Although she considers herself to be in a “beautiful, peaceful” place today, Nakisha White Henderson has weathered her share of turmoil.
“I have suffered some pretty low moments,” acknowledges the certified mental health therapist and life coach, “but all in all, to say I would change anything isn’t my truth, because every single thing that I have gone through has developed me into the woman that I am today.”
A teenage mother by age 16, the Gulfport native later underwent a tumultuous divorce that led to a domestic violence incident. An argument escalated, and Henderson says she was choked to the point of passing out. When her now ex-husband left the room to grab a gun, she called 9-1-1 and managed to escape with help on the way.
“I grabbed my keys, ran out of the house and took off in my car,” Henderson recalls. “As I was leaving the neighborhood, I started to hear and see the police cars rushing toward the direction of my home.”
Although Henderson survived, the incident left her bruised and battered physically and emotionally, causing her nightmares, anxiety and flashbacks. In the aftermath, she was left raising two young daughters — trying to put the pieces of her life back together alone.
“Change doesn’t always look pretty, nor does it feel good,” Henderson says. “It is a transformation that comes with a heavy price of shedding your old self to make way for the new you.”
Henderson maintains her mental wellness by staying attuned to her thoughts and her words, paying attention to the energy around her. When she finds herself falling into negative thoughts, she knows it’s time to recharge, which may mean one to two hours of quiet time by herself or engaging her husband for a hug. She also copes through prayer, mediation, forgiveness and backing from friends and family.
To anyone going through a hard time and struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel, Henderson recommends the following:
- Remind yourself of the last challenge or adversity you faced and how courageous you were in conquering it.
- Stay connected to God through prayer, His word and meditation.
- Develop a positive mindset; acknowledge positive things that are going on despite the difficulties.
- Journal those negative thoughts; get them out of your mind and spirit.
- Create a positive support system — people you can laugh with, and people who will remind you how brave and awesome you are.
- Seek counseling from a mental health professional, licensed social worker, pastor and/or life coach.