T-Kea Blackman FEARLESS &
You are not alone by Dasia Wood
People Ask... How Do You Do It? by Elyse Lancaster
Warrior Zone IV: Chunk & Coop Speaks on Love & Mental Health Featuring:
Am I Made ForbyThis? Tyi Flood Black Mental
Health Matters by Denise A. Kelley
My Friend by Vanity Dawson
My New Normal:
RAISING A CHILD WITH MENTAL
HEALTH CHALLENGES by Rhonda Wood
Founder of The Safe Place App
Founder of Pinkney Promise
Her Mental Wellness Journey
Founder of the A.W.E. Group
SPRING ISSUE 2019
I FIGHT, SHE
FIGHT, WE FIGHT
photo by EvvyMarcell Photography Jewelry by: GINCJewelry LLC.
WALKING IN THEIR PURPOSE WITH LOTS OF EMPATHY & LOVE
Do You Need Help???
or Maybe Your Loved One or Friend??? If you need help now or feeling suicidal call 911. 1800-SUICIDE (1800-784-2433)
Mental Health America
American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org/
1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255)
Suicide Hotline in Spanish:
American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org
1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 2)
Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) http://www.adaa.org/
CRISIS TEXT LINE
Autism Society of America
Text "TALK" to 741741
NAMI Helpline M-F, 10 am - 6pm ET 1800-950-NAMI Military Veterans Suicide Hotline:
National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Obsessive Compulsive Foundation
1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 1) LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline:
1866-4-U-TREVOR We Fight Foundation, Inc.
Apps The Safe Place notOK App
http://www.nami.org/ In the United States, only 41 percent of the people who had a mental disorder in the past year received professional health care or other services.
RALLYUP & See What's INSIDE 09 MEET THE NEW CONTRIBUTORS 11 BEHIND THE SCENES 12 RALLYUP FASHIONS Self Confidence is the Best Outfit 15 FOR YOU MY FRIEND by: Vanity Dawson
17 AM I MADE FOR THIS? by: Tyi Flood
19 MY NEW NORMAL:
RAISING A CHILD WITH MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES by: Rhonda Wood
20 POETRY CORNER Jada Carrington, Denise Kelly, Lex Morgan
35 37 SPECIAL FEATURE Meet Whitney J. Hogans
23 YOU ARE NOT ALONE
40 HOW DO YOU DO IT? by: Elyse Lancaster
25 MAKING A DIFFERENCE Tyi Flood, Breyonna Pinkney, Jasmine Pierre
42 ISSUES Subtance Abuse...A Critical Condition by: Lex Morgan 43 THE COLLOBARATION We Fight Foundation Inc. & 44 Designed for Royalty by: TJ Woodard
by: Dasia Wood
31 WARRIOR ZONE III Tanzania Fair Craig Cooper (Chunk & Coop) 37 COVER STORY Who is T-Kea Blackman???
by: EvvyMarcell Photography
HEALTH & WELLNESS 46 Strawberry Slaw Salad by: Dani Pope
Beauty lifestyle company hair Products | Education
Nekesa J. Smith CEO/ Founder Nekesa Natural Radiance Hair Loft www.nekesanrhairloft.com salon 404-835-2117
Vol.2 Num. 2 Spring Issue 2019 Founder & Editorial Director Nikita Powell-Cottman EDITORIAL Managing Editor: Tamika Woodard Asst Managing Editor: Vanity Dawson Photo Editor & Producer: Tinisha Curl Fashion Director: Kenaâ€™i Hollingsworth Fashion Assistant: Tyshia Douglas Beauty Editor: Nekesa Smith Guest Writer: Dani Pope Contributing Writers: Jada Carrington Lex Morgan Vanity Dawson Dasia Wood Andrea Hayden Rhonda Wood Ty Flood Denise Kelly Elyse Lancaster
Seeking Contributer writers, Guest writers and Interns.
Serious inquires only. Contact us if you want to join a team with a purpose!
Tell Us...How are you raising awareness about mental health??? Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Love Heals months!! I know it was for me but Spring is here!! It's time to Spring Clean Our Mental Spring Issue! To jump start your mood, I'm going to start by giving advice to spend time outside, spring clean your home, and exercise. In reality, in order to mentally prepare for this spring cleaning you have to love yourself even when you don’t feel good enough. Self-love is so important! I know when you read the title you probably instantly thought of how good it feels to be truly loved by somebody and they get you! It's healing…”it makes you feel whole.” What happens when that person is not there to give you the Love that “you need?” Without a healthy sense of self-love you can’t bring your full, whole, unique, authentic and free to develop positive relationships or a meaningful purpose in your life unless you know how to love and care for yourself!.... #faithandmentalhealth
Love Heals ♥ Do YOU Love Yourself ? Did you know...May is Mental Health Awareness Month?!?!?! If you did not know, now you do... we act. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental
they occur, it lessens the bad rep they have! Let's Remove the Stigmas! Not just during Mental Health Awareness Month but daily! Again, let's be the ones who talk about mental health so much that our next generation never feels the stigma It is so important to know, your mental health is just as important as physical health; in some aspects it's more important because you can't keep your physical health without a healthy mental capacity. Happy Mental Health Month! Blessings & Love,
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Meet The New CONTRIBUTORS TY FLOOD
Contributing Writers @mentalwellnessjunkie A word people often use to describe me... Talented. One thing I'll never change about myself is ... My ability to want better and do better. When I look in the mirror I see... A young, black, woman who has been through a lot in her life. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve been dead…but GOD. I'm my most authentic self when... I’m surrounded by loved ones that allow me to be my authentic self. I maintain my strength by... Strengthening my bond with God; through prayer, praise and worship, and meditation. I also maintain my strength by empowering others. To spread mental health awareness I... Actively work within the community through my organization, The A.W.E Group, by partnering with other organizations alike, and by using my voice to speak on the importance of mental health.
Contributing Writers @msdkelley A word people often use to describe me... Resourceful. One thing I'll never change about myself is ... My belief in GOD. When I look in the mirror I see... A child of GOD. I'm my most authentic self when... I’m with my sisters and cousins. I maintain my strength by... Relying on GOD (my faith). To spread mental health awareness I... Speak about using faith to overcome.
ELYSE LANCASTER Contributing Writers @queenelyse25
A word people often use to describe me... Genuine. One thing I'll never change about myself is ... My personality...the way I love people and how passionate I am. When I look in the mirror I see... A girl who was once broken and who sometimes still needs the strong young woman to remind her that she has fought battles and climbed over walls before. I see a young warrior passionate about changing others lives through the love of Jesus and themselves. I'm my most authentic self when... When I’m loving and laughing and doing things I’m passionate about and that are mapped out for God’s purpose for my life. I maintain my strength by... I maintain strength by drawing closer to God in moments of my weakness. I ask God to show me how and which direction I should be going in . I also have to know when to slow down and take a breather and appreciate where I’ve come from and where I am. To remember to love like there’s no tomorrow and enjoy the little things because a few years ago I was depressed and confused about where my life was heading and now I am a walking testimony to what God can do with a mess! To spread mental health awareness I... I spread the message by posting & keeping the conversation alive about mental health though my live videos and talk about the diﬀerent children that are out there in need of a voice. To be honest & open about what is really going on in our heads & hearts deﬁnitely in the African American community. To inform teens , kids & young adults that it’s okay not to be okay ! It’s okay to need to reach out for help that they are not alone.
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Take Suicidal thoughts seriously and Get Help!
We Fight Foundation, Inc. : 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448) : www.wefightfoundation.org
I did and I feel Much Better! Photo by Tinisha Curl Vice Chair - Kenai Hollingsworth
It's Nothing But
Love & Fun that Goes on Behind the Scenes
When you join the RallyUp Team, you become family! Whether you are the photographer, mental health warrior, contributer, director, editor or a guest We support each other! We laugh, smile, sing, dance, pray and sometimes we even cry together! We are all on the same journey of mental wellness.
If you have a caregiver and or loved one who is a part of your Support System and you would like for them to be featured in our Next Issue... Email us at email@example.com Spring Issue 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 11
SELF-CONFIDENCE IS THE BEST OUTFIT, ROCK IT AND OWN IT!
SIMPLICITY IS KEY
SHOW THEM YOU FIERCE
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
EVERYONE WOMAN NEEDS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS
EVERYONE NEEDS A LITTLE SUNSHINE
A LITTLE SPARKLE NEVER HURT ANYBODY
By: Maya Angelou Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, I say, It’s in the reach of my arms,
I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman,
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, Fall down on their knees. A hive of honey bees. I say,
And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman,
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, I say, It’s in the arch of my back,
I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman,
Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, It ought to make you proud. I say, It’s in the click of my heels, the palm of my hand, ’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman,
Spring Issue 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 13
A FASHION STATEMENT WITH SOUL HANDMADE CUSTOM PIECES – LIKE PEOPLE, NOT ONE IS THE SAME, EACH ARE UNIQUELY MADE NOTICE THE BEAUTY, MAJESTY, AND TRANQUILITY OF RIGHTEOUS ROCKS FOR NATURE IS THE BEST TEACHER. STABLE, ROOTED, COMFORT, PATIENCE, PEACE, STRENGTH, GROUNDED, SOLID, IMMOVABLE, PERMANENCE, FOUNDATIONAL, CONTROLLED, SUPPORTED AND BOLDNESS ARE CHARACTERISTICS ONE CAN LEARN FROM ROCKS. WEARING A RIGHTEOUS ROCK PURPOSE POWER PENDANT PROVIDES COMFORT. THE SIMPLE ACT OF HOLDING A ROCK CAN INSTANTLY GROUND US AND EVEN OUT OUR ENERGIES IF WE FIND OURSELVES FEELING ERRATIC OR OUT OF CONTROL IN LIFE FOR ROCKS ARE CHARGED BY MOTHER EARTH, WHOSE ELECTRIC ENERGY IS UNDENIABLY CLARIFIED AND VIBRANT. LAYERED WITH EARTHS GENETIC CODE, WE CAN TAP INTO THAT ENERGY AND INVIGORATE OURSELVES BY CONNECTING WITH ROCKS. WEAR YOUR STONE AND WITNESS YOURSELF BECOMING MORE SMOOTH, PATIENT AND STABLE BY CONNECTING AND ENDURING NATURE’S POLISH. A ROCK HAS THE SAME SYMBOLIC AND ENERGETIC DYNAMICS AS A MOUNTAIN, SO YOU CAN EXPERIENCE ‘BIG MOUNTAIN JUJU’ RIGHT AROUND YOUR NECK. ROCKS ARE A NATURAL, SOLID SUBSTANCE CONTAINING ONE OR MORE SOLID CRYSTALS AND MINERALS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL TO HUMAN CIVILIZATION AND ENHANCE OUR MYSTICAL AURA. BE LIKE A ROCK YOURSELF; BECOME ONE WITH THE EARTH AND SETTLE INTO HER WISDOM BY BLESSING YOURSELF OR SOMEONE ELSE WITH A RIGHTEOUS ROCK.
ALL RIGHTEOUS ROCKS ARE HANDPICKED FROM RIVERBEDS IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND THEN WASHED, SOAKED IN ESSENTIAL OILS, BASKED IN SUNLIGHT, BLESSED WITH INTENTIONAL LOVE AND SOUL PURPOSE, GLOSSED, HAND-COILED AND SHIPPED WITH LOVE TO YOU.
PERSONALIZED ORDERS PLEASE CONTACT ALEXIS BANGURA AT 443.538.4883 BE MY ROCK OF REFUGE, TO WHICH I CAN ALWAYS GO; GIVE THE COMMAND TO SAVE ME, FOR YOU ARE MY ROCK AND MY FORTRESS. - PSALM 71:3
For you My
Friend by: Vanity Dawson
t’s hurtful to watch our family and friends struggle with mental disorders. They desire a peace of mind, yet they are suﬀering from the burden of anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and a plethora of other emotions. They hurry to isolation in their own world feeling diﬀerent from the rest of the world. Some embrace having a mental disorder, some are still in denial. Either way, outside looking in it’s hurtful to see them battle the ﬁght daily. It’s tough hearing they can’t get out of bed. It’s tough reading the suicide messages. It’s tough holding them while they cry not knowing why they’re crying. It’s tough hearing the “normal people” saying they will be alright or darn that sucks with little to no understanding. Who are normal people? Each one of us are created diﬀerent and special. Having a mental disorder shouldn’t count you out, but society does that, and it sucks. Watching people get disqualiﬁed because they have this or that is hurtful. They didn’t ask for chemical imbalances, or the trauma that changed their behavior and way of thinking. Everyone wants to be heard and understood and the world we live in full of “social norms” forces the beautiful people back into their own distinct world. How do we help? I run to prayer because I know there is God, my God who bring me to perfect peace. Every friend and family member have their story to tell, so I give them my attention and ear. They desire someone to hear what they went through, they want someone to understand what they are feeling deep in their hearts. They desire sympathy/empathy, so I give them that. Sometimes that’s all they need; the little things that leaves great impact to show that someone truly cares. My heart goes to my friends and family who suﬀer from Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Trauma, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Suicide Ideation, and anything else. This is for you: Do your best to pick your head up my dear and keep moving forward. I understand you. You have every right to talk about what you are feeling, and I encourage you to do so even if it’s for days, months, and years. I’m here for you. We are here for you. There will always be someone here for you even when you have that voice in the back of your mind saying, “you don’t”. Many people are still ignorant to the meaning of living with a mental disorder(s). Embrace you, love you because God still loves you and always will.
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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)
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!
Photo By: Energepic.com/pexels.com
by Tyi Flood found myself crying to and from work each day, hiding in the restroom moments at a time, and feeling like my life was caving in on me. Along with these feelings and constant stress, I began to question myself a lot. My focus was slipping, and I knew that I was totally disconnected from my job. Disconnection is deﬁnitely a no-no when you’re managing a team of people and a team of projects. Three years into the position that I thought was the position of my dreams, but there I was falling apart. So many thoughts crossed my mind as I left my job unfulﬁlled and in fear daily. Walking on eggshells thinking that you’re going to lose your job is one thing but walking on eggshells unsure that you are good enough for the job is another. Of course, my job was stressful, but I loved stress—good stress. You know that fast-paced environment that you make note of on your resume. I had worked in a fast-paced environment for so many years, that I couldn’t think of doing anything else. I thrive oﬀ of it. I love what I do. This is my career…or so I thought. To think that all of those late hours staying up to ﬁnish my degree, was just a waste of time. As an educated black woman, in a high-position, here I am having a mental breakdown. This wasn’t something that I could conﬁde in my colleagues or manager about. There was already tension from the entire team due to envy and control; expressing how I was feeling was only going to give them the ammunition they needed to get me out of there. I worked hard; worked in all weather conditions, led a team of over 15 millennial employees, and travelled regionally to train.
On top of working hard at my full-time, I was also a full-time mother dealing with a young child who was exhibiting behavior issues. Being a mother was my #1 priority, so of course any issues that my child faced took a toll on me and my production. In addition, I’ve always worked side jobs and activities. It was just too much, and my body was shutting down. I began therapy and had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder along with anxiety. It was a relief to vent and release harboring emotions. I remember asking my therapist, “What’s wrong with me?” I was in disbelief; with all my blessings, here I was depressed and having thoughts of ending it all. My therapist reassured me that I wasn’t going crazy, but I was in a toxic work environment, along with home stress, which could trigger depression and anxiety in a major way. I requested medical leave from my job, and what was meant for a few weeks turned into a few months. Within those months, I really began questioning my career, and where this path was going to lead me. Is it time to change my career? If so, where do I start? What do I do? In addition to the anti-depressants, I learned coping methods that would assist me in recovery. I must pace myself. I also knew that I never wanted to manage people again. I returned to work three months later and had a new look on what my future held. Ten months later I found another position, and now I know what my boundaries are and how to nurture my mental health.
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Project Me: 30 Days To A Better You By: Tyi Flood
ProjectME is an empowerment movement for every woman seeking to reach her destiny and break the curses and influences that challenge her success; aimed at helping women battle depression and anxiety, through awareness and accountability. Join Tyi Flood as she shares her triumphs and trials of the ProjectME process. You will be inspired to change your life and your way of thinking after reading this book.
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.
Mommy's Sad, and I Don't Know Why Children's book. Coloring/activity book
Born Overcomers 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 overcoming
Written by Tynesha Flood and illustrated by Cyrus Webb
Little Tyler has noticed a change in his mother’s mood and appearance lately, and he doesn’t like it. Not only does she always appear sad, but she doesn’t have the energy or time to do the things that they once loved to do together. Tyler is worried. He knows that something is wrong with his mommy, but he’s not sure how or what to do. He’s hoping that he’s not the reason for his mommy’s sadness, and he knows that she loves him dearly. His mommy is his best friend, so making her happy is important to him. When Tyler’s mommy picks him up from school a few weeks later, he’s greeted with a warm surprise.
just as they did! #overcomersguide
By: Elyse Lancaster Redemption is a tell-all story of what is possible when God steps in and gives you another chance. In this book, you & I will walk through every stage I went through and I hope the book encourages you to push forward no matter what life throws your way! You only lose the fight when you quit so don't QUIT!
Revenge Sweet as Cain By: D.A. Kelley
Crystal Ann Johnson was determined to become a doctor, and she didn’t let getting pregnant at fifteen years old hinder that dream. Her parents Henry and Charlotte Johnson were strict Christians who did not tolerate unchristian like behavior in their home, especially her father. When Crystal revealed to her parents she was pregnant, her father immediately ordered her out of the house knowing she had nowhere else to go. Since there was no negotiating with her father, and since he never inquired about the pregnancy, she packed her things and left. Crystal never revealed to her parents she was raped by a boy at her school named Charles Bradley. To her surprise shel had identical twin girls which she named Elissa Crystal and Jalissa Ann Johnson. After the birth of the twins, her father decided to let her come back home, under the condition she could only bring one child with her.
The Pain Is Real, But The Promise Is Eternal: What To Do When God's Will Hurts By: Whitney J. Hogans
This book is an honest account of what to do when God's will hurts. In this life there are going to be some disappointments and Whitney Hogans takes a transparent approach to discussing the heart of a hurting Christian. This book takes you on the journey from pain to purpose based on Whitney's experiences.
My New Normal:
Raising a Child with Mental Health Challenges by Rhonda Wood
ike many of you, I’m a parent. I’m raising a wonderful teenage daughter. On the surface, my life probably looks a lot like yours. I am a devoted mother who wants what is best for my child. I work hard to protect her, provide for her, and prepare her for the future but below the surface, chances are my normal is not your normal.
“snap out of it,” “get over it,” or “grow out of it.” Her mental health would become a journey. I knew our lives would never be the same. Things were going to be diﬀerent. I had to ﬁnd a new normal. And for me that meant I had to do the following: • Process, accept, and embrace the fact that I had a child with a mental health illness that may involve moments of crisis followed by potential hospitalizations.
My daughter is smart, talented, and ambitious. Like most teen girls, she loves music, makeup, and taking lots of selﬁes. She wants to get a driver’s license, a summer job, and a college degree. Most importantly, she wants to learn how to best manage her mental health illness. My daughter is currently a 16-year-oldhigh school student, and I’ve been on this journey with her since she was in elementary school. She has been diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar disorder by mental health professionals. She has had several therapists and psychiatrists, multiple emergency room visits, and dozens of admissions to inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. She has been prescribed at least ten diﬀerent types of medication in hopes of ﬁnding the right drug and dosage to help manage her mental health. There were times when the realities of her mental health condition were too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there were no good options. I tried everything -- talk therapy, aroma therapy, art therapy, move therapy, music
• Be my daughter’s biggest cheerleader and let her know that no matter what, I was there to support her every step of the way.
therapy, natural herbs, exercise, meditation, and medication. I had many sleepless nights from worry, anxiety, and fear. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt alone and afraid. I felt judged. I felt like her illness was my fault. I felt like I had failed as a parent. And I could not help but wonder if there was anything I could have done diﬀerently. The truth was I was not a failure, bad parent, or at fault. I was doing the best I could do. I was emotionally drained and tired! I was tired of the misdiagnoses, medications that didn’t work, and thousands of dollars in therapies and treatment programs. I quickly realized that her mental health crisis was not a one-time incident. There was no quick ﬁx, fast turnaround or easy cure. She would not be able to
• Educate myself so that I can have a better understanding of the diagnosis and what it means to have a mental illness. • Seek help and support for myself. Not only by seeing my own talk therapist, but by joining a support group where I was exposed to how other families learned to cope during the various stages of their child’s mental illness.
• Make sacriﬁces that were sometimes inconvenient and/or uncomfortable.
I redeﬁned what “normal” looks like for most parents. The old way no longer served me or my daughter. I adapted a new way of thinking and doing things. This is my new normal. And it is okay with me.
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POETRY CORNER ANXIETY By: Jada Carrington
because I know that if I said anything else they wouldn't understand, so I just leave it at "I can't"..., Why can't you? You're so weird, gets some guts, why are you scared? Just try it, you'll be ok, we'll make those fears go away. everybody wants me to answer but I have nothing really to say, a million thoughts rush through my head yet I don't have a voice, I want it all to just stop but I don't have that choice. Do you know what it's like to be in a place full of people and feel like all eyes are on you, and that you're always being talked about no matter what you do, hearing laughter and imagining their stares but never actually looking over cause by this point you're way to scared, heart beating faster, hands getting sweaty, blood rushing through your body everywhere. Feeling sick, can't think straight and just hoping that you can get out of there, but time only seems to get slower, and your patience seems to grow shorter and everything now just looks like a blur, can't really breathe and no sense in trying to talk cause most of your words will be in a slur. I always think why must I cause myself to over react but here I am again facing yet another panic attack,
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and what's worse and really kind of sad is having a panic attack that no one else knew you had, feeling like everyone saw it but really it was just your mind playing tricks. can't tell anyone because you're afraid of being judged and never looked at the same, being taken as joke and being played like a game. Sosome how you manage to keep it all inside, every emotion, every feeling and every thought you hide, not wanting to but this is what happens when your thoughts and your feelings collide, while still blending in, you kind of start to fade, it's hard living in a world that you feel doesn't even know you exist and tries to push things on you that you want to resist
but you have to just stay strong when you're living in this type of society, hoping one day for a world that will take away your anxiety, so to answer your question, no the world doesn't scare me, let me make this very clear, the truth is the only thing that I'm really afraid of is simply my own fears.
BLACK MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS! By: Denise A. Kelley
In order for black mental health to matter, we, ‘the black people’, must change our viewpoint concerning mental health in our culture. One thing that must be understood, is that the same way we go to medical doctors to treat the body, our mental health deserves the same attention, if needed. Mental Illness does exist! What goes on in this house stays in this house. But I’m dying inside this house, And I don’t know what to do. By this house I mean my mind, For our bodies are the true temple So to pretend like nothing is going on, Is really not that easy, It’s really not that simple. Yes, I make it look painless, Yes, I make it look painless, Just to fool you. What goes on in this house, stays in this house. Yep, that’s the black family’s creed Outside help we don’t welcome, Outside help we don’t need.
And starts to overlook her pain. She keeps it bottled up inside
Don’t put your business in the streets, You must maintain your pride.
Sometimes making bad decisions, Because they really want to do right. Little boys battle with their manhood, Being raised my mama’s and auntie’s, Who really can’t show them how to be men.
But you have no clue. We laugh, eat, and drink when we gather, All the while ignoring the elephant in the room,
Little girls see their mothers do it, And her mother before. Showing the world one face, While bleeding at the core. Smile – put on her mask, And walk out the door. What she’s masking,the world has no clue. She’s going through. She’s overwhelmed. She’s wearing too many hats. She’s responsible for ‘this’ She’s responsible for ‘that’. And starts to do the same.
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BLACK MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS A TRIBUTE TO HER By: Lex Morgan
When the storms of life are raging about, and it seems impossible to figure things out I’m reminded that…
Because of her extraordinary wisdom, we were educated and learned to teach. Because of her powerful spirit, we learned discernment. Because she was so incredibly courageous, we learned to persevere. Because of her tears, we learned resilience. Because Because of her love and compassion, we learned vulnerability and openheartedness. Because she was dynamic, we walk with pride. Because of her spectacular personality, we learned sass and wit. Because she was a no-nonsense kind of lady, we tell it how it is. Because of her striking beauty, we age everso gracefully. Because the responsibilities to her family were never ending but she did her very best, we learned unity. Because she was honest, we learned to stand in our truths. Because she was perfectly imperfect, we learned that every decision has a consequence. Because of her successes, we learned that possibilities are endless. Because of her disappointments, we learned how to become triumphant. Because of her, we learned that sometimes life is hard and it’s completely ok tofall down as long as we emerge stronger and wiser than we were before.
Because she was everything to every one of us, we are complete. Because she lived, we live. Because of her, we are. Because of her, I am.
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You Are NOT Alone By Dasia Wood lot of people have heard the phrase, “You are not alone.” Usually when a person expresses their feelings, problems, or challenging situations to another person they sometimes take it as if you feel like you’re the only one who goes through the things you’re going through. Most of the time that assumption is true. It is common that when you are going through to feel like things are unfair because you feel like the only person going through a difficult situation is you. You feel like nobody understands all that you are going through and all you have is yourself. When you struggle with your mental health it is a devasting thing and at the same time you do feel like you are alone. I’m sure a lot of people feel frustrated or don’t believe the phrase “You are not alone” when they are told this because some people until proven otherwise truly perceive that they are. I felt like I was alone in every situation and struggle I was going through. I know way too well how it feels to be alone or to feel like you are alone. Some days I feel like everyone on the earth has disappeared and all that is left is me with my struggles.
going through, but they also felt the same feelings and thoughts of being alone that I had towards their own situations. That’s what I call being able to relate to someone. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but I kept meeting more people in that same way. It was amazing that my entire mindset had changed about something I was so adamant about. I had a very fixed mindset about believing I was alone. Every time I’m put in situations where I feel like people understand me and can relate to me, I feel relief knowing that even though I still go through struggles it’s not so unfair because I know someone out there is fighting too which means they are fighting with me.This reminds me that I’m not so alone and neither are they. I concluded that the world is too big for me to be the only one going through the things that I have had to go through. Although our experiences may not be the same, the feelings of being alone are. I want to change that and show people that they are not alone. I think the most effective way of doing that is to talk to people and let them know that there is someone out there who can relate to what they are going through. The phrase “You are not alone,” may seem typical and overused but there is still some truth to it.
I remember one day a few years ago I was walking around with my mom in New York and I walked past a homeless man. I noticed his sign asked for money but to me his sign implied “IT FEEL AS IF NOBODYCARES, AND I DON’T MATTER.” I related to his sign. I wanted him to know I understood his pain of feeling alone and that I cared. I asked if I could sit next to him and we had a great conversation. We started talking about all the feelings we had in common and about depression, not wanting to live, and wanting to self-harm. He talked about his experiences being a homeless man. During our conversation he started to seem like he was much happier than he was when I first sat down next to him. I made his day better and he made my day better. I have come to know that the more people I meet or run into in my life (often in the most random places and times) have changed how I view the phrase “You are not alone.” My view was changed because not only did I meet people that went through what I went through, or what I was
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Meet Tyi Flood
MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE ENTREPRENUER & SPEAKER “What God has for me, it is for me” ynesha “Tyi” Flood is a Business-Management graduate from Kaplan University, but has dedicated most of her career to media, arts, and marketing as a project manager, actress, and broadcast personality. She recently began her journey as a mental health advocate in 2016; with a major focus on women, mothers, and children who lived with depression and anxiety disorders. After personally being diagnosed with major depressive disorder, seeing many of her childhood friends, and other young adults and children succumb to their illness through suicide, she felt that it was time to attack the mental health crisis. Tynesha is the author of ‘Project Me: 30 Days to A Better You,’ which is an empowerment journal for self-care. She’s also the CEO/Founder of Awesome Women of Empowerment, Inc., which is a 501(c)(3) nonproﬁt organization whose mission is to educate, support, and empower those living with mental health conditions. "It's time to take a stand and talk about mental health, rather than hiding or denying them.” The A.W.E Group’s mission is to not only ﬁght stigma within the community; but to provide better resources, create a safe haven of support, and to open the dialogue around mental health in families. In addition, Tynesha sits on the board of I Just Want 2 Help, Inc., which is a nonproﬁt organization geared towards teen parenting, child molestation advocacy, and providing food and hygiene resources for low-income families. She’s also a certiﬁed mental health ﬁrst aid. Her major eﬀorts and goals are catered to ﬁnding ways to help the community, one voice at a time.
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Making a Diﬀerence
MISSION Awesome Women of Empowerment —founded in 2017-- is a 501 (c) (3) non-proﬁt organization and women empowerment group geared towards mental health and wellness. We incorporate various resources to motivate, encourage, and support women and families who are living with mental health conditions. Our mission is to create a safe-haven for those living with mental health conditions through valuable resources, empowerment, and awareness.
2018 EVENTS Virtual Support Groups: Topics = Grief & Depression, Move Over Mom! AWEversary | 1 Year Anniversary | October 21, 2018 Featured on Anita Live TV Show, Purely Positive Radio Show, The Lounge Boys Show, and Life U Imagined Podcast.
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Making a DiďŹ€erence
Meet Breyonna Pinkney BREYONNA PINKNEY is a God-fearing light of hope, optimist, and take-charge business woman dedicated to serving her community. After overcoming hardships including the death of her mother to Sarcoma Cancer in 2009, depression, and homelessness Breyonna aims to inspire, encourage and heal others through her authenticity and transparency. Breyonna is a 2018 Howard University graduate from the College of Engineering and Architecture, motivational speaker, mental health advocate, consultant and special event planner. Breyonna has spoken at over 20 events, interviews and panels, including a speaker at the 2018 convocation speaker for the College of Engineering and Architecture and hosted over 15 events Nationwide.
Perfecting our Masterpiece to create Gods Puzzle Piece Foundation After experiencing her own bouts with depression in 2015, Breyonna Pinkney founded the Pinkney Promise Foundation in order to attack mental health issues that plague the community. The Pinkney Promise Team expanded quickly as like-minded individuals joined together to fight this expanding cause. The Pinkney Promise Foundation was incorporated in the District of Columbia as a nonprofitorganization on April 23, 2017 and rewarded its 501c3 tax exempt status the following month. Our mission is to provide a platform to inspire, encourage and spread knowledge about mental health wellness within the African American community. Our
platform targets mental health wellness, healthy coping mechanisms, and spiritual alignment by creating events, workshops and community service projects for teens and young adults. Since its inception, the Pinkney Promise Foundation has hosted over 25 workshops, art therapy, writing therapy, self-care workshops, and more! The Pinkney Promise has held itsâ€™ events nationally in cities and states such Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Portland, North Carolina and South Carolina. Studies show that 1 out of 10 adults experience major depression and approximately 800,000 African American women experience depression or anxiety each year. The Pinkney Promise Foundation creates healthy environments for young adults to support one another throughout this journey to healing.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Breyonna Pinkney (443) 204-9508 PinkneyPromises@gmail.com
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Making a Diﬀerence
Meet Jasmin Pierre Jasmin Pierre is a Certiﬁed Peer Support Specialist, Certiﬁed Mental Health First Aid Responder, Mental Health Advocate, Mental Health Speaker, Author of the self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”, and creator of the minority mental health app for the Black Community 'The Safe Place', Jasmin is constantly ﬁghting for the rights of those who battle Mental Health Challenges.
Contact info: : The Safe Place : @Itsthesafeplace : @itsthesafeplace : Itsthesafeplace@gmail.com
The Safe Place is a free minority mental health app for the black community on android and i phone. It was created to help erase the mental health stigma in the black community. The Safe Place is ﬁlled with information such as Black Mental Health Statistics, Self Care Tips, Mental Health Descriptions, Self Assessment Questions, Videos, Informative Articles, A Mental Health Resource Guide, and so much more.
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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!
LIES OF SUICIDE
Unlovable. WOrthLESS. USELESS. Impossible. Hopeless.
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 Iv Fighting Back Against the
Tanzania Fair Depression & Suicidal Ideation
YOU CAN Live a meaningful & prosperous life with mental health challenges, disabilities and disorders. See all previouswarriors 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
Tanzania & Craig Also known as Chuck & Coop #loveandmentalhealth
hen Tanzania and Craig ﬁrst started dating, they expressed their deepest dark secrets to each other. The things that were expressed had never been told to anyone or maybe just a few people. Tanzania was still battling issues with her skin. Craig always expressed how much he loved her skin. He always encouraged her to wear clothes that showed her beautiful skin. When she went to the Dominican Republic, She kept asking him how do I look and if she should wear a two piece swimsuit, shorts, and mini-dresses. He encouraged her as much as he could and when she started posting her pictures of her skin, it made him feel
really good. He knew that she was still trying to overcome those thoughts in her mind and he was so proud of her. Tanzania has helped Craig battle some things that had led to his depression. He was still ﬁghting a mental battle. They never judged each other and accepted each other for who they are. They have really deep conversations that may not always be easy to talk about. However, the trust and safe space has allowed them to become closer. They recently got engaged last year on December 25th. The key to their relationship is honesty, trust, communication, and lots of love. Sometimes, we think that we are the problem but really it’s not us. It’s that thing that was holding us back that was the issue. It was the other people involved that was the issue. It was the thoughts that was in our head that became the issue. We are no longer bound to our past. We are mentally free and it feels good.
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by Tinisha Curl
Tanzania Fair y name is Tanzania Fair. My nickname is “chunk”. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I grew up in a single family home. My father got killed at the age of 22 years old when I was only 8 months. By the age of 10 years old, I wanted to be a dancer. I could dance so well. My passion was to dance on TV for famous people and at concerts. When I watched B.E.T videos, I never seen a dark skin girl that looked like me. It made me feel like I had to change my appearance to be accepted in the dance world. My self-esteem got shattered by the music videos, media, and magazines. It got shattered by family members treating light skin family members better than the darker skin. It got shattered by me not hearing “you’re beautiful” enough. It got shattered by me feeling invisible when I was around my family. It got shattered by high school boys who didn’t even know the eﬀect that it had on me. In 10th grade, I experienced colorism. I lied to my mom about me needing some cream to even my skin tone out and she let me get it. I saved up my $25.00 from shampooing hair at my mother’s salon to buy some skin bleaching cream. The light spots started to spread all over my face, arms, chest, legs, stomach, and back. I told myself that no one could see my skin like this. I would spend 2-4 hours literally trying to ﬁnd something to wear. I started to slowly sink into depression. I started to cover up my body every single day even during the hot summer days. It would be hot outside and I would have some jeans or leggins with a half Jacket or long sleeve shirt and some shoes on. You would NEVER catch me showing my skin because I knew in my head that my skin wasn’t like that. This is why it was messing with my mind even more. So when it happened, my world ﬂip upside down.
There were many times when I prayed God why me? God I pray these light spots go away? God I pray my skin goes back to “normal? Once I changed the voices inside my head into positive self-talk, everything else started to change within me and around me. It was what I said about myself that was killing me mentally. It took me many years to get through it, but now I’m mentally free. I started to do aﬃrmations in the mirror every day. I told myself I was beautiful even when I didn’t feel like I was. I used journaling, dance, and poetry as an escape to get rid of the crazy thoughts. I had to really break the mental bondage that I was in. The voices in my head held me back from being my authentic self. I started a women’s organization called Sistah Sistah Entrepreneurs Network. This platform is to bring sistah’s together to have these in-depth conversations. It is also to provide women with the resources that they need to get help. It is a safe space for women to grow, network, learn, and heal together. If I could have only been myself and expressed how I was feeling to my sistah circle it would’ve helped me sooner.
My freshman year in college I was literally contemplating on killing myself in my dorm room but a voice from God came over me and stopped me from doing it. I just knew that it was no point for me to live anymore. I had already messed my life up and there was no way I could change it. There was no way I can go back and look “normal”. The negative voices inside my head kept me feeling sad, depressed, isolated, and even having suicidal thoughts. I isolated myself from my friends and family. I was sinking. I was mentally gone. I was just like “man if I oﬀ myself, the world would be a better place”. I wouldn’t have to worry about my skin issue. I felt like I did this to myself and I can’t change what happened to my skin. I was ashamed of my skin which made me self-hate myself. It was so deep that I would dream that I was another person. I couldn’t even picture my own face. I could never look myself in the mirror because I blamed myself for what was happening to me. When I did, I was disgusted and hated seeing those light spots. I wore shorts for the ﬁrst time when I was 26 years old (2014). I wore a skirt for the ﬁrst time when I was 27 years old (2015). I got the courage to go back to a dermatologist in 2018. They told me that it was a skin condition called Tinea Versicolor. The skin bleaching cream and the cortisone triggered it. I knew that my skin wasn’t like that before, so it drove me crazy mentally!
by Tinisha Curl
Spring Issue 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 33
Craig Cooper y name is Craig Cooper. My nickname is “Coop”. I am from Maryland. Growing up, I was always an energetic kid. I was always smiling. That changed when I got in 3rd grade. I started to experience depression and self-hate. I was in a “regular” class and then I got put into special education class because of my learning disability. I felt like that experience made me feel like I don’t belong around other people. I remember when I was in the 4th grade and I was walking back to my class. The teachers always had the special education students come in the class 5 minutes later. The teacher mumbled under her breath and said “the retarded kids are coming”. I heard what she said and my face was in disbelief. She turned away and she saw me staring at her. I didn’t say anything. She didn’t acknowledge what she said to me. She didn’t apologize. I felt even worse after she made that statement. The reality of my mind was already defeated. This experience followed me all the way into my adult life. I felt incompetent because I kept hearing “the retarded kids are coming” in my mind. That voice wouldn’t go away. I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I felt like I couldn’t succeed in life. It shattered self-esteem. It started to make me hate myself. I wanted to be someone else. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. On top of that, other life experiences made me hate myself even more. The older I got, the worst the depression became. I felt like I didn’t want to be here. It was a feeling of wanting to leave this earth. I felt like no one would miss me and no one loved me Every morning I would wake up and cry. I would say “God why am I here?” Every morning it would take me an hour to get out the house. Sometimes I would get to the car and start crying. Then, I would have to go back in the house and try again. I remember this one particular day like it was yesterday. I was riding the train on my way to work and I started to cry. I had on sunglasses to hide my eyes. I felt like the devil was on my back saying “today is the day to kill yourself”. I ﬁnally made it to work but the crying wouldn’t stop. I had lied to my job saying I was sick.So I could go home and kill myself. I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror with pills in my hand and a death note. My eyes were ﬁlled with tears. As I stood in front of the mirror, all I could hear was negative voices in my head. It was saying “do it, no one loves you, you won’t be missed”. I started crying even more. I could hear my mom’s voice. My phone started to ring and it was my mom yelling “what’s wrong son?” I told her I’m hurting and I need help. I cried myself to sleep and later that day I talked to my mom. I could see the pain in her eyes when I told her about my depression. She hugged me and told me that she loved me. She said “please don’t give up on life.” I felt there was a black cloud over my head 24/7. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like the person I was. I didn’t like anything about
myself. I didn’t see myself living long or having a great future. Later that year, my mom suggested that I get professional help. This started my road to recovery. The next year, my mom suggested that I go to the gym with her. I was hesitant at ﬁrst but then I tried it. On April 30th, 2010, I walked in the gym for the ﬁrst time. I had on a baggy shirt and pants. I looked around and I thought maybe I would like it here. I started to go on a regular basis and my results started to show. I started to lose weight and gain muscles. The gym became my safe haven. I begin to use self-care methods such as writing positive notes to myself and praying every morning. This saved my life. Then. I started to add mixed martial arts and tachi. I learned a lot from training. I learned how to be self-conﬁdent, take control of my life, and bea leader. I stand here today 10 years free from depression. I started my ﬁtness company called Immortal Fitness and Motivation. This is a platform to not only workout but to motivate people who may have/ or is experiencing similar things I’ve been through.
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by Tinisha Curl
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Q & A with
BLACKMAN Interviewed by: Jada Carrington
T-Kea Blackman is a mental health advocate, speaker and writer who lives by the Toni Payne quote, "I rather be living my truth happily than living a lie miserably.” She is the creator and host of the Fireﬂies Unite Podcast, a weekly podcast dedicated to bringing light into darkness (just like the ﬁreﬂies) by sharing the stories of individuals thriving with mental illness within communities of color despite the disadvantages and racism that negatively impact their mental health. Described as an inspiration, her heartfelt and powerful story is a testament that you can thrive despite having a mental illness. T-Kea was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorders and is a suicide survivor. She previously worked in the television industry as a publicist and production/talent coordinator. Within her career, she provided support to TV One’s signature award-winning shows Unsung and Unsung Hollywood, BET’s Black Girls Rock!, The Soul Train Awards and BET X Youth Experience. Her diagnosis led her to use her communications and media skills to raise awareness for mental illness within communities of color. As a peer recovery coach, T-Kea provides peer support to clients with mental illness and intellectual disabilities where she uses her lived experience with mental illness to assist clients with their personal and professional goals. She is currently pursuing her certiﬁcation through the Maryland and Behavioral Health Professional Certiﬁcation Board to become a certiﬁed recovery coach/peer recovery specialist. T-Kea’s articles have been published on The Mighty, Urban Faith, Blavity, and 21 Ninety. Making a digital footprint, her articles have garnered over 50,000 views and encouraged individuals to seek
Photo Credit: EvvyMarcell Photography
After being diagnosed with major depressive and generalized anxiety disorders, I was embarrassed but relieved. Living in my truth has
provided me the opportunity to heal, raise awareness and inspire others.
Sharing my story with the world continues to dismantle the stigma, advocate for change and I've become fearless and unapologetic. treatment. T-Kea’s ﬁrst book Saved & Depression: A Suicide Survivor’s Journey Of Mental Health, Healing & Faith is scheduled to be released in May 2019. She was appointed by Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan to serve on his Commission for Suicide Prevention. She is a member of the Prince George’s County Chapter for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans aﬀected by mental illness and serves as an In Our Own Voice program leader. She earned a master's degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University, and a bachelor's degree in radio, television and ﬁlm production from Howard University. To follow T-Kea's journey and listen to her podcast, visit: : www.ﬁreﬂiesunite.com connect with her: : @ﬁreﬂiespod
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T-KEA: What deﬁnes me is my tenacity, my strength and my vulnerability. I would say those three things deﬁne me because my strength was found through my darkest days, I didn't know how strong I was at the darkest point in my life, and I didn't really consider myself to be strong. Now being on the other side of it I realize how strong I am. My vulnerability, I realize that I have been transparent about my struggles and people gravitate towards that because not too many people are talking about their insecurities or the things that they might be embarrassed about. They aren’t talking about what they may not like about themselves or their struggles, but the strength of being vulnerable allows me to heal and it also allows others to know that it's okay to have these mental health struggles, it's okay to struggle with insecurities and you're not alone or by yourself. RUM: What was your darkest moment? And when did you experience it? T-KEA: My darkest moment started as a child, around 12 y/o, and as I got older it seemed like life started getting darker. Around 24 or 25 y/o is when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and my darkest moment was about 8 months straight until I had my ﬁrst suicide attempt. Death was the only thing that I thought about. I either thought about death or how I was going to end my life. I did not see any light at the end of the tunnel, and I didn't think I would make it to the end of the tunnel to ﬁnd the light. I think when I was in my darkest moment there was so much, I didn't know about myself. Even though the depression was hard it was the fact I was in the depression for so long that it became comfortable. It almost was like a home because I was in it for so long and it was all I knew. It was numbing at times and painful at other times. I got so comfortable in my depression because it became familiar, like that's what my days would be like. The darkest moment of my life was my suicide attempt and my ﬁrst hospitalization in a psychiatric unit. Looking back at my failed suicide attempt, I’m like Wow God! Now I see the light. I see when you do the work, you're patient, and you ﬁnd the right people in your support system/treatment team then the days become a little bit lighter as time goes on. RUM: During your darkest moment did you have a support system? T-KEA: Yes, I did. I had a support system but since everything was very new to me, I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. I told a few people and a few people knew about me wanting to end my life, but I just felt so hopeless. There were some people in my support system who didn't understand but they still did the best they could to be there for me. and There were also people who didn't understand and said things that didn't make it easier for me. It mentally pulled me away from some people. Ultimately, I had a support system, but the main key was my support system didn't know how to support me until I became more knowledgeable about what depression was and how it shows up for me. Once I became self-aware and knowledgeable, I was able to educate the people in my support system and let them know how I needed support. RUM: What things helped you to heal? T-KEA: Therapy! Therapy has been life changing for me. People
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underestimate the power of therapy, and they think you just go in there and talk about your childhood and your innermost thoughts. When you have a great therapist, you become committed to the process and start to identify what your triggers are. That’s what I did, I identiﬁed what my triggers are, my behaviors, and thought patterns. That’s how I realized how those things connected to my childhood. I realized the importance of boundaries and self-care, and I would say that my therapist is one of the best resources and support that I had. I've been with my therapist for three and a half years and I see how I've transformed from the young lady who walked in there in 2015 to the young lady who's in therapy in 2019. I’m a completely diﬀerent person, but it wasn't my therapist who did the work, it was me being committed to the process which is important. What also helped me is owning my truth. Owning my truth has been less about other people in the beginning and more about me not wanting to hide anymore or being ashamed or embarrassed about my struggles. Mental illness is not all of who I am, it's just a part of who I am. Once I started accepting my own my truth and accepting things that happen to me, I had the power to change the trajectory of my life. What happened to me does not deﬁne me or make me who I am. It's not what happened to me, it's what happened for me. It happened for me meaning now I'm a better person, I'm more compassionate when it comes to working and assisting other people and being vulnerable has helped me heal. I admit I don't have it all together, but I'm ﬁguring it out and going through the process. RUM: What inspired you to create the Fireﬂies Unite Podcast? T-KEA: I got into podcasting listening to podcasts, but they were from clinicians and I was like “well what about other people?” Yeah, therapists are great, but we should be telling our own stories. I started telling my story and it was liberating. If other people have a chance to tell their stories it will continue to help
Photo Credit: EvvyMarcell Photography
RUM: What deﬁnes you?
them in their recovery. I wanted to provide a diﬀerent perspective, opposed to the clinician perspective. I wanted to give clinicians the opportunity to speak and educate us on how things show up and tell us what resources are available. There are clinicians that come on and talk about their struggles with mental illness, which I think is important because sometimes we think clinicians are exempt but they're not because they are humans too. I was inspired because I wanted to provide resources that I wish I had when I was in my darkest days and really needed it. Fireﬂies is truly about bringing light into darkness, and that's essentially what those little bugs do. They come out at night and illuminate, and I believe each person in my community is a ﬁreﬂy because they're talking about the mental health. Together with conversation, we can illuminate a big light. We are uniting people to come together in their darkest days to talk about their struggles without feeling ashamed, which is why I started the podcast and now it's transforming into other things. It transformed into my book that will be released in May. It transformed me speaking at many diﬀerent events, and it transformed into being a media company. I have rebranded Fireﬂies Unite as a mental health media and communications company that will use various forms of media, such as documentaries, television series, magazines or podcasts to continue to push the mental health conversation forward within communities of color. Having diﬀerent media platforms will help because people digest information diﬀerently and the images and stories from people of color are being told, because while we've come a long way there still is stigma. I think it is important that people of color have a place to go to identify with people who look like them. RUM: How do you maintain your mental health in the process of doing so much work? T-KEA: I surround myself around like-minded people, growing my relationship with God, having physical activity, setting boundaries, scheduling my work, getting rest, going to therapy and doing something that I feel is a part of my calling.
RUM: Do you feel like you're on the right track mentally? T-KEA: Honestly, yes. I feel like I'm on the right track. The state I'm in is the best that I’ve been in my entire life. I truly believe that I am walking in my God given purpose because God continues to open doors for me. He continues to connect me with people I never thought I would be connected to and I'm able to help other people get into therapy and help them to be transparent about their story. I see it's making a diﬀerence in the lives of others. I don't always know the immediate impact of what I'm doing but then someone gets back to me, which lets me know the work I'm doing is needed. It's fulﬁlling to show people what healing and wholeness looks like, and that it's obtainable because you're hearing it from someone who was broken and done a lot of work to be in the place of wholeness. RUM: There may be a younger reader who is having thoughts of giving up or is having thoughts of harming themselves, what encouraging words do you have for them? T-KEA: Reach out to someone that you trust, whether that's a friend, someone from the church, or someone from your extracurricular activities. They can help you ﬁnd a therapist that can help you sort through the things going through your mind. You can also download the Not Ok app, which allows you to identify ﬁve people in your life and hit the red button in the app saying that “I'm not okay” to let them know they can come and support you in the ways you need. The biggest thing is telling someone and not just telling someone, but also letting them know you need to be connected to a mental health professional. You can also join a group. NAMI has great support groups that are ran by people who live with a mental illness. They have classes you can listen to, and you don't have to talk if you're not ready. You can hear other stories from people who struggle. These are great ways to connect with other people. I would also encourage them to listen to my podcast or any other mental health podcast, join a Facebook group, meeting with people in person. Essentially ﬁnding their tribe, a group of people who have similar struggles that provide hope if you're feeling hopeless.
Photo Credit: EvvyMarcell Photography Spring Issue 2019| rallyupmagazine.com | 39
Her Mental Wellness Journey
Whitney J. Hogans
Some words that have been used to describe me are powerful, mighty, and strong. Several years ago, I would have never used those words to describe me but that is exactly what I am! Seven years ago, my amazing husband Steve died just twenty days shy of his 31st birthday from a rare lung disease. I was heart-broken, devastated, and weak. On top of that I was a single mom to two boys (ages 5&2), a Special Education Paraeducator, a full-time student, and now-a widow at just 25. Just three months prior to my husband dying, my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism. What a time! Through God, faith, family, and therapy I was able to gain my strength back! Today, at 32, I am stronger than ever! I am now a three-time college graduate, Special Education Eeacher, Self-Published Author (The Pain Is Real, But The Promise Is Eternal: What To Do When God's Will Hurts), Radio Personality (Host of the She Heals Radio Show on Awesome God Radio), Business Owner (CEO, Book Coach, and Publisher at She Heals Publishing), and Adjunct Professor. My sons are now 12 & 9. My oldest is the Sound Engineer/Producer of my radio show. My youngest competed and won 2 gold medals in our state Special Olympics competition (track &ﬁeld). We are stronger than ever! So now when asked to describe myself I will conﬁdently say I am an overcomer!
Whitney Hogans is a woman chasing after the heart of God. She is a Mother,
Author, Motivational Speaker, Educator and so much more. She holds an Associate of Arts degree in Ethics from Mid America Christian University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education (Interdisciplinary Studies) from Liberty University, and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Whitney's purpose is to share the goodness of Christ in an honest, raw, and authentic way. Whitney is determined to share the realness of the walk with God: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whitney has done presentations in the ﬁeld of education as well as ministry based public speaking. Whitney has previously written columns for the former Examiner.com. Whitney Hogans resides in Maryland with her two sons, Quincy & Kevin. “I battled heavily with depression and anxiety my entire life. I attempted suicide at age 20 just a few months after giving birth to my oldest son. I was admitted into the hospital for a 72-hour psych evaluation. After that, I attended therapy oﬀ and on. When my husband died, I knew that not only would I need some help, but so would my children. I was deeply broken. I coped with foodgaining 20 pounds and then losing it (when I was too depressed to eat). My weight and health were up and down. I knew I needed help. I took therapy seriously and began attending regularly. I found counselors for my sons as well. We did grief counseling and then transitioned into cognitive behavior therapy. It was the best choice for us. Depression and anxiety occurstill;however, we have tools in our tool kit to work through it. We have found the right therapists and have been doing the hard work toward healing. Now almost 7 years later, we are better than ever. Still working hard but taking it one beautiful day at a time.”
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Contact Info: Whitney Hogans, 410-340-1881 firstname.lastname@example.org
by Jeremy Toliver Phase 1 Photography
I found my voice and Fear became afraid!
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.
How Do You Do It?
ow do you do it? I know you may believe that having mental and emotional struggles means you’ll always have them and in some cases that’s true. There are sudden mental and emotional diﬀerences that are just a part of what makes us amazingly unique. Can I be honest with you? After going through abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and suicidal thoughts, I learned a lot about myself. I hope in sharing it will encourage you to push forward! Having PTSD as deﬁned is basically the feelings and behaviors after someone has experienced trauma. They will replay the events in their mind while asleep or awake. I dealt with my child abuse issues with a child therapist. My therapist helped me understand why I couldn’t sleep, trust, or give anything to anyone else especially to myself. Now, to answer the question…”How Do You Do It?” You do it by ﬁrst admitting that you’re not okay. Let me say, it’s okay not to be okay! There are good days and bad days. I would wake up some mornings feeling like I have everything. I would have my old conﬁdence, my old smile, my old joy and other days I would have to ask God where he was and why I felt so hopeless. Here are some simple steps that helped me, that I hope will help you to overcome your mental health challenges: 1. Ask God to show where the pain is to begin the process. 2. Have the faith to understand that it will get better. 3. Recognize you are wonderful as you are! In your own skin without regret God made you and I know God doesn’t make ANY mistakes. 4. Know that everything you are currently going through is just God preparing you for your purpose. 5. Understand that crying is healthy when done in a healthful space. 6. Build your conﬁdence little bit by little bit. One day you’ll look up and the tears would have dried up and you will no longer feel low. 7. Remember to reach out & GET HELP. 8. Trust that you are not EVER alone in your ﬁght. 9. Declare that you are loved, needed, wanted, accepted and there’s no one else who can do YOU like YOU!
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10. Embrace where you are, know where you want to be, and always remember to ask for help no matter how small or large the situation seems. 11. Remember, suicide is never the answer. Depression does go away! If you are having suicidal thoughts, actions, or feelings…talk to someone. DO NOT CLOSE YOURSELF IN! Let God in so he can begin to show you who you are and who you will be. 12. Get out and enjoy yourself even if sometimes you just want to be alone. 13. God made all of us for relationships and there are friends, people, teachers, that want to help so don’t shut down let those people in because they love you and they really care 14. BELIEVE TROUBLE DOES NOT LAST! 15. Aﬃrm daily that you are beautiful, unforgettable, iconic, special, misunderstood, diﬀerent, and amazingly you!
Xoxo, Elyse Lancaster
Substance Abuse… A Critical Condition by Lex Morgan
NUMB. A feeling that comes to mind when I think about the desired eﬀect of getting high. Wanting to “take the edge” oﬀ is another. WHY?? Getting high is an “easy” ﬁx to the pressures of life. Being high temporarily numbs pain, anxiety, depression, and a host of other uncomfortable emotions that each of us experience from time to time. The issue with numbing is that the emotions are waiting when the high has gone and the realities of life return. The journey through substance tolerance, dependence, and addiction is not the same for everyone. Trauma is a common source; social and family pressures are others. There are many people who report that they began using drugs in response to various types of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. There are others who began using to “ﬁt in” their peer groups and/or families. Self-harm and harm to others are oftentimes not the intended outcomes of substance abuse. Shame often results in silence; fear of being judged is common with substance use/abuse. “I don’t want anyone to look down on me”, is something that many people struggling with substance use/abuse feel and share. Substance use/abuse doesn’t always result in addiction; this doesn’t make use/abuse any less dangerous or destructive. There are diﬀerences between tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
mental symptoms if drug use is abruptly ceased (withdrawal). Physical dependence can happen with the chronic use of many drugs—including many prescription drugs, even if taken as instructed. Thus, physical dependence in and of itself does not constitute addiction, but it often accompanies addiction. This distinction can be diﬃcult to discern, particularly with prescribed pain medications, for which the need for increasing dosages can represent tolerance or a worsening underlying problem, as opposed to the beginning of abuse or addiction. A NOTE TO ANYONE CURRENTLY STRUGGLING…It is ok not to be ok. You are important and so are your needs. Please ask for support because you are the most important person in your life. Without you, all your relationships cease to exist. Education and awareness are keys to receiving and oﬀering support. Here are a few resources for those who are seeking assistance: FAMILIES ANONYMOUS – https://www.familiesanonymous.org/ abusers/addicts)
NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE – https://www.drugabuse.gov/
The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides the following deﬁnitions for each:
SOURCE: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
TOLERANCE – A state in which an organism no longer responds to a drug; a higher dose is required to achieve the same eﬀect.
It is important to note that just because a person has developed a tolerance for a drug does not make them an addict, but many drugs that produce tolerance also have the potential to become addictive. DEPENDENCE – A state in which an organism functions normally only in the presence of a drug; manifested as a physical disturbance when the drug is removed (withdrawal). ADDICTION – A chronic brain disease characterized by drug craving, seeking, and use that persists regardless of negative consequences. ARE PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE AND ADDICTION THE SAME? No. As deﬁned above, addiction is characterized by drug craving, seeking, and use regardless of negative consequences. It is also important to note that addiction is also characterized by failure to meet personal and social obligations as a result of drug use. Dependence occurs when more of a substance is required to obtain a certain eﬀect and eliciting drug-speciﬁc physical or
NIDA. "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 17 Jan. 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-researc h-based-guide-third-e dition. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019. It is my sincere hope that the content of this message will serve to guide someone on the journey to recovery.
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WE FIGHT FOUNDATION & DESIGNED FOR ROYALTY COLLABORATION/OPEN HOUSE
by TJ Woodard
We Fight Foundation have joined forces with Designed for Royalty (formerly known as Queen Series) in a collaboration that will be a Game Changer. This powerful duo has a heart to serve and help those in need overcome hurt, pain and mental health challenges. It is what they call “A Place Where Self-Love & Mental Health Meet.” Nikita Powell-Cottman is the founder of We Fight Foundation and RallyUp Magazine. Her mission is to provide support and services to those who struggle with mental illness as well as educate and support the people who care for them. Tamika Woodard is the founder of Designed for Royalty, LLC. A mentorship program designed to promote healing through hurt and pain while focusing on self-love. Two very important missions that really do go hand in hand with one another. It is said that this power team has everything they need to eﬀect positive change in the community. Not only do they both love God who is the foundation on which they stand but they are humble, devoted and committed to doing all that God has for them to do. They give so much of themselves without a second thought and the community they serve is surely in great hands. They both have had their own personal struggles of physical and emotional abuse and even experienced their own bouts with mental illness such as depression and anxiety. However, they are also the matriarchs of their families being the glue that keeps them all together. They work full-time jobs but volunteer their time while serving the needs of others. They recently held an Open House on March 31, 2019 that launched this partnership into full force. It was an awesome event. Friends and family attended in support of this new union. This was the introduction of what’s to come from the We Fight Foundation and Designed for Royalty collaboration. Nikita and Tamika have already began putting in work with a full schedule of events that they will be hosting this upcoming year. Events include but are not limited to summer camps, support groups, workshops, networking events, rallies, and even a fashion show. There’s nothing that these two will not do to help others but they hold each other up as well. Only being in their new location for 2 months, they are showing that they are truly prepared to propel into their next level of ministry and outreach as God continues to download into them and give them the strength to walk in their purpose. They do not take this lightly and are well on their way. You can ﬁnd out more information on We Fight Foundation by visiting www.weﬁghtfoundation.org. Designed for Royalty is newly formed and under construction but please be on the lookout as more details will be soon to come. These women who are also authors, motivational speakers, visionaries in their own rights truly appreciate the love and support received and ask for continuous prayer will on this assignment. We Fight Foundation (Inc.)
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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
STRAWBERRY SLAW SALAD by Dani Pope "Feeling intensely grateful for fresh, nourishing, healing, whole and REAL foods. As a soon-to-be integrative and functional nutritionist, I’m totally aware of the stress and ongoing pressures when it comes to “eating right” or “good foods vs bad foods” - I believe in bio-individuality, which basically means that we all have unique dietary and lifestyle needs; just because one person thrives oﬀ a certain diet/lifestyle change, doesn’t necessarily mean that you or the next person will. This is your reminder to eat food that feels good to you. Eat for your mind, body and spirit. Eat for your health, not for the gram and please be conscious of where and who you’re getting your nutritional information from. I want nothing but good food, health and happiness for you folx!" ~Dani
What’s in the bowl: Organic kale + broccoli slaw salad with diced strawberries, avocado, sprinkled with organic hemp hearts, sea salt and black pepper. Dani also created a light mango dressing with 1 ripe mango, EVOO, freshly squeezed lemon juice, @wedderspoonoﬃcial raw manuka honey, salt and pepper to taste. Serve and ENJOY!
#Reminder: Eat food that makes you feel good!
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 Stay Away from Triggers!
I Fight, You Fight
We Fight Together!
Follow us on
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ENOUGH. 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9