How We Used to Love | Nine

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I’m at a loss of words. I know the other day I just posted on here, so I’ll keep this to a minimum. But I wanted to say something, though I don’t know what that something is. I guess to say… I’m tired. I’m tired of mental illnesses. Not just the ones affecting me, but other people as well. I’m tired of hearing about the sad lives that people lead and the daily struggles they face. But most of all… I’m tired of hearing about suicides.

When I was younger and ignorant I didn’t believe in suicide. I thought it was a sign of  weakness and a poignant sign of a true unbeliever (not just in God, but in life). I didn’t understand how people would want to end their life or simply not want to live anymore. Well, now I am older and wiser (at least that’s what I’d like to think) and now I understand how real and tragic it is. It is not weakness; it is the last shrill cry for help without an answer.

So that’s why when I heard the news that a girl I knew took her life on this past Friday, I was shocked and devastated. While I never knew her that closely and we had an interesting past, how heartbreaking it was that this beautiful girl, who was always smiling and thinking of others, would be so lost and alone that the only way she saw out was through ending her life.

I think it’s a natural reaction to suicide to not only think and dwell on the individual, but also ourselves. The question that always goes over and over in my head, especially if it’s the death of someone I knew, is what could I have done. Now I know we can’t blame ourselves entirely, because at the end it is their decision that rips them from this world to another; but a lot of the time it is because they were alone, because they were lost, because they were rejected, that they did it.

So as we dwell on that question, what could I have done, I propose that we change it to, what can I do? I’ve written about this before, how we are not as helpless as we think we are. Preventing suicide is not a difficult task. It’s the simple matter of being there for others, loving them and supporting them, even when it’s not easy or convenient for us.

It is not easy to love someone who is constantly paranoid (General Anxiety Disorder), who is sad or tired all the time (Clinical Depression), who is too nervous to go anywhere or do anything (Social Anxiety and/or Panic Disorder), who is always having trouble focusing (ADHD), who is a constant victim of flashbacks and triggers (PTSD), who switches from being on a encouraging high to a tragic low (Bi-Polar Disorder), or who has to have things just a certain way (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). No, it’s not easy. But what may not seem easy for us, may seem like a walk in a park compared to what it is like to live with those issues everyday.

So, make that small sacrifice. Be a friend to listen to their struggles. Be the rock that grounds them on difficult days. Be the person who is not there to judge or criticize, but to love and support. Just the simple task of showing concern for them could be the only thing keeping them from deciding to choose life or death.

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It is a lonely world inside your head, especially if it’s your brain that’s killing you. But you don’t have to be alone, because you aren’t alone. There are other people who deal with this just the way you do and know what you are going through. There are selfless, caring people who will support you through this struggle and you don’t have to feel lost or alone.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Suicide Prevention Line

Supporting Those With Mental Illnesses

Five Thinks to Do (and Not Do To) Support Someone With Depression 

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow | Eight

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To be honest, I’ve written at least five drafts of “eight”. There is so much to say and I guess I have no idea where to start. I’m at this surreal place in my life, where after the storm, after all the nightmares and bad days, I’m actually in a good place. And it’s so wonderful that I’m at a loss of words.

When you’re sick or something is going wrong in your life, most people will talk about “the light at the end of the tunnel”. But the thing is, depression is essentially the big semi truck that blocks that light and makes it impossible to see. Anxiety is the knowledge that it should be there, but somehow isn’t.

Recently a youtuber who I watched back in high school, posted a video after years of silence. It was about her struggle with depression and how it has affected her life in the past years. So much I could relate to, how depression closes out your heart and head to your true feelings and makes you this person who you really aren’t. But I think the point that hit most to home, was how she talked about how negative the world is. Now she is aiming for a more positive life.

Examining my personal life, I know I’m working towards a better life. It won’t be perfect, but maybe I will at least be happy. Looking back, I was at a place where there was no beginning or end. Just this paradox where nothing moved and it was horrible. I don’t want to live my life like that. I don’t want to be hoping for an impossible future or dwell on the mistakes of the past. Just think about how things can work for me today.

There is an awful lot that we can’t control. How does depression or anxiety even begin? How does it end? But maybe if we stop focusing so much on the “perfect” future or the horrible past, maybe that will help us take one step at a time. This year has already been difficult for me. I can honestly say I have tried and tried, I have given my best and nothing has shown for my actions yet. But in spite of this, I am determined to believe that something good is coming. I just have to be patient and work on making today a good day.

Stay As Sweet As You Are | Seven

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I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of changing for someone. What motivates you to finally do it, and what keeps you maintaining that change. I think in life we hate the word change, so much so we associate anything with it as a negative thing. But is it really? Is all change bad? And if we do consent to change for someone, where do we draw the line?Is there a point where it becomes too much and is too demanding?

Growing up with my parents, I see them both adjust slightly to please the other person. My mom would try to have more patience, my father would try to clean up more, and together they seemed to create this music of making small accommodations to create harmony.

It is interesting though, how all our lives we are told not to change for anyone. It’s the typical theme in most motivating lectures given to us by our mothers or fathers. No relationship is worth changing yourself for. So I find it a little peculiar how when we are close to someone, we are urged to change for them. Whether it’s the pet peeves… I wish you wouldn’t chew so loudly, the personality traits… why do you always role your eyes when I criticize you, or something really serious… you need to not have a job that overpowers mine. 

Now I’m not saying change is bad. I actually think encouraging change in your partner can be a really good thing. Sometimes the change we demand, isn’t so much the dreaded change, but improvement. I’ll admit it, I have bad habits. I swear when I get mad, I procrastinate deep cleaning, and I start movies but rarely finish them. Someday I may have a partner in life who will inspire me to quit those bad habits. But something I’ve been thinking about is how we need to be more clear about what is and what isn’t a good level of change. Because honestly, there are a lot of relationships that are broken because of that problem.

Million Years Ago | Six

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I have this nasty habit of about once every couple of weeks I have one day, one godawful day; where I am haunted by memories. I would use the word nostalgia to describe the feeling, but that isn’t an accurate description. Nostalgia makes it sound like a positive experience and that is not the experience at all. This feeling makes me on the brink of tears.

It’s not necessarily something horrible or life ruining, but it always makes me over think everything, which is not always a good thing. Today, is one of those days. So I thought I would share with you a sample of what’s going on inside my head.

Why have so many relationships fizzled out into nothingness? Why have I not moved on from my problems? Why does it hurt so much to think of someone I almost forgot? What is this feeling, is it something natural? Why do I regret so many things? Why don’t I feel accomplished, though I do have some achievements? Why am I still alone.

It’s one of the most fascinating mysteries, at least to me, what your mind allows you to forget and what to always remember. Today, I am haunted by memories.

A Hopeful Transmission | Five

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One of my favorite movies, Lost in Translation is about two characters who find themselves in a strange city, dealing with depression. I watched this movie for the first time my freshmen fall semester and I remember feeling exactly what the girl, Charlotte, was feeling.

We make a lot of choices in this world that affect our future and our lives, but then again, a great chunk of our life is the way it is, not because of a choice. I’m going to community college and that certainly wasn’t a choice I made. Ever since high school I’ve dreamed about moving out of state to a college and town that I really truly loved. Yet here I am.

Charlotte in the movie, is in Tokyo because of her husbands job. After she goes and visits a temple, she calls up a friend of hers crying saying,

 I went to this temple and all these monks were chanting and I didn’t feel anything. John’s been using these hair products and I don’t know who I married anymore.

While I don’t have a husband and I haven’t experienced a temple with monks chanting, the thing that gets Charlotte emotional- I do understand. It is the terrible feeling of nothing at all. Not feeling anger, sadness, or frustration. The feeling of being lost in your life and having nothing inside. No sense of self. It’s painfully, relatable. At least for me at this time.

Summertime always infects me with wanderlust. I want to go places, see things, meet people. But the reality is I’m stuck here, at least in this part of my life. But something I forget, which my best friend reminded me of recently; sometimes even if you do travel to escape depression, you only find yourself depressed in different places. Which is the problem Bob and Charlotte have (the main characters of Lost in Translation). 

Something about the movie that has always stuck out to me, is the ending. The fact that it’s not a super duper sunshine and unicorns ending. It’s actually very straight forth and honest ending that sometimes, life doesn’t just fix itself. We get sad, we get anxious, we get happy, we get depressed… and life goes on. We must go on. No matter where we are.

 

Take Care | Four

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This part in the year marks an end, or an almost end. Graduations, end of semesters, last day of classes, we all experience at least one of these. This year and this month of May marks the end of my fourth semester in college.

In one of my all time favorite books “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell, one of the characters talks about how college semesters are kind of like dog years. Each one is only a brief amount of time and yet it feels like a year has passed because so much happens. And it’s true. Instead of saying in conversations “oh last year,” I find myself saying “remember, last semester?” So much happens in such a small time that at the end, you feel like a new person.

Looking back especially to the beginning of college, it’s like looking at a completely different person. The people I spent my time with, who I was in love with, my goals for life, even down to my own happiness; it’s all different. But difference isn’t a bad thing.

I look back at myself and see a young girl with innocent hope for the future. Not really confident in who she was, but was desperate for love and attention. A young girl who just wanted the stereotypical college experience.

And here I am now. If I was asked to describe myself in a complete 100% way, this is what I’d say…

I’m weak, I’ll be the first to admit it. The last four semesters and the time in between have really taken a tole on me; physically, emotionally, and mentally. I’m not innocent anymore. I know things I wish I didn’t, I’ve learned things in the worst way. I pick the people in my circles more carefully than I ever have in my life. I’ve been burnt too many times now and I’m trying to prevent it from happening again. I’ve lost a part of myself. The part that has empty hope and wishful thoughts. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing though. I hope that what’s replaced that is realism, with a touch of a feeling I don’t know how to describe. I think it’s an unspoken acceptance of whatever comes.

If I would say that I did something wrong in the past, it’s not believing that bad things happen in the future. I would paint this perfect future and then end up completely shattered when it didn’t happen. Now I look to the future for something good, but also excepting that bad things happen. It’s a part of life.

So goodbye to my fourth semester. Take care of everything for me.

One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) | Three

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Some days are good days. Then there are days like today. Where it feels like everything is broken and nothing can be fixed. You know that old saying “don’t fix what isn’t broken”- well if there’s a proper feeling of being broken, that’s where I’m at right now. And no one if offering to fix anything.

It’s one of the most shameful things in our society I think. The fact that we mourn deaths of people who have died from suicide and depression, yet when people say they are depressed, we reply with “nah, you’re just overreacting.” How can we ever hope to put all these tragic deaths of people of all ages to an end, when we won’t even give them the simple courteously of believing that what they’re going through is real.

When you’re bleeding, someone doesn’t come up to you and say “you must just be imagining this, everything is really okay.” Yet numerous people, myself included, when we mention anything related to stress, anxiety, and depression, a response is given saying “yeah, well the world is crappy- so just deal with it.” What kind of sense is that?

So, we mourn the deaths of people who have fallen. Robin Williams. Marilyn Monroe. Kurt Cobain. And so many others who only in death, get the proper support for depression.

I’m not saying it’s easy. With the way we talk so passively about mental illness –  oh, that’s so depressing, or you gave me a panic attack! – it’s hard to truly understand what depression is and whether or not you have it. But let me say this.

Feeling empty inside is not natural. Feeling no motivation to do anything is not natural. Loosing sleep is not natural. Having panic attacks are not natural. Wanting to kill yourself and/or die is not natural. Wanting to simply not live, because of the extreme weight you feel everyday is not natural.

So no matter what anyone says, this isn’t their disorder or illness it’s yours. It’s your life. And if you’re someone who hasn’t struggled with this, but know someone who has then, be a decent human being and give them some fucking support for what they’re going through. Don’t ask them to explain themselves or their illness. Love them, help them, and be there for them.