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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 terrible.  Not my boyfriend. Dating.  My…