13 Reasons Why #5: Popcorn Eaters and Bystanders

Hello fellow popcorn eaters! Long time no writing. I have no excuses. Now a lot has happened since a few weeks ago not just in my life but all over the country and the world. I will get to those issues and the psychologically of them later, but I think it’s time the long overdue 5th reason.

I would like to introduce the 1964 Kitty Genovese’s murder in New York City. Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment while bystanders who observed the crime did not step in to assist or call the police. Social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley attributed the bystander effect to the perceived diffusion of responsibility (onlookers are more likely to intervene if there are few or no other witnesses) and social influence (individuals in a group monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act). In Genovese’s case, each onlooker concluded from their neighbors’ inaction that their own personal help was not needed.

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For this post, unless told otherwise, my quotes are going to be by Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and a author of Night.

So why is this a reason? Well reason 4: Bullying? Okay so in 13 Reasons Why our beloved hero Clay was a bystander. The bystander effect affected Hannah. (Hahaha say that sentence five times fast. Ready. GO!)  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just Clay, but the whole school. Everyone has at one point been a bystander to bullying, abuse, or other similar negative actions.

A bystander is someone who sees or knows about bullying or other forms of violence that is happening to someone else; they can either be part of the problem (hurtful bystander) or part of the solution (helpful bystander). It’s easy to ignore incidents of bullying, or walk away thinking “at least it’s not me”.

But believe it or not, by doing nothing you are contributing to the problem — and you may be giving bullies the “okay” to carry on with their behavior.

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Bystanders are not effected by bullying, Lesley.

Right… and people who go the movies don’t love movie theater popcorn, right?

WRONG!!!

Some kids and adults may think that bullying only affects the bullies and their victims. However, bystanders who repeatedly witness bullying may be more likely to suffer emotional and physical trauma and distress than those who witnessed less bullying. Penn State researchers JoLynn Carney, Ph.D., and Richard Hazler, Ph.D., said such trauma could affect bystanders for life. In Penn State News, Carney said that bullying can cause bystanders to “demonstrate physical stress symptoms of increased heart rate and perspiration as well as high levels of self-reported trauma even years after bullying events.”

You are seeing someone hurt someone else… it would be inhuman to not think, “Dang, maybe I am next”.

Everyone, not just the bullies and the victims, are affected by bullying. It leads to lifelong social mistrust and damaged relationships that can cause a chain reaction of relationship problems that permeate into adulthood. Hazler said that trust was higher among students who were less exposed to bullying.

“Traumatic life experience is one of the strongest factors that reduce trust in other people, and study results suggest that a similar effect for school-age children may be related to the trauma caused by bullying,” said Hazler in Penn State News.

Why mistrust?

Bystanders don’t help or support the victims. A major part of them always lives with that regret and also doubt. Doubt because they know that maybe one day they will be the victim and no one will reach out and help them.

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“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

We all have a role to play in erasing bullying, and protecting the rights of ourselves and others. You can take a stand against bullying by standing up for someone else — without putting yourself at risk, or becoming a bully yourself.

Bystanders have the power to play a key role in preventing or stopping bullying. Some bystanders directly intervene, by discouraging the bully, defending the victim, or redirecting the situation away from the bully. Other bystanders get help, by rallying support from peers to stand up against bullying, or by reporting the bullying to an adult.

Here are some ways you can become a helpful bystander:

  • Make it clear to your friends that you won’t be involved in bullying behavior.
  • Never stand by and watch or encourage bullying behavior. It may not be happening to you — but what if it was?
  • Don’t harass, tease or spread gossip about others — this includes on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Have you ever liked a cruel Facebook post or mean photo about someone else? Think twice — this is just as bad as you posting it, and sometimes… it could be worse.
  • Never forward or respond to messages or photos that might be offensive or upsetting.
  • Support the person who is being bullied to ask for help, or report it. Help them find a trusted adult or show them where they can get help or report the incident.
  • Report bullying to someone you trust (like a teacher, principal, your parents, etc.). If the bullying is serious or you think someone’s life or safety is at risk, report it to the police.

In 13 Reasons Why, I do believe that Hannah just wanted someone to help her. Someone to standup for her. She didn’t want a bystander. She wanted a friend. Unfortunately, even Clay showed her indifference and well, as Wiesel said: “Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.”

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Seeing someone being harassed or abused is not an invention for you to pull out the popcorn and your cell phone. It is your chance to save a life, make a friend, change the course of someone’s future.

 

“Because it may seem like a small role now, but it matters. In the end, everything matters.”  Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

In Honor of Chester

Today I got up and went to work. I took notes for kid who will never know who I am and  I will never know who he is. I typed the noted, went home, and ate mac and cheese.

I got a message. “Hey, Lez, did you hear? Chester Bennington was found dead today.”

“Chester Bennington?”

“Linkin Park.”

And then the conversation started.

I loved Linkin Park; their songs got me through some of the darkest years of life (yes high school) and I still enjoying listening to them.

This is not a suicide post (it looks like he died from suicide) that will come later on. Today I want to honor him my providing you with some of my favorite lyrics from his songs.

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“Time is a valuable thing/Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings/ Watch it count down to the end of the day/The clock ticks life away” In the End

“I’m tired of being what you want me to be/ Feeling so faithless, lost under the surface/ I don’t know what you’re expecting of me/ Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes” Numb

“I don’t want to be the one the battles always choose/’cause inside I realize that I’m the one confused” Breaking the Habit 

“Sometimes solutions aren’t so simple/ Sometimes goodbye’s the only way, oh” Shadow of the Day 

“Put to rest what you thought of me/ While I clean this slate/ With the hands of uncertainty/ So let mercy come and wash away/ What I’ve done” What I have Done 

“The light on the horizon/ Was brighter yesterday/ Shadows floating over/ Skies begin to fade/ You said it was forever/ But then it slipped away” Final Masquerade

“In the wastelands of today/ Where tomorrow disappears/ While the future slips away/ And your hope turns into fear” Wastelands

These are just some. They made beautiful music that still helps and impacts thousands if not billions today.

Chester was not weak.

Chester was not retard (yes, I have heard people call him that)

Chester was not a coward (you have to be pretty damn brave to hang yourself)

Chester was suffering

Chester was hurt

Chester needed help

My prayers are with him and his family.

Once again like always if you are anyone you know is thinking about suicide please know you are not alone. Call 1-800-273-8255 or text 74174 1.

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“God bless us everyone/ We’re a broken people living under loaded gun/ And it can’t be outfought/ It can’t be out done/ It can’t be out matched/ It can’t be out run” Catalyst

13 Reasons Why #4: Eating Pie with the Bullies

Hello pie eating earthlings! Sorry for the long leave of absence, moving across two states and starting two new jobs isn’t easy. Great and yet bitter news (bittersweet?) I have moved from Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. No big deal expect that I have left behind great friends and family and amazing kids. I will still be visiting but odds are not as often as if I lived there (cause you know distance is a thing.)

Okay so when we left of last, back in like I think May, we were on reason 3 out of 13: rape. Today I want to talk to you about bullying.

“Am I being bullied? You really want to know? What if I was the bully, Mom? Would you want to know that?” -Clay (13 Reasons Why).

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For starters, let me define bullying: unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. So, if you are being an assbutt you are or could be a bully in the making.

I heard once that bullying is part of life and that it makes the person being bullied stronger, “Builds characters.”

To that I say: bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It’s a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.

There are many different forms of bullying:

Verbal- verbal bullying can include teasing, name-calling, inappropriate/uncomfortable comments, taunting, and threats. In 13 Reasons Why, not only is Hannah called names but many other people are as well. They are mocked for who they are and what others think the person has done.

Social- social bullying can include excluding someone on purpose, ostracizing someone, rumor spreading, and purposefully humiliating someone. Again, we see clear signs of this even among the people who are in the types. We see the group having a meeting about what to do about Clay, but did not include Tyler Down. Granted he was a stalker but they still excluded him from something that affected him too.

Physical- physical bullying can include hitting, pinching, kicking, spitting, tripping/pushing, vandalism of someone’s possessions, making rude/obscene hand gestures. This form is seen in the sexual harassment that occurs in the series.

Cyber- mean text messages/e-mails, rumors spread by e-mail or social networking sites, embarrassing pictures/videos/web pages, and fake profiles. In 13 Reasons Why, this form of bullying is what starts it all. A picture was taken and the life of one Hannah Baker.

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“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”

Before I get into any of the psychological effects of bullying, let’s talk about bullying.  Let’s address how and why people become buttholes.

  1. Sometimes it’s a cultural thing. In cultures that are fascinated with winning, power, and violence, some experts suggest that it is unrealistic to expect that people will not be influenced to seek power through violence in their own lives. Explains why certain countries see higher bullying rates than others.
  2. All about the institutions: work, school, home, etc. If the institution at which the bullying takes place does not have high standards for the way people treat each other, then bullying may be more likely and/or prevalent and have an influence on why people bully.
  3. Society in all its glory! The fact that one gets more social recognition for negative behaviors than for positive ones can also contribute to reasons why people bully
  4. Can’t pick family! Families that are not warm and loving and in which feelings are not shared are more likely to have children who bully, either within the family home or in other locations in which the children meet others. Another home environment that is prone to producing bullies is one in which discipline and monitoring are inconsistent and/or a punitive atmosphere exists.
  5. When the Bullied becomes the Bully. Children who experience social rejection themselves are more likely to “pass it on” to others. Children who experience academic failure are also more likely to bully others.
  6. Power does corrupt. Some research indicates that the very fact of having power may make some people wish to wield it in a noticeable way, but it is also true that people may be given power without being trained in the leadership skills that will help them wield it wisely.

What are the signs that your child or loved is a bully? Is he/she:

  • getting into physical and/or verbal fights
  • have mean friends
  • becoming more and more aggressive
  • getting in trouble at school often
  • having unexplained new items or extra money
  • constantly blame others for their own personal problems
  • doesn’t take responsibility or own up to their mistakes
  • competitive
  • seek to be popular

What can be done?

Well, talk to them. See how you can help and try to find out the reason why they are hurting other people. Also, if need be, get them psychological help.

“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.”

Now let’s talk about some signs to know if your child or loved is being bullied. Is he/she

  • having unexplained injuries
  • having lost or destroyed possessions
  • constantly pretending to be ill
  • major changes in eating patterns
  • frequent nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • declining grades
  • not wanting to go to school
  • loss of friends/ avoidance of social outings
  • low self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors, (running away, harming themselves, talking of suicide)

Now some people don’t show any of these signs, and those are the ones that are often the “but they had so much to live for.” (See Depression Post!)

Okay, so some are thinking that bullying is just part of life, and while it is true that about 80% of people in this world are 100% assbutts, no one should have to deal or put with bullying. It is harmful and can be dangerous to both the bullied and the bully. A Finnish study, reported in the September 2007 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry found that both the bullies and the bullied can suffer from long term psychological problems. Boys who were both bullies and victims and girls who were victims were at the highest risk of later psychiatric illness. Of the boys who were both bullies and victims, 17% later required treatment in a psychiatric hospital and 32% were treated with psychiatric medications for depression, anxiety or psychosis. Among the girls, 12% of the victims required hospital treatment and 32% required psychiatric medication as compared to the control group of whom, 4% required hospital treatment and 16% required medication therapy. The covert relational type of bullying most commonly experienced by girls has been found to be more likely to cause depression and loneliness than the overt victimization experienced by boys.

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If you are a bully, stop. Hurting people is not the way to fix yourself or anything in your life. Offer them pie instead, you make friends much easier that way. If you are being bullied please know you are not alone, and please seek help. You don’t have to give the bully’s name, but you need help nonetheless.

And to all my pie eaters, bullies and bullied, and everyone in between. Remember:

“Everything…affects everything”

13 Reasons Why #3: Ripples of Rape

Hello, ripples of the universe! Once again, sorry for the long wait. I work 2.5 jobs and it is a struggle sometimes to write, though I do miss you. Lies, some will say. But it is true. I love writing for people to read. I enjoy exploring humanity, and this series that I am doing has been one of my favorite pass times. So, I do miss you.

The Dalia Lama (I am guessing that it is this one), said:

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Why this quote, today I want to talk to you about rape and how it can cause someone to break, it can cause someone to lose the one thing makes us… well, us. Humanity.

Rape is a horrible crime. And it effects the victims for the rest of their lives. Depression (13 Reasons Why: Cheesecake and Depression) and post-traumatic stress disorder (topic coming up) are common conditions among rape victims.

Numerous rape victims have suicidal thoughts, and many die by suicide. Is it still suicide when your soul has already been killed?

“Through tape number 12 Bryce Walker who broke my soul.”

Sexual assaults are, unfortunately, extremely common. In the U.S., a sexual assault occurs every two minutes.

Most people are not raped by a stranger; Hannah and Jessica are both separately raped by Bryce. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), seven out of ten rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Sexual assaults of those under age 18 are committed by someone the victim knows 93% of the time.

One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives, one in 71 men will. Those are just the numbers that are reported.

Rape remains the most under-reported crime. Neither Hannah nor Jessica reported their rapes to the police. 63% of sexual assaults go unreported; 0.6% of rapists are incarcerated, RAINN reports.

About 44% or rape victims are under the age of 18. 15% of rape victims are under the age of 12. 93% of the rape victims age 18 and under knew the rapist. Of these rapists, 34.2% were family members and 58.7% were acquaintances.

Rape has long-term emotional consequences that can lead to suicide. It is quite common for rape victims to suffer from depression. And untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.

“I am human? Real, geez… I wish she would have known that.”

About 33% of rape victims have suicidal thought. About 13% of rape victims will attempt suicide. Suicide attempts may occur years after the rape.

“I still think about it, every signal day. And I know… deep in my heart that I will end my life. I don’t know how or when, but maybe one day when I, like he did, forget that I have a soul.”

Rape can have a ripple effect on the victim.  My post talks about a friend of mine’s rape, and his struggle with depression, suicide, PTSD, and drugs and alcohol. Though I couldn’t tell all of his story, and though I know he hides the ripples very well, he does still struggle, and I know he will struggle of a long time. Please click the link to read his story.

13 Reasons Why explores the ripples of rape and rape culture.  In the first episode, Hannah has a late-night rendezvous at a nearby park with Justin Foley, her high school crush. It’s tame. She goes down a slide, he snaps a picture, they share a kiss. But the next day, we see Justin flaunting the photo to an all-male crew. The shot of Hannah he took is directly up her skirt, giving an innocent moment illicit pretense. Justin’s friends eagerly share the deceptive shot with the rest of the school, which is enough for Liberty High to brand Hannah the class slut, making her the target of rampant sexual harassment in its halls. A 2011 report found that nearly half of middle and high school students surveyed experienced some form of sexual harassment — unwanted sexual behavior that includes verbal or written comments, gestures, displaying pictures or images, or physical coercion.

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Additional research from the University of Kent shows there is a direct relation between the sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them, and that the objectification-aggression link can start as early as the teenage years. I worked in a preschool and this one little boy started to treat all the girls like they were dogs, yes dogs. When I told him to stop he called me a dog, too.

My question: WHAT IS GOING ON?

There is a difference between being sorry having pity. See to me victims of rape feel like they lose their humanity and I am so sorry for them. Sincerely, I am sorry, and I know it was not my fault but I am sorry they were hurt. (YOU ARE STILL HUMAN!) It is those who rape that I pity. I pity that you, deep down, hate yourself so much that you take it out on others. I pity that you miss your humanity so much that you try and take it from others. I pity that you are not human.

But Lesley, sometimes they didn’t say no, so it must be yes, right?

Answer: where you dropped on the head or are you just that stupid.

When Hannah is raped by Bryce, she doesn’t say “no,” but there is no ambiguity about what happened. She doesn’t object with words, but with her body. She tries to leave the hot tub before the assault. She physically resists. When Jessica is raped by Bryce, she is under the influence of alcohol and practically unconscious, unable to give consent and incapable of objecting.

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Rape is a one-time thing and the person should just get over it, right? Rape is a massive rock dumped into a body of water that is the person’s life. It has ripples on the surface and underneath the water. After being raped, Jessica begins abusing alcohol, and she didn’t even know that she was raped, but her body and her mind new something was wrong; her soul knew it was broken.

Jessica was able to cope, in some ways better than Hannah, because in the show’s final episode, Hannah commits suicide. That isn’t uncommon, according to the CDC, the likelihood of suicidal thoughts increases after sexual violence. Rape victims are 4.1 times more likely to have contemplated suicide and they are 13 times more likely to have attempted suicide.

So, what do we do about it? We become ripples, darlings! I don’t want to say that we stand up and teach our boys that women are human and not sex objects (that would be a start), but we need to, as a society, stand up and stop raping other humans. Always be kind.

If a friend tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted or abused, be supportive, avoid judgement and encourage them to get help.

Be a positive ripple in a world full of negative ones.

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.