Charlotte, NC – A local woman advocates the use of gardening as a way to help those with mental health issues.
Tamara Brown’s journey began one day when she became exhausted and had a crash at her job.
“That moment set off a chain of emotional outbursts. And the next thing you know, I don’t remember some of it, but the next thing you know, I was in the hospital,” Brown said.
After that incident, Brown said, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I also learned about the manic episodes associated with mental illness and what can lead to those moments.
Brown said she started solving unresolved problems from her past, such as the time she served in the military.
“During enlistment, things happened and I was left feeling somehow because when I tried to speak out, no one believed me,” Brown said.
She also shared how in many black families, seeking treatment is a taboo.
“If you have a problem, we don’t talk about it. No, you go to church and pray for it. So, no, that’s not a thing…we don’t get depressed. So, when that happens, we just pack those things away, and pack them away.” Then it’s not talked about, until it’s not treated,” Brown said.
Brown said she had for years pursued her creative side as an artist, but when space and funding made it a challenge to keep going, she found a new, wide-open canvas that was organic.
“It has become my medicine and my cure. Beneath our feet is a whole world of microorganisms just ready to help us have a beautiful garden and help us with our mental health too. There are microorganisms found in the soil that have antidepressant effects,” Brown said.
Now, Brown combines her sucks from nature with counseling, medication, and support from her friends and family.
She hopes her story carries a message for anyone who may be struggling with their mental health.
“Don’t be shy, because we are all going through something. Please don’t be shy. Second, I would say, make a decision to fight for yourself. You have to fight for yourself!” she said.
Brown encourages people to reach out to a counselor or someone they trust if they need help.
Whatever your course of treatment, she suggests, add a little horticultural treatment to the mix.
Watch below: A nonprofit that raises money to provide counseling and mental health resources to first responders)
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