Fight or Float
Start writing a post

I tend to flock to the snack aisles, but every once in a while I find myself drawn to the magazine racks at the grocery store. Something about the bright covers will call my name and, before I know it, I have loaded my arms with two or three magazines on top of the box of cereal I came in to get and did not need.

Most of the time, I end up buying magazines that offer fun recipes on the cover (I'm looking at you "Southern Living", "Our State", and "Food Network Magazine"), but I will occasionally stray out of this theme and find something a little more impactful.

While I rarely purchase this type of magazine, I was particularly interested in TIME magazine's special edition titled "Mental Health, a New Understanding". Not only did the cover have an intriguing image that hinted at the various shades of happiness and sadness that comes with any and every mental disorder, but a tagline that advertised tips for taking care of a loved one that suffers from a mental illness.

Although I don't know anyone that struggles with a severe, diagnosed mental disorder, I picked up a copy and bought it, telling myself "you never know what you may learn for the future".

I couldn't have been more right in making this assumption.

As I read this edition on the last two-hour stretch of my return flight from Scotland, I found myself increasingly curious about new treatments that have been developed for those that suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. After weeding through some of the more pedantic scientific articles, I lingered on an article that talked about something I had never heard of: float therapy.

I know, it sounds weird...and I can't say that it's going to sound any less weird from here on out.

During float therapy, individuals remove all of their clothing and submerse themselves in a pool of warm water that contains dissolved minerals. The lights are often dimmed or turned off entirely as the patient floats around in the tub, clearing their mind of as many thoughts as possible and focusing solely on relaxing.

Yeah, floating naked in a tub in the dark. As I said, it sounds really weird.

But it works—at least it did for me.

During the last few weeks of my shortened summer break, I was in over my head in stress. Spending six weeks in New York City taking classes after a full semester was a lot. Add the stress of trying to make time for family, friends, a boyfriend, work, extracurriculars, and planning my future after graduation and you have an award-winning recipe for stress. To make matters worse, my personal experiences with high stress have also invited a host of anxious thoughts and tensions.

As move-in drew nearer, I found myself thinking more and more about how I would manage all of this stress once I was back in the melee of college life. Looking at my schedule, I knew I would not have much free space to dedicate to "me time". It was now or never.

The first thing my mind went to was the membership to the local massage spa that my mom will allow me to borrow when I come home. It would be a nice treat to myself, but I was not entirely sure that a sharp press into my back would be enough to cure this new level of anxiety and stress.

Then my mom mentioned my brother's periodic visits to the cryotherapy place in town, specifically that they had started offering float therapy. That was enough of a coincidence to sell me. I asked if I could sign up for an appointment before I left.

If I can only say one thing about float therapy, it would be that I wish I had decided to try it sooner.

Once you allow your mind to pass the strange sense of floating in a (very slippery) tub of warm water in a place that is not your own bathtub, float therapy is one of the most freeing experiences I've ever had. The darkness allowed me to focus on my thoughts and slowly let go of each of the worries as I realized they were not worth holding on to any longer. The weightless sensation of such an elevated buoyancy (due to the high concentration of dissolved minerals) allowed me to focus on each area of my body, apologize to each aspect of my being that I had been neglecting, that I had been tearing apart because its as not "perfect".

Floating in that tank allowed me to reconnect with myself in a way that I had never thought possible. I left feeling freed from the anxieties of the future and reconnected with an appreciation for my body. As weird as it sounds, I cannot recommend float therapy enough to anyone that wants to stop fighting the things they cannot change. Take it from me, even just a one-hour float will force you to spend time with your most raw thoughts and the things you discover may change the way you look at everything by the time you step out of that tub.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

- Since I can remember, I've always been a light sleeper, with the quietest sounds waking me up, and I regularly wake up with the sun.

- While talking to a gynecologist friend of mine, she mentioned the importance of using an eye mask for quality sleep, which regulates hormonal levels.

- I was serendipitously sent the Crane & Canopy Silk Sleep Mask almost right after that conversation and was honestly reluctant to try it after testing other sleep masks that felt uncomfortable and irritated my skin.

- This sleep mask was extremely comfortable, and for the first time in nearly a decade, I slept in far past when I usually do on the weekends and woke up feeling more refreshed than I can remember — I've worn it nearly every night since then.

The older I get, it seems that sleep becomes an increasingly important topic of conversation amongst my friends and me. Yes, of course we complain about how tired we always are, but the pattern seemed to be a lack of sleep on the weekdays followed by late nights and sleeping in on the weekends without any solution.

Keep Reading... Show less

I'll never forget the day that someone told me these words: "Madison, I think you're a good friend to everyone but yourself." I stood there completely in awe of that statement. Before that day, I never really thought about being a friend to myself, and at the time, I didn't really know what it meant. Now, I realize that you can't fully be there for other people unless you're there for yourself, too. You can't show up for others until you're willing to show up for yourself.

Here are five things everyone should learn in order to be a better friend to themselves. These steps are hard, but they're so worth it.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's no secret that social media can be harmful to our mental health. The barrage of heavily edited photos of Instagram models that we see every day only fuels our insecurities. There is a good side to social media, though. It allows us to keep up with friends and family across the globe. Plus, it provides a platform for mental health experts. Listed below are five therapists on Instagram who will fill your feed with motivational quotes and positive infographics.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

In Honor of PCOS Awareness Month, I Researched 25 Things About The Autoimmune Disease

Ongoing research is further promoting the fact that engaging in a proper diet and exercise regimen can alleviate many symptoms!


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects young women, especially those of reproductive age. Women with PCOS often exhibit symptoms ranging from increased levels of the male hormone androgen along with cysts in their ovaries. However, ongoing research is further promoting the fact that engaging in a proper diet and exercise regimen can alleviate many symptoms! Here are 25 things I found out about PCOS.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

To The Boy Who Said I Was 'Unlovable' Because Of My Back Rolls, My Body Is NOT A Problem

I realized I need to stop blaming myself for staying single. The problem wasn't me. It was you.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I told you I was going to be okay if you said what was on your mind, but honestly, nothing could've prepared me for the words that came out of your mouth. After getting off of the phone with you, I burst into tears. Those words shattered my heart and continuously repeated in my head.

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether the stress of adjusting to online school or losing a job is getting you down, we all know that the effects of this pandemic have been nothing but stressful. While everyone is focusing on not getting sick, finding a job, and keeping up with school, no one has really found time to decompress. High levels of continued stress can not only lead to physical health issues but mental health issues as well. To make it a little easier, here are some ways you can de-stress during a time like this while staying safe and socially distanced.

Keep Reading... Show less

I used to regard loneliness as this misshapen emptiness — one that existed for the sole purpose of being temporarily filled by other human beings, ones who we convince ourselves to make some curious, broken, part of us a bit more normal. A bit more whole. As simple as A + B, to evade loneliness, be incessantly social.

Keep Reading... Show less

Everyone says pumpkin spice is the superior fall flavor, and I mean, I get it. It is a VERY seasonal flavoring (like pumpkin spice in March? I'll pass). However, personally, I like apple more. It's cozy and it reminds me of being a kid again.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ready or not, here come the holidays, friends, and if you're as obsessed with the spirit of the season as I am, you are much more ready than not. Thanks to Hallmark Channel's Monopoly game making it possible to celebrate all year long, you can be ready now, too!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments