Tag Archives: Health

How I Learned to Take Ownership of My Mental Health

This piece will contain explict content about living with mental illness and self harm. This is my warning, to you as a reader, that this content may be triggering.

I have a testimony I want to share with y’all about depression and suicidality.

The week of my 26th birthday, I made the difficult desison to receive a mental health check up that resulted in a 10-day in-patient hospital stay to treat my mental state. It was at this time I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder and Suicidality.  Suicidality is a condition that when triggered results in a person having obessive complusive thoughts of self harm and suicide. These are conditions I have lived with for all of my adult life that have gone untreated by medical professionals due to my own fear.

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To understand my fear of medicine and medical facilitates, we have to time travel back to my youth. When I was sixteen healing for the first time from sexual trauma, I made two attempts on my life that resulted in me being heavily medicated for a time on antidepressants. Now, at sixteen my brain was not fully developed. The medication I was being prescribed intended purpose was to stablize my moods, and treat my suicidality. Yet the side effects made me feel numb and like a shell of a person. This experience with medication was traumatizing to me. I developed a fear in my adult life of receiving medical attention for the depression and suicidality. For a long time I self medicated with smoking weed and eating edibles to mellow out my intense mood swings and quiet the thoughts of self harm when they got too loud.

I spent my birthday alone in bed sick with a viral infection trying to get to soothe myself with a blunt when I realized that living in this way did not feel useful or helpful anymore. I am grateful for the relief weed gave me intermediately and for the awareness that I was in need of something more. Getting admitted to the hospital felt scary and embarrassing. I admitted to my mother that I felt weak and incompetent. She, like all great mothers, reminded me there is No Shame in receiving mental health help- in fact it required a considerable amount of strength. She was right. It will be one week since my release and going on three weeks since I have been on mediciation treating my mental state.

Within the first twenty four hours I felt the first wave of mental clarity – it was Ah- Mazing ! The relief of being on antidepressant and antipsychotic does come with a cost. Due to my weight and biological make up I have felt all the the side effects at one time or another intensely. After completing simple task like cooking a meal, washing dishes, or bathing my children I feel completely wiped out physically. I get dizzy and this interferes with daily life as well.

In the span of the past few weeks my life has shifted. I learned the importance of priortizing my own care. Being hospitalized I was forced to sit my busy ass down and face the darkness within myself. I have been trying to distract myself with organizing, performing and other community based activities than face the reality that I am lonely.  And that loneliness is a direct result of when I self isolate when sad. I have for a long while found comfort in retreating inward, and for a time that was what was safest to do. At this current moment in my life I have had to sit with how not being expansive, and projecting my fears is actually limiting myself.  I am leaning into challenging myself to expand my comfort zone by sharing my story with y’all.

Healing is messy work. It requires that we be present while doing it. There is no right or wrong way- but there is trial and error to see what is best useful for you. Let my testimony inspire you to take charge of your mental health wellness. I invite you to stop for a moment and Breathe with me. Give yourself a gentle loving touch and say this with me :

(while you breathe in) I am Grateful for the Gift that is this Day .

(while you breathe out) I release all my shame to be transformed into compassion. 

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Around BuffaLowe: Ballin For a Cause 5-on-5 Tournament -[4.15-4.17.16]

Special thank you to Media Contact Samantha Pierce for reaching out to us and providing an exciting breakdown of the upcoming, 9th Annual Ballin For A Cause Tournament which will be held in my hometown of Buffalo, NY next month over my birthday weekend!

WHO: Ballin For a Cause 2016 National Tournament and First-ever World Games.

WHAT: Ballin for a Cause (BFAC) is the biggest charity basketball tournament in Western New York, bringing together 60+ men, women and youth teams and more than 500 participants from Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, Erie, Buffalo, Boston and Rochester to compete in the national tournament – hosted right in Buffalo, New York.

This year, Ballin for a Cause will also host local and travel teams from across the world, including Canada, Puerto Rico, Haiti, India, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Philippines and the First Nations.


WHERE: Nichols School, 1250 Amherst St. in Buffalo, NY.

Admission to watch the games is open to the public for $5 on Friday, $7 on Saturday and $7 on Sunday. Weekend passes are available for $15. Admission is paid at the door!

WHEN:

Friday April 15th: 6pm-10pm

Saturday, April 16th: 8am-5pm

Sunday, April 17th 9am-5pm

WHY: Launched in 2008, Ballin for a Cause was created to raise awareness for local charities, non-profit organizations and drive initiatives around the BFAC ‘Big Four’ major causes:

1. Education: The “It’s More than a Game” speaker series, teaches students about the importance of higher education, having good character and how to be a leader in the community from Buffalo’s own professional athletes that they know and admire. BFAC also supports higher education. Since June 2012, the organization has raised more than $10,000 in scholarship funds for the Jireh D. Williams “We Achieve” scholarship.

2. Community: Throughout the year, BFAC donates to various charities such as holiday toy and food drives. Since expanding nationally, BFAC has also started giving back to the communities in cities holding qualifier tournaments, like donating more than 100 cases of water for the Flint Water Drive. During the tournament weekend, BFAC will host the Kicks4Kids sneaker drive, accepting gently used sneakers, shoes and boots to donate to school-aged children in need. This year, BFAC will also be accepting school supplies.

3. Youth Sports: BFAC provides funding, equipment and coaching staff for youth sports organizations such as the Sports Academy Youth Leadership and Sports, New York Warriors Youth Football and Cheerleading, Crown Basketball and Sports Academy Dance. Most recently, BFAC partnered with Buffalo Ravens to provide free basketball clinics youth ages 8-14 on Saturday Mornings. We will also host a skills clinic for Youth in partnership with Odds2beat Inc., run by Greg Gamble.

4. Health and Wellness: BFAC is partnering with Gene Coplin, local fitness trainer and founder of Icopelifestyle, to provide free fitness classes to lucky winners during the BFAC tournament weekend. In addition, Coplin will be on site at the tournament sharing tips, tricks and vital health information.

ABOUT BFAC:

Ballin for a Cause is a nationally-recognized, 5-on-5, basketball tournament consisting of 60+ men’s, women’s and youth teams from the North Eastern U.S. and across the globe. Launched in 2008, Ballin for a Cause has helped drive awareness and provide charitable donations for local organizations and not-for-profits, demonstrating its commitment to the Buffalo and Western New York community.

Follow them on Twitter @Ballinforacause and Instagram @Ballinforacause and Snapchat @bfac2016!

Also!!! If there are any HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS in need of Volunteer hours or COLLEGE STUDENTS looking to volunteer/internship or any adults looking to volunteer for a community event. B4AC has plenty of opportunities! April 15-17th details below, with less then a week to sign up!


Media Contacts:

Samantha Pierce, 716.553.3882, spierce1216@gmail.com

Lindsey Taylor, 716.697.7321, ball4ac@gmail.com