13 Reasons Why: Cheesecake and Depression

Hello cheesecake eaters! Sorry for the long wait, I got a second part time job and my life has been extremely busy. So!!! Happy news: today marks one year since I started this masterpiece! We have come a long way. We have seen the best of humanity (I don’t have a link of that, but picture the best of humanity) and the worst of humanity. We have gone deep into my mind and listened to ranting of the most insane kind (thank you) and you my cheesecake eaters have stood with me through it! Merci!

So today I want to pick up where I left off. This is reason number two: depression.

Oh, but it’s one year, why depression? Well, would you like me to talk about rape? Or suicide? Or PTSD? Or bullying? Or 7 other reasons each more heartbreaking then the next? No?

So, depression.

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Okay what is depression? No, depression is not feeling sad, and sometimes, most often, there is nothing wrong. Ranting of a Mad Woman# 5 talks about how depression makes the world seem gray. Like it is washed up. Everything can be going right in a person’s life but if they have clinical depression or major depressive disorder, then they are depressed.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”  ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.

I would like to point out that there is functioning depression, this is where a person feels depressed (like life has not meaning and there is no reason to even get up in the morning) but due to certain factors they can manage by putting a fake smile on their faces. The people who I have spoken to that have functioning depression say that it is mentally, physically, and overall exhausting. Think about it, acting like everything is fine when inside you feel like you are dying is one of the hardest things to do. Faking a smile just so you don’t have to explain to people what is wrong, just so you are not a burden or judged is exhausting.

This what Hannah Baker from 13 Reasons Why did. She was dying inside, yet she said nothing to her parents or to anyone because she did not want to be a burden or “a drama queen.” She smiled till she died.

Why didn’t Hannah get help? Well she tired, but I don’t think she, herself, knew she had depression. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. So what are the symptoms?

Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood (most of the time it will be empty, like life has no purpose or you are stuck in repeat.)

Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism

Irritability (often seen as anger)

Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities (again, life is meaningless so why bother with fun)

Decreased energy or fatigue

Moving or talking more slowly or not talking at all

Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still

Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

Appetite and/or weight changes

Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

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Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

These are just a few symptoms, but here is the really painful part, that I feel we should all remember. Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Some people can hide their depression until it is too late.

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”  ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

However, there is treatment. Most of the time there is talk therapy and medications that can help. This is not to say that all people who are depressed need medication just like not all people who are depressed have suicidal thoughts or attempts. Depression affects everyone differently.

My dearest cheesecake eaters, words of wisdom: 1) you don’t know what is going on in the lives of others, don’t judge 2) if you do know what is going on in the lives of others, you don’t know 100% of the time what is going on in their heads, always be kind 3) if someone is depressed DO NOT tell ask them why or say that people have it worse than them. Do not invalidate them. Everyone has their own reality and sometimes reality sucks because people with depression want stop being not just depressed but often times they want to stop being them. 4) always help and do no harm, if you do not know the facts (and I mean all the facts) stuff your mouth with cheesecake and don’t say a word. 5) always help and do no harm, if you are going to use an opinion or say something offensive stuff your mouth with cheesecake and don’t say a word. 6) offer cheesecake because it is delicious #RandomActsOfKindness.

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Happy first birthday Genius and Insanity, you truly are the fine line. Stay tone for whenever for Reason Number 3.

“If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore. But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”

― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

Ranting of a Mad Woman #6:13 Reasons Why So it Starts

Happy Sunday readers! I have finished watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and I must say, it was great! There is soooo many psychological topics I will be discussing in the next three or four post some of the topics are: depression, PTSD, sexual abuse, and yes once again suicide.

For now (as I do more research on the subjects) enjoy this creative ranting!

I don’t need 13 reasons why. I just need one.
You.
Yes you, I shall not  call you out by name, I’m not evil. I’m not that sinful. To place all the blame on you. To target you just like you targeted me.
Or am I?
That’s cruel too, to watch how you are left wondering.
Is it me?
No. It’s you.
Oh you, the breaker of my heart.

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It wasn’t enough that you ripped it out of my chest you then had to cut it into little pieces so small I could not glue it back together.  Telling me did you really have to set it on fire as well?
Oh you, I will not mention any names but if the shoe fits WEAR IT.
You the breaker of promises. Since the start I can name everything you promised and those are as numerous as the stars or the tears I cried because of you. Where, oh you, are all my dreams come true?
Oh you, my reason why. The breaker of my self. I look in the mirror and all I hear is how I’ll never be good enough FOR YOU.
So many flaws. So many imperfections. So many other picks.
Oh you. I should name you: the breaker.
Oh no… No…you are more than just a breaker. You are a destroyer of hope. A liar. My 13 reasons neatly organized into one.

Stay tune next week for depression…

“You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.”

~ 13 reasons why

 

Psyched About Christ

Hello readers and HAPPY EASTER (tomorrow)! (If you are not a Christian or celebrate Easter, then HAPPY Saturday!) First, sorry for going AWOL on you guys! Lots has happened in a like a month… I think??? I am going to be attending The Citadel Graduate Program in South Carolina (any jobs around that area PLEASE let me know!) Second, I got a part-time job and another part-time job…ish?? And I have been working a lot… So, it’s hard for me to write every week but I will make an effort to try.

Anyway, this post! So tomorrow Easter and for those who don’t know Easter commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death, as written in the Christian bible. Yes, dear readers, as so many know I do consider myself a follower of Christ Jesus or as many like to call us Christians. If you didn’t know this, what blog have you been reading?

But LESLEY!!! You want to be a psychologist… isn’t that like anti-God? Well… no. Believing in God or not is not a professional qualification for being a psychologist or psychiatrist. That is a personal decision everyone will make on their own. If it is an important question to you ask your provider about whether they believe in God or not. My answer will be yes. And this blog will explain why.

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For starts I want to clarify that psychology is not “the study of the soul.” (psyche in Greek is soul). It is actually the study of mind more specifically it is the science of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. So, I can be a psychologist and know what you are struggling with behaviorally and mentally not spiritually.

Second, you do not have to read this if you don’t want to. I think it will be fun to get to know my own deep and personal thoughts on some subject areas though.

Here is why I think I can be both Christian and psychologist. I think it is a little bit of both. I can use psychological insights to be a better Christian, and I can use Christian truths to be a better psychologist.

The Bible does not mention anything about psychology (the study of behavior and mind).  So how can being a psychologist help my faith. How when we are warned not to be taken captive by the world’s philosophies and principles, but to walk in the fullness of Christ. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8 I get it. Using teachings of man can led people to a spiritual death which is worse than a physical death. Why? Because most of man’s knowledge is flawed. As a psychologist, I will using the Hippocratic Oath which is “First do no harm.” To me this means no harm physically, mentally, or spiritually.

Of course, I will do no harm physically, that’s not what I deal with. I will do no harm mentally; I will be trained how to heal mentally. But how to avoid doing harm spiritually? I need to learn all the Christian truths. Become so knowledgeable and so strong in my faith that I can (in Jesus’s name) heal.

So how can being a Christian make me a better psychologist? I’m not going to push my faith on any of my clients. That is not psychologically ethical. However, being a Christian according to 1 John 2:6 I have to walk in the same manner as He walked. How did He walk? He walked with compassion and love, with understanding and hope. As a Christian I need to walk by the His Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5: 22-25. This truth tells me that I need to be like the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit helps me be more understanding of people’s pain and suffering. Nobody likes a psychologist who can’t understand or at least be compassionate. It is sad to say that there are psychologists out there like that, who are only it for the money or the title. That is not to say that there are not Christians out there who are white washed graves.

One last point, psychology teaches selfish self-love. Yes and no. While psychology does help self-esteem, the main goal of psychology is to improve the mind and behavior and thus life. This can also be accomplished with the Bible. Of course! The Bible does not teach self-love but rather love for others. Again, yes and no. Matthew 22:37-39 says, “37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” So, love God first, but love your neighbor as yourself…. How does that work? I mean if you hate yourself you can’t love others. How can you not love yourself when God loves you? Like who are you to tell the creator of the universe that you don’t love yourself? Knowing this Christian truth, I can then move forward and help others love themselves, not as the world requires them to which is with envy and pride and boastful esteem, but how God calls them to love themselves with kindness and goodness and faith and joy.

I am not going to push my faith on my clients. I will not even bring up faith unless I am told too, but I will be wearing my cross, the mark of faith.  If they bring it up, I want to be so strong in my faith that I can help them work through their struggles and pains while helping them build a stronger relationship with God.

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I want to close by saying I am human. I am by no means perfect, and yes, I do sometimes struggle psychologically and sometimes spiritually (and we all know that I struggle financially), but I keep going because I know that I am from God and I have overcome them; because greater is He who lives in me than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4.

Some will judge me, and call me a fake Christian or a fake psychologist or both. I welcome it! Judge on world, for in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? My God knows my heart, and that is all that matters.

Let me know what you think on this subject matter, but please be nice and kind. There is already too much cruelty in the world don’t add to it.

P.S. I am almost done watching 13 reasons why and I have a few ideas on how I wants to use this show/book so stay tune!

If I were to be persecution for my faith, I hope there is enough evidence to convict me.

Cassie Oliver’s: To The Girl Who Can’t Say No : People Pleaser? Guest Writer

So I have not had time to dive in deep on the research of a famous fictional scientist, but that post is coming soon, maybe next week but for sure before April 5th. Anyway, lucky one of my friends accepted the offer of writing a blog post for me. So here it is, please enjoy!

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Cassie Oliver is from a faraway land called Iowa. She lives in the middle of a booming city, within her parent’s house as she awaits her adventure to seminary in the fall. She loves to drink hot chocolate, read autobiographies of celebrities and the Holy Bible. She has a vast knowledge of sports for one of the female gender. She is friends with the author and wonders why she was ever allowed to write this.

As a young girl, I was made fun of most of my years in school because I was the one who would always raise my hand in class for any assignment the teacher would give me. This continued into my college years where I felt like my car was used more as a taxi service then it was used for personal reasons. After I graduated college was when I started feeling that I was doing things more to please people then to do them for myself. As I discovered this, I started to question my mere existence, has my whole life been a lie to myself and just a reflection of what people wanted to see in me? Or have I not figured out who I am and I am just a bubble walking around filling a void in the space continuum? I have started saying no to people, and you ask how has that changed my life and those around me? Well let’s just say that I have less people in my life at the time being. People that have been around for years have started to noticed that I have more time to spend with them but more important, more time to discover the true self that I have been trying to find.

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Cassie is on the way to finding herself.

Until next week!

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

Ranting of a Mad Woman No. 5: I See Grey

Happy Saturday readers. I hope all are enjoying today or at least making it through today. Conference went great. I got to see my friends and research mentor!

Anyway next week or so will be super busy, but I wanted to do a Ranting of a Mad Woman, because I have not done anything really creative since November (Rantings of a Mad Woman #3). Rantings of a Mad Woman #4  was more of a Lesley thing.

Anyway here is a ranting.

It started with a whisper. I whimper. A soft cry for help.
Someone save me.
Nothing.
From white it becomes black.
I get in the car and drive. I don’t know where. The darkness surrounds.
I speak up in a normal voice.
Someone help me.
I am dismissed.
The ever “why are you depressed you have it better than most.”
I say nothing.
From black it becomes grey.

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I end up in the roof of a very tall building.
I scream loud and until I feel my lungs begging me for air or least they collapse. The anger inside consumes me like a raging chemical fire.
But is it really anger. I don’t see red.
I see grey.
Most people think that depression is associated with black. I associate it with grey. Black, though the absent of color, goes well with everything. Black suits at weddings or major celebrations.
Seeing the world in white the bright side of things, seeing the world in black the dark side of things (hey at least they have cookies, right?) Seeing the world in grey washed up with no meaning, no life, no promise.
I see the world in grey.
Empty.
Anger is let out. Anger because that’s the only way things are understood.
Who screams the loudest is the one who is heard.
Abuse.
War.
Politics.
Whoever is the angriest. Whoever screams the loudest has the power.
I scream in anger. I scream. I scream. I scream.
And yet.
No one hears me. No one understands me.
No one is listening.
It makes me angry because no one can comprehend the pain that is inside.
They didn’t hear me as I whispered.
The dismissed my “inside voice.”
Now they tell me to shut up and stop being angry. To see the bright side of things.
I shut up.
I smile even though I’m crying inside.
I take a leap knowing that one will catch me. One has been listening the whole time. I don’t see  the darkness. I don’t see the the light.
I see the end goal that we all will achieve. The goal that has been the one hearing, understanding.
Listening.
I don’t feel happy.
I don’t feel content.
I don’t feel depressed.
I feel the impact.
I see grey.

I will write as soon as I can, but #life.

Raney Simmon’s Truer Than Fiction Guest Writer

Happy Tuesday! Lots has happen. Well actually just two things. One, I got into grad school!! Hoary! I am still waiting for one more to, pray to God, accept me.

Two, this Friday I will be presenting my summer research at a region conference. Please send your prayers and wish me the best of luck.

To the post! Guest writer! I haven’t done one of these in a really long time. Here it is:

Raney Simmon’s is a graduate of Columbia College in Columbia South Carolina. Her passion is writing and reading. She will be talking about the impact that literature has in the lives of those struggling with abuse and/or mental illness. 

Enjoy!

“We don’t create a fantasy world to escape from reality, we create it to be able to stay.” – Lynda Barry

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I would say my mental health journey began when my love of the written word grew. It manifested in the form of escapism because I spent so many hours reading that I sometimes wished I could go into the pages of the books I love.

Inkheart is the name of the book that started it all. I know I’ve probably mentioned this book before, but it’s the book that really made me realize reading and writing as my true passions. I read it during the summer before I started 7th grade, recommended as a summer reading choice by my 6th grade English teacher. It’s also the book that made me realize fantasy as one of my favorite genres to read and set me on the path to read what would become my favorite series of all: Harry Potter. Inkheart made me want to immerse myself in the books I read with its promise of characters being able to bring characters from other books into the world. Along with the Harry Potter series, this book (and the two books following it, Inkspell and Inkdeath) really showed me what reading truly had to offer. It’s a book that I’ll always keep close to my heart and a book I read whenever I find myself lacking inspiration.

At the time, escapism was my form of relief from the everyday cycle of reality that had become my life. When I was in 8th grade, my mother got married to a man my sister and I were excited to call stepfather. But it wasn’t until many months later that he revealed his truly terrible persona to us all.

It first came in the form of alcoholism. He’d spend Friday nights going out to drink and come back home aggressively drunk. I remember during this period of time that one day on our way home from going out to dinner with friends, Mom received a call. The police had picked him up and wanted us to come get him. I remember that trip home how he acted, the amount of tears I shed at seeing him in that state, feeling completely sorry for him. At the time I didn’t realize things were only going to get worse from there.

After the drinking, he started becoming verbally and mentally abusive. He was especially verbally abusive towards me. I remember him calling me a “retard” on more than one occasion and even tried to convince me that I had a disorder by trying to diagnose me himself. He even told me to kill myself “because nobody would miss me,” and threatened my well-being during the course of their marriage.

He made me feel worthless, like I was completely alone in the world. So much so that these words did damage to my self-esteem and self worth that I can still feel today.

The marriage truly ended the summer before my senior year of high school when he and my sister got into such a terrible argument that she threatened to leave and not come back. He acted like my sister not coming back was perfectly fine with him so my mother decided she’d had enough so we packed up our things together and left.

It was during these four years of my life that I used reading to escape from what my family was going through. As soon as I’d get home from school, I’d go to my room and read with my bedroom door closed and wouldn’t come out accept to eat. I’d read fantasy books because they were further from the reality I was dealing with and I loved the stories within their pages. Reading helped me cope with what I was dealing with in a safe, judge free environment. But this habit also affected other aspects of my life too, though at the time I never realized how much. I read to escape, but I further isolated myself from those around me who cared.

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However, there are two other books I read during this time that helped me make it through these four years of my life. Both these books were my first introduction to young adult literature and centered around real life problems teenagers go through. Speak really stands out to me because it was the first book I ever read that openly talked about rape. It is the story of a young girl who gets raped at a party the summer before she starts her freshman year of high school. She calls the police, who bust the party, resulting in her being the most hated girl in her class. I enjoyed reading this book during this time because even though I’ve never gone through that traumatic experience before, I was going through an experience just as bad and I didn’t feel like I could openly talk about it. I felt like I couldn’t speak out about my experience because nobody would care.

Crank is the name of the second novel that made me interested in young adult literature. It also centers around a young teenage girl, but the story and the way it’s told are completely different. Each page of the story is written in poetry form, giving the reader a completely unique reading experience. But like with Speak, I felt like I was being exposed to another real-life problem for the first time. Instead of rape, I was reading a novel that heavily dealt with drug addiction and the way it can impact those around you. This book had an impact on me because it was the first book I read that talked about a heavy subject matter in poetry format. It exposed me to poetry but also made me better understand my stepfather’s drinking addiction. So it benefited me in two ways: first, it showed me how to express myself through poetry and second, helped me understand why my stepfather is an alcoholic and how his drinking hurt us all.

This experience and escapism both changed me. They made me more introverted, made me prefer the comforts of home over being out in the world. But they also strengthened me and helped me survive so I can hopefully begin to heal. Because while we are out of harm’s way, I know my mental health journey has just begun.

If you like Raney’s writing check out her blog: https://vookthevook.wordpress.com/