In order to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, I decided to address mental health and all the controversies surrounding it.
“You are so crazy” is a phrase that has been repeated about me, especially after my discovering my psychiatric diagnoses.
“Are you sure this girl is NOT bipolar or schizophrenic?”
“You are completely irrational.”
May is a very important month for me, as it marks mental health awareness month. As a person who struggles with mental health issues, as it may be one of my biggest problems, I find that bringing awareness to the universal health issue and speaking freely about mental health combats the stigma behind mental health issues.
While mental health issues are prevalent worldwide, our society seems to have managed to continue to make it difficult for individuals to seek help, get diagnosed, and share their diagnoses openly. In my experience, talking about mental health issues, specifically my diagnosis, automatically makes others feel uncomfortable, as they slowly begin treating me differently. My mental health diagnosis literally has resulted in numerous friendships ending, which did not surprise me, as I have been informed by a variety of people, including professional doctors, old friends, strangers, etc., that I am “too much to handle.”
To break the ice, my diagnosis is complex PTSD, which I have been dealing with since childhood, six types of ADD and ADHD, both of which I have dealth with my whole life, OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, and phobias. I am a fairly well-rounded individual.
The two specific diagnoses that tend to steer people away from me are my complex PTSD and my panic disorder.
While every “disorder” that I have been inflicted with is “very extreme,” I have managed to be fairly successful and functional when performing the task that I call life. I cannot imagine being the person I am without these diagnoses and the symptoms that accompany it. I may not be pleased with certain qualities about myself, as a result of one of my handful of disorders, but I can say without a doubt that if I had never been labeled with these disorders professionally, I would feel a lot better about the way that I react and act.
Once an individual gets diagnosed, it is super common for an individual to be confined and defined by the disorder. You are more than a label, and the symptoms you experience are just as a result of your unique brain chemistry. It may seem that your mental disorder(s) are holding you back, but this is not the case, unless you allow it to. Working around your symptoms is important, as it is vital to learn to find coping mechanisms and ways to continue living the functional life that you are capable of living.
People may attempt to belittle you by using your mental health as the theme of their belittling. This has occurred to me more often than not, and I would define this as the most commonly used blow, in order to attempt to bring me down, or fill me with self-doubt.
The stigmas surrounding mental illness are prominent, as we have not transitioned into a accepting society. The stigmas instill embarrassment, and the most common instillation is shame. These stigmas that we have enforced into our society have left people feeling afraid of seeking proper help and of disclosing honest information about the state of your mental health.
While our country advertises the importance of seeking help and the praises the courage of the individual for seeking help, there are many factors involved in seeking professional help that contradict this statement.
Seeking professional help and care is extremely expensive, even with the assistance of health insurance. Committing to a treatment plan is painful these days, as I begin to wonder if my mental health is worth the large investment that I know I will have to make.
Participation in treatment is a long process, and often requires a lifelong commitment.
With my particular situation, with more disorders than you can count on one hand and that I can remember, receiving a proper diagnosis and a correct diagnosis cost around $3,000. With a proper diagnosis, which can take many sessions, you can continue to move forward with depleting your bank account, as purchasing a monthly medication prescription adds up very quickly, even with insurance. My medication, without any health insurance, came out to the grand total of $2,000 a month. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether the medication is covered by insurance, the cost of your medication can fluctuate.
While professionals are very qualified, they are capable of making mistakes, as the wrong medication, or a medication that does not help you, could be prescribed to you. With my situation in particular, the variety of disorders and the severity of my symptoms led to large amounts of cash being wasted on medications that do not assist me. Medication is very expensive, regardless, once again reaffirming how difficult it is for individuals to seek help.
All these factors play a huge role in discouraging acting on seeking help.
The financial and lifelong burdens of being inflicted with these mental disorders are enormous.
Stigmas behind getting diagnosed and seeking help are completely negative. Stigmas are powerful and have the ability to control and define individuals, as a result of how much society capitalizes it. Similarly, our society loves to shame those inflicted with a “disability,” which is what those inflicted with mental disorders are defined as. In addition, the attaching the words “disorder” and “illness” to describe , or otherwise label, one’s mental health only implies negative emotions towards the situation.
While we have made headway in the acceptance of those who may suffer from mental health complications, “more major illnesses,” such as bipolar, schizophrenia, and PTSD, are the most stigmatized mental disorders out there. The complexity of these disorders make individuals discouraged about learning about them, let along attempting to understand them. I will admit that even I have a very big struggle attempting to conceptualize and understand what I am feeling and how these symptoms effect me, all while attempting to control these symptoms, in order to live a comfortable life. Stigmas often to lead a world of problems that bloom, as a result of the negative connotation associated with mental health disorders. You are not sick if you have possessed a proper diagnosis! These negative terms are half the problem. The other half of the problem is that individuals often feel too ashamed, or afraid of judgement by others, to disclose to others what they have been diagnosed with. It is incredible how quickly people are willing to figuratively “swipe left,” and not even give those struggling with mental illness a chance. Not openly speaking out about mental health and your own situation only strengthens the falsified idea that mental illness is something to be ashamed of.
Even at 2018, I have found it quite surprising how little individuals speak out about their mental health. Fortunately, with my ADHD and my six types of ADD, I love talking non-stop and forget to consider how uncomfortable these topics make people. However, I have found that living in secrecy is dumb, plus, I love to complain, or talk about my life. My mental health and the obstacles I face with controlling my symptoms is such a big part of my life, and there is never a moment that I do not think about it.
Okay, I am exaggerating. On a good day, I can not think about my professional diagnosis for only about five minutes maximum. Even when I am asleep, my PTSD manages to creep its way into my dreams.
I guess from first glance strangers would not correlate myself with the diagnosis that I have. Most often, when disclosing the PTSD part of my diagnosis, people tend to shut down, give me a look of pity, and engage in attempting to understand how someone with PTSD appears to live a fairly normal life, without avoiding responsibilities.
Speaking up about mental illness, in particular PTSD, openly has helped me more than I expected, though I was not pleased with the outcome.
Recently, I was in an Uber and hit a standstill with my treatment process and being able to control my symptoms. For some reason, I could not resist making a “trauma/trigger joke,” and the Uber driver ironically goes, “PTSD, much?” My reaction was so happy, as I disclosed that I actually did have PTSD. After sharing this information, I immediately realized how uncomfortable this could make a stranger feel. Regardless, the Uber driver also had been diagnosed with complex PTSD, too, so the comment slowly began to lose its awkwardness. This young man gave me amazing advice about how he combatted his symptoms and spoke with me about what PTSD felt like, which we both concluded felt like “a an on-going, loud war within your brain.”
We jinxed each other, when we both attempted to decide how to describe living with PTSD. He did not get me a soda, but he did give me some hope and some coping mechanism skills to try when my thoughts begin racing with trauma that I have experienced.
I love complaining about my symptoms sometimes….Nope, just kidding, I love making jokes about my mental conditions in order to attempt to take the stigma out of the disorder. I have the PTSD jokes down. While I am enduring one of my major panic attacks that can last for up to 24 hours, with a side of flashbacks, nightmares, racing thoughts, and reliving trauma, I tend to have time to think about great jokes as I am living the experience. This applies to all of my mental disorders, including ADD, ADHD, OCD, and social anxiety.
Here are some of my best jokes to throw around:
1. “There is no amount of adderall or vyvanse that could possibly make me do anything.”
2. “I am not procrastinating, I just have to clean because I have OCD.”
3. “Having PTSD is exciting, because you never know when you are going to be triggered.”
4. “Everyone hates you when you have ADHD.”
5. “Be prepared to be PTSD-ed.”
6. “If I tell you that I have PTSD, will I give me a break?”
8. “When you are inflicted with PTSD as a child, you are allowed to have low-energy levels, because you have been fighting a war since ‘nam.”
9. “PTSD taught me how to deal with myself, as I am forced to hang out with myself because I am too afraid and triggered by other people.”
10. “Don’t call me traumatic, I have PTSD.”
11. “Hi, my name is Aichan and ADHD is my game.”
12. “If you are looking away to get a quick, dramatic response from me, try messing up my daily routine, triggering me, or assigning any kind of homework that contains a headline.”
13. “I can’t tell if I hate having ADHD more, or if I hate going to class more.”
14. “I do not have social anxiety, I just hate new people.”
15. “Do not trust anyone, because everyone is your enemy. I got trust issues #PTSD”
16. “Harry Potter and I have a lot in common, mostly his PTSD.”
17. “Just call me the ADHD bunny, not the energizer bunny.”
18. “What is OCD if you do not color-code your notes and re-write them perfectly?”
19. “Yes, you are allowed to drink my water, but I would rather have you drink your own water.”
20. “I blame my PTSD for not ever letting a grudge go, because I can never forget it thanks to my nightmares and flashbacks.”
21. “My favorite hobbies, include “anxiety-ing,” organizing and re-organizing my studio apartment, spending 12 hours deep cleaning my apartment, doing the same stuff everyday, procrastinating, looking like I may poop myself when I am simply just panicking, TALKING, TALKING, TALKING, and trying to utilize positive coping mechanism skills.”
I still struggle with acceptance and loving my diagnoses, despite the challenges that come with it. The greatest part about my unique, extensive and almost unbelievable diagnosis is that no one will ever meet anyone like me. I am an acquired taste, with a brain that never rests and always working. While things can get hard and I can get salty, I know that there are many benefits that came out of having to live with the symptoms.
I do not know what the big secret is. Is it your mental diagnosis?
If it is, stop keeping the secret and spill the beans already.
If you do not even know what the big secret is, then you are missing out completely and you need to get familiar and educated. Finding out your biggest secret, otherwise known as your mental health diagnosis, is the best Christmas gift that you could ever receive.
The longer you wait to get yourself this present, the harder you are making things for yourself.
A lot more people have received their best Christmas present, and you would be surprised how many people receive treatment, attend therapy, and engage in medication intake.
Secrets do not make friends, so open your mouth and spread the word. The more you are willing to address and acknowledge the “so called illness,” the less power that it will have over you.
Mental health is a very important part about living a full and happy life. While mental illness is very prominent, access to these outlets for treatment, help, etc. is limited and does not allow for many individuals to truly follow through and work on their mental health.
If you are struggling to control your symptoms, try to remind yourself that your brain is a muscle, and therefore, it can be trained, or rewired, to react differently towards situations, control your stream of thoughts from unfolding, etc.
Speaking out about mental health openly should be allowed ALWAYS. What are your personal experiences with mental health? Have you ever sought professional help?
If you are struggling, lost, or just bored, give my friend therapy a try. I haven’t hung out with my therapist and my psychiatrist since ‘nam, but I would recommend therapy to everyone, as it is nice to have someone you can trust to talk to about ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. You can even use your session to complain mindlessly, and they must listen to you. For someone that loves talking and cannot seem to shut my trap, therapy is my best friend.
Finding a proper therapist, or team of specialists, that are willing to work with you and are a good fit is a process, which may take a long time, or it may take a very short period of time. The key is finding people who you can be comfortable with, and if things do not work out, try again and look for other specialists.
Becoming comfortable with your team of specialists is also a process, as not everyone is meant to work together.
I have faced rejection from many doctors, who have said that my diagnoses are “too extensive” and that “it would require more energy and time to work with me than they would like.” My first psychiatrist and therapist admitted to me that when he found out my diagnoses, he was “VERY HESISTANT TO TAKE ME ON AS A PATIENT.” In fact, he disclosed that after meeting me he “DID NOT WANT TO TAKE ME ON AS A PATIENT, BECAUSE I WAS TOO COMPLICATED.” I have heard these kind of statements from a wide-variety of individuals, which has made the hunt for a specialists incredibly difficult. At times, it has been completely discouraging and these statements have stuck with me since I heard them.
While there has been negative aspects, or hardships, seeking and finding my “perfect team,” I know how healing having this kind of support can do for someone’s mental health, for their overall well-being, and for their overall sense of confidence.
Finding outlets where you can express yourself freely and talk honestly about things that you may not otherwise address is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. By speaking and being open about your life, not only can you receive advice, but you can also begin to work on getting to know yourself, getting to know the things you need to work on, etc. This is all much more helpful with the assistance of an outside observer that genuinely has your best interests and knows you honestly, as they can identify behaviors, reactions, thoughts, etc. that you engage in when stressed, when triggered, when anxious, when emotional, when focused, etc.
The greatest thing about therapists, or specialists in this area, is that they are not there to punish, scold, etc. you, they are there to provide a sense of safety, a sense of stability, a source that you can trust, a source that does not judge you, and a source that only wishes to help and to support you.
In reality, with my extensive diagnosis, which can be considered a “double whammy,” I am supposed to be participating in therapies, such as CBT, CPT, and exposure therapy. Similarly, my diagnoses make me more than qualified to have A TEAM OF TRAUMA SPECIALISTS to help guide me through life. In addition, a life-coach also is highly-recommended and beneficial for a young thug like me, even though I do not like listening to other people.
Let me be the LAST PERSON to admit that I NEED HELP!
THERE IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.
•SEEK HELP, UTILIZE HELP, & GIVE HELP•
♥♥♥♥It is #TIMETOTALK ♥♥♥♥
According to Oxford Dictionary, body shaming is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” The issue of body shaming has become very prevalent in our society, as at least every person has experienced some sort of body shaming within their life.
Recently, as the prevalence and the extremity of the nature of the body shaming has become worse, more individuals have begun addressing the issue and attempting to take a stand against this social issue that has begun affecting many individuals lives. Technological advances have only assisted body shamers get their horrible messages across, whether it be over social media or text.
Celebrities, such as Demi Lovato, have taken a stance against body shamers, who go out of their way to poke “fun” and take low jabs at individuals just to make an insensitive comment about the shape of their body.
It is ironic, while we all understand that not one person on this universe is going to look the same, let along have the same body type, we are not very accepting of this theory, as we seemingly go out of our way to express judgement about other people’s bodies. One’s body shape is something that can be altered, or toned, but never fully changed. In fact, no one ever had the chance to choice what kind of body they would have when they were born, so this kind of bully behavior is completely unfair and heinous.
Body shaming was first associated with individuals who shamed those who people may consider “curvy,” “fuller,” “plus-size,” or “fat.” Those who seemingly had a curvier, or bigger boned, figure seemed to be the main target of body shamers. This is a misconception, as “skinny,” “frail,” “emaciated,” “anorexic,” “bulimic,” and “tiny” individuals, or lean individuals, are also ridiculed for their body shapes, as well. It seems as though no one can seemingly win.
The misconception behind body shaming revolves around the idea that this term only applies to those who may be considered “larger,” but this is not the case. Body shaming can occur to anyone, including those lanky individuals out there.
As a person who is considered petite, I have experienced my fair share of body shaming, as I have been relentlessly taunted for my small figure.
One may think that being called “tiny” or “so skinny” is a compliment, but to a certain extent, it does everything but reassure me and make me better.
I have been called “anorexic,” “bulimic,” “too skinny,” “emaciated,” “disgusting,” “frail,” “unhealthy,” etc. to name a few, as a result of my small frame.
“Ew, stop! I can’t look at you. I can almost see all your bones, that’s gross.”
“The fact that I can see your chest bones protruding out is disgusting.”
As a very bony and petite person, it may not look like there is “much to me,” as I have been told.
Just because my shoulder bones are sharp, my elbows are bony, my butt is bony, and my chest bones are visible, it does not mean that I am any of the labels listed above.
This is just my body.
It hurts a lot.
I can only imagine what others have been called, but we can agree on one thing, and that is that it does not feel good to be humiliated or to have others passing judgement on your body. You already do enough judgement over your body yourself – the position is already filled!
I can name seven handful of times where I was scrutinized for my weight and it most certainly did not make feel good.
At a party one time, my two friends and I ran into the bathroom to pee and get some quality girl time. There had happened to be a scale in the bathroom, and while I do not use or believe in weight scales, I thought it would be fun to see how much we all weighed together if we added all of our weights up. So, I stepped on the scale without worry for scrutiny, however, as soon as the number 100.2 pounds appeared on the scale, this individual did not waste a breathe on mentioning that my weight was completely unhealthy and that I was too skinny.
What I needed to realize was that, no matter how I tried, which I tried hard for many months, that I was never going to be over 108 pounds maximum, which is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
The scale just tells you a number and it should not dictate your life, or give you an excuse to pass judgement on someone. Just because most middle schoolers probably weigh more than me, it does not mean that putting my weight on blast is going to make things better. Putting me down, or attempting to make me feel insecure about my own weight, is not going to make me lose any weight, nor is it going to make me gain any weight.
As a 22-year-old woman, trust me, I would love to gain some weight and look like I actually went through puberty.
I hate having to buy kids’ jeans in size 16, just so they will not be too baggy, as sometimes adult sizes do not fit me. I may be saving money, but I don’t particularly want to shopping in the kids’, or teens, section.
I want to weigh more than 105, which is my highest record, due to the stigma surrounding my low weight.
After hearing a lot of body-shaming comments about my petite figure, I have found it difficult from time to time to truly express how proud I am of my body and how happy I am in it. I have found it incredibly difficult to dress the way I would like to and I refuse to wear body hugging clothing, sticking to baggy clothes.
I chose to hide my figure instead of show it off, because of the backlash I have received that has made me feel uncomfortable to dress properly for my size.
Oversized hoodies, oversized t-shirts, sweatpants, flowy pants – you name it.
I would rather have had people focusing on other aspects of me other than my own weight.
Many people have their own ideas of what is “healthy,” or what is “not healthy,” but bringing others down if they do not meet your requirements for “healthy,” or “unhealthy,” is not remotely productive. Not to mention, these people are often not professionals.
For someone who gets called “unhealthy,” or “gross,” I have been told by a handful of professional doctors that my physical health is actually impressively healthy. I was even told that my blood pressure was so healthy that it was shocking, and while this may come as a shock, I do work hard to stay as healthy as I can.
While my fast metabolism seems to not let gain weight, this does mean that I do not eat a lot. In addition, I try to follow a fairly strict exercise regiment, by hiking at least three times a week and walking as much as possible. Beyond this, I have cut soda completely out of my consumption and rarely consume alcohol. If I do consume alcohol, I only drink tequila. These not so small changes allow me to feel good, and most importantly, feel good about my body, despite what others say.
Beyond these things, my heritage, Japanese and Ethiopian, also play a part in my slim body shape. Generally, Japanese and Ethiopian citizens tend to have smaller body frames, so my genetics also play apart into my smaller body frame.
Trust me, people have attempted over feeding me for months
“Oh my god, that girl needs to eat a cheeseburger,” an elderly woman mutters under her breath about me.
“The cheeseburger is on you, right??” I think to myself. Otherwise, I am not about to purchase a cheeseburger because I am lactose intolerant, and mainly because I do not have anything to prove to anyone.
These kind of comments get me extremely aggravated, as I am a very exceptional eater and cannot help my body frame.
Beyond this, it is incredibly rude to make comments about a stranger who you do not know and honestly makes me uncomfortable.
As a society, we attempt to be aware of the toll that body shaming can take on one’s mental health, physical health, and emotional well-being, but we never do anything about it. Naturally, human beings are entitled to their own opinions and pass judgement without even realizing it, however, basing opinions and judgements about someone based on their body shape is beyond disturbing and very malicious.
Human beings, both girls and boys, are very insecure about their outward appearance, especially their faces and their bodies. Any criticism towards these features can truly leave someone feeling very hurt and insecure, as many issues can develop from persistent body-shaming.
It is confusing, because human beings universally enjoy feeling good about themselves and this is something that unites us. Ironically, though we enjoy feeling good about ourselves, we intentionally go out of our way to make someone feel bad about themselves, which is once again creating a division between us.
No matter if you are big, small, lanky, short, a midget, black, white, fat, overweight, obese, average, athletic, meaty, or muscles, no one should ever make you feel bad about your own body, in which you perform life and utilize on a daily basis. Your body is truly your temple! You should respect, but so should others around you. Not everyone is going to respect your body, or even appreciate it, however, as long as you respect, love and appreciate it then it should not matter.
This society has become preoccupied with negativity and the act of bringing others down, which has exasperated issues, such as bullying, body-shaming, etc. Hate acts are being performed everywhere and people have found that bringing others down, or humiliating them, temporarily makes them feel better. Rather than celebrating and appreciating people for who they are, outward appearance aside, people have become consumed with tearing people down and attempting to humiliate them for reasons that are unknown.
We should be proud of the skin that we are living in, not living in shame and torture.
While you cannot control others and their opinions, it is important to realize that there are millions of individuals who have to deal with body-shaming, so understand that this is not something that you should be embarrassed of. Many people can relate to being body shamed, regardless of if they have the same body type as you.
Body positivity groups have become emerging to help support individuals of all body shapes and sizes to come together, help each other, and assist in spreading the word that it does not matter what body shape and what body size you are. All that matters is that you are feeling happy and comfortable in the body that you are in.
Even though the media and popular culture glamorizes being “too thin” and defines beauty based if they are skinny or not, beauty is not based on being slim. What angers me the most is that the media and popular culture has placed so much emphasis and importance towards your outward appearance that this overwhelming pressure to meet these standards have even sent celebrities over the edge. A person’s self-worth, character, and personality is NOT based on their physical appearance, especially their body size and body shape. The media and popular culture seems to tell us differently.
The goal of body positivity is not to be “skinny,” or achieving your perfect weight, it is to be happy, comfortable, confident, and healthy in your body! This does not mean that you will always feel good in your body. There will be days where you feel fat, bloated, gross, etc., but do not fret! This happens to us all, INCLUDING ME.
For those of you who are quick to tell me that it is “impossible” for me to feel “fat,” because I am “so skinny,” or “too tiny,” I am afraid that it is possible. I am a human, and no matter what, I am a human who is allowed to have off-days where I am feeling “fat,” “blah,” “bloated,” etc. I am just like every single one of you! The idea that “skinny people” are not allowed to feel fat, bloated, etc. is ridiculous and unrealistic.
Constantly attempting to live up to this impossible standard body type set by popular culture is going to be the death of you, as trying to keep up will actually end up hurting you more than helping you. Attempt to ignore the societal norm completely, and stop comparing yourself to others, and simply work on yourself and your own body.
Working hard to finally feel good, confident, happy, and healthy in your body is not an easy task, however, it is very worth it! There is never a better feeling than feeling confident in the body you are currently occupying.
This month, as bathing suit season is upon us, work on celebrating others, creating a body positive atmosphere, and not engaging in body-shaming others!
Help others by uplifting them!
Do not worry body-shaming someone will perhaps give you a moment of relief, until two moments later you begin to realize that you are unhappy with your own body.
Beyond this, what good does it do to intentionally be malicious towards someone about something that they cannot help?
If you are truly frustrated with someone’s body shape and body size, blame it on their genetic makeup, DNA, parents, their metabolism, their exercise routine, etc. Just do not blame them for something that they did not have any say in.
Even my parents did not have a say in what my body type and my body size would end up being, so at this point, there is just no reason to be mad.
I may not have asked to be born, however, my contract with life never disclosed the lifelong body critique competition that I would be participating in without my own consent or knowledge.
I must say that I am dealing with a tough crowd.
To the women that told me I need to eat a cheeseburger, I would prefer a McDouble from McDonald’s, no cheese, with large fries and a large Oreo McFlurry. And, since all-day breakfast exists, I would also like to place another order for about four hash browns, please.
Please do not be spiteful and learn to appreciate people, their bodies, their existences, their souls, their personalities, and their happiness! Plus, no one really asked for your opinion on my body, so keep your opinions to yourself.
Do not let the shamers get you down.
Because, they hate you, because they ain’t you.
#NOBODYSHAMEZONE #BODYPOSITIVITY #YOUAREBEAUTIFUL #LOOKATWHATYOURMAMAGAVEYOU
What are some of the ways that you combat negative comments about your body, or deal with body-shaming?
“Aloe vera juice?!?!”
“I did not know this even existed!”
“Aloé is the stuff I put on my skin. Why are you drinking it?”
Alō is not the only company out there that produces an aloe vera juice drink, as there are a few other major manufacturers that produce aloe vera juice. Often, these aloe vera drinks can be found out grocery stores, such as Whole Foods Market, Alfalfa’s, and Natural Grocers. I have always been able to find aloe vera drinks at these retailers, but some King Soopers locations should also carry this delicious drink.
I was first introduced to this drink about five years ago. Since then, I have been hooked on it.
I am a bit biased, seeing that I love juice and find myself always craving juice, even at the ripe age of 22. While the juice is referred to as a “aloe vera juice drink,” it only contains 25% juice. So, if you find yourself questioning why you feel too old to be drinking a “juice drink,” only remind yourself that you are only 25% too old to be purchasing a juice drink. This drink, while it caters to my sweet tooth, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I admit for a drink that is a non-GMO, aloin-free, and gluten-free, can be too sweet to those who have not tried the drink before. Honestly, the fact that it is so naturally sweet and is able to curb my sugar tooth cravings is why I am such a big fan of it.
Other than the mild sweet flavor that accompanies the drink, the juice also contains chunks of aloe vera, which is probably my favorite part of the drink. The texture of aloe vera is almost like a gummy bear, or anything gummy. For those who have tried boba balls in their drink, aloe vera has a very similar texture. The taste of the aloe vera is subtle and not overwhelming at all, but the texture of the chunks of aloe vera seem to sometimes throw people off. For some, the texture of the aloe vera chunks is a deal breaker, but for me, it sealed the deal. Now, I cannot imagine a world without this aloe vera juice drink.
My favorite flavor of the drink is the mangosteen and mango flavor, but they have an assortment of flavors that range from aloe + honey to an assortment of fruit flavors derived from aloe vera. My second favorite flavor of this drink is the simple aloe vera + honey flavor, which may cater to the tastebuds of the more simplistic crowd. The aloe vera + honey flavor is much simpler, and as a result, a pinch less sweet than the aloe vera + mangosteen + mango flavor. My third favorite flavor is the aloe vera + watermelon + peach flavor. I am not the biggest fan of anything that is usually watermelon flavored, so I was hesitant about trying the flavor, but I became a big fan very quickly. The peach juice and the watermelon juice compliment each other very nicely, without overwhelming your tastebuds with a full palette of sweetness.
(Do not worry – this drink does not contain any artificial flavors, preservatives, or coloring! This applies to all the diverse flavors of the drink!)
This drink is great for curbing your sugar cravings, especially when water and tea do not seem to be cutting it and seem boring. It is a great alternative to the sugary juice drinks that you find in your local grocery store aisles, which is a great way to begin cutting out a lot of that junk out of your daily diet. Trust me, though, I know how good juice tastes, especially when it is full of sugar. I can chug an entire gallon of any juice in a matter of an hour, sometimes faster.
I admit that purchasing this drink has left a dent in my wallet, as it is not the cheapest drink in the market. I have yet to find a way to purchase this aloe vera drink in bulk, rather than having to buy the drink individually, which obviously adds up. As a young adult on a college budget, I can say that this kind of healthy goodness does not come cheap. I suppose for me healthy goodness comes at the price of $3.74 a bottle, plus tax.
To complain about the steep prices of this glorious drink would be a waste of time, as it serves as a source of a comfort “drink” for myself. If it means that in order to be comfortable, happy, and healthy, I MUST PAY $3.74 FOR SOME MOMENTARY HAPPINESS AND ETERNAL BLISS, I WILL TAKE IT.
Consumption of aloe vera serves as more than just a great drink, as its’ consumption has many health benefits. Beyond the fact that aloe vera contains alkalinity, which is great for kicking illness and staying healthy, it assists in liver functioning and constipation, it contains a wide variety of vital vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin B, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and folic acid, and it is great detoxing product. In addition to all these benefits, consumption and use of aloe vera products can have major beauty benefits, such as clearer skin, more hydrating skin, etc. For vegans and vegetarians, aloe vera juice can be a great way to get a handful of nutritious boosts, without having to break their bank and their dietary guidelines.
The great part about this drink is that it truly caters to just about everyone’s nutritional choices, without offending anyone. While only containing 70 calories, drinking aloe vera juice does far more good than bad, confirming that it is worth every cent, penny, nickel, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar that I spend on this “expensive commodity.”
“Treat yourself,” they tell me. So, I do with some thirst quenching aloe vera juice.
What are your favorite “non-adult beverages” that you love to indulge in? Let me know in the comments below.
If you have tried aloe vera juices, what are your opinions on the juice and what is your favorite brands?
Stay hydrated, my friends.
May is full of so many things, so many changes, and it marks the beginning of summer. There is one important thing I would like to particularly acknowledge about the month of May (and no, it is not the fact that my mother’s birthday is in the month of May, though that is important to remember), and that is that it is mental health awareness month! THIS IS A SUPER IMPORTANT AND PRECIOUS MONTH TO ME, AS WE DISCUSS AND BECOME AWARE OF ONE OF MY BIGGEST PASSIONS. Mental health is an incredibly important aspect of many individual’s lives, even those who do not know it, so now I am here to celebrate and acknowledge it all.
My homage to mental health awareness month will begin by encouraging everyone and anyone to seek therapy and help, even if it does not seem necessary. In addition to seeking therapeutic help, to please take care of the state of your mental well-being. I also encourage as many individuals that I can to go get yourself diagnosed and seek help – it may be more useful than you think. You also may need it more than you think, as our daily stressors take huge tolls on us and can sometimes become overwhelming.
I am finally relieved to see society beginning to acknowledge the importance of mental health, and by dedicating a full month towards mental health, it allows us to speak up about and acknowledge the mental health crisis that is flooding our society to this day. I truly hope that one day mental health issues will be in the forefront of controversial discussions and will not be seen as a stigma, rather a unique way that a human operates during daily life.
Our mental health affects us more than we know – it affects the way we live, the way we build relationships, the way we learn, the way we think, etc. Many aspects of our lives are directly affected by our state of mental health. Lack of treatment of our mental health can lead to severe lifelong issues, and may cause further problems and hardships for oneself down the line. If mental health affects our daily lives, why wouldn’t it be considered a more monumental issue?
Personally, getting diagnosed, receiving treatment and medication, and attending therapy have all helped me effectively work on issues I personally struggled with, and am still struggling with today. However, finally getting a proper diagnoses from a professional doctor was the best day of my life. Just when I thought things could not possibly ever fall back in place, receiving a proper diagnosis actually made life seemingly a bit easier and a little less stressful. Do not be afraid by the diagnosis or diagnoses you receive, as they are just labels, or names, for certain behaviors or issues that you may be experiencing internally and externally. Just like we name our cars, pets, and stuffed animals, diagnoses are just labels to help categorize the type of problems you are experiencing. While there are stigmas attached to each and every diagnosis, how you choose to take these labels is up to you. I would choose to take them not personally, and somehow learn to celebrate them. I swear the days go by much faster when I am not dwelling on the fact that I am stigmatized to be an “insane psychofreak.” These labels are simply, once again, are just labels to help identify what you are living with. They are nothing more, and they are nothing less.
Therapy also has become a place for me to safely express my emotions and feelings, something that I barely do, and it was a place where I could be honest with someone. I am able to work through my hardships with someone, and knowing that you have that kind of support truly helps bring a sense of stability in your life. I am very lucky, however, to be able to access treatment and medications, but it is not to say that it has not been a struggle finding the correct team of doctors to assist me through life.
Do not get it twisted, therapy is not a place to get fixed, IT IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN GET BETTER AND IMPROVE. I had this attitude towards therapy, viewing it as a place I had to attend in order to be fixed. This confused me, because despite my flaws, I did not think I needed to get fixed. But, NOPE! That is not the point of therapy, I swear. If you are seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who ever tells you that you need to be fixed or that the medications will fix you, switch as soon as possible. The stigma behind therapy and seeking help is that you are attending it in order to fix all your problems, but that is also impossible. Therapy can do a lot for you, and with your general well-being and happiness, but it cannot fix you.
One of the greatest things I have experienced through treatment is that I have been able to source and recall times in my life when I did not feel very stable. I soon would begin engaging in detrimental behaviors habitually as a result of my instability, not knowing how to handle life stressors healthily, the biochemical makeup of my own brain, and a lack of behavioral structure, among many things. These behaviors often would discourage me from living out my daily tasks and obligations the way I wanted to, and almost stopped me from truly living my life to the fullest. For many years, or really as far back as I can remember, I could never break the cycle of these behavioral issues, as they soon became a habitual practice of mine. Not to mention, they caused me to live an unclean, self-destructive, unhealthy life, which resulted in FAR MORE problems and issues of my own that I never thought I would or could ever come across. I remember always knowing that how self-destructive I was, especially when things were going well for me. I remember always thinking about I needed to celebrate and f**k s**t up, after doing well and behaving myself for a few months. My parents even began noticing that as soon as I took three steps forward, I would immediately take five steps back. Leaving my relationship with my parents, close friends, etc. at a real standstill. As a result, it made my life extremely difficult to manage, and it was completely unclear how much longer I could engage in the self-destructive behavioral cycle. Now, I know there is behavioral therapy and counseling for engaging in these impulsive behaviors. Though I meant well, my behaviors most certainly would not show it. I struggle especially with a constant need for immediate satisfaction of my ego, so let’s just say I love to have fun doing whatever it is that I am doing. At a young age, I began satisfying my ego with alternative substances that quickly made having fun easy. At some points, I just craved something to do or “the next thing” (party, hang out, concert, movie, etc.). A lot of my bad habits came out of boredom and an inability to realize how much my boredom was truly taking a toll on me. For me, these alternative substances helped numbed the stresses of the ambiguity of life, as well as my constant need to be “perfect.” All these small “issues” turned out to be bigger problems, as I went undiagnosed, untreated, and the issues were ignored. I knew, at this point, what I was dealing with was more than one mental health disorder.
Engaging in detrimental, impulsive behaviors is a symptom of many psychological disorders and will lead to a worldwind of problems, drama, and stress. In a recent study, social psychologists conducted experiments directly correlating crime to low serotonin levels. The results of the experiment insinuated that individuals who commit the worst of crimes, such as murderers, serial killers, etc. have concerningly low serotonin levels. These low serotonin levels directly disrupts cognitive decision making skills, your mood, your social behaviors, sleep habits, among many other health and behavioral issues. This lead social psychologists to assume that the state of a criminal’s mental health is somehow correlated to levels and severity of crime. Or simply stated, mental health can be directly correlated to destructive behavioral patterns and criminal behavior, whether you are a murderer, drug kingpin, drug addict, or simply just someone who steals. Criminals often have underlying issues, resulting in resentment, animosity, and overwhelming pain that leads them to often act like this. However, this is never taken into consideration. If society were to take another study on unlawful behavior, I believe they would find that mental stability and health plays a monumental role on the destructive actions, unlawful or lawful, that criminals engage in. Other factors, such as environment, your personal experiences, and the decisions you make in life also affect the levels of serotonin in your brain.
Now, I am not saying that the crime rates worldwide would just completely dissipate if everyone received treatment, rather just insinuating that impulsive, sometimes amoral, criminal behavior could be as a result of an underlying, more serious issue. In a perfect world, criminals would have access to medication, therapy, behavioral intensive therapy courses, and help. Instead, the world once again stigmatizes criminals, considering them incapable, leading them to engage in the same self-destructive, sometimes unlawful behaviors that they were locked in for. Therapy and behavioral intensive therapy courses truly helped me break the cycle, and I hope that some day, even criminals, will have the opportunity to receive help, re-learn new healthy behaviors, and ultimately feel better about themselves.
While psychology is a relatively new practice, and there is still so much to be researched, many doors for further research and different specific practices have slowly become more accessible. Therapies, such as art therapy, experimental therapy, and psychotherapy have become valid options for treatment. Similarly, our society has begun further researching the use of MDMA, LSD, and marijuana in psychological practices on patients suffering from mental health problems.The problem with society is not the lack of information on psychological matters, as we as a society have great access to incredible amounts of psychological information, but it is the societal views, expectations, and stigmas surrounding mental health disorders. Instead of viewing mental health issues as a normal health issue, we have begun stigmatizing all psychiatric disorders as a crippling disease. It is almost as if they have stigmatized it to be as crippling as cancer. Personally, it almost seems as if society is afraid of mental health patients, as a result of our extensive of knowledge. In the United States, however, we have so much access to psychological knowledge, and have encountered it so many times that it almost seems silly that we have not become a more accepting society towards mental health patients.
This way of stigmatized thinking towards psychological disorders is something that our modern day society needs to steer away from, as we should slowly, or QUICKLY, begin accepting the heavy impact and the heavy presence of mental health issues within our own society. In addition to stigmatizing mental health, society also has stigmatized the individuals struggling with these diagnoses, often implying that they are incapable of success. This is far from true, as many of our brightest individuals struggle with some of the most impacting mental illnesses. It is quite confusing to me that an individual, who has been professionally diagnosed and is seeking treatment, should be considered disabled, and furthermore impaired. A health issue should never be allowed to be used against you, especially in a society where we are supposed to love, care, and celebrate our differences. Those battling mental health problems are simply not disabled, and enforcing that debilitating, degrading mentality around is simply not okay. This only leads to putting fear in individuals heart’s, making even the most brave and courageous fearful to find out their fate, with the potential to seek long-term help.
My experience receiving help was humbling, frustrating, embarrassing, fearful irritating, and full of emotions for me, as I received my diagnoses for the first time. I LITERALLY FELT EMBARRASSED AND SCARED TO GET MY OWN PSYCHOLOGICAL DIAGNOSES. I felt this way simply because of the need to feel “wanted,” “accepted,” and “normal.” Whatever these words mean. MY ONE QUESTION TO SOCIETY IS WHY SHOULD ANYONE EVER FEEL EMBARRASSED, ASHAMED OR FEARFUL TO BE RECEIVING HELP? DON’T WE PROMOTE THE IDEA OF SEEKING HELP WHEN NEEDED? Truly, no one should ever feel like this, unfortunately society does the opposite.
All members of our society, even those battling mental illness, should be accepted by individuals, however, that is not the case. I have noticed, with my own experiences, that people often get scared or steer away from you even upon talking about mental health problems just in general. I found out the hard way that therefore people felt even more uncomfortable around me once I was diagnosed and was open with them about it. It is truly surprising how many people are shocked that I am diagnosed with seven psychiatric evaluations, but more shocking is the fact that most people cannot even tell that I struggle with these things. Yes, I had to find out the hard way that I not only had six types of ADD, but I also had ADHD, four types of PTSD, severe OCD, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, severe social anxiety, and naturally, I have serious phobias. Not going to say I was not pleased with the fact that I had every anxiety disorder, plus ADD and ADHD, however, these are the cards life has given me. And, I would not have it any other way.
Sometimes I laugh, because each of my psychiatric diagnoses contradict each other, making it hard for me to cry for very long, be bored, or be unhappy. And, sometimes I cry because I have been fired from four jobs the last year, and because I cannot seem to sit down and submit an essay or complete a quiz, just because I procrastinate and have a fear that what I turn in will not be perfect. I swear I could sit and write multiple variations of an essay, and never end up turning it in out of straight fear that it will not be perfect, and as a result, I will not be perfect. It absolutely drives me insane. Some days, I truly enjoy cleaning, organizing, and reorganizing my entire room for no reason. And, other days, I get frustrated that I cannot leave my house, due to my overwhelming anxiety. For what it is worth though, my OCD is so bad that I do the same thing, basically at the same time, every day. So, it is incredibly hard for me not to be doing the same thing every day – I HATE CHANGE AND BREAKING MY ROUTINE. This makes it even harder sometimes to hang out with friends, especially if I have been hanging out with myself for a few days now. MY WHOLE SCHEDULE IMMEDIATELY BECOMES WAY MORE STRESSFUL. A great thing about my OCD though is that since I’ve picked up blogging as a habit, it’s become a habitual way for me to start every one of my mornings. And, just to restore some fate into humanity, even during my worst panic attacks, some of which can last up to 20+ hours, as a result of my anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ect. being triggered, I seem to somehow manage to work through my shifts, go to class, take tests, engage socially, and be a human. Even when I am profusely shaking, or crying, or sweating, or hypervigilant, or antsy, or my heart is profusely beating out of my chest, I can seem to manage a smile and to handle life as gracefully as possible. So, for what it is worth, it is possible to succeed. The world will always be your oyster if you let it be, even if you have been inflicted by mental illnesses.
Finding out how uncomfortable I made people feel sometimes and how uncomfortable psychological illness made people was a little bit unsettling for me, as I began wondering how on Earth anyone else was going to be able to be able to get through this uncomfortable, semi-humiliating process. I tried for months to not make people feel uncomfortable around me, but then after a while I broke down, and just decided to let me be me and talk about my mental health issues if I so pleased.
All these thoughts and emotions are okay and relatively normal, unfortunately. Do not fret though, it took me 21 years to finally get the courage to help myself out a little more in life. So, if you are feeling hesitant and/or dismissive towards the idea, trust me – I have been there. Most of my life, especially with societal stigmas, and the cultural background I grew up in, I dismissed ever receiving therapy and proper treatment, considering myself a “normal” human being. No one wants to be labeled “disabled,” “incapable,” or “impaired” for that matter and you never want to feel less than anyone else. These are all normal feelings that you may feel if you ever decide to reach out for help, but do not let these negative thoughts cloud your spirit. Understand that psychological health issues are much, much bigger than the stigmas associated with them. ALSO, NOT GOING TO LIE, IT FEELS GREAT TO BE ABLE TO LIVE, BE HUMAN, KICK LIFE’S ASS, AND PROVE EVERY PERSON AND EVERY STIGMA THAT THEY ARE WRONG FOR NOT BELIEVING IN YOU, DESPITE BEING CATEGORIZED AS DISABLED.
As a global community we should view our mental health patients as warriors, not victims. Each and every day, us warriors live, we are breaking down the walls and barriers that encompass modern day mental health issues. Not one of us is any braver or more courageous than one another, just simply living through and pushing through the pain, and uncertainty is a monumental act. Never forget that.
I beg you this summer, or whenever you come across this, to either research and study about psychological disorders, or maybe even seek therapy, especially if you have been struggling. Most individuals do not know that many psychological disorders become apparent, during an individuals young adult life. Whether it be seeking therapy, medication, or both, I believe that mental health should be held to a higher value in our society, as it is often ignored, stigmatized, and set aside as a minuscule matter. Let me ask you: if your friend was truly bothering you every day, would you ignore the matter completely and turn a blind eye towards them? Maybe even consider them disabled? I did not think so, and I sure do not hope you think that way. Such close-minded thinking does not allow our society to grow, to adapt, and to most importantly, become a better, loving, coexisting society.
In another perfect world, our society, and even the worldwide population, would make all health issues, including mental health issues, the utmost priority, as it continues to resurface all over our world. Additionally, every single human being would be able to seek and have access to resources for help, including receiving medication, long-term treatment, and a professional diagnosis. And, of course, money would not be an issue, as mental health should be completely covered by health insurance companies. I would even go as far as to say that everyone would be medicated each on a unique medication regiment specifically molded to the needs of every individual and their unique biochemical makeup of their brain.
The unique biochemical makeup of your brain is something you should be proud of, and something you should be happy about. Never forget to remind yourself that getting a professional diagnosis is not something you should be ashamed of, feel held back by, or something that should be ignored or silenced. When a health issue is ignored and silenced, that is when the health issues exasperate – that is something that I had to learn the hard way.
Do not be silenced by the stigmas of our society, and feel free to always openly speak out about your own personal experience with mental health 🙂 Silence and ignorance is best combatted with knowledge and your words.
Before the month of May ends, I deeply encourage you to take a look at the world of psychology, including the role its’ presence plays in our society, and the way that it directly affects people. Research and study about issues you may be struggling with and stay aware about current HEALTH ISSUES. MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH, AS WELL.
If you are truly feeling courageous, or feel like you need a helping hand, I also encourage you to join me in my fight to bring awareness to mental health issues, as we learn to celebrate and embrace our inner demons!
P.S. Please never hesitate to comment or share your own personal experiences and battles with mental health ❤ I would love to hear your own unique stories and your own personal experiences, as they all need to be heard! All of you fighters out there inspire me!
There’s something about starting every morning with something meaningful and unique to oneself. Whatever it is, morning rituals are important to everyone. Even if you do not even think about it, we all have a set of steps that we follow each morning to guide us in the right direction and get us in the mood to attack each and every day.
Mine is dictated by music, a cup of coffee (sometimes a huge one!) and donuts, showering, and blogging. I usually try to color, hike and write a daily list of blessings when I have the time, as well. I keep my mornings fairly simple for the most part, but also fairly active. The other day I went to the sauna, and some days I go through filtering through my emails. Some days, my daily morning rituals are cycled in for new hobbies that I would like to discover, so truly morning rituals can be dependent on the day and what you personally feel like. But, for the most part, the coffee and donuts are incorporated.
I try to make my mornings a time to get pumped up and hyped for my day that’s about to steamroll by.
Some people may stretch, others may go to the gym, some of us make a cup of tea and wind down – it’s all unique and personal to each and every one of us.
Sometimes, we need to switch up our morning rituals, as our needs become different, due to uncontrollable outside forces, such as a different work schedule, changing time zones, late nights out, new class schedules, etc.
It is important to set time aside for yourself in the morning, since I believe that it is the time that we all have the most energy flowing within us and when we can think the clearest, since our minds have yet to be clouded by our day’s messes and stressors. Mornings are also big dictators for our mood the rest of the day sometimes. Therefore, how we spend our mornings is important to each and every one of us.
Making your mornings a priority just for yourself is something I would recommend. I love being a morning person – I feel like I get the most out of my days waking up early in the morning. Plus, it leaves me with more time to adventure, be curious, and live. I always notice how much I appreciate my mornings when I have to work early, or only during my mornings. I honestly believe that spending time making morning rituals are important for your own personal sanity!! There’s nothing I hate more than sitting with myself bored and not sure what to do with my mornings.
Cycling in other activities into your mornings can be fulfilling. Whether you like your mornings jam-packed with activities or full of lounging, depends on your mood, your personality, and your general energy levels. Keeping my mornings simple is a personal preference.
Either way, mornings are a great time to spend with yourself, accomplishing small tasks, lounging, and being with yourself. If you are beginning to get to know yourself, starting with spending your mornings independently is a great step!
Cherish your mornings and make them fun! We only have so many! What are your morning rituals?