My initial reason for wanting to learn more about mental health and mental illness came as a result of my own diagnosis of PTSD. I had always believed that PTSD was associated with the military and war. As a survivor of abuse, I learned so much more about myself, my triggers, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a whole. When I started on my journey of domestic violence awareness, I wanted to make sure that self-care, the encouragement of counseling, and receiving tangible resources were all emphasized. I’m thankful to work with others who share the same passion, and our activities have become welcomed signatures in the community.

I’ve elected to make mental health and mental illness one of my signature subjects to speak and present on because these subjects impact how we show up in the world. There is still so much stigma around seeking help and support. I am someone who has survived and now thriving personally and professionally. But that could not happen without counseling, a positive support system, and being honest about my experiences and the ways my life has been impacted by them. Attending a support group has been helpful as I have experienced others who are close to me who are dealing with feelings and situations that I once experienced. I love what I do in business and advocacy. My lived experiences and my transparency in sharing them have been freeing for me. But I’m extremely honored and humbled when someone shares how they’re able to relate and something they’ve gotten from what I’ve shared.

I, like so many, am extremely saddened about the loss of Stephen tWitch Boss. I know what it’s like to contemplate suicide. It’s so sad to know that he felt suicide was the only way to find peace. My prayers are with his family, friends, loved ones, and the communities at large. I am still finding myself thinking of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst and how thankful I am to have spent time with her and share the stage with her. She was so encouraging and complimented me and my work. I’m grateful we could enjoy some BBQ and conversation about a myriad of things. I am reminded of the laughs that she, my husband, and I shared. These are two of many young, gifted, beautiful people who struggled to live. I will continue to do all I can to educate others while ensuring that I work on my own mental health and wellness. Counseling and talking about all topics around mental health and mental illness should be celebrated as self-care strategies for healing rather than viewed as a stigma and a sign of weakness. There is strength in acknowledging that one needs and desires help and support.