A Day In The Life Of A Germaphobe During Flu Season

A Day In The Life Of A Germaphobe During Flu Season

You have never known true fear until your roommate gets the flu... and you know you're next.

The beginning of a new semester represents a fresh start in so many ways. We have a chance to improve our study habits and procrastinate less. Some of us become more motivated to keep up with our resolutions to exercise and eat a more balanced diet. We can finally get back to our school-year schedules of spending time with friends and balancing productive work and extracurricular commitments.

But, a new semester also means that every student returning to the school or university will be bringing with them a host of new germs from home. And this is a germophobe's worst nightmare.

Especially in the university climate, we are constantly hearing horror stories about campus outbreaks of mumps or meningitis, and we all have friends who have suffered through months of feeling completely drained due to the ever-infamous mononucleosis.

But there are countless germs to fear besides the ones that cause these nightmarish illnesses. There are so many different variations of the virus that causes colds that it seems that we can end up sick with a new version every week. The flu virus comes back in a different form every year, and even if we get the shot to try to protect ourselves, we still may end up hit by a slightly different strain of the virus.

So what are we to do? Those of us who fear contagion from this human petri dish which we call a university may take rational precautions, like loading up on vitamins such as Vitamin C to try to boost our immune systems. We drink lots of water, wash or sanitize our hands more frequently, try to get enough sleep each night, and generally make sure we are taking care of ourselves. Even then, all we can do is pray that these measures are effective in combating illnesses.

Of course, there are others of us that perhaps still realize the threat of illness, but either refuse to acknowledge it or do not fear it like the rest of us do. These are the people who touch an elevator button, handrail, or water fountain and then proceed to eat their sandwich without sanitizing. Frequently, they claim that their habits contribute to a stronger immune system, but the rest of us are still skeptical.

Finally, the few that remain can be categorized as the hard-core germophobes. We are the brave few who prioritize our own health and that of those around us, even at the expense of functioning like a normal human being. We avoid sick people like they have, well, the plague, even if it means leaving a couple empty seats between our sick friend in history lecture. We do our best to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces, opening doors with our elbows and ALWAYS using some kind of a barrier to touch the tap and the door in public restrooms.

And God forbid that someone we live with gets sick; if they refuse to quarantine themselves, then they can expect to see very little of their germophobe friend until they stop coughing and sneezing. And naturally, the entire living space will have to be disinfected; it will most likely be drowned in successive baths of Lysol mist until every living thing, whether infectious disease or innocent housemate, is petrified in germ-fighting freshness.

Clearly, this issue creates a spectrum of possible responses, bookended by two terrifying extremes. Here's hoping that we can all take care of ourselves and prevent any major health crises in our schools or homes. But even though it's probably not worth it to be this worried or stressed about getting sick, I think we can all agree that a little Lysol never hurt.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

@abidickson01 on twitter.com

Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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