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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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5 Tips on Rushing a Sorority

How to get through Recruitment at a huge University

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Coming into a huge public university and enduring the stress of Sorority Recruitment was an extremely daunting and stressful experience. But now being on each side of the spectrum there are a lot of tips and tricks I found that may ease the nerves of women who want to rush. The idea of talking to tons of women for days on end is for sure very pressuring but is not how the experience should be. These tips were made to show that the process is a two-way street and not as scary as it may seem.

1. Present yourself in an authentic way

There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to being in a sorority and one of the main ones is that sorority girls are fake. I find this to be quite the opposite. A huge part about being in a sorority is their philanthropy and how it brings all the girls together. The last thing an organization needs is a woman who is not passionate about what they devote so much time to and pretends to be someone they are not. Being yourself and being vulnerable is a very admirable quality and will make you stand out.

  2. They are just as nervous as you.

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Going through Recruitment for the first time can be extremely daunting and overwhelming. A group of girls greet you screaming chants with huge smiles on their face can be intimidating but being on the other side is just as scary. As a member of a sorority it is part of your duty to recruit members that will make a positive and impactful addition to the huge group of girls. You want every girl that comes through your room to feel at home and welcomed and like they can open up and share who they are. As a Potential New Member but also as a Member the pressure is on so you're not alone.

3. Dress comfortably

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As much time as I spent stressing about what I was wearing when I went through Recruitment I suggest avoiding making this your main focus. Presentation and how you appear is important but does not hold a candle to your character and how you present yourself facially. If you are wearing 5-inch stilettos and your feet are killing you it can definitely distract your attention away from the women you are speaking to and onto your discomfort. Sorority Rush is also a very lengthy process where you will be standing for hours on end and want to be dressed for that.

 4. It’s a conversation not an interview

One of the fears I had going into rush was being able to answer the questions thrown at me. But as I actually went through the process I found this to be very much not the case. The point of this experience is to have conversations with the women you meet to gauge if you would get along with women of their caliber. Not to say all the women are the same but value-based conversations can flow very well if the values of the sorority that the women emulate, and your own, match. The interaction should be natural and feel easy, don't rush or try to talk too much or too little.

  5. Your choice should be based on you

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It was very stressed that your decision about which sorority you join should be based off of your experience throughout the rush experience with each sorority. You should not consult other women rushing about your decision because it is strictly a choice that will impact you. At the end of the day, I made my choice based on where I saw myself fitting in the best. I set aside any biased I had about which sorority seemed, "the best," because it was simply about choosing a home where I could be myself.

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