Hello Doctor!!! We are excited to have you share your stories and expertise with our readers! Please first tell us about your journey to becoming a Medical Doctor! — What were some of your biggest challenges while making this accomplishment?
Some of my biggest accomplishments while becoming a medical doctor were passing the MCAT and getting funding for the actual medical school and residency application process. There are fees for applying and you also have to travel to the places that aren’t in your city—which includes meals and hotel rooms.
Is there anything you learned about being a female Medical Doctor of color?
In my experiences I learned that I would have my role as a physician celebrated by some, and questioned by others—simply because of the color of my skin. Attending an HBCU like Meharry Medical College for medical school, provided the knowledge and courage that I needed to face any challenge.
Are there any politics you want to discuss or adversities you’ve come across there?
During medical school and residency, I had locs—which is a very non-traditional hairstyle in the medical field. Dealing with micro aggressions related to my hair was annoying to say the least. Completing residency in Alabama was trying on many levels, and I’m elated that those three years are behind me.
We are excited about your Journaling challenge! Please tell us more about the project and the mission.
In an attempt to shift my mindset towards gratitude and help others, I decided to create a journal full of prompts and quotes to guide your mind towards thankfulness. The journal is called I AM WELL. ALL IS WELL. A GRATITUDE JOURNAL. I started the 7 Day Gratitude journaling challenge to encourage others to make journaling a habit as it may be able to help them with stress relief, focus, and clarity of thought.
With National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month coming to an end, what are some things you want the culture to consider and act on regarding mental health?
I want the culture to consider how each of actions affects our mental health, from the conversations in which we participate, to our jobs, gyms, diets, and music that we listen to.
We may have struggles at various times in our lives, but they don’t define us. We are not alone in the struggle, and it’s important to reach out for help. Almost 1 in 4 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. A new suicide and crisis lifeline was recently launched in the US to provide folks with easy access to resources by dialing or texting 988.
What do you love most about pushing healthy narratives for people of color?
We face so many unique challenges that I like to be sure that we can also face some celebrations of joy and healthy living. It’s important for the world to see that we make every effort to take care of ourselves despite the barriers that we encounter in society like food desserts and lack of access to healthcare. It’s uplifting to encourage others to take care of themselves and so fulfilling to find out how much you’ve helped another person.
How has journaling helped your mental health, personally?
At times, I just need to get thoughts out of my head for clarity’s sake. Journaling has helped me focus on my goals, reflect on times when my emotions were at various extremes, understand areas of my life where I’ve grown and others that I still need to work on.
Do you ever fear writing things down, for the chance that someone may find and read what is typically personal to you? If so, how do you manage that, and if not, what keeps you secure there?
As an adult, I don’t have the fear of someone reading my personal thoughts because I typically keep them in a safe space. I’m so good at it, that I sometimes hide my journal from my own self. As a child, I always worried about someone finding my diary. I can understand how others who may not be able to control their environment at all times may have that fear.
Please share with us a story of a time when you encountered a mental health struggle. What did you do to tend to it?
The past few years as a black healthcare worker has been a struggle. Not only are we navigating our way through this pandemic, but we are also being subjected to violence from those who have been sworn to protect us. Specifically, what happened to Breonna Taylor was difficult to digest. Once I realized how I was being affected by it all, I looked on the back of my insurance card for websites and phone numbers and found a therapist.
How can our readers get involved with your challenges and stay connected with the work you’re doing as a whole.
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