Welcome to The Big Silence!
Welcome to The Big Silence where we plan to make a lot of noise about ending the stigma surrounding mental health.
Before sharing all the exciting aspects of this new venture, I want to first reintroduce myself. I am Karena Dawn, and since 2009, I have been bringing ways for all to have physical and mindful movement through Tone It Up.
With The Big Silence, this is a platform that will be all about strengthening our minds even more and being a safe space for all of us who are or know someone struggling with a mental health condition.
For much of my life, there has always been such a stigma around openly discussing mental health issues, also known as the big silence or ‘the big hush’. Growing up with a mother who was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, my childhood was filled with traumatic experiences that resulted in repressed emotions, guilt, shame, depression and a suicide attempt in my early teens. I’m so grateful I’m still here and now want to be that support system I never had as a kid. I have learned that being an open book can be as therapeutic for others as it is for myself so I promise not to hold back with The Big Silence.
Though my mother Linda Joy Tompkins is no longer living as of September 2021, I dedicate The Big Silence to her. And for as much heartache and pain my family and I experienced, there are also fond memories. Through this charitable organization and platform, I want to make her proud and pull the joy from her name and bring it to all of you. I can’t promise that there won’t be tears, but in keeping her spirit alive and making sure others don’t have to suffer in silence like her, there will also be plenty of laughter.
A Safe Space for All of Us
This space is to inspire, encourage and build a community so no one needs to go through what I did as a child trying to learn about my mom’s diagnosis. I will never forget the hours spent in the library trying to find books to educate myself. The more I read, the more alone I felt, which in turn made me go to a very dark place. I didn’t have anyone I could talk to. As an adult, I found NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and I am now on their board of advisors and am in awe of what they do every day.The Big Silence will be everything from a resource center to your new confidante you can rely on and openly share your experiences.
The podcast I will be hosting will feature in-depth conversations with public figures, psychologists, spiritual leaders, wellness experts and anyone willing to share their stories in order to inspire others to do the same. We plan to cover a wide range of topics from addiction, trauma and PTSD, integrating mindfulness, coping with anxiety and depression, nutrition, physical, wellness and self-care and caring for loved ones with a mental health condition.
Let's Heal and Grow Together
The other component of The Big Silence I’m excited to share is meditation. In fact, The Big Silence also refers to that instant while meditating where the silence and the healing come together for your aha moment. It really can transform a person and can do wonders for mind, body and soul. I found meditation at the age of 14 and remember how calm it made me feel. I later returned to it when I started doing triathlons, and now it is a part of my daily routine. I even incorporated meditation in my Tone Body Toned Mind program in the Tone It Up app launching in January 2022. Make sure to join me for this 4 week meditation and yoga transformation.
After all, that is the whole point of creating The Big Silence. I cannot wait to hear from you about your own experiences and learn what you want us to talk about –the highs, lows and the in-between. No topic is taboo or off limits here at TBS. The more we talk about mental health and all that comes with it, the more we come together.
The world really is a beautiful place but with so much trauma. Let’s heal and grow together, sharing each other’s stories one at a time.
I look forward to hearing from all of you. Now, who’s ready to get loud!