When You Say "KMS", I Say "Stop."

When You Say "KMS", I Say "Stop."

Its not just something you can shorthand like "lol" and "g2g".
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"My class schedule makes me want to kms"

"Ready to kms after that workout"

"My crush is here Im just gonna kms before I embarrass myself"

kms: kill myself. Its not just something you can shorthand like "lol" or "g2g". Its a very real and serious saying. Relating it to texting language is making it seem like a way to save time on what you have to say. As if its not important enough to put effort into. Suicide is not something to mention real quick through technology. Suicide isn't something you can put into three letters. Its not casual. Its not slang. Its not like that.

You can be "pissed off" instead, or tired, or want to complain, but do not say "kms". Do not. Its personal, not personable. Its not something that should be joked about, or taken less seriously. By using the term "kms", is disregarding the fact that suicide is a real life situation, with real life consequences and feelings. The casualness of which it is tweeted about is scary to me. And its not funny, even if its meant to be seen that way. I cringe every time I see it. I stare at those three letters, in denial, shocked that someone would just say that.

If you've had suicidal thoughts, or actions, or know someone who has, you would not put that phrase out there so casually. As if it truly means nothing. As if it doesn't really matter. As if its a little thing. Its not. Its wrong for society, for teenagers, to go on throwing that term around like its no big deal. It is a big deal, and a very big one at that.

Mental health is important--its vital. And its hard to identify, treat, or overcome at times. The world can feel like a very dark place. And you can feel as if you really do not want to exist anymore, or just that you want to feel something at all, and it is not something you can put into three little letters. It is not something you can describe through a text, or a tweet, or social media. It is not something that happens over a hard workout, or embarrassing yourself, or a class schedule--although I know that those things can feel pretty awful as well. Its just not a joke and it needs to be seen in a serious light.

Suicide is scary. Be cautious about your wording, you never know what someone is going through. Know that "kms" is not the same as actually having thoughts or putting actions towards killing yourself. Know that they can't compare. Know that they are not at all the same. Know that those are two different worlds people are living in. And if you have any respect for that, or if you know personally what that is like, I can imagine you would not say that ever.

When you say "kms", I say "Stop."

Cover Image Credit: Maddi Burns

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Public Health May Be The Most Important Area To Focus On As A Society

I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua.

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Medical exploration and healthcare management has thrived throughout the 21st century, with major developments in epidemiology allowing organizations such as the World Health Organization of the United Nations to track the spread of preventable diseases such as malaria and influenza across impoverished countries worldwide. I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua when I traveled there as a Brigadier with Stony Brook's Public Health Brigade, a coalition organized by Global Brigades during the Summers of 2016 and 2017.

Working alongside other university collaborations such as Boston University, I was mesmerized by the impact that improvements such as clean water through mountain pipelines and sustainable housing could do in reducing the severity of Zika virus outbreaks in the region, as accentuated by the near 8,400 villagers with access to clean water as a result of our efforts.

These experiences demonstrated to me the value of preventative measures highlighted by the public health approach — by attacking the origin of a disease and the medium through which it spreads instead of merely treating the manifestation of its symptoms, a holistic approach would allow for the eradication of a malady throughout an entire region whilst educating the local populations about the importance of proper hygiene practices and fortified infrastructure to prevent its re-eminence. It is for this reason that I feel inspired to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health as a professional, so that I can help contribute to the eradication of preventable illnesses across the globe.

A specific area of interest that I wish to target as a field of study would be the impact of sustainable housing in the eradication of illnesses such as lead poisoning through contaminated water sources. My own experience in this particular aspect of Public Health Administration as a Brigadier with Stony Brook Public Health Brigade showed me the importance of secure infrastructure in the reduction of preventable diseases as an especially pertinent area of community health in the United States, highlighted by the water toxicity crisis in Flint, Michigan.

A recent study released by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Hurley Medical Center noted an uptick in the blood-lead concentration of Flint Children from 2.4% to 4.9% after changing their water source, with spikes as high as 10.6% in correlation with elevated levels of lead in Flint water. These elevated blood-lead concentrations put these children at higher risk for lead poisoning, characterized by reduced growth rate and learning difficulties. Purification of the available water sources throughout the region would be a comprehensive long-term solution to reducing elevated blood-lead levels amongst Flint residents.

My goals after my master's degree in public health would be to pursue a medical education and become a doctor, or go into Healthcare Administration and eventually work with the WHO of the UN to establish a more easily accessible Healthcare system across various countries to increase the number of people in impoverished areas that can be reached by doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners. I feel that a proper understanding of public health would, therefore, be essential to establishing my career in service to humanity.

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