Support A Belle, Love A Belle

Support A Belle, Love A Belle

This is why Mental Health Awareness Week is so important.
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As a co-chair of SGA Social Concerns, I am in charge of planning Support A Belle, Love A Belle, SMC's mental health awareness week. Thanks to a busy September, it's a week of events on campus that often go unnoticed. But this year, I want everyone to stop and take a moment to not only come to SABLAB events, but also recognize why we have them.

When most of us hear Saturday Sept 10th, we think, first home football game! Tailgates! Push ups!

But, it's also World Suicide Prevention Day.

Each year, over 800,000 people die from suicide, more than war and homicide combined. More people are attempting suicide than ever before in our history, but why?

Why?

Suicide is so preventable. If more people knew the facts about mental illness, depression and anxiety, if more people knew how to recognize when their loved ones are struggling, if the stigma surrounding mental illness was broken, maybe then those are contemplating suicide could be helped before it's too late.

We should all learn how to recognize the signs of depression, learn the right way to approach people we see struggling and start to feel more comfortable doing so. We could help stop a loved one from reaching such an awful point emotionally.

We also need to try and eliminate the stigma that comes with mental illness. Many people struggling with depression don't want to reach out to their loved one's for help, because they feel uncomfortable or afraid. What if they're judged? What if they're told it's just a phase, or to get over it? What if they're told depression isn't a real illness? Mental illness is a real, uncontrollable illness just like any physical disease, and people need to learn to treat it as such so those who need help can feel comfortable asking for it.

About a week or so ago, I posted on my SMC class page asking for volunteers to share their personal history of mental illness at a SABLAB student panel. I didn't expect many volunteers: it's already a sensitive and very personal issue, and mental illness is not something commonly discussed on campus. I thought I'd be lucky to get one volunteer.

I was wrong. So many brave, strong, empathetic, incredible girls messaged me volunteering to talk. Not only did it prove mental illness is more prevalent and relevant than we think, it also proved so many belles want to help each other, encourage each other, and fight the battle against mental health stigma.

September is a busy month--from clubs having their first meeting to ND football starting back up. Everyone's heads are spinning, everyone is busy, everyone is in a rush, and everyone's planners are packed. But this September, stop and come to some of SABLAB's events; you never know just how big an impact it may have.

Cover Image Credit: Allison Sanchez

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.

nadoty
nadoty
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Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.

nadoty
nadoty

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