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See more of Deya Direct’s videos and subscribe to her YouTube channel here.

In the recent light of suicides or attempted suicides by celebrities like actor Lee Thompson Young, music executive Chris Lighty, Soul Train pioneer Don Cornelius, NFL player Jovan Belcher, the multi-talented Fantasia (whose attempt was thankfully not successful), and the millions of other souls of regular people who suffer emotionally and silently, it depicts at least two things – that black people are not immune to emotional pain and that professional and financial success does not fulfill the soul.

Reviewing and covering these stories has prompted  me to revisit some of my own pain, trials and tribulations that took me to a low place—when I thought wrong for too long. Watch the video above.

Here’s what I know for sure: In a moment’s notice, life can change drastically. Issues like suicide, depression or thoughts of giving up in some way can affect everyone. My pastor used to say everyone gets depressed sometimes; you’re human, and that’s allowed. But the key is that you can’t stay in that dark place too long. Have your pity party, and after a few days, you need to get up. You may not feel like you’ve got it all together, but you certainly cannot keep functioning as if you don’t.

Have you ever thought about something too long, giving it too much power, to the point that it took you over, even against your better judgment? It sounds cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to the saying, “You think too long, you’ll think wrong.” I can almost guarantee you that when Fantasia was sitting in that closet taking those pills, a million thoughts went through her mind, including all of the wonderful things that she has going for herself. But she let the negative thoughts win. At that time, she felt like a victim, she was having a pity party, and she just wanted to escape from the pain.  I’m so glad that as reflected in the title of her new single she’s discovered that sometimes you’ve got to “Lose to Win”!

Many people who act out are really just crying out for help. You may see it as them trying to get attention, but on a deeper level, they are saying, “I’m hurting, and I need help.”

We have the power to fight for our own lives. Shape it into what we want it to be. Acknowledge the pain, yes. Get help to deal with it, yes. And then yes, actually deal with it!  How do you accomplish that?  One step at a time –literally and figuratively.

I, too, have crawled out from under a heavy rock that seemed insurmountable. And when I did, my motto became, “My circumstances do not determine my destiny, but my choices do.” I know fully that in life, the proverbial rocks will continue to be thrown at you and me, with the goal of taking us out. I offer this motto to you, if you need it:

Drama, sadness, mediocrity and pain are not your destiny;  you’ve already done that for too long.  It’s time to live fully and happily. We must declare and believe that we deserve happiness and joy as well. You have the power to create that joyful space for yourself. It’s a daily decision. Today is your day, walk into your happiness!

Deya “Direct” Smith is a lead producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and host of Girlfriend FM & Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews. She is also the best-selling author of Touch Yourself, 30 Ways to Live, Love and Let Go (! Deya is a life-style and inspirational speaker. See more of her videos and subscribe to Deya Direct’s YouTube channel here.