struggling with mental health

To Those who are Currently Struggling

You are loved.


Before you begin, I want you to know this article contains sensitive material on suicide and mental health.

In light of recent events in the news and media, I wanted to write this article because it is becoming harder each day to see a light at the end of this tunnel. With the recent deaths of celebrities Anthony Bourdain, famous television chef, and handbag mogul, Kate Spade, suicide has been at the forefront of most social media platforms.

I am glad to see friends and strangers alike being able to openly share their stories and opinions on mental health and suicide, an issue that has affected many of us in serious ways. It is encouraging to see people be able to share their stories and receive support from those closest to them. The suicide hotline is constantly being shared across my feeds, which is a helpful resource for many in distress.

One of the "calls to action" that has risen from these recent deaths is the theme that urges people to continue to "check in" on their friends. This aligns with the theme that often no one sees it coming and even those in dire distress and extreme emotional despair show no warning signs before completing suicide. This places the responsibility on the friends of the individual suffering from metal health issues.

Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I encourage everyone to be the best friend they can be. Though, even the best of friends, who is both consistent and routine in monitoring their friends health, is sometimes not enough. I myself have struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies. I have a wonderful family and support system that is and has always been by my side. Though I am recovering now, I wasn't always ready to share my darkest details with them and often covered my true feelings. This is something many of those battling depression do so as not to appear a burden on their friends and family.

So, then the question is: if I can't save my mentally ill friends by constantly checking in on their mental stability, what is the solution? I, like many in today's culture struggled with this answer, both in my own battle with depression and after these recent deaths.

I am someone who fought and sometimes still fights her way out of the depths and the only answer I can give to those also struggling with depression is this: reach out. Do not be scared to ask for help. The people in your life love you, regardless of what mental state you're in, and want to see you on the earth. I fought and fought and fought this idea for so long until I realized the only way I was going to make it out of my pit was by asking for help from others.

I regularly see a therapist. It isn't weird (she's totally rad and we text sometimes) and I recommend it to everyone. We set goals and boundaries together, indices' someone I can trust. When I feel like I'm about to spiral, I reach out to a trusted friend instead and remove myself from the situation. Even if I'm napping on a friends couch, I know it's better than locking myself in my room alone and disappearing into a bottomless void. Just sitting with someone else, even if I need to cry or be silent is better than being destructive to myself. It took me a long time to learn that my family and friends wanted me here, contrary to what the voice in my head says. I know they want to help me and that I am not a burden in their lives.

So, for those of you reading this who may be struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts: reach out. Yes, your friends should and can check on you whenever possible, but they cannot help you if they don't know. Things get better. The sun gets brighter. You have so many beautiful and wonderful things that have yet to happen to you and you need to be around for them. Mental illness is a massive hurdle that cannot be overcome alone. Find a hand to hold and grip tight, even when it's painful. There is so much more love in you left to share.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Min An from Pexels

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.


When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

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