Out of the Darkness Comes Light

Elona Washington’s strength was intensely put to the test in 2013 when she learned that a good friend of hers had been tragically murdered. At a time when she needed the consolation of her husband more than ever before, he completely distanced himself by acting cruel, dismissive, and even pitting their son against her. To make matters worse, upon recovering from a nearly fatal aneurysm, Elona was diagnosed with severe depression.

“It’s ironic that it took an aneurysm to realize that I had been suffering from depression for a long time,” says Elona. “I sought out counseling to learn coping mechanisms and to gain a deeper understanding of the issues rooted within me.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Elona recommends seeking out the help of a counselor and also finding one activity – whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book, or hanging out with a friend – that helps put your mind at ease. For Elona, she has found that Zumba® classes are an effective tool to help her manage depression.

“The music is so fun and the class is so fast-paced,” says Elona. “When you’re paying attention to those aspects, there’s no time for your mind to wander. It’s my time to be free.” 

Elona accepts that depression will be something she will combat for the rest of her life, but is grateful to find solace in therapy and dance.

“Everybody has their own battle to fight in life,” says Elona. “Everybody’s journey is different. But I believe in always improving one’s self and in seeking out your own unique ways to find inner peace.”  

Elona Washington founded Project IANAH, which stands for I Am Not A Ho, and serves on the speaker’s bureau for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network). Through both avenues, she shares her story of child sexual abuse, inspiring victims to live as survivors.

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