Looking Out For Your Own Mental Health Is Just As Important As Looking Out For Someone Else's

Looking Out For Your Own Mental Health Is Just As Important As Looking Out For Someone Else's

How do you save someone else's life without putting yours at risk?

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I have always been the friend that everybody goes to for advice or for counsel.

I had learned from my parents to be empathetic and understanding of others; to always see the good in people even though their actions may reflect differently. I was taught to put others before myself; to always make sure everyone was comfortable though I may not be. I was raised to always make room for others, even if meant sacrificing your own space. Sounds like a good virtue to learn and live by...right? My parents meant no ill-intention when they taught me these core values. However, constantly giving away pieces of yourself even when you don't have any more pieces to give or letting people pour their issues and problems into you even when you're about to overflow is an extremely unhealthy practice.

At one of the darkest moments of my life, I found myself desperately trying to help others before myself.

Particularly, I was caught between the lines with a "friend" who latched on to me and depended on me for their survival. My emotional availability became their only reason to live. I felt like I was saving a life. I thought this was a good thing to do. This was the only way for my friend to stay alive, so I should do it.

Slowly but surely, however, my own mental and emotional health deteriorated. Everyone around me could see it. I was constantly sleep-deprived and anxious. My friends and mentors would encourage me to take care of myself, but I would respond with: "She needs me right now. I can't! If I don't call her or text back she'll threaten to kill herself again." I began to distance myself from my other friends. I felt responsible every time she lashed out and became suicidal again. She threatened to harm herself when I didn't text or call back. She would blame me for being a bad friend if I couldn't hang out. If I didn't provide emotional support, her death would be my fault. My best friends urged me to distance myself because I was becoming affected by it too. I refused to listen. I thought they were ignorant and apathetic to mental health. Little did I know that I was the one who was ignorant and apathetic to my own mental well-being.

One day, after an emotional break-down, my mentor called me and requested that we have a chat.

Sitting at her office, she looked stern but sympathetic. Without her saying anything, I knew that she understood the position I was pinched in between. She let out a sigh and said: "Right now, you are not responsible for anybody else's life except your own. Sometimes, it's necessary to be selfish. You have to understand the boundary between being a good friend and letting yourself be manipulated by someone who needs serious help. You focus so much on rebuilding her when you're the one falling apart. Abusive relationships don't just exist in romantic relationships; friendship, at least a true friendship, is NOT like this. You need to wake up. You need to seek help from a professional who can handle her. You cannot save someone who does not want to be saved. At this point, you're the one who needs saving."

After months of denial, my mentor's words suddenly reawoke my sense of reason.

I reflected on all the toxic behaviors I experienced in the friendship and decided that this pattern needed to end instantly. I reached out to my friend's parents and siblings and explained to them what had been happening. Together, we found the best therapists and psychiatrists in the area. We confronted my friend about her mental health and explained the urgency for her to be admitted to a rehabilitation center. Though she did not take it smoothly, we eventually came to a consensus. With the support of her family and mental health professionals, she was slowly, but surely recovering. I found myself sleeping peacefully, knowing that she was in safe hands and that her life no longer depended on my availability. Personally, I started seeing therapists and counselors as well just to make sure I was in a good mental and emotional state. I began researching mental health resources on the college-level, city-level, and even national level. When friends or family would reach out to me with critical signs of mental-health issues I immediately referred them to the resources I found while assisting them every step of the way throughout their mental-health recovery journey.

Today, I continue to become inspired by the core teachings of my parents; now, however, with much more caution.

I realized that being a supportive friend does not mean letting yourself become someone else's emotional outlet. It does not mean being responsible for making your friends happy, but rather helping them find a plethora of other ways to become happy again. With the intense academic culture that surrounds college campuses worldwide, mental health is something that needs to be recognized.

Luckily, there are many resources available.

The issue is educating people about them and teaching people the proper way to handle situations similar to the one I was in. I often reminisce the destructive situation I was put in and I now realize that it could've been solved immediately if I had just reached out to my friend's family members and mental health professionals who actually have the authority to take action. Though this experience was frightening, it opened up an opportunity to educate myself about mental health and the resources available to those who suffer from mental health issues. I learned more about how to better take care of myself and how to look out for others. Most importantly, it taught me how to save a life without putting my own life at risk.

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10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.
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We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

Cover Image Credit: chinadaily

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You Don't Need A 'Bikini Body' To Fully Love Yourself This Summer

You don't need to be stick-thin to feel good about your body.

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One of my favorite quotes of all time is, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Want to know why? Because it's true.

I could look in the mirror one day and feel totally confident about myself. Then I'll see a post on Instagram of some beautiful girl, feel awful, and wonder why I don't look like that. But there's a reason I don't look like that — because I'm me, not them.

The fact of the matter is that we need to love ourselves for who we are. We need to stop comparing our beauty to that of others. We are all our own people and we should feel confident in our beauty.

Bikini season is a major source of struggle for me and many others. Everyone is lounging on the beach in bikinis and you feel like you just want to hide under your towel. Every other photo on your social media is a super skinny girl from high school showing off her body. You will NEVER see a photo of me in a bikini on social media because I'm simply not comfortable in my body enough to show it off like that. I have always wished that I was, but at the same time, that's not who I am.

You don't need to be stick thin to feel good about your body. Every body is beautiful, and we need to embrace that. If we constantly look to others as a source of comparison, we will literally never be happy in our own skin.

Bikini season is tough as it is, don't make it tougher on yourself by allowing your mind to take over. Enjoy your spring break, enjoy your summer, enjoy your life. You deserve it. You deserve happiness.

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