Event Announcement: I will be speaking at CoCo Coalition’s Black and Healthy Conference on September 22, 2018

I am so excited to announce that I will be speaking at my very first conference as a mental health panelist in the Bay Area September 22, 2018!!!

I truly enjoy being able to connect with my community and help provide the space for individuals to thrive and elevate to live a lovely life.

The Black and Healthy Conference: Nurture the Black Woman is a six hour, 9am-3:30pm, event focused on nurturing the mental, holistic, and reproductive health of Black women. The event will consist of meditation, brunch, workshops, panels, networking, and more. I will be speaking on the “Dismantling Stigmas Around Mental Health” panel. It is important to have safe spaces, where we can all come together, connect, and heal.

unnamed

CoCo Coalition is a Black owned non-profit organization based in Oakland, California that focuses on creating a variety of opportunities for Black girls and women to grow, thrive, and shine.  Check out their website here.

Purchase your ticket today by clicking on the link below:

https://www.cococoalition.org/2018-conference

Use the discount code: cocopanel for 20% your purchase.

You can also read my full bio on their website. Check it out!

I can’t wait to see you there!

unnamed

Always Live Lovely,

                                    Chetina

***DISCLAIMER***

Although I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and registered associate professional clinical counselor, the contents on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and judgment of a health care or mental health professional. There is no Therapist-Client relationship created by accessing the information on this blog. Always seek the help of a physician or qualified mental health professional if you have any questions regarding a medical or mental health condition. Always Live Lovely is not held responsible for the use of the information provided. Reliance on any of the information provided by this blog only is solely at your own risk. Please see Health Disclaimer for further information alwayslivelovely.com/health-disclaimer/ .

What Visiting the Museum of Ice Cream Reminded Me

Picture this…it’s the weekend!

You rush to the living room with your favorite bowl of cereal to watch your morning cartoons.

Do you remember how that felt?

How about going outside to play with your friends, racing bikes, hopscotch, double- dutch, tag, you name it?

Do you remember that?

Okay what about when you would get rewarded by going to Chuck E. Cheese?

Do you remember how it felt when playing was one of the most important things to you?

When did you begin to forget that?

Take a moment and think about that…I’ll wait!

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco.  I had heard about this exhibit since last year, seeing multiple celebrities post pictures with life size gummy bears and swinging on bananas. I thought to myself, “I don’t know where this is located, but I have got to be there”. It was super hard to get tickets, as every time I looked the event was sold out. Until one day something magical happened and they extended the exhibit to include more dates. I quickly purchased tickets and at this point I was filled with joy.

You see, we all have an inner kid that still really likes to play. That inner kid often gets forgotten about because of all of the responsibilities that come with #adulting. One thing I like to do is keep my imagination and kid-like energy alive, because it is good for my soul and makes me feel forever young. In all honesty, I had no clue what I was about to get myself into, I just knew I was going to have some BOMB dot COM pictures when it was all said and done. What I didn’t know was I was in for so much more. Below I will share with you what visiting the Museum of Ice Cream reminded me:

  1. Never forget what it feels like to play.
  2. It’s okay to get excited about “child-like” activities.
  3. Don’t loose your imagination.
  4. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t play.

Let me explain! While I was at the Museum of Ice Cream I allowed myself to let free because, I never want to forget what it feels like to play. It is not as if we no longer play as young adults, but we surely don’t play enough. I am sure some of you still play video games, have a game night, go to the basketball courts, etc. Can you remember the last time you had a pillow fight, blew bubbles, put together legos, swung on a swing, played dress up, tag, etc? I am sure you don’t do those things on the regular because, you never feel like you have enough time. Better yet some of these things probably sound silly to do at your age. You may work a job, go to college, be in grad school, have a side business, have children, you name it. You are trying to build, I get it, but we often forget that we don’t have to be serious or “act like an adult” 24/7.

It is okay to get excited about doing “child like” activities no matter what age you are. Of course, I was super excited to consume all of the free treats along the way that went with each theme. I definitely felt like a kid in a candy shop or the kid that got too hyped and ate too many sweets leading to a stomachache by the end…YOLO!

MOI_4.jpg

Now if you haven’t visited this exhibit, I must warn you there are a few spoilers coming up.

You good? I still got your attention? Okay, here we go!

MOI_2.jpg

There was a room, one of my favorite rooms with the gummy bears, where you really had to tap into your imagination and make animal sounds in order to enter the room. I thought to myself “okay now ya’ll had my attention when you wanted me to name my favorite animal, but now you want me to make animal sounds extremely loud too..ummm how about no”. To push past the awkwardness I shyly engaged because, I was destined to take that epic picture you see above with my favorite life sized candy. You see sometimes playing requires us to tap into our imagination and return to doing things that we once easily did as a child. As we grow older not only do we forget how to play, but we also tend to loose our imagination. We forget our original dreams sometimes. We forget to imagine the best version of ourselves. We stop daydreaming. Everything becomes focused on being “back to reality”. You have to promise yourself to never stop having an imagination because, it is a gift that once brought you so much joy and can serve a purpose today.

MOI_3.jpgNow let’s fast forward a little to the sprinkle poll, yes THE SPRINKLE POOL!!! I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t getting in because I didn’t feel like taking off my shoes. The employee wasted no time busting me out and stating that the shoes I had on weren’t even tied and to stop making excuses. I reluctantly was convinced to get into the pool. The moment I got in and sunk a few inches, pure joy came over me. I looked all around, laughed, and figured, “hey why not”! I took plenty of pictures, had sprinkles thrown on me, played with the beach ball, and even danced a little. It was the initial “leap” into the pool that I took that caught me by surprise. Sometimes the things we are most reluctant to do can be the best experiences for us. Sure I could have watched from the sidelines, but there is nothing like getting in on the action. Don’t miss out on getting in on the action due to making excuses. That goes for every area in your life!

I hope this post inspired you to go out and Live Lovely by choosing an activity that causes you to simply play. I would like to hear how it goes. I know you’re probably wondering, “okay, so where are the REST of the epic pictures?”. Don’t worry I wasn’t going to leave ya’ll hanging.

Below are a few more photos from my visit, enjoy!

MOI_5.jpg

MOI_9.jpg

If you would like to see additional photos visit my Instagram account here.

You didn’t think I would put them all on the blog and not leave some special ones for the IG did you?! Follow my account while you are there to see other ways that I am #livinlovely. I can’t motivate you all to have a Always Live Lovely mindset and live this lifestyle as young adults, if I don’t show you how I do so myself. You feel me?

Link to the Museum of Ice Cream Exhibit here.

Always Live Lovely,

                                             Chetina

Written: June 25, 2018

***DISCLAIMER***

Although I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and registered associate professional clinical counselor, the contents on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and judgment of a health care or mental health professional. There is no Therapist-Client relationship created by accessing the information on this blog. Always seek the help of a physician or qualified mental health professional if you have any questions regarding a medical or mental health condition. Always Live Lovely is not held responsible for the use of the information provided. Reliance on any of the information provided by this blog only is solely at your own risk. Please see Health Disclaimer for further information alwayslivelovely.com/health-disclaimer/ .

Two Steps You Can Take to Overcome Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide.

Take a moment and think to yourself how you just felt opening this post and suicide is the first word that you see.

Did you feel uncomfortable?

Did you feel this is a word you know all to well?

Did you feel the need to click off of this post?

How do you feel?

Be mindful of that.

I’m going to be honest with you. This post may not be the easiest to read, especially due to all of the recent events, such as celebrity deaths, that are trending in regards to this topic; along with season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why being available again on Netflix.

It is necessary to talk about suicide & if you feel triggered at any time, do not continue to read this post. You can always come back to finish it when you are ready to do so.

I want you to know it is necessary to breathe some light into this topic.

It is necessary to look it in the face and tell it you will overcome.

If you are helping someone, encourage them, by looking them in the eye and speaking to their heart that they will overcome. Have each other’s back!

Let me say it again with a twist for the people in the back:

Speak to your brain, put it in check, and tell it “I WILL OVERCOME”! Be your own hero.

Before you may feel like you can overcome, the first step is acknowledging if you or someone you know have considered suicide, what kind of thoughts you are having, and finding your courage to talk about it. That’s right your courage. Everybody has some even when they don’t think they do. YOU ARE BRAVE!

Alright are ya’ll ready for a quick fact?

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death with over 44,965 people dying by suicide each year in the United States alone. 10th may not sound as alarming as the top 3, but in my perspective one person dying by suicide is one too many. Suicide is also the 2nd leading cause of death among college students (there’s that top 3).

Let’s get a little more relatable because, numbers can be striking, but words seem to hit home more.

People have a variety of reasons why they contemplate or die by suicide.

Wait. Hold up. Pause. Did ya’ll catch that new phrase I just slipped in there? Probably not, so let me bring it back. I said, “People have a variety of reasons why they contemplate or die by suicide”. I want to take a moment and place emphasize on how we talk about suicide. One does not COMMIT suicide; they DIE BY suicide. We have to begin to change how we frame these conversations. If someone dies by suicide, yes they committed to the act, but they did not commit a crime; which is usually how that language is used.

Alrighty let’s carry on.

Suicide does not have a preference. It can introduce itself to anyone, even when it wasn’t your intention to meet it. It also doesn’t always stem from depression (leave a comment below if you are interested in a post being written about that). For those of us supporting others who are struggling (or even supporting ourselves), we have to step away from the idea that it is selfish and they must “get over” what they are dealing with. We do not know what each person goes through. It is not our right to force them to live, but rather provide them with help to gain another option. There are so many conversations happening about suicide at the moment and I do not want the conversation to end once it stops trending. Over time I plan to write more blog post about suicide prevention, but due to the first component of Always Live Lovely being to THINK, let’s start by talking about thoughts. A lot of what we experience mental health wise comes from our thoughts, the brain.

It is important to recognize what type of thoughts you or someone else is having to increase your awareness. I am an advocate for believing that self awareness is one of the major keys. Identifying these thoughts in particular can be scary. Nobody wants to look at what they consider to be the “darker” parts of themselves. Nevertheless, it is helpful to identify your truth of what you are struggling with. Name it to tame it, feel it to heal it. In order to bring in light & literally come out of the darkness, you must first be willing to be honest with yourself. It’s a choice. Once again, I get it. It hurts. It’s scary.

This is the first step towards overcoming.

There are two types of thoughts (ideations) you can have when suicide crosses your mind.

  1. Passive Suicidal Ideation– This is when the idea/ thought crosses your mind, but you have no plan or intent to harm yourself. You can experience this frequently or occasionally. You wish to die, wonder what life would be like without you, want a break, and consider it as a possible option.
  2. Active Suicidal Ideation– This is when you actively have set you mind on dying, have a plan of what you are going to do, and plan/will follow through with it.

Let’s take a break:

Check in with yourself for a moment.

How are you feeling?

Name that emotion out loud.

Take a deep breathe in through your nose & breathe out through your mouth.

Okay let’s proceed.

The second step is speak up about it.

Another important step is to talk to someone you trust, whether it be a family member, friend, teacher, doctor, therapist, etc. Suicide is important to talk about because, we have to be okay with talking about the topics that scare us the most if we want to see a shift happen. Remember that on the other side of fear is freedom. If we don’t talk about suicide, how will we know when someone is hurting? How will they know who is there to support them? How will you know who is there to support you? We can’t read minds people! I can’t even read minds and I’m a therapist. I know it is hard to tell this to someone. You don’t want them to freak out, you’re not sure what will happen after that, and once you say it…it makes it real. Sometimes we have to do what is required to get the necessary help that we need.

Helpers/Supports don’t be afraid to ask someone if they think about suicide. It is a myth that talking about suicide will make someone move forward with it. That person may have been wanting someone to ask them because, they couldn’t bring it up on their own. Once again, have each other’s backs.

Let’s shift the convo a little bit. Remember this post is to get the conversation started, as there will be more to come.

One way Always Live Lovely supports suicide prevention:

There are a variety of actions that can be taken towards suicide prevention. Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Out of the Darkness Walk created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

ODW17.jpg

This was the first walk I had ever done and fundraised for since being in the mental health field. It felt great being able to be apart of the cause and support others who have a close relationship with the topic. Prevention of suicide is a cause that is very dear to my heart. In the past couple of years my experience and understanding of this topic has drastically changed. What was once a term that seemed to be kept more “in the dark”, has become something that has begun to feel like a common occurrence and has affected those around me, including myself in some shape or form. Whether it be due to suicidal ideation or a death by suicide, this discussion has become apart of my weekly life.

odw17_2.jpg

I participated in last year’s walk with Team Hella Black. It is because of this experience and other experiences that followed that I decided to become a Team Captain and create my own team, Team Always Live Lovely (whose name reflects this blog), for this years Out of the Darkness Walk 2018. This year Team Always Live Lovely will fundraise, raise awareness, and be present at the event. AFSP’s goal is to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

I am gathering a group of family and friends to walk to honor those who have died by suicide, struggle, & overcome to show we are in this together. It will be a day of learning, love, support, depth, & much more.

This is only the beginning and tip of the ice berg, but definitely an amazing step towards supporting this cause. Through my experience, I have learned that it is not my job to save anyone, but to rather listen, understand, and help them find their light. Help them save themselves, if they choose to do so. Help them breathe again. Provide them with another option that may have begun to feel impossible. The option to redefine what it means to LIVE. I accept that I have no control over others actions, but I can give love. I may not can help everyone, but I sure can help someone. I hope you can too.

If you have lost someone or know someone who is struggling with suicide remember to have self compassion and do the best you can with helping them. There will always be something you wish you could have, would have, or should have done. Focus on the love. Focus on the care.

odw17_3.jpg

If you are struggling, you can overcome. Please seek the help of a mental health professional. I will post the link to the resource page below. You can do this! You don’t have to give up or give in. You have purpose. You can get help. Suicide does not have to be the only way to get a “break from everything”. I know you are tired and in pain. I believe you will find your light and thrive. I believe you can live abundantly.

If this is a cause that you support and want to help the foundation raise awareness, please donate if you can and share this link with others. Your donation will be 100% tax deductible and greatly appreciated. Donations will be used to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), to fund research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.

Donate by clicking the link here.

Helpful Resources:

If you are someone you know is dealing with suicidal ideation click the link here for a list of resources.

If you have current thoughts of harming yourself please call 911.

13 reasons why talking points here.

Always Live Lovely,

                                         Chetina

Written: June 9, 2018

Reference

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2018, from

https://afsp.org/

***DISCLAIMER***

Although I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and registered associate professional clinical counselor, the contents on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and judgment of a health care or mental health professional. There is no Therapist-Client relationship created by accessing the information on this blog. Always seek the help of a physician or qualified mental health professional if you have any questions regarding a medical or mental health condition. Always Live Lovely is not held responsible for the use of the information provided. Reliance on any of the information provided by this blog only is solely at your own risk. Please see Health Disclaimer for further information alwayslivelovely.com/health-disclaimer/ .