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Suffering in Silence: How One Producer is Taking a Stand Against Depression



The pain had suddenly begun to gain momentum. Kenneth Todd Nelson, then 27 years old, laid on his couch as a tingling sensation traversed through his body.
It was daytime but at this moment Nelson was in a dark space. For weeks he had not seen anyone and he was not talking to anyone.

I felt hopeless,” said Nelson.

The left side of his body then went numb. Alarmed, Nelson decided that it was time to seek professional help. Upon arriving at the hospital the doctors assumed that he was having a stroke. After running tests and asking a number of questions regarding Nelson’s health and his personal life, however, the diagnosis was far from what Nelson anticipated.
According to doctors, Nelson was suffering from anxiety and depression. Among other stress factors he had recently loss both of his parents. The doctors suggested that Nelson take medicine but he refused.

I didn’t want to because I didn’t want people thinking I was crazy,” said Nelson.

After refusing treatment, Nelson left the hospital that day and decided to “pray everything away.”  But as time passed the pain still had not subsided. As matters got worse his pecking conscious seemed to not be enough.
And then, on the night of Aug. 13, 2013, he received more devastating news. His friend, Lee Thompson Young, had died. He too was suffering from depression and had committed suicide. Young had most recently starred in the TNT television drama Rizzoli and Isles. For Nelson, enough had been enough. That night he heard a voice that said, “you need to do something about this,” and this time he decided to listen.
Nelson sought out a therapist and was prescribed medicine. Subsequently, he had taken the initiative to become proactive towards the betterment of his health. 
As Nelson’s health improved he began to realize that his “pain turned into power.”

I decided to put myself out there,” he said. “I was ashamed at first and didn’t want to talk about it. Once I did it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Nelson started talking about ideas with his friends that could help him and others combat depression. Because of his creative background, he had come up with the idea to develop a documentary that would unveil the raw truth and seriousness of depression in the African-American male community. According to the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 2,144 African-Americans committed suicide. Of that number, 81.8 percent were men.
Nelson was opening up to his family and friends more. The more he opened up, the more he began to listen to them. He would later find out disturbing facts about the people he loved. On more than one occasion someone would call him and say something along the lines of, “I didn’t want to say anything but I thought about killing myself too.”
The prevalence and severity of silent sufferers of depression could not have become more real to Nelson. This cause had become even more important to him because of his 9-year-old son.  Because his son is a young black male he does not want him growing up learning what, according to Nelson, so many other black males have learned: that they cannot have the human experience of communicating their feelings.

We are taught to be tough and not to cry,” said Nelson.

I want to break that cycle for my son.”

Nelson teamed up with co-producer, Squeaky Moore, and mental health activist, Terrie Williams, author of BlackPain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting and brought his vision of a documentary to fruition.
Although both women, Nelson says that his partners still feel the need to take action and that every gender and race can learn something from the film.

Working with them has helped me a lot,” he said.

Their up and coming documentary is titled Face of Darkness: A Journey to Healing. Nelson and his fellow producers are currently in the stage of securing funding and getting the word out. According to Nelson, although the task has been challenging, the community support has been “amazing.”
To Nelson their progress has been good. Every time something happens related to depression people send him something that they know relates to the film.

They associate me with this cause,” he said.

It lets me know that they know what I’m doing.”

With this film, Nelson hopes to open the eyes of people and have them take the initiative of becoming accountable for their surrounding peers and community members. Nelson wants to remove the formality behind the question, “how are you doing” and wants people to ask only when they have the time to actually listen.

You never know,” said Nelson.

Someone might want to tell you how they feel because you can potentially change or save their lives.”

With the documentary, Nelson hopes to create a safe platform and space for people to be able to communicate.

Imagine when your father cannot communicate,” he said.

Everyone thinks he’s angry but he’s really hurting. It’s really not fair so I’m starting this movement. This movement, this journey to healing has started.”

For more information and/or to support the cause, people can visit
View the documentary trailer here:

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Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.

Tamara Shanice is an actress, writer, lyricist and fashionable hustler who takes pride in entertaining and educating through her art. She's a wandering spirit who loves to travel the world and marvel at the works of God's paintbrush.


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Episode 2 of #occupyingyourmindset vlog is up and lawwwddd I can’t believe I’m speaking about this in public. This is a topic I barely even feel comfortable talking to my closest friends about. However, I did promise you all I’ll be using this series to be raw and honest sharing everything I’m going through behind the scenes, right?

Here’s to me making myself extremely vulnerable to you all.

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The fact is: YOU DO MATTER



“I’d be happy if you killed yourself.”


Those are the words of a complete stranger, finding out I was transgender in a KIK chat room. Sometimes it is difficult to talk sense to a person like that. While it can be quite overwhelming, I know I have the strength within myself to no longer allow hurtful words by others affect me. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Studies have shown in 2014, there were nearly 3 suicides for every homicide. What people fail to realize is that sometimes we can be our own worst executioner, holding in thoughts and emotions we don’t allow anyone to know.

However, we can also be our most merciful savior. I know there’s a young, beautiful, and purpose driven generation that may sometimes feel overwhelmed by a hurricane. That hurricane throws work, bills, heart-wrenching breakups, gossip, judgement, and a slew of other issues people just don’t understand. While everything may seem great on the outside, people can really be hurting on the inside. For instance, Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, just recently cut his life short at 41 years of age. What this individual meant to people was beyond the words he invoked on a stage or in an album. Here he was inspiring people for years through his lyrics, letting people know it’s okay to feel pain but also understanding that together we can get through it. Yet, little did we know here he was battling his own demons. Gratefully, his legacy will continue to live on through the positive impact he’s left on his fans and loved ones.



Some may think it is next to impossible to convince yourself when the mound gets too thick that

“I will come out of this”

That’s why you shouldn’t let yourself suffer alone. The fact is, you DO matter.


Often times, people compare life to that of being a book.

You write the book of your life.

Every second.

Filling it – editing it – adding characters – removing characters.

All in order to make sure you use your story to grow and learn from.

If there were no obstacles or life lessons added to the chapters, ultimately the book is just one big bore.

Yes, at times it may seem really difficult but don’t let your story end this way. Continue pushing forward to change the narrative. Continue pushing forward to change the ending. You have it in you to make your story a great one.


This is something that took me a while to learn. Thankfully, in the midst of my own struggles, I sought out help even though all I felt like doing was being alone. I want you to know that no matter how deep it goes, you are cherished and are loved.



We need to change the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people from ages 15-24. If you are not in a position where you feel like you are suffering, then you are in a position to embrace and help someone. You don’t need a degree or special certification to be there for someone in need. Just offer someone a shoulder to cry on, an embrace to hold onto and a smile to share. It may not seem like much but those simple actions can really help in some way.

Believe it or not, these small actions can cause the biggest impact in helping a lost, wounded soul find resolve and purpose.


For all of those that are suffering in silence, do not be afraid to reach out and get the support and closure you need. You need to keep writing the next significant chapter in your inspiring life.



In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

Crisis Text Line, the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis, is here to support. For support in the United States, text HELLO to 741741 or message at

For support outside the US, find resources at

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5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself During Your Mid-20s





Growing up the phrase, “life is too short”, really boggled me.  “We have 80+ years to live, how is life short?” I thought. But, once you get into adulthood, it’s impossible not to realize how fast life can pass you by, making it seem, indeed “short”; therefore, don’t spend the short time you have miserable at a job you hate, eating away your stress and not enjoying every minute of your life as it is.  As you approach and explore your life in your early to mid-20s, ask yourself the following:


  1. Are you happy at your job or are you just working to make a living?

Sometimes we don’t see our day jobs with the level of magnitude we should.  The jobs we choose are a huge part of our lives; therefore, don’t limit yourself to where you’re comfortable, but miserable. Find a place that makes you happy, because when you’re happy, you make better decisions, when you make better decisions, you tend to work on yourself, and when you work on yourself you become unstoppable! And, well when you’re unstoppable, the world is yours!


  1. Are you taking care of yourself mentally?

It has never been more important to take time each day to unwind and reflect on ourselves.  Life can be busy, stressful, and unpredictable to say the least.  We must take time to reach our happy place and let everything go for a few minutes.  It’s the brains way of recharging in order to get things back in order and ready for another day.  You probably charge your phone every night, right? Let’s not forget to recharge ourselves as well.


  1. Are you taking care of yourself physically and internally?

Are you still skipping breakfast, like those high school days, eating a bag of chips when you’re hungry in between meals, or slouching on the couch for hours, binge watching your favorite show? Although these things might not be so harmful done occasionally, they are harmful if done often.  The older we get, the more important it is to fuel our bodies with the right nutrients and exercise! Fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, plenty of water, and staying active.  The more we take care of ourselves earlier on, the better chance we have to live disease-free lives in the future.


  1. Are you focusing on the present or worrying about the past?

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” We tend to dwell in the past forgetting that the time has gone and we have the present and future in front of us.  Don’t dwell on the past.  Allow yourself an allotted time to be upset, but move past it once the time expires.  Accept the fact that you cannot change anything about the past, there are no time machines, get over it.  One thing you can do, is change what the future holds.  Get out in front of it and own it baby!


  1. Last, but not least, are you in control of your life?

Yes, are YOU in control of your life? No, the aliens don’t control your life, neither do other people, or abstract forces. YOU do! You get to make every decision that regards your life and how you want to live it.  You choose if you want to be angry for 1 minute or 1 day, you choose what you eat, you choose what you wear, you choose how you want to feel daily.  YOU are able to control your life, so are you? If not, now is the time! Don’t spend any more time wishing you could do something, get out and do it! Put yourself in CONTROL!

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