Mother of Two Turns Trauma into Inspiration for Entire Community

Life can be traumatic, even for an experienced behavioral health life coach like tuned in parent Kelly. Her story inspires others to acknowledge, manage, and triumph over pain.

Tuned In Parents - Kelly Renee JenkinsMeet tuned in parent Kelly R. Sedgwick. She is a wife, mother of two, niece of Bishop T. D. Jakes, and founder of Kry Out, Inc., a new nonprofit behavioral health organization designed to help its members overcome loss and pain through personal social services, education, artistic expression, community support, and empowerment.

Kelly has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and approximately 20 years working to help those coping with crisis. However, her heart for helping others doesn’t lie in her qualifications alone, but rather in her ability to identify with the struggle. “I still have my own scars and hardships to manage that I am responsible for tending to, just like my client base,” she says.

Kelly believes that sharing your story is an essential step in the healing process, and we’re honored to interview her, share her story, and help others and her nonprofit Kry Out, Inc. by spreading the word. At the end, Kelly shares valuable tips for parents coping with trauma and/or mental illness — a must-read, must-share.

TIP: What inspired you to create Kry Out, Inc.?

Kelly: I was going through a divorce, the recurring illness of my mother, raising two kids alone, and trying to manage my own health . . . when the arts came alive for me once again.

My children and I lived in a brownstone in Downtown Dallas, Texas where artists of every kind lived and worked. Our senses were engaged, and we participated in all the artistic forms around. Although I had church and knew of clinical principals and even worked in them, it was through the arts that I found a sense of liveliness, hope, and processing and was able to connect with and get through the deep pains while staying rooted in my faith and knowledgeable in my clinical background.

I wanted to share this with everyone in pain. This was the genesis of Kry Out.

“So essential when life presents itself with challenges that are sometimes traumatic and places us in a position where we feel like we can’t go on that there is some situation, organization, person to provide an environment to catch us, to cocoon us, to give us an opportunity to heal. Kry Out is that situation.” ~ Akin Babatunde, Kry Out, Inc. Board Member

TiP: What can you tell us about Kry Out that’s not online?

Tuned In Parents - Kelly Renee Jenkins feature, Kry Out coping tip, photo by Tom Marvel, Creative Commons

Kelly: The people I encounter regarding matters below the surface volunteer and support Kry Out because they believe in the work, the process, and the help I have been blessed to provide. To “Kry Out” (or cry out) is a step many cultures grappling with survival leave out.

You can heal, move on, and get over things, but not until your story is told and your cry is heard and validated will the process of healing begin.

TiP: You’re a behavioral health life coach, and we talk about loss and mental illness and how it affects parents on TiP; what is your experience with parenting with mental illness?

Kelly: I know the topic of parenting with mental illness both professionally and personally. My mother experienced brain damage after a craniotomy because of a malformation in her brain’s arteries. From my childhood experience and other layers of experiences, I suffered major depression and anxiety while parenting my first born.

Parenting with #MentalIllness: From the perspective of the child, parent, and counselor. Click To Tweet

Parents’ intentions to raise their children well can be sabotaged by mental illness, and, if not sabotaged completely, the back and forth swings from a healthy moment to a not-so-healthy moment can be overwhelmingly confusing to the child and, if aware, frustrating to the parents.
Also, between genetic predisposition and environmental patterns, sometimes the children being parented are infected and not just affected by mental illness. So, instead of one line of communication being distorted, now it’s multiple.

Parenting with mental illness should be a non-stigmatizing and prevalent conversation that happens between the parents and children and the community of support for each family.

The cycles that exist must be vocalized where the people involved are validated and the experience has a clearly referenced report between all parties involved. This reporting within the circle is not to shame, but rather to understand the triggers, the mechanisms, and symptoms, and get a handle on the root cause. Then denial is eradicated, and a plan of action and support can be constructed and set in place.

Tuned In Parents - father and child with strong emotional bond

TiP: If you could offer three tips for parents coping with trauma and/or mental illness, what would they be?

Kelly:

    1. Love makes us bigger than the disease and loss we experience. Remember love. Keep loving. Love is the greatest cure of all.
    2. Don’t be ashamed to reach out and build structures of support for yourself and your family. Needing and finding help is not a weakness, it’s preparedness!
    3. Take extra time and specific methods for your own self care. It will help you be a better parent when you put the oxygen on yourself first.

Kry Out, Inc. logo

If you can relate to Kelly’s story, know someone who would, and/or found her tips helpful, please share this. By doing so, you not only give hope to others on their journey to healing, but sharing on social media is the easiest way to donate to Kelly’s behavioral health nonprofit Kry Out, Inc. To get more involved, please visit the Kry Out, Inc. website. And for tele counseling with Kelly, please connect with her at Inner Wellness International.

To share your story on Tuned In Parents, too, please reach out; we’re here to support you.

About Elle C. Mayberry

Elle C. Mayberry is a mom and author, who just released a new children’s book with her young daughter. With a passion for parenting and degrees in psychology and “make it workology,” she created Tuned In Parents (TiP).

5 comments on “Mother of Two Turns Trauma into Inspiration for Entire Community

  1. I myself know Kelly as a counselor and have heard her share some of the points in the article. Reading it and hearing it again brings more reassurance for myself as a parent dealing with depression and the struggle of mental illness. Thank you for sharing again Kelly.

    • Thank you for sharing, Natasha. You reaching out brings hope to other parents who share in your struggle.

  2. It’s hard to put into words how much it helps to read about others that know the struggle too. And to turn it into something positive while still coping, it’s more inspiring than you know. Thank you Kelly. Thank you Elle and TIP.

    • I appreciate you saying so, Toronto SAHD. Every time parents share their stories and others reach out, something positive and powerful happens. It’s a wonderful dynamic. ~Elle C.

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