I ask because of a personal experience.

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Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

My experience occurred almost 40 years ago. This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned it in any way. I was 6 or 7 years old, and my best friend was 4 or 5.

Our neighbors were close-knit.

We all felt like family. As kids, we loved hanging out with the adults, too, sometimes. One man, who always gave us kids his time, lived nearby. He’d let us help him garden and set traps for the moles. He’d create woodwork items for us. He taught us how to bird watch, and he’d be our guide as we hiked in the forest behind the houses of the neighborhood. He was a friend. …


Harold, the Hungarian Hound

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Harold

My life got flipped–turned upside down, and it’s not the first time.

This past year of 2019–2020, my priorities shifted out of necessity. For survival. My depression and anxiety have been a constant battle. Over a year ago, I went through a divorce after 20+ years of marriage.

With that, came many changes. I accepted a job far away from all my family and friends. I moved, and took one of the three dogs with me. Harold became my emotional support. However, I became unemployed again, as many have during the pandemic. I did find another job, but it doesn’t pay enough to support myself. Therefore, I have moved back in with my parents at age 45 in the midst of a pandemic. …


Be careful as to what you believe.

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Image from Pixabay

Over the years, mine has told me…

  • You can’t.
  • You’re not good enough.
  • You’ll never amount to anything.
  • People just tolerate you.
  • You have no real friends.
  • You’re not lovable.
  • Life is pointless.

These are dangerous assertions, especially for someone who struggles with depression. Unfortunately, those struggling with depression have these thoughts more often and tend to more easily believe them. Fight back. Finding ways to quiet the mind and to redirect thoughts are important. Practicing meditation or metacognition to aid in cognitive restructuring are remarkably beneficial.

Failing ≠ Failure

Just because you may fail at something, doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Giving up should not be an option. Reality is, you undoubtedly have victories hidden among your perceived mountain of perceived failures. …


You’ve got one.

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Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

People screw up, mistakes are made.

I believe each day — or even each moment — one can start anew. Do better, be better. I believe in second chances.

My 2nd Chance at Life.

I was twenty years old, on my way to work, when I drove through an intersection with the permission of a green light. A cement mixer, failing to pay attention, barreled from the other direction and collided with the driver’s side of my car…resulting in my car taking flight and my consciousness being taken away.


You survived.

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Photo by Kim Gorga on Unsplash

Social Media Celebrations

Social media feeds are filled with end-of-the-school-year photos of smiling students holding awards, graduating, sharing their A’s and B’s with the world, and other joyous moments that come along with making it through another academic year.

Celebrating the Others

This is for the others…whose biggest achievement was actually making it through the school year:

To the child with crippling anxiety, I see your bravery as you face all that comes your way.

To the child battling depression, I see how hard you’re trying to hold it together.

To the child unable to focus no matter how you try, I see your struggle.

To the child whose executive functioning skills just aren’t enough, I see your want of organization. …


When Anxiety Becomes Too Much

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We’ve all heard it or have said it:

I’m so stressed/worried/frustrated that I’m pulling my hair out!

My son suffers from trichotillomania.

What a freakin’ long word.

(trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh)

For those of you who don’t suffer from this, it is the compulsion to pull your hair out. Oftentimes, it is due to anxiety…and sometimes the sufferer has a history of OCD. Only 1–2% of adults and adolescents even have this condition; my son won this jackpot.

In the Beginning

It first began in early 2015 when he was a 6th grader. …


No one is immune.

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Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

My Truth

I became a mental health awareness advocate due to my own struggles with severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. When my situation finally began to improve (with the help of a psychiatrist and proper medication), I became involved in fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I wanted to help others and let them know they do not struggle alone. I also began advocating and fighting the stigma of mental illness via my blog and social media.

Even still, I struggle, but I feel I have more purpose by helping others in similar situations. This has not proven that I am immune to the beast that is depression. Occasionally, I think to myself that I’m only holding on for my son and that anyone else could more easily move on from my death. That is a precarious situation/thought process to have. So, I ask myself: What would I say to someone else in my situation? I wouldn’t tell them that it’s hopeless or that those left behind will be okay. However, when my depression is deep, it’s easy for me to forget to ask myself that…it escapes my mind. Thankfully, I’ve realized this and have made sure I no longer forget. I do this by putting notes to myself everywhere: on my bathroom mirror, in my jewelry box, in my purse, in my car, with my medications, etc.


Are you who our youth need us to be?

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Photo from Unsplash

Being the target of relentless bullying wears you down.

What is bullying?

Here is the legal definition:

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power — such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity — to control or harm others. …


Enlightened: A series worth watching

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HBO: Enlightened

“You’re a mental patient.”

These four words were used as a weapon.

Those words cut me to the core when I heard actor James Rebhorn spit these words out to actress Laura Dern in the HBO series Enlightened. With those four words, he undermined all she was working for to make positive changes and help others. He used these four words as a weapon, a knife to the soul.

How many of us, who have struggled with mental illness, have been pained by the ignorant words of others? Sometimes, we feel the judgement in others’ silence, as well. We lose friends, jobs, support systems. We’re “too much” for others. Hard to love. Hard to appreciate. …

About

Alicia Rust

Writer. Lover of dark chocolate, coffee, tea, & being me. I’m an anxiety-ridden, bipolar 2 survivor... www.lifesodaily.com

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