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Talks About the Importance

to ♼ Yourself


The Science of Self Care

Mental Health

Confession Can the Church

Handle My

Young Mind?

by Jada Carrington

Stepping into Courage

by Vanity Dawson

The Ultimate Mental Health

Guide Fall 2018

By: Nekesa Smith

Suicide Amongst

Millennials by Andrae Hayden



Lex Morgan

Love Blueprint The foundation. The trauma. The recovery.


VOL. 2 FALL 2018

OUR FIGHT Mother & Daughter Continues to Fights Back... Physical & Mental Challenges Do Not Stop These Two!

TOGETHER They Are Still


Jaelin Westbrook Cover by Tinisha Curl Lex Morgan Cover by S.Deneen Photography

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

Do You Need Help???

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

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

CRISIS TEXT LINE Text "TALK" to 741741 NAMI Helpline M-F, 10 am - 6pm ET 1800-950-NAMI Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 1) LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline: 1866-4-U-TREVOR We Fight Foundation, Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448) Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in US - CDC 80% - 90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully with therapy and/or medication -TAPS study There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes - CDC



 : @tylerGENIUS 9

Meet The New Contributors

19 Mental Health Confession Can the church Handle My Young Mind by Jada Carrington

11 Behind The Scenes We on Fire for Our Youth

21 Poetry Corner

12 RallyUp FASHION Full of Confidence & Beauty

23 Warrior Zone II Dasia Wood, Vanity Dawson

14 Beauty 101 The Science of Self Care

27 The Ones Left Behind I Lost My DAD

16 Love Blueprint

30 Health & Wellness Vitamin D & Depression

by Nekesa Smith

by Lex Morgan

by Allison Carroll

by Tamika Woodard

♥ 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.

Volume 2 November 2018 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 Beauty Editor: Nekesa Smith Guest Writer: Allison Carroll Contributing Writers: Jada Carrington Lex Morgan Vanity Dawson Dasia Wood Andrea Hayden Rhonda Wood

Seeking Contributer writers, Guest writers and Interns.

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

We hear people say they care about mental health and how hurtful it is to see so many people lost...How are you raising awareness about mental health??? Send your response to and Your Answer May Be Featured in our Next Issue!!!

Natural Radiance

Beauty lifestyle company hair Products | Education

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

FOUNDER'S THOUGHTS We Are Kicking Down the Gates of Darkness! e are excited to hear that Our Ultimate Guide to Mental Health is giving people a life line! I learned over the last couple of months, it's not that we are not talking about mental health, our conversations just needs to improve. Our conversations needs to be more personable, filled with empathy, judgment free, open, honest and most importantly ongoing! People need to feel safe and accepted when talking to us. It's difficult for them to open up when they fear they will be judged and/or feel you will not believe them. I am sure everyone can of the hardest things to do is to be open and honest about our personal struggles; especially if it is a current struggle, problem and/or situation. We have to become brave and speak our truth so others will not feel alone! There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness but keep talking no matter what! No matter how awkward it makes you feel. There is healing in sharing and you give the next person hope. Thank you for joining our movement to #rallyup2savelives!

8 | | November 2018

Meet The New CONTRIBUTORS Lex 16-17 @emergingtriumphantly_llc A word people often use to describe me is .... Authentic. One thing I'll never change about myself is.... My relentless commitment to being the best version of myself. When I look in the mirror I see... An incredibly courageous and resilient work of art who is still evolving. I'm My most authentic self when...I'm with my family and close friends. I maintain my mental strength by...Plugging into God who is my power source.

Dasia 15 @daswkk A word people often use to describe me is articulate. One thing I’ll never change about myself is who I am as a person. I feel it’s artificial. I will only grow more in to who I am in the most positive way. When I look in the mirror I see everywhere I was in life. And the person who got through it all. I see the person who did it. I see strength. I’m my most authentic self when I’m surround by people I can relate to. I maintain my mental strength by having a good support system. And doing what’s best for myself.

Vanity 29 @phoenyx_d A word often used to describe me is humorous. One thing I’ll never change about myself is the ability to love the people around me. When I look in the mirror I see God’s princess. I’m my most authentic self when I am living in my purpose. I maintain my mental strength by focusing on God, engaging in activities I enjoy, and different therapy.

Andrea Hayden 20


A word people often use to describe me is calm. One thing I’ll never change about myself is wearing my heart on my sleeve. I feel that it shows my authenticity and vulnerability. When I look in the mirror I see a beautiful woman that loves God so much. A woman that has overcome so many obstacles and knows that without God, I would not be here. I’m my most authentic self when I am with my family. I maintain my mental strength by praying and staying in close relationship with my Father God. I read my devotionals, I worship him with song and praise consistently. I also decide what things I allow into my mental space. November 2018| | 9

Take Suicidual thoughts seriously and GET HELP!

I did and I feel Much BETTER!

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

We On Fire For Our Youth

It's such a blessing to be able to provide a platform for our young mental health warriors to express themselves and spread awareness. We have united to continue the movement...

#rallyup2savelives Mental Illness is Very Real!!! Mental Illness is no one's fault! The fighting that you do to cope is just incredible! You Deserve to be Recognized for your Fight!...

Email us at to be featured in our next issue Warrior Zone! November 2018| | 11

"It's OKAY to Love your body just the way it is." ~Denise Bidot

Everything is so beautiful when you stop looking for the flaws.

"I am obsessed with becoming a woman comfortable in her own skin."

12 | | November 2018

♥ 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.


SCIENCE of Self Care The hair salon has been the cornerstone in the community for years. In addition to the salon being the “go to” destination for beauty, it has been the most therapeutic place for women to let their hair down. Conversations about everything from husbands, kids, work, to cooking and cleaning dominates the salon at any time. The main objective of these conversations and vent sessions pertain to the constant journey of balance. In my experience, I am learning that the idea of balancing life without proper support is a rough uphill journey. Learning to carve out time for self-care is a necessary mindset to have on the journey of balance. After a recent conference with radio personality Charlemagne the God, the importance of him having a therapist was the topic of discussion. The image is that therapy is for a certain person and that it means that there is something wrong. The quote Charlemagne used was “I am in therapy to deal with people who should be in therapy.” Everyone could benefit from therapy at some point. While that sounds easy to some, it’s difficult for those who can’t. We are quick to say get help and you need a therapist but not everyone has the means at that moment. Here a few holistic practices to help restore and replenish the mind, body, soul and spirit.

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1. Start a journal of thoughts and ideas. Journal a couple of times a day to let your thoughts out. 2. Exercise daily. Preferably outdoors when possible. Try yoga, walking, and even heavy cardio. 3. Set your atmosphere in its totality. Candles, soft soothing music, lighting and wall color are all great. 4. Use essential oils for mental relaxation by trying aroma therapeutic diffusing. 5. Unplug your cell phone as much as possible. Learn to be away from your phone. 6. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. 7. Stay connected to positive people. Find an accountability partner. 8. Eat as clean as possible. 9. Give yourself permission to be still. 10. Find an amazing stylist who will nurture not only your hair but your inner beauty as well.

xo, Nekesa Namosunge J. Smith Beauty Entrepreneur


have come to learn that when it comes to mental health, self-advocacy is really important. After all you are your best advocate. Learning to advocate for yourself is a healthy add on to positive growth in your mental health journey and self-care. Being active in your treatment can help you get more information to add to your resources; supporting your recommendations for yourself. Most likely if you are working with one mental health professional, that’s not going to be the only one you’re going to work with. If you’re working with more than one mental health professional, there are going to plenty more even if they are not your primary. With that being said, of course there are going to be so many opinions and decisions made about you and for you. That is why it is important to make sure your input is included as well and making sure you get a chance to say things other than when they ask you the traditional medical questions. Mental health providers are the professionals but you are part of what their profession is so of course they will have a say in your best interest and may seem they’re trying to prove their methods over yours however, make sure what you are advocating for is being heard and not talked over so that there can be a better chance of everyone being on the same page. A good way to insure better advocacy is learning as much about your mental illness as you can - the book way and most importantly your own personal experience. Also know your mental health history. This can make it easier to catch your mental health professionals up to speed on whatever they may need to know because again you might not have one mental health provider throughout your entire journey. You should include things like knowing how many and the names of medications you have been on, your diagnosis history, the number of hospitalizations you’ve had, tracking your moods, episodes, activity, etc. Also, learning more about your treatment plans by doing your own research can be an important help. Starting sentences with “since this has happened do you think it would be better to try” or “ based on this I strongly feel this would be in my best interest” or anything along those lines would be great for recommending a particular case you are advocating for yourself. Overall, you may already have many advocates but make sure you are one of them as well. This can be an important, positive, and an active step in your mental health, self-care and treatment plan. Taking these steps has not only made me a better advocate regarding my mental health but also in all other areas of my life. So make sure to be your best advocate.

FINISHING MOISTURE LINE FOR 4C HAIR Nekesa J. Smith CEO/ Founder Nekesa Natural Radiance Hair Loft salon 404-835-2117

Love Blueprint By: Lex Morgan

Blueprint: A design plan or other technical drawing. s I began to write this article, my old “friend” fear showed up. “What will people think when they read this story?”, “You don’t have to share your business to be a blessing”, “People are going to look at you differently if they know the truth about you.” My response to fear is obedience. My response to fear is courage. Before I go any further, I must honor my parents. MA, THANK YOU for never giving up. For boldly and courageously agreeing to support me as I share OUR story. DAD, THANK YOU for your unwavering love and encouragement. Thank you for being a demonstration of patience, strength and resilience. To every family member and friend who stands in the gaps and loves me unconditionally, THANK YOU. HERE WE GO… A love blueprint was used to develop my definition of an experience with love. Every relationship and how I experienced them began with my original love blueprint. My first memories of my parents were dysfunctional. My mom would tell me that my dad was coming to pick me up and he’d never come. I remember waiting by the living room window for hours watching cars go by…waiting. I needed him during those years. I needed him to rescue me. When he didn’t come, I felt abandoned. My mother’s lifestyle choices made it hard for me to feel safe. Domestic violence was a regular occurrence. I was scared all the time. When she didn’t leave her abuser, I felt like she chose him instead of my safety. I felt abandoned by her, too. ABANDONMENT WAS ETCHED ONTO MY ORIGINAL LOVE BLUEPRINT. To cope with her pain, my mother developed an addiction to crack cocaine. She didn’t feel powerful enough to leave her abuser, so she stayed and numbed her pain. I learned to cope with the abuse that I witnessed by shutting down, collapsing into myself and staying out of the way. For one reason or another, she kept going back to him. I didn’t understand because she was so beautiful, and, I thought she deserved so much better. In time, confusion turned to anger and resentment toward her for not leaving. I’d developed a strong dislike for him because of his behavior. I wished that he would go away and never come back. Those experiences taught me that love hurts and its “ok” to be hurt if the abuser apologizes, buys gifts and promises that there won’t be a next time; there was always a next time. Without anyone to protect me, I was left vulnerable to abuse, too; I was sexually molested for the first time at about 3 years old. My mother’s addiction, abuse and the abuser’s broken promises taught me that I wasn’t worth protecting. PAIN AND DISTRUST WERE ETCHED ONTO MY ORIGINAL LOVE BLUEPRINT. Because of our dysfunctional and unstable home life, my siblings and I

16 | | November 2018

were separated for a period and sent to live with different family members. It was nice to have a place to go and family willing to take me in, but, I wanted to be with my siblings and mom. Loneliness was a big part of my life. LONELINESS WAS ETCHED ONTO MY ORIGINAL LOVE BLUEPRINT. Many times, I thought that maybe if I hadn’t been born, everyone would be happy because they wouldn’t have to take care of me. I’d been conditioned to believe that being my mother’s daughter was an embarrassment. I internalized that shame and believed that if I was one of her decisions, I must’ve been a mistake too. My emptiness sent me out into the world looking for ways to prove my worth to someone. Anyone. The absence of a sense of self-worth sent me down a destructive road. Being me wasn’t good enough to be loved, so, I became whoever I needed to be to get what I needed. I’d become quite skilled at masking my pain, or, at least I thought so. I was so heartbroken, lost, hurt, angry, and confused. I became a people pleaser because I thought that if others were happy with me, they’d love me. Sexual assaults, promiscuity, teenage pregnancy was all part of my quest for love. I learned to use my body to gain the attention that I so desperately needed. I compromised myself and my safety to fit in. Alcohol, drugs, violence, gossiping, sex, masturbation/pornography, partying, shopping, and judging others whose failures seemed bigger than mine were some of the ways I learned to cope; I’d learned to numb my pain, too. My shame and secrets were killing me, but I couldn’t allow myself to see it. I didn’t want to acknowledge these things because doing so would require me to be accountable. Accountability meant that I’d have to face my life, baronesses, pain, decisions and consequences. I’d have to apologize to those I hurt and offended with my actions. Honestly, I thought it’d just be easier to stay hidden. Safe. My upbringing made statements like “You can do whatever you put your mind to”, seem like an outright lie. I thought that I could fill the gaping holes in my heart and soul with people, places, things, and experiences. The voids in my life were much larger than any material thing, person or experience could fill. Everything seemed to disappear into the abyss of my soul causing me to seek more and more of the things that threatened to destroy me. Consequently, it didn’t matter that people told me I was pretty and smart and could be anything I wanted to be. The truth is that every act of violence stripped away my innocence and taught me that I was replaceable, unimportant, voiceless, and powerless. If I wanted love, I’d have to prove that I was worthy. WORTHLESSNESS WAS ETCHED ONTO MY ORIGINAL LOVE BLUE PRINT. My original love blue print was used to design a very broken version of me. For many years, I operated in that brokenness. I was familiar with it. Although I didn’t love it, I’d learned to live in it. I was comfortable.

My soul knew that I deserved to heal but my mind disagreed. My mind said, “who do you think you are?!”, “You aren’t better than anyone else!”, “if you change, you’re forgetting where you came from and abandoning your family.” I listened to my mind because I hadn’t learned to trust my spirit, yet. As a child, I suffered from nightmares, sleepwalking, urinating on myself at the sight of my mother’s abuser, nose bleeds, and chronic nervousness. As an adult, the nightmares continued, and I was suffering from debilitating depression and thoughts of suicide. I’d also begun to experience anxiety attacks. My heart would race and feel like it was going to jump out of my chest. I was constantly worried that someone was going to harm me, so I was always prepared to fight; I’d become an abuser. I didn’t realize that a huge part of my suffering was caused by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The thought of PTSD hadn’t even entered my mind. I’d attributed PTSD with war veterans, not domestic violence, sexual abuse and abandonment. PTSD is caused by trauma, and, my early life had no shortage of that. I thought I could erase the trauma by numbing and forgetting it. I was wrong. I kept asking God to help me and it seemed as if he wasn’t listening. I thought that He’d forgotten about me. I was angry with Him. I was angry with the world. I hated myself. I was so tired. Tired of lying to myself about “having it all together”, tired of pretending to be a hero for others while abandoning myself, tired of being toxic, tired of fighting myself and my truth. I knew how to survive but had no clue how to live. After some nudging from amazingly supportive family members and close friends, I began to consider the idea that I deserved to heal. I learned about courage. Courage is how I began to re-design my love blueprint. You see, courage isn’t about being fearless, it’s about doing the things that scare us. Courageous moments are fleeting, so, I’ve learned to act during those moments. I made one of many courageous, difficult, and empowering decisions. I chose to seek help. I needed to face the truth about my life, but, I couldn’t do it alone. I had no idea that receiving support to face the destruction of my mother’s addiction (which I was convinced was the source of my struggles) would transform my life. An internet search lead me to Families Anonymous (FA); a support group for family members of addicts. Initially, I was terrified to attend a meeting because I’d never heard of such a group and didn’t know what to expect. The group saved my life! I learned that I matter, that its ok to take care of myself and my mother’s addiction isn’t my fault. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, it transcends race, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, etc. In this space, I learned acceptance. I learned that I wasn’t alone. God was listening. He hadn’t forgotten about me. In addition to FA, seeking help from mental health and life coaching professionals were huge steps in the direction of my recovery. The decision to seek this level of support introduced me to myself…my real self! As part of my healing work, there were several difficult healing conversations that I needed to have. The conversations with each of my parents and my mother’s abuser were at the top of the list. I was afraid that my parents would be upset with me for rehashing the past. That they’d reject my experiences or disown me for speaking truths they were ill-equipped to face. I wasn’t sure how I’d heal the trauma caused by my mother’s abuser because he’s deceased.

Since I was too afraid to share my experiences verbally, I used my gift of writing to speak the words that my mouth couldn’t. I wrote each word with the commitment to my healing in the forefront of my mind. I started with my father’s letter. This letter was the most difficult because I’d never been so transparent with him and I wasn’t sure how he’d respond. We’d formed a relationship and I didn’t want to feel like I was losing him, again. I did it anyway. I needed him to know the damage and impact of his absence. I also needed to reveal that my great-grandmother generously shared intimate parts of her life with me. Her truth allowed me to understand his story and to forgive him. I needed to thank him for coming back. The second letter was to my mom. I needed to express the devastation and impact of her decisions. I needed her to know that I’d learned to understand many of her actions and decisions because I had uncovered the brokenness that she was born into. I needed to acknowledge the things that I honor most about her, and I needed her to know that I’d forgiven her. I waited with bated breath for each of them to respond. They weren’t angry with me. To my surprise, they wanted to discuss the letters. Our discussions revealed brokenness that existed long before I was born. That I was born into dysfunction, I didn’t create it. I wasn’t a mistake. They do love me and always have. I love them, too. Likewise, I wrote a letter to my mother’s abuser. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with the letter since he’d never be able to read it. After some thought, I decided that I’d visit his grave and read the letter to him. Initially, when I inquired about visiting the site, I was told that his grave was unmarked and would be difficult to find. For a while, that was the excuse I used not to move forward. I finally decided to contact the cemetery and request assistance with finding his location. One cold winter morning, I decided to go. The truth was that I was still being tormented by the trauma of his abuse. He was controlling my life from the grave and I was on a mission to claim my power and release him once and for all. Although I was afraid, I knew that this step was necessary. With persistence and help from cemetery staff, I located him. As I stood reading the letter, tears began to fall. At first, my voice was soft and timid, like a child. As I read on, I felt stronger and more empowered. I cried. I screamed! I expressed everything that I needed to say as a child but couldn’t. I shared how his abuse impacted my life as an adult. I acknowledged the best memories that I had of him. I thanked him for never beating me. I forgave him for not protecting my innocence. I realized that he was simply ill-equipped to protect my innocence because no one protected his. Forgiveness felt freeing. I didn’t have to hold on to the pain anymore. I released him in that moment. One truth and healing experience at a time, I began to re-design my love blueprint and shift the trajectory of my life! COURAGE is etched onto my re-designed love blueprint. LOVE is etched onto my re-designed love blueprint. FAITH is etched onto my re-designed love blueprint. HOPE is etched onto my re-designed love blueprint. PERSEVERANCE is etched onto my re-designed love blueprint. I thought that where I came from defined who I was and my worth, or lack thereof. I know better now. Today, I feel profound gratitude because my NOW is evidence that my THEN was necessary. Without every experience, I wouldn’t fully appreciate who I AM. To the person reading this, please know that you are worthy of healing. You are strong enough to live beyond everything that has threatened to destroy you. I celebrate you for not giving up! With every healthy and self-honoring decision, we heal and EMERGE…TRIUMPHANTLY.

November 2018| | 17

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

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

Dating and Staying in the will of God

Mental Health Confession: "Can the Church Handle My Young Mind?"

hen I ďŹ rst started going through depression I have to be honest, not once did I think about the church. It's not that I didn't go to a good church or that I didn't have anyone I could talk to. It was just that I was young and didn't think anyone would take the matter seriously and would listen to me. Young people often get shut down quickly because of “lack of experience and knowledgeâ€? so I wasn't going to be the one to make waves, instead I just kept silent. I guess growing up hearing things like "pray about it" or "don't worry, trust God and obey" I ďŹ gured that if I talked about it to the church I would either get one of those responses and/or get judged or criticized for having the issue. I decided since no one else talked about their mental health issues, I wasn’t going to either. I did not want to be out of line as a Christian. After awhile when I became more aware about mental health, I took a good look at the church and realized that there were so many other people, young people included, going through similar issues that really needed the space and opportunity to share and connect. While I was at a church conference, I participated in teaching a youth workshop with the topic of mental health. One young person told their testimony and from there I watched many young people cry out about things that they were going through that was aecting them mentally. Honestly I empathized with them because I knew what that was like but I couldn't help but wonder what the church was doing about it. The question no longer "Is mental health a problem in the church?" because it is. The question is or at least should be "What is the church doing to solve the mental health problems?" Did you know that it is a part of the church's responsibility to do so? Mental health is a big part of spiritual health and if one is o usually that means the other is also. Gratefully I’m starting to see more churches including my own develop ministries, workshops, and more that speciďŹ cally targets mental health. So I'm leaving these questions to all other clergy, teachers, leaders, oďŹƒcers, members and anyone else connected to the church:

• Is mental health one of the priorities in your church? • What are you going to do to make it a priority? • What are you doing in your church to make sure the minds of our young people are straight? • If your answers were no to these questions or you could not answer them then I ask yourself what are you going to do about it? I specify the youth not just because I'm young but because we are the next to carry the torch. If you expect us to do well, we have to have all the appropriate resources we need to be the most eective and healthiest Christian leaders we can be. The church can no

longer afford to sit in silence. Hey fellow Christians‌let's get to work!!!!

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

Suicide Amongst Millennial’s By Andrae Hayden

Have you ever asked yourself why people make the decision to commit suicide? Especially people that appear to have wonderful lives, money, fame, and happiness. I have replayed this question over and over and it leads me to the same thought. There must have been a void in that person’s life. Something that was missing from their life, that they may have needed to feel complete or a feeling that had been lingering for a while. It doesn’t matter how wealthy a person appears to be or their social status; we have all experienced hurt and pain. Each person processes emotions differently, depending on the mentality of that person. Suicide can be a result of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or other mental health conditions. A decision to die by suicide is not a decision that is made overnight. Choosing suicide is an attempt to end pain and torment. One often feels like the world would be a better place without them. It is most often a carefully thought out plan. Suicide is on the rise and has become much more prevalent today; especially among millennials. Our younger generation is crying out for help, and we need to act fast. With the increased usage of social media, and an earlier introduction of dating, children should be better prepared on how to cope with stress, loss, rejection, and emotional distress. Mental Health programs should be incorporated into the schools and health facilities to give children and adults an opportunity to talk about their feelings, and get access to the help they need. Successful treatment starts with the mind. When we have healthy minds, we can live healthy lives. We live in a world where there are so many additional stress factors like lack of jobs, lack of resources, high premiums for health insurance, etc. We must take additional steps to ensure that we maintain good mental health in our lives, as well as advocate for mental health so that our future generations have access to information and programs needed to maintain good mental health also.

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POETRY CORNER WHERE I’M FROM I am the baby whose mind is blameless, Unawareness is surrounding me. I am the girl who is suffering, Deceit shows its vicious face to me. I am the juvenile who can’t stay still, Running is becoming of me. I am the lady who has grown real weary, Eradication waits to consume me. I am the woman full of resilience, Strength, my friend takes hold of me. I am the woman full of purpose, Crossing the finish, success awaits me.

I am the girl whose voice is quiet, Harm gets ready to encompass me. I am the girl crying inside, Desensitized from what’s all around me. I am the lady away from the mirror, Hatred is the enemy that loves me. I am the lady who He has appointed, Trinity comes in to greet me. I am the woman striding on faith, Boldness has pierced its way through me.

By: Vanity Dawson November 2018| | 21

SPEAK Trying to be a voice to the voiceless while I'm still trying to find my own. Trying to give words to the speechless, yet still trying to set the tone. Quiet but still outspoken, cracked but still unbroken. Rising-up to be mature, but still not fully grown. Somebody came and dropped the whole world in my hands and then told me to go for it. No guidelines, no directions, just the advice to keep holding on. One day I'll have something to show for it, so I have to try my best and just go with the flow; because life will keep going whether I say yes or I say no. I'm up for the challenge and I'll play the game, but my mind has to change, I know can't think the same. I got to stay focused no matter what path I may choose, because I am a winner and I refuse to lose. Life is full of obstacles, but determination makes life last longer. Even though I may fall, I’ll get right back up with confidence, because I know that whatever doesn't kill me just makes me stronger. I am strong and a warrior at heart, I am full of power. I finish everything I start. No matter what comes up, I won't be full of strife, I'll just keep being positive and choose to speak life.

By: Jada Carrington If poetry is your way of coping, we are looking for you! Become a Contributer writer for RallyUp Magazine! For inquiries...

22 | | November 2018

Nikita Powell Anxiety

Kenai Hollingsworth Bipolar Disorder, ODD & Depression

Tamika Woodard Anxiety

Mental Health Warrior Zone II Fighting Back Against the Battlefields of Our Mind

Vanity Dawson Bipolar Disorder & Depression

Tai Campbell Brain Injury

Real People showing others that you are NOT your diagnosis! It does NOT define you! You’re NOT crazy! YOU CAN Live a meaningful & prosperous life with mental health challenges and disorders.

Eric Grantham Autism

Dasia Wood Anxiety, Bipolar, PTSD & Depression

Jada Carrington Anxiety & Depression

have been on my mental health journey since I was about 5 years old. I spent that time going to different specialist and getting tested. I was referred to different people. My first diagnosis was when I was 8 years old. Now I am diagnosed with anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression. After my diagnosis I started treatment to manage my mental wellness. I have had countless hospitalizations and have been put on medication. I worked with different mental health providers from psychologist to psychiatrist. I have had many suicidal attempts and thoughts on my life starting from when I was 6 years old. Living with my mental illness and treatment became very normal to me. Sometimes it was hard to be social and go to school regularly because I wasn’t good at hiding my symptoms or I was always in and out of hospitals. Being a person with mental illness. I’ve had to deal with:

• The stigma of mental illness • The lack of understanding by others • The demeaning treatment of having a mental illness versus a physical illness • People scared of me or not wanting to be around me • And not having enough people understand what I was going through 24 | |November 2018

• Side effects from finding the right medication when others didn’t work well or made me sick • Finding the right primary psychologist that specializes in my area of treatment Explaining over and over to different professionals what’s going on with me was not easy. Having disorders that are more chronic and long term, I had to learn to cope with the disorders and a new daily routine. After my diagnosis I had to manage my mental health more intensely to keep up with the proper treatment. The more I was able to find ways to manage my disorders the more I got a grip on things. I learned how to balance my mental health care and my day to day life. I am living in my better days and intend to stay in this place. It became easier to manage my treatment with me working with the same primary care professionals who knows my history and treat me accordingly. Also, having the best support system has been a huge help. Keeping my support system informed and having them learn and walk through this with me is important. All of this has pushed me to be an advocate and activist for people struggling with mental health illnesses. Life with my disorders is much more manageable and I’m able to do things with my life that bring me joy. Of course, I still have my days and it could feel like a relapse, but I remind myself of how far I’ve come and the progress I made and keep making. Overall even though I battle my disorders I plan to stay in the healthy space I’m in now.

was once told I had bi-polar depression and the psychiatrist wanted to drug me up, but I refused. I feared the stigma that individuals who take medicine are crazy. All the years of fighting depression and sadness was a struggle. I faced the struggle many months at a time where I was tired of life and I didn’t know how much time was left for me. Thirteen years after my diagnosis and years of counseling, I finally went back to the doctor’s office and said “Doc, I’m ready, give it to me.” I was ready for medicine and after a whole year on medication, I felt mentally stable. My mood did not change so rapidly and depression did not bind me. After time passed on the medication, I’d sometimes still have my moments where I’d be in my “downs.” Those who fight depression know what I mean. I could feel the mood shifts, but it wasn’t as bad as my past. My son would say, “Mom, are you OK?” and I would respond “I think I need to lay down and sleep now son.” Still I relied on my medication because I felt better than I did before. See, the same time I started my meds was the same time I left an unhealthy environment. I wasn’t sure if I felt better because my circumstances changed, because of the meds, or possibly both.


A year after taking medication, I felt God speaking to my spirit telling me it was time to let the pills go and I was going to be OK. We all have our moments in life where sadness will greet us, but we don’t have to stay in it. We must keep on walking. With God by my side, I feel a sense of happiness in life that I’ve never felt before and I refuse to let a mental disorder ruin me. I decided to rely on my healing from God, and it’s a decision that I could never regret.

Dawson November 2018| | 25

Q & A with


WESTBROOK Interviewed by: Kenai Hollingsworth Fashion Director It’s no secret that mental health is routinely treated differently than physical health, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand how or why this affects us. Sometimes we don't realize we are struggling until it's too late. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jaelin Westbrook founder of Love Yourself clothing line, to get a better understanding not only of his take on mental health but also his ways of coping with the many challenges of today. RUM: I watched your documentary and I have to ask who is Jaelin Westbrook? Jaelin: I am a hardworking visionary that cares very much about having a positive self-image. I am “super” all over the place meaning I am an opportunist. I am family man therefore family is very important to me. I am “super” big on growth and hate being stagnant. RUM: In your documentary, you talked about being in a dark place. How did you get to that dark place? What were you feeling? What were you thinking while in that dark place? Jaelin: I got to the dark place by being really selfish and treating people the way I wouldn't want to be treated, so when the roles reversed I couldn't handle it. I also struggled with my sexuality, my passion and not being comfortable in my own skin. During that time, I spent a lot of time deep in thought. I thought about all my wrongs and the people I hurt. In this place is where I started to think a lot about making music. RUM: What changed your life? What got you to the point of not wanting to continue the cycle? Jaelin: My passion for creativity and my desire to make something out of myself is what made me now want to continue the cycle I was in. Three things - GOD, Passion and Purpose helped me stay focused. RUM: I understand music is your outlet. How does it help you express yourself and cope?

Photography by: Tinisha Curl 26 | | November 2018

Jaelin: I feel like God gave me the gift of music. I don't have to try at it, it just comes natural to me. RUM: Do you have any other means of expressing yourself? Jaelin: Yes, I express myself through fashion, my clothing line Love Yourself. RUM: So what inspired your Love Yourself clothing line? Jaelin: I wanted a medium to push my message through without sounding like a broken record. Meaning if I make a song and keep saying love yourself over and over, it will get old and it will sound like a broken record. If I put it in a clothing line I can push my message without sounding like one because even if the design changes the message stays the same and plus I just love clothes. RUM: I understand you have a song dedicated to mental health, why do you think you’re so passionate about mental health? What inspired the song? Jaelin: The words in the song are all the words I want to hear or the words I need to hear and I just want to share the words with someone else on a larger platform. I want to give those words to as many people as possible. RUM: Lastly, there may be a younger reader who has thought of giving up or harming themselves, what encouraging words do you have for them? Jaelin: I would say your today does not define your tomorrow and if you need help seek help.

Be on the look out for more information on Jae and reach out to him on  : @loveyourselfjae @loveyourself.usa


Christopher is the Founder and CEO of I am strength INC. was created with God's, A Mental Health organization created to help those who suffer from depression and anxiety. As a Motivational Speaker and New Author of the Book "Prayers of An Angry Husband" Christopher goes throughout the US Speaking on how the church and community can address Mental Health. Our Goal is to be a light for those in darkness, host support groups and help those who cant afford care. Suffering from depression himself from major life events (A Car Accident that nearly took his life and a Divorce) I Am Strength Inc was crated with Gods Vision to remind himself and others that GOD is our strength and because of Him we can get through any situation.

 : @IAMSTRENGTHINC November 2018| | 27

I Lost My Dad In September of 2016, I lost my dad to suicide. For years, I watched him struggle with addiction and depression. I tried all that I could to help him get through it but it wasn’t as easy as I hoped that it would be. I sat helplessly and watched him go in and out of rehab. I think the hardest part of it all was knowing that he was fighting a battle inside of him that only he could win and it was going to be hard for anyone else to help him. I watched him attempt suicide too many times to count, and I was even forced to leave him in hopes of motivating him to get help. He was such a great dad, who was also smart. He was a helpful, caring, and loving human being, so I always questioned why it had to be him that was fighting a mental illness. While I prayed every day for all of his problems to go away, I knew that it wouldn’t be that easy. When I found out that he had passed away, I had a sense of relief knowing that he wasn’t suffering anymore. I didn’t have to worry about what was going to happen to him the next day, and most importantly I knew that he was finally at peace although I know that suicide is not the answer. I would give anything for my dad to be standing here with me today. His actions hurt many close people in his life, including me. I lost one of the most important people in my life, and I can never get him back. After seeing everything that my dad went through, I have become an advocate for mental health. I would never wish suicide or losing a loved one on my worst enemy. If I were to give advice to anyone fighting a mental illness, it would be to never give up. I know that it’s easier said than done, but know that there is someone out there that cares about you, and losing you would be losing part of them, too. If anyone out there knows anyone battling a mental illness, my best advice is to just be there for them every step of the way and let them know that you care. However, if anything does happen, just know that it is never your fault. I spent so long beating myself up and blaming myself for my dad’s actions. Even though I now know that it wasn’t my fault, I feel like it’s a common feeling that people have when they lose a loved one. To everyone out there, please know that you’re loved, and there is nothing worse in this world to your loved ones than to lose you especially to suicide. There’s always a brighter day, and I believe that that’s something that everyone needs to hear sometimes.

by Allison Carroll 28 | | November 2018


Into Courage Why would I want to think about the abuse I’ve endured? Oh, how uncomfortable, painful, discouraging, and traumatic that is. It’s much easier to suppress the thoughts and feelings, rather than exposing them. Yes, acknowledgment has been made. Bold right? I took the first step and it was mighty bold. It’s still not fair that it isn’t the only step. Never blinking, despair stared me in the face as an effect of abuse. Suppressing my thoughts is like laying bricks on my brain. I know what I need to do, and some of the time I don’t want to do it. God is pulling me out of my zone of comfort, a zone beyond a simple “I was abused”. How do I go forward without reliving what’s happened to me? I was physically and sexually abused. Look! I’m walking and taking another step. Abuse made me feel extremely depressed, weak and that my purpose for living was slim to none. Over and over I asked the famous question most victims ask, “Why is this happening to me”? Countless times I felt stuck, and I’m pretty sure you have felt the same way. Contemplating why I couldn’t just perish already, and I’m sure many can relate. In it all I knew down in my soul God was surrounding me. It’s easy to shift blame to God for things, but that isn’t right. Abuse was not God’s doing, but His glorification will be illuminated from it. God kept me alive, and with enough power to tell my story. I knew there was a light shining at the end of the dark tunnel, but I just wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get there. Every detail disclosed is the brave step forward on the path to survival. God is the reason I can move forward and have courage to say I’ve endured tribulation, but it didn’t take me out. Have you been exposed to a domestic violence relationship? Unsurprisingly, many do. I know I was, and as I encounter the healing process there are moments where I feel embarrassed. Embarrassed because I thought the violence was love or didn’t love me enough to walk away sooner. It’s not embarrassing though, and I’m alive to show you how coura-

by Vanity Dawson geous I am to share my details. If it weren’t for God giving His comfort and His voice saying, “It will be alright”, then I probably wouldn’t be able to share with you. “Who will judge me”? Gosh, that thought can be haunting sometimes, but shake that off. That is the enemy trying to divert steps from walking forward. The enemy wants your thoughts, feelings, and story to stay suppressed, which can lead to volcano awaiting eruption. It’s not about the enemy, but to carry out our assignments God’s way and on His timing. I made an important decision for my life to fight the impact of abuse, which was despondency, and I refused to let it continue winning over me. Hopelessness created turmoil in my work life, impacted my interpersonal relationships, and left me with no desire to do much. My work troubles were getting tiring, and I was fed up with shutting the people who did care out. That wasn’t fair to them. I desired a healthier life and I knew there was more to life than feeling sad all the time, and in my case staying in bed. It was time to fight! A choice had to be made, and it wasn’t easy. I choose to keep walking forward trusting that God offers His covering and protection the entire time. I embraced mental health counseling, and it helped me talk about the abuse and sadness I was feeling. It won’t be easy but its rewarding, and you never know the lives that will be touched along the way.

November 2018| | 29

VITAMIN D & DEPRESSION: IS there a connection? by Tamika Woodard

The National Institute of Mental Health deďŹ nes depression as a common and sometimes severe mood disorder. Symptoms of depression can alter your mood keeping you from enjoying eating, sleeping, working, and even participating in things that normally bring you joy. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in foods, in supplements or through direct sun exposure. It is the vitamin that is associated with the sun because vitamin D primarily comes from sun exposure, however, with anything, too much or too little can be detrimental to your body. Studies have shown that there may be a positive link between Vitamin D and depression but there hasn’t been anything conďŹ rmed as to what the link may be. These studies are a result of researchers who have tested participants who were depressed in which results showed the participants as having low vitamin D levels but there hasn’t been an identiďŹ ed cause other but more how the beneďŹ ts of vitamin D can improve mental and emotional stability. It is said that vitamin D can alter neurotransmitter synthesis rates reducing the symptoms of depression. Does this mean anything? Maybe or maybe not. In an article Depression and Vitamin D DeďŹ ciency: Causality, Assessment, and Clinical Practice Implications, “a literature review was conducted in which evidence was found that showed a signiďŹ cant relationship between depression and vitamin D deďŹ ciency and also highlighted the need for more studies to establish the direction of causality in the association between vitamin D deďŹ ciency and depression as well as determine the best preventative methods and treatment strategies for patients with depression.â€? Review Article – Neuropsychiatry (2017) Volume 7, Issue 5. There are even more studies and research just like that that encourages a deeper look into the connection between depression and vitamin D deďŹ ciency. When you think about depression and whether or not it is associated with a vitamin D deďŹ ciency, just think about the fall and winter months when seasonal depression is more common. Seasonal depression is a form of depression that happens around the same time and usually during a speciďŹ c period or “seasonâ€? which researchers says it tends to be the time where the sun is not present as often as during the spring and summer months. Could this be due to a decrease in vitamin D? There are so many factors that play into whether or not Vitamin D contributes to depression, however what I do know is that getting out, moving around and soaking up the vitamin D on a sunny day can help minimize feelings of sadness and depression. Whether or not vitamin D deďŹ ciency is truly a contributor to depression we know it doesn’t hurt to increase your vitamin D intake.

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Rallyup Magazine Fall 2018 (Vo1.2)  

We Are Kicking Down the Gates of Darkness! There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness but RallyUp Magazine removes all those stigmas...

Rallyup Magazine Fall 2018 (Vo1.2)  

We Are Kicking Down the Gates of Darkness! There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness but RallyUp Magazine removes all those stigmas...