How Visiting A Greenhouse Helps Me Manage My Anxiety

My Campus' Greenhouse Helps Reduce My Anxiety In The Winter

Spending time in nature benefits my mental health, and the on-campus-greenhouse helps me minimize my anxiety in the winter.

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Generalized anxiety has been a companion of mine for most of my life. Battling anxiety has shaped aspects of my personality and added a layer of difficulty to my everyday life and relationships. I've tried a handful of methods for managing my worry and uneasiness, but the only thing that truly brings me back to my center is nature. Everything begins to come into focus for me when I'm engulfed by the sun's warmth and vivid shades of green. This makes winter a difficult season for me.

Winter brings dark skies, cold days, and eliminates a lot of color from nature. As a person who hates the cold but finds the benefits of spending time in nature essential to my mental health, winter poses a significant challenge for me. That's why I have fallen in love with the on-campus greenhouse at UNC Charlotte.

Rain or shine, winter or spring, the McMillian Greenhouse is warm, colorful, and relaxing. It's exactly the environment I need to regain balance. On days when my anxiety is running high or I simply want a dose of nature, I carve out some time to spend in the greenhouse.

As soon as I walk into the glass-covered gardens, I can feel myself begin to relax. I swear that being surrounded by plants makes it instantly easier to breathe. I take my time as I walk through each garden exhibit, pausing to embrace the peaceful atmosphere and admire the beautiful plants each room has to offer. The experience is different each time I visit, and I always leave the nature conservatory feeling less anxious than I did when I first got there.

So for the 18.1% of you who struggle with anxiety (and for the rest of you who don't), next time you're feeling overwhelmed or uncertain try taking a stroll through your campus greenhouse. You might just find that it lifts your spirits and offers you a soothing space to seek clarity.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

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

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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The Old Oak Tree

A short poem about returning to one's childhood home.

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Looming over the burned-out house is an oak tree,

Hundreds of years old at least.

The smell of smoke is gone, but skeleton of the house remains,

A mere speck when compared to the tree.

Whose branches reach out to me like hands,

Begging for me to come closer.

I do.

I sit under the tree like I did when I was young.

The ground is damp from the rain,

I feel the sogginess soaking through my jeans.

I remain.

It is cooler under the branches,

A limitless amount of leaves shades me from the daylight.

I stay there. All day.

Staring at the charred remains of my childhood home.

I stay there until fog begins to form in the crisp night air,

Cold and sharp against my cheeks.

No longer able to withstand the cold, I take my leave looking back once more.

It's nice to know that even when I'm gone,

The old oak tree remains.

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