Being a Student & Being Depressed

Being a Student & Being Depressed

We all suffer eventually, some longer than others
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To the college students who are still trying to find yourself and figure out how to do day-to-day tasks with depression. Weather you're a freshman or junior, you matter and don't let anyone tell you differently.

It is so difficult to be physically present but be miles away mentally. You sit in class, unable to concentrate because your brain feels as if its shut down. You just stare at something or find yourself unconsciously doodling. Then later be so angry with yourself for not paying attention in lecture, knowing you wouldn't of been able to stay alert anyways because the "monster" in your head is telling you "you're not smart enough", "you'll never be anything anyways in life" or the one that really gets me "everyone is disappointed in you already anyways, just give up" but thats not true. You ARE smart enough, you WILL be something in your lifetime, and NO ONE is disappointed in you! You have the whole world behind you, cheering you on. It may not seem like it somedays but I can promise you, at least one person will ALWAYS be there. I'm lucky enough to have a whole army behind me, some that don't even know me personally but saw my story and reached out to me. Random people took time out of their day to send me an encouraging message. You people will never know how much it is appreciated.





Then the next day you're rocking it out, accomplishing everything you needed to get done, actually understanding what is going on in class, drinking enough water and eating healthy. As if yesterday never existed and you never had any depressing thoughts or doubt yourself. I understand completely what you're going through, the hardest part is having people who don't suffer, understand that this is your life. Even with taking medication for depression, you still have these days frequently.

Now I'm not sure if you are just figuring out what works out for your body medication wise, or if you suffer quietly. You're still going to have those days, and all you can do is take it day by day. I expressed my feelings on an off day and was told by a friend "small tasks each day girl" meaning, just do whatever you're comfortable with, but make sure you get it done. Its ok if its just one small thing, at least you committed and got it done.

Thank the family, friends, loved ones and even strangers, for everything they have done. Even if they don't realize or mean to do something that benefits you, just thank them. They are also suffering. They have to deal with your mood swings, keeping you motivated, and everything else they do on top of their schedule.

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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You Can Own Your Mental Health Without Making It Your Identity

Only we have the power to control the conversation.
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How much is too much?

I used to find myself asking myself this question a lot – the words would linger behind every single thought I had. Every conversation, both with strangers and friends, was a perfectly balanced equation that I had to work to maintain or else I risked exposure. I made sure that the things about myself I did choose to share were shallow and rose-colored.

I didn't know how to say what I was feeling without the fear of making people uncomfortable, including myself.

In the second semester of my Sophomore year of college, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. The diagnosis was neither a shock nor a surprise but that didn't stop it from changing my life. Finally, I had words to define the things I was going through but that didn't make it any easier to talk about. Everything felt too real, too raw, too much.

I was left unsure of how to side-step and navigate what was and wasn't okay to say, what others did and didn't want to hear. I didn't know if it was possible with being too comfortable with my diagnosis. Was I making it better, or worse? If I said too much, would I be letting my mental illnesses overcome me? If I wasn't careful, would it be too much for others?

There's a fine line between becoming your mental illness and owning it, and the key is learning how to walk it. Yes, it is incredibly important not to tie your identity to your disorder as well as avoid making excuses for it. Being depressed, or anxious should never be the scapegoat for the way you treat others it is also not a defining trait. They are a part of you, of course, but they are not all of you.

But at the same time, they are part of you. And the same way you would candidly speak about a cold, or a broken bone it is perfectly okay to talk about your bad days, your anxiety attacks and episodes. The conversation doesn't need to be hushed and strained, it is perfectly fine to be casual about the fact that you have a mental illness – it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Being comfortable and open about the way you feel or have felt doesn't in any way diminish the severity of what you're going through but it does normalize it. I don't mean making a joke of it all, although that is how some choose to cope, I mean making it a point to let your friends and family know when you're struggling. I mean making an effort to be transparent about therapy, coping mechanisms and the progress you've made.

It won't always ease others discomfort, but it does begin to erase the taboo around the subject and makes it easier to confront.

Most people don't know how to react when they hear about others struggles and feelings because we've created this tense and fragile depiction of mental illness. Others tend to shy away from the subject because they don't know what's too much and only we have the power to change that.

I'm not the poster child for vulnerability, but I can say that I've noticed a significant change in my close circle of family and friends. My parents are more inclined to pepper in questions about how my therapy sessions are going between class updates. My friends are intentional, genuine and perceptive about days I'm not doing well. New coping mechanisms will even come up with a few glasses of wine.

It wasn't easy, but it was necessary. It brought the people I care most about into my self-care routine and relieved the constant pressure to separate my mental illness from my everyday life. Yes, sometimes I need a serious, long, sit-down conversations. But sometimes, I need to know that although what I'm going through isn't particularly normal, it's not lonely either.

It's all about finding the healthy balance between re-claiming your right to be heard and projecting it all on the people around you. There are parts of your mental health journey that you need to go through alone, parts that you can't put on anyone but yourself, but you can at least be open. Not only for others but for yourself too.

It's okay not to be okay, but it's also okay to be okay.

Cover Image Credit: Jonathan Daniels

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