Minaa: Turning Depression Into Hope
At Conscious, we are always looking to see how we can continue to change the conversation, which is why when we heard Minaa B’s story, we knew it had to be shared. Minaa has turned depression into hope, as she has taken her own personal struggle and developed a safe haven for others going through similar circumstances. She has founded an organization, Respect Your Struggle, which enables others to recognize that their lives have and always will have worth and value. It is our honor and pleasure to be able to add Minaa to our team of Editorial Collaborators.
01 | TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION, RESPECT YOUR STRUGGLE.
Respect Your Struggle is a movement dedicated to providing hope for people struggling with depression, mental health, and life related issues. It is an online-based community geared towards erasing the stigma surrounding mental health and helping people to own their stories and to not be ashamed of their truths.
02 | TELL US ABOUT WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH RESPECT YOUR STRUGGLE.
My own personal battle with depression, anxiety, and self-harm is what prompted me to start this movement. I wanted to spread the message that although our struggles are real, hope is also real, and I believe people deserve to give their life its best chance. So, I started this community for people to gain support and encouragement around their struggles and to remind people that they are not alone in their suffering. We are all struggling in some way, but our struggles don’t define us; they are only here to equip us for the journey.
03 | WHY IS TALKING ABOUT RESPECT YOUR STRUGGLE AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION TO HAVE AMONG OUR COMMUNITIES?
Mental health is a prevalent issue that is somehow still a silent topic within our communities. Globally, 350 million people suffer from depression, and within the United States, 61.5 million (1 in 4) people experience a mental illness within a given year. Studies show that one-half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14, and despite effective treatment, there is a huge chasm between diagnosis, first appearance of symptoms, and when a person actually gets help. We need to bridge this gap and gain a better understanding of what is deterring people from getting help. Is it shame? Is it a lack of resources within communities, or is it a lack of awareness and education around the issues? Whatever it is, it is important to find out, or we will continue to lose lives and see an increase in behavioral and mental health disorders.
04 | FOR SOME OF OUR READERS, THEY ARE IN THE BUSIEST STAGES OF THEIR CAREERS, STARTUPS, RAISING NEW FAMILIES, ETC. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THEY CAN DO TO RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT THEIR OWN STRUGGLES?
Always own your feelings. Our lives consist of more ordinary days than the extraordinary, and because of that, we are more susceptible to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, feeling lost, and feeling uncertain. In the midst of living ordinary days, we are also human, and the genetic make-up of a human being is comprised of good emotion, as well as bad emotion. Our society teaches us how to live fast-paced, don’t let failure be an option, and never display any signs of weakness (for that is for the meek). However, if we don’t own everything that makes us human – the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly, our successes and our weaknesses, we will never recognize the gift of what it truly means to live as our most authentic selves. Recognize your struggles and own them; be at peace with where you are and make the necessary steps to lead you out of your circumstances. Within the midst of your struggles, know that it is OK to feel whatever flows through the body – don’t be afraid of being human.
05 | ANYTHING NEW AND EXCITING IN THE WORKS FOR RESPECT YOUR STRUGGLE?Although we are an online-based, our goal is to have a community presence; therefore, Respect Your Struggle is working on creating community events and workshops to have more intimate gatherings with other humans and share our stories with one another. People can stay tuned for what is yet to come by signing up for our newsletter and visiting our “get involved” page on our website.
06 | WE’RE EXCITED THAT YOU WILL LAUNCH A COLUMN HERE ON CONSCIOUSMAGAZINE.CO TO ADDRESS REAL ISSUES LIKE ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, MENTAL HEALTH, ADDICTION, SUICIDE, AND MORE – WHAT IS WRITING ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I enjoy talking about things that matter, and I believe every life matters. I know firsthand what it feels like not to appreciate life or cherish it. I know what it feels like to believe your life is unworthy and may feel as if your existence is meaningless. There is nothing that a person can ever do to make their life unworthy or invaluable, and I want people to know no matter their mistakes, their past, their failures or their circumstances, there is nothing you can do to make yourself unworthy of love. Own your feelings and embrace what it means to be human. I just simply want to see others prosper in the midst of their struggles.
FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe