The Author- Ashley

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
My name is Ashley and I am a lot of things, read this blog to learn more... Thank you for visiting my blog!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Goals vs. Limited Time

Because the year [2017] is closing, I am going to start preparing to my mindset, spirituality, finances, and miscellaneous needs; and overall wellness, today. I have many goals, in fact, I always have a goal. I like to check off my goals like a grocery list. Most times I categorize goals by dividing them into short-term (1-6 months), or long-term (6 months-2 years), phases and deadline to meet.

For example, here are a few of my goals:
CPS, Author,
Resource Coordinator & Trainer
  • To master punctuality; to be at work, and events earlier, in order, to reduce anxieties and stress.
  • To wake up earlier at least twice a week in order to gives thanks to God, journal, and to prepare my mindset for the day.
  • I am going to look into getting more certifications as a peer counselor, and trainer.
  • I will be more attentive to others, and will reduce offering feedback, because I need more information, and I enjoy lively conversations, everyday. 
However, I have a longer list than that, but I could prioritize my lists by focusing on two goals each week.

Unfortunately, this year has been an ongoing struggle. I loss much including my car, friend, and almost my ability to manage my depression among other conditions. In fact, I quit my job on my own, of almost two years, because I was in therapy, or my doctor's office weekly. My anxiety was severe to the extent that I left work early often such as twice a week. And I did try to overcome my anxiety by walking around my workplace, listening to music, journal, talking to a coworker, and keeping my mental health appointments.

Charlene Flagg, CEO Matters of the Heart
Counseling
I quit my job due to my mental illness, ahead of time so that I would not seem incompetent, which could've become a byproduct of my symptoms of depression, and anxiety. I quit my job in January 2017. This year has educated me a lot on how to walk alone when one doesn't want to for personal time with self, focus, and to be mindful of negativity that can disrupt daily goals.

Finally, I will try to stay focused on the good things, such as completing two books...

  • Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mel Illness and Recovery, Revealed, co-authored by Ashley Smith, CPS, Angela B. Franklin, and Charlene Flag.... (Coming soon!)
  • What's On My Mind? Vol.II (Coming soon!)

Below is a brief biography of the women I am co-authoring the book with,  Out of the Darkness:


Angela B. Franklin is a survivor of a traumatic past—having survived childhood abuse, suicide attempts, and self-harming; among her own stigma, shame, and secrets. Furthermore, Angela is a two-time breast cancer survivor, initially diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2013. Angela was diagnosed with depression (1977), borderline personality (1984), and post-traumatic stress disorder (1988). Despite years of shame and silence, Angela triumphs and shares her process of recovery, self-confidence, and love for her God that she had concerns with because of her traumatic experiences. Now for the first time Angela reveals several rough years of suffering in silence, and learning how to cope. The harsh experiences of her past transformed her into working as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). 

Angela graduated from Huntingdon College (Bachelor of Arts, Biology). After being unable to maintain employment due to severe persistent mental illness she worked for Job Corps Center for 15 years. Angela has an extensive background working with at risk youth (ages 13-24) with severe behavioral concerns. Pursuing her passion she started her own business, Crafty Treasures by Angela, in 2012. Instructing youth, senior citizens and others in diverse arts and crafts workshops that may include: pottery, jewelry-making, and crocheting among a host of other crafts, and such. Now a CPS, Angela supports peers by encouraging them to partake in self-directed recovery initiatives. Angela openly shares her past shame, silence, and faith in this collaboration, Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness & Recovery Revealed. Still she fights, still she prays, and thus, still Angela lives in recovery! 



Charlene Flagg is a licensed Therapist with over 20 years of experience in Direct Practice, Administration, Research and Teaching at the College-level.  Charlene graduated from the University of Georgia with a Masters Degree in Social Work, and also earned a Masters Degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan as a scholarship recipient.  She is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree at Emory University, also as a scholarship recipient.  Charlene recently began her own private practice, Matters of the Heart Counseling Services, LLC. 

Charlene is highly proficient with rendering diagnoses and providing psycho-therapeutic intervention for individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness.  Her areas of specialization include: Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorders, Trauma, and Psychotic Disorders.  She is adept with Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Crisis Intervention.  


Ashley Smith is a writer, speaker, and peer counselor. Ashley Smith self-published her first book, What’s On My Mind? A Collection Of Blog Entries From Overcoming Schizophrenia, (2014). Ashley Smith’s book debut, What’s On My Mind? was endorsed by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc. (GMHCN). The GMHCN endorsed Smith’s book by distributing a copy to each attendee free of charge. At their annual conference. “The Year of the Peer,” (2014) which was that year’s theme featured Ashley Smith as one of three keynote speakers. In addition to that Georgia’s prison system supports Smith’s book by having placed a copy in each state prison facility across the state!

In 2007, Ashley learned that she had schizophrenia at the age of 20 through a significant legal incident and arrest. Anonymously, Ashley began writing her story on her blog, “Overcoming Schizophrenia,” starting in 2008. Ashley publicly disclosed her life-changing experience with mental illness on her blog. When the online mental health community learned of her self-disclosed story they quickly embraced her. One of the many individuals who embraced Ashley was Christina Bruni. Bruni, a fellow peer who is a journalist, librarian, blogger, and author of Left of the Dial, wrote the foreword to Ashley’s book, What’s On My Mind?

In 2012, Ashley became a Georgia Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). A CPS is a peer counselor that is certified by the state of Georgia’s DBHDD and the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc. CPS Project, which developed the new mental health position, the CPS.


THANK YOU READERS

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ashley Co-Authors New Book- Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness Revealed

Next month is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July), and the debut of my new book, Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness REVEALED. I co-author this book with two awesome women, and friends, Angela Franklin and Charlene Flagg. We will present our book on July 22, 2017 at the 2017 Mental Health Conference at House of Hope Church, hosted by their counseling center, Haven House, located on 4650 Float Shoals Parkway, Decatur, GA 30034.


Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness
REVEALED

First the book, Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness REVEALED, explores three individualized stories of living with a diagnosis. We share candid experiences with self-stigma, and barriers to living our lives well in recovery. Despite the pain, traumas, and setbacks in wellness and life; Angela, Charlene, and I accepted change, and help.


In our book, we reflect on our challenges and progress to better manage recovery; and to survive, thrive, and to live! Our faith played a significant role in grasping and maintaining hope for a better day; relief, and access to treatment and therapy. Still,we have struggles, still we have needs, and still we share admiration, and many thanks to God for hope, and different healthy self-care tools, which helps maintain recovery, and wellness.


The 2017 Mental Health Conference aims to educate, and guide persons into therapy, and treatment, if needed, as an option. There will also be a panel discussion with individuals living with a diagnosis, and others from Emory University faculty, mental health professionals, and community members. Presenters will address concerns of severe and persistent mental illness (i.e. anxiety, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and, suicide), and other behavioral health concerns. 

Attending this conference will undoubtedly get the conversation started in right the right direction, in order, to reduce the stigma of mental illness in the African American community, and church. Workshops will share resources and ways to access treatment, and therapy. This conference will passionately deliver messages of hope, and encouragement to STOP suffering in silence, and to link individuals to professional help and care! 


Finally, do, mark your calendars for July 22, 2017, located at House of Hope Church, 4650 Float Shoals Parkway, Decatur, Georgia 30034. And, be prepared to get some great information, listen to g great praise music, and to obtain resources. For details on the conference, which is free of charge, visit the House of Hope, Haven House Counseling Center website: www.havenhousecounseling.com  This is a free event that will include lunch and refreshments.




Friday, June 2, 2017

Loving.. My Mother



This month (June) is the anniversary of my mother's life.



The picture of me and my mother was taken while I was in high school. In this picture, we were standing on the porch in front of her antique shop. There are countless lessons she instilled in me, however, entrepreneurship is one of the few at the top of that list. Another is how to be a great supporter and mother by making loving sacrifices for one's child. While I was not well, and at my worse, she stopped working to relocate, in order to care and support me. I love my mother, and that experience portrayed the woman, and mother I aim to be remembered by my own child.

I saw an American Greetings card and purchased it for myself. I think of my mother everyday, I want to acknowledge and celebrate her with another soothing image for me. I am honoring my mother's life and passing due to stage four breast cancer.

I am also honoring all amazing mothers and women who've impacted us in loving ways among a million other ways... Rest in Peace, let your spirits be loved unconditionally by your higher power; and the rest of us will continue to be thinking, missing, and loving on you in memory until we join you again.