Hello Overcomers! I have a few more Hall of Famers, but I wanted to throw this in the ring.
The more I walk this mental health journey, I become more and more aware of the importance of relationships. Relationships are work. In relationships there is give and take and depending on the season, one may be giving more than taking. It takes true friends to tough out those seasons with you.
I find myself wanting to withdraw when I feel like I’ve shared too much or spend a lot of time worrying if I am “too much” or, if this was the day when my friends decide, “okay, I’m done.” I find myself thinking I need to give them a break from me. They constantly prove me wrong.
Being in a healthy relationship feels foreign when you’ve become accustomed to dysfunction – even if the dysfunction is in your head. I’m learning to take off the track shoes and will myself to stay put. I have to remind myself to stay put and allow my friendships to flourish, to accept the help when needed as well as reciprocate when the opportunity arises.
I make an intentional effort to say thank you to those who “stay in the struggle” with me. My friends listen to my rants, reel me in when I’m overthinking, making negative statements about myself, filled with anxiety, and making decisions that are not conducive to my purpose. They point me back to God when I’m out in left field and remind me that I can “cast my cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7).
I had such big plans for the start of 2020. However, I found myself going down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety in slow motion. It was happening so smoothly, I didn’t realize it was happening. Many changes were happening at one time. I started grad school, for starters, as well as a couple other adjustments I hadn’t prepared for. I had a couple of conversations in which I allowed to shake my faith in myself and my purpose. I had subconsciously decided I was done. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Getting out of bed became what felt like impossible – thank God for the right friends.
Dr. Thema, in her “Homecoming Podcast,” says: Internal oppression is believing the lies I’ve been told about myself and, the ways I have been treated is not a reflection of my worth.
The lesson this time? Change the way I speak to me. Adjust how I see myself. It was a clutching my pearls moment because I’ve done so much work! #sigh You ever thought you were looking pretty good until someone who really loves you shows you a mirror and points out you have lipstick on your teeth? 😱 I hear you. There are some things that will not change until I do. In order to make a change, I must change what I believe. I get to decide what’s true of me and what’s not. Every piece of constructive criticism is not an affront to me as a person. I don’t have to accept every negative word spoken to me. Again, I’m learning.
Welcome to 2020, family. Lesson one, two and three is in the books for 2020. One documented failure on deck. However, this documented failure caused me to make some necessary adjustments to the overall plan which I call a win. Isn’t this the ebb and flow of life, though?
I am thankful for friends who love me. I am thankful for friends who will tell me the truth. I am thankful for friends who deal with my imagination, questions, and quirkiness. I am still learning. Learning to embrace who I am. Learning to love the girl who shows up in the mirror, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace that, although improvements will always be needed, I am fabulous and valuable because I’m me. You are fabulous and valuable because you’re YOU!
Dear God, as long as you’re with me. I can overcome anything. Thank you for sending friends to help me along this journey. Amen.
“Trusting God will have you out here winning in a losing season.”
Khas Dock is originally from Newark, NJ and has been in Atlanta for about six years. Although he always wanted to move to Atlanta, he didn’t want to move as soon as he did. However, on a whim, he made the move. Khas says his career is a God thing. He is an author, ghost writer, and business consultant. And though he didn’t mention it, he is also a speaker. Khas says, “I do operations and project management. I’ve planned tours and hosted events, organized conferences, done a lot of consultations from a branding and marketing perspective. These are the things I dabble in as it relates to my purpose and career, passions and all those good things.”
I am excited about what you will learn from this interview. I was not prepared for Khas’s story and the level of healing and confidence he displayed during this interview. Sometimes chuckling at his answers, sometimes taking a few seconds to pause and think, Khas spoke to me as a man who, despite what he’s been through, knows who he is. As I reflect on this interview, I can think of one word: refreshing.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Khas Dock:
Me: Tell me about Khas, the man.
Khas: At my core, I am a lover of people. I often refer to myself as a grace agent. The concept behind that is I think a lot of people deal with silent battles and they are wrestling with something internally they don’t ever really speak about. I remember often walking around wishing somebody saw me, that somebody understood. Wishing somebody would say something that would make my world a little bit better. As a result, I’ve taken on the position to be intentional about extending love and making sure when someone is in my presence they feel a glimpse of God; a glimpse of grace.
I am a people person; I am super down to earth. One of my biggest passions in life is to serve and to serve people. At the core of who I am is a servant. I’m a normal guy (I can hear the smile in his voice). I enjoy music, food and I’m adventurous. At almost thirty years old I am coming into myself more than I have at any point in my life. I see things a lot differently. Life is much different to me now. On this journey of self-discovery, I’ve done a lot of inner healing and learning who I am. I am owning it, and am okay with whatever that looks like.
Khas, the Overcomer:
It embodies strength and tenacity. When I think of overcomer, I think of a person who thrives through obstacles. (Wait! Did y’all see this? Thrives! Not just survive, but thrives! Okay, carry on.)
At the age of six years old I was placed in foster care where I remained until I aged out at twenty-one or twenty-two. This has been my biggest hurdle in my twenty-nine years.
Being placed in foster care introduced me to a pain I didn’t have language for or any concept of. At six years old, the only thing that causes pain are minor things like not being able to play a game or go out with your friends. This experience complicated life in a way I didn’t know was humanly possible. It introduced me to identity issues, feelings of abandonment and rejection. I wondered why my parents didn’t want me; why isn’t anyone coming for me? I had emotional trauma I didn’t understand until my teen years and early adulthood.
My life over the past couple of years has been dedicated to sorting through a lot of those layers. Recalling myself at six years old, not understanding, and not having language for what was going on, I had to deal with it. I didn’t get a say in the matter. So, I had to deal with. I had to adjust and learn to be okay with it – which I don’t think I’ve ever become okay with it. It was hard. For a long time, it made me angry.
I realize no one’s life is perfect, but it introduced me to a plight I wasn’t prepared for. As an adult, I can see that, for many different reasons it was necessary. While I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t see it. All I felt was pain, and it was terrible. On the other side of it I can look back and say, I kind of get why it had to go that way.
There’s a sense of ownership for that struggle. I can talk about it proudly and own it because I can see the beauty in it. I couldn’t see it then, because I was so blinded by the hurt and the trauma. I can proudly say I’m glad it happened. Wouldn’t want to live through it again, but I’m glad it happened and I was able to overcome it.
I have friends and people I grew up with who went through the same thing and their life turned out much differently. In all of it, there was a grace that sustained me. For that, I am grateful.
Community and Conversation (sound familiar?)
Khas attributes his success to God first and foremost. He says conversation and community has played a vital role in his process.
Khas: I remember times, especially once I was older, as I transitioned out of my adolescence into my adulthood, I was around people who had their own experiences. There was a commonality. Even though our plights weren’t the same, we had all experienced some type of hardship or trauma. We were able to gather around that commonality and offer strength through conversation. We were able to share with each other and say what we went through, how it made us feel, and how we overcame it.
Although none of our stories were identical, the similarity was that we all struggled and we had different things we had to overcome and journey through. I found out there is a great deal of healing offered through community and being around people who know what it’s like to go through something, you’re given the opportunity to sort through things that have been left underneath the surface for years. Once you begin to bring those things to the surface, you can now deal with it.
Community and conversation won’t heal everything, but it’s a great starting point. It can point you to counseling. It can point you to church. It can point you to wise counsel. Community will also be there for those processes, because once you start counseling you will still need a support group. You will still need somebody who can rally around you. You will still need people that understand. The biggest thing for me has been to find safe spaces which is sometimes found in a group and other times with one person who understands.
While community and conversations have helped me, it’s also been a hindrance because it hasn’t always been something I was open to because I felt like I had my vulnerability snatched from me years ago without me having any say so in the matter. It’s amazing that community and conversation is the thing I would depend on in order to journey through certain experiences.
Me: Tell me about Decoding the Creatives? What do you want people to know after reading it?
Khas:Decoding the Creatives is a book that gives language to people who are creative and for people who want to understand creatives. It’s a term that is widely used and sometimes misused. It is not a lot of definition surrounding it, so this is my attempt to explain it. One day I randomly wrote a Facebook status that was a combination of experiences in my journey as a professional creative and I wanted to put it out there. It got a lot of crazy traction. It seemed simple to me because I was venting. I didn’t realize at the time other people were looking for this type of language. People who are creatives as well as people who are surrounded by creatives. The consensus among them was it helped them to understand the creatives around them whether it be a friend or a child.
This is a book based on my experiences. At the end there is a letter from me to the reader and the message is to trust your dopeness. It’s my way of encouraging people to understand we are all different, even our creative abilities are different. There is something that unlocks when you hone into the uniqueness of who you are.
One of the things I’ve noticed about creatives is even though we’re widely gifted and can do so much, there’s nothing a creative cannot do when we put their mind to it. However, even in our awesomeness, there is this doubt. There is this fear; there is this shrinking back or dumbing ourselves down to magnify others. We will promote others before we promote ourselves. The root of it is this idea that we’re good but not amazing. It’s this tainted concept of how awesome we are. It’s something I’ve had to own myself and I figured it’s something, that if it’s a battle for me, it’s a battle for other people. That is my biggest desire for people to walk away with the knowledge as a creative or understanding one.
I want creatives to get to a place where they can say, “I am really gifted. I own this and I’m going to walk in it.” Khas Dock
Me: I thought you were quiet, but lately, I have seen another side of you. You’re more vocal. Tell me about that?
Khas: For the last two years I feel like I’ve been extremely muzzled. That’s not to say there’s always something to say or a need to say something, but I’ve been extremely laid back and didn’t say much. Some of it was because of work related stuff or stuff I was going through personally. I was also in a space where I felt like I didn’t have anything of value to say, or feel like I was saying something that everyone else was saying – if it’s a common thread or common trend, why would I need to add my input to it? So yeah, I had a muzzle on for about two years straight.
I’ve learned that language can solve a lot of problems in life. Sometimes people are feeling things and they are frustrated because they don’t have language for it. I understand because that was a lot of my frustration. One of the reasons I follow the Friends (The Pastors of All Nations Worship Assembly – Atlanta) is because every time I’m in their space they say something, oftentimes is unintentional, which gives me language for where I am and where I need to be headed. This is my thought, it may be insignificant to you, but nine times out of ten, there is one person who can benefit from it and we have a responsibility to share. It’s not always comfortable for me. I actually hate it, and would rather be quiet and in the background. I am learning to own the responsibility, which is why I’ve been more vocal.
Me: For this, we are thankful. For years, I have been one who has wrestled with my voice. I remember hearing, “Your voice is assigned to somebody.” The crazy thing about the world is, there are billions of people. You may say something and people won’t hear it. I will say the same thing and they will respond as if I’ve solved a great mystery! No, I’m just repeating what he said.
Khas: Exactly, I believe we have assigned audiences.
Me: And your audience is waiting. Khas, your life is blessed. I’m glad to know you. I’m glad to see the transformation in you. Its palpable. It’s beautiful. I am excited to see what happens in your future.
In this life of mental health, we tend to struggle with consistency. Consistency and discipline is so important.
For me, when I’m doing well, I forget that I have meds to take. I forget that I need to get out and get sunlight. I forget that I need to keep making positive declarations. I forget that I should get some form of exercise. I forget that I must continue to engage in things that contribute to me having good mental health.
I am the first to admit, you can be working your plan and still have “moments.” However, there are many times that the problem is that we’re not working our plan.
Even if you have to write a daily routine, stick to your plan. A deviation to your plan will clue you into the idea that something is off. We can be more proactive with our mental health when we have a plan.
Community – tell your plan to your community of friends. Allow them the space to remind you of your plan to help get you back on track. Allow them the opportunity to support you. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a “moment,” you don’t realize you’re in that moment until it becomes some days and you find it hard to pull out of it.
Having a plan, and a community who knows your plan helps everyone involved to assist you. Also, ask your counselor to help you manage as new things come up. Utilize every resource available to you.
If you work your plan, your plan will work for you.
I’d love to hear from you. What would you like for me to discuss? How are you doing? You can also follow me on my social media pages.
If you’ve ever worked on a computer or a cell phone and went to settings, it will ask you if you would like to “restore to default settings.” What is your life default settings? How do you respond to life? Conflict? People? Certain situations? Let’s talk about it.
I learned something recently. Pain & trauma in your memory has no time line. So until it’s processed and healed, it will feel like it just happened and you go back to that place often. Many even feel through symptoms in the body (stomach pain, for example).
I’m learning, as I heal, to remind myself that it’s over. The past, pain, nor trauma has no bearing on who I am or who I will be. Trauma doesn’t diminish my worth.
Fight for your healing. It won’t come for you. You must fight for it.
You’re worth it.
Having said that, I am in pursuit of changing my “default setting.” I was talking to someone the other day and I was telling them how I usually respond to conflict-that it was my default setting.
Later, I began to think about that. I didn’t like it.
Don’t I have the power to change? Don’t I have the right to adjust my thinking, my perspective, and my actions? Of course I do.
I’ve added another component to my mental health. It’s call DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy). In my limited understanding (I’ve only been to one class), DBT teaches you coping and management skills. The major thing I’m working on right now is learning how to properly process anxiety. I am determined that anxiety will not run or ruin my life.
I believe that the undercurrent that produces anxiety can be processed and healed. When I say undercurrent, I’m speaking of the pain that is stored in your body. You don’t realize it’s still there, but it doesn’t mean we can’t heal from it. I often wonder where anxiety comes from because, in my mind, I’m not thinking about anything. In many recent instances, I’m having a good time before it shows up. In my mind, this is the undercurrent; a warning of something I need to be aware (but not afraid) of.
I’m not a professional, but I do a lot of reading and researching. I’m a thinker/over thinker. The purpose of this post is to give us another perspective that will hoped lead to answers and healing. And to hopefully have a better understanding regarding what I’m experiencing. It helps me to change my default settings.
No, I don’t want to be restored to my default settings. The default setting have not served me well. I am creating new settings. How about you? Let’s do it!
When I look at this I see tumultuous peace. How did the sky go from being blue to various shades of oranges and red like an angry fire?
Yet, it’s peaceful. It’s saying to me yes, there battle going on behind the scenes. There’s a war being waged. Turmoil. Strife. Confusion.
There’s also victory happening. Peace conquering over turmoil. Harmony happening I’ve strife. Certainty over confusion.
How can this be? How can you have two opposing things going on simultaneously? In the same life?
And yet, like the tower that’s standing, I stand alone. Only I can fight this war within. Only I can stand against the things that stand against me. Yes, there are people and outside forces that encourage, but I must, within myself, make a decision.
I made the decision to stand. Sometimes shaking. Sometimes trembling in fear. Sometimes ready to quit. But there’s a force within me that won’t let me quit. Won’t let me die. Won’t let me give up.