You can't see my monster.

Just for once I wish I could step out of my body and see what everyone else sees when they look at me.

My illness is invisible. It's a monster in my brain that's as massive as Mount Everest. How could no one possibly see it but me? It's my own monster, a specialty. A brand of a thing so perfectly tailored to drive me and only me so wild that I am thrown into my own personal hell. Don't worry you can't catch it. I cant even catch it. I wish I could catch it and smash it. Smash it, until it's a speck of dust on the bottom of a shoe left behind in some long lost forgotten part of God knows where on the very edge of another universe.

I KNOW THAT I AM NOT MY ILLNESS at least that's what they tell you in therapy or better yet what you pay someone to tell you. But if my illness is in my brain and my brain is essentially what makes me a ME, than I am that illness. But you cant see it, so to you I am just me. Every action and decision I make is just simply who this human being in front of you is.

Some days I wish I could just walk around with a sign on my back that says I am depressed, I have anxiety attacks, and I have sensory issues. I want people to see that I am not mean, rude, lazy, and anti social. I want to scream to those who are so quick to see only whats in front of their eyes that I have a monster. Every second of every day I fight myself to be the me that you want to see.

Some days I lose.The real person I am gets locked up and hidden away by the monster who makes it's grand appearance on the outside masquerading as me. So at some moments I am my illness and all I want is for you to see it. I want you to see that I am fighting. I want you to see that I am fragile and that I need grace and patience. Please don't alienate me or judge me for what you think I am without taking into consideration that you can't see my monster.

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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Living Life As A Chronic Overthinker

Overthinking everything has broken me down but has also helped me build myself up.


John Green's novel "Turtles All the Way Down" depicts what it's like to suffer within your own thoughts fairly well. In the novel, the main character, Aza, lives with extreme OCD and anxiety revolving around her fear of bacteria. Aza described her anxious state as being stuck in a spiral, driving herself mad via the same circular path, round and round, and being less and less able to escape as the spiral coils tighter. The main reason why I love this book so much is because of how relatable Aza is. No, I don't have severe OCD, but I do understand the feeling of driving myself mad through overthinking. I've labeled myself as a chronic overthinker, and over the years, I've realized how much overthinking has really affected me.

turtles all the way down Instagram: @thevikingsbookshelf

It wasn't so bad when I was younger. Throughout elementary school, my unstoppable thoughts kept me from sleeping an uncountable number of nights, which frustrated me and, at worst, made me tired during the day. As I matured, my thoughts became more serious in middle school. One of the biggest things that I couldn't stop thinking about was my simple inability to imagine myself graduating from high school. I cried about it often and took it as an omen, thinking it meant that I would either be unsuccessful or wouldn't live to experience my own graduation.

High school was the worst period of all regarding my overthinking. It seems petty, but drama throughout high school sent me to unimaginable lows concerning self esteem and belief in myself. I'm saving individual anecdotes for the future, so in short, I lost myself. I thought too much about pleasing others and, at some point, I just felt like a thin net of swirling thoughts that was ready to snap. I overanalyzed every word I said and every move I made. It was like everything about me was heavily calculated and premeditated, like I had a file cabinet of options in my brain that I frantically flipped through whenever I was faced with choices. Sometimes, I couldn't even spontaneously be me because I was stuck trying to figure out whether I would like who I really was or if I even truly knew myself.

Despite being blessed with supportive family and friends, I felt like I was facing my thoughts alone. People I reached out to told me that talking would help, but I hesitated to speak my mind openly from fear of scrutiny, so I actually ended up bottling a lot of things in, which helped no one. Of course, conquering this thing that's been going on my entire life has proven extremely difficult, but the load's lightened a little after experimenting with different forms of coping.

my ways of coping Jana Gabrielle

I read books either to escape to a place that isn't my own head or to explore places that I cannot stop thinking about. I draw and journal in an attempt to take whatever's in my head and physically transfer it elsewhere. I also go on downloading sprees for music to see if any artists out there have verbalized and sang about things that I can't seem to find the words to explain on my own.

Above all this, I've been focusing a lot on reclaiming myself. I've gained a lot more confidence in determining how I live without allowing unnecessary thoughts to dictate my life. It became apparent how much I measured life by consequences, options, and possible futures. It's kind of different now, though. What is a little extra sugar today going to do? So what if I'd rather take this class later than now? Who cares if I wear too much floral and too less stripes? What could go wrong if I do this or that, say this or that, choose this over that, etc.?

me drinking a macchiato Jana Gabrielle

I guess the bottom line is that there are probably infinite ways to live life, so instead of just thinking about all those ways, why not try as many of the possibilities as you can? I used to think that it was so repetitive and cheesy when people said, "Life is too short," but I realize now how right they are. No, I'm not advocating total impulsivity, but to just live life as it is. Consequences come when they must be given, and only time will be able to answer our questions of when, why, and how things should happen. For now, all we should do is give, live, and love for as long and as much as we can. It's taken time for me, but already, things seem a lot simpler.

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Instagram: @teenagefevah

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