mental health

UNDERSTANDING SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasonal changes. It is rarely talked about and quite common in the United States effecting around 3 million people per year. I think it is an important time to discuss what Seasonal Affective Disorder looks like and how you can take steps to improve your mood. So is Seasonal Affective Disorder just a milder version of major depression? Shockingly, the answer is no. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be described as a sub-type of major depression. Researchers have speculated that SAD could be brought on by the reduction in sunlight during the winter months. Your serotonin levels are thought to drop due to your biological clock being thrown out of wack which in turn leads to depression.Typically those with a...

CONFESSION: I DON’T LIKE MY THERAPIST, WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?

Imagine you’ve just moved into your first college dorm. You don’t recognize a single soul—no one from your high school graduating class is here to soften the blow of moving to a new place. You’re completely on your own. Instead of sitting in your dorm room all by yourself, you decide to wander around campus and see if you can meet some new people. Wouldn’t hurt, right? As soon as you close the door behind you and walk down the hall, someone approaches you. They introduce themselves and invite you into their dorm room to play video games. To be honest, you’ve never really been into video games, but you decide to accept the invitation, anyway. They seem nice enough, you think to yourself. “I’ve never really played video games before,” you confess to this new acquaintance of yours. “No proble...

ANXIETY DURING THE HOLIDAYS: TAKING BACK THE FUN

With the holidays approaching, many of us should be looking forward to spending time with family and friends. However, for some of us – due to anxiety – we find ourselves more burdened with fear rather than filled with excitement. For several years now, I have been struggling with severe anxiety. While I have been making a great deal of progress with dealing with my anxiety, there are still times when I find myself struggling, and I definitely know what it is like to be both excited for the holidays, and at the same time, extremely fearful. For while many of my fears are irrational, I think anyone who suffers from anxiety knows how scared trembling legs and shallow breathing can make us feel. This is why, I’ve decided to share with you some tips I find helpful in making sure yo...

EMPTY SPACES

Every night as I sleep alone in my bed, I find myself always facing the left. According to my sleeping position, the wall comes to my right, but I’ll either be facing the ceiling or sleep on my side, facing the left. “But why?” I wondered. When I sleep facing my left, I can see my tiny room entirely, like a panorama view in a camera. Now my bed happens to be in one corner, my room door diagonal to it. This door faces the sides of my cupboards and mirror. Thus, when I sleep facing my left, I am directly facing the intersection of the upside down ‘L’ that the cupboards and the door form together, across two walls of my room. Doors are creepy. A barrier, to stop someone from entering your space, or a pathway for someone to do exactly that. Like they’d show in movies, saving the protagonist an...

WHO DO YOU THINK U R

who do u think u r  i wish i could go one single day where every time i had something to say i didn’t start with a stop to think “well what do they want me to say” what words, what joke would it take to convince anyone to give me an extra second of their time of their lives even just have them pretend they give one shit about me as a human.  i wish i could go one single morning without waking up completely choking – on the fear i’ll never be what i want them to see – suffocating before i have the breath to say anything from the weight i’ve created that’s dragging me down as i try to jump to these standards i can’t even see from the ground Thin, Smart, Successful, Thin, Liked, Loved, Unforgettable, Thin, Beautiful, Strong, Independent, Thin. who’s even behind all of ...

PRACTICE KINDNESS. YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WILL THANK YOU.

We Pour and Pour Take a moment to think about the most recent kind thing you did. Perhaps it was for a friend, a co-worker or a stranger passing by. Showing random acts of kindness is quite the trend in our current society; stories of pure human compassion pop up on our news feed to remind us that, yes, there is kindness in the world, and yes, it’s worth fighting for. These acts, big or small, can have an immensely positive impact on our surroundings. But when was the last time you showed kindness to yourself? We often hesitate to focus solely on ourselves. It feels selfish. For so many of us, it’s easier to give. But continuing to give without taking time for yourself can do more harm than good, especially to your mental health. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” ri...

BOSOM BUDDIES

My anxiety and I are best buds.   She holds me tight when the night sets in, wrapping me in her arms.   The questions start to swirl in the darkness; I wonder  Am I dying? What is this bump? I can feel my heart beating; I must be having a heart attack.  Stop, breathe; be quiet!    My anxiety and I are best buds.  She and I walk hand in hand into a room wondering if anyone would like us  She whispers in my ear, ‘They are gonna notice, because they always notice.’  Stop. Breathe; be quiet!   Smile and nod; you’ve got this, right?    My anxiety and I are best buds.  Am I going to be late? Is this dress appropriate? What would they think of me?  Oh no, I said something stupid and now it is on playing over and over in my head.   She whispers, ‘They noticed, because they always notice. Maybe you...

RELEASING THE SECRETS

Secrets eat away at the very essence of a person. They devour you from the inside out, leaving just a hollow shell. I don’t know why today was the day I chose to finally break my silence about a secret that’s been eating away at me for over two years. Maybe it was all of the current media. Maybe it was all the brave women coming forward with their stories. I will never know. I don’t feel brave. I feel raw and numb after my confession of what happened to me, but I also feel a small glimmer of relief that I hope will blossom into healing. When I wrote my memoir, I wanted to give the reader a happy ending. I wanted them to feel at peace with the emotional roller coaster ride I had just taken them on—but it is a true story, so obviously my story didn’t end there. So her...

UN/ABLE

Light shines through wooden shutters covering our back door. A little pocket of bright sunshine casts shadows on the floor, making patterns and rows on the carpet. Outside the breeze rustles the branches and shakes the leaves. The air is warm and ever-changing. Fluid. The light dances through. Soft tawny fur covers my shirt and blanket, but the heat from a sweet dog warms my hands as I rub his belly. He’s heavy, comforting and doesn’t move unless I do. The house isn’t silent. I hear cars and trucks moving outside on the road. A fan is on overhead. The air conditioning is running in the other room, but all is calm. All is well. I sit just like this for days on end. Unable. Unable to get up. Unable to start the day. Unable to move. Why can’t I just move? Heaviness weighs me down. Deeply root...

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: DEPRESSION IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY

“You’re just having a bad day.”  This was only one of the responses I got when I tried to open up about my depression. For so long I had kept it hidden, but finally, I was ready to talk about it.  During my freshman year of college, I started to feel these sad, negative feelings. There were days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, days where I felt like I had no purpose. I didn’t like these feelings and as much as I tried to suppress them, they only got worse. At the time, I was in a not-so-great relationship, constantly arguing with my roommate, and school started to feel like an unpaid chore. Yet, I still asked myself, “What do you have to be sad about?” Unfortunately, that’s how depression works. It makes you feel bad that you’re having these feelings in the first place.  Because of ...

HOW NOT TO SAVE A LIFE

Today I saw another one of those social media that purports to offer alternatives to self-harm. This time the post also claimed that sharing this information would save lives. I’m just going to be completely honest, this bull isn’t saving any lives. These are not credible alternatives to self-harm. They will not stop an ill person from hurting themselves. They don’t solve the problem of why a person might feel the need to hurt themselves; they don’t even address it. In fact, in some cases they reaffirm the idea that hurting yourself is a good coping mechanism (just so long as you do it in a socially acceptable manner). I’ve talked and written about why these suggestions are insulting until i’m blue in the face. I see others giving excellent arguments against such advice, and yet this sort ...

ANXIETY, YOU TOO?

Who’s going to be there? What time is the event? Is that person talking about me? I wonder if he’s okay? What if something happens and someone can’t get ahold of me? What if I get in a car accident? What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if someone knocks on the door and I don’t hear it? Am I wearing the right thing? Did I forget to turn the curling iron off this morning? Did I check? Did I double check? I am not doing enough. I should be doing more right? Losing control. It’s a persons worst fear. At least it’s mine. Situations we can’t control. It’s always there – the worry – the stress. I can feel it hitting my shoulders like Tetris blocks. One worry after another until I crumble underneath it all. The funny part is –...

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