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Living Inside a Box

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Shulanda J. Hastings

Ambassador Shulanda

Ambassador Shulanda

Shulanda J. Hastings is an inspirational writer, Christian counselor and an ambassador to the faith-based community; helping them break mental health barriers. She is the author of the Beauty of My Thorns novel series and of the memoirs, Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind.

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Imagine that you are placed inside a cardboard box only big enough to fit your body measurements while in a sitting position. No extra space. Only a hole in one corner about the size of a quarter, allowing you just enough oxygen to survive. In order to keep breathing, you have to keep your nose close to the hole that also serves as a peephole. This is your sole connection to the world. You are able to gain a glimpse of people walking pass your box; talking, laughing, and enjoying their lives. They aren’t aware that you are inside. They don’t know that you are trapped inside of your box. The reality is you are not physically bound. It is a cardboard box that only requires you to push your way out. But because you are mentally confined, you are content with merely existing inside of your box than to take a risk and live on the outside with the rest of the world.

EXCERPT from Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind; Memoirs of Overcoming Traumas.

The passage that I just shared from my latest book describes what I consider to be the most depressing periods in my life. It was a period in my life when “I merely existed and struggled with the decision to barely keep breathing or to break free” (Hastings, 2017, p 25).

When advocating for mental health, one of the frequent responses that I receive is that of criticism or judgment. People do not understand how someone could feel so bad that they might have suicidal thoughts. And when you have not experienced something it can be difficult to relate to or understand. However, it does not give one the right to be judgmental of those that have.

Grief, “Intense emotional suffering caused by a loss” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1996).

That particular time during my period of major depression, I was tremendously grieving over the death of my brother. As I state in my book, grief is a healthy emotion. But it can become unhealthy if one does not complete the grief stages. Depression was my most difficult stage of grief, causing me to become stagnate within the grief process.

You might be grieving right now. You might know someone (a friend, family member, adolescent) who is currently grieving right now.  Despite the time frame that the loved one has been deceased, a person can still be grieving from that person’s death. It took me seven years before I could move to the acceptance stage of my brother’s death.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, I encourage you to seek out resources or strongly consider grief counseling or coaching. Your loved one would want you to enjoy your life and not just exist. You can live life without feeling guilty because your special someone is no longer here to share it with you. Cherish the memories you have with them and celebrate their live through them.

If you would like to know more about my story, check out my book in print or digital. If you are interested in a virtual coaching session, that is an option too.

Now take the step towards LIVING AGAIN!


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