Even though I have lived with trauma most of my life, like most successful women, I didn't realize I was! As I continue to move towards radical acceptance that I cannot educate my way out of my illness, naming what ills me is extraordinarily difficult to say out loud, and feels even more humiliating to type the words: bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, ADHD and anxiety as major dimensions of what makes me, me. In 2013 I began to have extreme feelings of failure, as a believer in God, mother, partner, sister, daughter, friend, colleague, business owner and intercultural expert. I also found myself wanting to be alone more and I was sadder most of the time; sometimes for no obvious reason. I would tell myself, “Phyllis, you are blessed, suck it up and keep it moving.” Whenever I would allow myself to be vulnerable with other professional women and share what I was going through, more often times than not, my feelings of despair was minimized and dismissed. This seemed like the lowest and most paralyzing place/space I had been in a very long time. I remember saying to myself , “Phyllis, regardless of how you feel, you are blessed to have a choice(s). You can breakdown or breakthrough." I’ve learned time is going to pass regardless, so I'm going to make the best of it.
In 2016 after being out of school for over 15 years, struggling to get my only child to graduate from high school, and running a successful consulting practice for the last 12 years, I returned to grad school as a 45 year old single mom with a learning disability. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking! I lost clients and relationships. With clients, I was too afraid and ashamed to share how my psychological and emotional challenges connected to my lack of follow-through that tarnished my professional integrity. With relationships, I promised things I couldn't deliver on but took them on anyway to prove I wasn't ill, weak or an out right loser. As a result, I lost friends [or maybe they weren't friends]. Thankfully, I made it through! And I know I didn't survive all I've endured in life for nothing. I've always known there was a calling on my life. I have finally accepted the call.
The last 3 years has been some of the most challenging and painful times in my life. But graduating with a second masters and now being a licensed therapist was well worth it. I have apologized, took responsibility and saved all the personal and professional relationships I could. Now, I have given myself permission to move on and truly walk in my purpose. Going back to school gave me more knowledge to ask the right questions and agency to more accurately diagnose my own mental wellness and bring more attention to this hidden culture of professional women who struggle and strive with treated and undiagnosed stressors.
All of the aforementioned is why I have decided I’m waiting no longer to fight for every dream I have ever dreamt for myself, my family, for the world I want to live in and the world I want to leave for my daughter, Ivy. Therefore, The wholeSOUL Experience: Retreat for High-Functioning Women is my gift to every woman who has never tried a therapeutic and holistic approach to successful personal and professional life change.
If you are ready to take control of your life’s goals & roles, I promise you will not regret making a conscious choice to balance your mind, body and spirit with the backdrop of Arizona’s world renowned 5 star destination spa (Oprah made infamous on her show in 2004). Join me for THE EXPERIENCE of a lifetime. I guarantee you will not leave the same. Click here to register for your personal, professional and life purpose breakthrough.
Phyllis D. Braxton-Frierson is not only the founder of this innovative approach to living your best life for women and girls, but she is also a master Trainer/Facilitator of individual and group learning.
Phyllis has close to 20 years of experience in the fields of diversity, equity and inclusion; health and human services; and education. However, for the last 13 years, she has served as President and Founder of PINK Consulting, LLC which provides counseling, intercultural assessment, diversity training and development, personal and professional coaching, keynote and motivational speaking to individuals and organizations nationwide.
Phyllis recently graduated from St. Catherine’s University/University of St. Thomas Masters of Clinical Social Work Program and is now a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW). Her mission is to serve and support women and girls with an emphasis on females of color effected by personal, cultural and environmental trauma with trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment.
Looking for a culturally competent therapist for the teen girls and women in your life? Look no further. I will be taking new clients mid-February.