It's Okay To Leave The Group

It's Okay To Leave The Group

No one should be shamed for leaving a place where they cannot grow.
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Things came before me, and things came before you. It's all a matter of perspective with other peoples' lives, and what they need to be happy. You're happy with each other, and that still brings a smile to face, because everyone deserves a place with people that help them flourish.

The thing is- I wasn't flourishing, growing, or finding myself leaving the table in a better state of mind than before. There's nothing wrong with leaving things, groups, or people that do not help you grow as a person. Some people simply grow up and don't mesh over time. I found myself becoming more negative due to the negativity the group radiated, though I was labeled a negative person in the end. I left home to find people who thought, felt, and saw the world differently than those from where I lived. I found people who, in the end, were exactly the same as those from my home. My friendships were limiting, an exclusive group that I had no interest in being involved in over time. I always had to explain why I was gone, or busy, even though I was involved in something I've loved to do long before I met you, the one thing I was really good at and could only do while I was in school. I found myself biting my tongue at dinner when people like me were insulted in front of my face. I was always the one excluded in conversations because of this. Tolerance is not the same as silence. Conversations were one sided, repetitive, and how we hung out was not much different. You never cared about parts of my life until you could use them against me. Sometimes it's more isolating to be the one at the table with nothing really in common, than to sit alone in the first place.

It never occurred to me how toxic these relationships were until someone came up to me and asked why I let myself be treated the way that I did. You see, it was never about what we believed or thought about the world, it was about how we treated each other, and those we cared about. People can only be ripped on for so long until there is nothing left to rip. So I walked away. I was restrained in a cycle of guilt for not staying and trying to make things better, happiness for leaving, and irritability from the words and backlash thrown my way. Backlash does not bring people back. Backlash pushes them further away.

I'm more positive in my life after this, even if what you have to say to me, and mostly about me says otherwise. There's a saying about no family being left behind, and while I may have been the one to leave in the end, I was pushed to leave, and no one was willing to stop me or ask why in the first place. I had to put my happiness first, because it was quickly deteriorating. I don't miss the times we had, I don't miss never knowing how people felt about me, I don't miss having to validate every decision I made that did not include you. I don't even miss not sitting alone at meals. I found that I would rather be alone every day, than have to justify my every action, thought, and belief.

I hope you find solace and happiness in each other, and I will strive to find a group that treats me the way you did each other, one that uplifts, inspires, and encourages me, and values acceptance, tolerance, and love towards any and everyone, even if they are different. When I see you laughing at your small table, I smile too, because I know that I would rather smile alone, than fake it for those who never noticed.

Cover Image Credit: Craig Dennis

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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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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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nczupek
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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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nczupek

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