Black Girl Lost Keys Visionary René Brooks is inspired by the stories of the women she is able to help. These women have overcome incredible pain and adversity. Their persistance in surviving and succeeding gives her strength and courage!
“I began Black Girl Lost Keys five years into my mental health journey. I was frustrated with my lack of results and I was looking for stories from black people who were living with ADHD. When I didn’t find anything, I decided to create the resource I needed. From there Black Girl Lost Keys was born, and has grown into a resource that is able to touch people all across the globe.”
René Brooks has taken a late-life diagnosis and used it to uplift others. After being diagnosed with ADHD 3 times, at 25 she was able to get the treatment she deserved. She is the founder of Black Girl, Lost Keys, a blog that empowers black women with ADHD and shows them how to live well with the disorder. René has contributed to ADDitude Magazine, Kaleidoscope Society, PBS’s Roadtrip Nation, ADHD Rollercoaster, See in ADHD, Mindfully ADD, and ADHD Rewired. ADDitude Magazine Recently named her one of “5 Women with ADHD Who Are Changing The Conversation”. In addition to Black Girl, Lost Keys, René is a Healthline Contributor and a Patient Contributor to TEVA Pharmaceutical’s Life Effects project, and she has spoken at Stronger Than My Struggles’ Crazy Like A Fox Event and The International Alliance Of Patients Organization’s 8th Annual Congress. This year she will be fetured speaker for the Crazy Like A Fox Tour, which has expanded to 4 American cities this summer.
Women and girls are in the fastest growing groups of ADHD. Just as in other areas of mental health, black people, and especially black women are underserved. Black Girl, Lost Keys is for black women with ADHD and the people who want to support them.
Prior to her transition to a full time mental health advocate, she worked behind in the scenes in healthcare insurance. That experience allowed her to understand the workings of mental health from the inside out. She majored in English at Penn State, and won many awards and recognitions for her writings. Growing up as the grandchild of entrepreneurs who owned a bar, restaurants, and real estate. René always knew one day she would enjoy running her own business, she just didn’t know how. Grateful that her experiences have prepared her to do what she does so well.
Now 4 years in business she notes the hardest parts, “The hardest part of running the brand is that I have had to do it alongside finding more creative ways to manage my ADHD. In fact, because of learning to run a brand, I have learned to manage my mental health better. So the first person that Black Girl, Lost Keys helped is really me.” I asked René what 3 things she felt every business owner should know,
“1. Don’t be scared of personal development – just as in life, there are different challenges the business is going to throw at you that you may not be prepared for on a personal level. Continuing your personal development will help you to be mentally prepared for the next stage, whatever it may be.
2. Start scared – nobody knows what they’re doing when they start. We all do the best we can, and when we know better we do better. Don’t wait to start until you’re “ready.” There will always be a new reason why you are NOT ready in your own estimation. Start scared, and you’ll shake that fear off as you go along.
3. Not everyone can come on your journey -You’re going to lose people, and it is going to hurt. I wish there was another way but there doesn’t seem to be one. Just be prepared for losses, and keep moving forward.”
Her business tips highlight that not everyone can come on your journey. It was important for me to know how she kept balance in other things life related, I asked,
What do you do to keep a healthy mental health?
I see a therapist routinely. I write. Helping other people restores my energy. I spend time with the people who are special to me. I have learaned to prioritize spending these precious moments with the people who mean the most to me.
What brings your peace?
Canceled plans and spontaneity. I love my life now, but I miss spontaneity.
How do you deal with challenges?
I vent about it, then I sit down and work out the solution.
How do you deal with grief?
Grief is one of those things I think nobody really deals with. We learn how to bear it. We grow around our grief, but it never leaves us.
What is your favorite part and worst part of what you do?
My favorite part is being the person who I needed when I began this journey, and learning new things from the people I help. The worst part is that I can’t figure out how to be more than one place at once.
Understanding growth in personal and business I asked Black Girls Lost Keys Visionary René what she would offer her 20 year old self as advice today, “You have so much more to learn about yourself. You have so much more to give than you can imagine. Your capacity for joy and pain are going to be stretched so much further than you know. But you’re going to do it so well.” Hindsight is everything, watching this extraordinary woman create her dream is a honor to watch!
Leading the way by speaking and educating others René is changing the narrative of ADHD. “Because of me, my friends and family are more well informed about ADHD than they ever expected to be. I don’t believe in people being this close to me and not learning SOMETHING that will help the next person they encounter with mental illness.”
In her spare time René confesses that she is a crafter! she can knit, crochet, cross stitch, embroider, etc. She loves to make things with her hands. Which is why its understandable when I asked her if she could have anything in the world what would it be and she replied
“Unlimited energy to get all of the things I want to complete done!”
Crazy Like A Fox! I was the original keynote speaker at the inaugural event, and I am delighted to be on the road with 30 incredible women who believe we can make a difference in the world of black mental health. I will be in all four cities as follows:
Atlanta, GA, Treehouse Studios Sat, May 25, 2019 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT
Charlotte, NC at The Revel Room Sun, Jun 9, 2019 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT
Philadelphia PA, Location 215 Sun, Jul 14, 2019 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT
You can find us by searching Black Girl Lost Keys from any social media, email us at BlackGirlLostKeys@gmail.com