It is Mental Health awareness day and communities across Atlanta, by the international community, are joining forces to break the stigma…

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It is Mental Health awareness day and communities across Atlanta, by the international community, are joining forces to break the stigma of mental health! Our brain is arguably the most important organ in the human body. It controls our memory, actions, emotions, speech, and movement yet the stigma continues to exist that it is not ok to not be ok.

Local shops like Chipotle are inviting guests to chow down while driving awareness for mental health. Georgia Tech Department of Housing will promote mental health in a campus-wide event that will feature a student panel and special guest speakers.

Overcoming Adversity

Mental health has played a profound role in my life as I lost out on having a mother due to her mental health in my early childhood. Growing up without a mother has played an enormous role in my life. Trust doe not come easy and I am very independent.

My life has also been touched firsthand by mental health in many other ways including Autism — My oldest son was born on the Autism Spectrum and both my boys had to overcome Dyslexia. We worked closely with our schools and therapists to overcome those hurdles.

I have also lost family members to cancer and learned I carried the BRCA1 gene mutation. I had a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction which Aetna thankfully deemed medically necessary for reduction of risk of breast cancer and covered a large portion of my surgery(s).

Path to Nowhere

I was in an unhappy place caught in the hamster wheel of life and needed intervention. Until this year, I have never taken the time to get to know myself, my interests. Between two boys, work, husband, household chores and the gym and lack of family support, there is not much downtime to do anything else.

To understand why I react as I do, I did a deep self-inventory of myself this past year with the help of the amazing team at Skyland Trail. Going through the process is not pretty; in fact, it is quite ugly. Unresolved feelings bubbled to the surface which I was forced to address for the first time. I have taken weeks this year to take personal inventory. It is a draining, emotional and humbling experience. It is my hardest win I ever won.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan

To maintain wellness, I put together a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Here are a few of my tips to maintain a healthy state of mind:

Proper Diet — In my case, adhering to my diet free of dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy.

Practice Gratitude — I am very grateful for my amazing husband who is also my Best friend and our two beautiful boys. I show my gratitude through volunteer work and I pay it forward whenever possible.

Exercise Daily — I hit the gym or outdoors for at least 30 minutes every day.

Take Medication as prescribed.

Surround myself with positive people.

Watch a funny movie. I love Zoolander, it makes me laugh.

I would love to hear what others have done to maintain a healthy state of mind!

Mental Health America of Georgia

Over 2.3 million individuals live with mental illness, yet Georgia ranks 47 out of 50 states for access to mental health care, resources, and insurance. The Mental Health America of Georgia Organization helps Georgians lead mentally healthier lives by promoting mental health public policy and is the resource of choice for prevention and early intervention programs.

National Alliance of Mental Health NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Skyland Trail Located in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older. Skyland Trail is not a hospital or lock-down institution, They are one of the nation’s top mental health treatment centers — a voluntary treatment community of clients finding new ways to overcome the limitations of their illness and reclaim their lives.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of the customers choice.

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