Never Call Someone With Anxiety 'Crazy'

Never Call Someone With Anxiety 'Crazy'

It’s like making someone with a disability feel incapable.
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Well, 3:30 a.m., we meet again.

And no, I’m not drunkenly at McDonald's with friends celebrating the weekend, I haven’t done that since college...or, uh, ever. I’m also not the spouse in a horror movie obsessively placing wood on the fire in our newly purchased haunted home.

Nope, tonight I’m in bed, and though I brushed my teeth, shut off the light and put my phone down hours ago, I’m still very much awake.

Here’s a little bit about me:

I don’t drink coffee past 4 p.m., I try to take melatonin at around 10 p.m. every night, and I practice yoga breathing because on the nights when it’s an option, I want some control over the sleep I get, but sometimes my brain has other plans.

My brain thinks 3:30 a.m. is an excellent time to go over things that I can’t at that moment, or in general, control. Like how I should be taking better care of myself, whether I’m progressing in the way that I want to in my career and how I should be reaching out to long-distance friends and family more often.

Well, those are the more reasonable concerns that cycle through my brain anyway.

But sometimes, despite my best efforts, my thoughts circle back to times in my life that aren’t entirely productive to relive. Like remembering that one time that that person that means a lot to me inferred that I’m crazy.

Listen, mental illness is no friggin’ picnic. I’ve been around it in one form or another my whole life, and it’s often trying on those who aren’t directly suffering. But you know what’s worse? What the ones who are directly suffering are going through.

It can be consuming, debilitating, isolating and make you feel like you’re inches below the surface, frantically swimming in place with a cinder block tied to your feet.

I can’t speak for everyone, only myself, but I can say with some certainty that even indirectly referring to people with mental illness as crazy is hurtful beyond measure. It’s offensive.

It’s like making someone with a disability feel incapable.

Mental illness is a hot topic right now because of all the mass shootings that have happened, but let’s get something straight.

Google defines crazy as, “mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way”.

Though not the sole definition of the word, it is a definition commonly understood in society.

There are varying degrees of mental illness and a majority of people living with it can not and should not be considered mentally deranged or aggressive.

Here are some statistics according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

In the United States, One in five, or 18.5 percent, of adults suffer from mental illness.

One in 25, or four percent, of adults, experience extreme mental illness that, “substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities."

And 18.1 percent of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder.

That’s 40 million people that suffer or have suffered from anxiety.

The point is, mental illness is fairly common. Anxiety disorders are fairly common, just ask John Mayer or Howie Mandel, and though there’s much debate as to whether the occurrence of mental illness is actually increasing, it’s most likely not going to go away either.

Granted, you shouldn’t call anyone or make anyone feel as though they are crazy, and especially not someone who suffers from a mental illness. Perhaps this snapshot will help float some further needed perspective into cyberspace.

Cover Image Credit: a-lish147 / Flickr

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.
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When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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My Multilingual Journey

It wasn't always easy, but it was worth it.
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Ernest Hemingway once said, ”There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” This statement can be deciphered in many ways. For me, it can be related to my own personal experiences as a writer. Writing is a process that requires so much of my innate being. It is a task that I find both difficult and cathartic. The one thing that makes writing such a conflict is my multicultural and multilingual background which provides diverse resources for my writing but can also make me insecure about how to express myself.

Between my parents, there are the cultures of Britain, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (in addition to American culture as a result of my parents' immigration and my upbringing). I, myself, speak (and depending on the language, read and write) six languages. When I sit down to write, filing through all these cultures and languages can be such a daunting task that it can take me up to twenty minutes to construct a single sentence. I find myself befuddled by words that I want to use but can not find an equivalent in the English language. Or I find that the experience that they have asked me to write about in the prompt is something I have never experienced before.

The differences in the cultures that are in me and the culture I live in often find themselves at odds with each other. My path to literacy has always found itself contrasting with my warring background. Languages clashing and mother-tongues getting in the way. It is perhaps a miracle that I can read and write today. In this paper, I discuss how I became literate reflecting on my long-winded but important literacy journey and how it shaped my view of literacy as a way to reflect my diverse cultural and linguistic background.

The fact that I can speak, read and/or write six languages has been more of a nuisance than a help at the beginning of my literary journey. Since I was a young girl, I could speak multiple languages and interact with people from different and diverse cultures. When I was in the sixth grade and was asked to write a “personal story” by my English teacher, Ms. Sessions, I struggled immensely. I sat during the 45 minute class period without writing a single word.

I wanted to tell the story of me making parathas, a type of bread popular in the Southern part of Asia, with my grandmother. However, I was conflicted because I felt it was an experience that none of my Western classmates could relate to. My desire to conform contrasted with my innate identity. In his essay, "The Fortunate Traveler: Shutting between Communities and Literacies by Economy Class," Suresh Canagarajah talks about his own struggle to write in a way that would be appreciated by his Western colleagues and superiors as well as his friends and family in Sri Lanka. Canagarajah also discussed how his bilingualism affected his writing. He states, ”The Tamil of my oral interactions influences the English of my writing” (25).

I have almost the same kind of experiences that were much more foreign and exotic than the experiences of my Western peers. I did not want to be deemed strange so I chose to not express myself at all, instead of embracing my ability to speak in so many languages.

The Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu I speak at home leaks into the rhetoric that I scribbled in my English classes. It is deeply embedded and unavoidable. This felt like an obstacle early on when I was asked to write assignments about personal anecdotes because I had a desire to conform with my Western classmates but I also wanted to talk about my family.

My classmates had stories of vacations in the Poconos and playing softball. I spent my summers in the hot tropics of South Asia inside Mosquito nets. I played with chickens and walked on mud roads. These experiences made me feel alien and I failed to write cohesive stories due to the fact that I was unable to communicate my experiences fully due to the lack of vernacular in the English language to describe my cultured, distant journeys.

Ms. Sessions almost failed me in writing in the sixth grade due to the fact that my essays felt messy and strangely ordered to her. She found my descriptions befuddling and I could explain that there were no words in the English language that could describe my vibrant anecdotes. I was devastated and felt helpless because I did not know where to go to seek help. No one shared my problems. No teacher, nor any classmates could sympathize with me. In those moments of isolation, I resented the cultures that made me who I am, because they also made me lonely.

The process of becoming literate and having my peers appreciate my writing was difficult. Sometimes, when answering questions, I would use words from other languages that were not English. This made my classmates uncomfortable with me and my teachers flustered. The cultural clash caused my confidence in my writing and reading skills to further deteriorate. Even in my preference of literature, there were contrasts. I love the familial tales of Nobel Prize-winning writer Rabindranath Tagore, but I also had great admiration for the dystopias created by George Orwell. Two authors who were culturally and stylistically so different and yet I felt that they both connected with me and my writing in a deep way.

Perhaps I was beginning to discover that coming from contrasting cultures and speaking multiple languages also gave me the ability to connect with many points of views on varying specters. In his article “Cultural Schemas and Pedagogical Uses of Literacy Narratives: A Reflection on My Journey with Reading and Writing,” Ghanashyam Sharma describes studies that had observed that students originating from Africa and Asia had difficulties writing literacy narratives because in these cultures the writer is never viewed as the creator of knowledge. English compositions require the author to talk about themselves in a very personal, reflective way.

This is rooted in the fact that Western societies like America are based on individualism. In contrast, Asian societies such as China and India are based more on the filial structure. When asked to write about myself and my experiences, I felt discomfort, because, at home, my family never asked me to reflect using my own personal lense or point of view. Rather, they asked me to always take into account how an experience was for all the people in our family unit.

When I wanted to do something, I had to take into account how my mom or dad would feel as well, because cultural that was the norm in my home. For this reason, often my anecdotes were marred with red pen marks for being too short and including very little details. I felt that this would be my reality forever and I would never improve. How could I possibly explain to my peers how hard it is to condense myself into two pages without going into the nuances of my complex background?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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