tight Fear and rejection grips me, holds firm, and squeeze like a vise I’m weak…I’m defeated…In me there is no fight I can’t figure out what’s wrong, and that hinders me from getting it right. A loud silent scream emits from the core of my soul I ask the question Lord, is there redemption for me? Lord, can I be made whole? I hate this place … I just want to be free I plead with the Lord, Do you hear? Do you see? Why don’t you love me?

The fear I’ve nurtured since a child is now full-grown The rejection I’ve pampered is now my home Every decision I make comes from this place Rejection drives the outcome…and fear has the final say. But then enters a small but powerful voice in the still of the moment Peace surrounds me… I know it’s the Lord, so my heart is open. You asked if I loved you?… If I see you?… and do I hear? The answer is yes my child, but I move by FAITH and not fear. You must trust and believe fear is NOT from me - that’s not my design My WORD makes it clear I’ve given you power, love, and a sound mind. So pick your head up You don’t have to be depressed I’ve planted greatness in you Walk in courage Be MORE bold - And fear LESS

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 21


Dear Thinspo By: Lorelai Symmes

You’re fat Those were the words spoken to me that sparked the beginning of an eternity God if only he knew, that truly I would follow through I did what I thought I should, but I didn’t know what pain it could Cause inside my 11-year old brain The shame I swear was the worst of it Hiding what I thought I’d gain You’ll never be thin, I told myself Throw those thoughts on a shelf Because you must lose weight, I said You must be what society wants or your potential will be dead Little did I know that’s not what’d be dead Anorexia is not a thin girl with a pretty smile It’s not knowing if you’ll have a while Slowly you push people away All you want is for Ana to stay Your hair begins to fall out Tears flow as if from a spout Only one more pound you tell yourself But one, turns to five turns to ten until it begins to kill your health Thin hair covers your body Dark circles enclose those once bright eyes You need to stop they tell you Mom, just leave me be Dad, I’ll be okay Sitting in a room in a hospital gown They come in with such a solemn frown Lorelai, you’re severely underweight Though it my mind I’m the farthest from that Potassium, phosphorous, are thrown around When you stand your legs hit the ground Still think anorexia is beautiful? Well think again dear soul

22 | rallyupmagazine.com | Summer 2019

I am not 1 in 5 My life is not meant to be stuck in a hospital bed The light was not so far ahead Death still crept like a crab in a shell Have you ever been stripped away from your family? Thrown in a place that looks from hell Still think anorexia is beautiful? Needles shoved through my veins My muscles can’t withstand but a strain Hope is lost, your will is gone This is the true reality Googling the calories in Chapstick Because you are so scared of what may occur It’s stupid, I’m aware, sure But to me it’s surreal Do you still think anorexia is beautiful? A lifestyle of restriction and pain It’s not some twisted game Setting alarms at 2 am To get up and exercise until you just can’t anymore It’s like a drug That you can’t just brush under the rug Do you still think anorexia is beautiful? Never forget that you deserve to live, not only breathe Not slumped over a toilet trying to heave Blue nails grasp the rail Your parents pray the hail Longing for their baby back I am only 14-years old Still not a clue, if I will ever be free From the disease that’s consuming me So, tell me now if you will Do you still think anorexia is beautiful? Your story is not over;


The Darkness

Behind Closed Doors

Grab, Choke, Squeeze Suck the life out of me. Suffocate Me. Don't see it as a homicide but as a sacrifice for the greater good.

Why don’t I feel powerful?

By: Kena'i Hollingsworth

I will drown in the pacific ocean. Swallow the waters of the worlds saltiest seas. Just for the familiar burn. People tell me to remember the semicolon. It stands for continuation. But in these days my life is like a period. You try to save me but I push you away. I'm scared to break you. Scared to burn you. I refuse to be responsible for the destruction of another person. I am a ticking time bomb I can't control the urges! And the darkness. Oh God the darkness! So I cut a smile in my arm and watched my laughter pour out in red.

You scream I LOVE YOU! and it gives me the Strength to let you in.

By: Lei Maybe because people only want to see me fail rather than succeed. Maybe because I can’t control everything that happens to me. All I really wanted was for them to see that this was changing me. But why is this happening to me? Is it the coils in my hair, the melanin in my skin, if we live on the same earth, breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, why do you hate my strength? I am you, I wear a mask too. It gives my insecurities, fear, shame, and confusion a place to rest. I rather it didn’t happen, but as I mature the naïve and gullible child is changing, and evolving. The feelings aren’t so strong for me anymore; I’m just confused about what is next. I know now that everybody is hurting by themselves, instead of us hurting together.

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 23


Amanda Fludd: Meet Amanda Fludd, she will will be leading the #therapyisdope section. A section strictly for our professionals and their great work. In addition, she will be answering questions from our readers in our "Dear Amanda" section, so readers...start sending those questions and they just may be featured in our next issue (rallyup,submissions@gmail.com). Amanda is a New York based Clinical Social Worker, originally from the Caribbean and currently practicing in LI, NY. She completed a B.A. Degree in Sociology at the University of Connecticut (where she also ran Track and Field), and then went on to obtain a Masters in Social Work at Fordham University, with post graduate work at Adelphi University. In the past 13 years she’s worked in various settings such as schools, outpatient clinics and psychiatric facilities, supervised other therapists, developed community based mental health programs and taught as an adjunct professor at Fordham University. She absolutely loves her work and might be one of the few people that gets excited to hear other people’s problems. Understanding the need for access to better mental health services on a community level, she went into private practice opening Kensho Psychotherapy in Valley Stream, LI, with the sole purpose of providing exceptional psychotherapy in the community, particularly for minorities. She is also a vocal advocate for Mental Health as the founder behind Therapy is Dope which uses Social Media to reduce stigma and improve access to care. The core of her work is strengthening mental health, which is our true wealth, by developing our mind, body, and community. Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R.

ELEVEN BY AMANDA FLUDD,

LCSW-R @therapyisdope

T

he average amount of time it takes for someone to recognize the onset of mental illness and seek help is eleven years. That equates to about 57% of the adult population with a mental health issue not receiving any kind of support. As a result, that early episode of sadness, anxiety, negative self-worth, or disconnecting from reality, turns into a lasting illness, inpatient hospitalization, and a lifetime of revolving-door psychiatric admissions. It’s like having an episode of difficulty breathing, which then turns into constant shortness of breath when left untreated, when all you needed to do was get it assessed and take your asthma pump regularly so you can breathe. Why don’t you deserve to breathe? Instead, our communities hold this unrelenting narrative “it will be ok,” “there is nothing wrong with you,” “talk to Jesus,” or therapy is “a white people thing and not for us.”

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We take that anchor to our strength and choose to endure like we’ve done for generations through poverty, homelessness, incarceration and substance abuse (all factors that create a risk for poor mental health). Traumatic stress increases our risk for physical health conditions (e.g. obesity and diabetes) because trauma is stored in the body and contributes to a shortened life span. So maybe this narrative does not serve any area in our lives, and the resistance and outright shaming of mental health is the antithesis of everything we stand for. Our opposition is in debunking myths and acknowledging that even when it comes to the status of our mental health, we deserve an opportunity to be open about our struggles and without judgment, and to gain the resources we need to help us heal and better navigate this life. We all can benefit from therapy… MYTH #1: GOING TO THERAPY IS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS It’s our nature to demonstrate strength by holding things in and dealing with them ourselves until we are in crisis. It’s the fear of what others will think or of the unknown that keeps us in the dark, or even the downright distrust of the medical field. If you are going to therapy, this means that you are taking the time to learn how to cope with life in healthier ways. Remember - you can find a therapist that more closely represents who you are. Take for examples www.therapyforblackgirls.com and www.therapyforblackmen.org. Becoming purposefully vulnerable with the intent of repairing emotional damage is absolutely admirable.


MYTH #2: THERAPY IS FOR THE RICH I'm thrilled to report that the idea of rich people only being able to afford therapy is also a myth! Most insurance plans cover mental health services, and there are affordable websites like openpathcollective.com. Paying out-of-pocket is an option that some people utilize because they elect not to use their insurance, or they want more specialized support that insurance will not cover. Online therapy is also a modern trend that creates an option of convenience. Whichever route you choose, double check the therapist’s credentials. You should work with a licensed therapist or one who is supervised by a licensed therapist. Therapy is worth paying for. It’s just like distinguishing a generic product from a brand one - it demonstrates experience, quality, and style. You get what you pay for. MYTH #3: THERAPY IS A WASTE OF TIME You may be thinking, "Therapy is a waste of time. How can a complete stranger help me work through my deeply rooted issues?” To that I respond, “Well, is what you’re doing now working?” While the speed of progress is a case-by-case

basis, there is no denying that therapy is anything but a waste of time. To make the most out of therapy, be consistent, do your homework in between sessions, and remember that your therapist is not a mind reader! The more you open up about what you want to address, the better the outcome will likely be. Therapy is work, but it also took work (and time) for you to end up in the position you may be in now. MYTH #4: BLACK PEOPLE DON’T GO TO THERAPY Actually, they do. About 80% of my practice is composed of people who are African American and Afro-Caribbean. While most clients are women, we also have male clients. The stigma around mental health is changing, especially for children of immigrants, those with higher education and those who live in large cities like NYC and Atlanta. At the end of the day, we all deal with issues and have skeletons in our closets. Looking for help is not a sign that you are broken, and the world of help is just as dynamic, creative, colorful, and hopeful as you. Let’s close the gap of time and get the tools we need to speak our minds and live healthier lives.

Dear Amanda, How can you get help (therapy) even though you do not have insurance?

DEAR AMANDA

Melissa B. Oxon Hill, MD Dear Melissa B., I'm so glad this is a space where it’s OK to talk about the cost of therapy. Let's put some things into perspective. Hair blown out and tweaked: Cost - $45 every two weeks A new pair of sneakers like the Men's Air Vapor Max: Cost - $189.99 My dip powder Mani and Pedi: Cost - $60 and I’m back in two weeks Those are some examples of regular expenses that we may pay without thought, or if we needed to, we could eliminate from the budget to cover the co-pays for therapy sessions which averages from $0 to $50, although I've seen up to $70 per session. For those without insurance or that opt not to use it (maybe the deductible is just to outrageous), you can try sites like Open Path Collective (openpathcollective.org) which connects you to professionals who offer affordable services from $30 to $60 per session or opencounseling.com.

Did you know that some therapists even offer sliding scale fees? You can give them a call and say: "I have ___ insurance, do you accept that coverage?” or “I'm interested in therapy and I don't have coverage right now, what options do you have for people who can't pay your fee?" Either way it Everything you need to know about doesn't hurt to ask. In your community there are also resources right at your local universities that offer counseling at low to no cost, like The Dean Hope Center affiliated with Teachers College at Columbia University. Graduate school psychology departments within colleges also offer counseling services primarily staffed by graduate students who are eager to learn under the supervision of licensed professionals. Your employer may also have options through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. So yes, therapy can be expensive, but there are options out there for every budget, and remember…#TherapyIsDope!

Mental Health

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R Licensed Clinical Social Worker www.amandafludd.com

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 25


POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

TRIED TO TAKE ME OUT by: Dara Jones

Well, there I was, a 30-year-old woman planning my future with who I thought would be my husband when my body betrayed me (imagine that) and I found myself expecting my first child and then I found myself single. Funny how that works, right? My pregnancy wasn’t too bad, physically bearable with a few bouts of sciatic nerve pain every once in a while. My co-parent and I still got along pretty well, and he was a tremendous help during my pregnancy. I mean cooking, cleaning, back rubs, walks, you name it! After almost 24 hours of labor, 9 centimeters of dilation, a failed epidural and a successful cesarean, my daughter was born. And the trials began. It seemed like everything happened at once. I had issues with nursing, I had to go a few days without medication after my cesarean, my grandfather passed away, and there I was sinking into my couch in the dark. I wasn’t prepared for postpartum depression. Not much is said about mental illness in the black community. I just thought I was sad and a bit lonely. My doula never went into too much detail about it, and I don’t recall anyone in my family ever speaking of it. So, it took me a while to even identify what I was feeling. I was sleep-deprived, had no appetite, and grieving, not just the loss of my grandfather but also my life before baby. I had days when I just wanted to leave my baby with her father and drive until I got tired. My support system saved my life. Even before I was able to verbalize my feelings, they jumped in. I’m talking cooking, cleaning, staying with baby and I overnight, taking her so I could nap, going with me to my grandfather’s funeral; you name it, they did it. They’re the real MVPs, and I am so grateful. Coming out of that season was difficult and scary. Writing my chapter of Dear Fear Vol. 3 was such an amazing contribution to my healing process. It forced me to answer hard questions, take ownership of the part I played in my own story, and take the necessary steps to heal parts of me that were broken. I still have not-so-great days sometimes, but I look into my daughter’s eyes and remember that tomorrow has a reset button. I get to start over and make this day better than the last, and I owe it to her to be the best version of myself. I realize that the journey is hard, full of twists and turns, and can be lonely at times. I also know that everyone’s situation is different, and not everyone has a strong support system. I took the step of incorporating a therapist into my support system, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I know we’re told that the sadness will pass or that we should pray it away, but there are other resources that are available to help you heal, therapy being a great option. I know some of you might frown, but medication could also be beneficial. There are people out there who feel what you’re feeling, look like you, and understand how hard it is to feel like yourself again after such a huge life change. Yes, your life is forever changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams and hobbies. It just means you have to be creative and learn to adapt to your new situation. Set yourself free of the expectations that come along with being a mother. I want you to become the best version of yourself so you can continue to be everything to everyone around you. Only if you want to. You can always drive until you get tired. Just make sure the kids are with someone you trust. Nope...I’m not here to judge, love.

DARA JONES BIO Dara is co-creator of Ebony & Ivory (www.theebonyandivory.com), a blog focused on helping women use faith-based principles to push past the obstacles that can come with motherhood. She is also a contributing author in Dear Fear Vol. 3, where she recounts her journey with postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Troy University. Dara currently resides in Alabama with her daughter Kennedy.

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 27


LIES OF SUICIDE

YOU’RE...

Unlovable. WOrthLESS. USELESS. Impossible. Hopeless.

www.wefightfoundation.org


Nikita Powell-Cottman Anxiety & Seasonal Depression

Kenai Hollingsworth Suicide Survivor, Bipolar Disorder, ODD & Depression, PTSD

Tamika Woodard Anxiety & Depression

Dasia Wood Suicide Survivor, Anxiety, Bipolar, PTSD & Depression

Mental Health Warrior Zone v Fighting Back Against the

Tanzania Fair Depression & Suicidal Ideation

YOU CAN Live a meaningful & prosperous life with mental health challenges, disabilities and disorders. It does not define You! See all previous warriors on our website: www.rallyupmagazine.com

Craig Cooper Depression & Suicidal Ideation

Vanity Dawson Bipolar Disorder & Depression

Tyshia Douglas LD Short Term Memory Depression

Elyse Lancaster Suicide Survivor

TBI Depression & Anxiety

Jada Carrington Anxiety & Depression

Kayla Sampson major depression, anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar II Disorder


My Story Kayla Sampson

Some days I would win; other days I would lose painfully. It was always a struggle of who I knew I was and the person I started to see more frequently. The depressed, hopeless, numb, and exhausted girl begging for a breath of cool, fresh air. I began to struggle with keeping up with my classwork due to my frequent absences, when I just could not get up and face the world. I knew I could accomplish great things. I always knew I could reach amazing heights and achieve my biggest dreams if I set my mind to it. I wanted to be a pediatrician and open a nonprofit helping survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. I also wanted to create a medical device that would aid children, adolescents, and adults (who weren’t well) in feeling a little less stressed and at peace. I was always so hopeful. The main thing I wanted to do with my life was to help others. Yet, repeatedly I found myself in this seemingly inescapable pit where I could not even help myself. There was this darkness that always followed me around and left me feeling as if the girl I was would be kidnapped and be replaced with a girl I never desired to know. Experiencing these feelings and beginning to self-harm is what pushed me into initially asking for help. I told my mom, someone I trusted, about everything that had been going on with me, and she got me the help I needed. I was able to thankfully get into therapy and find an amazing psychologist and psychiatrist to support me through this season. However, this was not the end of my lifelong journey through managing my mental illness and finding my way to mental wellness.

am Kayla Sampson from Atlanta, Georgia. I am currently a student at Spelman College. I was diagnosed with major depression in 2013 after I began to self-harm as a way of coping. I was also diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD around the same time. In January of 2018, I received a second diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder. However, a lot of things that happened to me, I hid beneath the surface. I believe this is what contributed to this diagnosis. I was sexually abused at the age of six by a childhood friend. I lost my brother at nine. My father has been ill my whole life. I was bullied in middle school. I was raped at fourteen, and the list goes on. These are some of what I held on to and kept locked away inside. I’ve tried to remind myself that I am not my mental illness, struggles, trauma, or past. I tried my hardest not to let outside circumstances become my internal reality, but at one point it seemed like my trauma and pain became all that I am. I was in middle school the very first time I realized something was a little different with me. I never really felt like I belonged. This feeling was heavy, but I always tried to keep a smile on my face and not let it get to me, but it began to do just that. Throughout high school, I fought with myself daily trying to be the girl I knew I could be, opposite of the girl I had become.

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I had to leave high school for a month in my junior year to receive psychiatric help. I graduated high school despite all my obstacles and was accepted to attend Spelman College. I credit the help of my incredible family, friends, therapists, psychiatrists, teachers, church, and others for their support. That is what kept me going. Spelman was a dream come true; yet, my struggles remained. My freshman year in college was okay; I made it through! Then sophomore year hit, and my mental health started to unravel once more. I reached a very low point. It was as if my darkness had found me again, so in order to save my own life, I decided to take a leave of absence from school. I left Spelman, came home and went to another psychiatric treatment facility for a month. I made it out and was ready to take on the world once again! I returned to Spelman this Spring semester and did my very best. I was able to build relationships with people which is what I needed. Although I have experienced pain and joy, I now have a new outlook on life this semester even amid all the hardships. I never felt good enough due to my mental illness and challenges. I never thought I was worthy until one day, I realized I had to start telling myself the great things about who I am and who it is that created me. I’ve learned the words you speak are very powerful. Here are a few things to remind yourself daily: I am beautiful. I am strong. I am enough. I deserve to live and live happily. Storms do not last forever. I know I will reach all that I am called to in life. This is what helps me. You can add to this and even create your own. Whatever you do, continue to speak good things about yourself and your situation. I promise you will see positive changes too if you stay the course and keep fighting. You are not alone. You can do this! We can do this, and we will conquer life, every obstacle and will triumph together.


What’s Your Score? By: Lex Morgan

dverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are a health crisis. Many people, children, adolescents and adults are living with the effects of ACEs every day and aren’t aware of it. In 1985, Dr. Vincent Felitti, a physician at Kaiser Permanente discovered ACEs. Dr. Felitti was the chief of the obesity clinic and was struggling to understand why participants who had successfully completed the program dropped out. To his surprise, participants who’d dropped out returned and had not only gained the weight they’d lost, some had gained additional weight. After some research, he found that childhood trauma was linked to clients’ weight gain. The ACEs study was discovered because he was not willing to settle for mediocre medical care. Although people from various walks of life experience ACEs, they are ever-present in inner-city and underserved communities. • Abuse (physical, sexual, and verbal) • Neglect (physical and emotional) • Mental health illnesses • Witnessing domestic violence • Substance and/or alcohol addiction • Incarceration (self or close family member) These are examples of ACEs categories. You or someone you know have likely been impacted by ACEs. Each ACEs category equals 1 point. Individuals with 4 or more ACEs are at higher risk of experiencing adverse health conditions. Let’s dig deeper... • Did you know that chronic health conditions like asthma, strokes, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity and hypertension have been linked to ACEs? • Were you aware that behavioral conditions such as ADHD have been linked to ACEs? • ACEs also include Adverse Community Experiences and Adverse Climate Experiences. Here are a few tips to help shine a light on ACEs: • Ask your doctor(s) if they are familiar with ACEs screenings. • Ask how often ACEs screenings are completed. • Ask to be screened. What’s your score? Adults and children can be screened for ACEs. This is important to note because ACEs can be transferred from parents to children. For example, individuals who grow up in a dysfunctional home/community environments are at a higher risk of creating similar environments for their children; thus, recreating trauma and ACEs. Healing what can’t be identified is a challenge, to say the least. For this reason, ACEs must be discussed. ACEs must be healed. Additional resources & references about ACEs: The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. TED Talk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk ACES Too High - https://acestoohigh.com/aces-101/

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Born Overcomers bit.ly/notdiscouraged

Dear Fear Volume 3 by: Tiana Patrice booklaunch.io/tjwoodard

Negative Thinking, Rape, Lust, Sickness, Ungratefulness, Tragedy, Worthlessness, Domestic Violence, Death. Do any of these words resonate with you? 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 overcomingjust as they did!

Are you dating, considering dating or have dated and tired of making the same mistakes? Have you given up on finding love altogether? TJ Woodard and Alton L. Fitch shows you that following God's instructions as it pertains to dating will change the course of your relationship. They encourage you to recognize you are royalty and should be treated as the Queens that you are. God has someone He designed especially for you, and if we stay on course He will give you the desires of your heart.

#overcomersguide

Dear Fear Volume 3 is a book by visionary author Tiana Patrice that consists of powerful stories by women who have had to look fear in the face and push through adversities. “Activating your Fearless” is what Coach T calls it. TJ Woodard is one of those women who tells her story in this book compilation where she shares having to grow up with the secret of being molested and hiding it for years. This secret crippled her most of her life silencing her in so many ways. In this book she finds that her voice has power in her chapter titled, “Dear Fear…You Can’t Have My Voice!”

www.nekesanaturalradiance.com

Are you willing to discover who God created you to authentically be? Get ready to embark on a journey of discovery! Discovering what part of your identity is authentic and what part is counterfeit. Every person's experience will be different as the Holy Spirit begins to reveal identities you are living from.

Inspiring stories of women serving in ministry while struggling with suicidal behavior.

SHE OVERCAME SUICIDE By: Denise A. Kelley

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Overcoming

Indentity Crisis

By: Nikki Pinkney

Trauma and life experiences shapes personalities and identities we live from every day. Many of these identities are counterfeit, they are not who we are! I wrote this book to share how God led me out of an identity crisis into wholeness, and as a tool for the Holy Spirit to unlock your true identity.


Q & A with STACY-ANN BUCHANAN Actress. Filmmaker. Mental Health Advocate and TEDx Speaker. Interviewed by:

TJ Woodard Pregnancy brings a mix of feelings and not all of them are always good. If you're feeling worried, you're not alone. This is common especially during a woman's 1st pregnancy and after giving birth. It can be even harder if you're dealing with anxiety or depression. Stacy Ann Buchanan opened up about her anxiety & depression and how she coped during pregnancy in an interview with our Managing Editor. Stacy-Ann Buchanan's impact, entrepreneurial work ethic and achievements within the last six years has led her to being listed as one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, one of the 150 Black Women Making Canada Better, one of the 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health and one of the 30 women (internationally) to make the Highly Fabulous Women's Power List for 2018 AND awarded the Young Fem Leader award and the Entrepreneur of the year award. Stacy-Ann made Canadian history when her award winning documentary, The Blind Stigma debuted as the first documentary produced in Canada that takes a look at how mental health is perceived in the Black Community. Her most recent accolades includes accomplishing her first TEDx Talk and being recognized for her Entrepreneurial Spirit and an Inspiration of Change at this year's International Women's Day award ceremony held at the Jamaican Canadian Centre.

Make up artist and Photography by:

robynography.com

Your Pain is the Precedent to Your Purpose Adding to her credentials is her role as co-donor of The Buchanan Scholarship - This award is given to a student entering their first year of post-secondary education in the Liberal Arts or the Fine Arts program and is is based on a demonstrated financial need and having an excellent academic record. Ms. Buchanan is as a Motivational Leader and a Mental Health Advocate who boldly shares her intricately, powerful journey towards her success while inspiring others to turn their Pain into Power and to Make their Passion their Paycheck.

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 33


RUM: What is the biggest challenge you have had to face with pregnancy, the new baby and managing your mental health? STACY-ANN: Besides the typical morning sickness (nausea, vomit and food aversions) in the first three months, I am fortunate to say that I had zero challenges while being pregnant. In fact, I loved being pregnant! Managing my mental health with my newborn has been easier than I initially thought because my partner and I invested in the help of a doula from the early stages of my pregnancy. Her knowledge and expertise have been top notch. Plus, I still practice my core personal daily mental wellness tips - mediate, express gratitude, take deep long breaths and smile. RUM: What coping mechanisms have you found to be helpful with dealing with or minimizing lack of sleep or fatigue? STACY-ANN: I can't lie, I've had some sleepless nights with my newborn that made me want to scream, BUT when I look at her precious little face, it makes it all worth it. I've also adapted to giving my baby and essentially myself a sleep/wake-up routine and it seems to be working thus far. I also find it highly helpful to take naps with her during the day. RUM: Do you find yourself to be more or less productive since the new baby? STACY-ANN: Honestly. I find myself less inclined to do anything that doesn't flow around the well-being of my baby, and my family. I am more focused on nurturing her and adjusting myself to the wonderful world of Motherhood! In some cases, it may seem less productive - on the business side of things but honestly, who cares! (and I mean that in the friendliest way). Who? Cares. At the end of the day, the business will always be there. I am thoroughly focused on this whole, new and beautiful world in my arms. I am still very productive. Only this time, its personal!

Make up artist and Photography by:

robynography.com

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RUM: Have you made any major changes in how you view your approach to balancing life and your mental health after a baby and with your work in the community? STACY-ANN: Oh, yes. I always took extra precautionary care when it comes to my mental health. After having my baby and going through this journey of motherhood I realize that practicing self-care, self-love and self-appreciation isn't just solely for me. It's beneficial for her as well. For me to be an overall great mom to my daughter and love and nurture her in the best capacity - I must put my mental wellness first. A healthy mom equates to an even healthier child. RUM: Have you had any bouts with postpartum depression or mental health related challenges due to everyday/life stressors & your new bundle of joy? STACY-ANN: No, I haven't. And this was the major decision for us hiring a doula to help me throughout my pregnancy. I know that given my history with anxiety and suicidal depression and being a first-time mom, I am likely prone to getting postpartum depression. As a precaution, I took steps to prevent that. At times I do get anxious to jump back in the fire, saddle up and get back to work right away because I feel like I am missing out. But I must remind myself that there's a slice of pie with my name and only my name on it and that what is meant for me will never pass me. Those gentle, yet firm reminders are what gets me through. RUM: What’s next for Stacy-Ann Buchanan, the mom, actress, producer and motivational leader? STACY-ANN: Honestly. I don't know. And this excites me! I remember getting this question last year during an interview, and I stated so many great things - including writing a book. But as life progressed and I learned the art of living my best life without the privy of social media or announcements.... my drive on 'what’s next' has taken a more serene route.


Chalk it up to motherhood, or chalk it up to growth... I can't quite put my finger on it, but I am manifesting, progressing and praying. I know my next move will be gigantic - I can feel it through my bones. But I am not sure exactly what or where it'll take me. The one thing I know for sure is that it'll be aligned with my purpose. RUM: Why is it important that you give a voice to mental health and break the stigma of those within the black community? STACY-ANN: It's important that I show up, stand up and speak out because mental health within the Black community is the forever big elephant in the room that is never addressed. It is the dust that is continuously being swept under the rug, it is veil of shame that we are constantly wearing, and it is a silent killer that has taken too many lives. I give a voice to mental health within the Black community because at one point in my life, I was that black woman who was secretly and silently dying from depression and I saw no one who looked like me nor heard any voices like my own who was standing up for me and letting me know that I wasn't alone. RUM: As someone who has received awards and recognition for your work in the community, what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment? STACY-ANN: My greatest accomplishment is be aligned with my purpose and to be living it. It is designing my own path, walking confidently in my own lane and using up every bit of talent that God gave me. RUM: Recognized for its powerful impact and breaking the Mental Health stigma in the black community, you directed and produced The Blind Stigma in October of 2014. How did this come about? STACY-ANN: Eight years ago, I wished to go to bed and never wake up. My struggles with anxiety and suicidal depression propelled me to create a film that gave a voice to the Black community and change the stigmas surrounding our views on mental illness. I decided to be the change I wished to see. RUM: Why is Mental Health awareness important to you and why is it important that our community is made aware of challenges as well solutions or wins to dealing with mental health? STACY-ANN: Because, long story short - We. Are. Dying. We are dying, struggling and suffering in alarming numbers because we purposely turn a blind eye to mental illness within our community. Because we are culturally conditioned to be "the strong black man" and "the strong black woman", if we feel challenged mentally, we easily brush it aside and deem it as a sign of weakness then proceed to handle it on our own by compressing our thoughts. (FYI: weakness is NOT asking for help). This cultural and generational adaptation then leads to the biggest stigma/taboo in our community--- the veil of SHAME that we wear. Because of this stigma we don't talk about it. Period. We keep our mouths shut simply out of fear and shame. Lack of talking creates silence. The silencing of our pain, our struggles and our voices then equates to mental illness being the top silent killer in our community. If we unashamedly communicate our struggles, we would create dialogue. Dialogue will then create awareness.

Awareness begets a community that is ready for change. That community then creates resources. Therefore, mental health awareness within the Black community is so important to me. RUM: How will you continue to use your platform to empower men and women in the community? STACY-ANN: By continuing to speak up, host workshops, have seminars, use my social media platform, produce events and to give a voice to all those who are silent. RUM: How do you feel about where you are today and in your own personal mental health journey? STACY-ANN: I feel freaking ahhhhmazing. More importantly, I have ushered in the art of inner peace into my life while letting go of what I cannot control. Hashtag - BLESSED. RUM: How important is a "support system" to you? STACY-ANN: My support system is crucial to my mental health. It is the path to which my self-love, self-care and self-appreciation journey is rooted from. RUM: Do you feel mental health is just as important your physical health? Why?? STACY-ANN: Everything starts and end with your mind. If you can think it, you can do it. If you can think it, it can happen. Whatever you plant in your mind will bloom in your world. Do I believe one's mental health is just as important as one's physical health? Hmm. I believe your mental health sets the dial and tone for your physical health. Nurturing starts in the mind first, then manifests throughout the body. RUM: Last, there may be a younger reader who has the thoughts of giving up or having thoughts of giving up or having thoughts of harming themselves; what encouraging words do you have for them? STACY-ANN: Dear _________ You are not alone. I have been there. Others have been there and there are many others facing similar struggles as you. One major fact that I have learned in life is this: Things (whether good or bad) don't just happen TO you. They happen FOR you. Your pain is the precedent to your purpose. Trust the process, trust the timing of your life and more importantly, if you need it - ask for HELP. Make up artist and Photography by:

robynography.com

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 35


PERIPARTUM AND

POSTPARTUM

DEPRESSION

by : Vanity Dawson

What is Peripartum and Postpartum Depression? Peripartum is a type of depressive episode that affects many mothers during pregnancy and Postpartum Depression depressive episodes affect mothers after childbirth in a certain time frame, usually during the first few weeks and months after childbirth. It also goes by the informal name of, “Baby Blues”. Who can be affected? Any mother can be affected during their pregnancy. A new mother may not get Post-Partum in her first pregnancy, but this does not make a mother exempt from experiencing depression during later pregnancies. Women who suffer or have suffered from depression, or are diagnosed with depressive disorders, and Bipolar Disorder I and II are more susceptible of Peripartum and Postpartum depression. Although, this form of depression is commonly under-diagnosed, any pregnant mother can experience it. What does it look like? Severe depression and changes in interpersonal behavior may reveal itself during a Peripartum and Postpartum episode. Some common symptoms to be aware of is anxiety, panic attacks, changes in mood and appetite, altered sleep patterns, decrease in attention, and crying. Mothers who are diagnosed with depressive disorders or Bipolar I and II may experience psychotic episodes or hallucinations to harm their newborn. How do I receive help? Prayer for healing and comfort from God. Beautiful mother, God can get you through anything and bring you peace If you seek His help. Isaiah 41:10 says,

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”. If you are a mother expecting, it is always best to talk to your primary care physician or your delivering physician about your concerns. Ensure your support system is in place. Your support system could be your significant other, family, friends, prenatal/postpartum support groups, church family, or anyone else you think would be supportive. Seeing a professional counselor can be helpful and is also a form of support. Counselors are trained to help you identify your problem and work through it. Remember this! Peripartum and Postpartum Depression are episodes and they don’t last forever. Psalm 34:18, “The lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”. Giving birth to a beautiful newborn is a blessing from God. Thank God for the blessing as you look at your new baby and give them lots of kisses. Isaiah 66:13, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you, and you will be comforted over Jerusalem”. Rest in His word and promises!

References Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (2013). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

ARE YOU DEPRESSED???  Changes in sleeping pattern  Lack of energy  Dark Mood  Changes in appetite   Heavy "dark" Mood  Guilt and/or Anxiety  Hard to Focus 

If you or your love one are experiencing these symptoms, please seek help. Depression is Real! and It's Treatable! Make an appointment to rule out any underlying medical issues. (Resources & Numbers pg.3) If there are suicidal thoughts, seek medical attention immediately!


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PARENTS’ MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS: It’s Okay to Put Yourself First by Rhonda Wood

‘m sure you have heard the old saying, “Fill your own cup first. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Nothing could ring truer for me when it comes to managing my daughter’s mental health. When I take the time to replenish my own spirit, it allows me to joyfully and abundantly serve her from my overflow. In simpler terms, when I make my self-care a priority, I can be the best supporter of my daughter and her mental health. When I take care of my own emotional and mental needs, I can be there for her in the way she needs me to be. When parents aren't able to prioritize their own mental health struggles, our children suffer. While it is completely natural to hyper-focus on the well-being of our children, we as parents need to make it a point to take care of ourselves too. Intuitively, we believe that when our children are struggling, we should stop, drop everything, and run to their rescue. We believe it’s best to put everything and everyone, including ourselves, aside and put them first. The problem with this belief is that it doesn’t work well in the long run. What ends up happening is that we neglect our own needs and sacrifice our own well-being. Of course, a certain amount of sacrifice comes with parenthood. But if we are not properly managing our own mental health, caring for the mental health of our children will be even more difficult. As we all know, supporting a child with mental health issues can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. As parents, we give a lot and do a lot for our children. We are there for them when they are scared, angry, or hurting. For many of us, this is just an extension of good parenting. But for a parent of a child with a mental health condition, it doesn’t end there. I often find myself devoting a lot of time and energy to my daughter and her mental health, whether it be calming her anxiety, taking her to appointments, encouraging her to make good choices, or helping her plan for her future. In many cases, my devotion may come at the expense of my own physical and mental health, and as a result I may experience stress, fatigue, irritability, or burnout. And if not managed properly,

those feelings could turn into exhaustion, frustration, and anger, as well as thoughts of being ineffective, helpless, or hopeless. I have become so accustomed to “dealing with” the mental health of my daughter that sometimes it feels wrong or selfish to give priority to my own needs -- but doing so is critical. It is important to set a good example and model healthy behavior, such as eating well, exercising often, getting enough sleep, scheduling alone time and social time, and seeing my own therapist. By investing time in myself, I am also helping my daughter. When I take care of myself first, I can give her the best of me instead of what is left of me. Parents’ mental health matters. And is it okay to put ourselves first. I am in no way suggesting that we should indulge in a day at the spa while our child is in the middle of a mental health crisis. What I am suggesting is that we take the time to make sure we practice self-care and take care of ourselves so that we can be able to provide the best care for our children. I think of my mental health like the airline oxygen mask instructions. When an emergency happens, and the oxygen masks drop from the overhead area, we are instructed to place the mask over our own mouth and nose before assisting others. The idea is that if we help someone else first, and fail, then we are both in trouble. But if we take care of ourselves first, we can help someone else. In the same way, if we make our mental health the priority, we will very likely be able to better help our children manage their own.

POSITIVE STEPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH          

Accept who you are Learn to love yourself Trust Yourself Watch your thoughts Deal with your fears Talk About It Keep Going; Stay Active Ask for Help Find time to Relax Keep in touch with your friends; avoid isolation  Get Involve/ Share your story  Use your creativity to cope

   

   

Journaling Exercise Eat nutritional meals and snacks Take some time and read self help books Pray/Meditate Take your medication See your therapist regularly Identify Triggers

www.wefightfoundation.org


KIESHA Jackson Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?â€? ~ Dr. Martin Luther King iesha Jackson is the Founder and Executive Director of Caleb’s Kids, a nonproďŹ t organization that provides outreach to youth ages 13 - 18, with a focus on mental health awareness, suicide prevention, resiliency, coping skills, and self-esteem. Under her leadership, Caleb’s Kids has provided scholarships to high school seniors, sponsored holiday care and wellness beneďŹ ts for surviving families of suicide loss, and has provided life changing outreach, materials, and workshops to hundreds of Detroit Area youth and parents. Kiesha is passionate about mental health education, awareness, and advocacy, speciďŹ cally as it relates to youth. She has participated in numerous panel discussions, radio interviews, online and written publications advocating for youth mental health. Kiesha has always had a strong passion for philanthropy and helping others. She has volunteered with Hands on Atlanta, Meals on Wheels, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Habitat for Humanity to name a few. Through the Donors Choose Program, she has also contributed ďŹ nancially to numerous educational campaigns helping students in the city of Detroit. Kiesha is a proud graduate of The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and Central Michigan University where she earned a Master of Science in Health Services Administration.

HER WHY??? November 6, 2015, my world was changed forever. I tragically lost my younger brother to suicide. In that moment, I did not understand what would drive my brother to fatally harm himself. The picture of suicide and self-harm that had always been portrayed in the universe was typically Caucasian, withdrawn individuals who had been outcasts in life because they were dierent. My brother was the opposite of that portrayal. After researching, reading, and learning more about suicide, I discovered it was much more prevalent in the African American community than I thought and more speciďŹ cally, was alarmingly prevalent in youth. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24. My brother, at age 22, became a contributor to that statistic. After learning this, it was ever so clear and important that I needed to do something to prevent other families from experiencing this type of loss and pain by providing youth with tools, education, resources, and options that will help them choose LIFE. Out of this tragic event arose the creation of Caleb’s Kids, an impactful suicide prevention and mental

health awareness non-proďŹ t named after my brother, Caleb.

Contact: Org Name: CALEB’S KIDS Founder and Executive Director: KIESHA JACKSON  : info@calebskidsfoundation.org  : www.calebskids.org  : www.facebook.com/CalebsKids  : www.twitter.com/calebskids  : www.instagram.com/calebskids  : 313.437.1609  : 22200 W. Eleven Mile Road, P.O. Box 3663, SouthďŹ eld, MI, 48037

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 39


Making a Difference

Rob Brown

CE O / H E AD INSTRUC TOR

OF ABSOULUTE FITNESS 1 Samuel 12:16 “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!” because at those dark moments in my life, HE made a way as he always does!

ABSoulutefitness@gmail.com My name is Rob Brown, from Coatesville, Pennsylvania. I am a certified personal trainer with a degree in Health Science from Lincoln University, PA with certificates in Mental Health First Aid & Trauma and years of Case Management experience in Mental Health. In 2014, I founded ABSoulute Fitness, a brand that combined my love for health and fitness, with my passion for community activism. I am committed to inspiring, motivating and empowering the community through faith, nutrition and fitness. In 2017, I co-founded ABSoulute Life, where I fused Mental Health and Fitness bringing an unmatched energy, experience, genuine and love for seeing people succeed that deliver results.

motivation to function. It messed me up beyond words…. I didn’t work for an entire year!

• Bachelors Degree in Health Science. Certified Trainer

I had to find a way to build on that strength that allowed me to walk away from taking my life. So, to the gym I went and discovered a man who was strong enough, strong enough to fight back and walk out of that dark place that once held my life hostage. It was through my faith in God and my love for my own life that allowed me to be ok with Dad being in a different place. THAT was the true strength.

• Nearly a decade of experience in case management in Mental Health • Mental Health First Aid & Trauma by National Council of Behavioral Health • Tri-State First Aid/CPR/AED Certified • Suicide Prevention advocate and suicide attempt survivor. The Phoenix: 2011 When people look at me ..they may see a person in good health, great family and friends, always a smile for everyone who passed me with a desire to promote health and fitness. Did I get that right? Well here’s an example of, you never know what’s behind a person’s smile…. I can tell you that 100% of what you SEE is superficial. What you don’t SEE is a man who was very depressed and suicidal, yup, you read it right. Depressed. Suicidal. Being active in sports and going to the gym had always been the norm for me. Until THAT day, that day in November, when that norm for me changed, it changed my life. My father had taken his own life. In some ways, I felt he had taken mine too. I no longer had the desire to do most of the things that I once found enjoyable. Words could not express the pain and the void it left in my life. The smile that everyone knew me to have was gone. The depression had won, I no longer wanted to hunt or fish and lost all

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My memory often brought me to late 2011, I recall saying “I can’t deal with this life without my pop”. I figured I would drive to where my father killed himself and end it all there with him. Why not right?… so I did. I took the drive there… I sat in the car for about 45 mins and I just couldn’t do it … a part of me was still strong. It was like my dad was saying to me, “Slick, you have Liyah and you got stuff to do with your life, take your ass back home” after spending some time in the car dealing with my emotions, crying and then crying some more. I did just that. Went back home.

I’ve never looked back on the those dark moments, I hold memories only to reflect on what could’ve been, where I am now and my life has to offer through fitness and Health. Where I once wanted to use my knowledge in Health to take my life, I now dedicate it to saving many….. Fitness saved my life! My goal for starting ABSoulute Fitness is to help save someone else’s life in ALL aspects of life, whether it be mentally or physically. Anytime I asked my pop for anything he would say “Absolutely, son” so that’s the story and name behind my brand “ABSoulute Fitness” It’s because of my father and how he and fitness saved my life! All that has happen has led me right here... right where I’m at! There isn’t ANYTHING … I repeat ANYTHING that you cannot do! Whatever you are going through use that to motivate you. Keep moving forward!! Everyone has a story. My pain, trials and tribulations are not greater than yours. My story is no different, if I can do it, I’m telling you – you can do it as well! My name is Rob Brown and I am a suicide attempt/depression survivor.


ARE YOU AT RISK?

Passive vs. Active Suicidal Thoughts

ave you ever had one of those moments where you’re driving your car and you imagine that it rolls off of a bridge, thoughts about going to bed and not waking up, or just random thoughts about being completely done with life that you didn’t care if you survived another moment. These thoughts can be constant, or they can be triggered by certain upsets in your life, such as losing a loved one, divorce, or losing a job. You’ve thought about not living on this earth, yet, don’t have the nerve or true interest in actually taking your own life. This is called passive suicidal ideation. The idea of dying is something that sits in your spirit, but you have no intention to act on these thoughts. I’ve had plenty of moments like this-- even since a young age. My thoughts normally came after a major trigger or when dealing with a disappointment that left me asking God, “why me?” I still have those moments of feeling unworthy or just plain tired of living another day. Let’s be real, life IS hard. It’s even harder when you’re living with a mental health condition. Whether depression, PTSD, anxiety, or Bipolar disorder, you’re in a constant state of mind that life just sucks.

By: Tynesha ‘Tyi’ Flood

• Withdrawing or isolating themselves • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge • Extreme mood swings If you know someone who’s exhibiting these signs, here are a few things to consider when communicating with them:

DO’s

• Let them know that you care. Be sincere and let them know you’re here to help • Listen. Allow them to vent, cry, and completely unload without interruption. • Offer hope. Reassurance is a great way to let a person know that they are important to you. • Take them seriously. Evaluate and determine the best resource for immediate help.

DON’Ts

The interesting thing is that you feel an ounce of guilt when facing suicide ideation; wondering what so-and-so would think OR just feeling bad about wanting to leave loved ones behind. It’s completely normal. YOU are completely normal. Another thing that’s normal and essential when dealing with thoughts like this is to get help. Yes, you may say, “well I’m not really going to take my life,” but honestly suicide ideation can become very dangerous. There can always be that one day that you have the nerve or have completely reached your breaking point in life. Talking through the issues can help you identify the triggers and will also help you not turn the thoughts into reality.

• Argue/Pass Judgement. The worst thing you can do is talk down on someone or judge them based on religious beliefs. • Lecture them on how YOU think they should feel. You can’t tell someone how they should feel; yes, you may understand certain parts of their pain, but you don’t know what they’re going through. • Make promises on fixing their problems or promise confidentiality. Never make promises! This is something that can/will backfire if not kept. Speak up and tell authorities if it’s severe. • Blame yourself. Although you want to help someone, you may not always succeed. Don’t take it as a personal failure.

It’s also important to listen to those closest to you when they make mention of not wanting to be here any longer. Understand that although you say it and don’t take it as far as committing the act of suicide, there may be someone close to you who could follow through. Every suicidal thought must be taken seriously. Regardless of the intentions, thoughts of suicide are considered a high risk for suicide.

If you or anyone you know is showing warning signs, contact your physician immediately. We must show compassion instead of ignoring the situation or the person that is hurting. There is no room to act angry or shocked that a person is having suicidal thoughts. Suicide is NOT about ending your life; it’s about a desperate measure to end the pain and the hurt.

Here are a few warning signs of someone who’s suicidal or having passive suicidal ideation (National Suicide Prevention, 2019): • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain • Talking about being a burden to others • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly • Sleeping too little or too much

Summer 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 41


Summer Refresh

We all love the summer. The sun is shining and the weather is warm. Activities such as swimming, hiking, bike riding, and just sitting on the porch with your family is what summers are made of. A lot of times we don’t think about our hair and our skin as we should. All we know is that the sun feels good on our skin and our scalp. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and with today’s sun a recommended protector is your best friend no matter the color of your skin. No one is protected from this. Using a sunblock daily helps the skin to be moisturized and not affected by the sun which causes sunburn and premature aging. Shea butter is a natural skin moisturizer, as well as a natural sunscreen with the SPF of 6 to 10. That’s a high SPF for a natural ingredient on its own if you ask me. The natural recommendation for SPF recommended by the FDA should be at least 15. So the scalp is an extension of the skin therefore it must be protected from the sun and summer elements. Shampoo and the hair is definitely a necessity in your hair care regiment but in between salon visits or shampoo you can still keep your scalp clean and refreshed. The NNR Scalp refresher is like a toner for your scalp. It can be used after the gym, after summer activities such as swimming and biking. The pores must be open to ensure healthy hair, and a healthy scalp. Hair growth is produced when the cuticles are moisturized and the pores of the scalp are open and stimulated. So this summer make sure you take a moment to stay moisturized and SPF protected. Remember to protect your skin as well as your scalp. Always be naturally radiant.

Be Radiant, Nekesa J. Smith Beauty Editor For more info or to order products log onto www.nnrhairsalon.com

42 | rallyupmagazine.com | Summer 2019


CRAZY LIKE A FOX TOUR By Tamika “TJ� Woodard

MELONY HILL

Author, Mental Health Advocate and Transitional Coach  : @strongerthanmystruggles  : @strongerthanmystruggles For Speaking Engagements  : Melony@strongerthanmystruggles razy Like a Fox: Black Mental Health Matters Tour provided platforms in our Black communities to have those deep conversations on those sensitive topics that “nobody is supposed to talk about;â€? mental illness, molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence and most importantly‌.mental wellness. Melony knows ďŹ rsthand what it is like to internalize your own thoughts and the most hurtful part, the opinions of others. She wanted to provide a true deďŹ nition of what a "strong woman looks like" through the stories of 27 “Strong Black Women;â€? she handpicked to travel alongside her to 4 cities. Melony is not ashamed to say she is still healing and growing on her journey. Her mission is to bring other survivors on the healing journey with her. Melony being diagnosed with not one but several mental health illnesses to include depression, anxiety, PTSD and dissociative identity disorder herself along with other medical diagnoses is accomplishing all that many said “she could notâ€? and then some. Her mental nor medical diagnoses deďŹ nes her. Melony believes in giving back to her community. She is a believer of uplifting and empowering others. Melony is the author of 8 books. She is also the visionary and founder of the movement “Stronger Than My Struggles,â€? that provides resources to survivors from all walks of life. Through her organization, she creates that “safe placeâ€? to encourage meaningful conversations which is necessary to promote healing and mental wellness. STMS uses various therapeutic approaches to promote healing such as writing, poetry, and spoken word. Melony just recently won the 2019 Literary Trailblazer of the Year Award. With all her accomplishments, Crazy Like A Fox Tour: Black Mental

44 | rallyupmagazine.com | Summer 2019

Health Matters Tour was one for the books! She used the tour to create safe places in 4 cities; Atlanta, Charlotte, Philly and Baltimore. It was another way for Melony to continue to prove that her past or diagnosis does not deďŹ ne her. The success of this tour not only tells Melony story but the stories of so many other women who have suered their own traumatic experiences and/or live daily ďŹ ghting on behalf of themselves and others who have also been diagnosed with a mental illness. The stories were moving and powerful from women who have been on a mission to help others like themselves, to those who were sharing their stories for the ďŹ rst time. Through the space Melony curated, she empowered all these women to be just as strong as her. Melony reward from the City of Baltimore for her dedication to their most vulnerable residents. The healing activities and questions Melony presented stirred up a lot of emotion and was necessary to continue the healing process for all the women on the panel. This helped those who attended the tour embrace healing, encouraging them to share their own truth. Surrounded by women with such powerful testimonies, was inspirational, motivational and encouraging in every way. The testimonies showed strength, resilience, perseverance but also that God is truly a keeper. Atlanta was the ďŹ rst stop consisting of 8 of the 27 women on the tour. The tour ended in Baltimore. The panelists were diverse in backgrounds and experiences and although very dierent, they were connected by two words, Mental Health. There was not a dry eye in the room. Sisterhood was also a big part of the tour. The bond that connected the women was something that needs to be shared more often. To close her 4 city tour...Melony was rewarded 2 citations. One from the City of Baltimore and the other from Brooklyn New Year for her dedication to some the most vulnerable residents. The biggest takeaway from the Crazy Like A Fox: Black Mental Health Matters Tour is, “When you share your story you don’t just heal yourself, but you heal others in the process.â€?


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Lemon Tumeric Chicken Plate O' Greens Anti-inflammatory Dinner By Dani Pope

Plate O' greens - organic arugula, avo, oven-roasted asparagus and golden berries with shredded baked lemon turmeric chicken. I used the drippings from the chicken and turned it into a light dressing. Baked lemon turmeric chicken: In a small mixing bowl... * Combine 2 tbsp EVOO * Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 medium-size lemon * Add 2 tbsp of turmeric * Add 1 tbsp of sea salt * Add 1/4 tsp ground black pepper * Add 1 tsp garlic paper * Add 1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes * Add 1 tbsp raw Manuka honey.

46 | rallyupmagazine.com | Summer 2019

Whisk together, pour marinade over organic chicken thighs and Place in fridge for 4 hours. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. ENJOY


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We Fight Together!

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YOU

ARE

ENOUGH. 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9

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RallyUp Magazine Summer 2019  

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