Posts tagged with "depression"

Kaelen Felix illustrates Ritchie Torres for 360 Magazine

TRAILBLAZER: CONGRESSMAN RITCHIE TORRES

By Elle Grant

January 3rd marked the commencement of the 117th Congress and the swearing of its newest members. For many, it marked the beginning of a new dawn. One that will be followed by the inauguration of TIME’s People of the Year, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. They will replace President Trump on Inauguration Day on January 20th. Yet several other remarkable individuals were elected this year and sworn in a bit earlier, solidifying the 117th Congress as the most diverse in American history. One of these representatives is a freshly elected Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old politician serving the 15th congressional district in the Bronx, New York. Torres is the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to Congress, and one of two gay Black men that will serve in the 117th Congress, a distinction he shares with fellow New Yorker Mondaire Jones. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Torres to discuss the story of his life, the issues he considers vital, as well as pick his brain for his thoughts on current events.

“I am a product of the Bronx,” Torres says of his childhood, “I spent most of my life in poverty.” Ritchie Torres was raised by a single mother, one of three children, in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the East Bronx. He recalls the difficulty his mother had raising a family on minimum wage in the 1990s, as well as the awful conditions of the public housing he grew up in. Torres recollects these experiences with the soft yet fluid countenance that marked his speech throughout 360’s conversation with him. He floats between topics and memories with ease.

He recalls, with a rich sense of irony, the construction of Trump Golf Links as a child. “My life is something of a metaphor. I grew up right across the street of what became Trump golf course and actually something funny, is when the golf course was undergoing construction, it unleashed a skunk infestation. So, I often tell people I’ve been smelling the stench of Donald Trump long before he became President.” His own situation, compared with the government subsidized construction of the Trump Golf Links, deeply unsettled Torres’ image of society. He says collectively of his youth, “Those experiences shape not only who I am as a person, but as a public official.”

Such injustices prompted Torres to seek to become “The change that you wish the see in the world,” he says, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. He named public figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy as role models. He got his start as a housing organizer and eventually took the leap of faith to run for public office, becoming New York’s youngest elected city official at age 25. He had “No ties to the machine. No ties to the dynasties of Bronx politics, but I was young and energetic. I knocked on thousands of doors,” he claims that kind of face-to-face contact won him that election. Torres then became the first LGBTQ+ official elected from the Bronx.

“I think it has several implications,” he says when asked what this early accomplishment meant to him. “I mean, first, we are all products of our identities and our lived experiences. Right? Who we are as people shapes what we do as policy makers. It is important to have LGBTQ policy makers in the room where decisions are being made. A wise person once said, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you are probably on the menu.’” Referring to his 2020 election win, he says “My election means that LGBTQ people of color, in particular, will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, the United States Congress.” He calls the reality of his election both empowering and normalizing. “I am a symbol of possibility.”

“I met Mondaire for the first time four years ago,” Torres says of Mondaire Jones, U.S. representative of New York’s 17th congressional district. “I remember when I met him for the first time, we had a conversation about the lack of LGBTQ representation of color in New York state politics. And I never imagined that four years later, he and I would become the first openly LGBTQ Black members of United States Congress.”

Congressmen Torres recognizes that his path, though marked with accomplishments, has not been one of only highs. Torres stands apart as a public official on the national stage who is open about the lows of his life and his struggles with mental health. When asked why he chooses to be so transparent, he says “I felt a deep sense of obligation to speak openly about my own struggles with depression in order to break the silence and shame and stigma that surrounds mental health.” He seeks to evolve, not perpetuate, the current ideas surrounding mental health. He hopes to show that “there is a way forward” out of difficult moments, which for him were struggles with substance abuse, the loss of a friend, and moments when he considered taking his own life. But seven years later, Torres was elected to city council. “I would not be alive today, much less a member of the United States Congress, were it not for mental health care which saved my life.” He aspires to send a message that “Recovery is possible. You can take an antidepressant, as I do every day, and find normalcy and stability” and achieve feats like being elected to Congress.

The 117th Congress is slated to be the most diverse in history. Torres says of this reality, “I think American is increasingly becoming a multi-racial, multi-ethnic inclusive democracy. We are witnessing the collapse of politics as an old voice network. I am part of a new generation of young leaders every bit as diverse as America itself. Congress is becoming what it always should have been, a miniaturization of America itself.”

Torres acknowledges the year 2020, monumental in many ways, as harrowing for his Bronx community. “COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for the city and the country, and the South Bronx has been the epicenter of COVID-19. The South Bronx had the highest rate of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality during the peak of the pandemic. And just as destructive as COVID-19 itself were the deeper inequalities that were brought to light.” He argued that the coronavirus exposed the deeper health inequalities, racial inequalities, and class inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.

These issues are at the forefront of Torres’ mind in thinking of his work as a legislator. When asked what he saw as the first step to rectifying the rampant racial injustice in the United States, he answered “the first thing is to bring greater accountability to policing in America,” an argument familiar to many Americans following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd and their ensuing protests. As the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation with greater momentum than ever before, cries for justice and defunding the police became common across the country’s cities. “Where there is no accountability, there will never be an end to police brutality” Torres says, being especially critical of qualified immunity in the United States.

Torres heads to Congress as a man with a mission regarding many issues. He himself declares “My great passion is affordable housing,” reflecting a long journey working continually in the housing sphere. He seeks to secure far greater funding for public housing in New York City and to expand the Section 8 program. The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, created by an act in 1978, provides assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families to rent housing in the private market. Torres says, “For me the surest way to stimulate the economy is to put money in the pockets of struggling families.” In order to do that, he believes the solution is an expanded child tax credit, which he describes as the single largest tax expenditure in America, yet he finds fault with a system that is “so regressive that it excludes a third of American families. Particularly the poorest families in America.” Torres’ passion shines through when he discusses the subject, detailing how this solution could slash childhood poverty by 40% in the span of the year. He calls its potential an absolute “game changer.”

Without question, affordable housing and tax reform are the first issues Torres hopes to address after being sworn in to the 117th Congress on January 3rd, 2020. “For me, the central mission of my life is to fight poverty in America. Racially constructed poverty in America. The South Bronx is said to be the poorest district in America and if we can make progressive policies work in the South Bronx, we can make them work anywhere.”

360 Magazine also had the opportunity to discuss a variety of current issues with Congressman Torres, one of which being the then impending Senate run-offs in Georgia. Following races too close to call in November 2020, Republican incumbent David Perdue is facing a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. Additionally, GOP appointee Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. The election is vital because it will determine which party will control the Senate. “The stakes are supremely important,” Torres says of Georgia. “As long as Mitch McConnell refuses to bring critical bills to the floor for a vote, there is a limit to what we can accomplish. For me, Mitch McConnell is the single greatest obstruction on the path to progress. Winning those two seats in Georgia are essential.”

Regarding the impending mayoral race in his home of New York City, as well as early polls that display former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang as the frontrunner, Torres is coy. “The mayor’s race is wide open. Anyone who claims to have it figured out is lying.” He goes on to affirm “It is full of more than one credible candidate.”

“To be clear, I never announced that I wasn’t going to be in the squad.” Torres says, referring to ‘The Squad’ of United States Congress, composed of Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New Yorker, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. With new young progressive politicians like Torres joining the fray, claims of expanding membership are common. Torres, along with the aforementioned Mondaire Jones, as well as Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, and Congressman Jamaal Brown are commonly referred to as impending members.

Instead, Torres clarifies, “I would never issue an announcement that I would not be a part of something. That would be an odd thing to do. Whenever I’m asked about the squad, I simply state that I’m my own person and I prefer to be judged on the basis of my own story and my own record, on my own terms.” He goes on to assert he is willing to work with “anyone and everyone in the service of delivering to the people of the South Bronx. That is my highest priority.” Torres is clear in this declaration that he is willing to work with more conservative members of his own party or the Republican party in hopes of progress.

On a future in politics, Torres affirmed his intent to serve the people in the moment and to “let the dice fall where they may” regarding the future. When asked what wisdom he would impart to a younger generation, Congressman Torres says “We are all only as strong as the support we have in our lives and be grateful for the supporters you have. The friends and family. I would not be here today if not for the friendship of people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Know who those people are and value them and be grateful for them.”

Update as of 1/14/21, Congressman Ritchie Torres has formally endorsed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang for mayor of New York City. This comes just a day after Andrew Yang announced his campaign in a video titled ‘Why I’m Running,’ which features Torres in it.

Rita Azar illustrates relationship article for 360 MAGAZINE

“If Anything Happens, I Love You”

By Hannah DiPilato

Warning: Spoilers Ahead 

Netflix has recently released the heart-wrenching short film, “If Anything Happens, I Love You.” The twelve-minute animation has gained immense popularity on social media and many people on TikTok are urging others to watch the film. 

Written and directed by Michael Govier and Will McCormack, the film looks into the life of two grieving parents. At the beginning of the film, it’s hard to tell what to expect. We see a couple that is visibly fighting and their shadows, which could represent their souls, leave their bodies, and interact with one another. We soon see foreshadowing that the loss of their child is causing the grief. 

The entire film is in black and white except for a few strategic placements of color. We first see this color on the side of the family’s shed, a large, blue spot that the father looks at as if the spot holds meaning. The next time this same blue hue appears is while the mom is doing laundry and finds a blue shirt in the grey pile of clothing. She embraces the shirt into her nose, another hint to the watcher that this family is grieving. 

A soccer ball then falls off the washer and rolls into an ominous room with a closed door. The family’s cat follows the ball into the room and the ball bumps a record player which begins the song, “1950” by King Princess. The mom follows the sound into the bedroom and is met with photos of a young girl with a toothy smile. The dad is close behind and the mother holds up the shirt she found while doing laundry, they share a sympathetic smile. 

The shadow of a young girl pops up out of the record player and shares a heartwarming reconnection with the cat. The parents’ shadows come together and embrace the shadow of the girl and we see the parents finally reconnect since their argument. 

We get a few flashbacks and watch the couple’s daughter grow up. We see the family take a road trip, the girl learns to play soccer and the family celebrates her 10th birthday. We learn the spot on the shed came from the girl kicking a soccer ball too hard into the side. The parents then send their daughter off to school and this is when the tears really start flowing. 

The girl starts to approach the school and the shadows of the then naive parents are trying desperately to stop the girl from going. Of course, the shadows are unsuccessful and the girl waves goodbye as she walks into school, and impending doom. 

An American flag is seen hanging over the doors inside of the school and the red, white and blue pops against the grey background. This is another time the directors used a splash of color in the grey film. At first, the background noise is the basic sounds of a school such as chatter and slamming lockers. Then, we hear a gunshot. Two more gunshots blast in the background followed by the horror of screaming children. The screaming and gunshots continue and police sirens begin to blare while the screen switches to flashing red and blue lights.

While the chaotic background noise continues, a sketch of a phone appears with a bunny phone case. “If anything happens, I love you” sends from the phone and one final gunshot makes the screen go black. The audience finally connects the pieces of the film. The daughter has been killed in the school shooting. 

The text appears again and the letters fall turning to raindrops. The rain falls on the parents’ shadows as they sit facing away from each other on two sides of a piece of land. In the final moments of the film, we see the parents reunite thanks to the shadow of the daughter, and we see the parents finally find comfort in one another. 

It was shocking how much emotion could be fit into a twelve-minute animated film. There were many themes displayed in the film touching on family, loss, grief, trauma and love. This film also speaks out on the very important issue of gun control in America. For so many families, losing a child to gun violence in a school shooting is a harsh reality. A child’s life can be snatched away from them at an incredibly young age. 

With no dialogue and simple illustrations, the writers were able to convey an entire story that plays with the emotions of the viewer and evokes important conversations. The distress shown in the marriage after the loss of the daughter is something parents experience and may not necessarily want to talk about. It’s easy for the loss of a loved one to break people apart. 

The main takeaway from the film should be to hold your loved ones close because you never know what will happen next. In our fast-paced lives, we often take our lives and loved ones for granted. This film flawlessly shows how easily we can experience a loss that can make our world come crashing down. Remember, hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them, before it’s too late.

Watch the short animated film on Netflix now.

CBD vape cartridge illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

Who Can Use CBD Vape Cartridges


Vaping is a method of taking CBD that became popular in the last years, and there are many reasons for this. The leading one is the effectiveness of this compound and its health benefits. Then, there is the ease of use, convenience, and swift action of CBD after inhaling.

The safety of cannabidiol use is also one of the main reasons why this substance is a buzz. Vaping, as explained on Cheef Botanicals, is a way to administer CBD that has the least side effects. If you use vape gear and cartridge according to the instructions, the risk of abuse is minimal.

Whether this natural remedy is used as a supplement or adjunct to conventional therapy, it is suitable for both healthy and sick people. Still, in some people, vaping will have an excellent effect. This method of CBD ingestion is especially recommended to them.

People Suffer from Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are common conditions that can have devastating effects on health and well-being. These mental issues always lead to many difficulties in all areas of life. Sufferers try to keep these conditions under control using medication.
Still, no matter how effective, conventional drugs often have many side effects. Even worse, they can be addictive. Natural remedies like CBD have minimal side effects and are safe for use whenever you feel upset or depressed.

CBD is proving to be an excellent choice for relieving all the symptoms of anxiety. The healing properties of this compound reflect in its positive effect on receptors in the brain. CBD ingested through vaporizers can affect how these receptors respond to serotonin. That way, it reduces nervousness, stress, and depression.

Everyone with Sleep Issues

Sleep issues don’t always manifest as a disease, but these are not normal condition as well. In some people, poor sleep can be an acute problem. It can occur for various reasons – night work, rest, time zone changes, etc. Also, insomnia can be directly related to stress and anxiety. People who feel anxious have trouble falling asleep and sleeping continuously. That is why it’s necessary to act first on the cause of insomnia and then on this condition.

As described in the previous paragraph, CBD’s soothing effect will help anxious people improve their mood and get rid of anxiety. As for sleep, that means it will be easier to fall asleep and have more extended periods of sleep without interruption.
Why people need a quality night’s rest, read on the following source:
https://www.popsci.com/why-we-need-sleep/ 

People with Arthritis

Arthritis is the leading condition among many others that occur as a result of inflammation. There is still no cure for this disease, and those currently in use can have harmful effects on inner organs. That is why more and more patients turn to natural remedies that can be used along with prescribed therapy. They don’t damage the kidneys, pancreas, and heart.

Some receptors in the endocannabinoid system are responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system. They also keep the inflammations under control. CBD affects these receptors, which means it directly treats the cause of arthritis. It also reaches the painful place where it ‘fixes’ the damage.

Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that gives outstanding results but often has some side effects. Read more about them on this web source. They are not risky, but they reduce the quality of life of a cancer patient.
 Sometimes it can last for years after treatment is completed. These are most often neuropathic pain, chills, appetite disorders, nausea, fainting, and many others. CBD can help people struggle with these adverse effects of chemo. 

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic features, this compound acts as pain relief. Thus cancer patients who vape CBD don’t feel neuropathic pain. They are in a better mood, have a healthier appetite, and so on. All these mean these people can return to daily activities soon after chemo.

Inhaling CBD is a safe way to provide your body with the dose of cannabidiol needed to treat or prevent disease. This substance affects many processes in the body, which means it can help treat and fix the damages resulted from diseases.

Billionaires Gain, Workers Feel Pain

Half a year into a paralyzing pandemic that has cost millions of Americans their livelihoods and lives, the nation’s 643 billionaires have racked up $845 billion in collective wealth gains, a 29% leap since March 18. America’s billionaires reached this startling milestone of wealth accumulation even as special federal relief was drying up for millions of unemployed workers and for hard-pressed state and local governments struggling to provide vital services. Billionaire figures are from Forbes analyzed in a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Between March 18—the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were in place—and Sept. 15, the total net worth of the nation’s billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion to $3.8 trillion (see table below and this spreadsheet of all billionaires). That works out to gains of $141 billion a month, $32 billion a week, or $4.7 billion a day. Forbes’ annual billionaires report was published March 18, 2020, and the real-time data was collected Sept. 15 from the Forbes website.

Needless to say, ordinary workers did not fare as well. From mid-March to mid-August, the collective work income of rank-and-file private-sector employees—all hours worked times the hourly wages of the entire bottom 82% of the workforce—declined by 4.4.%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In fact, this billionaires’ bonanza occurred against a general backdrop of working-class pain:

The stock market in which billionaires have much of their money invested dropped sharply in the month before the pandemic lockdown. But the six months of gains that followed were not merely a reversal of those losses: billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22%, richer today than they were in February 2019, the release date of the most recent previous Forbes annual report (see table below).

“Every candidate in this campaign season, from presidential hopeful down, who’s pledging to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis must address this stark divergence between the nation’s wealthiest elite and their struggling fellow citizens,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “The answer starts with creating a fair share tax system that narrows obscene wealth gaps and raises the trillions of dollars needed to address the present emergency and invest in our families and communities over the long-term.”

“The billionaire economy has been turbocharged by policymakers who are now stalling on relief for the real economy,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the report “Billionaire Bonanza 2020.” “The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down.”

DATA ON THE WEALTH OF U.S. BILLIONAIRES AT 6 MONTHS & 20 MONTHS AVAILABLE HERE

Even among billionaires, wealth is highly concentrated. Roughly $400 billion, or only a little less than half of the total gains, were captured by just the 15 wealthiest on the billionaires list. The top three gainers alone—Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—enjoyed fully 16% of the spoils, or a collective wealth surge of $137 billion. The total wealth of these three—$403 billion today—is nearly three times the $1.5 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans. One billionaire from Michigan, Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth increase an astonishing 672%, growing from $6.5 billion to $50.2 billion.

The $845 billion wealth gain by 643 billionaires over the past six months far exceeds the:

Low-wage workerspeople of color and women have suffered disproportionately in the combined medical and economic crises because of long-standing racial and gender disparities. Billionaires are overwhelmingly white men.

House Democrats passed a relief bill back in May that offered a lifeline to Americans not sharing in the billionaires’ good fortune during the pandemic. Among its provisions:

All of the above data is available in one table here.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have introduced legislation for a 60% tax on the pandemic wealth gains of billionaires between March 18 and the end of the year and use the proceeds to help working Americans cover healthcare costs.

Storm illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

This Is How to Sleep Through the Night

Do you have trouble sleeping at night and looking for advice? A lack of sleep each night can increase your risk of serious health problems. 
Some of these might include stomach problems, lack of energy, weight gain, and depression. There are tips that you need to follow to avoid these health conditions and for you to improve the quality of your sleep.
Here’s how to sleep through the night and to wake up feeling energized and rejuvenated.

Relax Your Body With Exercise

Did you know that regular exercise can prepare your body for quality sleep? Physical activity can help you to sleep through the night without disruptions. 

Moderate workout sessions can decrease the length of time it takes for you to fall asleep. Exercise also helps to relax your mind and body, which makes it easier for you to fall asleep.

Exercise is known to reduce muscle tension in the body, reduce stress, and to increase the production of endorphins, which are the ‘feel-good’ hormones. You don’t have to perform a strenuous or challenging workout to get substantial benefits.

You can dedicate thirty minutes of exercise sessions to improve the quality of your sleep. For example, your exercise routine may consist of jogging, brisk walking, swimming laps, washing your car, sweeping, or other simple chores around the house.

Try to avoid physical activities for at least three hours before going to bed. This is a precaution that you can take to give your body enough time to cool off from your workout and to prepare for sleep.

For long-term results, you need to find an exercise routine that you enjoy and stick with it. This is one of the easiest ways for you to overcome your sleeping problems.

Use a Leg Pillow

Are you a side sleeper? Your pillow can be a critical component of your sleep health. Placing a pillow between your legs is an effective technique that increases the quality of your sleep.

When you place a pillow between your legs, you’re helping to eliminate stress on your hips, prevent lower back and leg pains, improve blood circulation, and to improve spine alignment.

This technique might also be useful if you suffer from breathing conditions such as sleep apnea. Positioning a pillow between your legs may help to alleviate this condition.

Using a pillow might seem simple, but it can be very effective for you to sleep peacefully during the night. This is a comfortable sleeping position that you can utilize to enhance your sleep. 

Read this article to learn more valuable information about sleeping with a pillow between your legs.
Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
Be sure to optimize the comfort level of your bedroom so that you can get quality sleep. There might be issues in your bedroom that you’re not even aware of.

For better sleep, you might need to adjust your lighting, so that it’s not too harsh to disrupt your sleep. You can also keep your bedroom completely dark when you’re sleeping.

You might need to remove your television set from your bedroom and move it to another room. Watching television before you fall asleep might prevent you from getting enough sleep during the night.

So, you need to turn off your television screen or remove it from your room.

The electronics in your bedroom could also interfere with the quality of your sleep. Your radio, tablet, laptop, cell phone, and other items in your bedroom can be problematic.
So, it is beneficial for you to remove your electronics from your bedroom. 

Another important bedroom makeover is to change your mattress. Be sure to get rid of your old, lumpy mattress. Replacing your old mattress can be an effective way for you to get the quality sleep that you deserve. 
These are simple tweaks that you can use to turn your bedroom into a better sleeping environment. 

Avoid Smoking

Less smoking might help you to sleep better. Smoking is detrimental to your health, but it can also cause you to have sleeping problems. It might cause sleep apnea, snoring, and a host of other sleep-related issues.
Nicotine found in cigarettes could be the main reason why you’re unable to get a full night’s sleep. This is a chemical that is known to be responsible for insomnia and other issues.

When you’re trying to fall asleep, your nicotine cravings might be too intense, especially if you’re in the habit of smoking before bedtime.
Too much smoking tends to disrupt the patterns of your normal sleep cycle and might keep you awake for most of the night. Due to these problems, you should consider quitting your smoking habits. 

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is a common stimulant that might prevent you from falling asleep. Once it enters your bloodstream, it might cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and sleep disturbance.

Try to avoid caffeine intake to improve your sleep. You need to avoid drinking coffee, tea, and soft drinks before bedtime. These are essential steps for you to sleep better. 

Follow a Guide to Learn How to Sleep Through the Night

When you learn how to sleep through the night, it will be easier for you to adapt to a strategy that improves your sleeping patterns. Instead of waking up in the middle of the night, you have the chance to get the beauty sleep that you deserve.

Do you want to discover more helpful tips? If you want to read more useful articles, you can check out the rest of our website.

Tamar Braxton Attempted Suicide

By Eamonn Burke

American singer, actress, and TV personality Tamar Braxton was found by her boyfriend unconscious in her hotel room last Thursday. After an emergency call about a possible overdose she was transported to a local hospital. It’s reported that she had been drinking and using prescription pills that night, and the incident is believed to be an attempted suicide after this note was allegedly discovered:

“I am a slave. I do not own my life. My stories. My pictures. My thoughts or beliefs. I’ve asked my massa to free me. I’m threatened and punished for it. The only way I see out is death. I will choose that before I continue to love (sic) like this. Please help me.”

Tamar’s team has thanked fans and friends for the “outpouring of support that Tamar has received”, which is “a testament to the light that she brings to people.” Her family, meanwhile, asks fans to “pray 4 our family.”

It’s no secret that Tamar was having a tough time leading up to the incident. She sent an email the the bosses of WeTV, her network, shaming them for destroying her family and making her suicidal. She claimed that the show Braxton Family Values distorted the image of her family and caused “disarray” among them, even likening it to “cruel white slave masters who once chained our forefathers.”

Reports say Tamar is now awake and fully conscious, and is being moved to another hospital where she can receive more specific treatment for her apparent mental illness. She will remain there until further action is determined.

Erin Wiley’s Coping Strategies

During the pandemic, grief is a natural emotion people are feeling for various reasons. Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist Erin Wiley, MA, LPC, LPCC says, “Right now the grief I am seeing in my therapy patients ranges from disappointment and sadness to frustration and anger. People are disappointed by having to reschedule events like weddings, sad about not being able to see family members, frustrated by losing out on once-in-a lifetime events, and angry from the lack of control and unfairness if it all.”

The biggest grief reactions Erin is witnessing are connected to the loss of major events, particularly funerals because of the inability for family members to give their loved one the proper goodbye they wanted. While you can hold a memorial at a later date, there are no do-overs for a funeral.

Weddings are a big loss because of the amount of time and money and energy that go into planning such a large-scale event, but weddings too can be rescheduled or dramatically scaled down and still held.

Proms are once in a lifetime events that seniors lost this year, in addition to the even more important graduation. College graduates were denied a graduation ceremony as well.

“These are all things that cannot be made up and are events that will now never happen,” Erin reflects. “Trips that people have planned for years were just cancelled with no reschedule dates available. Women gave birth and cared for newborns with no supportive family members there to lend support. There is a profound sense of sadness in a loss where there can be no do-over, no make-up, no second chance.”

Erin believes people should be grieving right now. “There are so many complex losses, and most people are grieving the loss of more than one thing,” she describes. “Meaningful and important life events have been lost, but also lost are a sense of normalcy, the freedom to go out as before, the ability to engage in leisure activities like sports and shopping and dining out. There have been losses in how people work, losses of education and the traditional school year, losses of time and energy as people struggled to home school their children while simultaneously trying to maintain work commitments all while learning the ropes of working from home.”

Erin has outlined 5 tips for people to cope with grief during the pandemic:

1. People should be encouraged to talk about their experiences. Find supportive people who can listen with empathy and can validate the losses and the feelings behind them.
2. People should spend the time they need to emotionally process through the details of the loss. Be sure to take care to really grieve each part of what is now gone. Engaging in activities like journaling and self-reflection are ways people can move toward the resolution of grief
3. People should consider helping others who are struggling with loss as a mean to help them through their own feelings. Helping others is a great strategy for moving toward healing as it takes us out of our own situation temporarily.
4. People can be encouraged to remember that grief is not a liner process and has no timeline. They may feel they have moved beyond the pain of a loss only to discover difficult emotions coming up again in the future. That’s normal and to be expected so people need to make room for that.
5. People should look for ways to turn the situation around the best they can to their favor. Finding new and meaningful ways to memorialize a loved one who has passed or celebrating a graduation or birth in a novel and special way can help smooth over the rough edges of grief left behind after a loss.

“To prepare for these inevitable experiences of grieving, we should try to see how our feelings of irritability, anger and frustration can actually be a cover to mask the deeper sadness and worry we have all been collectively experiencing,” Erin suggests. “Being purposeful in searching our own emotions regarding loss can help us better prepare for losses we will encounter in the future.”

Coming to an understanding that no one is immune to loss can be helpful, as it can help build resiliency.

“Developing or honing coping skills that serve to regulate us when upset is a way to be better prepared for future emotional distress,” Erin recommends. “Also, creating or re-enforcing a strong and supportive emotional support system is a great way to brace ourselves for tough times ahead of us.”

About Erin Wiley:

Erin Wiley, MA, LPC, LPCC, is a clinical psychotherapist and the Executive Director of The Willow Center, a counseling practice in Toledo, Ohio. She leads a team of 20 other therapists in their goal of meeting the counseling needs of the people and families of Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan, in addition to clients state-wide through telehealth. The clinical focus of her therapy work is marriage, family, parenting, and relationships. She has extensive training in marriage counseling from the Gottman Institute, located in Seattle, Washington. Her most recent area of research involves the study of the management and regulation of emotion as it pertains to mental health. Learn more about Wiley here.

Erin Wiley, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine

Protecting Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Era with the Help of Telehealth

Experiencing feelings of isolation, panicking about the scarcity of resources, and fearing for one’s health can be overwhelming during this time of uncertainty. Due to the threat of Coronavirus, we are being forced to alter the way we interact with colleagues, friends, and family, shifting our work and social schedules. Meetings and gatherings have been postponed or outright canceled.

This leaves a gap. We are, at our core, inherently social, and loneliness can be as overwhelming as any other trauma.One result of this is many people are spending much more time in their own homes.

We need connection, and we can feel when it’s missing

Working from home is fast becoming a best practice for minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19 within the workplace. However, such a drastic change to your daily routine, coupled with the constant news cycle updates, can put a strain on your mental health. Rather than waiting “until things calm down” to see a therapist, it is worth exploring an emerging alternative to coming into a therapist’s office – Telehealth.

Teletherapy helps you maintain mental health

For years, telehealth (or teletherapy) has improved access to care for clients with mobility challenges and for those who live too far to travel to their preferred therapist. Now, teletherapy is becoming increasingly relevant as the number of remote workers, or people working from home, is surging.

Teletherapy reduces travel time to and from your therapist’s office, which makes it more convenient for the working professional. It also offers the benefit of being in a comfortable and familiar environment, which can often be helpful for self-expression and reflection.

HIPAA Compliant Teletherapy Offers Security

Some are reluctant to try telehealth because they feel that something would be missing from a face to face interaction. With a clear camera and high quality internet connection, we find that, in practice, clients get just as much out of remote therapy as in-person. Others may be concerned about privacy. If this is a concern, make sure your therapist is using a HIPAA Compliant service,  like Spruce Health or SimplePractice, that offers a secure connection. This way your data is protected.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19, give me a call. I am a psychologist, and I can help you learn coping skills that will give you peace of mind during this challenging time. I also offer teletherapy sessions using a HIPAA compliant system.

About Dr. Crystal Clements

Sync PicDr. Crystal Clements is a psychologist who practices as a registered psychological assistant in Downtown Los Angeles at Here Counseling. She works with adults, adolescents, couples and families to treat depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, and relational issues.She loves what she does and is passionate about helping people feel good about themselves and life. Dr. Crystal earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies and MAs in Psychology and Christian Leadership from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. She earned a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her training, she completed an APA accredited internship in Health Service Psychology at California State University, Fullerton.

Contact her today for a free 15 minute consultation!

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Depressed Nation: The Generation of the Uneducated

There’s no doubt that depression is increasing throughout the world, particularly in the United States. There are a number of reasons behind this – however, focusing on the problem itself doesn’t really help us find a solution.

What’s important is to address the underlying causes behind the issue so that we can learn how we can work to help fix the problem. In this article, we’re going to be discussing some of the causes of the increased level of depression – particularly the lack of education that we receive regarding mental health – and help point out some potential solutions that we can use to help fix the issue.

Why Are We So Depressed?


Depression has been increasing in the United States for some time. Suicides are increasing at an alarming rate – particularly for men between the ages of 45 and 64. In the US alone, depression has increased in the overall population by almost 1% in the years between 2005 and 2015.

The increase in depression is undoubtedly linked to a society which does not provide its citizens with the proper knowledge, education, or lifestyle opportunities to live happily. Even those who live the “American Dream,” driving rich cars and living with financial wealth, are often depressed. Many of these people commit suicide, as well.

There are lots of reasons that the world is becoming a more depressing place. The most important thing to recognize, however, is that wherever there is a problem, there is a solution. On that note, we’re going to discuss some of the most common reasons that people are experiencing more depression these days.

• Lack of education regarding mental health. Unless you choose to major in psychology or attend a high school that offers psychology as an elective, you probably won’t receive much education regarding depression or mental health in general. It’s not hard to see how this could lead to problems later in life.

Mental health problems are extremely common. In fact, pretty much everyone will deal with a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, most of us have to figure out what these mental health issues are about by talking to friends or family members, or by doing our own research.

Because we’re not educated about these things, one of the most important things that we can do to improve the state of mental health is to educate ourselves and the people that we know. This way, we will at least be able to approach these problems properly when they arise.


• Extreme work hours. Many people are forced to work very long hours – in fact, the standard 40-hour work week is known to cause stress, depression, and anxiety in the majority of people. This often leads to the need to take pharmaceutical medication, which can compound the issue.

Many people find it difficult to avoid the 40-hour grind. One way to avoid this is to begin learning how to make money by practicing your creative talents and finding people interested in them. If you haven’t figured them out yet, don’t give up!


• Lack of purpose / motive. One of the more frightening and existential aspects of our existence is that we don’t really know why we’re here or what our grand purpose is. These spiritual and existential questions are not only dealt with during schooling, they are usually actively banned from the curriculum.

This results in children growing into adults with no idea about what we’re meant to do as human beings, aside from work until we can retire before dying – which is a rather dark perspective that can lead to stark depression. People with a sense of purpose, on the other hand, tend to fare a lot better in life.

One way to develop purpose is to take up some sort of spiritual or meditative practice to approach these questions.

In Conclusion


There are many reasons that people are experiencing more depression in the United States. Fortunately, there are just as many solutions as there are causes.

Wellness Expert Shares Personal Struggle with Addiction & Depression

ADDICITION. Doesn’t discriminate.
ANXIETY. Indifferent to credentials and achievements.
DEPRESSION. Blind to where you live.

By: Dr. Natacha D. Nelson D.C, M.A.

“Look at you, your parents should be disgusted by you”, voices whispered solely for my ears.

“Your black daddy and your white mommy should be ashamed, to get married, to have you…”, their unapologetic words punctured my naive heart. The seed planted.

“A half breed, black girl shouldn’t be raised by a foreign, white woman. You should be taken and given to a proper home”. Their sentiments pierced every cell of my seven year old body. The terror became real.

***

I Attended a private high school and college. And I was an addict. An eating disorder, compulsive exercise and alcohol consumed my life. Desperate to distract myself from painful and uncomfortable feelings, the addictions led to academic probation and ultimately, dismissal from college.

Determined to become successful, I redeemed myself as the doctor of a large successful practice. I became an internationally competing athlete, married, had a family and good friends around me. None of my achievements dissolved the terror restless below the surface. The image I portrayed eclipsed my fear. Not even I noticed the hibernating rumblings.

Skilled at detecting possible threats against me or my mom (whether real or imagined) I blotted out the physical and emotional consequences of undetected anxiety growing fierce. My duty as a protector and provider devoured my time, money, energy and resources. In attempt to thwart perceived threats, I bankrupt myself; physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Unable to force myself out of bed, depression ensued.

The proverbial earthquake jolted my life. Demolishing the comfortable walls I erected for safety. Raw and vulnerable, I allowed myself to feel the heartbreak, the grief and the rage. Courageously, I engaged one feeling, one emotion, at a time. Finally willing to acknowledging the terror and pain, I desperately tried circumvent.

Giving my hurt permission to breathe, I began to write. And the healing balm, called Love, soothed my aching heart. Through writing, I was able to sift through four decades of actions and behaviors of my life. Eventually, the “A-Ha” moment revealed itself to me.

*****

The insight that my choices and decisions were unconsciously driven by the need to prove to myself and others, that I was lovable. I wanted to feel accepted, at least tolerated enough, to dissuade others from harming me or my mom.

Unknowingly, my efforts could never hush the unloved parts of me I refused to accept. Other people’s beliefs- about me, my parents and my life- I accepted as true. As long as I held the misbelief that I was unlovable, nothing I could do would override my inner judgments of myself. My outward actions would follow my unconscious beliefs.

My only mistake was to believe the false words of strangers and neighbors. Accepting their judgments as true and accurate. Believing I was bad, wrong, worthless and to be ashamed of. My parents’ marriage-one year after interracial marriage was legalized- to some, was deemed a disgust and my black and white mixed skin was a disgrace.

Once I forgave myself, for choices I made from fear and misinterpretations about myself, the healing began. I could not prove I was loveable if I didn’t believe I was. Accepting I am loveable, I no longer felt the need to prove it; not to myself, to my parents, to anyone. I forgave myself for buying into the unkind words of strangers and neighbors. I Forgave myself for the actions and behaviors I engaged in as a result of the misinterpretations I believed about myself. I Forgave my parents for the mistakes I believed they made in raising me. And forgave the authority figures of my childhood whose unkind words hurt me.

Addictions thwarted my college experience.

Anxiety bankrupt me.

Depression forced me to look at every aspect of my life, lovingly guiding me through the necessary emotional process. The healing work was worth the time and effort. I am finally free.

To you, Beloved Reader. You, too, are loved, are loveable and your life matters.

With Loving,
Natacha.

To learn more about my story, my services, visit:
www.adancingzebra.com
www.lifedoctor.guru
“Finding Courage to Let YOU Out” is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

About the author
Dr. Natacha D. Nelson D.C, M.A., has dedicated her career to understanding the connections between physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being through principles of Chiropractic and Spiritual Psychology. A practicing chiropractor for over 20 years, she is the owner of Inside Out Wellness Center, as well as a former professional beach volleyball player and advisor on health and wellness for the Santa Clara Fire and Menlo-Atherton Police Departments. She is a Mental Health and Wellness consultant and educator who keeps up on the latest research and attends continuing education seminars and scientific symposia, and has a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology. She lives in Los Angeles, with her daughter.