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Elyse Lancaster

Her Moment of




by Rhonda Wood

10 Ways to Get


You Don't Look


by Brittany Kinsella


by Lex Morgan



by Vanity Dawson

Cassia Gold

Journey of Healing, Hope & Health

Let's End the

Silence by Andrae Hayden Winter 2019


OUR FIGHT Dynamic Duo continues to fight the Stigma of Mental illnesses Mother talks about her New Encounter with Seasonal Depression

TOGETHER They Are Still


Elyse Lancaster Cover pic  by Tinisha Curl Cassia Gold Cover Makeup and  by

I FIGHT, YOU FIGHT, WE FIGHT TOGETHER ~Kenai Hollingsworth, Fashion Director

Do You Need Help???

or Maybe Your Loved One or Friend??? If you need help now or feeling suicidal call 911.

NAMI National

Mental Health America

1800-SUICIDE (1800-784-2433) 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255)

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

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

CRISIS TEXT LINE Text "TALK" to 741741

Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)

NAMI Helpline M-F, 10 am - 6pm ET 1800-950-NAMI Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 1) LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline: 1866-4-U-TREVOR

Autism Society of America

National Institute of Mental Health

Obsessive Compulsive Foundation


We Fight Foundation, Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448) 79% of All suicide deaths are men Close to 1 in 10 men in America suffers from anxiety or depression, less than 1/1 of them gets treatment 1 in 7 children age 2-8 years has a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder.


16 LET'S END THE SILENCE by: Andrae Hayden



by: Vanity Dawson




TJ Woodard: Founder of Queen Series


by: Lex Morgan

27 WARRIOR ZONE III Elyse Lancaster, Tyshia Douglas 30 YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE DEPRESSION by: Brittany Kinsella

Pic  by:


by: Mrcy



Be GR8 Today All Day Everyday!

Make Your Purchase at 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


Vol.2 Issue 1 Winter 2019 Founder & Editorial Director Nikita Powell-Cottman EDITORIAL Managing Editor: Tyana Straughn Asst Managing Editor & Editor at Large: Tamika Woodard Photo Editor & Producer: Tinisha Curl Fashion Director: Kena’i Hollingsworth Fashion Assistant: Tyshia Douglas Beauty Editor: Nekesa Smith Guest Writers: Brittany Kinsella Lady Lioness Michelle Cousins Dani Pope Contributing Writers: Jada Carrington Lex Morgan Vanity Dawson Dasia Wood Andrea Hayden Rhonda Wood Contributing Editor: Vanity Dawson

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 and Your Answer May Be Featured in our Next Issue!!!

FOUNDER'S THOUGHT We Made It Another Year t brings me such joy to witness the growing movement of mental health awareness within my community. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of “missed “communication amongst the minorities; especially our African American community. Although, everyone is at risk of mental illnesses and related disorders, it is a high percentage of the minorities who have challenges accessing proper education and mental health services. This makes it difficult for them to receive early and effective interventions. This issue is full of information, resources and checklists for all “who just do not know.”For those who don’t know what to say or what to do. We are here to help you! Many people do not understand what a mental health condition is; which makes it difficult to talk about it. This lack of knowledge leads many to believe that a mental health condition is “shameful,” even a punishment from God. The shame and stigma associated with such conditions prevents so many people from discussing mental health issues and seeking treatment. On a personal note, depression is the most common mental health challenge after anxiety. I personally experienced both at some point in my life. Recently, I experienced seasonal depression. One day, I was creating a social media post to provide information to help others who may be experiencing the “winter blues.” As I typed each symptom, I realized it was describing me! The struggle was real! Most days I just wanted to stay in bed…don’t call me & I won’t call you! I was tired. It seemed like I just could not get enough sleep! I was irritable and didn’t know why. Then I had moments when I was just emotional. Carbs became my bestfriend, I know I’ve gained weight. I was really having a hard time focusing. I had no interest in doing the things I once considered fun:( It was the worse! The best way I can describe my “winter blues;” it was like I had my own personal dark cloud following me everywhere I go. I now have a greater understanding of depression and how it feels which has heightened my empathy. The advice I will give someone else who is experiencing the winter blues and what I’ve been doing to make it through this “blah” season: • Embrace the Sunshine when it does come out • Invest in a “happy lamp” • Take Vitamin D Supplement • If you must snack…snack on healthy carbs • Massage Therapy • Pray & Meditate You can try St. John Wort supplements. This one I have not tried because the other things are working. I hope this helps! I am making it through and so will you! Keep in mind that if you still notice symptoms of depression after the season has changed; you might be experiencing something more than the “winter blues.” You should seek help from a medical and mental health professional. Depression can be devastating! There is absolutely no shame in getting help! “I fight, you fight, we fight together!”

08 | | Winter Issue 2019

Meet The New CONTRIBUTORS Rhonda Wood

Contributor Writer @rhondamwood1 A word people often use to describe me... EMPOWERING. One thing I'll never change about myself is ... THE EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY TO BREATHE HOPE INTO OTHERS. When I look in the mirror I see... A RESILIENT, TENACOUS, DETERMINED WOMAN. I'm my most authentic self when... I UNAPOLOGETICALLY GRANT MYSELF PERMISSION TO JUST BE ME. One thing I hope to accomplish in 2019 is... BEING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. I take a deep breath, smell the flowers, hear the birds, feel the wind, see the sunshine.

Tyshia Douglas Fashion Assistant @lashes_by_shay

A word people often use to describe me... A NICE PERSON. One thing I'll never change about myself is ... THAT I DON'T GIVE UP! When I look in the mirror I see... MYSELF AS A BEAUTIFUL DETERMINED STRONG WOMAN. I'm my most authentic self when... I TALK ABOUT THE THINGS I BEEN THROUGH. One thing I hope to accomplish in 2019 is...THAT I UPLIFT 50-100 WOMEN that's just like me; who have any type of disability.

Winter Issue 2019| | 09

Take Suicidal thoughts seriously and Get Help!

I did and I feel Much Better! Photography : Tinisha Curl

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

The Importance

of A Support


Giving and receiving support from others is a basic human need; especially during tough times. Someone who understands you, a good listener, honest, compassionate and who is dependable. Research has proven that having a good support system has many positive benefits. It reduces stress, depression and anxiety. Support can come from family, friends, pets, neighbors, even your clergy. Support can be emotional, financial, but in this case we're speaking of mental support. If you are looking to build a good solid support system, we will suggest you start with people you already have in your life. Most importantly, you want to determine who is healthy & positive and who is not. Making a list is a good start.You do not need any negative people in your life because they can drain your energy and bring you down. It is best to invest in those who make you feel good about yourself. #ifightyoufightwefightogether If you have a caregiver and or loved one who is a part of your Support System and you will like for them to be featured in our Next Issue... Email us at Winter Issue 2019| | 11


12 | | Winter Issue 2019

By: Lady Lioness Beautiful black butterfly become beloved. Beautiful black butterfly blinded by benevolence. Beautiful black butterfly believe bravery. Beautiful black butterfly blossom bountiful blissfulness. Beautiful black butterfly become bodacious. Beautiful black butterfly blessed by brilliance. Beautiful black butterfly balance breathes. Beautiful black butterfly bloom blistering benefits. Beautiful black butterfly… Beautiful black butterfly… Beautiful black butterfly… Beautiful black butterfly!

Winter Issue 2019| | 13

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

Follow @loveyourself_usa. Make your purchase today at Use Code RALLYUP & 15% will be donated to We Fight Foundation Inc. to help them FIGHT for Mental Wellness & Suicide Prevention.



aring for a child with a mental health condition can be a challenge. Like most parents, I feared that the beginning of my daughter’s mental health issues (journey) meant the end of having a happy and healthy family. That was not necessarily the case. With the proper support, children who struggle with mental illnesses can grow up to thrive and lead fulfilling lives. We as parents just need to make sure they have the proper tools in place. Here are the top five ways I am able to fully support my daughter and her mental health: 1. TAKE CARE OF ME. While it is my responsibility to care for and support my daughter, it is also my responsibility to take care of myself. It is important that I set a good example and model healthy behavior by having proper rest, diet, exercise, and talk therapy when needed. Caring for my own wellness ensures that I am healthy and able to care for my daughter. By investing in myself, I am inevitably helping her.

2. ACTIVELY LISTEN. I strive to make myself available and fully listen to my daughter whenever she wants to talk. I encourage her to openly and constantly communicate whenever she wants about whatever she is feeling. My daughter needs to share her feelings in a safe, confidential, non-judgement space. Unless she gives me permission to respond, I keep quiet. I do not try to fix, solve, improve, or offer any type of advice about her situation. My only job is to listen. It is important for her to know that she is being heard. 3. RESPECT FEELINGS. I let my daughter know that it is okay to feel sad, irritable, nervous, or angry. There are times when I do not fully understand how she is feeling. There are times I do not agree with what is being said. My own feelings are often hurt. But I have to make an effort to always, always, always, respect and validate her

feelings. Otherwise she will withdraw and will not feel comfortable sharing them with me. I never want our relationship to become artificial where she would only share what I want to hear. I want to have open communication and allow her to use her voice to express herself, be empowered to speak up, and stand in her true feelings. 4. LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY. There were moments when my daughter would be irritated, annoyed, mad, go off on an angry rant, or become violent. I had to learn to not become overwhelmed or frustrated. It was hard to not overreact to her feelings and behaviors. It was difficult to hold my tongue. But I had to model positive behaviors and coping skills. I had to teach the value of apologies, cooperation, patience, forgiveness, and consideration of others. I had to love her unconditionally. What kind of parent would I be if I only loved my child when she was not struggling with her mental health? 5. CREATE SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS. It is extremely important to me to make sure my daughter feels safe and loved in a highly supportive and low stress environment. When she is struggling with her mental health, she has people and resources in place to help. She has identified various positive coping strategies that work best for her. She has also identified safe places she can go to relax, reset, or calm herself when feeling triggered. My experiences navigating my daughter’s mental health were filled with trial and error. Naturally, there was a huge learning curve. It was almost inevitable that I would make mistakes, become frustrated or react poorly at times. I had to forgive myself and move on. I realized there are lots of resources available for me and my daughter that provide guidance and support. The most important things I needed to do was provide love, support, and lots of patience. It’s a process and a journey.

Winter Issue 2019| | 15


the By Andrae Hayden

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESSES SUFFER IN SILENCE? Many people suffer in silence because they fear how people will react, or look at them when they express how they feel. They are afraid that their thoughts will seem weird or abnormal. Others feel that no one could possibly understand how they feel so it would be a waste of time and energy. Then some people feel like they would be a burden to others if they share their problems. It is more comfortable to shut people out. It is easy to say “I’m ok” when you’re not. When you shut people out, it is less likely for them to judge you or hurt you. People are much more outspoken and critical now days. In past generations, people weren’t as publicly critical and outspoken as they are today. That makes it even more difficult to freely express yourself, especially when you already have mental struggles. Social media and other platforms have given people a voice and some people just don’t express things in the most positive way. So many people are ready to tear others down, rather than help to build them up. If more people were encouraged to speak out about their feelings and challenges, it would aid in emotional healing while also encouraging others to speak out. Together we can heal. Sometimes people need to hear that its ok to live day by day, as-long-as you live. It’s ok to have struggles. Every person is fighting some type of battle.It’s ok to fall, as-long-as you get back up. As long as you fight to push through. It takes support, it takes encouragement, it takes strength……To end the silence. Will you sit by silently, or will you join the fight to end the silence?

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) 16 | | Winter Issue 2019

Mental Health Confession

How Your Words Left a Mark on My Life by: Jada Carrington

You called me weird and said I would never fit in and I believed you, you used my timidness against me so I started isolating myself to prevent myself from getting hurt, you told me that what I had to say didn't matter and so I stopped saying anything at all, you picked on me almost every day and I laughed it off but I never once thought it was funny, you told me I had no reason to be depressed so I pretended not to be, you told me that cutting myself was attention seeking and only for crazy people so I never spoke of it and started cutting myself in places no one would see, you told me to kill myself but never realized how much I really wanted to, you made me feel so worthless that when they told me I was important I didn't believe it, now I'm left to clean up the mess in my life that you made, so now I have something to tell you, I'm not mad at any of you anymore because all of the pain made me stronger and it made me appreciate all of the kind things that they told me even more, but I do hope you choose to use your words a little more carefully, I hope that you treat people a little more kind, I hope you don't push anyone over the edge like you almost did me, what you say matters and could make or break someone, so from now on I'm begging you, please.....WATCH


IS MY CHILD DEPRESSED??? 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!

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.

Born Overcomers

Mommy's Sad, and I Don't Know Why

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 just as they did! #overcomersguide

Children's book. Coloring/activity book 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.


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!



Stigma in the Military When God Moves...He Moves! by: Vanity Dawson

There are so many exciting events that happen in life that I am thankful for, and God’s glory shines through each one. One such recent experience not only displays how great God’s glory is but also helped me desensitized mental health stigma in the military. I have been serving in the military for almost seven years and it’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve made in life. Not too long ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Depression, leaving me questioning what that meant for my military career. You hear often in the military, “If they don’t ask, then don’t say anything.” Even so, despite some trepidation, I decided to disclose that I sometimes suffered from depression during a recent health assessment. Then in May 2018, I had to meet with military medical professionals to discuss my disclosure which resulted in a non-deployable profile. What did that mean for me? I could potentially get medically discharged because of my condition. After furnishing requested paperwork, I stayed calm and waited. Every time I needed orders, I had to get approval because of the medical profile. It was really discouraging and scary, especially not having heard any news back from the medical board. Seven months later, I finally received news that more paper work was needed. The request shot my spirits down and I started worrying. I was in the fight to stay in the military. Then I had to remind myself whose child I am. A child of God! I had to scold myself to stop worrying because it shows little faith. I got myself suited and booted in God’s armor. Deuteronomy 20:4 says “For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory”. I learned that in my church and so started praying on it. I also had to find peace in trusting God’s plan.

Instead of worrying and stressing, I came to trust that God has a plan for me, whether it was continuing my military career or closing the military chapter in my life. I let the whole situation go and smiled. I wasn’t going to let this situation put me down. The regular struggle of feeling down and having to pick myself up to move forward in life was bad enough. Right before Christmas break, I received an email. It reflected all God’s glory! The email said I received a waiver, which allowed me to continue serving in the military. I learned that there are different waivers, but mine allows me to remain deployable. All I could do is thank God. I knew He had a plan for me. I don’t understand where He will take me, but I trust in God. Throughout the process I learned that it feels so much better to be able to disclose my diagnoses instead of keeping it a secret. I had to endure some stress and fear, but my honesty led to a weight being lifted off my shoulders, and now I can openly seek the care I need. Yes, some diagnoses can result in a medical discharge, but mine did not. The military isn’t here to just kick you out, they are here to help you be mentally and physically fit to fight. The stigma is if you have any condition, don’t report it because you’ll get discharged. I’m not saying my results will be the next person’s results, but there is always hope and a path forward. With a little honesty, faith, trust in God, and prayer things always work out for the best.

Winter Issue 2019| | 19



By: TJ Woodard

4. Do something nice for someone else. Giving to someone else and making someone happy always makes me feel better. Realize you may not be the only one feeling a little sad during this time. Think about those who have lost loved ones. Those who may be sick or in the hospital and are unable to be with their special someone. Sending a card, flowers or even taking dinner to someone else who may be by themselves. 5. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your time is coming. If it is a relationship that you desire, be patient and it will happen for you. Do not compare you being single to those around you who are in relationships. ENJOY the benefits of being single so when you’re in a relationship you can enjoy those benefits as well. 6. Avoid Social Media. If you don’t feel you can handle the

photos, the proposals, the wedding announcements and Facebook or Instragramposts made by those who are in relationship bliss, you may want to take a break during Valentine’s Day. For your sanity, there is no need to scroll through all of the posts that can potentially contribute to making you feel bad about being in your “single season”.

7. Play Matchmaker. Although single myself, I am still in

As a single woman and being single for the last 3 years, I tend to dread the time of the year when the holidays seem to come one after another. It can be a lonely time at family dinners when everyone is laughing and joking with their significant others’ and then there’s you. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are pretty manageable but then there’s Valentine’s Day. The day for couples, sweethearts, and love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not bashing the day “designated” to profess your love to your special someone but rather share some of the ways I have learned to cope. When I say cope, I mean being open to what’s happening around you while waiting for the time when your significant other will be showering you with gifts, flowers, dinner, and more. For some of us, we say that Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the ONLY time a person should show how much they love you and that this should be displayed daily and although this is true, I don’ think anyone will turn down the opportunity to receive gifts.

1. Know that YOU are your first love. Loving yourself first is key. Self-love has helped me appreciate who I am and has made being single a happy time for me. I have been able to focus more on my own personal growth and development while preparing myself for my future mate.

2. Treat yourself. It’s okay to treat yourself for Valentine’s

Day. You can send yourself flowers, treat yourself to a massage/spa day, dinner and a movie or buy yourself something nice. Retail therapy is good for your mental health as long as it is within your budget and you can afford to splurge a little. You DO NOT want to make matters worse by having “buyer’s remorse”.

3. Spend time with other singles. Have other single

friends? Why not get together with them for dinner and a movie, go dancing, shopping, or have a party. You can also do a gift exchange before Valentine’s Day, draw names and buy each other gifts. This would be a different way to spend Valentine’s Day and ensure you are not alone.

love with love. I want to help others get connected while waiting on my mate. This year I have decided to host a Singles Event to include speed dating that will provide a fun opportunity for other singles to get connected.

8. Comedies ONLY. Maybe Valentine’s Day is not the best day to watch romance movies. It’s difficult trying not to see yourself as the girl who gets the guy in the end. Maybe stick to a good comedy that will keep you laughing and your mind off of Valentine’s Day. 9. Re-visit Your Goals. I’m sure if you’re anything like me,

you are single because you choose to be. Either you have personal/professional goals, timing is off, or you keep running into the wrong guys. Whatever your reason, I’m sure you could be with someone if you really wanted to. For that reason, you don’t have to feel bad, sad or lonely. Be glad you have goals and standards. If you have them written down, pull them back out and make some adjustments if need be. Set relationship goals and determine where you want to be next year and start working to get there. You got this!

10. GET OUT! I can’t say this enough. If being at home alone on Valentine’s Day send you into a depression, then GO OUT! Do not stay in and feel sorry for yourself. You don’t have to go to a restaurant or places where couples will be but you can go for a long drive and put on some of your favorite sing-alongs, go to the gym (we know couples won’t be there)…just DO something. Nowadays you can always find an event for singles on Eventbrite, local churches, or even meetup groups or dating apps. There’s always a place to connect with others. I say all of this to say that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a doom or gloom day because you are single. There are some pros to being single and some of your friends may even want to be where you are right now (yes, that grass is greener idea) so enjoy it while you can. Whatever you decide to do, be cautious, make wise decisions and always let someone know where you are going and who you are with. Last but not least, if no one has told you…I love you and God loves you too!

Winter Issue 2019| | 21

POETRY CORNER RESILIENCE By: Kena’i Hollingsworth Fashion Director

Why? Did you forget about me? Decide you didn't want me? Daddy? What about me ? Growing up it never crossed your mind Last on your list Performances , art shows never in attendance Yet you never missed a football game Screaming your lungs out in the stands Argue with the refs over bad plays Why? Did you forget about me? Decide you didn't want me? Daddy? What about me ? You were my brothers biggest cheerleader

And my biggest bulldozer Dream killer was your nickname Your punching bag is what I became You were my first heartbreak and you weren't there to wipe my tears But I withstood the cuts and the bruises All the yelling and cursing Because you finally noticed me Daddy? As sick as that sounds I am who I am because of you People ask me how am I so strong? I tell them because of you Not But because I am your daughter But because you were my father:(

Winter Issue 2019| | 23

TJ Woodard

Founder of Queen Series by Andrae Hayden

No matter the struggle, no matter the circumstances, no matter what they have been through they too can overcome Asst Managing Editor & Editor at Large Tamika Woodard is the oldest of four siblings and is a mother and grandmother who currently serves in the United States Air Force. She comes with many gifts and talents but most importantly a heart to serve and help others achieve their goals. She is also a newly published author, and motivational speaker. She recently published her first book titled “A Queen’s Guide to Dating the Christian Way,” a book that provides godly principles of dating God’s way but also stress the importance of having a relationship with him will allow God to truly bless us with the great things he has for us. She’s survived a life of hardships, struggle and knows first-hand how to rise above obstacles that come before her. God has had his hand on her life carrying her through each and every situation she has had to endure. Tamika is the founder of Queens Series, a program in which she mentors young women between the ages of 15 - 25 offering advice and education on self-love, self-respect, self-esteem, love and relationships. She motivates, inspires and encourages all those who come into her path to keep God first and to walk in their true and divine purpose. Tamika understands how her personal experiences has taught her so many things but most importantly how she is an overcomer and that she is the daughter of a King. She hopes that her desire to mentor women and men of all ages will show that no matter the struggle, no matter the circumstances, no matter what they have been through they too can overcome. For their future, the possibilities are endless if they just don't quit and keep God first!

24 | | Winter Issue 2019

Check out Queen Series 1st Annual Retreat!!!

Day 2 began with the ladies coming together for a morning workout and continued with a session on the heart facilitated by Minister Missy Jacobs of Royalty Diadem, followed by a session on suicide and mental health given by Nikita Powell founder of We Fight Foundation and Rally Up Magazine. Brit Lashae of BNPowered spoke to the young ladies on the power of positive affirmations and how this can help with healing from past hurts. I was able to speak to the group on the topic of the Mind and what God says about our mind and our thoughts. As an author of Devotionals for the Mind, I know how important having a strong mind can contribute to your overall mental health. Last but not least, Kesha Robinson owner of Spic & Span Cleaning had the ladies create vision boards and books while sharing her personal testimony on how she had a vision that has manifested today. The young ladies worked on other projects within the workshops as well. There was so much love and encouragement given that the young ladies left feeling renewed. It was beautiful. As the speakers spoke about mental health, suicide, rejection, self-love, abuse, and many other topics they delivered information in a fun and interactive way that lingered in the minds of all that attended. The young ladies were captivated the entire time. The retreat included food, girl talk, goodie bags, and fun. At the end of the retreat, the ladies were asked to share things that they could take away from the retreat and apply to their life. The responses were so heartfelt and detailed. Some were even moved to tears. I could tell that the girls had received an invaluable and memorable experience. I was so honored to be a witness and contribute to such a pivotal and life-changing event. My daughter was there, and was also deeply impacted by the speakers and stories shared throughout the event. The Queen Series Program is a life-changing mentorship program that is essential for every young lady at any point in life, especially if they are struggling with mental health or finding purpose in life.

Brit Lashae, of BN Powered

Minister Claudette, Armor of Light Christian Worship Center

Nikita Powell-Cottman, founder of RallyUp magazine

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 1st Annual Queen Series “Embracing Your Crown” Winter Retreat. The 3-day retreat was hosted by Tamika “TJ” Woodard, the founder of the Queen Series Mentorship Program. Tamika didn’t hold back anything for this group of young ladies. The event was well planned and organized and everything that a young lady could want in a weekend retreat. There were various activities, workshops, and speakers over the duration of the 3 days. This was such an inspiring and motivational event. Located at a very stylish and serene venue. The hotel staff were very accommodating treating the young ladies like the Queens that they are. The retreat began Friday night with a girl talk session with Minister Claudette from Armor of Light Christian Worship Center on Risk Taking and how our choices have consequences whether good or bad.

Keisha Robinson, Spic & Span Cleaning Company

A Retreat to Remember

Min. Missy Jacob's of Royal Diadem

Queen Series Retreet Queen Series Retreet

Queen Series Retreet

By Andrae Hayden Andrae Hayden, Contributer Writer & Sister of TJ Woodard

Winter Issue 2019| | 25

SURRENDER Deserving? Not me. That’s what I believed. This belief caused me to work hard for things that I shouldn’t have needed to and to be too lax in areas that needed my undivided attention. Love, acceptance and approval from others required hard work. Self-love, self-acceptance, and self-approval needed my undivided attention. Self-sabotage coupled with an outright refusal to believe that I could have joy without a struggle were hefty consequences of this belief. Why is my life such a struggle? This was the burning question that I needed the answer to. I’d been praying for the answer. Sometimes, I’d screamed at God because I didn’t think He was answering fast enough. On one of my many late night “head clearing” drives, I received the answer. Surrender. Now, in that moment, I didn’t know how to process that answer, but I knew it was God. His voice was calming, yet stern. Certain. This had been the voice I’d heard so many times before but, ignored because I was so busy working hard. He speaks to me in a simple language…one I understand. It’d be dishonest of me to pretend as if resistance to surrender didn’t crop up. I’d been conditioned to believe that SURRENDER = WEAKNESS. FIGHT. Fight for everything; that’s the only way I’d earn anything. What about times when I’d received blessings simply because God approved them? I wouldn’t allow myself to fully receive them without expecting a catastrophic event to occur causing me to lose every blessing that I’d received. How could I surrender when doom was lurking around every corner?! How could I surrender when I needed to stay on-guard at all times?! I don’t know about you but, my mind repeated the same limiting stories so often and for so long that I adopted the stories as truths; these were just a few of my stories that made surrender seem impossible: “What’s the point in trying, I’ll fail in time.” “I don’t finish anything that I start.” “I should be completely healed by now…what’s wrong with me?!” “Why can’t I be like everyone else?” “I’ll never be good enough to meet ‘their’ expectations.” “If I were smarter, I’d have figured this out by now.” Pushing past the point that you’d normally quit. This is how surrender begins to happen. How? I’m so glad you asked! • Faith. You have survived 100% of your worst days.

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By: Lex Morgan

Those days when you’ve felt too hopeless, tired and helpless to stand, walk, run, and/or crawl, God carried you. Believe that if He did it before, He will do it again. God’s records of honoring His promises and finishing what He starts are flawless. Your journey is not perfect; it doesn’t need to be…keep going. • Your Corner. Ask yourself, “Who is in my corner and how do they contribute to my healing?” Based on your answers, adjustments may be necessary. You own the power to assess and re-assess your corner. Your corner loves, supports, guides and honors you. Your corner offers wise counsel. Your corner holds space for you as you experience your emotions without judging you. Your corner holds you accountable and reassures you that you will make it. • Courage. Faith and your corner encourage your courage. Dismantling limiting stories like those I’ve shared is scary. Scary because regardless of how unhealthy the thoughts are, they are familiar and “safe”. We know how to operate with the thoughts; often, we surrender to them. We unpack and live in the stories and neglect the EXTRODINARY vessels that we really are. Courage is where faith and your corner are critical. • Learn to Love Pieces of Yourself Until Loving the Full You Is Your Reality. This takes time and practice (like a baby learning to walk). At first, you will attempt to stand and fall. You will take a few steps and stumble. Over time, your confidence strengthens and so does your willingness to surrender. • How? Be gentle and patient with yourself. Everything has a beginning. Identify one thing that you love (or like) about yourself. How will you nurture that part of yourself? After all, we take care of people and things that we love (or like), right? You are no exception. You are the priority. Identify the next part of you and repeat this practice. Love is a side-effect of caring for yourself consistently over time. These tools are the framework for a safe & healthy healing environment. When we are safe, we learn to trust; we can relinquish control and surrender. Surrender opens us to the essence of who we really are. Surrender is freedom. Freedom is knowing that we own the power to shift our lives & rewrite our stories. We own the power to release what doesn’t honor us. Surrender is power.

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 III Fighting Back Against the Battlefields of Our Mind

Elyse Lancaster Suicide Survivor

Vanity Dawson Bipolar Disorder & Depression

YOU CAN Live a meaningful & prosperous life with mental health challenges, disabilities and disorders. See all previous warriors on our website:

Tai Campbell TBI

Eric Grantham Autism

Tyshia Douglas LD Short Term Memory Depression

Jada Carrington Anxiety & Depression

Elyse Lancaster @queenelyse25

Cover Story

Born and raised in Maryland, Elyse Lancaster has overcome and accomplished much in her mere 20 years. Her book, Redemption, is now available at Amazon. It is a glimpse into her world that is sure to resonate and pull at the heart strings of readers of all ages.

Born with the cerebral palsy and having to rely on leg braces and special accommodations in school as well being labeled learning challenged, she overcame her physical challenges and left her leg braces behind. As a early teen, Elyse was a victim of domestic violence and child abuse. With faith and effort she became the exact opposite of what her abusers said she would become. She shed her IEP and special education classes, and by her 11th grade year in high school, she tested out of specialized classes and became a member of the National Honor Society.

Now, Elyse is dedicated to helping others be all that God created them to be despite any obstacle. Her life is proof that through faith, hard work and determination no challenge is too great. At the tender age of twelve, I struggled and even was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ). After dealing with the abuse for so long, it had taken a toll on my self image. As another result of the abuse, I had really bad anxiety and had a truly hard time trusting others no matter their role in my life. I also dealt with bullies at school from everyone talking about my home life. My mother decided after gaining emergency custody of me that therapy was the next step to my healing process and I thank God that she did that. In therapy I was taught to understand my past and deal with all of my anxiety and fear until they no longer had power to control me. I also had my share of struggles battling with suicide attempts because of all of the things around me that I had no control over, BUT GOD! I am so happy and grateful that God had other plans for my life. If you’re in your own fight with depression, anxiety, suicide, fear of bullying, understand that God is right there with you and that you are never alone. I wrote and released a book entitled Redemption where I talk about all of the struggles I faced in depth and how with God all things are possible. So if your struggling there is hope. Get your copy of “Redemption” if you want the full story at Amazon Prime!

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My Name is Tyshia Douglas and I am 23 years old. Some ask, how did my learning disability make me feel like I was the only one in the world that was going through it, especially when I was in school? It wasn’t easy. I didn't trust anybody with my secret, not my teachers, my classmates and sometimes I didn’t trust my friends. In school I tried to hide my learning disability as much as I could because I was scared for anybody to know. I struggled with comprehending my school work which was hard for me because it was like hiding a part of my identity from the world. Almost every year, I went to a different school which meant different teachers, different students, different friends but the same cycle of hiding my disability. The reason why I tried to hide it as much as I could was because I had teachers that bullied me, talked about me and gave up on me when they didn't know how to help me. My classmates bullied me and judged me as well. They also told other kids who I didn't know about my “secret” learning disability. I had so-called friends that talked about me and turned their back on me. They tried to take advantage of me just because of my little “secret” learning disability. You would have thought that school was the only place that I was school was the only place where I was being judged but NO…I even had family that talked about me and looked at me different. During this time I stayed depressed and was mentally and emotionally drained. I cried a lot and always felt alone.


Douglas @lashes_by_shay

Finally things changed. I found things that I enjoy and learned ways to express myself. Today, I express myself through makeup, hair, and fashion. God gave me the gift to use my hands. This helps me cope and not give up. I use the internet to help me. I Google or YouTube the things I may need help with. For example, I may use the Dictionary on the Internet to help me with different words that I'm not familiar with. I teach myself with self-help resources. They help me to stay motivated! I also like to listen to Eric Thomas, Les Brown and TD Jakes. I shared my story because I would like see people change how they use the word disability. I want people to know that just because you have a learning disability it shouldn’t hold you back from achieving what you want to do in life; you can still accomplish your goals. A learning disability isn’t who you are, it’s just a word and it shouldn’t define who you are or what you can be. Don’t let a word hold you back. If you have the same determination, let that push you to achieve what you want/need in your life, and in turn that may inspire others to do the same whether they have a disability or not. People may give up on you but don’t give up on yourself!!! NO matter what keep pushing!

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and through all ages. The receptionist was right. I don’t “look” like I have depression because there is no possible way to look as so.

very ninety days, I need a refill. Every few months, I have to sit in the waiting room and check off whether or not I am sleeping or eating or finding myself irritable. Every time I need a refill on my antidepressant, since I was nineteen years old, a receptionist has handed me this short questionnaire before I see the doctor. It’s usually pretty mundane. I give her my last name, she passes me the paper, and I quietly take a seat. I work through the standard questions on depression and hand it back to her. I play a game on my phone until the doctor calls me in. Until recently, this interaction has never ensued any differently, always the same back and forth between us. But a few weeks ago, a receptionist I wasn’t as familiar with broke the script we usually follow. Like always, I smiled when I approached the front desk, ever polite despite wanting to be elsewhere. I saw the questionnaire next to the receptionist, the section I was supposed to complete already highlighted. Upon hearing my last name, a confused look took over her face and she eyed me up and down. “Depression?” She asked, handing me the clipboard. “You don’t look like you have that.” Taken off guard, I awkwardly laughed and found a seat in the waiting room. I checked off my answers honestly and felt my body heating up. Her comment toppled around in my mind; the blatant assumption was upsetting me and I couldn’t tell if I was overreacting. I wondered, should I tell the doctor? Or should I brush it off as an ignorant choice of words? After debating right through the entire appointment, I ended up blurting it out to the doctor. She thanked me for telling her and I felt better knowing that the next patient wouldn’t have to hear something similar. I wish this receptionist had considered her words a little more carefully, because what we’re all so desperately trying to get across here is really very simple: there is no face of mental illness. No face of depression or anxiety. No face of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or OCD. No specific look or standard visage that one can point out in a crowd of people. These illnesses come in every color and in every shape, at different times

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I also don’t look like I have two brothers or the ability to wiggle my ears or an addiction to coffee, but I do. I don’t look like I can play the flute, or was born in Florida, or have sleeping problems, but that’s all true too. And I don’t look like I’m sad or anxious, because sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I laugh and I mean it. Sometimes my coworker or roommate says something funny and I smile and continue the conversation. Sometimes I have good days. Really, really awesome days. I go to therapy. I also go to happy hour, and small coffee shops, and CVS when I need cheap makeup. I take an antidepressant every day. I also take an allergy pill and birth control and, when I have a headache, two Excedrin. I still sleep with a teddy bear, but I take tequila shots on Saturday nights. Sometimes I don’t eat for days at a time; instead I drink black coffee and red wine and I cry. Sometimes I go to the gym before work and make a fruit smoothie for the commute. None of it really makes any sense out loud. And that’s why no one talks about it. I struggle every day to get out of bed. I have tackled so much grief, emotional abuse, and insecurity that it often doesn’t feel worth it to wake up in the morning, board the train, and carry on with my day. And what strikes true pain in my heart is knowing so many people have it much worse than I do, that there are those who battle much larger demons and complex obstacles than I will ever face in this lifetime. To the receptionist at the doctor’s office and anyone else who doesn’t understand, let me tell you this, please. Let me tell you this because there are hilarious comedians and talented chefs and beautiful fashion designers who are killing themselves. Because there are boys from the suburbs and girls from the city who are taking their own lives. Let me tell you this and let yourself listen. Someone like me might laugh a lot and wear nice clothes and pay her rent on time; it won’t “look” like she’s struggling to you, but it doesn’t mean she’s not. There is no way to tell what someone is fighting through other than engaging in simple conversation. Ask your best friend, your colleague, or the stranger next to you how they are doing. Check up on those you are close to, because it’s a scary world and some people want to leave. Life is not always beautiful, but sometimes it’s extraordinary, and it’s worth sticking around for. I know not everyone can be saved. So if we can save but one, I still think we’re doing the best we possibly can.



I've got questions. I have grown up in the DMV and I remember hearing about St. Elizabeth’s. That’s what everyone called it and we all knew that this was where the mentally unstable went for short or long term treatment. On a personal note, my short term stay was at the mental health ward of PG Hospital in Prince George's County, Maryland. I attempted suicide while having an emotional breakdown in a tumultuous relationship. It was a short term stay of medication, therapy and coming to the realization of what my core issues were and understanding that there are so many elements to dealing with mental health. I could not wait to get out of that place; especially after I saw some people who were dealing with issues I thought were greater than mine. Many years ago, God impressed upon me that not everyone walking down the street talking to themselves is mentally ill. Which begs the question, what else could it be. Well in Scripture (Mark 5), Jesus healed a man that was not in his right mind living amongst the dead. This man lived as an outcast and no one had the ability to help him. So with this Truth in mind, how do we as members of the Faith and medical professional community approach this issue? I do not have the answers but I have plenty of questions. How can we incorporate mental health and faith? I believe that people are suffering needlessly. Recently I have been made aware of the great number of homeless that frequent Union Station in Washington, DC. I am still in shock. On a daily basis, the needy and the mentally ill wander aimlessly

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around, begging money or food from passers by, fighting, screaming to themselves and others and it makes for a chaotic and very interesting day. Let me say this, foremost, ALL people deserve to be spoken to and treated with dignity. Homelessness and/or suffering from a mental illness does not automatically assign you to the trash heap. With the state of the world as it is, anyone could be a day or weeks away from loosing their mind, being addicted to a medication or threatened with homelessness. I have given my staff a mandate of being alert to our surroundings as we work in this community and to most of all – Be kind. We have grown to know a great number of the residents here by name whom we feed, pray with and share their struggles with our limited perspectives. Mental health issues are at the forefront and they touch so many lives directly and indirectly. So what is the answer? Accurate diagnosis is most important. Do we rely solely on the medical community to anesthetize while neglecting the soul? I don’t know what the answer is but I do believe we need to work together with our collective skill sets to free people. It will take us having a mutual respect for all sides of therapy, clinical and spiritual. Exploring all possibilities and all truths. And the Truth WILL set them and us free.

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Q & A with


GOLD Interviewed by:

Nikita Powell-Cottman, Editorial Director Fashion Designer, Mental Health Advocate, and Spoken Word Artist are just a few ways to describe the multitalented Miss Gold. Born Kezia and artistically known as Cassia Gold a Baltimore, Maryland, native now based in Atlanta, Georgia, you will find Miss Gold sharing her life experiences via inspirational speaking engagements, and promoting her Spoken Word albums as well as her clothing and jewelry company, Paraclete Couture. Miss Gold began her creative journey at an early age by experimenting with poetry. In 2004, her poetry was birthed into the world as she began to tour venues. In 2005, at the age of 23, Miss Gold was diagnosed as bipolar. Fighting her way through shame and stigma to be a light that penetrates the darkness, Miss Gold manages being bipolar with a recipe that includes writing poetry, music, and sewing. In 2014, Miss Gold released her second album, “Transition.”Since its release, Miss Gold has received both nominations and awards for her powerful spiritual delivery coupled with raw emotion, delicate phrasing and the mind-bending metaphors that have become her hallmark. 2011 was a defining year for Miss Gold, as she became a full and active member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and began sharing her testimony in various locations such as mental health institutions, crisis intervention trainings, and recovery groups; aiding her healing process and pushing her to step out of her comfort zone.

Make up artist and Photography by:

Now, I see that bipolar is a gift. It broke me, but it fixed me, too…I thought my world was over. But as it turned out, it was only just beginning. In 2017, NAMI awarded Miss Gold with the prestigious Recovery Advocate of the Year award. Miss Gold now stands determined, focused, and full of life. She is committed to transforming the stigma around mental illness and finds fulfillment via encouraging others. Miss Gold aspires to travel the globe bringing hope, freedom, strength, and healing to the nations.

Winter Issue 2019| | 35

RUM: In one sentence, who is Cassia Gold? CASSIA: A woman of resilience and power that has been tried by ďŹ re (life’s trials) and that’s coming out as pure gold! (1Peter 1:7) RUM: What does resilience mean to you? CASSIA: Getting back up to continue to ďŹ ght even after being knocked down. RUM: What is one example of a time when you had to be resilient? CASSIA: When I was in my last semester of fashion school, I experienced a Bipolar Manic Episode and I chose to go back to school as soon as I was released from the psych ward. My mind was not stable enough to return to classes right away, but I was determined to ďŹ nish school and not get dropped for missing too many days. I pressed through and earned my degree. RUM: Healing is a process. What are some steps you had to take on your healing journey? CASSIA: My ďŹ rst step was to redeďŹ ne who I was. When I lost my mind, I felt that I had lost myself and my capability to rely on my own intuition to make decisions. I had to learn how to trust myself again. Secondly, I had to ďŹ nd my own ingredients to make up my life recipe. Those things to make me the best me. Art has also played a substantial role in how I’ve been able to cope with recovering from a mental illness. Sewing, journaling, writing, reciting poetry, and dancing are few other creative outlets I’ve used in my healing journey. Lastly, sharing my story publicly and shamelessly has given me strength and freedom to continue my road to recovery. RUM: You're an advocate for mental health and you work with NAMI. How has this helped you in dealing with your diagnosis? CASSIA: Working with NAMI has helped me to get my voice back. I am an “In our own voiceâ€? presenter with NAMI. This is a program where I travel sharing my recovery story. This program has given me the opportunity to advocate and speak about my experiences. Through NAMI I’ve gained conďŹ dence and another support system to aid me on my journey while oering others encouragement, hope, and insight on what it is like to have a mental illness. RUM: In 2009 you received an award for the Best Poet. What did that feel like for you knowing what you had been living with? CASSIA: Because spoken word poetry is an outlet for me to share my life experiences, I feel that being awarded for it helped me to realize that what I’ve been through is not in vain and that it has inspired others. It was truly an honor and a great milestone in my life. RUM: What deďŹ nes you? CASSIA: Learned Life Lessons RUM: When you look in the mirror, what do you see? CASSIA: A wounded warrior that has not given up the ďŹ ght! RUM: How important is a “support systemâ€? to you? CASSIA: A “goodâ€? support system and having the right people to hold me up is important because it keeps me accountable to take

36| | Winter Issue 2019

care of myself. I call them my “Simonsâ€?, like the disciple who helped Jesus carry his cross. RUM: What has been the most diďŹƒcult choice you had to make to regain your mental strength? CASSIA: To publicly share my story without shame. I receive freedom in sharing. RUM: Do you feel mental health is just as important as your physical health? Why? CASSIA: Yes. Mental health is just as important or even more important because without mental stability, it’s like walking around with a headless body. Having a stable mind and mindset is necessary for functioning optimally. RUM: what do you think your true purpose is in life? (THINK) CASSIA: LOL!! I know that my purpose is to heal myself and others through art. I am a healer through art. RUM: What is your greatest fear? How do you conquer it? CASSIA: My greatest fear is chipping my front tooth. I watch where I walk. RUM: Do you have any regrets? CASSIA: None RUM: You have your own clothing Couture‌what inspired you to start it?



CASSIA: I was raised in fashion. I always tell people that I started in my mother’s womb because she was a model and a designer. My desire to have a clothing line stemmed from me wanting to dress dierently than others and to make clothing that would give people their own unique look. RUM: You seem so positive, are you always able to ďŹ nd your “happyâ€? place? CASSIA: I try to focus on simple things. Just give me my family, a ripe mango, and some bubble tea and I’m good. RUM: There may be a younger reader who has thoughts of giving up or having thoughts of harming themselves; what encouraging words do you have for them? CASSIA: ALWAYS remember that you have your own ďŹ ngerprints so there is no one like you. You serve a purpose on this earth like a ďŹ nger to a hand or even a hand to an arm. No matter how big or small you think your role on this planet is, just know that you have a place and it is to discover your purpose and use it to help others. Neck Piece by: Paraclete Couture from the Sui Generis Collection OutďŹ t by: Cassia Gold Paraclete Couture

CASSIA GOLD  :  : WWW.CASSIAGOLD.COM    : @iamcassiagold Clothing line  : WWW.PARACLETECOUTURE.COM  : @paracletecouture  : WWW.THEGOLDJOURNEY.COM  : @thegoldjourney

FIND YOUR "RECIPE" TO GOOD MENTAL HEALTH Good mental health is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems. It's the ability to cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make positive contributions to their community. Create your own "recipe" by checking off ingredients that will mix up to a better you! Feel free to add your own ingredients for some extra flavor!                    

Taking my medication Therapy Stay away from my triggers Exercise Eating Right Praying Daily words of affirmation Meditation Nutritional meals Journaling Self-Help books Drawing Painting Singing Dancing ___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________

Cassia Gold's Recipe - taking her medication - meditating - seeing her doctor/therapist regularly - staying away from triggers - exercising - journaling - praying - reading self-help books - using her artistic endeavors to cope; such as poetry, spoken words and making clothes & name a few.

Activity Box

Nekesa Natural Radiance 404-835-2117

beauty | lifestyle | company | hair

Winter Issue 2019| | 37


A Loc start option or a protective style that last up to 12 weeks. 1- A touch up is required between 4-6 weeks. 2- The perimeter it taken out and retwisted. Hair is shampooed conditioned, and steamed. 3- Less is best when it comes to products.


38 | | Winter Issue 2019

#nnrscalprefresher to remove sweat and open the pores. #nnr3-n-1 deep moisture with a vigorous massage as needed. #nnrmoisturemoouse to wake up the twist.


"Through my pain I was able to find my purpose." "My suicide attempt in January changed everything for me. I was stuck in one of the deepest, darkest and longest major depressive episodes that I’ve ever experienced. I questioned my entire existence and I didn’t know who I was anymore outside of my illness. I no longer wanted to live and my light for life was dimly lit. January 26, 2018 is a day I’ll never forget. Without a doubt, I believe that God kept me here for a reason. Through my pain I was able to find my purpose. I’ve made peace with my past and now I’m totally focused on moving towards progression. I am always going to have bipolar disorder, it’s a part of my life, I’ve accepted that and I know that I can survive whatever comes my way. There will be dark days, moments of mania, ups, downs and rushes where I’m overwhelmed with anxiety. There will also be good days, the days that love, light and laughter take over. My art of vulnerability and authenticity will always be present and I’ll never stop using my voice or sharing my story to raise awareness."


Depression is a serious issue that requires medical attention. These are common symptoms Check all that apply...  Changes in sleeping pattern  Lack of energy  Dark Mood  Changes in appetite  Thoughts of harming herself  Heavy "dark" Mood  Guilt and/or Anxiety  Hard to Focus  Thoughts of Self-Harm

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!


CONTINUES... Our 2nd Annual RallyUp Against the Battlefield OF THE MINDS We Fight Foundation did it again! The second annual Rallyup Against the Battlefields of the Mind was held on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at the Busboys and Pœts in Hyattsville, MD and I must say this one was for the books! The night was filled with love and celebration of life as the talent came together again showcasing talents of all genres of the arts taking over Busboys and Pœts in Hyattsville, Maryland. The talent at this event were amazing and the stories were even more powerful during this second go round for the organization. As we continue to see this movement grow We Fight Foundation Inc. continues to take charge in providing an outlet as well as acknowledge who founder Nikita Powell-Cottman deems as her Mental Health Warriors for their motivation to continue their fight while advocating on the behalf of others.

Eric Grantham

Kimberly Jordan

R-L: Nikita Powell-Cottman, Founder; Tai Campbell Founder of TBOC, Host; Paul Cottman, Board Member and Nikita's husband.

Jae Westbrook who graced the cover of the Fall Issue of RallyUp Magazine was the opening act of the night. He debuted his most compelling music video “Ocean Floor.”


The lineup consisted of motivational speakers, pœts, dancers, singers and those who just wanted to share their stories of challenges and perseverance as they live with various mental health illnesses in spite of their diagnosis. Tai Campbell of TBOC (Taken Back Our Community) which is an outreach for young women and men kept the crowd entertained as the host of the 2018 event. Beautiful songs were presented by Eric Grantham who is no stranger to the RallyUp event with his dynamic repeat performance, the beautiful voice of Kimberly Jordan, and Ambitious_Caban who all did a tremendous job of bringing down the house.

TBOC dancers

Dasia Wood

Tamika Woodard

The TBOC dancers were in full force as they performed on stage with acrobatic moves that brought life and energy to their performance. Dasia Wood was amongst the youngest of the group with Tamika Woodard being the oldest. 40| | Winter Issue 2019

Jada Carrington

Vanity Dawson

Ernesto Lara

The show brought newcomers to the stage with pœts to include Jada Carrington, Vanity Dawson, Ernesto Lara, and Lady Lioness. The speakers provided powerful testimonies of faith, healing, hope and perseverance that had the audience applauding them for their strength and courage. Age was not a factor as speakers ranged from high school students to adults.

Lady Lioness

Kam & the Blitz Band

Big Kage & the TBOC Dancers

Kam & the Blitz and Kage rocked the house!

Big Kage Kevin Hollingsworth Jr.

Niki Powell-Cottman

Kena’i Hollingsworth & Niki Powell-Cottman

The highlight of the night was led by Keynote Speaker Niki Powell-Cottman as she delivered a powerful message sharing her purpose of the Rally and her mission to fight on behalf of those who struggle daily with mental health challenges. Niki Powell-Cottman also had her children Kena’i and Kevin Hollingsworth share their stories for the first time on stage. Niki Powell-Cottman alongside her husband Paul Cottman and family, refers to her participants as We Fight Foundation Warriors because she believes that living and striving daily to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is not an easy task. The young women and men have not only beat the odds but are living testimonies that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to even with a mental illness. Not only are they warriors but they are advocates on behalf of those who are still fighting to find their voice.

Niki Powell-Cottman & her daughter, Kena’i Hollingsworth ended another heartfelt Rally with the foundation’s motto…”I fight, you fight, we fight together!”

Winter Issue 2019| | 41


by Dani Pope

What’s for lunch? A colorful, fully raw and delicious bowl filled with healthy fats, minimal prep and made in just 10 minutes! Raw zoodles with creamy AF avocado-parsley sauce.

• To make zucchini noodles: spiralize 2 medium, raw zucchini using a veggetti (if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can totally use a mandoline or vegetable peeler). • For the avocado sauce blend: -

use 2 ripe avocado the juice of 1 lemon 1 clove garlic 1/3 cup packed with fresh parsley 2 tbsp EVOO, 1-2 tbsp of water add Himalayan pink salt and crushed black pepper to taste.

Blend until creamy - feel free to add more water if the sauce appears to be too thick. Pour sauce on zucchini noodles, toss, cut and add in tomato wedges. Serve and ENJOY!

#Reminder: Eat food that makes you feel good!


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!

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We Fight Foundation  : 240-34-FIGHT  :@weďŹ ghtfoundation  : @weďŹ ghtfoundation

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Rallyup Magazine Winter 2019  

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