P.S. I Love You Day: Bringing Togetherness Against Tragedy

P.S. I Love You Day: Bringing Togetherness Against Tragedy

Marist Sophomore, Brooke DiPalma, combats suicide and depression with her powerful organization
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Depression. A solitary illness that infiltrates without warning and tantalizes without mercy. It isolates its victims into an enclave of inferiority, coercing them to live in a distorted rock bottom. Depression doesn't show signs of physical manifestation, yet the pain travels through veins and crevices of the body. Depression makes itself right at home. It constructs an exterior facade, fooling everyone into perceiving that its victims are fine. It is sleepless nights and days spent wondering, what's the point? What's the point of lying wide awake smothered in blankets of despair at 3 a.m.? What's the point of going to work? Talking to friends and family? Being productive? Or simply being?

What's the point? More often than not, victims of depression simply do not know. Despite their SOS signals, calling for help to the outside from within, we've failed to find those answers to help.

For Marist College sophomore, Brooke DiPalma, depression affected the man she loved most: her father, Joseph DiPalma Jr. On April 23, 2010, a beautiful Friday morning, she saw her father one last time on her way to school. His last words to her were, "I love you," before he committed suicide.

He was a hero, an honorable member of the West Islip community, someone who laughed often and smiled proudly. He was a devoted family man and friend, always looking out for those dear to him. Soon after, she felt lost. She just began high school, and felt unsure of where to turn, what to do. Days once spent with creating special memories with her best friend, vanished without warning. She had to adjust to a new routine, a new way of life without her number one, go-to guy by her side.

And then, in the midst of it all, she remembered those last three words her father said to her, those three words that so often, people do not feel worthy of receiving: "I love you." From that moment on, she made it her mission to combat depression and suicide, and spread positivity, love, and tolerance. It is now her mission to create lightness and unity against darkness and tragedy.

Seven months later, Brooke used those three words, along with the stigma surrounding depression, to build P.S. I Love You Day. It aims to create kindness withstanding depression, and promote togetherness as a force ending tragedy. P.S. I Love You Day is held every second Friday of February and on this day, everyone wears purple to represent the fight against bullying, depression, and suicide. What began as a West Islip High School Class of 2014 event grew into an international movement, with help from her high school peers and her determination. From there, it began to spread into other schools as a club and a program run by student governments, and other clubs with similar missions.

In 2012, Brooke created a YouTube video that has inspired over 70,000 viewers. From there, she spread her message, idea, and vision at leadership conferences, and continued to bridge communities together. Now, P.S. I Love You Day is a non-profit organization, and her passion continues to grow each day.

This year, P.S. I Love You Day falls on Feb. 12. She hopes that 60,000 people across the globe will wear and create a sea of purple, to show that no one is truly ever alone. On Feb. 12, P.S. I Love You Day will continue to bridge communities together, and inspire the masses to be kind.

To help her reach this goal, it starts with us. We have the opportunity to ignite positivity, come together as one, and set a nationwide precedent. On Feb. 12, wear and bleed purple, and show your support.

Depression may be a powerful villain, but its more powerful enemy is love. With one day, we can create an inspiring message lasting a lifetime. We can bring light into the darkness.

Make sure to check out: https://psiloveyouday.wordpress.com/the-story/ and follow: https://twitter.com/psiloveyouday.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/139724036127382/photos/a.139724499460669.21489.139724036127382/139724502794002/?type=3&theater

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

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I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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College Is NOT The Place To Be A Perfectionist, In Fact, It's Nearly Impossible

Accept it and move on.

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Life is hard for a perfectionist, and it only gets harder if it keeps itself up.

There is such little room for a perfectionist to mess up, and college is full of mess ups. That's why no one should expect themselves to keep entertaining the thought of perfection past high school. You can always chase it and never reach it, or you can work as hard as you can and get exactly where you want to be.

I was a perfectionist my entire life.

People always criticized me for it and said it would come back to bite me later. Of course, I never believed them because it worked out in my favor. I was getting where I needed to be and all the self-discipline is what I assumed got me there. Fast-forwarding to the present, they were right. It did come back to bite me. Actually, it is biting me.

I was setting myself up for failure all that time and I ignored it. I was only after perfection up until college because it wasn't that hard to obtain. I didn't have to study and I had time for my friends. But then things got harder out of nowhere and I was not prepared at all to shift the standards I had for myself.

As a perfectionist, I constantly compared myself to other people and made sure I was doing better than the next guy, or at least just as well. That didn't work for long. I stopped competing with others because I learned that no one is worth beating if they aren't even chasing the same goal. And that helped me learn to quit competing against myself, too, because we're on the same team.

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College is like the triangle you can only pick two things from. On it might be grades, free time, and work, and you have to give up free time to have a job and good grades. A perfectionist will try so hard to get all three, and they may be able to at first. But it catches up with you.

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As long as I'm actually trying as hard as I can and I learn from every hiccup and mistake, things will work out the way they should.

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