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Ready, Set, Collide

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She said, "The dangerous thing about that mindset is that it projects fear onto outside forces, when in reality, the demons are inside us." 

Have you ever heard just one line of poetry, one piece of advice, one song lyric, one aphorism that rearranges the whole system of your thoughts?

The quote above, courtesy of my therapist, did just that for me.

I was going through an excruciating breakup, trying to get a grip on my newly-identified anxiety and depression, and to top it all off, dealing with that phase of growing pains right between adolescence and adulthood.  I wanted to be independent and make my own decisions, but at the same time adult life was already hurting me, and I was afraid of it. I was pretty much ready to hide under my blankets and never come out.

Instead, I was sitting in her office on a red couch that was trying so hard to be comfortable that it almost swallowed me, pouring out my woes as casually as possible and trying not to reach for the very obviously …

Anxiety and Depression: 7 Things You Can Do To Help

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I wish I didn't have to write this post. Unfortunately, I think it is needed.

People with mental illness have been accused of using their illness as a crutch.  They have been blamed for not trying hard enough to get better. We know so many people who think taking a medication for our illness is "unnatural" that we're amazed we ever talked ourselves into going to the doctor for a prescription. We've been told we just need to think more positively and that will fix our attitude. Our doctors make remarks like "everyone gets stressed in college," and we wonder if we're overreacting. We've heard family and friends talk about mental illness as if they are authorities, assuming that we just need to "deal with it."  Some people are willing to offer support to us only on the condition that we are not "using depression/anxiety as an excuse."  And last but absolutely not least, there is the classic religious response that anxiety and de…

Heart of Gold

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I have anxiety.

I started seeing a therapist this summer because the emotional breakdowns got worse, and I was getting so overwhelmed that I'd just procrastinate on everything, even simple tasks like replying to emails or doing my laundry.  I was brave enough to try therapy because of the influence of a few understanding friends. I've been learning why my hands are always cold (physical symptom of stress) and why I eat so much pasta (craving carbs = imbalance in serotonin levels).  I'm finding some comfort just in the fact that something really is wrong with me and it's not necessarily all my fault.

But I still have to struggle with the three-headed monster that is my mental illness.  The cascade of thoughts churning in my head is a familiar sensation now and I dread it. Some of the worries are rational, some are not.  Some come back over and over while others seem to pop up out of nowhere.  It's like Audrey Assad says: "Just when I think I've reached the …

Why I'm Dating That Guy With Green Hair (or Love, the Receiving End)

" I guess it's true that love is all you wanted/ cause you're giving it away like it's extra change/ hoping it'll end up in his pocket/ but he leaves you out like a penny in the rain..." ~Taylor Swift (yes, Taylor Swift is in my philosophical reflective post; sorry not sorry.)

I started dating for the first time this past December.  The best word I can think of to describe it is: surprising. And no, that's not just because my boyfriend does things like dye his hair the color of the ocean or randomly buy me a HUGE bag of Reese's peanut butter eggs (...in the middle of Lent. Luckily I didn't give up chocolate this year. Besides, it's the thought that counts, right?) It's because dating is nothing like I thought it would be. We go on dates sometimes and we love each other, but other than that I can't say it matches my expectations.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that sometimes dating makes me feel terribleNot my boyfriend. Dating.  My…

Love, Actually (or I Hate Dictionaries)

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Dear readers,
I hate dictionaries.
Actually, I'm an English major, so that's false. I get abnormal amounts of joy from learning what what words like "perambulator" and "clandestine" and "flossy" mean (yes, the urban kind counts, too. Sometimes.)
But the dictionary has no idea what poetry is. It can't define freedom. And it is absolutely clueless about love.

Take one:



...Okay, "constant affection"? Ain't nobody got time for that! I don't care how much I love you, I will eventually stop feeling affection for you long enough to go get myself some food. And maybe read a book. And what about when you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the wrong place or eat the last of the ice cream without telling me?!?! Does my irritation mean I stopped loving you?

We're done here.

Take two:

...Well, the verb edition is always somewhat better. But the whole"desire" thing bothers me. Like, I think lust and love are two separate wo…

Real Talk

I'll admit it: being a Christian is pretty irrational. Not entirely, I mean we have some pretty dang smart philosophers and theologians and even scientists in our tradition and stuff, but when it comes down to it, my faith is still a faith and not a proven theory.
So why do I believe? So many of my posts on here are founded on a worldview or a set of philosophical assumptions I haven't yet explained. Well, it's kind of hard to explain, honestly. There are many people smarter than me who have tried to account for questions like how do we know Jesus historically existed or what about scientific evidence that the miracles in the Bible actually happened: that type of thing is beyond the scope of this post.  And, I've met enough smart, kind, and good atheists and agnostics to know that there's still reasonable room for doubt. Heck, I do doubt sometimes. But I've never been able to abandon my faith completely.  So, for anyone who might be curious, here's not so m…

A Manifesto For Cultured Individuals

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I love music.  I'm pretty sure if you read this blog much you've noticed I quote or reference a lot of musicians in these posts, ranging from Audrey Assad to Taylor Swift to Kid Cudi.  If I can sing to it, dance to it, or get inspired by it, the genre doesn't matter.  My taste is all over the place and I'm constantly looking for new tunes.  And often it happens that I'll be listening to a ridiculously catchy song for the first time (*cough* it'sgoingdownforreal *cough*) and have its melody stuck in my head refusing to budge until I look it up.  So I do.  And let's just say that upon further lyrical investigation I am personally ready to strangle Flo Rida, T.I., and Pitbull.  (jk that would not be the cultured ladylike thing to do.  But if there are any assassins for hire reading this, contact me in the comments or something.) Yes, something as initially delightful as music sometimes fills me with despair for the condition of the human race and its disregard…