Mental Health Matters

Earlier today I read the heart wrenching story about 19 year-old Madison Holleran.   Less than four days ago, the University of Pennsylvania student committed suicide.  She wrote a note to her parents, left them gifts, and jumped to her death from a Center City parking garage.

By all accounts Madison had everything to live for.  A freshman track star, who finished her first semester with 3.5 GPA respectfully.  Mail Online quoted her parents as saying, “her sadness stemmed from the strains the student found herself under since going to college.”    Her parents suggested therapy and even offered to help her transfer to another college, but after the holiday break, she return to Philadelphia.

Madison isn’t my daughter, but the death of any child lies heavy on my heart. I teared thinking about Madison’s last moments of life.  My daughter is 24-year-old.  The thought of her living out what must be the last and most agonizing moments of her life sends chills down my spine.

In 2007, suicide  was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths.


In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24
. Of every 100,000 young people in each age group, the following number died by suicide:

  • Children ages 10 to 14 — 0.9 per 100,000
  • Adolescents ages 15 to 19 — 6.9 per 100,000
  • Young adults ages 20 to 24 — 12.7 per 100,000

 National Institute of Mental Health (NHM)

Much emphasis is placed on outer beauty and physical fitness.  We see a beautiful woman or handsome man with a great physique– They are friendly, out going, and seem to have it all.  We assess (really judge) them to be successful or make positive assumptions about them.  This is so wrong!

A warm smile could be a mask or smoke screen.  The warm smile could be an indicator of internal pain, sadness, depression, or something else. The photos of Madison hardly projects the face of depression or does it?  As my friend JH says, “Honey, all that glitters ain’t gold!”

My senior year of high school was one of the most difficult years of my life.  The death of my father and the ratchet conflict with my mother gave me stomach ulcers and bald spots.  I walked around school smiling like my life was a fairy tale.  I didn’t tell anyone, not even my closest confident.  I kept my anger, sadness, and frustration in until it slowly infected by body, but thankfully not my mind.  I was lucky, Madison was not.  How sad.

Fitness junkies like me make the time for a long or short run, an hour or more at the gym, or an hour of CrossFit.  But how many of us, including those who don’t work out, make the time to evaluate if our mental health is in a good place?

As parents, how many of us know the signs of depression and can recognize them in our own children?  Will you be honest with yourself or will you surround yourself with denial with the hopes that the situation will get better?

Suicide statistics are astounding. I encourage everyone to learn more about suicide risk factors, the signs, prevention, and how to seek help.

Every life is precious. RIP Madison Holleran

If you are in a crisis and need help right away:

Call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.

ADDITIONAL READING

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Institute of Mental Health

American Foundation For Suicide Prevention

Bringing Teens Into the Conversation About Suicide Prevention

Advertisements

Conditions For Success… One Rep At A Time

If you are serious about your goals, drop the conditions.  Go directly to your goal.  Be your goal.

Be your goal! Conditions often disguise strategies for escaping accountability.  Why not just take charge and create the experience you are looking for.

Eric Allenbaugh

By 7:45 this morning, I was well rested and warming up on the treadmill. Coasting along at 3.5 mph I hum and sing along to the music pumping into my ears. Give or take about 15 fellow gym rats ran on the tread, glided on an elliptical, or banged out weights to their maximum ability.

Anticipating today’s work out stirred me. For nearly three months, we’ve yet to repeat a routine, and that’s so cool. The routine is always a surprise–I only know that the routine will be increasingly challenging.

Within 30 minutes, my biceps and triceps “felt like fire running through my veins.”  That’s what my friend and trainer told me my arms would feel like.  She was right!  Some of the sets that flamed my muscles were:

The burning, the aching, and the explosive muscle stinging is necessary for muscle growth.  During the lifting phase of strength training, the muscles tear and are broken down.  Proper nutrition and rest allows the muscles to repair and grow.

Hallelujah!  It’s not easy, but I’m finally meeting my daily calorie goals. I forced this plate of food (dinner) down tonight because I cannot skip a meal.  I’ve gotta eat.

6 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup of white sweet potatoes, 1 cup of leafy frozen spinach

6 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup of white sweet potatoes, 1 cup of leafy frozen spinach

The LIVESTRONG application is helpful.

Because of my high metabolism, my daily calorie goal is 2000 - 2400

Because of my high metabolism, my daily calorie goal is 2000 – 2400

I got my hands on some fabric samples for my competition suit.  The vivid colors and the soft fabric are beautiful!  I have no idea what color suit I’ll be wearing, but I do know that it will be bright.  I love bright colors and they look stunning against my dark tanned skin.

fabric

There’s just so much to think about.  I know that schedule wise, I’m on track, but I’m a planner and will not satisfied until all the pieces are in place.

One day at a time and one rep at a time puts me one step closer to my goal.

Enjoy your weekend!


Here Is A Great Protective Syle

The summer is my favorite season to rock my wild and natural curls. I especially enjoy the unpredictability of my hair and how my curls respond to the heat, humidity, and hot radiant sun. The color becomes more vivid and my fro grows bigger and wilder as the day goes longer.

Back in the day when I was permed, the sizzling hot summer days constantly held me hostage to closed windows and air conditioning in my car, and major dilemmas of how to style my hair after a long ten-mile run.

Now, I’m free to be me!  Hairs that are out-of-place are in place and exactly where they belong.  Three years into my journey, I am having more fun than ever.

With September only one week away, it is time for me to transition to the new school year. The spare time that I indulged in July and August will soon quickly disappear. The slots will be filled with strict early morning routines, football practice, home work, dinner, and barely enough time to get to CrossFit. Oh, and I left out my hair in the mix.  Length retention means more time required to co-wash, condition, moisturize, twist, and style. Whew!

So what’s a curly girl to do?  Visit her favorite stylist to find the perfect protective style. I am so excited! I decided to go with temporary loc extensions, styled by the one and only Vicky at KinHairitage.  After staring in envy at several photos posted by KH, I knew exactly what I wanted.

My natural hair is safely tucked away and my new regime is reduced to moisturizing my roots and grabbing a satin bonnet at night.  And the best part…  after a long run or CrossFit, no hair maintenance is required!   Heeeey!  I can sleep a few minutes later now too.  Check out my new style.

20130825-230409.jpg

Loving the highlights!

20130825-230433.jpg

20130825-230504.jpg

20130825-230533.jpg

Styled and photographed by stylists Victoria at KinHairitage Salon