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!

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.





Thursday, May 18, 2017

One Decade One Purpose

I have a lot to say, however, I am hesitant to blog about it, because I am working on a couple of books. I will publish a collective piece with peers, and also publish my follow up book to What's On My Mind? later this year (2017).

While I am excited to share my recovery journey I am frequently challenged by the ability to appropriately delegate my writings between the blog and book. My "Overcoming Schizophrenia" blog is still my healthy outlet and love... I appreciate all readers and strive to give my love to them forever through my self-expressive writings in order to relate, educate, and to further empower our growing recovery community and tight-knit recovery network; online and in-person.

In fact, there have been many times when I got on my laptop to develop a blog entry on life lessons of my recovery, but chose not to complete it in order to convert it into a chapter in my book.

Once, I valued my Bible more than anything...then it was my journal; like a safety net...However, now it is my heart... And I want to share my heart with you, and others through my writing because, I believe it is my purpose for this season to share my face among many of our faces living with mental health conditions. Like all the love I put into developing my first book, What's On My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from Overcoming Schizophrenia (2014), I will generously give all that good energy and passion into What's On My Mind? Volume II.

My hope is to publish What's On My Mind? Volume II in September 2017, because this year marks 10 years of recovery (2007-2017) living with schizophrenia, and many more decades to live for and to love myself and others.

I want you to know I am still in love with you; fellow bloggers and readers. In fact, I am working on my book and will share more details regarding my next published book as September approaches. 


THANK YOU- Ashley


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

10 Ways That Shows Blogger LOVE


What is more important? The message, messenger, or number of readers, and comments?

I may not be the best blogger, but me and my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia, was recognized and requested by some of the best… Huffington Post, a powerhouse and community-oriented pharmaceutical company, and organizations outside of my state, and country; including countless radio, and public relations’ requests to be on their shows, etc.

When I started my personal blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia (2008), I was scared, anonymous, however very much honest, which was at times uncomfortable for me as the blogger author, and it was overwhelming for some readers.

However, my blog has been mentioned in numerous articles, received a lot of attention from fellow bloggers, and was awarded by many of my blogging friends. I say all this to encourage you to consider my experience, reasons for my M.I.A. (Missing In Action), and maturity, love, and growth with my livelihood and online reflections in my blog.

This is for You Blogger Newbies, a few gifts to indulge, glance at, practice, or just click-n-go to another interesting blog, and article on your screen… and to my fellow bloggers those I know, and/or will get to know, please add more gifts to our “Love Day” dedication to our new blogging peers. This list should offer many don'ts, and why they are don'ts, but also increase readership, respect, and comments!!!
  1. Keep it real
  2. Never apologize
  3. Invite feedback
  4.  Be mindful of focus
  5. Go with the flow
  6. Always engage in self-care
  7. No rambling allowed
  8. Be sensitive to causes
  9.  Stay in your lane
  10. Respect privacy



Keep It Real
From Day One, I was honest and still am. Readers expect that from me… However, keep it safe and within your own style, approach, and delivery, and comfort.


Never Apologize
In the past, I’ve apologized to readers for not blogging. I stopped doing that for me. I blog because I love to write and reflect and to connect with others not because I am obligated. Finally, my reasons for not apologizing anymore is because I have legitimate personal reasons and excuses I choose not to disclose in detail with the world.


Invite Feedback
I engage readers with a question… it’s like text messaging, if you don’t ask a question you may only get a read or maybe “ok.” Therefore, ask for feedback relative to topic.  


Be Mindful of Focus
I’ve had the wonderfully talented Sade music artist singing on my blog to a few of her greatest hits; reality check, not everybody wants to hear my music while reading my blog about my diagnosis at that time. Maybe they prefer a different tune such as rock music. Maybe readers want to read and not be distracted by sounds not of their choice… I’m just saying.

Flashing colors and banners can be another distraction. Finally, too many advertisements distracts me personally, so why would I want to dump too many advertisements on readers?


Go With The Flow
Scheduling. I write whenever led. Fellow bloggers may keep a routine, which works for them. However, I don’t want to set myself up for failure, therefore I don’t tell readers I will post every week on a certain day or time of month. Yet, that may be appropriate for paid bloggers…

Always Engage In Self-care
My wellness is more important than anything, any appearance, blog and message, numbers, etc.


No Rambling Allowed
This is a blog, not a lecture, speech, or face-to-face conversation. Keep it direct, juicy, full of substance, and quality…


Be Sensitive To Causes
One time I posted a picture of fighting chickens, because I liked the shades of color and imagery. However, I quickly deleted that post because I was unknowingly offending a lot of people who love and respect animals, including online sites that I wanted to collaborate with, and to exchange links. Thus, be sensitive to groups because you never know when you want to work with others, and to never offend that collaborating partnership.


Stay In Your Lane
I live in the south, “The Bible Belt.” A lot of things I should not say, and do not say while speaking to people in public in our southern communities. However, I may disclose in upcoming books, for your information. However, for blogging you may want to channel, refrain, and touchup a few things. For example, cursing, religious direction, politics, and other controversy. I am not saying don’t be yourself, however, present in a way that is mindful unless you just don’t give a ____ (you know the rest)!


Respect Privacy
In the beginning I occasionally gave a shout out to frequent commentators; in agreement, acknowledging, etc. Despite the love, I later realized I put undue pressure on them. Therefore, appreciate frequent commentators, but don’t put them on the spot!

Depending on the blog topic, you may want to hide the “following” section that links back to readers profile pages. I removed the following section because I wanted to further respect my readers by not putting their readership picks on blast and understanding that my blog can be taboo for a lot of families and individuals, and I don’t have any regrets about leaving it off.



By the way, never forget that you are the boss; any advertisements, colors, pictures, etc. is a part of your signature and style, don't let my list override you!-just consider it. Lastly, do add to the list. Do state your reasoning for disagreement. And do share your blog!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

My-Love Activities...

I am alone, and not lonely. I’ve been performing different homemade self-love activities to nurture and to love and to pamper myself with a level of contentment of satisfying my own loving demands. 

Last week I created a bulletin board of a collage collective of old greeting cards that my family and friends gave me. I included hand-written notes from friends, and pictures of myself and family.

Today, I researched and printed lyrics of songs that identifies my spirit and self-care needs for right now. I really listened to the music’s words, and not just the tune, and beat; like I usually do. 

These two songs spoke to the essence of my self-care identity, for now...

1)  Monica, “Love All Over Me”

…I got love all over me,
And I don’t want to get it off…
Even my skin is changing,
I’m feeling warmer…
You put the color back in my life...


2)  Tink, “Treat Me Like Somebody”

Somebody real is hard to find,
Somebody worth all your time,
Somebody who can tell you the truth,
Someone who loves you for you,
Someone who knows all of your flaws,
And doesn’t impose,
Try to control them,
Let’s you be free…

These songs are spiritually grounding in that of my Father God, spirit within, and what I need for where I am for …today.


For Valentine’s Day I created a homemade card for myself… what self-care and love acts have you managed, or will do?


In-the-making

Before, brainstorming how to create this Love Day card

After, card complete!

(Inside; Happy Love Day Ash... Ashley, I AM... Vibrant, Lovely & Strong...Thank You Father God!)

Yay!- my Happy Love Day card is finished!!!

I AM STILL…HERE.

I understand how many readers may feel like I left everyone hanging, because I did… my commitment to my employer, my family and parenting, and straight up- my not-up-to-par self-care habits.

It goes back to seasonal coping skills and lifetime coping demands; which I will forever seek balance. Writing in its diverse forms such as journaling and blogging is important to me. My writing is a must for me, to express myself by reflection, connect with others in order to expand my understanding of self and to relate; as well as to better function at a better than average degree on the scale and spectrum of my wellness… I am still here. I am still well. And I am still striving for a good life in my recovery, which forever shifts and changes…still I am me, overcoming my mental health conditions, and life’s uneasiness, and yet, and still; life’s pleasantness, at the same time! 

I love myself because I am learning how to embrace my flaws that I usually aim to remove in thought, fantasy, and word; everything but diligent action of removal…now I am more accepting of myself and my needs, and challenges I may not face immediately, however to address closely by first identifying them, looking at my involvement within them, and being okay to be stuck in that position, for now.

I love you (readers) for checking in on my place online (Overcoming Schizophrenia), and vocalizing the impact of this blog, and of my absence. I appreciate the messages of concern and all the support. I thank each of you... I AM STILL...HERE. Are you?

Me (Ashley) on my laptop, late at night/1 AM-ish thinking about... you (readers)... needing to get this blog off my chest!