Ashunti Teasley – My Mental Health Journey

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In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, one of our clients was kind enough to share a little bit about their own mental health journey. Meet Ashunti (Ash) Teasley, a 22 year old with a big heart and an important message. 

Whitney: Tell us a little bit about your mental health journey.
Ashunti: When I was 12, I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety. When I found that out, it was shocking to me. I finally knew why I was feeling so down and anxious all the time. With many years of therapy, it helped. But, as time grew, my depression and anxiety started taking over; to the point where I needed to take medication. The medication that I took made me feel really, really sick. It made me feel bad about myself because I started to experience / show / see side effects. This journey has been very difficult. I’ve had depression and anxiety for 10 years now, and I’m 22. There are days where I can be having such an exciting and perfect day, but next thing you know, I just don’t feel happy anymore. That’s the depression part. Depression and anxiety will always be a part of you. From what I notice, there is no actual cure, it can’t really be fixed. It’s always waiting in the back of your head for the perfect moment to be depressed or anxious. It came to a point in my life where I lost interest in my favorite things. It took a whole year and four months for me to find my interests in the things I love again. 

What do you find is the most helpful for you while you’re experiencing high amounts of anxiety and depression?

  • Talking to people that I know will listen
  • Using my weighted blanket / sensory toys
  • Trying to get out of the house (hanging out with my best friend Sara, walking my dog, going to the store, etc.) 
  • Trying different strategies like mantras and deep breathing
  • Watching comfort shows and listening to comforting music

You have written two original songs now, what was the inspiration for those songs?
The inspiration for these songs is that it’s hard for me to express my feelings with words, so I learned to put them out in a song. When I listen to music, I find that by really listening to the lyrics I can see how I relate to them. That’s how I was inspired to write my own songs.

Overcoming Video (skip to 46:03 for Ash's performance) and Lyric Sheet
A Pair of Shoes Video (scroll down - full video coming soon!) and Lyric Sheet

How has music and songwriting played a role in your mental health journey?
With songwriting I am able to express myself in a way I haven’t been able to before. I can put my experiences into words without actually saying it, I get to sing it instead.  

What is your message to the world?
It’s okay to not be okay. You are more than your depression and anxiety. If you are feeling really, really low, please talk to someone. I’ve been down that road before. 

What’s coming next for you?
More songwriting! Hopefully I’ll be making an album. 

Anything else you would like to share?
No one in this world is perfect. Everyone has their own special uniqueness. You are perfectly imperfect.

To hear more from Ash and others, stay tuned on our website and social medias!

Instagram: @musictherapystpete
Facebook: Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC.