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A small project that turned into something bigger.

From tweeting positive tweets on twitter from an account (@freeandabove)

To turning that - Free And Above into a business that is ready to tackle on mental health.

Thank you to everyone (including supporters of this movement) who’ve been a part of my mental health journey along the way with learning how to own F&A. I’m still learning, growing and becoming.

& thank you to my friends (one being in the photo above), also strangers for pushing me. Being supportive.

Loving on me when it gets hard to want to live.

It means a lot.

I’m a mess if you don’t know me. I’m a train wreck. I’m all of it. I’ve been to mental hospitals.

I’ve gotten way too drunk and tried to end my life. Not once. But twice.

I’ve self harmed in the past. I’ve been on and off meds and can’t seem to be good at this whole recovery thing, but i’m trying my best. I’ve even gone to therapy a few times.

See everything is so dark when depression and anxiety is a part of me and my life. But' it’s not who i am. I am believing that in my story that i am living out, that hope will conquer the pain and the shame. Redemption will be in the making and i will feel what love is. What love it is about.

While i continue to fight, i will at the same time continue to keep pushing others like myself who battle with mental illness - to keep on keeping on. We’re in this together.

I will also try to raise awareness and help with the fight on ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Let’s do this side by side.

One day. On breath at a time.

Tony Cox II

 
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Stigma

What is stigma?

According to Otto Wahl PhD - "Stigma is a mark or a label imposed by others that leads to devaluation and discrimination."

Which leads to?

It leads to those dealing with mental illness believing they are crazy, weak, dangerous, unloved, different and broken. 

What happens next? 

Those struggling with Depression, Anxiety, an Eating Disorder and any other Mental Disorder begin to feel alone, abandoned, ignored, rejected, invisible, unwanted and feeling like they don't matter. 

What can this lead to?

Someone not getting the proper help they deserve. 

Also people with major depression are more likely to become victims of assault and rape. Stigma has a part to do with this. 

It can lead to suicide. 

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Be more understanding and compassionate.

Reach out to them via text, email, in person (etc) - let them know you give a damn about what they are going through. 

Not judge and be quick to love on them. 

Do not tell them people out there have it worse. That's only hurting them more.

Remind them they are LOVED, UNIQUE, NORMAL and SIGNIFICANT

Last - Be present in their moments of brokenness and nights when they are a trainwreck. Do not give up on them. You could be all they have.  

 
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Do not let the brokenness you feel stop you from breathing, fighting and living.

Grow through the cracks.

Blossom.


 
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Stories, Q&As and Guest Writings


 
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If you are thinking of suicide, hear me out..

It’s a getaway from pain. But that getaway is permanent.

And depression tells you that's okay.

It's not okay. It's not okay to end your life. It's not your time. It's your time to keep living. To keep going on. It gets better. You get better. And those broken pieces lying on the floor will be put back together. But more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

I know you've heard this before... It's always darkest before the dawn. It's true. Wait it out. I know you're tired of being patient and you're weary, but i promise you it will have been worth it.

Keep Living.