My College Move Caused My Sister To Develop Separation Anxiety

My College Move Caused My Little Sister To Develop Separation Anxiety

Students moving to college has a ripple effect on families that is too often overlooked

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Moving to college is a daunting experience for almost every first-year student. It can be lonely, awkward, and you might miss your family... a lot. It makes you realize that after living with your parents and siblings for eighteen years, the act of uprooting what you have always known and leaving it all behind, is a really strange thing to do. You are no longer surrounded by the core people that have made you who you are today. And while I was dealing with these circumstances, I failed to notice how it takes effect on my sibling's emotions.

While it was obvious that my parents were dealing with the great heartache of their first child leaving the nest, I never considered the distress that it would cause in the lives of my siblings. A whole person is taken out of the original family dynamic, changing the ambiance of their household life entirely. I feel that this is often disregarded, as every event from graduation, to move in day, is about the child who is leaving. But it wasn't until my family began to relay the distressing tendencies of my eleven-year-old sister, did I recognize that she was showing signs of depression. And the guilt hit me instantly.

My mom and dad would each call me on multiple occasions to tell me how often she seemed to not be present or was not eating enough. Whether at the dinner table, in the car, or out shopping on the weekends, they could not seem to lift her spirits. They would also complain that from the time she arrived home from school until bedtime, she remained in her room, on her phone or computer. Although for a preteen this is not unusual, it was shocking to us as she used to spend the majority of after-school time with friends, and later hanging out with the family until it was time for bed.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that her self isolation must stem from the fact that my parents went through a divorce a few years ago, leading to me becoming a motherly figure to her during the nights spent at my dad's house. And she was probably just starting to adjust to that agenda until I left for school in August. But she was not the only one left feeling like she was missing something.

Although my brother doesn't outright show that he was as affected by my departure, he has mentioned to me many times how neither house feels as home-like with me gone. Because of this, he disregards any attempt to better his home relationships and often uses his newly acquired car to drive to his friend's houses where he spends most nights. Although this is his coping mechanism, it leaves my sister home with only one parent or the other, feeling like a newly appointed only child.

The issue with this is that my parents don't know how to give proper attention to a metaphorical only child, nor do they have the time. My siblings and I always had each other to keep company so it was never an issue. Therefore, my sister is left lonely, and slowing receding into mildly depressive tendencies. And no matter how often I encourage her to call me and discuss her feelings, I get the idea that she doesn't believe that anyone will understand, or that she feels as though discussing her feelings becomes a burden to others.

Luckily my family recognized what she was going through after a while, and has begun to take action to help her out of this funk. However, the possible mental illness that I saw her beginning to develop at such an early age is extremely worrisome to me. Not only do we live in a world where mental illnesses are more prominent than ever due to social media, but sometimes the families of those affected are the ones blindly causing it. We need to encourage our parents and siblings to bring about their compassion for each other more often. Because in a fast-paced world like the one we live in, where everything is constantly going, we often forget to look at those around us and make sure that they are feeling valued and heard.

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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