Have you ever witnessed a couple break up due to one of them lacking self-love? Witnessing that growing up never failed to confuse me. It confused me how someone can dislike oneself, when they could never become someone else. As I got older, it finally became clear to me that self-esteem issues are very real and valid. Unfortunately, I figured this out firsthand, my self-esteem took a big hit within the last three years of high school.
The transition of self-pity did not happen overnight. In fact, it started in middle school and continued to grow until it was no longer avoidable. It is fairly normal to feel self-conscious in high school as it is a tipping point in most of our lives. However, I spent so much time fantasizing that I was somebody else, that seemed to hold off any feelings of hatred towards myself for the time being. This is not healthy. At all. There are plenty of ways to deal with loving yourself, and wishing you were someone else is not the solution.
I was very fortunate to have enough self-awareness to realize the amount of self-hatred I had was not normal. Nobody should feel as though they are not enough, and they constantly change themselves to become more appealing. I have dealt with many aspects of self-esteem issues, my body image being the biggest. Overcoming these three problems has proven that the journey to self-love is difficult, but so rewarding and satisfying once you have achieved it.
Physically, I never felt like a pretty girl. I struggled with my weight and acne for years on end, they always made me feel the most insecure. The societal standards for beauty are so high, it is very easy to feel ugly in your own skin. Constantly comparing myself to girls who were deemed as beautiful according to society’s standards proved to be detrimental. I realized that once I stopped holding myself to these unfair standards, I found beauty within myself, which matters the most. It is essential to stop caring so much about what others think, at least for things that are out of your control.
Overcoming my body issues were the biggest hurdle of my journey to self-appreciation. I have tried many things to control my body weight, hoping that losing weight would eventually make me pretty in the eyes of society. Diets, fasting, exercising, and avoiding mirrors were not foreign concepts to me. I would force myself to drink apple cider vinegar because it was said to aid in weight loss. I became so obsessed with the idea of being beautiful in the eyes of everyone , I turned into someone unrecognizable. The process to self-love was not a short and easy one, but it feels good to be comfortable with myself. Once I realized that nobody’s opinion actually mattered, then I started to see the beauty in myself. Granted it will not happen overnight, but hopefully one day you will see yourself as the beautiful person that you are. Society is messed up, it carries unreal standards for people of the upcoming generations and puts them in a position of self-hatred, just because they are not “beautiful”.
The best remedy for myself was to read about other’s experiences. Knowing that you are not alone can truly help the healing process be a little more manageable. There are a lot of self-help books and articles that you can access online to read about other people learning to truly love themselves. Although none of these sponsor us, they offer fantastic advice! Here are some ways you can achieve self-appreciation:
· Lyftly- An app where you can anonymously post stories about how you are feeling, and you get the chance to connect with other people.
· seventeen.com – Clicking on this link will take you to articles that contain celebrity experience with body positivity and self-love. You can even sign a pledge to treat your body with respect.
· Write positive sticky notes – As cliché as this sounds, having something positive to read from time to time can really boost one’s confidence!
· whosthecutest.com – Click on this link to find out who the cutest person around is. You will not regret it.
· Love yourself – I know that this is the final step to your journey. It is not the easiest thing around for a lot of people, they struggle with a lot of self-deprecation. The moment when you can look in the mirror and truly love the person in front of you, you have won the game of Life.
Self-love is an expedition that many will embark on. It is too effortless to fall into the hole of self-pity simply due to the fact that society has high standards. I struggled a lot with truly loving myself due to the fact that I could not maintain body positivity. It got to the point where my own reflection was avoided by me. However, realizing that I am not alone, and others’ opinions do not matter I was able to achieve the highest form of self-love. To anyone reading this article: you are beautiful, and you deserve to love yourself. At the end of the day, you cannot expect people to love you when you cannot even do it yourself. As Robert Morley once said, “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”
Over the last three months, while the global Coronavirus outbreak has dominated the media, journalists rarely take time to step back and report the good things which are happening during the pandemic. After living with COVID-19 for 3 months, the virus seems like a part of everyday life, bringing our normal routines to a halt and changing the world completely. However, this month brought a number of positive news with it.
So, what good news has come this month?
Here’s a short compilation of positive stories you might have missed so far:
1. Huge drop in carbon emissions
In the beginning of March when the coronavirus began to arrive in different countries, the use of cars, planes and other public transport were brought down to the bare minimum as governments around the world advised against travelling. Even though this action was needed to keep us safe, it has also allowed the Earth to take a breather from human pollution from other factors like industrial pollution, leading to a 17% fall in carbon emissions.
2. Ozone layer repairing
Due to the fall in carbon emissions, low pollution levels has allowed the ozone layer to begin to repair itself, demonstrating how the Earth is beginning to recover from human activity and how climate change can be brought to a halt.
3. A second case of HIV has been cured in the UK
4. Australian forests are beginning to repair themselves
In the beginning of the Australian Summer, the world watched as Australian forest fires tore through the country, causing huge losses to plant and animal wildlife nationwide. However, this month as of May 28th, it has been 85 days with no new reports of fires, allowing the forests and bushes to repair themselves. This has been seen where koalas, which are a known natural species to Australia, have begun to populate the forests yet again, along with plants and other species of animals too.
5. Virginia becomes the first U.S State to publish a clean energy future plan
As climate change starts to be seen as a much more worrying and serious issue in modern life, Virginia has become the first American state to plan their clean energy future in an effort to combat climate change. Labelled ‘Virginia Clean Economy Act of 2020’, the plan sets out that all coal plants will have to close by 2024 and that all electricity used in the state will come from clean, renewable sources by 2045. This sets an example to other U.S states as climate change becomes a more pressing issue and raises more awareness about the issue in an aid to stop it.
6. Scientists have discovered a way to reverse blindness in mice
In a recent study from the University of California, researchers came up with a treatment in an effort to cure blind mice. A month later, the mice were navigating around as easily as mice with no vision problems. They were able to see motion, brightness change, and fine detail allowing them to see alphabetical letters. This could possibly pave the way to curing blindness in humans, sparking a similar scientific breakthrough to the curing of HIV and could possibly have the potential to change the world.
7. Lockdown lifting
On an even bigger positive note, governments across the world are starting to see the number of coronavirus cases and deaths start to decrease, allowing some easing of lockdown restrictions to go ahead. For example in Spain and Italy, both countries are beginning to open back up to the point where bars and restaurants are beginning to reopen with strict restrictions to prevent a second wave, and countries like France are beginning to reopen schools. This paves the path to the end of the coronavirus panic and distress, finally allowing families and friends to see each other after over 2 months.
I found out I was a little during my freshman year of college.
Quite the time to figure it out, hmm?
I remember learning about “little gear”, or things that can help you into “littlespace” and feel more comfortable in your regression.
New things can oftentimes seem very scary because of new terminology, experiences, feelings, and terminology, so let’s break it down a bit!
Being an agere isn’t easy. There’s a lot of stigma that follows suit. A lot of people consider it to be very disturbing and oftentimes morally wrong, leaving ageres to be stuck in a place where we can feel like we’re doing something wrong—something that we oftentimes need in order to get through life.
Q: So how do you become more comfortable being an age regressor?
A: It depends on you. What is it that makes you uncomfortable about being an age regressor? Is it that it’s different? Is it the stigma? All in all, it might just be that you need to embrace it. Radical acceptance can get you many places!
Q: What little gear can I get to help age regress if I’m not in a place I can freely be one?
A: It depends! If you’re not in a space where you can freely be one, you might want to have some incognito ways to do so. Personally, I have stuffies from my childhood I “don’t want to let go of because of memories.” I love penguins and get cute things with them. I make being animated and cute part of my joking personality so I can get away with it sometimes. Sometimes it’s holding someone’s finger or two fingers with my whole hand to feel smaller.
Q: I’m x age, can I still be a little / middle / agere?
A: Of course! Being a little / middle is only dependent on you being older than your little / middle age.
Q: Is being a little / middle / agere bad?
A: Not at all. It’s a way you’re coping and you aren’t hurting anybody at all. Be yourself, you’re beautiful and valid.
Keep your head up, the sun still rises!
Mercury ( Pitch ) Neon
Focusing is my weakness. I’m barely able to maintain focus, especially when it comes to tasks I know will take more than half an hour. This is something I’ve struggled with all my life, and only recently have I found a way to work on it. Throughout school, I never really focused on my work. I got it done, but half the time I’d miss everything that was said. It was an issue in college, but I could still get work done in phases. Now that I’m in uni and drowning in work, I’ve realised that I need systems in place to help myself.
Something else that I have difficulties with is procrastination. Mixing that with a lack of focus and a bad memory, especially when teaching is all online? You could say it’s a recipe for disaster, but it’s been a time when I can experiment with different methods to help me focus and tackle my work as soon as I can.
When educational facilities are in person, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 students have issues with focus, leading to procrastination. 80 - 95% of students procrastinate, 75% consider themselves procrastinators and 50% procrastinate frequently and consider it a problem. Personally, I procrastinate to the point that it’s a problem. On the bright side, while trying to do my sound work, I do normally end up with a lovely clean kitchen by procrastinating. It’s safe to say that I’m quite the procrastinator, and it has started to affect my education.
Online, I’ve found that my focus is getting worse. While on Zoom, I’m often distracted by the road outside, social media, or even what type of coffee I want to pick up from the local shop. I miss so much from lessons, which is a massive issue when it comes to assessments. When it comes time to work, I end up mentally rearranging my room, or even making a ground plan to move furniture about on it. So what have I found that helps me focus?
If you’re having a lot of issues with focusing, it could be worth going to your GP / Doctors / anyone in your educational facility. It can be a sign of an underlying condition, so it’s best to be safe than sorry. Just remember that you’re not alone in this, and talking about it can help. It won’t be easy to overcome it, and what I’ve said might not help, but it’s all about finding things that work for you. It’s all about trial and error, but you’ll get there in the end.
You’ve got this!
We all have the idea that depression is all about - continuous low mood, having no interests in doing the things you love, disturbed sleep, isolating yourself and being indecisive. And that’s all true! However, there are more symptoms of depression that are lesser-known. Continue reading as I tell you symptoms that may surprise you.
Aches and Pains: Many people who go through depression will experience back pain, sore chest and chest pains. These pains aren’t usually associated with any specific injuries. There are studies to suggest that pain and depression share a neurological pathway, meaning the more depressed you are, the more painful your body will become.
Forgetfulness/ “Brain Fog”: A lot of people will say that they often feel forgetful. Countless studies show that people with depression have a tougher time remembering the specific details of their lives, meaning they can remember the overall event but not in particular detail.
Changes in Menstrual Cycle: Cortisol is a stress hormone and it rises during a depressive phase. Due to this, messages to the brain are being sent to the brain and reproductive system which leads to a delay in your period.
Guilt-ridden: The constant thought of feeling guilty over the most ridiculous things is something that people with depression have gone through. It consumes the mind to the point where the depressed will start to question everyday activities or major life roles.
Moving or speaking more slowly than usual: Slowing thoughts and physical movements are known as a severe symptom of depression. Speaking and moving more slowly is due to decreased energy levels. It is also known that certain chemical changes in the brain can cause this.
As someone who experiences depression, I can say that I have gone through aches and pains, brain fog and delay in periods. It‘s a crippling feeling. Before any knowledge of depression, I didn’t understand why I was experiencing such. I began questioning which led to anxiety taking over. I thought there was something physically wrong with me. Glad to say that my mind was exaggerating and physically I was fine.
How to overcome and control your depression is by;
Get Enough Sleep: Poor sleep patterns can contribute to depression. Whether it’s the depression causing it or the lack of sleep. So try to arrange a time to sleep and a time to wake up. Even an hour before your bedtime, you should give yourself some time to unwind down. Turn off your devices and read a book, listen to music or listen to a podcast.
Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and drinking can worsen your depression. It decreases inhibitions and potentially leads to risky behaviours and poor decision making which can have long-term consequences. While alcohol might seem like a quick fix to escape reality, it is NOT the answer. Also, do not drink while on medication, as they don’t interact well.
Exercise: Regular exercise encourages the brain to think in positive ways. That is because of the chemical known as endorphins. Now, you don’t need to run a marathon. Try and find a fun activity to do. Whether it’s taking a dance class or rock-climbing.
Eat Healthily: Foods such as sweets, high-fat dairy products and refined grains, when eaten in a large amount, can cause a risk of depression. So take these foods in moderate consumptions and eat foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole-grains.
Avoid Caffeine: Take a step back when it comes to caffeine. Coffee, soft drinks and even chocolate have excessive amounts of caffeine. It’s fine to eat/drink a fair amount but do not become dependent on it. It can lead to interference with sleep. So avoid it by gradually cutting it back. You will experience caffeine withdrawal, but distract yourself and it will pass.
If you or someone you love are showcasing signs of depression, you should make an effort in learning more about the illness, including the symptoms so that you can know what to expect. You should also look into treatment options such as therapy and medication and most importantly, make them know or yourself that you are not alone. :)
If you want to get in contact with your local helplines then visit:
- Indie Sahota
The word “confidence” is a term that has a nuanced meaning, which varies from person to person. Yet, the core idea of confidence is centered upon individuality and control, and how one’s unique strengths and beliefs may allow them to be positive toward themselves. Nowadays, there are many ways to bring down one’s self-esteem, such as by comparing appearances and lifestyles or talking down oneself and their qualities. I’ve struggled with confidence throughout my teenage years due to my experience with trichotillomania, and the sensation of feeling out of control of my own life.
Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder that is associated with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is described as an irresistible urge to pull one’s hair out, usually from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, and other regions of the body with hair. While this may be seen as a habit, it can also be fueled by stressors such as anxiety, sadness, or even boredom. The act of pulling out hair is usually done to bring forth relief and temporarily help with the stressors that are experienced. This disorder may also come and go and sporadically span throughout numerous days, weeks, or years.
I have dealt with trichotillomania ever since I was a child, but the disorder significantly impacted my well-being as I entered my teenage years. With the significant stress and anxiety brought forth by my familial and academic environment, I had managed to internalize that conflict for many years due to the belief that I was confident and in control of my life. Yet, as my well-being gradually slipped away, I felt as if every action and every thought I expressed had no impact. My life was not going the way that I had meticulously planned for it to, and I did not recognize myself. Thus, I began pulling strands of hair in order to feel a sense of relief. However, my physical appearance continued to make me insecure, and thus led to a continuous cycle of temporary relief due to deepened insecurity.
With time, I have learned how to control my hair-pulling. I have listed tips below that demonstrate external/physical and internal ways to feel in control of trichotillomania, which ultimately led me to be more confident in myself.
Ways to be physically confident:
1. Play with an object/fidget toy
Occupying yourself with something to play with is a good way to stray away from the urge of picking your hair. Whenever you feel bored, anxious, or stressed out, use a small object to twiddle, twist, or press! I usually use an eraser due to its smooth texture, which I would have in my hand during class to relieve my stress. However, you can use whatever works for you! The goal of this is to make you feel in control of your actions whenever you encounter stressors.
2. Tie up your hair
I have observed that whenever I tie up my hair in a ponytail or braid it, the hairstyle restrains me from excessively picking at my hair because I would not want to ruin it. By doing this, it allows you to be conscious of whenever you have an urge, and thus allows you to feel more confident in yourself.
3. Write out your feelings
When you have an urge, write out how you feel and your current circumstance in a designated journal or paper. As you write, you may feel less stressed as you are replacing your potential physical hair-pulling into one that is through writing. When you want to go back and reflect, read through your physical writing and document or be proud of how you were able to overcome the compulsion during that time!
4. Photo document your progress
While this may not be suited for everyone as it may be too uncomfortable, take photos of yourself in order to see the growth of your hair. I usually do this whenever I want to look back on how I have been doing, and it definitely makes me feel as if my physical growth is a representation of my internal one.
Ways to be internally confident:
1. Establish a minor, yet accomplishable, long-term goal
One of the ways that I have felt confident in my sense of control was through the use of goals. By establishing a goal, I have set up a responsibility that allows me to feel like I am making an impact within my life, despite encountering certain compulsions that sometimes feel uncontrollable. My most valued goal is to treat life one day at a time and to not over-evaluate my mistakes. This allows me to lessen my stress, which ultimately decreases my urge to play with my hair.
2. Focus on deep breaths
I found out that focusing on your breathing whenever you have the urge to pull greatly helps with releasing internalized tension and anxiety. Google has a great 1-minute breathing exercise tool that you can search up and follow along whenever you encounter stressors. This will ultimately make you feel internally better by decreasing the sensations that you had, and making you feel capable of having a solution for it.
3. Try to meditate
Meditation is a great solution that allows you to feel connected with your inner and outer self, while allowing you to resist your urges within a certain mindset. YouTube has great videos showing meditation techniques that may be categorized by time or music based on your preferences. By doing this daily, you may feel as if you can gradually resist the urge to pick your hair.
It is incredibly understandable if you do not feel comfortable talking to your peers or family members about your experience with trichotillomania. As of this day, I can admit that I am not completely confident as well. Yet, it is important to be aware of the resources and help that you can get if you need it, especially through the helplines that I have listed below:
International OCD Foundation Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 in the US or Canada, 85258 in the UK, and 50808 in Ireland in order to speak to a counsellor 24/7. This is also applicable to COVID, depression, anxiety, and many more concerns, which can be viewed on the www.crisistextline.org website.
The CALM Lifeline: Call 0-800-58-58-58 or visit www.thecalmzone.net to learn more about OCD. This is a nationwide lifeline based in the UK.
SAMHSA Helpline: Text 1-800-662-4347 to communicate with a counsellor that will aid you with support and guidance whenever you are encountering incredibly difficult conflicts with your mental health.
I hope that these tips will help you as they did for me. While developing confidence takes time, its meaning and perception are completely dependent on how you define it to be! Make sure to take your time and truly believe in yourselves throughout any stressful times.
‘You are not like other girls.’ This statement may be controversial, but it is important to discuss everything that is wrong with the so-called compliment. Time and time again, many people have used this sentence in an attempt to compliment girls - but it means quite the opposite. Compliments are supposed to make you feel better about yourself without putting others down.
Let us start by analyzing the statement. Firstly, it is setting up a negative picture for the woman by telling her that her gender is bad, but she is different. In addition, it might set up ideas about gender norms when there are actually no such things. Not only is this statement and its intent both sexist and misogynistic, but it also can lead to internalized hate. Anything you or a woman does should always be your/their choice for your/their benefit - not to satisfy gender stereotypes. It might not seem like a huge deal, but it is small things like these that have a great impact as a whole. It may also give a wrong idea of what feminism actually means.
Every girl - I repeat every girl - is beautiful and unique in her own way. So the next time you want to compliment her/them, rather than saying this back-handed statement, tell her that she is smart, funny, pretty or fun to be with. Let us know if you have ever been told this so-called compliment!
Autism differs from one autistic person to the next. Assuming that all autistic people require the same amount of attention and support is absurd. I have often found myself unsure about how to act or be helpful towards my autistic friends and I know for many others starting to gain more awareness about autism; you may be in the same situation.
Autism is a disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Despite this, autistic people still have ways of interacting with the world as best they can. People often think those with autism lack empathy. That is simply not true. In fact, they are highly concerned about the feelings of others, more often than not. Other misconceptions include autism being a disease, vaccinations and bad parenting causing autism, and autism becoming an epidemic. These myths come about by those who aren't properly educated about autism. Therefore, as more awareness is being created around autism, it is important to understand how to support your autistic friends.
I often considered myself as someone who struggled to be a good autistic ally. With my first autistic friend, I wasn't sure how to support them and it felt like I was being constantly unhelpful. I didn't know how to help them in high-stress situations or situations that cause sensory overload. over sensory situations. I didn't know what stimming mechanisms they used. I didn't know how to understand them. This was all before I learnt to be patient and listen. I was listening to my friend explain themselves as well as watching their actions to understand how they overcome a situation. This way I could replicate the same support to make it easier for them.
I currently have many autistic friends which experience their autism differently. are all on different parts of the spectrum. They are what led me to write this article. If they're comfortable with answering, I like to ask how their autism affects them and what I can do to support them so that I can make sure I do my best at being an ally. Here are some words of advice and suggestions that I have gathered along the way of asking them:
1. Treat them like they're a normal person. Being autistic doesn't mean that they are a freak or distinct from the rest of humanity. They just want to be treated as normal. This can happen through acceptance, love and inclusion. Accept them for who they are and love them all the same. Don't leave them out from activities or events you have with your other friends.
2. Everyone on the autism spectrum is different and for someone to ask an autistic person to make noises is a horrible thing to do. Not everyone on the spectrum is like that and no one should assume that they are. Respect them for who they are.
3. Allow them to stim if they need to. Stimming is a repeated action using body parts or objects to help reduce stress or anxiety levels. It could include the tapping of fingers, jumping, spinning, rocking, flicking of objects, or even twirling a piece of string. Some autistic people do it for fun, others do it as an attempt to gain or reduce sensory input. Some situations can cause a high amount of stress and stimming can help that. Please do not treat them as if they are weird for stimming. They are not freaky, weird or embarrassing for their stimming and for just being themselves. If their stimming mannerisms bother you, please let them know in a polite way.
4. Have patience. A lot of it. Autistic people process things differently and as a result, may come across to you as strange and weird. You must remember to have patience, tolerance and understanding in these cases. For example, understanding why they may leave a situation where it is loud as it could be a result of sensory overload. Patience can make an autistic person feel more comfortable, especially when voicing their feelings as they can be really hard to articulate at times.
5. Which is why this point is very important: refrain from talking over them. Most times autistic people don't need someone to speak for them and if they did, they would request that. It is extremely frustrating for them to be babied or interrupted just because they're autistic. For example, not calling out their deficiencies in social skills unless they've told you.
They're trying extremely hard to mask that so they would feel uncomfortable if they were called out in it without their consent. They do not need an advocate for their voice, they just need time and patience to express their own.
6. Even the littlest things are seen as support, for example- putting subtitles on when watching something to support their audio processing.
Remember, being autistic is a part of them and the spectrum is so big that it affects every autistic person differently. You need to ensure you have patience and understanding so you can start your journey to being a good ally. Be kind and love each other.
Religion is a very passionate concept. Many people base their lifestyle on their beliefs and spend their whole lives worshiping or aiming to please/idolise one, or many, or nothing. Meanwhile, others will have beliefs but only follow the basic codes/morals of said religion and not throw themselves towards it. Religion has a huge variety of cultures and beliefs.
There are many religions in the world, some examples being Judaism, Hinduism, Wicca, and Asatru. All these religions, and many more, come with a variety of passionate and part believers/followers, plus a huge amount of ‘rules’, rituals and services. Sometimes there can be clashes between religions and sometimes there can be harmony. Nevertheless, there is an abundance of faiths to choose from.
However, a huge problem can lie when you want to officially convert to a religion when you are already considered part of another.
I was a Catholic child by my own decision. Admittedly, I went to a Christian school, but when I was seven I decided to be Baptised at my Church. I became a server, made friends (old and young) from the Parish and really enjoyed myself. But years later, I discovered Wicca, a modern Pagan religion, which I clicked with right away. I read books and researched its holidays, traditions, morals etc. and fell in love!
Then it hit me: I was still a Catholic who was meant to pretty much go against a lot of the Pagan traditions and follow the word of God. I was on two different sides of the spectrum and had NO idea what to do. I still had an attachment to Christianity but Wicca was the way forward for me. I kept it from my family as I knew they would, unfortunately, laugh at the idea of Wicca, but spoke to some friends about my conundrum. It was a mixed reaction and by the end of it, I still didn’t know what to do.
Did I still believe in God? Did He know I was considering becoming Wicca? What if the Wiccans laughed at me? What if I’m judged by anyone and everyone? What does it all mean?
I was convinced that I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. This lasted until I followed a witch on TikTok who posted a video preaching about validation for Christian witches. CHRISTIAN WITCHES!! I was elated and had never felt more at peace with myself. Through this one amazing women’s ability to share love and peace, I found myself very unexpectedly.
I learned from this experience how hard a conflict in beliefs can be. Luckily for me, no ceremonial conversion was needed, but I know in many cases it can lead to arguments between friends and family (for example, a Jew wanting to convert to Islam would be rather difficult to do, depending on the family of course). I think the best thing to do is to always trust your gut instinct. If you are stuck in a religion that you do not believe in, it can lead to difficulties in the future and sometimes make you quite miserable and drained. Don’t forget that if people don't think your beliefs are valid or do not support you in your endeavours, then they are not worth the friendship!
Here are some simple things you can do if you are unsure about your beliefs:
I hope that this advice helped you in your struggles, and may you have a wonderful life being comfortable and at peace with your beliefs.
‘She sat still and waited for the sign of approval from her husband.’
Oddly, I haven’t taken this sentence straight out of a novel but the level of familiarity accompanying it is honestly unnerving. You’d expect that in the 21st century, hearing something like that would be eccentric; yet here we are.
The ideology of a woman as a trophy for display originated in the past when the sole purpose of a woman was to be the wife. She was to stay at home and take care of her family in exchange for the security of the breadwinner i.e. the husband. Times have changed, nonetheless, people still continue to leave careless remarks, not knowing the imprint they leave behind.
‘May I speak to the man of the house?’ ‘
You run like a girl.’
‘Is that what you’re wearing?’
The issue here is that our society still struggles to accept those who don’t fit into their standardised avatars, and this causes unwanted distress. For example, as a woman should not feel as if it is a necessity for her to be with her child from day till night. No, her husband is not babysitting today. It is his child too.
Sadly, women always find themselves playing this coerced role. I was getting ready to go downstairs for my 17th birthday party. It was a small get-together consisting of only close family. I looked at my reflection in the mirror opposite me. I felt pretty. It was an outfit inspired by a series of aesthetic images on Pinterest. But as I walked downstairs, I could feel the heavy stares targeting me as my mum pulled me to the side. I was confused as I listened to her words.
The criterion for a woman was not met. And this was the moment, ladies and gentlemen, where the tower of confidence, which took years to build, collapsed within a split second.
Often, we forget that we don’t need validation from others to live as we please. It is essential that we work to break the images that society has crafted of women/females playing a similar role to the women in a Shakespearean play. Even the number of children’s fairy tales I’ve read with the woman waiting for a strong man to save her is just boundless. She is not a computer programmed to conduct domestic chores and she is not a damsel in distress. She is her own person.
This leads me to wonder “How can we shatter these conceptions?” Next time, confront the perpetrator instead of staying quiet. It is important that we voice our opinions in the moment rather than dwell on what we could have done in the past. However derogatory you think they may sound, maintain a calm and composed posture as you respond with ‘Why is that?’. The intention here is not to completely undermine another individual but to allow them to reflect upon the absurdity of their words. Perhaps, they’ll be able to understand and educate themselves; thus you are taking the first step into the reformation of how our society perceives women.
A woman does not need approval from anyone but herself. We are all our own people; no two people in this universe are the same. Equality is not only part of our rights but also part of human decency, so don’t hesitate to respond to critical remarks however harmless they may seem!
‘Can you please repeat what you want to say again?’---
I have to hear this question usually every day. My words spread out when I speak fast- mainly because I am excited or nervous. At that time, no one understands my words- it’s obvious. So I don’t hold any grudges towards people if they say they didn’t understand my words or I have to explain to them again slowly. But I feel guilty or depressed inside because I can’t always make people understand my words nor I can speak slowly. There are many causes of speech impediments or disorders. I guess my one is due to respiratory weakness as I have a dust allergy for which I catch coughs and colds very often; so I can’t speak long sentences sometimes as I can’t keep my breath for long.
When I was young, I couldn’t talk clearly because of my disorganized and misplaced teeth. Some of my cousins used to ask why I am like this. I was really sad and used to come to my mom crying. She understood my feelings and tried to talk to my dad about fixing my teeth, but he didn’t listen to my mom. He said that I was too small to get teeth braces or any other procedures. So I had to grow up listening to people talking about my unclear speech behind my back. I did get teeth braces after turning 16. After 2 years of patience, my teeth got fixed, but still, my words remained unclear as my lower jaw is slightly misplaced. I put my heart and soul to fix my speech impediment but still, I feel frustrated and insecure about what people may think about me. But I did try some tips for improving my speech-
1. Try to use small sentences or phrases by breaking up long ones. You can easily speak slowly using small sentences and it’ll be clear.
2. Some mild speech disorders can be treated with speech therapy. I didn’t do therapy because I believe I don’t have a disorder, it’s mainly due to my slightly displaced jaw.
3. Though I didn’t do therapy, I tried some breathing exercises which really helped me.
4. Try not to speak when you are excited or angry as it will make the sentences more unclear and you may become frustrated if anyone asks you to say the words again. Try to make yourself calm before talking to someone in excitement.
How can you help someone with a speech impediment or communication problems?
Resources on Speech Disorders:
The following resources may help those who are seeking more information about speech impediments.
Health Information: Information and statistics on common voice and speech disorders from the NIDCD
Speech Disorders: Information on childhood speech disorders from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Speech, Language, and Swallowing: Resources about speech and language development from the ASHA
When hearing the word “daydreaming”, I imagine getting briefly distracted in math class before snapping myself out of it. That may not necessarily align with how you imagine daydreaming, but in the end, it can be harmless. Daydreaming is defined as separating oneself from external reality and immersing oneself in their head. It is surprisingly very common among people. A study conducted by Harvard in 2010 found that people spend about 47% of their waking hours daydreaming. Upon hearing that statistic, you might panic and think that is too much time to spend daydreaming; however, a wandering mind can be beneficial as it can motivate you.
If daydreaming can be harmless, why am I writing this article? In my case, I am not just daydreaming, but I am maladaptive daydreaming. Maladaptation is defined as the inability to adequately adjust in an environment or situation. Maladaptive daydreaming are daydreams that are so intense, they can interfere with daily life. I have suffered from these for years, they became the most prominent when I was in middle school. I knew that I had an issue when I started to feel genuine emotions from my daydreams.
If you are hoping that I somehow overcame these intense daydreams and am sharing my advice, I am sorry to inform you that is not the case. Writing this article allowed me to learn more about this condition and explore the possible causes and solutions for my problem. I spend a significant amount of my waking hours daydreaming, a lot more than the common 47%. The content of my daydreams are intense as well. In my head, I have created a whole new life, the only thing I have kept is my name. I will not be going into details about what these daydreams hold, due to sheer embarrassment, but at least I can recognize this is not normal.
Anyone who suffers from maladaptive daydreaming can agree that we have had issues arrive from our inability to live outside of our heads. The list I have provided below are issues I have because of my maladaptive daydreaming.
Along with the issues I have from maladaptive daydreaming, it is important to target the causes for my refusal to face reality. Facing these and figuring out healthier ways to cope is vital in the process of stopping my maladaptive daydreaming.
The good thing about this situation is my awareness that I am daydreaming too vividly and too much. Unfortunately, it is not officially recognized as an illness, but it is much rather seen as a symptom of other illnesses. Maladaptive daydreaming is the most present in people with anxiety, depression, and OCD. While I am not clinically diagnosed with any of these conditions, I know that I suffer from maladaptive daydreaming and I hope to eventually overcome it.
Maladaptive daydreaming is an addiction for me. My fantasy world constantly entices me, even when I am in the middle of a social interaction. I hope that my experiences with this condition has helped other people realize they need help, or even educate people who may not suffer from this. Maladaptive daydreaming is an issue that needs to be talked about more, and I hope that it becomes a stronger talking point when it comes to mental health.
First of all, what is an energy drink and why is it so popular? An energy drink consists of stimulant compounds which in other words, are drugs that increase your brain activity and nervous system.
The reason it has become so popular over the years is that people are replacing food with energy drinks. We get our natural energy from food but when you have had a busy day, running low on energy, we turn to energy drinks.
Society has been brainwashed into thinking energy drinks are the ‘quick and easy’ way for a fast boost of energy. But, the question is, ‘am I addicted to energy drinks?’
In today’s society, energy drinks and teenagers have become known to mix, that’s exactly what happened to me. My first encounter with tasting an energy drink was back in high school in the year 2010 Let’s just say that since tasting ‘Orange Lucozade’ I’ve become hooked on it. Over the past decade, I can admit that I believe I’m addicted to Lucozade for the wrong reasons. I rely on this energy drink to get me through the day.
If you’ve been following my mental health journey throughout the years, you’ll know I suffer from ‘Bulimia Nervosa’ which is a type of eating disorder. I’ve replaced my intake of food with Lucozade (which I know is not healthy at all) but this is when I’ve realised I’m addicted.
In the long run, energy drinks can cause health problems, some of which are:
Those are just some of the negative causes that energy drinks can do to your brain and body. Reading more about it has opened my eyes and educated me more about the dangers of energy drinks. Some alternative drinks that I found helpful and replaceable were;
- Blue Powerade (It’s full of flavour and that’s what got me addicted to Lucozade)
- Lucozade Sport (This is a non-fizzy type of Lucozade which helps when it’s hot!)
- Flavoured Water (I’m still trying this one out as it’s very different to an energy drink, but it’s healthier so I better get drinking!)
I would consider myself addicted to energy drinks and it’s hard to break the cycle of intake.
Would you consider it an addiction like smoking or drugs?
You’re either a cat person or a dog person. I am a hundred per cent a dog person. These balls of fluff are known for their loyalty and as a pet parent to two little doggos I know how true that is, as they are there following me all the time. It can even be a little creepy at times! But it is nice to know that there is someone there. However, if you’re not a hundred per cent sold on getting a dog (or if you’re trying to convince someone to get a dog),here are my reasons:
They give you a reason to get up in the morning. It is so easy to just stay in bed all day and binge Netflix. But when you’ve got a dog, you need to get up. For things such as letting them out for a wee or feeding them.
Also, they get you out and about. For a daily walk, which is really important for your dog’s health but also your health. So, do some stretches, lace up your trainers and grab your lead,and head out there!
Remember, how I said they’re always there. Well, that is what makes them such great company. They will go for those walks, they will play in the garden with you and they’ll even cuddle up on the couch with you. If you do let your dog sit on the couch I recommend putting a blanket down for them so that they don't scratch the furniture.
The reason that I got my dog is because my Mum had gotten ill with cancer. As she was at home all day and wanted some company. So, my dog Nala (named after the Lion King and not Zoe Sugg's pug!) was there for my Mum throughout the day to go on walks with, watch TV with and even to talk to.
Then after my Mum passed away, Nala was there to hug whenever I felt down and gave me a reason to get up in the mornings. She also missed my Mum and would sit on the couch in my Mum's spot.
But be prepared that if you do decide to get a dog they aren’t all cuddles and fluff. There is lots of hard work that goes into caring for them, such as those daily walks, trips to the vets and picking up poop. So remember with great power comes great responsibility.
Dissociative identity disorder, (DID) (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) is a trauma-based personality disorder that forms in childhood, usually as a result of repeated trauma before the personality fully forms. This causes a split in the personality of the person, creating two or more distinct personality states, otherwise known as alters. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding DID as the condition is quite a complex one, however, it’s not as uncommon as you may think, it’s thought that around 1-3% of the population have a diagnosis of DID which is around the same amount of people that are redheads, so it is so important that you know the truth about this disorder.
Here are some common misconceptions surrounding DID and how it actually is to experience this.
(DISCLAIMER: DID is different for everyone and my experience may differ from someone else, do not take my word as gospel)
1. Alters are “evil sides” of the host.
This is what a lot of people seem to think and that just simply isn’t the case. There are different roles within the system and although there are alters known as “persecutors” in some systems, they aren’t evil, and they typically don’t understand that what they are doing is wrong.
2. It’s obvious when someone switches.
This is an extremely common misconception, but in reality, switches are really subtle. It can be as simple as seeming as if you’re spacing out, or sometimes not even that. Unless you know about someone’s DID and how the different alters act, you likely won’t even notice the switch. Only 5-6% of DID systems have an overt presentation of their alters. Although some alters do have different accents, genders, sexualities, mannerisms etc. most alters will do their best to mirror the host as a way to keep the system safe.
3. If you had DID, you wouldn’t know.
Now this one can sometimes be the case. I went most of my life not knowing about my DID, but what I did know was I was losing periods of time, and my friends and family knew what I’d done during that time and I didn’t recall any of it. About two years ago one of my alters presented themself to me and that’s how I found out, I then later got a diagnosis from my therapist. Although initially, it is common to have no awareness of their trauma self-awareness is possible at any time, it’s not uncommon for people to find out about alters and recognise switches through letters or journals entries that they can’t remember writing, items of clothing that they didn’t buy amongst other things.
4. DID can develop at any age.
This is most certainly not the case. DID can only develop in early childhood, usually before the ages of 4 and 9 which is before the personality fully forms. It’s important to note that there are other dissociative disorders that may develop slightly later on, but for DID, it is physically impossible for this to develop after early childhood.
5. Parts of a DID system are just variations of the host at different ages and times in their life when trauma took place.
This is most definitely not the case. Alters can be any age, gender, nationality or personality type, for example, I have a 19-year-old male, a 25-year-old female, and a six-year-old female amongst many others. Alters are not just fragments of the host that are “frozen” in time marked by when trauma took place, as for a lot of systems, trauma took place every single day. Many alters are not associated with any specific trauma, but still have an important role in the mind.
6. Integration is necessary to live a normal life or is everyone’s goal in therapy.
For some people, this is the case, but this is up to the system to decide, for me and my system, we have decided we don’t wish to integrate, plainly because we can live a perfectly normal life without doing so.
7. You can “kill” alters.
This is physically not possible. Although alters can go dormant, they are not dead, they just disappear for a long time.
8. DID isn’t real and anyone who says they have DID is a faker.
This is definitely not the case. DID is a recognised diagnosis worldwide and saying that it isn’t real is the same as saying that schizophrenia or OCD isn’t real, invalidating a mental illness can be extremely damaging for someone, even if someone was faking, it’s not anyone’s place to say so.
There are a lot of other misconceptions surrounding this disorder as it’s not seen by most people that often, but in order to fully understand this disorder, it’s important to listen to people’s experiences with DID and be willing to understand. If you want more information on DID, I recommend Dissociadid on youtube:(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6kFD5xIFvWyLlytv5pTR1w)
Their videos really helped me to understand my system more. If you need to talk to anyone about DID, you can message me on Instagram: @mummysbrattybunnyboo or you can message us on any of our social media platforms here at TWE.
If you are struggling with DID, it is super important that you get the right support, whether that be from a therapist, your doctor or an online support system. DID can be extremely dangerous if you are struggling alone and after everything I’ve been through without support, I would never wish that on anyone else.
Remember no matter what you aren’t alone and you are loved and understood.
For the third time in some people’s university careers, lecturers and support staff at a number of UK universities are going on strike. They are striking due to issues around casualisation (a large percentage of staff are on zero-hour contracts, and are working second jobs to keep afloat), pension changes, low pay and high workload. Many students are against the strikes, as we miss out on contact hours, meetings, lectures, seminars and assignments that we technically pay for.
First of all, what is a strike? A strike occurs when a workforce is unhappy with the way they are treated by an employer (in this case, the University itself), so they withdraw their labour, and stop working altogether in protest of conditions. The most famous strike is likely the miners strike of 1984, in which the miners union protested mass closures of mines. The miners withdrew their labour and threw the country into turmoil, as there was now no one mining for coal (which the country relied on at the time). A picket line is something commonly associated with a strike. A picket line is a physical line that staff will stand on (usually outside of their place of work), which they will not cross to go into work, and will encourage others to also not cross.
It is important to remember that those who choose to strike don’t get paid for their time doing so, and many run the risk of damaging their careers, as employers obviously don’t care for people who strike.
You might be thinking, why do strikes affect me? I’m not a miner, or a factory worker, or a lecturer! The thing is, strikes affect everyone. University staff striking affects the students who are missing out on contact hours, the families of the striking staff who are going without pay, the parents of students who are paying for university, the university itself and many other companies who work with the university to provide a service or run events.
However, the most important thing about striking, in my opinion, is whether you support them or not. Here are some things you can do if you support the strikes:
And if you don’t support the strikes (which is completely within your rights, please don’t let another person shame you or put you down for not supporting something!):
Becoming a member of the TWE team was really a lifesaving opportunity for me. I’ve been suffering from mental health issues for over a decade now, and I was finding it hard to see my worth in life and also finding it hard to focus on things too.
This lovely girl called Emily, the founder of TWE, reached out to me on Twitter. I like to use Twitter to share my experience with mental health and love reaching out to others who need the support that I have now.
Emily direct messaged me on Twitter saying that she had been reading a few of my tweets and she thought I could offer something special to TWE, and she had also seen that I loved to help people too. I was talking to Emily about what TWE was about and she was really informative so I agreed to join the team!
The reason I agreed to join Teenagers With Experience was that I have spent my whole life helping people with tough situations and it makes me feel proud of myself. But my problem was that I never take my own advice,
I love being a part of TWE because it gives me a chance to use my advice and experience to share with the world that they are not alone. No one should ever suffer in silence like I did when I was first getting bullied.
After leaving high school I didn’t really have a reason to wake up, I never had a daily schedule to keep me busy. So that’s why TWE really was a lifesaving opportunity for me! Now, I do have a reason to wake up and I always have something to do when it comes to TWE.
I’ve learnt so many new skills whilst I’ve been a part of the team, like how to use Google Drive properly to store articles that I write for the website, and also to schedule posts for our social media too. I’ve also gained more confidence in opening up about my past and accepting things that may have been bothering me.
One of the main reasons why I think people should join our team at Teenagers With Experience is to gain new friends that are non-judgemental. We offer advice and support from our own experiences and also from our hearts. TWE is a loving and caring place where I feel safe!
Have you ever wondered why the majority of people in our society have become so captivated by various social media sites? It has become a habit for many to check it constantly, worrying about what is trending or what people think of them. Social media is a great source of communication, for the most part, but the impact on mental health can be severe. We must emphasise why it does not have to control your life and how you can, in fact, control it yourself.
Be honest with yourself and answer this: how long do you actually spend on social media per day? What do you turn to when you have completed your daily routine and need to wind down? Is it fair to say that your mobile phone may be holding you back? It is not a negative thing to be socially active on the Internet, but as a teenager, you may find it refreshing to take a step back. I know that may sound cliché but I have found that it is true and it is surprising how much productivity increases when you take more breaks.
Thinking back to a few years ago, I remember coming home from school, sitting down with my phone and spending so long on it until the battery was practically dead. Some days I would even sit there until it was 7 PM and it was time for dinner. Honestly, I can’t comprehend how I coped with homework and my mental well-being. Perhaps I did find some enjoyment in scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, but now I have come to realise how consuming that lifestyle really was. Now, when I come home from school, I don’t even think about going on my phone for hours. I have learned to adopt the mindset that allows me to stay motivated and complete tasks, not just because they’re necessary, but also because I want to.
I read somewhere that “humans will do more to avoid pain than find pleasure.” Therefore, procrastinating becomes second nature, because we have trained our minds to think this provides us with an escape from pain. But, what if we can find pleasure in being productive instead? Think of an essay you need to write and instead of thinking “I have to write an essay”, think “I get to write an essay”. It is a great feeling reminding yourself of the reward of finishing homework, or the result of spending time revising for a test. So, that’s what I focus on instead. So, by focusing on what is good for you, you are already reducing the hold social media has on you. I honestly feel it is so refreshing.
My advice to readers would, therefore, be to control social media and prevent it from controlling you. Trust me, scrolling through Instagram for 30 minutes a day is so much more interesting than scrolling mindlessly for 3 hours, desperately searching for new content. It can be quite scary to think about the future but preparing for it productively will provide you with much more satisfaction than social media ever can.
To remove the habit of checking your phone, the most obvious way would be to put it in a drawer in the other room. However, there are other options:
To summarise, reducing your time on social media is not only beneficial to your mental health in the short term but helps you in the long term. After learning to stop checking it, I have found that my life has become much more productive and I feel happier as a result. Removing it from your life completely is not always necessary but taking a break can be crucial! Remember that social media does NOT control you if you do not allow it to. Be your own master!
Apps/websites that can help you stay off social media:
Self-control- an extension for your computer and an app that stops you from checking customised websites that you add yourself
Pomodoro tomato timer- allows you to spend 25 minutes working and then 5 minutes on a break on a loop. This means that you manage the amount of time you concentrate and it allows you to enjoy time away from your work without sacrificing precious time! I also love the to-do list feature so you can know exactly what you need to do.
Hold- an app that times the amount of work you do and grows a tree while you do it- this is quite satisfying!
Okay, so a lot of people have their own viewpoints on what autism actually is, and a lot of these opinions are media based. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder, and has many different factors, including but not limited to, social interaction, communication (both verbal and non-verbal), intellectual capacity and repetitive behaviours. When people hear autism, they typically think of Rainman, Sheldon Cooper, or the highly intelligent, quiet person at school that is socially awkward. That is autism, but that isn’t solely what it is.
I was diagnosed a few months ago with high-functioning autism. This basically means that I’m able to communicate to a degree, although I find it difficult, and I struggle picking up on a lot of different social cues, and struggle in some social situations. I do have a higher IQ than a lot of people my age, and I have some extreme obsessions, namely with music. It’s my strongest passion. Mention George Ezra or Lewis Capaldi and I could talk for hours with no issues.
It took 17 years for me to actually be diagnosed, because first of all, I’m a girl. There are so many differences between boys and girls being diagnosed. Boys display autism differently from girls. It’s so much harder to receive a correct diagnosis as a girl, often being told that it’s “typical girl behaviour” because of our obsessions, or social awkwardness and that all girls do it. I showed behaviours from a young age, but was told “I’ll grow out of it.” I didn’t. Fast forward to age 15, I was receiving some help for my anxiety when I was asked about my thoughts on Autism, and if I thought I maybe had it. At first, I was in denial, going off the stereotypes. I did some research, and deliberated for a while. It makes so much sense. I went through a test called an ADOS, which is used to help diagnose autism in children and young people, and a week later I was given a diagnosis.
I’ve found over the past few months, when I tell people about autism, or have seen other things on social media, there are a lot of misconceptions and people jump to conclusions. I want to address a few of these.
“You don’t look autistic.” This is probably one of the worst things that you can say to someone who has been diagnosed. There isn’t a set look when you’re autistic, it’s not like we have 3 eyes or a horn coming out of our heads. “Oh my god you must be so smart can you do my homework?” No. I’m not doing your maths homework. Or your science homework. I’m hopeless at both, they’re not my thing at all. “Are you sure you’re autistic? You don’t act like it?” This is one of the more annoying ones, where people look taken aback because you’re actually able to engage in conversation. “Don’t you have those ear defenders things?” Nope, I like to joke about it with close friends, but I can actually process a lot of sensory things. They’re helpful, but I’m not reliant on them.
Now this one is even more annoying, but people try to compare me to another autistic person they know. “Oh but my friend's cousin's sister is autistic and she’s non-verbal.” Okay? It’s called a SPECTRUM. Where everyone is completely different. This also means it isn’t just a straight line, with non-verbals at one end, and high functioning, maths geniuses at the other. It’s so much more complex than that. No two autistics are the same.
So, I hope I helped with some of the misconceptions. For any autistics, or those waiting to be diagnosed, if you ever want help, I’d highly recommend looking at the National Autistic Society’s website. They have a lot of information, and in some areas, they even have support groups, which I personally think could be brilliant!
There. You did it. You’ve come out to your parents. You’ve said those magic words. Light or dark magic, it could go either way. You wait anxiously for the infinite yet instantaneous reaction your parents are bound to have. We might expect our parents and loved ones to react to extremes. They are either supportive and accepting, or they could make coming out seem like the biggest mistake of your life. I think that a lot of us think that there is no in-between because of the portrayal ‘coming out’ has on the media. But what if your loved ones’ reactions are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum? Neither completely accepting nor distraught. It can still sting to be in a situation like this. What do you do? Is there a way out of this?
I came out on a whim a few months ago. I was in the middle of one of my routinely ‘let’s complain about everything’ sessions with one of my friends, and I randomly wanted to come out to my mom. We were probably talking about how trapped we felt at home and how suffocating it felt to be in quarantine, which is what probably catalyzed my urge to come out. I knew that if I was going to come out to someone, it was going to be my mom. She and I are close and she’s not as religious as the rest of my family, so I knew that my only chance of being accepted by a family member was by my mom. So I left my friend waiting on facetime and approached my mom. Here’s a very brief summary of the conversation:
Me: Uhh, I’ve got something to tell you
Mom : *looks away from the TV and stares at me*
Me: I…... like girls
Mom: *stares harder*
My Brain: ohmygodohmygodohgod what did you do you are an idiot why in the world would you even you’ve made the dumbest move in the entire universe ahhhhHHHHHHHHhh
Me: Yeah, it’s been on my mind for a long time.
Mom: I don’t know what to say; ignore it. It’s just a phase.
*end of conversation*
Ignore it. That was basically what my mother said. And then we both proceeded to act as nothing had happened. I was expecting a recreation of what I’d seen on TikTok. Happy hugs, relief, and joyful tears or the exact opposite. I wasn’t expecting to be left in the middle. It really stung to find out that my mom (and therefore the rest of my family) didn’t accept me. I never got my ‘I love you for who you are and everything will be fine’ hug. She told me that I should ignore any feelings about girls and just focus on school, and down the line I’d probably end up with a boy. I felt empty. Like I wasn’t a part of my family anymore. But I wasn’t abused or kicked out, and it could’ve been worse, but it still did hurt a lot.
Because of this turn of events, I’m in a position where I’m out to my parents, but my parents pretend it never happened. So I basically had to walk and sit back down in my closet. My foot was stuck at the door. I thought that coming out to my family would be liberating. I wanted to be myself at home, which was important at the time because of quarantine. I wanted to cut my hair really short and give in to my masculine side a bit more. I wanted to talk about the women I thought were gorgeous and not the men that should be on my mind. But I couldn’t. I still wanted to celebrate though. Coming out felt like a milestone to me and I wanted to treat myself. I wanted to buy myself a pride flag, get some pride apparel, or even just paint a little rainbow in my room. But each idea was shot down by my parents and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I only made it out because of my friends. They listened to me whenever I needed them. They were the ones that kept reminding me that I was perfect and they never let me forget that they accepted me. I’m eternally grateful for them. They even offered to smuggle me a pride flag. But I’m no trained secret agent, so I obviously had to reject the offer.
Even after it being months since I’ve come out, at times I get frustrated and wound up because I can’t openly be queer. However, I’ve done a few things that have helped me feel less suffocated. Here are a few things you could try:
If you can’t turn your loved ones around, make sure you have a support team. This could be a group of friends, a school counselor or a public forum (make sure to not give out personal information on public forums). Anytime negative emotions start to crowd your mind, let them out as soon as possible. You can always leave an anonymous message right here, on the TWE website, and I can assure you that we’ll get back to you to help.
I want you to remember that no matter how good or bad your coming out experience was, it takes a truckload of courage and confidence to do it, and I am so proud of you and my respect for you runs deep. Always know that if things aren’t the brightest right now, life is always changing and you will soon find a place in this world that is built for you, cares for you and loves you for who you are.
Your true colors will always shine through in the end, and they are beautiful.
If you need someone to talk to :
The more that you read, the more you know. The more you know, the smarter you’ll grow. The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, while speaking your mind or making a choice. - Dr.Seuss
I discovered that quote on the back of a bookmark that my librarian gave me when I was six, and even though it wasn’t as cool as the other peppermint scented bookmarks that she found for us, this bookmark was my favorite. This quote reached out to me when I first fell in love with reading, thanks to the help of numerous dedicated people and marvelous books. And to this day, almost nine years later I still love the way this quote sounds in my head.
Reading is precious to me, more than anything else. There is magic to be discovered in books- quite literally in some- and the wonder that comes with occupying someone’s mind for a chapter or a few. So, without further ado I would like to introduce you to an inconclusive list of some amazing books that are much deserving of your love-
This list ends here for now, but I hope that after reading this article you’ll seek out some of these stories and find the wonder and joy that I found in these novels. This is by no means a conclusive list of books that deserve your love, and I’d love to make a list of more such books in the future.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free”- Frederick Douglass
Until next time!- Navya
Think about this: what is one thing you love from your favourite novel? Is it the plot that gets you so hooked you forget the cup of coffee sitting on the table? Or the setting you keep wondering about? How about the characters?
Characters are those beings living in your plot who convey the entire story. They are the mirror of the book who brings out the plot and theme. If you want your readers to think long after the last page is closed, treat your characters like your loved ones. Let the readers devour into the plot using your character’s individuality. Building characters with complexities, distinct personalities, and goals dive the readers into the story. Once you understand your characters inside and out, you can mix them in the plot or let them guide the story. Dimension, conflict, and empathy are some of the many things that can help you avoid creating dull characters. Here are few things about them:
One thing that makes characters dull is their lack of flaws. Develop human-like characters, let them have their flaws. Think about different aspects of life. Are they rich? If yes, are they greedy? Are they social? If not, are they lonely?
Let your characters have an internal conflict that influences the plot. No internal conflict makes the story monotonous and the character boring.
For example, the superhero of a story has to fight the villain. But he is still unsure of his capability. He doubts himself about being able to control his power. What if he hurts an innocent? These thoughts bring an inner conflict in him, which makes it difficult to solve the external conflict. You can experiment with the solutions to the conflicts. The result of the external conflict can cause a solution to inner conflict and vice versa.
Empathy is the power I love experimenting with. A way to incorporate empathy into your story would be to tell your readers why the villain committed the crimes. Empathy helps paste characters into the reader’s mind. You can always jump around different perspectives to showcase how the characters feel or what they have been through.
If you include these in your characters, you are ready!
Character outline is THE step I love. I invest more time in this step. It is where you connect and fall in love with your characters. I take it as a blind date; you don’t know what you expect or how they are. But you make a go for it.
Outlining characters includes the character’s past, personality, manners, and behavior. For example; one character may have a habit of scrunching their nose again and again. The other may explain themselves, their habits, and why they did certain things again and again because they had abusive parents.
Origins matter! It gives an insight into what they might be like, their goal, and their inner conflicts.
Different methods can be used to outline characters! The technique I find the easiest is Q&A on a mind map. There are questions I ask myself and address the answers in a form of a mind map.
Questions you can ask yourself can be:
Now, when you have your character ready to fall in love with, revealing them on the screen is crucial. SHOW DON’T TELL. You can use their behavior, attitude towards someone, or their actions to reveal the character.
Instead of ‘The young CEO of the company was cold and caring. He wanted all works done on time,’.
We can say ‘A tall man with a sharp jawline entered the conference hall. All staff members stood up at his sight. He bent down to the level of his secretary’s daughter, bringing a bar of chocolate out of his Tom Ford suit. The little girl leaped with joy. She brought his first smile of the day. He walked up to me and extended his hand for the file I had been holding. I shuddered under his icy gaze. His neck and hand veins were popping out while his eyes held no emotion. He was angry. I handed him the file while looking down at my heels, knowing very well I had crossed the deadline.’
Here, we get a taste of being his employee. We get a clue he has a soft side. We notice his veins pop out when he is angry. He doesn’t smile much. He is rich. A flashback can help display a character or some new characters into the story. Be careful about the transition between the flashback and the present time.
Few ways you can present flashbacks can be:
Try not to stop describing the characters. As you write, you discover more!
Your readers need to recognize the characters! Reminders are essential! But do not repeat everything again. The characters shouldn’t be too similar. Experiment with unique traits, accents, and behaviours. Ellen’s show and Carpool Karaoke can help you explore your characters more. Ask questions and answer them! Look into where the character would want to go depending upon their personality. Maybe your introverted character will take the host to the library!
Remain alert and aware of the accents and behaviour of people around you.
It is all about how you play around!
Make your characters human-like!
Practice, practice, and practice!
Credits to Reedsy learning.
How To Develop Memorable Characters (Free Course) • Reedsy
How to Write Believable Dialogue (Free Course) • Reedsy Learning
The Simple 9-Step Guide to Character Development
How to Develop a Character: 7 Simple Steps
Dealing with situations like being stood up at dates or a family problem can make us just want to hide away from the world. Escape reality and just go into another world of wonderland, which I thought I was doing.
In the past I have always kept my problems to myself; they started to build up like a tower.
But when the tower gets too overloaded it starts to collapse, that’s exactly what happened to my mind. Years of keeping all these problems to myself not talking caused me to have an outburst on other terms let out all my anger.
It started when I was back in high school, I was getting bullied due to having ginger hair and because of my last name which I dislike a lot to this day-that’s why I go by a different name now.
I was having a normal day in high school, but then came lunch-time. I went to meet my friends and we sat down to lunch, I went to go and get something from the food-counter and on my way back there was this girl who wouldn’t move her chair to let me pass. I asked her kindly if I could just get through to sit down but she refused.
So, that’s when things got pretty bad. She stood up and said to me “I can’t move because you’re so fat, bet I couldn’t even lift you to throw you out the window”.
That’s when the tower collapsed. I dropped everything in my hands and I just punched her continuing to then pull her hair and then pushed her to the ground.
The fight continued until we were split by the teachers. I was taken to the office to then be asked by the principal “what was that all about?” I just walked out and then was sent home. After that day I just locked myself away in my bedroom, not talking to anyone.
I was sent to a new high school where I pretended to be a person that I wasn’t. I started to wear makeup, I stopped eating and that’s when the new Mel began. Looking back on it now I wish I dealt with the situation differently because I couldn't even recognise myself!
That was just one of the situations where I ran away from my problems. A more recent one was when I was stood up by a girl who I was meant to be going on a date with. I got to the location where we were meant to meet but then she stood me up.
What I did after that was that I got a taxi back home then I relapsed with my bulimia. I punished myself because I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that nobody will like me with the way I look!
Now, looking back at that situation, I should have talked to someone. So running from the situation makes me feel ten times worse. I found some other ways that could help you feel better in situations like these; writing it all down in a journal, diary or even creating an article!
Anxiety is a factor that affects every individual and is a typical response to stressful or difficult situations. The different types of anxiety attacks that could be difficult to grasp are anxiety disorders that many people find challenging their everyday lives. This disorder leaves an individual with constant worrying or stress, leading to depleting mental health because of the tension of worrying or panic attacks.
Anyone can sense anxiety coming into effect as your heart starts to race, you begin to shake, lose control over your breath, or feel out of control in the situation. This reaction is definitely a normal one. However, finding ways to combat this anxiety can make problems easier and promote a better mentality moving forth. With the different types of stress discussed earlier, there is one that is prominent with teenagers-social anxiety. The broad definition of social anxiety is having a fear of being judged or rejected in social situations. Many of these instances can be seen in classrooms while presenting or when being with large groups of people. You might feel the anxiousness that comes with speaking in front of a large group or having a fast-paced/shaky tone. One piece of advice to keep in mind is that you are not alone. Millions of others experience similar anxiety, so not perfecting something like a presentation in school or fitting into a social setting is entirely normal.
Ways to get assistance on social anxiety could be to practice more healthy habits or breathing exercises to practice. If you feel anxious about an event, grab a journal and write down your thoughts.If you feel angry or frustrated, go on a run or let your energy lose and blow some steam off by doing physical activity. If you are genuinely struggling and need more help outside of yourself, a critical piece of advice that I can give is to talk to someone, whether it be a friend or a professional which could both prove effective in different ways. I have provided a link to a website that furthermore discusses anxiety, the different types, helplines, and many more. https://www.mentalhelp.net/anxiety/hotline/.
In my experience, anxiety has been a part of me and has always been a factor in my lifetime. I constantly feel myself worrying or holding unnecessary tension in my everyday tasks and life. Especially now, with a new shift in school, I find myself worrying and afraid of the possible outcomes of a negative situation or me not fitting in. I am still working on aiding my anxiety. I take appropriate steps that help me feel better, such as working out, journaling, reading, and cleaning my mind by taking breaks from social media, focusing more on myself and my own downtime. Finally, I practice breathing and complete 5-10 minute meditation sessions in the morning and night to provide my brain with a break and have a fresh mindset for the rest of the day/next.
Finally, anxiety is not something that is easy to overcome, but it is a part of you that you must aid and treat if it begins to affect you. Once again, there is a link provided in the article about more information regarding this topic and hotlines if you need more help, which is always okay. I wish all of you the best and hope you are navigating life in a manner of your own.
“Never judge a book by its cover.” This is a common expression used when you meet someone new-to never judge them solely based on appearance. However, we can’t help it sometimes. We are quick to judge and write off someone, assuming that they are rude or impolite. Yet, that might not always be the case. Those who suffer from anxiety have coping mechanisms and side effects that can come across as “rude.”
A lot of us have been in a social situation where we’ve felt we didn’t showcase ourselves in the way we wanted to. Whether it was being too chatty in fear of awkward silences or being too quiet. For people who live with anxiety, situations like this can feel all too real. There are other ways as well which include:
They leave an event early or abruptly: Our body’s natural reaction is “flight” or “fight.” In this case, the “flight” response is activated. If someone’s anxiety is becoming too intense, their brain’s response to a perceived threat will tell them that it’s time to go.
They cancel plans last minute: Chances are that they are excited to go out but as those plans near closer, anxiety begins to speaker louder. Their anxious thoughts may consist of fearing a panic attack in public or avoiding triggering situations.
They ask “can you repeat that?” multiple times in a conversation: Brain fog! People with anxiety are overwhelmed with thoughts. At times, it can be hard to process so much information at once.
They seem withdrawn or don’t talk much in a conversation: People with anxiety may fear being judged for what they say or how they say it. Some would prefer to listen to what others are saying, rather than input their thoughts into a conversation.
They are irritable and easily agitated for what may seem like “no reason”: Anxiety is overwhelming! Imagine trying to battle your thoughts, physical sensations, and a sense of impending doom all while trying to navigate at once.
I have been in situations where due to my anxiety, I may have come across as rude. Whenever I am out with friends or at a party, I end up staying for a very short while before leaving. Also, during these social gatherings, I stick by the side of who I’m with. This is where I would be seen as clingy and disrespectful. This is something I don’t mean to be. I just want to stay with people I know.
I also don’t know how to connect with random strangers. I don’t know what I can trust about what they do or say. I don’t know how to react to the conversation. So I become monotoned to avoid saying or doing the wrong things. But once I get to know them, I start to relax and I can be myself. I’m not as cold as I initially seem.
These are just a few things that I do that can easily come across as rude to others to strangers and acquaintances.
But there are ways to overcome your anxiety with these coping mechanisms. Some methods include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to inducing anxiety situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviours before they get out of control.
Identify and manage your triggers: Whether it is on your own or with a therapist, learn what your triggers are and how to manage them. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious. Long-term problems, such as work-related situations, may take some time to figure out. When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can.
Meditation: Meditation can help your brain dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.
Health: Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to not think of your anxiety.
Medication: If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health is being jeopardised, discuss your concerns with your doctor.
(Note: Remember that different methods work for different people.)
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress. How we deal with it may come across as “rude” to those that do not know us. For loved ones, recognize that these anxiety-driven patterns can be extremely difficult for the anxious person to adjust, especially if they're in the midst of a clinical anxiety problem.
To get in contact with your local helplines then visit: