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Hey y’all,

A couple weeks ago I asked y’all on Twitter how the pandemic has changed the way you view the world. I know, it’s big and kind of vague. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot personally and wanted to see where y’all stood. I wanted to start sharing some of the responses I think might resonate.

Here’s what Marlesa in Alabama said about what she learned during the pandemic:

Prioritizing myself. I spent all of my twenties burying myself into jobs, relationships, friendships, and anything else besides myself. The pandemic force me to take a self audit. I suffered a lot over the pass few years and I needed to give myself space to process that and heal. I also had to relearn who I am as a person and what I truly value and care about in life.”

Feel free to add your voice to the mix here.

Keep in touch! Email meslide in my dmstweet me

The pandemic’s mental health effects are slowing — but less so in the South

A new report shows that while fewer Americans report experiencing certain mental illness symptoms, the rate of decrease in the South lags the rest of the nation. 

Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky saw the least amount of change from 2020 to 2021, the report shows.

Research experts say these numbers can be attributed to a lack of mental health resources in the respective states and communities. If you’re struggling, check out our list of tips for finding affordable mental healthcare.

Your Voice: I will live as if I’m not going to die

By Coretta Collins

What if I get it too? It is a recurring and nagging thought. I tend not to say it aloud, but it lingers in the back of my mind. Then I scold myself for thinking like this. What kind of thought is that to have when I spend my days encouraging and uplifting patients who are on their cancer journey? What kind of thing is that to say as a Jesus-loving Christian woman?

Yet, it is true. Mom’s cancer diagnosis blindsided us all. It knocked the wind out of me. When we found out the type, we were even more devastated and dismayed. Learning that it was metastatic (had spread from its original site to other parts of the body) and Stage IV was the total knockout. It was heartbreaking and confounding.

As a hematology (blood disease) and oncology (cancer) nurse practitioner, I understand that cancer does not care who it attacks. It is a villainous mutant maniac that can happen to anybody.  Nevertheless, I still wonder why and how this happened to mom because as far as risk factors and statistics go, mom did not meet many of them. Her cancer diagnosis changed our lives forever.

At the time of her diagnosis, I did not know anyone who had ever had this type of cancer. Ovarian cancer does not run in our family, at least it didn’t. Mom was the first to be diagnosed.

Ovarian cancer usually occurs in older women. Half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 and older. Mom was 47. The majority of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are White. Mom was Black. Infertility is a risk factor for ovarian cancer. Mom had three children.

Now there is the lingering question about talcum powder being the culprit. Mom was an avid Johnson & Johnson and Shower to Shower powder user, so I am inclined to believe that it played a role.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any of the gynecological cancers.

As far as statistics go, mom, unfortunately, falls in this category. She was only 48 years old when she died. To me, she had so much more life to live. She had sons to marry off, grandchildren to spoil, trips to take with my dad, kindergartners to nurture, church members to shepherd and so many family and friends to continue to love. Yet, she did not get the chance.

So, yes, I wonder, what if I get it too? What if it creeps in on me as some notion of heartburn or gas? If I die at 48, my sons will only be 18 and 16. My baby girl would only be 12. I will not have yet traveled to every tropical destination in the world with my husband. I may not have attained all my career and personal goals. Will I live to see my 49th birthday? Each year that I get closer to 48, I am thankful yet concerned.

Click here to read the rest.

The Junk Drawer

ICYMI

Lil Nas X covered Dolly Parton’s Jolene. That’s it. That’s what you missed.

That’s all I’ve got for today.

Abbey