Saying And Experiencing Are Two Different Things

Saying And Experiencing Are Two Different Things

Saying that you have a mental illness is different from living with mental illness.
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Mental illness is no joke, but recently it has become a fad to claim to have an illness when actually you're just throwing a bunch of words around. I'm not saying the average person doesn't have down days or things that make them nervous—we all have those things. However, claiming to have a mental illness when it's "just one of those days," is actually very hurtful to people, like me, who do struggle daily. If I had to describe what I go through on a daily basis, it would be something like this:

You know that little voice in your head, the voice you hear when you type on your keyboard or while reading? Imagine that voice in your head constantly critiquing everything you do, everything you say. It doesn't even have to be recent, things you did a decade ago can resurface in your mind and not leave. It starts as soon as you wake up and stays until you go to bed. It is everywhere. It's a silent struggle most of the time—if I don't tell you it's happening then you won't know. I can be hanging out with a group of friends while battling with myself in my head, trying to control my breathing while my palms are pools of sweat and my heart is beating a mile a minute. I've become a master at hiding.

One time, I had a panic attack and fainted in Chipotle. It is when that voice was suddenly quiet that everything went bad. Prior to the silence, I had so many thoughts spiraling through my head—it sounded like a million different voices and I wasn't able to differentiate my voice from all of the people speaking around me. My body went numb, my vision went dark and my heart felt like it was exploding. The only thing I heard was my head hitting the floor. I woke up about 20 seconds later, according to my friend. I just remember people screaming that I wasn't breathing, that they were going to call the police and then I was surrounded by people.

It isn't just one day out of the week, it's every single day. It's not being able to cross the road because you are scared that someone in their car waiting for you to cross is angry at you, even when you have the right of way to cross. It's when you enjoy being alone, but being alone is also when the thoughts cloud your mind the most. It's being in class and fidgeting with anything you can get your hands on in order to hopefully distract your mind from the thoughts racing through it. The reality of mental illness is not cool or trendy, it's having to rely on pills everyday, but that doesn't necessarily mean that everything is fine and dandy because even while typing this you've had to wipe your keyboard four times due to how much sweat has dripped from your hands from knowing that your family will read this, and you've never told them how you truly feel daily.

Saying that you have a mental illness is different from living with mental illness. It isn't just a "slump" that you can get over. If it is, then you probably don't have anything wrong with you except that you use WebMD way too much and you use medical terms without knowledge of how living with these disorders can be crippling. I'm not where I want to be yet mentally, I'm still learning how to overcome my daily struggles. However my anxiety, depression, and PTSD will not tear me down, and all who suffer from mental illness please do not give up! But to those of you who use these words to describe your everyday emotions, please stop. Having a mental illness is not something you want to have to live with, it is not glamorous.

Rest In Peace Talia (1996-2016)

Cover Image Credit: Christian Sampson

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

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11 Ways To Deal With Two-Faced People

Because you can't always cut them out.

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Since entering college, it seems like it's been one train wreck after another. The past year has given me several blows––with family, finances, personal health, and family well-being. The Lord is helping me deal with a lot of obstacles right now, and I'm trusting Him to carry me through to the other side.

With everything going on, it's safe to say that I have little to no room for disingenuous people in my life. You know who they are. The two-faced individuals who have nothing but smiles, friendship and understanding for you to your face, but the minute you turn away, they're spreading lies and rumors like wildfire. They laugh at you when they think you aren't looking.

There are articles and tips spanning the internet on how to cut toxic people out of your life, but sadly, that's not always an option. So what do you do when you have to grit your teeth and bear it?

1. Take stock of who you can trust

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When dealing with people who can't seem to give it to you straight, it's best to lean on those who do. Maybe it's a small handful or even a single person, but they can make a world of difference for your mental health.

2. Put your faith where it belongs

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I put my faith in God, my family and my friends. It's not always easy, but it's comforting when you don't have it in yourself. Not everyone is going to understand or support you, and that's OK. You don't need them or their approval.

3. Limit your interactions



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Maybe they're family, a coworker or a classmate––you can't always get away. Be that as it may, you can limit your interactions. If you don't have to speak to them, don't. Go about your business as best as possible, then move on when you can.

4. Keep your guard up

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People will have a field day making assumptions about you. Most times, they don't realize how hypocritical this makes them. That's their problem to own, not yours. Although you don't want to keep walls up in every part of your life, it can occasionally be a healthy choice. It's best not to invest trust or emotions into those who will double-cross you.

5. Don't forget to stay positive

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When people drag you down, it's hard to shake off their grasp. It's amazing how free you can feel when you don't let them get in your head. Don't let them dim your light!

6. Let your actions speak for themselves

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Circumstances can arise that hinder your performance or attitude. That's life, it happens! Don't feel bad for not being a robot––perfectly tuned to everyone else's expectations. You're human. You may not be perfect, but you can do your best. This may not be enough for them, but it is for those who care about you.

7. Avoid stooping to their level

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Sometimes the best way to fight back is to rise above it all. Seeking revenge and copying their actions does nothing but make you like them. Be better than that.

8. Try not to take their words to heart

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This is the hardest. It's so much easier to let the lies get past your guard than the truth. Let those double-crossers do or say what they will––that reflects on them and who they are more than anything else. You can't change who they are, but you can control your reaction.

9. If you're comfortable, confront them

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If it's something you feel safe doing, confront them. You don't need to be aggressive, but you can be honest. Tell them about the rumors circulating. Tell them how this makes you feel. Remind them that you once put your trust in them, and they betrayed that trust. After that, the ball is in their court.

10. Laugh it off

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You don't need to convince anyone of your value if they refuse to see it. Mark it up as a good story to tell, a lesson in toughening your skin and move on. The people in your life should feel lucky to have you in theirs, and if they don't, they don't need to be a priority.

11. Be patient

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Find comfort in the knowledge that you aren't the only one who sees both of their faces. If they're double-crossing you, chances are, they have done it and are doing it to others. They may be fooling some, but certainly not everyone.

Cover Image Credit:

Chester Wade

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