What brings you joy?
It brings me joy to be in a healthy mental state and to have the energy to face each day. For so long, this was foreign to me. When I'm healthy and well rested, I'm able to better help others as well. In addition, I have a dog that brings me great joy. He has really helped and showed me unconditional love over the past two years.
Barbara's Mental Health Story:
Growing up in poverty, traumatic experiences as a child at the hands of my father, witnessing domestic violence in my home growing up, and being sexually assaulted as a teenager; all lead to me being clinically depressed and in a constant state of anxiety. From early childhood depression and anxiety significantly interfered with my quality of life. I was very withdrawn and isolated. I didn't have many friends, barely talked to my family, and thoughts of suicide were the norm. My confidence and self-esteem was very low.
Over the years, I reached out for help via talking to counselors at my colleges here and there, but never had consistent professional mental health help. Two years ago, I was forced to a place of healing. I'm in my early thirties, so this is something that I was battling for a while. I sought therapy and confronted a lot of issues from my past. I overcame the culture of silence around talking about mental health and seeking professional help in the black community. I'm now in recovery and help others battling mental illness to break the silence and get the help that they need.
I created an initiative around breaking the silence of talking about mental illness in the black community and seeking professional mental health help. I designed a five t-shirt series known as the "Unleash T-shirt Series" where individuals and/or loved ones affected by mental illness are encouraged to live their life on purpose by unleashing their unlimited potential.