Ghost Writer Series: E3: It’s Alright to Fight

Written by Diana Briceno

Depression is a common thing on my mom’s side of the family, but I never really wanted to accept that I was also struggling with it.

My personality has always been the type that keeps things bottled up, because I would feel like such a bother if I explained my situation to someone. The few times I started to slightly open up, I’d be completely misunderstood. People would think I was seeking attention for my sadness, that I would just “get over it”,or that depression is not a real thing. This caused me to feel ashamed and keep everything to myself; by sharing, I felt like I was putting my emotional burden on others.

Eventually, I became so overwhelmed with all the emotions and all my internal struggles that I got to my tipping point. In December 2011 I tried to kill myself, and well obviously (and thankfully) it didn’t work, because I’m still here alive and breathing. That was one of my first eye openers that I needed to live my life. Still, I let my health get out of control and gained 50 pounds. I would put a lot of my focus into work and make myself feel like I didn’t have time to exercise or make healthy meals; the excuses were endless.

Anyway, let’s fast forward to the last couple months of 2015. This is when I decided to start getting off of my medication. I felt so alone in this process, because I had nobody I knew going through a similar journey. I tried to look on Instagram for fitness people who brought up mental health or just anyone really, but I couldn’t find any at that time. This is when I decided that maybe I had to be the one to initiate the conversation, maybe others like me were scared to be judged and were also waiting on someone to relate to.

In January 2016, I began to openly talk about my depression and how eating well and working out has helped me get off my pills and get it under control. I was so surprised to see the amount of support and people sharing their journeys. It’s like all these accounts I couldn’t find before, found their way to me and I felt like there was now a community of people who help could one another.

I cared way too much about what people thought. I also realized that sometimes those who misunderstand depression just needed to be educated about it. I met my husband 5 years ago and he did not understand it at all, which really angered me; but then I realized I had to talk to him about it and try to explain, as best I could, how it was. He is now my biggest supporter and always listens to me. He gave me the push I needed to be unafraid to talk about my good and bad days.

Now there’s so many people that I see online that share their stories and we message back and forth. It feels so good to not feel alone in this because sometimes it can get really dark and we need some help to let us see the light in any situation. I want everyone going through difficult times to know that the hard times will pass. You are not alone and people care about you. People that you might not even know in person care about whether you live or die. I wish everybody could see that and really realize that because it’s true!

You are not a burden and there’s people out there that will listen to you and try to help. Keeping everything inside makes it feel like a slow painful death, don’t do that to yourself. Talk to someone, be it a friend, therapist, teacher, anyone really, because you will feel a weight coming off of your shoulders. Sometimes repeating the nasty thoughts out loud makes you really realize how wrong they are. There’s no need to be ashamed of your moments of weakness, there is strength in discussing them which in turn helps you learn how to overcome them. •


Diana Briceno is a stunning boss lady.  Having the opportunity to stumble across her amazing, as well as inspirational Instagram account, was an honor.  Her transparency and disclosure of her unique road to recovery with depression, and current fight against relapse, will make you feel like you are a bit a lone warrior.  I appreciate her bravery for showing those with a mental illness, that it’s possible to LIVE with a mental illness and fight against succumbing to it, with everything you have in you.  All her days may not be perfect, but she keeps it real no matter what, while creating a healthy lifestyle, free of medicine (Shero), and encouraging others about the importance of caring for their mental health; it’s alright to fight!


Fruit Aisle Sanctuary

There is a lot of misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental health and mental illnesses. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses in Britain ( and over 16 million people here in the U.S., have had at least one episode of major depression in the past year (NIMH).  In my attempt to help break this stigma all over the world, get people to comfortably talk about mental health openly, and unite for mental health awareness, I am having real conversations with prominent influencers in today’s society, about the issue at hand.

It was an honor to begin this discussion with Anna Whitehouse, formally known as Mother Pukka in the realm of social media.  As a journalist, editor, wife, and mom, turned entrepreneur, making her love of work and parenting coexist harmoniously, Mother Pukka has graciously and hilariously opens up her world to us, and talking about mental health is no exception.  From self care tips to crying in the fruit aisle of Tesco, Mother Pukka keeps it real about how important it is to care for your mental health.


Dominique: Mother Pukka! I am so honored to have you be apart of my new ‘break the stigma’ initiative: a conversation series. Thank you for taking the time to do this:)

Mother Pukka (MP): Of course! Sorry I’ve been a bit all over the place and not got it over sooner. My organizational skills are a concern on many levels.

Dominique: Taking care of your mental health is so important.  How does Mother Pukka make time for herself with such a busy schedule?

MP: I do two things every day: have an apple and a black filter coffee at 9am and a bath with some kind of posh foam at 10pm. I book-end the day with these small things so there’s some order in the chaos. And it is chaos – I don’t trust myself crossing the road at times. Like, basic stuff.

Dominique: What does that alone time mean to you, and how does it affect your day or days?

MP: Alone time is stuff like this. Writing words to or for people I like – people who have got in touch because there’s a thread of unity somewhere. I can’t explain it but I like meeting people through the pixels. The Internet/ social media doesn’t scare me like it does some; I think it’s a great place to connect (and, perhaps, to cry together through the madness.)

Dominique: There is a lot of misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental illnesses. What advice would you give parents who are leary of seeking help, because of this stigma?

MP: Just do it. It’s done well for Nike. I’m a believer in stepping into things and working it out afterwards – that includes seeking help. What is there to lose?

Dominique: Can we get really real for a second, Mother Pukka:)?

MP: Sure, go ahead.

Dominique: After giving birth to your beautiful Mae, did you have any experience with the baby blues or postpartum depression? How did you overcome it?

MP: I don’t think I realized it at the time but yes, definitely looking back. There was a point where I was stood in Tesco holding a pineapple with one solitary tear running down my cheek. Yeah, I wasn’t in great shape. But I hauled my ass out of the building and went and did things that brought me together with other people feeling weird in the fruit aisle of Tesco.

Dominique: Mother Pukka, again, thank you so much for taking this time to help spread awareness about how important it is to care for your mental health and breaking the stigma of having a mental illness!

MP: OF course, I’ve loved being in touch. Such a great thing to highlight.


For more information about Mother Pukka and to keep abreast on how she is tackling parenthood, as well as ‘finding order through the chaos’, visit her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

(photo courtesy of Anna Whitehouse)

*To inquire about how to get involved in the ‘break the stigma’ initiative: a conversation series, please contact me.

Unexpected Therapy: Toddler Perspective

I literally treat my depression like a toddler, and you know what, it works. {, 8/2/16}

It’s funny how such a seemingly simple statement, can carry so much weight.  As I softly laughed, a school girl chuckle, as I read those words, I immediately felt inclined to reread that sentence a few more times.  Who would have ever thought to relate depression to a toddler?; David Self did, the humorous and highly intellectual brain behind (a necessary support system and guide to helping make the transition to ‘adulting’, a little less daunting).  I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that I already feel like David and I share a bumble friends type connection, even though Instagram made the connection, but reading about his analogy between depression and toddlerhood, pretty much sealed that deal further.

For as long as I’ve been fighting depression, it seems crazy, but getting into the head space of severe lowness, to the point where you have lost all control and even mindfulness won’t help you, I always seem to feel like that feeling will always be there; permanence.  I’ll never feel like getting out of bed, I’ll never feel like playing with my kids like I use to, going to the movies will be torture forever, etc.; typical uncontrollable negative reaction to your frustration with having to deal with these deathly lows.  But once I come out from the miry clay, and I feel neutral emotionally, to the point where I have a little interest in doing things and more hope then ever, that feeling of permanence, turns to a temporary notion. David’s analogy made me think about when my toddler, Sydney,gets upset.  She throws the most violent tantrum, turning into what feels like a monster, sometimes making sounds that probably have only been heard in mars, and creating cries without a single existence of moisture running from her eyes; toddlers are extremely outward with their emotions, but it lasts all but 20 seconds to at most 45ish seconds, and then they go on with their life like nothing happened.  It’s as if they got sudden amnesia about what took them to an emotional outer space, and the need for time for recovery is immediately suspended by the rustling of cookies in the cookie jar, or the bribe to do something they’ve always wanted to do, but were waiting for the parent to turn their back to do it.

Toddler tantrums are just like depressive episodes; or how they can be, if it works for you.  Really low lows in depression are temporary, but feel permanent when your head is below water; just like a tantrum.  Today I had to remind myself of this notion, feeling that uncontrollable feeling of lowness, suddenly, with feeling like there was no way out; I liken it to how someone with clostrophobia might feel.  If it weren’t for remembering David’s writing about treating depression like a toddler, inviting recent memories of today’s 10-20 second tantrums from my daughter, that brought me comfort thinking about how happy she was when she resumed playing as if nothing happened, I probably would still be in that low place.  The likely hood of me even writing right now would not be a possibilty if it weren’t for a simple statement I read, from such a powerful blog post.

The moral of the story is:  This too shall pass, and if you can find something to hold on to that will remind you of the good times that will come eventually (I know it’s hard), then hopefully those lows will be a little easier to get through.

So David Self, thank you for being my unexpected therapy this week.  Bravo, my bumble friend, bravo.

* Please visit for more inspirational posts.  You won’t be disappointed.