Helpful Links, Mental Health/Wellbeing

How My Campers Brought Me To My Next Venture

My summer job consists of being a kids camp supervisor at my college. Not only do I get to influence the kids, but they’ve already taught me so many things. While a lot of people look at children as mini adults, they’re more different than we think as they are still going through developmental stages. This makes them unique and fun to observe.

This also calls for the blunt honesty and raw emotion they show the world. I’ve seen kids cry, scream, mope, panic, etc. over the most insignificant things; that is, to me and other adults as it is real in their head.

It must just be the future social psychologist in me that has been so attentive to and thus inspired by the variety of children I’ve met. This day camp has an age range of 5-15 and nearly 70 campers at times, so it’s pretty easy to imagine the entertainment I get paid to witness.

Before this summer, I had been flowing through life still trying to figure myself out mentally. Now, however, I see that I’m still not ready to meet her yet. I am still learning just like all of my campers. Of course the levels of knowledge/intuitiveness are a little different in comparison.

In referencing learning, I’m not limiting this strictly to academics. I also mean spiritually. This idea came about as I began to relate to the kids at work, see myself in them, which lead me to crave the old feelings of euphoria, confidence, and curiosity that came so naturally in childhood.

Since then, I have been watching videos on getting in touch with yourself/inner being, having an open mind, meditating, and all of this other spiritual practice/thinking. (I will link below a few of the videos I enjoyed the most) No, I am not going to try everything but what matters is that I am going to try.

Humans have the potential to control their reality as it is subjective and a result of their own actions. With this power, it’s not so hard going back to the mentality of a child (minus academic knowledge) and just letting ourselves flow with the universe. To feel deeply, ask tons of questions, and just try to have fun.

Some may say this is hippie mumbo jumbo, but I see it more as putting my potential as a human to the test and allowing myself to grow. I am sad that this summer camp is coming to an end but am just feeling very grateful for getting the opportunity to have this job in the first place. Can’t wait for next summer, just so I get to learn more from these genius weirdos we call kids.

I am going to keep you guys updated with this new spiritual journey I am embarking on and would love to hear about yours as well as any insightful moments you’ve had when conversing with children. Comment below or email me.

 

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Helpful Links, Mental Health/Wellbeing

My New Friend Art Therapy

I know I’ve still been pretty MIA, but it’s for good reasons. I’ve put a lot of effort into my job, have been getting some things at home back on track, and have also been channeling my artistic side. Mentally this has been great and I feel stable/satisfied.

As this is a rare thing for someone like me, who’s constantly battling anxiety attacks, I have made one promise to myself. The promise is that I will continue to stay in touch with my inner artist whether it be with painting, drawing, jewelry making or dance.

By expressing my inner emotions through these different outlets rather than with words, I am releasing any tension and making room for more happiness. I also have been quite proud of my most recent creations which I’ll post at the bottom of this entry.

I have always been interested in the hands-on arts, but never put anymore effort into them than occasionally creating a piece. That’s because I forgot how good it feels to create something with your own mind and hands that you can show to others and admire anytime. This has also led to me to putting more of my original work up around our bedroom and other rooms in the house.

Now I am not saying I am going to focus all of my attention on my art, but I am going to make an attempt to keep it as part of my normal distressing routines. It may be my OCD, but I am a big believer in routines or plans. In fact, I have a list of activities that I can do to relieve anxiousness.

In past blog posts, I have mentioned things like exercising, listening to music, and performing acts of self care as different anxiety tools. Lately, painting/wire wrapping has been added to my tool box and I recommend it to anyone looking for a calm way to distract yourself or emotionally express yourself.

No, you don’t necessarily have to be artistic to paint or draw; it is important, however, that you let the creative juices flow and listen to your both your heart and mind. You may be surprised at how pleased you are for the end. This time doesn’t have to be freestyle either as you can look up tutorials or even follow along with some episodes of Bob Ross!

Below I have posted the links to two videos I thought were intriguing in terms of psychology and art. With my recent revelations, I do see how creating can make you feel more empowered, relaxed, and content. Enjoy and please share your creations in the comments!

 

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Uncategorized

Social Media Absence

Hello everyone, I apologize for me being MIA more recently. I am working part time and taking an online class, as well as doing some fun things for summer, and helping my mom around the house. I have missed blogging, and am excited to hopefully be back as I’ve created a schedule for myself.

On the other hand, not logging on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even here, felt refreshing. For once, my full focus was on my own life and those closest to me instead of on complete strangers who I sometimes find myself comparing myself to. Therefore, I have decided that I will not be as active social media wise as I was before. This does not mean that I care any less about my journey or encouraging/inspiring others to start their own, but more that this is what need to better my mentality even more.

I encourage anyone who finds themselves constantly refreshing apps or social media sites out of boredom, depression, anxiety, etc. to take a break.  This doesn’t mean immediately avoid going on anything; it means to take small steps to minimizing this technology time. I started with the elimination of phone time in the middle of sleepless nights or right when I am getting up for the day. Yes, sometimes I slip up but that’s okay because this is a process.

However you specifically need to decrease the time you spend online in your life is up to you just as the reasons behind the decision to do so is. Personally, depression and anxiety lead to boredom or the shutting down of my motivation and I therefore result to social media which only makes me feel worse. I have noticed changes this week in my happiness levels and how long the highest ones last; they’ve improved as I removed social media time from parts of my days.

Remember, it’s always important to do what you need to do to feel your best. This means ignoring the social norms around you if they make your feelings feel wrong in any way. All emotions are valid. Everybody deals with things and is effected by situations in various ways. If you are going to take a social media break, I suggest you do it for yourself.

Again, I am not disappearing again. I am going to post regularly, just not as often as before. Having a busy life is okay and it is so important you effectively manage your energy and emotional levels during times like these. Get to know yourself while actually being able to enjoy the journey. 29173794aefc369a80e13833e8f9b278

Mental Health/Wellbeing, Product Reviews

’13 Reasons Why’ Controversy – My Side

TRIGGER WARNING AND POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT! I WILL BE ADDRESSING VARIOUS TOPICS FROM SEASONS 1-2 OF THE SHOW.

Also please remember that the following critique if you will is completely my opinion. Nothing is based off of expert statements, it’s simply how I see the television show when using my own experiences and knowledge thus far to analyze it as I have both a passion for and academic path geared towards mental health.

I understand many may have opinions that differ from mine and I am 100% okay with that. I do ask, however, to avoid leaving negative comments publicly. If you feel you really need to talk to me about this post, contact me via email or DM on Twitter/Instagram. Whether or not I respond depends on the way you approach me.

Now, without further ado, my reasons that lead me to believe the Netlifx original Drama ’13 Reasons Why’ is an accurate and appropriate portrayal of modern day mental health/bullying problems.

1.) There are both discretion warnings and clips providing potential help for those who are or know someone else who needs professional aid or some other service.

There’s no doubt that a large amount of the content within the show can be seen as uncomfortable to look at, but, just like wildlife series or possibly war documentaries, warnings are provided to the viewer at the beginning of the program so they can decide whether or not to continue watching. Not only this, but the producers mention how some scenes could act as possible triggers for those who’ve experienced similar trauma or have other mental health concerns and suggest they only continue watching safely with a trusted friend/loved one. Some may think that just doing this isn’t enough; but in the industry, warnings/labels are all CD, television show, and other media producers can do to deter potential negative outcomes for certain audience members exposed to their media.

Similarly, as the show is coming to an end, hotlines and other forms of support are once again provided for the viewer. It’s not like the producers of the series are just simply showing mental health in a negative aspect and the potential power it can hold over even a group of people. The intended overall message, I believe, is that what we do and say matters a whole lot more than we think it does. Even if it doesn’t effect our own life in some significant way, doesn’t mean it impact another.

This whole idea is better in so many ways to have circling people’s TV screens than the majority of the entertainment that is also out there. Audiences were quick to attack the intensity at which both season one and two held, but there’s tons of other media out there that lack in a meaningful and relevant messages. Horror movies for example, are still released but alongside content ratings. In reality, however, this doesn’t stop kids from watching them.

Overall, the show addresses mental health issues from a serious point of view. Providing help, portraying multiple types of mental problems that are faced more commonly than the public tends to think. The show was intended to end the stigma behind mental health care and show how real, detrimental, and fast emotional/mental stress can absorb various types of people. It’s, in my opinion, one of the few shows that is so directed at helping the viewers and showing them they’re not alone.

2.) The intense scenarios they touch upon only make people uncomfortable because they’re recognized as taboo by society. The show is making effort to highlight these events and the importance of acknowledging them instead of burying them in shame. 

While not everybody may want to talk about sexual assault, suicide, depression, or bullying the truth is: we have to. People who deal with these topics and the like are sometimes forced to go through the struggle alone out of fear of what others will think/say/do based off of past experiences. This is not humane. We owe more to each other as the human race with such great emotional intelligence.

To just let suicide or bullying in teens carry on is negligent. I’m not saying that mental health shares no part of the limelight of public interest. This is in no way true since employers, schools, and the health field have all become more open over the years to the significance of mental health; yet, this did little to change/eliminate the stigmas stuck to the concept.

Referring back, once again, to the aspect of the warnings before/after each episode it’s obvious that the cast and crew are trying to bring awareness to and educate those scared/unsure about the challenges and risks of mental health issues left unattended to. I don’t see this as encouraging, or failing to accurately capture a wide variety of mental health struggles. The Netlfix series is more of a look into a part of the everyday psychological world that has been avoided in public conversation. It’s only furthering along the acceptance of mental health as a real field to be concerned about and aware of.

3.) These situations aren’t exaggerated or irrelevant.

Especially with the amount of attention more recently placed on sexual assaults within the show biz industry, I thought that the views towards such crimes would change. So far, I haven’t seen that. There still seems to be a divide between people who seek justice for such cases and those who turn to victim blaming or other opposing tactics. This is directly demonstrated in the verdict given after character Bryce Walker is tried for rape.

The teenager only receives 3 months of probation after a failed testimony by his girlfriend and Hannah Baker’s mother. I read somewhere that the writers made this so in order to truly reflect the realness of modern day rape culture. Justice is not fairly distributed to those faced with charges of rape/sexual assault and often the attention and pressure is more centered around the victim.

This then directly leads to the low amount of assaults that are reported compared to the amount that actually happen. I found the scene in one of the last few episodes of season 2 where different women from the show come forth in a court room, describing the time(s) they were themselves assaulted. This wasn’t really a necessary part for the development of the actual plot, but an opportunity the producers took to further outline the truth behind rape.

I personally know at least eight people (not just women) that have been raped or forced into some other type of assault. Not one of them pursued justice, but rather hid with pain and guilt much like character Jessica Davis. That is why this aspect of the show is so important. We need to educate audiences on the idea of getting professional help or recognizing concerning signs within themselves or other that could escalate if ignored. Until the victims feel comfortable enough to come forward, statistics won’t reflect the true rates of such traumatizing experiences.

Rape wasn’t the only thing I saw as necessary to show. The effects of bullying, whether over or covert, are so important. Through the exchanges between characters like Hannah and Zach or Hannah and Justin, it’s so clear how much other people’s own issues such as insecurities/fear of humiliation or wanting to be cool and approaching it in the wrong way can change more than just one person’s life. Hannah, directly impacted by the words that came from places of low self worth and ego in both Justin and Zach, managed to internalize these events so much that they added immensely to her already overwhelming stress load.

While thinking about things like “be nice to others”, or “treat people how you want to be treated” may bring one back to feeling like a little kid learning to socialize, they’re still important as we move through adolescents and adulthood. By just being nice to others, you are ensuring that you are not part of whatever internal turmoil they are dealing with. No, you can’t be nice to everyone all of the time, but paying more attention to your options when reacting to or initiating conversation can positively affect the outcome.

I see a perfect portrayal of this when Clay decides to go outside and coax Tyler out of entering the school dance with a weapon. Instead of freaking out, hiding, attacking Tyler, Clay chose to be his friend. Kinds words, a calm voice, and assurance managed to get Tyler to rethink his plan which ends up saving so many lives. Being nice or even just considerate to someone can really move them in a way larger than you can imagine since we can never accurately know what someone else is feeling/thinking. Always recognize everything deals with things differently, and those ‘things’ can vary in many ways.

There are so many aspects of the series that I have thoughts on about why it’s important, but I just wanted to share my general opinion. Personally, the series hits home as I experienced bullying, assault, depression, and other unpleasantness in middle-high school. I believe some who hold negative feelings towards the show may be lacking in ways to relate, but they could also be the exact opposite of the person who should watch a show like 13 Reasons Why.

No, I didn’t go and watch critique or review videos on the series. Yes, I am aware they directly ignored the advisory of a psychologist in some of their scene selection. That aside, I think it is a great series. It made me feel accepted, and I hope it did so for many others. We, as a race, have definitely made progress on the mental health track and I see this as continuing. Even if attempts to further progress such as this media depiction generate more opposing than supporting comments, it is enough that the ideas are at least being circulated. Change starts with conversation, something 13 Reasons Why depicts in the most blunt, sincere way.51kI5RoEVkL._SS500