Red light. You’re dying. You must be dying. You never thought you’d die in a Volkswagen.
Green light. Your heart beats uncontrollably. So loudly you can hear it over Katy Perry on the radio. Your chest throbs as if she also hit you in the torso with a baseball bat.
Left turn. Your legs and arms go numb, making it hard to grip the wheel. You start singing every church song you can remember from Sunday school.
Red light. You can’t see. You check your phone to call 911 but you can’t see the numbers. Everything is blurry–the lights, the cars, your mind. You’re on the verge of passing out.
Left turn. Breathing becomes painful. You take a breath as if your car is floating under water, your mind floating somewhere above your car.
Red light. Your body begins to shake uncontrollably. You see a police car at the next intersection. You begin to formulate a plan to flag him down and tell him you’re dying. But you don’t know how to do this, so you keep driving home.
National Eating Disorder Awareness week, NEDA for short, was from February 26th to March 4th, and aimed to spotlight eating disorders and provide life-saving resources to those who need it. It’s time to talk about eating disorders and the many gripping holds it has on people’s lives.
According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well- being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Sounds like a daunting task to me. In our society, being a woman carries a full set of expectations. Looking a certain way, acting appropriately, being in a healthy relationship, having plans for the future, and taking on whatever else the world has to offer us that day, with a smile. For me, trying to live up to these unrealistic standards is impossible and not something I’m interested in. I am rarely realizing my full potential, coping with stress, working fruitfully, and contributing to society all at once. But feeling like that is still my responsibility as a member of society is a heavy burden to carry. I believe mental health is all too commonly ignored as the most important aspect of our overall well-being, especially as women. Continue reading “Dispelling the “Crazy Girl” Myth”→
Warning: The following post may contain triggering material.
By Shanda Glover
I remember my older sister telling our dad the news. Tears were streaming down her face and her voice shook uncontrollably. She whispered “Alex is starving herself.” Within one month, my niece, an extraordinary ballerina, lost 21 pounds.
At only fourteen years old, my niece was diagnosed with an eating disorder.
As of 2015, 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, in the United States.
Since losing her daughter in 2000, Kitty Westin has been advocating for a federal bill to help prevent other deaths from eating disorders. This federal bill, The Anna Westin Act, was introduced to Congress in 2015. It is currently in a House subcommittee. Westin’s bill would accomplish three things: train health professionals on how to appropriately identify eating disorders, make insurance companies cover eating disorders in the same manner as other mental health disorders, and finally require a federal study into whether or not the government should regulate the photoshopped images used in today’s advertisements. Continue reading “We Need Insurance Coverage for Eating Disorder Treatment”→
Imagine losing your mind. Your brain fails you and you can’t properly function in the society you have been raised in. You lose your identity. Susannah Cahalan experienced just this, and lost her sanity for a month. She began falling behind at work, experiencing seizures, inappropriate behavior, and far more that all culminated into a blackout of hospitals and scrutiny.
Mental Illness is an obvious concern in this book, but her book, Brain on Fire, deepens our insight on issues such as the national focus on medication for illnesses, while bringing us in on the personal stress surrounding figuring out a diagnosis. Cahalan, although diagnosed bi-polar as well as schizophrenic during her journey, was actually finally cured of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. This autoimmune disease left her life and mind in ruins, but her bestselling story leaves us amazed, yet still perturbed with the medical system in America.
The Forest, a movie released on January 8, is a horror/sci-fi film based on real places and events. The main character, Sara, travels to the Aokigahara Forest in Japan after her twin sister disappears to search for answers. During the movie, Sara battles evil spirits of the dead who are trying to kill her. Her traumatic past becomes fodder, making it easier for the spirits to victimize her. No matter how entertaining they are, movies like these, about real places and real suicides, make a mockery out of mental illness and culture appropriation, reducing the topics to cash cows for big media corporations. For this mysterious forest is a real place with a very real problem with suicide.
The Aokigahara Forest lies in the shadow of Mount Fuji in Japan. Filled with mist and thick shrubbery, it is the second most popular place to commit suicide in the world (in first place is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California). 100 corpses are found every year by volunteers who clean the forest. Many are never found due to the density and size of the forest.