Beauty From Ashes #MHblog #mentalhealth #depression

I usually don’t write about depression, and if I do I kind of gloss over it. I’m not specific about it I just glue it together with everything else without giving it the attention it deserves… and I think I do that because I never wanted to tap into the memories that come with thinking about the deepest episodes of depression I have ever experienced. Until now, that is.

Even though I like to be honest, for the last 2 years or so I have been dealing with my “episodes” as they are so called by myself and put up the funny front (perform) so people don’t ask me too many questions or run away when they discover the truth about who I am. When it feels too unbearable someone will catch me when I feel I am at my worst and deem it an over-dramatization of how I might actually feel… almost comical and entertaining.

At first it gave me more of a reason to shut down and shut out, but it wasn’t until recently I started to understand why people do that… and how the media takes people’s hurt and pain and turns it into entertainment. The news wants to get an “exclusive” look at how a kidnap victim feels about the pain she experienced by being kidnapped and later finding out that her family was murdered as well… TMZ/Paparazzi want to give you the inside scoop of a celebrity in her mental struggle… talk shows will zoom into a man’s face when he expresses genuine emotion… reality shows play up the emotion, and everyone tunes in, which makes it easier to be desensitized to real need. It makes it so much easier to believe that everybody is hurting somewhere and there’s nothing that you can do about it so you need to help yourself… at least you feel bad (maybe). They will get over it.

Contrary to popular belief, however there people who don’t or feel like they never will. I was one of those people. There are times where I still entertain that lie that I will always be known as the over-dramatic, attention-seeking depressed kid who can make people laugh but can’t help herself. What a train wreck, right? WRONG… because in this moment I am being led and encouraged to use all the burn ups and burnouts from my life to grow and help others see that beauty can come from those ashes.

It may not seem like it in the moment, but those times of suffering prepare people like us for bigger and better things. They don’t define us, they strengthen us. I am living proof that it pays to keep moving forward and you can be too. I feel freer than I ever have because I am using what I have been given to bring light and help others. I can see my value and you have help to realize yours with YNF and here: https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

It helps to reach out to people who really believe in you and see you for who you really are. The community helps me and I know it will help you too.

You are not alone in your depression and it will get better.

Finish well, survivors.

My Response to #BlackSuicide & A Call To Action #video #religion #suicideprevention

My response to the recent article posted on Ebony magazine’s website and my thoughts on how the church should respond to mental illness.

My prayers & condolences to the family of Lee Thompson Young, as well as others who have been affected by the suicide of a friend or family member.

The Truth of the Matter #MHblog #suicideprevention

I think a lot of mental health bloggers/advocates get caught up with how boldly they can come across… who can raise the most awareness… who’s personal story is the loudest and has the most impact… who can get the most attention and save the most souls….

I’ve gotten caught up in that. In fact, when I first started You’re Not Finished I of course wanted to prevent suicide and raise awareness about it & mental health (and I still do btw), but if I’m being completely honest the motive was to show up the people I felt had led me to want to end my life. To have the “look at me now” attitude and expose (without really exposing) what kind of people to avoid and the people who hurt me for who I believed they really were.

However, slowly but surely there has been a shift in the content I would like to post. If I’m supposed to be “using stories of survival to save lives” as my motto states then I am to do just that, not vent sometimes toxic thoughts (which can plant the seed of toxicity in others) and put other people on blast*. This is supposed to be about hope in the midst of and after the struggle, not the struggle itself… about the whole truth, not the perceived truth… about ending the stigma, not contributing to it.

You’re Not Finished is not about the implication of the faint thought that MAYBE there is potentially something better for those who struggle with mental illness/mood disorders, it is supposed to display the truth that there is IN FACT more to what we can see in front of us because, created on purpose and with purpose, we are meant to live for more.

In the timeline between the beginning of our lives and their end we are able to make choices which shift our attitudes, thoughts, and actions… and the attitudes, thoughts, and actions of others. Sometimes we make the wrong choices both deliberately or accidentally, but no matter what happens those wrong choices can be corrected if we allow them to be. It is being open to truth and correction that allows for our freedom to live regardless of any limitations… the facilitates the freedom to finish well no matter where we are in our lives.

If you are looking for some help, start here: https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

It’s time to expose the truth about stigma, mental health, suicide, emotions, everything. It time to do so by being examples, and displaying how we are living proof of hope, triumph, and survival.

It’s NEVER too late, survivors.

If you feel compelled to do so, please share your story here: https://yourenotfinished.com/contact-ynf/

Anon submissions welcome. 🙂

*I’m not saying it’s not OK to vent, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is never good to hold anything that could mentally or physically hurt yourself in. But the way you let it out can really affect someone’s life positively or negatively. It’s important to note how powerful words really are.

They Can Kill The Body, But Not The Soul #mentalhealth

I was having a conversation with my mom last night, and she reminded me of how I used to be a social butterfly.. uninhibited and unafraid of what people could do to me. Maybe that was because I had the child-like faith that we all seem to start out with and I believed that no matter what happened to me I would still be loved and appreciated… and I would still have fun. I was confident in who I was.

Of course now as a grown woman I have allowed disappointment, lies, pain, and abuse to severely corrupt that uninhibited and unafraid person I used to be. I mean being in social situations gives me an anxiety that I don’t like to deal with… to say the least (Who likes that?).

I mean seriously, I’ve never withdrawn so much in my life and at first I thought it was the safest thing to do. It wasn’t until recently… last night actually that I was reminded not to fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. We were made with the ability to recover from a lot of harsh treatment (we can ALWAYS recover and get stronger), and we were blessed with people who will give us a soft place to land if ever we are in trouble.

See: https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

With growth, wisdom, patience, discernment, and true love I can go back to having that child-like faith and yet be wise enough to see red flags in people without being afraid of them.

I prayed for wisdom & discernment last night and this is what I’m thinking about this morning…

“Run away from the next person who claims to like genuineness yet refuses to be so themselves. And run fast.”

ESPECIALLY if you are living with mental illness because in healthy environments people like us are encouraged to be honest and genuine about what we struggle with. It is a horrible thing to deal with… being honest and genuine with someone yet having them not reciprocate that. But being both of these things tends to expose anyone who is the opposite because (as someone helped me discover recently) real situations expose fake people. Every time.

Now I probably shouldn’t speak for everyone with mental illness/mood disorders, but I know for me that invites anxiety, depressive episodes (days of circular thinking/crying/anger/numbness/lack of sleep), and thoughts of regression. And I should never allow anyone or anything to send me into such a tailspin that I lose myself and withdraw more.

I know that people looking to be accepted for who they are might get caught up in believing that how people treat them is a reflection of them… or they get treated differently or poorly because of who they are or what mental illness/disorder they have… or thinking that they will be discarded when someone better who doesn’t have a mental illness comes along. But we cannot ever entertain those lies. It really can mean life or death… and we were mean to live.

There is so much power, respect, and bravery in being honest and genuine…. in being the beautiful person that you are and being unapologetic about it. If people leave because of that it is THEIR loss.

I say this with more conviction than I ever have… NEVER fear those who can kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Stay strong, survivors.

#MentalHealth Does Not Discriminate #vlog

Just a quick video on the stigma of mental health in the African-American community created so people can start addressing and correcting the mental health problem that minorities face. Feel free to add your input 🙂

Stay strong, survivors!