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Taneshia Johnson is a clinical social worker, self care coach, and first time author of When Depression And Anxiety Have A Voice. She specializes in emotional self care as well as codependency. Taneshia believes self awareness can help everyone define who they are and what they need in life in order to have joy and peace. She has helped hundreds of men and women in the bay area through one on one coaching sessions as well as her self care workshops.
“The biggest thing I can say to a person feeling trapped inside of their own mind is to show themselves self compassion and know that with depression and anxiety is no different than any other struggle.”
VERSAFI MAGAZINE: How important is self-care to you?
TANESHIA JOHNSON: Self care is a daily routine for me. I think many times we struggle in life and suffer hardships due to lack of self care. My primary focus is emotional self care- how we honor and show ourselves love. However, all levels of self care are essential.
VERSAFI: What types of self-care routines do you normally use on a daily or weekly basis?
TANESHIA: Self care routines I use on a daily and weekly basis are setting boundaries with others, saying “no” without guilt and shame, drinking 8-10 glasses of water,aiming to get 6-8 hours of sleep per night, eating fruits and veggies daily.
VERSAFI: Being that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, what do you do to show your support in your community as an advocate?
TANESHIA: I work as a clinical social worker to low income and homeless families in the Bay Area of California daily, however for this special month I am hosting free mental health webinars and spreading the message of self care and eliminating stigma around mental health.
VERSAFI: Do you feel as though Mental Health can be misguided or misrepresented?
TANESHIA: I feel when people think about mental health they automatically have a negative feeling or think if someone is discussing mental health it means they cant manage life. I always encourage people to view mental health like psychical health. Whether you have a physical disability or condition everyone is encourage to go to the doctor annually for a check up to make sure everything is okay. I feel mental health should be viewed the same. No one is perfect or without trauma. I feel some may appear to cope better than others, but most Americans engage in unhealthy coping mechanism such as alcoholism, over eating, anger outburst, avoidant behavior, and promiscuity. I feel that those that express they need help are making a statement that they are tired of dealing with life in an unhealthy way and ready to learn about their trauma and find ways they can cope in healthier ways that will honor them and bring peace.
VERSAFI: What is the motivation/inspiration behind your book “When Depression and Anxiety Has a Voice”? The title is very catchy!
TANESHIA: Thank you! Interestingly enough, in my book I share a very special character- my thoughts! I turned my internal dialogue with myself into a character in the book so readers could know what I was thinking throughout my entire journey of self love. I use to have a negative thought pattern that told me I was no one, no one loved me, and I wasn’t important. That voice represented anxiety and self doubt I had in myself that eventually caused me to be depressed- hence the title. When Depression and Anxiety Have a Voice.
VERSAFI: As an author and an advocate, are you experiencing depression or anxiety as well? If so how are you handling it?
TANESHIA: At this current moment I am feeling some feelings of depression- mainly because my dad past away recently. When I am having an episode of depression first thing I do is breathe through it and honor my feelings. In the past I tried to run away from my feelings of depression. Now I embrace them, pray and talk to God. Ask Him to pour love, peace, and determination into me so I can complete task, go to work, and do other activities I need to do for myself and my business. The biggest thing that happens for most that struggle with depression is a feeling of apathy- having no energy to do anything. I plan for those moments. When I do have boost of energy I try to do as much as I can. Also I have found help in talking to my therapist and regular exercise routines. Exercise is a natural boost to our serotonin levels in our body that help our mood. In addition to this I journal about what is bothering me and contact my friends and family who are supportive and ask them to check on me, send text, and remind me of things I need to do. I have somewhat mastered episodes of depression, so I just work through them until they past. However, I encourage anyone else who cant do this to discuss their feelings with their doctor. There are many options open for people who struggle with depression. Medicine, therapy, etc.
VERSAFI: A lot of people may feel ashamed or overwhelmed to even tell their story about living with depression and anxiety. What type of advice would you give to people that are trapped inside their own mind not knowing what to do in this particular situation?
TANESHIA: The biggest thing I can say to a person feeling trapped inside of their own mind is to show themselves self compassion and know that with depression and anxiety is no different than any other struggle. There is healing and peace in knowing whats wrong and making steps towards doing something. We can’t heal what we refuse to admit. Let go of the stigma and focus on the freedom you will find in accepting your situation. Don’t let fear prevent you from making necessary steps towards peace and self love.
VERSAFI: Let’s talk about your website and business for TJ Self Care. I see that you offer a lot of different advice and techniques with Codependency being one. How did it affect you?
TANESHIA: I lived a life of codependency. Growing up in a single parent home I witness my mother go through many hardships and challenges raising me. When children deal with a caregivers that tend to not be able to provide emotional support it causes them to learn to be independent and find other ways to get their needs met, in addition they feel their needs are not important. This is grounds for a child learning that someone else’s needs are more important then their own; which can be a setup of living a life of codependency if not corrected.
VERSAFI: For someone else dealing with the same thing, what would you tell them?
TANESHIA: The most important message for anyone dealing with codependency and people pleasing is to know that no one is more important than you, and practice centering yourself first- without guilt and shame. You are worthy and deserving of putting your needs first; not selfish.
VERSAFI: What other services do you offer?
TANESHIA: I offer life coaching and self care consultation. I use a 5 step healing process with my clients that takes them through a journey of building self awareness, accepting their past, forgiving themselves and those that have hurt them, making a promise and obligation to themselves to change, and lastly living a life in peace centering their own needs first by making themselves a priority.
VERSAFI: When was your book published?
TANESHIA: My book was published January 4, 2020
VERSAFI: Are there any special projects you are working on related to Mental Health Awareness?
TANESHIA: I am hosting a webinar with Lakisha Mosely May 11th, 18th, and 19th discussing the importance of talking about how we feel and eliminating the stigma around mental health.
VERSAFI: How can readers and supporters connect with you?
TANESHIA: Readers and supporters can connect with me Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube under “tjselfcare” and also through my website http://www.tjselfcare.com
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