Poetry On Odyssey: I Can Hear The Bells

Poetry On Odyssey: I Can Hear The Bells

A poem by Kate Tayler.

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When I was in ninth grade, I was forced to sit through a three-hour assembly on relationships.

'Sometimes, red flags are hard to see,' the woman said.

Oh, there were workshops and discussions and warning signs galore.

'You're all smart girls,' the woman said, 'And when that warning bell starts ringing in your head,

trust it.'

We dismissed this poor woman's fantasies right off hand.

We cited "red flag behavior" in the silly day-to-day banter that freshmen chose as their mother tongue.

'What could she possibly know?' we sneered.

We pushed the woman with her well-intentioned advice to the depths of our minds

With algebra and biology and other things

We'd never need to know.

My first relationship came at the end of my junior year.

I was seventeen and he was nineteen.

'How mature I must be,' I thought. 'He wants a girl like me.'

Ding

There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't want to spend in my company.

'How lucky I am,' I thought, 'To be considered such a large priority.'

Ding

He said my friends were nice, except for those three. They were bad, which was something, he said, that anyone could see.

'How sweet he is to be looking out for me.'

Ding

Small disputes became large battles for him.

'Well, at least he cares,' I thought.

Ding

My priorities, my commitments, my free time became luxuries of the past.

Ding

I began to pull away from the people, from the life I loved.

Ding

I became someone I'm not.

Ding

Ding

Ding

'You're a smart girl,' the woman said, 'But sometimes red flags are hard to see.'

She was right.

Red flags weren't always blatant.

Sometimes they bought you presents and thought they knew what's best for you.

And sometimes

Red flags even said 'I love you.'

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

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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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're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Vaccinating Your Children Should Be A No-Brainer If You Want Them To Be Healthy

Don't you want your kids to be happy, healthy, and successful?

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First of all, vaccinations do not cause autism, so let's just dispel that myth right from the get-go. For real though, it shouldn't be a difficult conclusion to make when tasked with vaccinating your children, loved ones, or even yourself.

Most people have a tendency to only believe certain things they hear or read about, and ignore what they don't want to believe. Why is it that when the CDC tells us romaine lettuce is not good for consumption everyone is immediately wary of every leaf of lettuce everywhere, but when the exact same organization proves definitively with scientific evidence that vaccines save lives and prevent deadly pandemics its considered propaganda or lies?

The whole point of a vaccine is that it introduces the body and immune system to a disease or virus in a small enough dose that the virus is not contracted and no harm is done. When confronted with foreign antigens, the body produces antibodies to fight them.

Diseases that once crippled human civilization as a whole, namely infections such as smallpox, polio, and the measles, have been all but eradicated and are no longer an imminent danger because the majority of people are vaccinated for them.

Introduction to these viruses via controlled and lab-orchestrated doses is the safest and most effective way to ensure that you avoid contracting the disease. The vaccines do in fact contain the virus it is aiming to prevent, but the antigens are either killed or weakened to the point of harmlessness before being injected. It is possible to still get sick from these injected antigens, however, the virus is weaker and will not do as much damage.

The human body is an amazing mechanism. After being introduced to certain antigens and creating the proper antibodies to protect us, our bodies "remember" the virus, and if ever confronted with it again, they can fight it with ease.

You may say, "But I got my flu shot and still ended up with the flu, and its because I got the shot", but this is untrue. There are actually three types of influenza, and within each type, there are many more strains. Scientists and medical professionals analyze tons of data from past flu seasons and look for tendencies and patterns to best predict which version of the flu virus will sweep across the globe. If these predictions are wrong, we could be vaccinated for a different influenza strain than the one that we are susceptible to contract.

Now does this mean you shouldn't get your flu shot or any other vaccination for that matter? Absolutely not. It is significantly more beneficial to get the vaccination for whatever ailments could plague you because prevention is always better, easier, and less painful than treatment.

Aside from the personal health dangers that arise among anti-vaxxers, if you are not vaccinated or if your children are not vaccinated, you are putting everyone around you in immediate danger. Children's immune systems are especially fragile, and if your child is not vaccinated he or she is much more likely to be a carrier of a harmful disease that could then be contracted by other children.

Vaccinations are about more than pride or distrust in science and medicine; they are a matter of life and death in some cases. It is unfair to subject others to dangerous diseases that could injure and possibly even kill them. Much like secondhand smoke, they could suffer from decisions that they had nothing to do with when they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At this point in the course of human development, there is plenty of evidence to prove that vaccinations do no bodily harm and will only benefit the recipient in the future. To all my anti-vaxxers who have made it this far: please reconsider your decision. Not only are you placing yourself at risk for contracting a potentially fatal disease, but you are also endangering those around you that you may inadvertently cause harm to. Please vaccinate yourself and your kids, and the world will be a better, safer, healthier place to live.

And if I haven't changed your mind, I hope I've at least made you consider the health of other people besides just yourself.

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