The War of Women vs Men- Part Two

Modern Problems, Women Empowerment

Men shame women for selling nude photos of themselves when those same men are the ones who created the market by begging for them. They shame women for being sex workers when, again, they are the ones who pay for sex. Men call us ‘whores’ for using their disgusting need to sexualize us to our advantage and make an income from it.

Women often carry their feminism in their pockets like a concealed weapon because they’re too afraid to openly use it. The number of women who have been beaten or, God forbid, murdered for turning down a man who was persuing them is disappointing. Men are predisposed to violence, so they see no harm in doing violent things- i.e. rape, abuse, murder. In their minds, that’s how they’re supposed to act, and they’re not “supposed to” show remorse (emotion) lest they’re called weak. Ninety-six percent of serial killers are men, and women are their usual targets- particularly sex workers. Rejection violence is becoming a bigger issue as more and more men refuse to acknowledge ‘no’ as an acceptable answer when they persue a woman. Men are meant to be protective of us, yet they kill us simply for doing something they do not approve of.

It is high time that we, as women, no longer acknowledge ‘men cannot control themselves’ as an acceptable answer to why we’re a treated with so little respect. Men have the ability to control themselves, that is, IF they wanted to. They are quite capable of taking no as an answer without it resulting in violence. They are quite capable of standing up for women when they see another man persistently persuing them after they have repeatedly told them no. They are quite capable of controlling themselves so women do not feel the need to carry a taser with them every time they go out alone in public. Honestly, it is appalling that society has made rape, rejection violence, and domestic violence seem normal. Is that really a world that you want your daughters, sisters, nieces, and cousins to grow up in? 

Recognizing and Understanding Rape Culture

Women Empowerment

Sex takes the consent of two

if one person is lying there not doing anything

cause they’re not ready

or not in the mood

or simply don’t want to

yet the other is having sex

with their body it’s not love

it is rape.

– Rupi Kaur

Rape culture, as it is perceived, is not just the act itself. No, it is the catcalls, it is the ass grabbing, it is the “why do you look so mean? Smile, girl!” to the cashier at the gas station you recently stopped by. It is the idea inside of a mans head that women are mere objects and should be treated as such. It’s the insistent buzzing of a mans brain when he sees a woman and has the urge to call out to her. It is the thoughts that run through a mans head when he sees a pretty woman alone pumping gas and can’t resist speaking to her. It is a woman walking passed a group of guys, terrified and clutching her keys in her fist, and feeling their eyes follow her. It is the prying eyes and whistling. Rape culture is normalizing the association of sex with violence. It is telling a woman she’s lying about sexual assault because “men can get a little rough sometimes.” It is the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ being manipulated into an excuse for rape. It is telling a woman her assault was, in fact, her fault because the clothes she had on were “too revealing.” Rape culture is your rape jokes, threats, unwanted nude photos, and the fact that men are constantly sexualizing women being considered “locker room talk.” It is minimizing the seriousness of rape, any form of sexual violence, and sexual harassment. It is not educating your children on consent the same time you educate them about sex. Rape culture is some adults claiming pedophilia to be a ‘sexual orientation.’ It is those same people trying to use transgenders to justify it, those same people screaming, “if they can believe they’re a different gender then I can believe I’m a different age.” Rape culture is the targeting of women, teens, and children for sex trafficking. It is the prejudice that women are by no means equal to men. It is a woman having to say, “I have a boyfriend” (even when she doesn’t) just to get a man to leave her alone because they respect other men more than they respect her ‘no.’ It is the idea in some people’s heads that they have the right to take what they want whenever they want it and that that’s okay. It is women never going anywhere alone, not even the bathroom, out of fear. It is constantly calling women ‘sluts’ for liking sex just to be able to say they were “asking for it” when they’re assaulted. Rape culture is the world normalizing all of these things.

Men shame women for having a lot of consensual sex more than they shame other men for rape.

The War of Women vs Men

Women Empowerment

Women are encourage to call out the men who abuse and/or sexually assault them by a corrupt society showing false displays of support. But, when the abuser is named as a friend, boyfriend, dad, or brother, the same people encouraging them would now rather call them liars than face the simple truth that not everyone is as good as you think they are. In the war of women against men the women are now turning on each other and giving an even greater advantage to the opposing side. Why are women so mean and quick to judge other women when they know just how difficult it is to be a woman? Why do women continuously choose men over their sisters when it’s the men who are trying to silence them? Women are so easily turned against each other- this needs to change; the world already sides with men, other women should not fit into that category as well. In unity there is strength, but there is no unity here. When a man cheats on his spouse she is quick to blame the mistress because she knows that so many women are eager to betray their sisters- both things must stop. Some women expect to be treated as equals to men but do nothing except degrade fellow women, and that is the equivalent to pouring gasoline on an already raging wildfire; more women need to realize that. We seek the acceptance of men who do nothing but physically and emotionally abuse us, men who take what they want when they want it and think that it’s okay, men who view us only as something to satisfy them… when will we seek the acceptance of other women?

“Feminism is the radical idea that women’s safety is more important than men’s feelings.”

These days it’s hard to find a man who respects us and reciprocates the love and care we give to them. It’s sad, really; you’d think they would realize that, aside from God, we’re the only reason they exist. We provide a place for them to grow inside of us, we carry them for 9 agonizing months, we birth them, we raise them, and yet their ungratefulness prevails over everything else. They expect us to cook, clean, and carry/raise their children to grow up just like them, but they never fail to show us just how little they care for us. The only thing we need from men is their sperm for reproduction while they need us for everything. They don’t understand what we go through for them, what we sacrifice. The only people who do understand are other women and they’re too busy trying to please their boyfriends/husbands to notice when their own people are struggling and, in that way, we are just as bad as the men. Many of us show no respect towards each other, so how do we expect men to show respect towards us? Too many times women are forced into submission by fear of men; some have been corrupted into turning other girls over to sex trafficking just to save themselves from being sex trafficked, others take the sides of men over their own people for fear of the repercussions if they don’t. Women have yet to ban together because they fail to show their support in one another. How will women ever know that other women support them if they can’t rely on those same women to choose them over their men?

“Each time a women stands up for herself, without knowing it and possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

– Maya Angelou

I’m not saying that men/boys don’t suffer from the same sexual abuse as women; though, I am saying that women (and children) are viewed as easier targets for it. It is assumed that women are less aggressive than men and they’re not expected to fight back, just go along with whatever their tormentor has in mind; the same goes for children. There is some truth in that: women are less likely to fight back, or when they do it doesn’t make much of a difference to a male attacker. Women could change that- they could be the difference- if only they stood together instead of letting men force them apart.

“I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world.”

– Malala Fund

Not all men are bad, I will admit; there are few who acknowledge the injustices that we face. Though, most of them do nothing but sit idly by and allow it to happen, so are they really any better? The few men who do take a stand with us are assumed to be gay: a label given to them by (take a wild guess) OTHER MEN. These days, for some men, being called gay is a fate worse than death, so they, too, do nothing. My point is that we can’t rely on men to do anything to help our cause; that task rests solely in our hands. We live in a world where if a man respects a woman and goes out of his way to take care of her he’s labels as ‘soft.’ It’s obvious that, to some men, the idea of respecting women is absurd and should never be done. It’s as if they think we were put on this Earth only to fulfill their selfish needs. And yet we still seek the protection of men from other men, despite everything, when we should be seeking the protection of women.

Reminder: Women do not have to be polite to someone who is making them uncomfortable.

The entire world is biased against women: there are hundreds of women imprisoned for murdering their rapists/kidnappers, more than half of all rape trials taken to court end with the rapist walking free- no matter how much evidence there is to put him away, female doctors are automatically assumed to be nurses- or, sometimes, less competent than male doctors- merely because of their gender. The list could go on for days, but I feel I’ve made my point. For years we’ve been denied our most basic human right- gender equality- and I fear, in a world controlled by men, we will never get it. Buried deep down under generations and generations of bias, somewhere, lies equality for women- we just have to have the strength, unity, and willpower to find it.

“When men are oppressed it’s a tragedy, when women are oppressed it’s tradition.”

– Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors

End Gun Violence, End Racism, Modern Problems, Women Empowerment

Sexism and racism are closely related. If racism has existed since the beginning of time and very little has changed, why would I be under the impression that sexism would be any different? Obviously, there have been the slightest changes involving the rights of people of color and women. For example, the right to vote, increased job opportunities, and greater access to education.

Although these are steps in the right direction, I do not believe that things will actually change for either group of people until the older generations let go of their past prejudices.

What I mean by this is: they are teaching their kids what used to be the normal way of thinking and not allowing them to form their own opinions. Sexist and racist people are passing down their old, close-minded beliefs to their children, and their children are repeating this cycle by doing the same to their children. The only way that things will drastically change is if society could wipe the slate clean and start over, but there is no way of doing that.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way encouraging feminists, people of color, LBGTQ+, etc. communities from protesting and demanding change. My goal is the opposite of that, actually. I feel like if we can get enough people to fight for it, change can be made.

Until then, though, we just need to get louder.

Honesty

Modern Problems

When the concept of honesty comes up in conversation, many people assume that it only means telling the truth. While that is a big part of it, that is not all there is to it. Honesty means speaking the truth and acting accordingly. For example, saying a truthful statement is only half of the task; when words and actions align, complete honesty surfaces. It is true that one should not lie, but one should also not let their actions contradict their words. If a person said they were going to do something, they should do it; otherwise, why would they say they were going to in the first place? Someone being referred to as an honest person basically means that they are honorable, morally correct, and even straightforward.

To me, honesty is the most important policy. When someone is honest with me, it provides a sense of security that washes over me, and I know that that person can now be trusted. Being honest is the mature thing to do, and it is important for one not to get stuck at a level of immaturity where they do not even consider living an honest life. True honesty is hard to come by, so it is important not to take it for granted when one finds it in a person. Knowing that living honestly is living with no regrets or shortcomings encourages me to search for that aspect in myself. Being honest with oneself is just as important as being honest with others because one does not want to live in denial or see themselves as untrustworthy. If one cannot trust themself, how will they ever be able to trust others?

There are many colors, or feelings, associated with honesty. When one is honest with another person they are seen as trustworthy, respectable, and reliable. The person will feel like the honest person is dedicated or loyal to them, and this can make them feel secure in their relationship. This can also make the person who was honest feel glad that they chose to live their life this way, and cause a sense of satisfaction to overwhelm them. The satisfaction pushes them to be honest more often because they know how it will make others feel towards them. When hearing the word honesty aloud, the color yellow comes to mind. Yellow signifies happiness and positivity just like the act of being honest. 

No matter how hard they try to convince themselves it does not, the opinions of others matter to any normal person; therefore, honesty is important for maintaining a good image. One does not want to be seen as unreliable, and if they are honest for long enough, it does good to reverse that opinion. It is obvious that living an honest life is important for multiple reasons. Although being honest can prove to be harder than it sounds, the outcomes are well worth it. Many people are not honest with themselves, let alone with others, and that could have negative impacts on their mental health and overall well-being. Living an honest life not only makes others happy, but provides happiness in oneself, too. Knowing that honesty spawns feelings of trust and respect can do a lot to encourage others to follow one’s lead in being honest. There is no argument that can be made against being honest because of all of the positive effects it has on oneself and others. Living an honest life is the most valuable way to live.

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

Women Empowerment

In the twenty-first century, abortion continues to be a controversial issue in society. While some people see abortion as a choice a woman should be allowed to make for herself, others believe that abortion is murder. Feminists have fought for several decades to allow women the right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies, and it still has not stuck with society. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but this has gone too far.

The people who believe that abortion is murder are no less respectable than the ones who do not. Some people believe that life starts at conception, some believe that abortion is morally wrong, and others believe that one will go to Hell for terminating their pregnancy. Either way, those who are pro-life have valid reasons to be against the act of aborting a fetus; they are not simply against a woman’s right to make medical decisions for herself.

A person may not support abortion because of their religious beliefs, morality, or past experiences. For example, a woman who is unable to have children may be pro-life because she feels it is unfair that someone would purposely terminate a pregnancy. Another person may view abortion as a sin and feel that no one should have the right to terminate because of their religious beliefs. Others who are against abortion may feel that it is morally wrong to do so. All of these situations are valid and worth considering.

Pro-choice people believe that life does not start until birth; therefore, abortion is not murder. It is illegal for an abortion to be performed twenty-two weeks after a woman’s last menstrual cycle because that is when it is believed a fetus can, allegedly, feel pain. In order for a woman to terminate her pregnancy, it is required by law that she receive medical counseling seventy-two hours prior the to termination. These requirements allow medical professionals to be sure that abortion is the right choice for the woman in question. Although there are some cases that abortion is not the right thing to do, sometimes it is the most reasonable option.

In instances where pregnancy is a result of sexual assault, most women decide to terminate. If that choice were to be taken away from them, those women would have to carry a reminder of their trauma inside of them for nine agonizing months. Pregnancy causes health issues in a number of women; therefore, it makes carrying a fetus to term dangerous for them. How is it fair that they have to risk their life to carry a fetus that may or may not die, too?

It is obvious that there are many good reasons that this topic is controversial, but I do not believe that it should be. The definition of feminism is to allow other women the right to make decisions that one would not necessarily make themselves, and one cannot call themselves a feminist if they are pro-life. Someone who is against abortion can benefit by adopting some of the pro-choice viewpoints and attempting to view the topic from differing perspectives. If one does not support abortion, they do not have to have one, but they also should not take that choice away from other women.

Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It means that one respects a woman’s right to choose and recognizes that limiting safe options does not help anyone.

Being pro-choice is not saying one is anti-life; but at the same time, being pro-life does not simply mean being pro-life. Some of the same people screaming that abortion is murder support the death penalty when that is, by definition, murder. Pro-life activists only care about the fetus in utero; they do not consider what kind of life it will have afterwards. The same people who are concerned that discarding fetal tissue is murder are known to bomb abortion clinics and murder everyone inside. Did their lives not matter?

One is allowed to have differing opinions, but they should leave it at that. Protesters standing outside abortion clinics shouting at patients only scares them away. It does nothing to change their mind; it pushes them to perform the abortion in an unsafe way. If one was really “pro-life” they would not only care about the fetus; they would care about the mother as well.

Stop Gun Violence

End Gun Violence, Modern Problems

These days, having a gun is the new normal for teenagers and even some adults. I am not saying that guns are the problem because, yeah, guns are a good source of protection. The problem is with the gun owners. Teenagers/kids should not have guns. I have lost count of how many times I have seen a teenager pull a gun on another teenager over something irrelevant and it ended badly.

Guns are not some type of trophy that you put in the waistband of your pants and flaunt around, guns are not meant to be used in fights- physical or otherwise, guns are not toys.Too many people have lost their lives because of gun violence, too many people have normalized owning guns, and too many people have influenced others to go out and buy a gun to show off with. In my opinion, cops should not even be allowed to touch their weapons until they are absolutely sure it is necessary.

Kids are losing their parents, parents are losing their kids, teenagers are losing their siblings and friends. When will it end? I am honestly not one of those “ban guns!” type of people, but something has to change. Guns are dangerous and should not be waved around by a drunken teen or a drugged up adult for mere entertainment, they should not be used in Instagram pictures or flaunted in Snapchat videos just for views, and they should not be used to kill anyone- accident or not. There are a countless number of ways to prevent gun related ‘accidents’ and, if you uphold gun safety tips, you cannot really call it an accident. 

People I spent my life growing up with have gotten shot and died before they were 18 because they were not careful with their weapon. Why they had a weapon in the first place or how they got it, I do not know. My point is that there should be a greater restriction on who can buy guns and there should not be kids running around with them just so they can look “cool.” They do that with cigarettes, too- smoke just so they can look cool or fit in- but it is in no way as dangerous as a gun. Cigarettes kill you slowly and you choose to do it, guns kill you instantly and nobody asks to be shot.

Some people may read this and think that my opinion is biased because I lost someone to gun violence, but can an opinion on this even really be biased? The only time a gun should be drawn on another person is if that person is putting you in imminent danger. Even then, a person should be cautious, but, the thing is, teenagers do not know how to be cautious. Something has to change; this world is screwed up enough as it is- people die everyday from natural causes or from freak accidents, and the death toll is steadily rising.

I have said this before, and I am going to say it again: we could be the generation that makes actual change. If only we started trying.

Living with Major Bipolar Depression (My Experience)

Mental Health, Personal

It has been almost 7 years since I have been truly happy. Seven years. My happiness has always come in short bursts and then it is all downhill from there. For my entire life I have been stuck on this rollercoaster of emotional downfalls that is seemingly never ending. I guess I could jump off, but the tracks are suspended in mid air and there is no chance of me ever finding peace if I take the plunge. Though, anything would be better than going back to the person I was before. 

The person I used to be was selfish; though, full of self-loathing. I would say that I don’t understand why I ever tried to kill myself, but that would be a lie- I do understand, I just refuse to leave this cruel, twisted world willingly. I recently attended the funerals of not one but two of my childhood friends, and hearing the distraught voices of their mothers repeat the haunting words I don’t want to leave my baby in the ground, why did God take them from me?! in between sobs made me realize how much damage I would have done if any of my suicide attempts hadn’t failed. I used to curse myself for “not even being able to kill myself right,” but now I find myself apologizing to God for ever trying in the first place and thanking Him for not allowing my stubborn ass to succeed. Even though my desire to die has substantially subsided, parts of the person I used to be still remain. I still feel the same way I felt before. No one understands how increasingly difficult it is for me to get out of bed everyday and plaster a big smile on my war-weary face. 

There’s so much built up anger and hostility inside of me and it needs a way out, but the only release I know of is through the fragile skin of my thighs and I’m desperately trying to avoid that. My life has consisted of being shifted in and out of mental health facilities, pretending it helped, and going back to the same headspace I was in before. In six months I will be eighteen and that terrifies me; I never actually thought I would make it this far, and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

In six short months I will be thrown head first into the raging ocean of adulthood and left to drown; though, can you drown while you are already drowning? My BPD is drowning me; it has been for years. My limbs exhausted themselves and stopped fighting long ago, so I’m curious as to how I’m still alive. Scratch that- I’m not dead, but I’m not alive either. Instead, I’m somewhere in between, watching my life happen without me as I sharply inhale even more water. 

My depression holds me on a tight leash. If it sees me doing good it’s going to give that leash one hard pull and I’ll be clutched in its fist again. I’m too busy trying to pull myself together to notice that life is still flying by without me.

I started writing this to share my experience, but I’m not entirely sure what my point was. This is nowhere near the whole story, but it would take way too much time and way too much patience for me to type all of that out, and I’m sure no one wants to hear it anyway. I guess my point is: even though living with this particular mental illness has been exhausting, and sometimes unbearable, it has gotten better. I hope this allows others suffering with BPD to take a step back and look at the bigger picture because that is all that matters in the long run. Everyone is faced with hardships, some worse than others, but the key to surviving is having the will and perseverance to prevent it from controlling you.

Black Lives Matter

End Racism, Women Empowerment

For thousands of generations there has been a prejudice against people of color, similar to the one against women, and nothing has been done about it. In the early days they were held as slaves by wealthy white supremacists and in modern days they’re still viewed, by some, as inferior to white people. Years of peaceful protests to a world taught to hate them have gotten them nowhere, yet when they resort to burning down buildings and blowing up cars that, too, is ignored and met with violence. They’re angry that the system treats them unjustly, that their own people are murdered by law enforcement- the people who took an oath to protect us- for no reason other than the color of their skin. To a rational person, their anger is quite understandable, but many people STILL refuse to grasp the unfairness of it all. Certain people still refuse to see people as people instead of just seeing the color of their skin, just as certain people refuse to ignore the biases against women. White women are lucky, they’re only faced with gender discrimination, but women of color suffer from both gender and racial discrimination. I can’t imagine what that is like and I will not pretend that I know, but what I do know is that I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and I admire the strength that women of color must have to survive in a world so eager to turn it’s back on them.

The phrase “all lives matter” is often used as a response to Black Lives Matter by white supremacists who are eager to show their hatred towards people of color. Black Lives Matter is in no way saying that other lives don’t matter, but other lives aren’t the ones being targeted. Some white people just hate the fact that the BLM movement is getting so much attention. Picture it like this: if a house was on fire it would be expected that the fire department douse the house with water, but would it be expected for them to waste time drowning other houses because ‘all houses matter?’ No, it would not. People of color realize that all lives matter, but it is not our houses that are burning, it is theirs. Racist white people often throw that phrase around religiously, but don’t consider the fact that black lives are a huge part of “ALL LIVES.” Another thing that some white people fail to consider is that white privilege ALWAYS WAS, IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE a thing. When getting pulled over the only thing white people fear is that they’ll get a ticket, people of color fear for their lives. White people have the privilege of talking back to the cops and starting arguments and knowing that the worse that will happen is that they’ll get arrested while people of color literally obey the officer and sometimes still get killed. It’s easier for white people to get certain jobs without the limitations of racial discrimination. White people send their children out into the world confidently, knowing they’ll be safe, while people of color worry about their child until the second he/she steps into the door. Multiple black lives have been lost at the hands of law enforcement officers and barely any justice has been served, but if it had been a white person killed the officer would be behind bars with no questions asked.

No child is born racist, racism is taught. Whether it be by society or by their parents, a child has to learn how to be racist. No child focuses on skin color unless they are told to do so. Many children follow the belief systems of their parents and, at a young age, they’re unable to see right from wrong. Most racists were exposed to racism at a young age and it stuck with them; although, some people learned to form their own opinions. Racism is: clutching your purse/belongings when a person outside of your race approaches you, it is not wanting your child to date outside of their race, it is perceiving people of other races to be inferior to you. It is using derogatory terms to insult, or even to describe, someone outside of your race. It is hate crimes, racial slurs, housing/hiring discrimination, police harassment, racial profiling, racist jokes, and so on. This list could go on for DAYS, but most people fail to recognize any, if not all, of these things as racism. It’s 2020 and racial bias is still completely out of control. When will people realize that black lives matter just as much as white lives? When will people acknowledge when they’re being racist and want to stop?

Something Most People Refuse to Admit about Abortion

Women Empowerment
There, I said it.

Although it is obvious, most won’t admit the simple truth that it is a woman’s right to control what happens regarding her own body; therefore, abortion is part of that right.

A huge part of being a feminist is giving other women the freedom to make choices you might not necessarily make yourself.

-Lena Dunham

Denying a woman the right to an abortion is basically taking away her free will. Some women simply do not want kids, they don’t want to carry or birth them, they don’t want to raise or take care of them. In order for a woman to be sterilized she must: be over the age of 25, have already had two kids, be married, and have her husband’s consent (like that makes any sense), while, for men, the act of getting sterilized is considerably more simple. With that being said, abortion is their go-to whenever the inevitable happens. I’m in no way saying I agree with this, I’m simply saying IT IS THEIR RIGHT. It’s said, “if you don’t want kids, don’t have sex,” but what about victims of sexual assault? They didn’t choose to participate in the act, so what about them? Women often get pregnant as a result of sexual assault and they refuse to have a constant reminder of their trauma, they refuse to carry proof of it inside of them for 9 painful months, and they refuse to give birth to a child who will constantly question why their parents gave them up for adoption until, one day, they figure it out. THIS I agree with completely; sexual assault is traumatic enough without a child as a product of it. Most people will criticize my opinions with the overused phrase: “abortion is murder,” but if a baby doesn’t have fully functioning organs it would not be alive outside of the mothers body; therefore, abortion is not murder.

It surprises me to see so many women protesting to make abortion illegal when it’s their rights that are being violated. Women are already held at a considerable disadvantage to men, we shouldn’t encourage that more rights be taken away.

Is it not okay for a woman to want a child? Is it not understandable for a woman to not want to birth a child she doesn’t want? Is it not critical for women to keep the few rights they do have? If you answered no to any/all of those questions let me ask you this: why? Women are not simply a means to reproduce and it puzzles me that they’re seen as such when men, who are also a big part in the baby-making process, are not. Even though we house the means to grow and carry a baby inside of us that does not mean that we’re obligated to use it, women aren’t just baby factories. If a woman does decide to birth a child she has no intention of keeping, who’s to say that that child has a good life? Children do not ask to be born and they certainly did not ask to be born without parents, so the courteous thing to do when you conceive a child you don’t want would be to abort it.

Women are already viewed as inferior to men, meaning we don’t have near as many BASIC RIGHTS as they do, so let’s not add ‘not being able to control what happens to our bodies’ to that list.

If it’s not your body it’s not your decision.

Why Being Aware and Considerate of Your Mental Health is Important

Mental Health

Mental illness is nothing to joke about, but these days people often romanticize it. They call it ‘cute’ and continuously minimize the seriousness of it. Your mental health is everything. It controls your overall physical health, the way you think, how you feel, and the way you act. It effects your sleeping patterns, your eating habits, and your state of mind.

Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.

-Noam Shpancer

Recognizing Mental Illness

Depression, whether periodic or permanent, can have a person laying in bed all day whilst unmotivated to do anything else. Once it sinks its teeth in you your view of life changes; it rips everything out of you, leaving just a shell of who you were. You find yourself eating too much or eating too little, sleeping too much or not sleeping at all. It bombards you with intrusive negative thoughts and urges until, eventually, they’re all you can focus on. It makes you push everyone close to you away because you feel like they don’t care about you (because they never noticed the difference), or because you know that they care and you want to lessen the damage you’ll cause them if you commit suicide. It’s an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that consumes you from the inside out. People with depression often refer to it as ‘feeling numb’ and, because of this, they resort to physically hurting themselves just to feel something at all. I know from experience that living with this particular mental illness is exhausting and it takes every ounce of strength you have to keep it at bay. Depression is often called the “Silent Killer” because it’s said that there are no warning signs- I’m here to tell you that that is not true because of all of the things that I just said.

If you know someone with depression: talk to them, let them know that it will not last forever and that you (along with so many others) care about them. Check up on them daily- depression comes and goes- and make it known that they have the strength to pull through it, whether they believe you or not.

If you think you don’t know someone with depression: chances are, you do. Check on every single person in your life regularly and show that you care about them. PAY ATTENTION TO PEOPLE!

If you struggle with depression: find one person that you trust to talk to about it all, let them be a safe place for you to vent and let your emotions run wild. Know that it will not last forever, know that you are stronger than it (after all, you’ve made it this far), know that you are loved, know that you are not fighting this battle alone; so many people are fighting the exact same fight. Most importantly, try to recognize when you’re feeling depressed and try to find the right coping mechanisms to control it. DON’T SELF HARM; it’s a temporary solution and there’s no escaping it once you’ve started. DON’T KILL YOURSELF, don’t take the easy way out; you were put on this earth for a reason and it was definitely not for you to take your own life.

It’s okay, to not be okay. Just don’t give up.

-Unknown

Anxiety, on the other hand, controls EVERY. SINGLE. THING. YOU. DO. It controls where you go, who you talk to, if/when you leave the comfort of your own home, and who you allow into your life. Someone with anxiety may find themselves restless and easily startled, they may be unable to sit still, or their entire body might secrete sweat every time they’re out in public. I cannot express to you how many times I’ve been scared to talk to someone I don’t know, scared to talk in front of large groups of people (any more than 3 is too many), or how many opportunities I’ve missed out on because of my anxiety. Anxiety is not being able to stop your hands from shaking or your face getting bright red while speaking out loud. It’s stuttering, leg bouncing, sweaty palms, and an intense tightness in your chest when you’re in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. It is constantly thinking worst-case-scenarios when doing the most basic things and overthinking every aspect of your life. It causes you to worry about things most people don’t worry about and adds a significant amount of stress to your life. Anxiety comes in many forms and presents itself differently in different people, but I think we can all agree that living with anxiety is no fun at all. If you suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does, then you know that there’s really nothing you can do about it besides get medication. But prescription drugs have a way of making you feel like you’re not yourself, and that could prove to be worse than the illness itself. The only thing we can do about anxiety is to simply live with it.

A soft reminder:

Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.

There are many different types of mental illness, but I’m only speaking about the ones I’ve dealt with firsthand. Educate yourselves on the other types so you can be better prepared to handle it if you or a loved one is ever faced with it.

Be Considerate of Your Mental Health

Do not do things, talk about things, read things, or associate with people/things that trigger your depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness. Do not ignore obvious signs of mental illness just because you refuse to believe that you, or someone you know, struggle with it. There is no shame in having a mental illness; it’s not your fault there are chemical imbalances in your brain that make you think/do/see/hear things that other people wouldn’t/don’t. Avoid drugs and alcohol because both are known to intensify mental illness, especially depression, and you can become codependent on them. Stay away from people/things that cause you stress. We are often encouraged to step outside of our comfort zones, but, for people with anxiety, that could be the worst thing for you to do- it could trigger panic attacks and inevitably make your condition worse. Immediately shut down any and all negative thoughts before they even have the chance to fully form and work on replacing them with positive affirmations.

I do not fix my problems, I fix my thinking. Then my problems fix themselves.

-Louise Hay