Welcome to Behind Her Smile, my name is Ashley Forte and I am blogging out of Kansas City, Missouri! I am a 26 year old mom, Behavior Interventionist, and a Cheer Coach. Mental health awareness and advocacy are my biggest passions and something I love to research and digest in my spare time. I am constantly learning how I can live my life according to Gods word and live out his plan He has for me. I love to shop, mainly online, read my favorite blogs and watch movies with zero interruptions!
Writing has always been therapeutic to me. Actually, my earliest memories of me writing are from around 2nd grade, I still have a few of my first “diaries”, in which most of the memories are somber and grave. But, if you ask anyone who knew me as a child they would say the polar opposite—I was always the life of the party, smiling and one of the most positive people they would want to be around. Dark thoughts plagued me from the time I woke up until the time I closed my eyes. Depression in children will sometimes be overlooked and seen as defiant or disruptive behaviors. My childhood depression interfered with school work, which is still a trigger for me, and maintaining positive relationships with my family.
Luckily, I have parents who recognized signs early on and got me the help I needed and deserved. That does not mean my elementary years to the present weren’t full of trials, tribulations, suicide thoughts and an attempt. It means I have lived and learned about myself, which has subconsciously brought me to my purpose. My purpose as a person and blogger is to motivate you, inspire you, and share what has helped me these last 18 years. Mental health is essential to your overall well-being and it is my job to help you reach your healthiest you while feeling at home. I am the voice for those who are ready to win their race against mental illness.
There is no need to be embarrassed, ashamed or weak. I am the daughter of one of the most high profile men in my area. My father is Darryl Forte, KCPD Retired Police Chief. He was a Police Officer from before I was born until May 2017. I mention that because a lot of my actions I would have to watch due to his position. During my junior year of college, I went months without medicine, therapy and anything else I needed to be mentally healthy. I didn’t say anything to anyone due to his position being so prominent in our community that I didn’t want to “embarrass” him if I checked myself into a hospital. After class one day I jumped in my car and drove myself home and asked my parents to take me to the psychiatric hospital not too far from our house. I let them know that I hadn’t felt like “myself” in a long time but didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want anyone knowing who my dad was once I got in the hospital. My sigh of relief came when my dad told me he was proud of me for recognizing when I needed help and that he would never be embarrassed of me. I mention this story because getting help and knowing you need help is the strongest thing you can do. Our minds can become ill and can be just as debilitating as a physical condition. 1 in 4 people will be affected by mental illness at some point in their life and if you’re the 1 then you are not alone and will never be alone.
Throughout the series of my posts I will be sharing my personal testimony and what has aided in my healing and recovery from my lows. You will get fresh new posts at least once a week! Each week will be something different including topics like: The importance of positive self talk, how to win over depressing thoughts, how can we change the way mental health is viewed, and why writing is good for your health. Those are a handful of topics I will delve into, but I also want to hear from you! What are you interested in? What is something you would love for me to write about? I’m all ears 🙂
I hope you laugh with me, cry with me and ultimately find your way to a happier and healthier you!
You can use the contact page to leave me a message or to schedule a speaking engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment under the post 🙂 I can’t wait to go on this journey with you all!
Be the author of your own story.