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MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH MONTH: Check On Your Girls…They Might Need A Getaway!

I don’t have the time says… almost every women everywhere around the world. Especially when in pertains to doing something for herself like (having lunch with her girls, reading a new book, or simply doing something spontaneous like packing a bag and running away for the weekend). However research shows that girl’s trips are actually good for our mental.


July was designated as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in 2008 to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the United States. I figured what better time and way to sucker some friends into a weekend getaway that we had only been discussing for about 2 years. I sent out a text and everyone agreed we were finally going to take a mini vacation to NAPLES, FLORIDA. I know what you’re thinking there’s nothing to do in Naples, but nothing to do is exactly what we needed. The funny thing is every last one of us needed this mini vacay but it seems as though we either allowed our conscious mind to believe we had too much other things that needed to get done or our subconscious mind reminded us of all the reasons we didn’t deserve or shouldn’t be enjoying life right now.

In a 2016 study researchers found that spending time with friends boosts the production of oxytocin, which is often called the “love” or “cuddle” hormone. Oxytocin is released when you’re in positive social situations and will make you feel trusting, empathetic, and all-around very happy.

Oxytocin is also a great remedy for depression and anxiety. There have been several studies completed on the impact social interactions have on one’s mental and physical health. These findings concluded that:

  • Having friendships can actually extend your lifespan.
  • Individual spending a lot of time secluded or alone have an increased risk of having dementia.

What does this mean for you?… “I’m GLAD you asked”

It means only one thing….. Grab your girls, whether it’s in town, or out of town, and simply getaway. Leave the computers at home, turn those phones on silent, find a reliable babysitter that won’t need to bother you, make sure meal prep your husbands meals for a few days, and simply spend some quality time with your girls.

During this trip we spent so much needed time uplifting, encouraging, listening, laughing, crying, joking, dancing, singing, smiling, and pouring into one another. We went out to dinner, brunch, watch t.v. shows and movies, spent time on the beach in the sand, and even under the tiki hut when it rained. We took beautiful photos together, found out some amazing news, and got a better understanding of the emotions and experiences we each were encountering in our everyday lives. You see too often we get caught up things such as adulating, jobs, relationships, children, careers that we often put aside the things that bring us JOY.

The highlight of our trip was definitely Sunday morning when we engaged in “Our Mental Matters Healing Activities”. The activities were placed on my heart before we left in celebration of Minority Mental Health Month as a way to connect, and support one another on this journey called life. Each woman was given a goody bag with a t-shirt and some facial/self-care items. After getting dressed and grabbing their favorite morning drink (tea, coffee, or a mimosa) we spent time in prayer/meditation, journaling, reflecting on this trip and pouring into one another.  The activity included each of us completing the following tasks/questions:

  1. Journal about your experience on this trip?
  2. Write down 3 things you need your sisters to support you with during the next couple of months?
  3. Write a motivational/inspirational/or encouraging letter to each of your sisters.
  4. Write down 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you want to manifest in your life?
  5. Finally write down 2 ideas for our next mental getaway.

Answers Included:

  • Reflection: My heart was empty but now it is filled.
  • Things I need Support In: Moving forth as a single parent, encouragement, and prayers, this new journey, and unexpected diagnosis.
  • Things I am Grateful For: I am grateful for my health, life, for good friends, all that is happening in my life right now, and for GOD who knew exactly what I needed (this trip).
  • Manifesting: A NEW Home, Agape Love, A Healthy Child, Success, Abundance, Financial Wealth, God’s Promises
Idea’s For Our Next Girls
Back In The Days Retreat
Friendship Dinner

This trip started off as just a girl’s trip but ended up being a Girls Mental Getaway. We all left feeling encouraged, empowered, motivated, and rejuvenated. We could have spent it doing so many other things however as we get older we realize type spent together should consist of the 3 M’s.

It should be MEANINGFUL.

It should allow us to create MEMORIES.

and It should MOTIVATE us to become better versions of ourselves.

Quote of the Trip

goes to Mrs. Sathasha Williams: “Life isn’t about the Quantity of Friends but the Quality of Friends”.

To every queen, sister, daughter, mother, friend, business owner, boss, employee, wife, etc. you deserve this. You need it. Don’t feel guilty about leaving TRUST ME. Everyone and everything will be just fine when you return. Remember “You’re no good for them… If you’re no good for YOU”.

 Thank You Amanda & Sathasha for this amazing Getaway. Thank your for your love support, and ability to be open and raw. I love you both, and look forward to many, many, more adventures.


The Nervous System On Trauma


According to Merck Manuals the autonomic nervous system regulates certain body processes, such as blood pressure and the rate of breathing that work without conscious effort.


Fear, Anxiety, Flashback, Guilt, and Sadness are often common reactions when one has experienced a traumatic event.  These emotions are normal and mean one thing your nervous system is working perfectly fine. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) plays a significant role in our emotional and physiological responses to stress and trauma. On a regular day, the nervous system regulates a stress and calming response. When stress arises we begin to operate in fight or flight response mode. The fight or flight response describes our instinct to protect ourselves or run until we reach safety.

Daily incidents when these functions may be exhibited:

Fight Mode:

  • Being stuck in traffic while running late for work
  • Forgetting to study for a test
  • An argument with a loved one or friend

Flight Response Mode:

  • Arriving to work 10 minutes early
  • Being told it’s going to be an open-notes test.
  • When the argument is resolved

When a traumatic event happens it pushes the nervous system past its ability to self-regulate. When the system is pushed past its limit the nervous system can get stuck in fight (on) or flight mode (off). When the nervous system has un-discharged stress and is stuck in “Off Mode” this is where individuals experience things such as exhaustion, depression, and withdrawal. When the system is stuck in “On Mode” individuals experience things such as anxiety, panic, hyperactivity, and anger.

Trauma is something that can affect us internally, physically, and psychologically. Understanding it’s affect on our nervous system can help others recognize signs, as well as seek the proper assistance when a traumatic incident is taking place.

If you have experienced a traumatic event seeking professional help to assist with discharging the traumatic stress is strongly advised.

Traumatic Effects of Sickle Cell Anemia

When discussing the issue of trauma many usually refer to PTSD, violence, abuse, the lost of a loved one, etc. however the issue of individuals dealing with life-threatening illnesses and disease are often overlooked.

September is National

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

The month-long national celebration helps focus attention on the need for research, treatment and a cure sickle cell disease, an inherited condition that currently affects over 70,000 Americans. The

What is Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia, or sickle cell disease (SCD), is a genetic disease of the red blood cells (RBCs). Normally, RBCs are shaped like discs, which gives them the flexibility to travel through even the smallest blood vessels.  This can cause pain and organs, bone, and tissue damage.

In celebration and honor of my dearest friend and guardian angel

Shakira A. Martin

who passed away from complications due to Sickle Cell Anemia.


Sometimes trauma is virtually unnoticeable even to the victim’s closest friends and family members. For those who knew Shakira, they knew that she never considered her self to be a victim. Instead, she lived every moment and every day to the fullest and made it her life-goal to bring awareness to Sickle Cell Anemia.

In an article entitles ” Psychological Complications in Sickle Cell disease” Annie (2005) identified psychological complications in both children and adults with SCD as

  • inappropriate pain coping strategies
  • reduced quality of life owing to restrictions in daily functioning,
  • anxiety and depression
  • and neurocognitive impairment.

While Shakira didn’t dedicate much time to worrying about the what if’s of life the pain she endured during a crisis and the lack of knowledge from physicians really bothered her. When asked a close friend by the Name of Natarcia Codner who also suffers from the disease to describe the pain experienced during a crisis she described it as ” being stabbed all over your body while pulling off your limbs”.

Natarcia also stated that for someone dealing with the disease it can be very discouraging especially when feeling ill or dealing with the pain from a crisis because one can never be prepared for what to expect. Her exact words were it can go from 0 to 100 (real quick). As trauma can manifest days, months or even years after an actual event.  Trauma is often but not always associated with being present at the site of a trauma-inducing event. It is also possible to sustain trauma after witnessing something from a distance. This is why dealing with health-related trauma can also affect family members and friends.

As I have been present and by the side of both Shakira and Natarcia during the time of an actual crisis the most devastating part is knowing there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help ease their pain.  Shakira life motto was it relates to the sickle cell was “If you live a dead life, what was the purpose of being alive?” I was given the privilege of spending her final days with her in the place that she loved most “JAMAICA”. While Shakira experienced a great deal of pain during her final days she never stopped living.

She spent her final days attempting every activity and excursion her body would allow. As for the ones she couldn’t she found much joy in bossing me around and ensuring that I complete each task on our trips itinerary with or without her. When I returned she only had one request that I tell her all about it, show her all of the footage, and wine up on somebody man.  Shakira was a true example of someone who never allowed life’s pains and traumatic events take her out but instead she always found the beauty within her pain and for that experience alone I will forever be grateful.

Before her passing Shakira created a non-profit organization to help raise awareness while providing services that improve the quality of life for those afflicted with Sickle Cell Anemia in South Florida and Jamaica. The Shak’s Hope team is made up of Shakira’s warriors, Sicklers, healthcare professionals, caregivers, and volunteers with a passion for service.


I dedicate this post to every warrior, family member, friend, and those affected by the Sickle Cell Anemia disease. While I cant ease your pain this disease has scared your heart with I simply encourage you to find the beauty within the pain. For you are not alone. 


For more information on Shak’s Hope see the link below.

Shak’s Hope