Depression is just like a physical disease, you just can’t see it

Depression is just like a physical disease the only difference is that you can’t see it like you would cancer, alopecia, vitiligo, amputation, stroke, heart disease or some other physical ailment.  Depression is a mood disorder that can cause extreme and persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. According to the National Institutes of Health in 2016 16.2 million adults in the United States had a major depressive episode. Of course, the number was higher for females with 8.5% experiencing symptoms compared to males who experienced it 4.8% of the time. Between the ages of 18-25, the reported rate of depression was higher at 10.9%.

A few days ago, I created a post on Facebook about how people don’t see depression as a physical disease. Interestingly enough there were few likes on the post and it was exactly what the author of the original piece had said. People don’t understand what they can’t see. For some depression is just sadness and some people feel like you’re a wimp because you gave into the feelings, I say that you are the exact opposite. Depression is a sign that I believe that a person has been too strong for too long. I should know because I’ve experienced depression a couple of times in my life when stressful, traumatic and overwhelming situations occurred in my life.

Life can be difficult filled with disappointments and sadness, yet there is still hope and joy. Although it seems like we are bombarded daily with negative news and unsettling world events we still have to take care of our minds so that we can function well. Each day we are barraged with tragic, active shooter events and the perpetrator is mostly said to have some sort of mental issue, which includes depression. So many of us are walking around angry, hurt and in pain that sooner or later we snap and take it out on someone violently. I’m not saying that people who have depression or mental illness are violent, however, when symptoms present themselves and we ignore them or don’t address them we can suffer under the effects and that damage can have severe consequences for the people around us.

Medical strides have been made on a variety of pills that can diminish or eliminate symptom, however, exercise and talk therapy have worked wonders for me, although one of the things that I have learned is that I need to invest my time in people that care for me and are not just there because I can supply a need. Unfortunately, I believe many people don’t have a reliable support system in place to help them navigate feelings and situations. I personally know how it feels to be in a room filled with people and feel utterly alone. Just because you have people around you, friends or not, spouse, children it doesn’t stop the feeling of sadness, worthlessness or loneliness.

When I became a Mom, I felt very lonely although people kept telling me that I was blessed. I knew that people didn’t understand and the only other people that could understand were other mothers, unfortunately, the insidious nature of depression tells you that you’re not worth it. So you stop trying and caring and just sort of ignore and go with the flow. Regrettably, that makes things go from bad to worse. Personally, for myself, I’ve learned that I don’t always know what or how to ask for what I need from people. Historically speaking for me asking has always made me feel weak and insecure.

Life was simple as a teenager when I could walk next door and see my bestie and we could sit on the porch and just let the day pass and the comfort of being around each other was enough. Now there are schedules, events, and life to manage and it all just feels like one giant hamster wheel. I’m not saying that it’s so bad it’s almost insurmountable, but that we still have to stop, breathe and take care of our minds so that we can continue. Pick up the phone, send an email, text or go over to whoever is special to you and sit and just talk. If that’s not an option then go to a professional. My therapist is a woman who is compassionate and understanding. She doesn’t let me get away with my pity party she challenges me to understand my issue and help me move on. I have a couple of friends who push me to take care of me and me alone. For them, I’m forever grateful I’m always reminded to keep my focus on my goal of becoming the author that I desire to be.

Psalms 62: 1-2, “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation 2. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” This scripture brings me peace and reminds me that I’m not alone, God is always with me.

As you go about your day remember that Depression is a physical disease, you just can’t see it, however, also remember to treat people with kindness you may be the only one who does. None of us know what anyone is battling so be nice. Be a blessing and not a curse.



When Trouble Comes

When the troubles of life come how do you handle it? I can’t always say that I’ve handled it well. Life can be brutal, yet joyful and sad and confusing all at the same time.

I co-wrote and produced a play and let me tell you the devil was busy trying to stop this production. Before you say everything is not just evil, you’re correct, however, money problems aside I’ve definitely been tested. First off, my stove conked out and so did my furnace both at critical times with finances very low for an extended period of time. My furnace simply went kaput when the weather turned cold. This may not seem like a huge issue, but when its cold a space heater doesn’t necessarily cover it. Secondly, my husband and I stressed each other out a lot, especially me trying to get this project off of the ground. Thirdly, my husband was accosted by the police wrongfully for looking like a person of interest as he was told. Two undercover officers barrelled up on him literally with guns out while he walked back from Sinai Grace hospital back to his office where he works because he carried a backpack and he was considered a suspect in a robbery. No probable cause outside of a shaky description. His personal effects, which included his bag of M&M’s, a boiled egg and some paperwork for his office were scattered and tossed carelessly onto the street by these two police officers. Once they got another call that the suspect was in custody, they took off. No apology, no nothing. So after two officers pulled a gun on him and one of them put the gun to the back of his head, my husband stood there shaken. After a couple of minutes, he quietly gathered his items and stood there still shaken on the street. Afterwards, he called me and all I could think about was that he could have been killed and we’d never know what really happened or even why it happened. I’ve had people try to throw dirt on me in regards to this production and others who tried to stop the production. It’s been an eye-opener for real.

This has been an amazing journey, yet humbling because through everything God has remained faithful and blessed this production. We got another stove from friends who had an extra in storage and we were able to buy another furnace again with the help of friends. They know who they are and words can never express how grateful I am to them. Through it, all my husband shouldered it so I could keep my focus on the production. All I can say after everything was said and done, I’m extremely grateful and thankful to all that supported me through this process. I’m reminded that doing the right things are never easy and that if they were, everyone would do it.

I’m exhausted, yet excited for what’s coming next. Escape to Paradise: Book 3, two new stage plays for 2018, yes, I’m ambitious. And although I’d love to be on an exotic beach right now, I have work to do. This grind process won’t manage itself. It takes dedication and commitment. The bible says, “Weeping may endureth through the night, but joy cometh in the morning.” My joy has been restored. I am grateful and thankful for the blessings and the trials. God has shown me what’s possible and no matter what troubles come and they will that’s life, my focus has to remain on God and his promise. People talk a lot about how you respond to life’s troubles or how you carry your load. Yes, I must remain positive and it’s all true that does determine how successful you are in handling something, but it’s not always the reality. Trust me I know.  Because I could feel the darkness creeping back in on me, but Praise God he blessed me to fight back and rebuke that terrible, dark spirit. 2 Chronicles 20:15″And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

If you’re struggling to move forward or trying to figure out if something is supposed to be – just listen to God’s voice and he will direct you. He directed my steps and he can direct yours. All you can do is put one foot in front of the other and walk forward, speak a kind word to yourself and remember your blessings. God is ever faithful and will keep you. If you look back over your life at times when he brought you out of something just remember he did it once and he’ll do it again. Be blessed, my friends.

Confidence and Confrontation

Do you have the confidence to tackle your goals, address your grievances, confront those who have hurt you or take that leap of faith? According to the dictionary, confidence is the feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities and the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust. I know how it feels to doubt yourself and your abilities. It’s easy to let the negative Nancy dialogue play out in your head, “You’re not such and so, You’ll never be as good as such and such, Who are you to try and do this, Why do you matter, Why would anyone listen to you, you’re not smart enough, You don’t fit or look like what the expectations say you should or you don’t behave like expectations say you should”. Fear has stopped and killed more dreams and desires than failure ever could. How do I confront the very thing that scares me? According to the dictionary, confrontation is a hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties. I confront my fear by having confidence in God, myself and my resolve to accomplish a thing.

When I first published my first book, I questioned would people really want to read something written by me? Will they buy it or is it just a pity purchase? When I was asked to share my story I wondered if I could engage my audience? Will they see and hear the fear in me? So many times we worry about the exterior concerns and don’t focus on the inner strength that we possess. If we focus on God, he will lead us to where we should be.

In the last few weeks, God has shown me the power of following his will. I’ve been given the confidence to share my story, engage my audience and educate others on the very topic that I discussed. Opportunities have blossomed and my books have given me the freedom to share my love of storytelling and increase interest in books and literacy. I’ve had the good fortune to address uncomfortable and hurtful issues that have occurred and addressed people who have wronged me. It’s no simple feat. It takes guts, courage, and faith to move forward and do what God has asked of us. What are you afraid of? You are more capable than you know. Believe in yourself and believe in God. Have the confidence to confront whatever is holding you back from the greatness that you desire. Take that step God will lead you to where you want to go.

When You have a Vision

When you have a vision it can seem as vast as the horizon of a lake or an ocean. It can also seem overwhelming when you are trying to share your vision with those that are important to you.  The vision can feel like a monumental force propelling you forward on some fantastic journey, however, the process of sharing those ideas with someone can be hard to do especially if the person that you’re sharing with is not able to really conceptualize the idea or even not mentally open to it.

I attended a brunch yesterday where several entrepreneurs, authors, speakers and creative people bemoaned the difficulty of how hard it is to share their vision with someone. I disclosed that I’ve faced criticism from those that are more concerned with how much money I’m going to make, or how I should be living my life. Many in the group echoed similar sentiments, especially when dealing with close family members.

One attendee suggested that sometimes people aren’t sure how to respond positively to you and that there might be a fear that you’re leaving them. Another said, “Just focus on being the person that you are to them, whether that’s son, daughter or friend.” I replied, “What great advice.” It struck me that sometimes we get caught up in the importance of our vision because it was given to us, however, no one else may see it or even feel as passionate about it as we do.

So until you’ve found the necessary support and not just a cheerleader section keep your vision between you and God. I’m not saying don’t share it just know and understand who you are talking to. Understand the dynamics of the relationship in which you are in. God has given you and only you this vision. Perhaps, you’re supposed to rely solely on him to achieve the desired outcome and give him the glory.

Change Your Perspective

Sometimes we have frustrations because our perceptions of how things should be did not happen.  I’m a person who has high expectations for everything and everyone around me because I behave how I want other people to respond to me, although life doesn’t work like that. Unfortunately, I’m constantly disappointed. I have an unrealistic expectation that my children should clean up and be responsible for their things, most people would say yes that’s reasonable, however, they’re four and eight so I’m always telling a little person where their stuff is or should go. So consequently I live in a state of frustration with them.

I’d like to believe that my husband can always tell what mood I’m in, unfortunately after twenty years he’s still clueless when it comes to what makes me tick or how I’m feeling and I have to remember that he’s not a mind reader, although that’d be nice. So in between kids, bills, jobs, and just stuff we have to figure it out. When things happen I know that my friends will be there, although it’d be nice to just hang out when there is nothing going on and just enjoy each other’s friendship. The same goes for family, although with my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles deaths it seems that the younger generation has grown further apart. So my current situation is that  I am producing my first play and am struggling with my expectations and trying not to be disappointed. There is much excitement, however, there is fear that somehow this won’t go well or that something will happen to screw it up and it will be all my fault. I’ve become the person who expects to be disappointed. This has developed over the years. I know this is a result of that nagging voice in my head that speaks poorly. Gotta figure out how to shut her up.

I told someone the other day that my day started off wrong and then it ended well, but I have to remember to stay in the moment and not let someone or something knock me off my square. It’s hard to be present and at peace when you’re juggling family, marriage, career and whatever else you have going on. Most days I feel like I’m running around in a circle. This year so many things have come my way another death in the family conflicts with other family members, financial struggles continue episode 10,003, health struggles and the constant feeling of am I really moving forward or just standing still.

I don’t know about you, but I desperately needed to change my perspective. I drove to the beach and sat by the water and talked to God. My spirit calmed and I was able to focus again on my goal. Remember, it’s our perceptions and expectations that disappoint us not people. I had a conversation with someone about death and how folks always say they will check in on you, but they do not. The reality is no one owes you or has to do anything for you. People become consumed with their lives and assume because you are maintaining yours you must not be struggling. However, those of us that are considered strong struggle in silence. I’ve had to tell people that I’m extremely sensitive and I know I live in my feelings a lot, although I dare not show them. Very few people will ever see me ugly cry or even get really angry and if you do that means I trust you a hell of a lot. I have this thing about keeping up appearances and having control. I know no one ever has control and it’s always about how you respond so sometimes I try to not respond and keep things cool, which, at times has made situations worse, but that’s another post.

The reality is unless I’m going to become a hermit and live on an island by myself (my personal dream is to own my own island) than I have to interact with folks. That means that although I may desire something from them they may not be able to give it me because they are not equipped or don’t want to. That can be disappointing, however, it’s a real truth and one that has to be accepted.


My Testimony

From 2008-2016 my weight bounced up and down. I struggled with postpartum depression and depression. I lost myself to the unrealistic expectations of motherhood. I shut down emotionally, physically and even spiritually. The despair, feeling of hopelessness and anger almost consumed me, however God lifted me up and reminded me whose I am. It didn’t happen overnight. There were a lot of tears, prayers and my soul literally crying out to him. In 2015 I went back to therapy and realized that everything that I was feeling was normal and that I had to take time for myself. That was the first step. Since then I’ve walked each day (almost) even in inclement weather and am intentional in what I eat. I know that this is my testimony. This is what God has called me to do, along with writing and being creative. I encourage anyone who reads this post to find your calling and cast your cares on the Lord for he loves you.
#GetNaked #TestimonyformyFatherinHeaven #Godwillbringyoutoittobringyouthroughit #YourbodyisyourTemple

Are you a priority?

Are you a priority in your  own life? Are your responsibilities screaming at you? Does your family demand so much of your time that you feel invisible? Are you a doer? Meaning you’re the one who people come to for advice, help or whatever? Do you find yourself struggling through something and people constantly complimenting you on how strong you are?

If you answered yes to any of the above than welcome to my world. The demands can be so great on you that you feel like your head will explode. I personally understand how sometimes a person can literally feel like they’re about to burst with rage, anger and sadness. Sometimes the responsibilities, the demands, the constant need is just too much.

What I learned from my therapist is that no matter how much needs to be done, when it’s due, or even who needs it you still have to make time for yourself. Mothers, especially with young children struggle with this because of the heavy demands placed on them. The world tells Mothers that you should do everything for your kids and be happy because they are a blessing. Which is true, however sometimes the demands are so great that you can grow exhausted, become overwhelmed and develop feelings of resentment.

I no longer try to put on the mask that says that I’m happy all the time because quite frankly I’m not. I’m exhausted, overwhelmed and sometimes downright irritated because my children will not cooperate. The great thing about this is now I honor my feelings and I take a break. I make time for myself whether its going for a run/walk, taking a long hot bath uninterrupted, reading or just having a glass of wine. I matter. My time matters and its important for my family to understand that as much as I do for them I need to do for me, too.

That means that you matter, too. Take time for yourself. What do you enjoy? That question stumped me when I went back to therapy because I had stopped doing the things that once interested me because I was so focused on my family. Find out what you love and embrace it in a way that makes sense for you. Everybody’s solution will not work for everyone, although sometimes we can take nuggets and improvise on them to make them work in our world.

Take time for yourself today. You matter.

Pour positivity into yourself


Pour positivity into yourself

Don’t allow others to take all of you and not give something back

Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup. However remember to build your energy stores back up

When you’ve been strong for too long…

As an African-American woman there is a perception that we can handle every and anything that is thrown at us and we can and do, however sometimes things get hard for us and we falter. Sisters we get up, take care of our families, work, worship and do everything except take care of ourselves. Why is it so difficult for us to put ourselves first?

The bible says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 Now if you’ve been to a black church you’ll always hear an older black woman say “Child I’m just waiting on glory.” I understand this saying so much more now as an adult. Sometimes you just get tired and nothing helps because your spirit is weary.

I understand what it means to wait on the Lord, although at times I feel like a break from a situation is sometimes what may be needed in the short-term. The physical body needs rest. Being a wife, mother, author and business owner can be taxing with the multitude of details that goes into any given day. I tell people all the time I manage four people’s schedules, Aiden, Miles, my husband Kevin and finally mine. A lot of times I will cancel something for myself because it doesn’t work with the family’s schedule and I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes it’s just that way.

Sometimes we have to suck it up and go with the flow. This is where things can go awry if you’ve been strong for too long. When do you let go? When do you break down? Is it when the tears flow? Or is it when you’re past the point of aggravation and you explode? I don’t know about you, but for me its happened after tears and the point of aggravation. I totally lost it over something so minor because I had been holding on too long to something. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the strong black woman stereotype. I want to be the woman who I’m supposed to be while being a helpmate to my husband, however sometimes old habits are hard to break. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been the one that people looked to for advice, now it’s just exhausting and unsustainable. I find myself pining for the opportunity to relinquish control to someone else and that’s when I remember to wait on the Lord.

Sometimes God tells us to stand still and I struggle with that. I don’t know how to be still. I know how to be busy. When you’ve been strong for too long you learn how to cope and keep yourself entertained, busy or actively engaged in something. My mind is always racing with thoughts and worries. I know that I’m supposed to trust God, however when you’ve been shown what you can handle its hard to sometimes step back and let go.

Being strong doesn’t mean that you can’t lean on someone, talk to a therapist, cry, scream, pray about it or whatever you do that helps you through. It just means that you may have to release or let go. When you’re strong you hold on and fight. I don’t want to anymore – I just want to breathe – have peace and feel calm. It’s okay to not be strong and let someone else take care of it. If you’re struggling try to take a step back, ask for help and accept it. You’ll thank yourself later.


The Basis of my characters

Each and every one of the characters that I create are based on either something  that I’ve experienced, witnessed, or read about. Being a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend has given me loads to write about. In Escape to Paradise I use my experience with postpartum depression in an exaggerated way to broach the subject. In addition to postpartum depression I exaggerate the need to be everyone’s caretaker. For me this has always been one of my greatest weaknesses. I care too much for others and have paid for it with much emotional pain.

As a former caregiver to my mother and grandmother the stories, experiences and range of emotions that I can share are vast and deep. The helplessness, loneliness, exhaustion, frustration and anger are just the tip of what many caregivers experience and share. When I had my first child the feeling of being overwhelmed, full of love and absolutely terrified of everything consumed me. With Escape to Paradise I have planted these issues deep inside two main female characters and had them act out in such a way that these hurts were brought to the surface.

With the introduction of my two main male characters you get to see how they respond to the female characterizations along with dealing with their own issues and hurts. Life can be a fruitful library of ideas if you know where to look. My great-grandmother taught me the art of people watching and I must say that because of that skill I’ve been able to create some wonderful stories.

If you desire to be an Author or you are a writer try using personal experiences as a point of development in moving the story forward that you want to write. Not everything has to be true only the essence of the situation. Try it and see where it takes you. For me it took me to Escape to Paradise: Book 1 and 2.

Check out Escape to Paradise