Mental Health The Pandemic Now + Beyond

Here’s how texting is giving us anxiety – and what to do about it

I have a confession: I’m tired of texting.

Not because I hate technology and certainly not because I think we need to go back to the old times. Rather, I just find it mentally exhausting.

After months of not seeing people regularly in person, texting is just slightly better than solitude at best and emotionally taxing at worst. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we need to break up with texting altogether, but maybe it’s time that we don’t treat it like the only form of online communication.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we need to break up with texting.

Before the pandemic, I preferred texting to other forms of social interaction. As someone with social anxiety, it was easier.

I’d have time to think about responses, I wouldn’t have to show my facial expressions and, if a conversation was awkward, I could just ignore it. I much preferred texting to the dreaded phone conversation, the most anxiety-inducing part of my life.

Texting saved me. It was my social crutch. I could second guess myself or start a thought over without appearing awkward. I could easily draft and edit my response to any interaction, and nobody would know.

For someone who struggled so much with socializing, texting was a godsend.

What I never realized was that, when texting is your only form of communication, it’s exhausting. Because of the pandemic, I couldn’t see people in person. And with only texting, it’s notoriously difficult to tell someone’s tone while they’re texting, which can make conversations feel awkward or inorganic. I also find it difficult to hold a casual conversation while texting.

When I talk to someone face to face — or phone to phone — we’re able to shift from subject to subject and talk about the most mundane things. With texting, I always feel like I need a purpose to start or continue a conversation. This makes it very difficult to keep up casual friendships. During my time in pandemic-induced isolation, those relationships started to slip away.

Texting turned from my refuge to one of my greatest anxieties.

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There are exhausting aspects to Zoom, Facetime, and Skype as well, but having face-to-face communication can feel so much more invigorating. Being able to see someone’s facial expressions and hand gestures, and hear their tone of voice makes such a difference. Being able to have an organic conversation, with plenty of twists and turns and digressions just feels more comfortable for me.

I never realized that, when texting is your only form of communication, it can be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like texting, and I’m not in favor of stopping it altogether. Still, we should stop treating it like the primary form of online communication.

Some of us need to be able to see a human face while interacting with others.

Texting turned from my refuge to one of my greatest anxieties.

Some of us just prefer the spontaneity of a talking conversation.

Texting is great, and it can be a lifesaver in certain situations, but it can’t be the only way we communicate. Technology is bringing us closer to real human interactions in an online setting, so we should take that opportunity. It makes a big difference.

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Mental Health Life Stories Life

I used to love myself until I fell into toxic corners on the internet

People love to talk about how the internet has ruined the lives of Millennials and Gen-Zers. They’ll go on about how social media has lowered our self-esteem. They’re right in some ways, but for all the wrong reasons. I’ve always been extremely confident. I have never had any of the insecurities kids in my school would talk about, I simply didn’t care what others thought. Some might say I was too confident, but my family happily encouraged it. I know I’m privileged in that sense, so it hurts even more that I let myself fall apart like this. 

I was 14-years-old when I really got involved with internet communities. I started out on fanfiction sites, and my time there was pretty tame compared to the stories I’ve heard. In fact, I would say the first nearly six years of my time on the internet were totally safe and friendly. When most people talk about social media and its effects on self-esteem they tend to imply it starts young, in your teenage years for example. But I was older and not new to social media or the internet when it impacted my self-esteem. So I felt as though I should have known better than to let internet standards manipulate me. And sometimes that thought hurts the most.

Things went downhill right before I turned 20 and by 22 years old I was in the worst place I had ever been in my entire life. It started on Discord with a group of friends who all gathered around a niche anime series. Most of these people weren’t bad people. In fact, I’m still friends with a handful of them and I’d even consider them my best friends. It started with small things: jokes, usually self-deprecating ones, everyone would toss around. It seemed odd at first but they were just jokes, right? I learned to play along with their humor, send knife emojis or jump in whenever someone was putting themselves down or jokingly call all my friends a bitch.

Then came the comparisons. There was one friend in the group that everyone looked up to. She and I were very similar; the same zodiac sign, Hogwarts house, and MBTI plus a handful of shared interests. That was all it took for everyone to start joking that we were the same person. And it was flattering until it wasn’t. She left the group for a while and I became her replacement. But I was never enough. No one ever treated me the same way they did her, with such joy and enthusiasm. I was ignored if I talked about a topic other than the same three we always discussed. I felt like I should be the one carrying the conversations the way she used to. But instead, I bored them all constantly. It hurt and I tried to compensate by adopting more of her personality and interests, or at least faking I did.

Between all this, I got on Instagram. I kept my following small, only classmates and family, but it soon became apparent no one was their real selves on the app. Everything on Instagram was through this rose-tinted view of life. I knew it was normal to fake things for social media, but my self-esteem still took the hit. I was left wondering if I was the only one so boring I never had anything to post about. Then I saw all my classmates graduate college in 2019, so hated myself because I knew it would take me another two years to graduate, and I was missing out on this moment. Adding insult to injury, several people who I thought of as friends didn’t even tell me they were graduating. I only found out because they posted it.

When Discord and Instagram got too stifling, I fled to Tumblr and Twitter. But those were worse in a way. Many people romanticized the idea of mental illness. It was treated as a quirky personality trait to talk about but not something many people ever encouraged each other to get help for. Instead, people on Twitter would often double down on bad behaviors and self-destructive habits, and I did the same. I threw myself into lots of drama and several of my friends encouraged it, gave me attention even. I think none of us realized the kind of damage we were doing by putting ourselves in such stressful situations when we could have easily walked away.

Eventually, my friend who had briefly left our group on Discord started coming back, but she was a different person. She would put others down for not agreeing with her, but she claimed it was because she knew better. She said she had fought her own battles with mental illnesses and came out better for it. That left me unable to speak up for a long time because if she was happier then what could I say? Besides, everyone else still loved her and supported her behavior, even if it was slightly problematic.

So I took to hiding my feelings about everything. To her face, I would agree with things and then backstab her anyways. I would rant constantly about her on a private account hidden away from others. My frustrations with her made me an ugly and twisted version of myself. I had other friends, people who knew nothing of this group, who constantly encouraged me to just walk out on her. But I kept justifying it by claiming she still saw me as a friend and I wanted to support her. In reality, I was terrified of losing all our mutual friends and thought I could keep up acting because she wasn’t around consistently.

Then she started lying, and I called her out on it once and I saw her true colors. She didn’t want friends, she wanted cheerleaders who never spoke against her. And finally, I put my foot down. I cut her out the next time she disappeared, and when she tried to come back I told my friends I refused to have her around, but they were free to do whatever. And in spite of all my fears, they agreed gracefully and several also drew away from her.

That was six months ago. For nearly three years I’ve been sinking in depression and swimming in self-doubt the likes which would leave me on edge for months. It was debilitating and I remember a point in which I couldn’t bring myself to leave my house, as if all these problems I faced online would start to haunt me in the real world as well. There are a lot of details that are still very fuzzy. It’s like my mind just decided I would be better off not remembering things. But I remember breaking down and thinking everyone I cared for hated me. I remember losing three different birthdays, first to internet drama and then to toxic friendships. I remember my mother coming to me when things were at their worst and telling me to eat because that’s her way of saying she’s worried.

It’s been three very tumultuous years on the internet. Three years of ripping my self-esteem apart to fit in on social media and not realizing that was what I was doing. I’m still trying to pick up the pieces of the girl I was before it happened. It’s slow work but every day I’m learning to love myself the way I used to.

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Mental Health Books

14 YA books that give us a better understanding of mental health

Tired of the typical whacky YA (young adult) that portrays mental illness to be something salvageable by romantic love? It’s hard to find a YA book that realistically depicts one’s mental health struggles. I have found YA books using mental health more as a trope along with the classic first love story which has become repetitive. 

It’s important for us to have a deeper understanding of mental health rather than the one dimensionalized thing it’s portrayed as in most YA books.  It’s important to have a better representation of mental health because the audience can reinforce that representation into their personal lives. On the other hand, negative portrayal can be damaging to the audience because it leads them to believe mental health is imaginary and trivial. When authors don’t put past the stereotypes, people don’t reinforce that either. 

We need books that talk about how mental health impacts someone from a first-generation immigrant family, how mental health deteriorates in college, or dealing with mental health in a stigmatized surrounding. Or mental health discussion that stretches beyond the white narrative and talks about how it affects BIPOC people. I am tired of reading YA books that show mental health to be something salvageable by romantic love. Why not friendship? That’s more realistic to me.

This list is really important to me. While reading about mental health in books, I came across the same repetitive formulas used by YA authors. At one point, I grew tired of it and was looking for something hopeful that I could relate to and positively reinforce in my own life. So, I went above and beyond to find books that go past the stereotypical representation—not exaggerated and I could relate to.

Here is a list of YA books about mental health that offers much more than the usual first love trope and offers mental health discussion across diverse narratives. 

1. Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

[Image Description: The cover of 'Am I Normal Yet', by Holly Bourne.] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: The cover of ‘Am I Normal Yet’, by Holly Bourne.] Via Goodreads.
Am I Normal Yet is a story about sixteen-year-old Evie’s long history of struggle with OCD and Generalised Anxiety Disorder as she navigates her life in college. Holly Bourne poignantly captures the teenage experience. The author doesn’t sensationalize her illness but gives the protagonist’s voice an authentic and coherent narrative.  You will find yourself relating to Evie’s struggle of overcoming her anxiety. 

2. It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne

[Image Description: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne] Via Goodreads.
Audrey finds herself falling in love with her fellow coworkers’ charm despite being cynical about love. This book is powerful and empowering and challenges all misogynistic notions. This book is more about self-exploration and is a must-read for everyone going through a mental health crisis or struggling hard to come to terms with their identity. Holly Bourne is definitely going to be your next favorite author! 

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3. Are We All Lemmings And Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

[Image Description: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne] Via Goodreads
[Image Description: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne] Via Goodreads
“Because trying to use logic to explain anxiety is like using a banana to open a locked safe.”

Holly Bourne, Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

When it comes to challenging stereotypical notions in YA books, Holly Bourne brilliantly does it. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes beautifully focuses on mental health and feminism. Holly Bourne is a wizard when it comes to portraying mental health in a more realistic light and giving a bold voice to the protagonist. You won’t find a more realistic and relatable read like this one. The author shows the daily struggles of living with anxiety and the roadblocks in overcoming it. A beautiful and hopeful read that positively portrays mental health!

4. Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

[Image Description: Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard] Via Goodreads.
Beautiful Broken Things is a book by Sara Barnard about friendship, broken things, and mental health struggles. The author beautifully portrays the British life of these teenagers and depicts their mental health struggles with a strong narrative. Being a teenager, it’s a common phenomenon for mental health to impact the other aspects of your life. Sara Barnard shows how mental health affects friendships and life all while beautifully capturing the British teenager’s life. 

5. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter  by Erika L. Sánchez

[Image Description: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez] Via Goodreads.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is about a teenager’s story of navigating grief after her sister passed away. The struggles and trauma of a first-generation immigrant daughter are poignantly portrayed in this book. Learn firsthand how mental health impacts first-generation immigrant families. 

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6. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

[Image Description: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour] Via Goodreads.
We Are Okay is a short book but you will keep going back to it. Nina LaCour does an amazing job of showing how grief runs deep and how it affects friendship and relationships. This beautiful book teaches us how friendships can be a healing factor when struggling with mental health. Get the tissue boxes ready.  And the beautiful book cover will surely catch your eyes!

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7. How It Feels To Float by Helena Fox

[Image Description: How it feels to Float by Helena Fox] Via Goodreads.
This book beautifully explores the theme of grief, anxiety, and depression. Biz is a character you highly will relate to. If you have found yourself struggling to open up because of living in a stigmatized environment, you’ll find yourself relating hard. This book has made its place on this list for its accurate portrayal of PTSD, anxiety, and dissociative episodes. Biz’s struggles to open up about her mental health struggles are something a lot of us can relate to. This novel truly delivers and will have you crying for days. 

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8. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

 [Image Description: Made You Up] via Goodreads.
[Image Description: Made You Up] via Goodreads.
A heartbreaking story of a teenager struggling with schizophrenia. Made you Up gives you an in-depth understanding of what it’s like struggling to find the difference between real and imaginary. You will find yourself sympathizing with the main character and her day-to-day struggles of living with the illness. No other book has eloquently described the experiences of living with schizophrenia, like this one. You’ll find yourself pulled right into the protagonist’s struggles.

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9. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

[Image Description: It's kind of a funny story by Ned Vizzini] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: It’s kind of a funny story by Ned Vizzini] Via Goodreads.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story talks about anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and depression in the most humorous and relatable way ever. This book is an ironic, insightful and intimate story of a teenager struggling with suicidal thoughts. It’s not always flowery and cheery. This book painfully shows what’s it like ideating suicidal thoughts. This book is as real as it can get. Thus, making it on our list.

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10. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Book cover of Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella.
[Image Description: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella] Via Goodreads.
Audrey’s struggle with social anxiety and bullying might be relatable for a whole lot of people like me. Sophie Kinsella manages to write this relatable story and touch upon sensitive topics such as bullying and anxiety in a lighthearted manner which makes this novel more lovable. For someone who has struggled with bullying, I needed the protagonist’s energy for my own healing. This book is a must-read if you need some positive reinforcement in your life.

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11. Mosquitoland by David Arnold

[Image Description: Mosquitoland by David Arnold] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: Mosquitoland by David Arnold] Via Goodreads.
If you haven’t read Mosquitoland this year then you are surely missing out on one of the best YA books in recent years. The book tells the story of Mim Malone who gets dragged to the wastelands of Mississippi after the collapse of her family. All of us have struggled with our identity at some point. We have found ourselves at the crossroad of difficult questions. Mim — the protagonist of this book — is going through her own journey of finding herself. Follow Mim along her tumultuous journey on finding her sanity and identity. This book will surely stay with you forever.

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12. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

[Image Description: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman] Via Goodreads.
If you haven’t read Alice Oseman’s work, you are seriously missing out on life. This book has its own fanbase. Radio Silence touches upon the theme of identity, self-exploration, and diversity. The characters are so vivid that they stay with you even after you finish the book. This compelling contemporary tells the story of Frances and Aled who live a double-life who struggle to be themselves. Find out how friendships can help you in your struggle to accept yourself.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

13. I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

Book cover of I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman.
[Image Description: I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman] Via Goodreads.
Another Alice Oseman book you should check out. Alice Oseman does a phenomenal job of creating vibrant characters whose energy lives on with you forever. You will get pulled right into Alice Oseman’s world of magic. This book has been called one of the best books on queer representation by fans. Find out how bonding over fandoms and being internet friends tears up Angel Rahimi’s life. Fandoms, Internet friends, Pop-Band, No Romance, Queer representation- this book is as good as it can get. 

14. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

[Image Description: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen] Via Goodreads.
[Image Description: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen] Via Goodreads.
This book deals with substance abuse in a realistic way. Substance abuse is something that isn’t widely discussed in YA books. But the author manages to realistically portray and give us an understanding of what’s it like struggling with it. Sarah Dessen crafts the story so beautifully that you will find yourself sympathizing with the main character. The story will surely touch your heart.

Get this book on The Tempest’s bookshop supporting local bookstores.

I absolutely detest how authors put mental health right there with romance and use it as a plot—taking away its significance, all while claiming it to be a mental health YA. This is a uniquely crafted book recommendation list if you are looking to read something beyond the usual. You’ll find books with more nuanced narratives centering on mental health. This mental health awareness month, let’s learn to remove all the stigma surrounding mental health.

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Mind Mental Health Health Coronavirus

The pandemic has proven that I can’t tell my family about my depression

Trigger Warning: Mentions depression

I’ve always been very close to my family. Most people might even argue I’m too close to them and I had no life outside of them. They wouldn’t be wrong exactly. I spent most of my childhood with no friends and little interest in being around other people. My parents and siblings were right there if I needed anything, and that was fine. 

But then I grew up, and I drifted away from my family a bit. It started when I got on involved in fandoms on the web and grew I went into university. My family wasn’t always who I turned into with my problems. I gained hobbies outside of them and found interests that they don’t know about, and I never cared to explain to them in any detail. Simply put, I got a life that extended outside of the tight-knit circle of my parents and siblings.

And all of that is normal. Coupled with the fact that I was always very insistent on being independent, this was inevitable. No one questioned it as long as I wasn’t going out late at night, and that wasn’t an issue, given that my entire social life existed purely on the internet. 

Then the pandemic hit. I was now truly stuck inside at all times, and I had no excuse ever to get out. And first, I thought it would be fine. I’ve always been a homebody and an introvert. Nothing had changed. If anything, I found myself feeling more comfortable around my family and their constant presence helped me remain relatively chill about things. But soon, it became apparent that I could never truly bridge the gap I created.

In 2018, I began realizing that my mental health wasn’t in a great place. It started when an online friend reached out because she was concerned I had depression. When I talked to my family, they just didn’t understand, so I decided to fix it myself and deal with things. It wasn’t until the following year that I hit a wall mentally. I sought help from my school’s therapy and counseling program and began working on depression and other general mental health concerns.

But I never told my family any of this. It’s been three years now that I’ve been lying to the most important people in my life about my mental health. And the longer the pandemic dragged on, the more I had to hide my appointments and schedule them strategically to line up with my school schedule to get privacy, the less I felt comfortable telling them anything. I got closer to my family, but my mental health was taking a step back. 

I became too reliant on support from my family. And that was expected a little bit with how difficult things were in the world, but I found myself falling apart in some attempt to keep the act up. It became much more frequent for me to spend late nights up just to have a moment for myself. I tossed myself into spending time with my family because it was one of the few activities that gave me joy. But it came at the cost of my school work and extracurriculars. 

I hit a breaking point somewhere in March and slipped quickly into an awful depressive episode. Then I started suddenly snapping at my mother all the time. I blamed her for wanting to spend time and cling to me when my school work was at its busiest. But the truth was that I never set up those boundaries. Until that point, I gave in at every opportunity and assured everyone that it was okay; I was managing. I wasn’t handling anything.

And I know that if I tried talking to them and explaining things that would help immensely. But this past year has also shown me that they aren’t ready for this conversation. Every time it’s come up that a family friend has been feeling down, my parents react with confusion instead of compassion. When I started breaking down, my mother tried her best to be there for me, but nothing I said seemed to make sense to her. They believe that one can pray away their problems, and my father is in denial of his own recent depressive episodes. I could maybe tell my siblings, but they are terrible liars, and doing that would mean setting up a confrontation with my parents in the end.

And if I’m being honest, I’m not ready to speak the words aloud. I’m not ready to let anyone know the full extent of the thought in my head and the struggle of the past few years. The memory of how my parents freaked out that one time I tried to talk to them about getting a proper diagnosis remains with me. They mean well, but they don’t want to think there’s anything “wrong” with me, they don’t want to think they failed me.

And for now, it’s alright. They aren’t dumb, they have lived with me my whole life, and they probably know something is up. They’re trying to help however they can, and I’m coming to terms with the idea of setting up my own boundaries properly without feeling guilty. If not putting a label on it is working for now, then I don’t think I want to change it yet. Maybe one day, I will open up and finally rid myself of the sinking pit in my stomach whenever I lie. But until that day, I’ll just have to make do by trying to slowly work on myself and hoping they understand that I still love them even when I’m taking time away from them.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress, check out the resources below:

* Text TALK to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free counseling.

* People who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Lifeline via TTY by dialing 1-800-799-4889 or use the Lifeline Live Chat service online.

* Call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), for free, confidential support for substance abuse treatment.

* Call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), for confidential crisis support.

7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.

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Mind K-pop Mental Health Health Wellness

15 K-Pop songs to help you feel seen

Content Warning: Somes of the songs in this article mention themes of mental illness, suicide, depression, loneliness, and anxiety.

Mental health has never been more important than it is now. Music is one healthy coping mechanism that helps a lot of us keep on keeping on. Over the last decade or so, I’d argue that more global artists, musicians, and idols have helped start conversations around mental health by being open about their own struggles with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and more.

K-pop performers like IU and SUGA from BTS have long been known as mental health advocates of sorts, unafraid of broaching harder topics in their music. While it seems obvious, it never hurts to remind ourselves that idols are people, too. They experience highs and lows and battle with issues acutely felt by those of us living in the 21st century.

Many of these idols have included their personal stories in their music, which can help us feel less alone as we face similar challenges in our day-to-day lives.

1. “eight” – IU (Prod. & Feat. SUGA of BTS)

IU’s song “eight” is about loss. Depending on your interpretation of the music video, this could also be a song about losing friends to suicide. Rather than focus on her despair, IU’s lyrics and melody remain hopeful, reminding us that we should remember the good times with our lost loved ones. She even hints at meeting them again someday in a place where there is no sadness or pain.

2. “BORDERLINE” – Sunmi

Sunmi revealed that she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), which she explores in this song. Many of her fans who have BPD have said this song helps them feel validated in their experience. In addition, “BORDERLINE” makes it clear that it is okay to voice our struggles. Even if people don’t always understand our pain, we should be proud of ourselves for persevering.

3. “Dark Clouds” – Heize

“Dark Clouds” delves into what it’s like to have depression. Heize sings about not having the capacity to fake a smile for her friends, so she ignores their calls. Even though depression often feels unfair, numbing, and isolating, Heize takes the time to simply experience these emotions in “Dark Clouds.” She encourages everyone to do the same because ignoring the problem is never the answer, and sometimes, the only way out is through.

4. “Dear Me” – Taeyeon

In “Dear Me,” Taeyeon sings about being able to endure life’s rough patches because she has herself. This is a song that reminds us that even if we think there’s no one at our side, we’re never alone because we have ourselves. The sooner we learn to trust and love ourselves, the more we’ll be able to weather future storms.

5. “Breathe” – LEE HI

Throughout our lives, many of us have experienced pressures from society, our parents, our friends, and even ourselves. Lee Hi revealed that she suffered from a panic disorder from all of these pressures that made her feel like she was suffocating. She wrote “Breathe” to remind those of us who are exhausted or bogged down by these pressures that we will be okay. We’re all doing the best we can, so keep going.

6. “Happy” – WJSN

Just like the “Happy” lyrics say, sometimes we start believing that happiness is foreign or irrelevant to us. Or sometimes, it’s hard to feel happy because we don’t think we deserve to be happy. But WJSN reminds us that we’re allowed to be happy. They also talk about how celebrating their friends, being body positive, and choosing to be confident are all ways they’ve become happier.

7. “Ugly” – 2NE1

“Ugly” is relatable to anyone who has ever struggled with low self-esteem or confidence issues over their physical appearance. It can be easy to compare ourselves to others. We also often get sucked up in what society says beautiful people are supposed to look like. 2NE1 gives voice to these inner thoughts, which can be cathartic. But it’s important to remember that we all have value, even if we don’t look or feel like everyone else.

8. “Eternal Sunshine” – EPIK HIGH (Prod. SUGA of BTS)

EPIK HIGH is another group that has been fearless in tackling mental health issues, and “Eternal Sunshine” is no exception. In this song, Tablo and Mithra Jin rap about loneliness, anxiety, and insomnia. Throughout the track, they remind listeners that we shouldn’t feel pressured to always keep up with the steps of life—because life is difficult and riddled with problems. But you’re not alone in feeling this way, and therein lies the message of “Eternal Sunshine.”

9. “Clap” – SEVENTEEN

Like EPIK HIGH pointed out, life is hard. And SEVENTEEN agrees. “Clap” includes lyrics about everyday struggles like staining your white shirt or not having enough money on your metro card. But these setbacks shouldn’t stop us from experiencing the world. Even if it’s raining, there is still a melody to be found in the raindrops, so why not clap along?

10. “Voices” – Stray Kids

In “Voices,” Stray Kids encourages all of us to ignore the voices in our heads telling us to give up because we’re not good enough. Just like the lyrics say, we have to step out and break free from the voices in our heads because they’re not always credible sources nor are they always telling the truth. We are good enough and we can achieve our dreams.

11. “Wake Me Up” – B.A.P.

Both the song and the music video for “Wake Me Up” speak to some of the darkest moments in life. But even if we’re still trudging through these dark times, we can’t forget who we are. B.A.P. encourages listeners to believe in themselves and stay alert to how society tries to lead us astray.

12. “Whalien 52” – BTS

While BTS has quite a few songs about mental health, “Whalien 52” is immaculate, *chef’s kiss*. Due to the pandemic, most of us experienced a year of isolation and alienation, and “Whalien 52” speaks to this acute feeling of loneliness. But BTS also includes a message of hope: No matter how lonely we feel, keep singing—or trying to connect with others—because eventually, someone will hear our song.


13. “Crown” – TXT

“Crown” is about finding solace in ourselves—by accepting who we are, imperfections and all—and in our community, because our friends and family help to combat loneliness. Even though we all go through hard times, our experiences help shape us into something better, and TXT has decided to be proud of their experiences and wear them like a crown.

14. “Runaway” – Bobby

“Runaway” is relatable to anyone who has ever wanted to press the pause button on life. Like Bobby says, sometimes our mistakes feel like failures, and sometimes our responsibilities feel so burdensome. I think “Runaway” is a reminder that it’s okay to take a break, to stop and collect ourselves before getting back on the horse, so to speak. Our mistakes don’t define us and shouldn’t prevent us from moving forward.

15. “The Last” – Agust D

Depression, OCD, social anxiety, and self-hatred are all topics Agust D raps about in “The Last.” Though he talks about how he wishes he could hide his weak self, Agust D’s choice to be honest about his struggles with mental illness shows his strength as an individual and artist. In this way, he sets an example for all of us, proving that it’s okay to open up and be vulnerable because our weaknesses are often our strengths.

It’s okay to feel sad, and it’s okay to take some time for yourself. Prioritizing our mental health should be at the top of our to-do list each and every day.

But, every now and then, don’t forget to play ITZY’s entire discography, too! While it’s perfectly okay to feel blue, it’s also important to feel on top of the world from time to time—and ITZY always delivers.

Just remember, you’re not alone.

We see you, we hear you, and you’re loved for being your fully authentic self.

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Broadway Mental Health Life Stories Life

During my darkest times, I found solace in musicals

It was the day after my birthday, and I could feel familiar feelings of dread start to creep in again. I was spiraling into a depressive episode, and there was no stopping it. 

I soon found myself in one of the darkest places I have ever been in. I lost all energy and motivation to do the simplest of tasks. The world seemed bleak and hopeless. My own life felt futile. The very few activities I could muster up the energy to carry out were to watch or listen to musicals. And this might have actually saved my life.

I have always loved musicals. From an early age, my dad introduced me to all the classics from The Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, to Singing in the Rain, which quickly became favorites of mine. 

I was also part of the generation which experienced what was arguably Disney Channel’s prime. With shows like Hannah Montanna, and movies like High School Musical, Cheetah Girls, and Camp Rock all being part of my childhood. Not to mention all the Disney Princess movies (with its amazing music) that I was obsessed with. 

Musicals meant so much to me as a child, and I never let go of those feelings. So when Glee came along in my teenage years and introduced me to Broadway musicals, the love only blossomed further.

I began struggling with mental illness from an early age as well. By 12, I was severely depressed and my roller-coaster of emotions hasn’t stopped since. I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, as well as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Although I make sure to take my medication and go to therapy, I have my off days.

When my depressive episode came this year, I saw no end to it. It felt as though it would last forever. I could barely make it out of bed. I couldn’t speak to or text a friend. Loneliness consumed me, heightened by the isolation of the COVID-19 lockdown

Until I found solace in an old friend.

I began re-watching musicals and discovering cast recordings of new musicals I hadn’t seen. I felt a sense of belonging and safety that I thought was long gone. Most of all, these musicals gave me hope. The hope to wake up and try again. 

Wicked reminded me of who I am. Dear Evan Hansen was a friend when it felt like I had none. Hadestown taught me how to dream again. Hamilton made me feel alive again and gave me a sense of purpose after being numb for so long. Rent showed me how to fearlessly and selflessly live. Waitress gave me warmth and light during the darkest days. And so many other musicals found a home in my heart. 

According to Healthline, music is a valid form of therapy to help reduce depression, anxiety, and improve overall mood, self-esteem, and quality of life. Watching and listening to musicals for me was like being in a therapy session. The composers were the therapists, somehow tuning into my feelings and thoughts. The music was the techniques and exercises with which they managed to organize my emotions so that I could better understand myself. The characters were my support system, rooting me on to get better. The whole experience of a musical was cathartic for me. 

I am proud to say I have recovered from my depressive episode, and although every day is a struggle, I know I will always have my musicals, as silly as it sounds. 

If you were to ask me why musicals have this effect on me, I would say, it’s the fact that when my own words fail, there is always a song that conveys the emotion so sincerely and truly. There is always a lyric that I can find myself in. There’s always a melody, in my head, that sings me to sleep like a lullaby when I’m tossing and turning. There’s always a character I can relate to.

And that is what really matters – feeling a little less alone. 

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Best Friends Forever Life Stories Life

Friends can break up too and it’s painful

I’m sure everyone has had the displeasure of a friendship break up in their life – for me personally, I’ve been through two; one during my time at secondary school and one as an adult. Neither was easy to get through. 

Friends are valuable people in any individual’s life – a spare sibling if you will, away from home, out in an environment similar to yours. Kids cartoons advocate the importance of having a friend in life, but why is it that when a friendship breaks down, we don’t treat it the same as when a romantic relationship falls apart? We do end up telling our friends the most personal aspects of our lives and when the friendship goes sour, it fills us with anxiety and loneliness. But because the topic is not widely discussed, many people are inclined to believe that they’re not valid for feeling that way, in truth they are and the conversation starts here. 

My friends in my life now are a huge part of who I am as a person. I’m thankful that the friends I made as an adult are not enablers and are more than comfortable discussing and helping me solve any problems that come my way. But I only made proper friends as an adult; an experience from secondary school had left me traumatized to the point of me seeking therapy and isolating myself from people in general. 

I suffer from quite a few health problems; I’ve always been a little weaker than the average person in terms of health and often my peers at school would mock me for it. Whether it was for my broken finger that never healed, my constant migraines and nosebleeds or for my weight gain attributed to PCOS – I was an easy target and I lived with it. That was until I got halfway through secondary school and met a girl who wasted no time defending me against people calling me fat amongst other things. She was the first friend I had who would actually do something about people bullying me. Bit by bit, I started confiding in her; she knew everything. My health problems, arguments I had with my siblings, people I disliked in school. One day, she decided she wasn’t my friend anymore.

She would bully me as much as everyone else but of course, with me having told her everything about me, she had much more to bully me about. I don’t know why the friendship broke down but I remember begging her to tell me why. I just wanted to apologize and move on. I asked her via text to please forgive me if I had done anything to offend her and I would just stay out of her way – her exact words were “you think I’ll just leave you alone because you asked? You really are pathetic”. My biggest regret to date is telling her about a health scare I had – something I was cleared of and never got to tell my once best friend about. Instead, she went around telling everyone I lied about my health problems which resulted in even the nicest kids at school ignoring me. The next two years of school were hell – my parents grew concerned with the fluctuations in my mood and weight but didn’t know how to help me.  I only started the process of healing when another girl in school known for visiting the school counselor reached out to help me by directing me to the loveliest therapist I have ever known. 

When I left school, I continued going to counseling but the damage was already done. I made no friends that I communicated with during sixth form due to the trust issues I had developed and not to mention that my low self-esteem meant that I would deprecate myself before anyone else could. It didn’t help that I faced the same thing all over again when I started working part-time but there was something I had realized the second time around; trust your gut. Going to therapy has taught me one thing in abundance and that is your mind will do anything to protect you from harm. My previous issue with my ‘friend’ had made me hate myself to such an extent, I couldn’t even trust myself around family members, let alone people outside of that. Seeking help after that rough patch taught me to trust myself again so the second friendship failure hit me less hard than the first. Not to say that it didn’t hurt at all because that would be a bald-faced lie but this time I knew I couldn’t let myself get to where I was before. 

So what am I saying? I’m saying that people come and go – even when we don’t want them to. Friendships fall apart for many reasons; some are malicious and some aren’t and it is okay to not want to be friends with someone you have outgrown. But tell someone – it’s not ridiculous at all and it helps in the long run with a wide array of things. Having experienced what I have done made me realize that I wasn’t the only one that lost a friend, the other person did too. 

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Music Life

Here are four female rap projects from 2020 that boosted my confidence

2020 was undoubtedly a stand-out year for female rappers. For example, Megan Thee Stallion has collaborated with the likes of Beyoncé and Cardi B, earning her two number 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Flo Milli made her debut into the music scene this year with her first-ever EP. In response, artists like Rico Nasty, Janelle Monáe, and Missy Elliot expressed their excitement and support for her new project on social media. In addition, CHIKA made XXL’s freshman class of 2020 and has been nominated for Best New Artist by the Grammys. CHIKA has also been featured in publications such as Rolling Stone and The Cut, highlighting talented new artists to pay attention to.

For the past couple of years, female rap has been my go-to music of choice, as it has addicting energy of assertiveness and self-defining luxury. Recently, I’ve been finding comfort in music influencing me to feel like my best self. 

Here are four albums by female rappers that have been boosting my confidence lately:


[Image description: Cover of CHIKA's album titled Industry Games.] via
[Image description: Cover of CHIKA’s album titled Industry Games.] via
INDUSTRY GAMES is CHIKA’s debut album. On this project, CHIKA speaks on her journey throughout her career thus far as well as her mission to continue creating a lane for herself in the music industry. CHIKA also mentions some of her own mental health struggles while dealing with oppressive expectations from others. In the song “Crown,” she offers empathy for listeners who also may be struggling with their mental health saying, “This is for the kids with depression. The one’s whose parental expectations got them stressin.” However, CHIKA continues to grind, which also encourages me to keep persevering when life gets hard. Overall, INDUSTRY GAMES reminds me having humility doesn’t negate reminding myself and everyone else- I’m all that and then some. 

Megan Thee Stallion: Suga

[Image description: Cover of Megan Thee Stallion's EP titled Suga.] via
[Image description: Cover of Megan Thee Stallion’s EP titled Suga.] via
Megan Thee Stallion’s fourth EP titled Suga is the epitome of confidence with just a dash of humility. She opens the EP with “Ain’t Equal” which recognizes all she’s lost while assuring fans of her willingness to still relentlessly grind. At the same time, with songs like “Savage,” “Captain Hook,” and “Rich” Megan reminds us she’s a boss b*tch with enough confidence to conquer the world while looking good doing it. I admire Megan, so anything she puts out, I support. Notably, SUGA prompts me to never forget I’m that B.I.T.C.H. and motivates me to be my best self.

Flo Milli: Ho, why is you here?

[Image description] Cover of Flo Milli's EP titled Ho, why is you here ?.] via
[Image description Cover of Flo Milli’s EP titled Ho, why is you here ?.] via
As previously mentioned, Flo Milli’s EP Ho, why is you here ? is the Alabama rapper’s debut within the mainstream music scene. Despite Flo Milli’s young age of just 21-years-old, she comes hard on this EP with her signature, paradoxical bubble-gum tone, and hyper-confident lyrics and delivery.

Flo Milli has expressed in her music her struggles with family support. However, she perseveres and is still doing well in making a name for herself within the industry. With how young she is, how dedicated she continues to be on her craft, and her confident attitude despite whatever setbacks she’s experienced, I have no choice but to stan. And trust me, after listening to this EP at least 10 times through, I stan Flo Milli harder than ever.

Qveen Herby: EP9

[Image description: Cover of Qveen Herby's EP titled EP9.] via
[Image description: Cover of Qveen Herby’s EP titled EP9.] via
Qveen Herby, formally known as the pop duo Karmin, began making viral covers on Youtube alongside her now-husband Nick Noonan. In 2017, Qveen ditched her label to become an independent artist; in turn, she changed her look and sound to represent her more authentic self. Qveen’s ninth EP embraces the challenges she faced in terms of criticism from others as well as the differences that set her apart from other artists. 

“Farewell,” the fourth song on the EP serves as an ode to her past and provides listeners with points of reflection regarding growth. Speaking directly to listeners she sings, “Never know you’re capable if you do not evolve. Give yourself some credit, self-improvement takes some balls.” Despite not knowing what the future would hold for her as an independent artist, Qveen took a chance on herself that has paid off immensely, providing a great lesson for myself and other fans of Qveen’s music.

Female rap has seen a resurgence in the past few years and rightfully so. Between all these artists, as well as other female rappers, the albums they’ve put out in 2020 emphasize self-discovery, confidence, humility, and success. This new generation of female rap is definitely helping me and other young people find our voice through difficult transitions in our lives. Overall, female rap has undoubtedly shaped my formative young-adult years and is quickly becoming a genre laying a foundation of the confidence necessary for the rest of my adulthood.

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Family Life Stories Life

This is my open letter of apology to my sister

Growing up, I had only a few friends. From the ages of twelve to sixteen, I had a grand total of three people I would talk to and even then, I only felt comfortable messaging one out of these three friends. But, the one consistent person in my life has always been my older sister, someone I owe a big apology to. 

When we were younger, my older sister and I were often called twins – we were so in-sync all the time whether it was sentences, responses, or even emotions. My sister is in fact just under two years older than I am and although she can be a bit up herself for being the older sibling at times, I can’t say I’ve never connected with her even though my sister was always a little more sympathetic to things than I was or even still am; if I shed a tear, she shed a waterfall. 

Exhibit A; I slipped headfirst into the side of the building and got a concussion at school one time in year three and she cried more than I did as she went off to get a teacher who basically told her to calm down because not a single coherent word was coming out of her mouth. Though I had to stay home battling a throbbing headache for the upcoming weeks, my sister would spend her time at school making get well soon cards for me and coming home to just sit with me. 

I remember when she was leaving primary school and on her last day, I was filled with dread because I realized that if I now had a spat with my friends, I couldn’t run off to my sister. She was now going to be somewhere that would require me to climb out of the school gates undetected, crossroads safely and not get kidnapped by the white van that appears to be everywhere. Far too much effort for the kid who barely got off the sofa once she sat down.

I got through that year anyhow and remember my sister giving me a pep talk before my first day of secondary school with the same sentence over and over: “I’m there if you need me.” It got really sour, really fast. 

Although undiagnosed at the time, social anxiety has always been a lifelong struggle of mine and I always took comfort in familiarity in my surroundings. I expressed to my sister how nervous I was about starting school on our walk there and she agreed for both of us to meet during break time in the school canteen. The first day had already been awful for me with the highlight of it realizing that I would be picked on by this one girl for the next five years. Her reason? She thought I was ugly. 

As I sat at a table waiting for my sister, a group of girls from my class walked past me making comments about how ‘ugly’ I was. I became the focal point of their laughter when my sister walked up to me and gave me a hug asking how my first few lessons were. I was suddenly torn between being in my safe space and fitting in – would I have been spared the embarrassment if I didn’t talk to my sister? I didn’t know it wouldn’t matter either way; the class bullies ran with it, teasing me relentlessly for the next five years. 

I got teased for a myriad of things during my time at secondary school, but it was all largely in comparison to me and my sister. She was tall, fairer-skinned (colorism at its finest), pretty, and above all, skinny. It didn’t help that she was also smart so whenever we had the same teachers, I would have to face comparisons by the teachers which would just become more ammunition for the class bullies. One girl in my class spread the rumor that I was adopted because there was no way one sister could be so beautiful and the other one so ugly. Another girl told me that my sister should be embarrassed to have such a fat sibling. The comments only got more demeaning from there.

I took it all out on my sister. I started arguing with her every morning so she would leave for school without me and purposefully get out of class really late so I wouldn’t have to walk home with her. Everything anyone has ever bought me down for, I would blame on her and I made sure she knew it. I bullied my own sister for my insecurities and that is a regret that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I regret my actions especially because my sister is a kind soul who has only ever encouraged me and waited patiently for me to work through any issues I was having.

It wasn’t until I got out of secondary school that I realized how awful I had been to someone who had never been mean to me – we came out of school with an overwrought relationship on my behalf. The road to healing has been long but my sister deserves to know that none of it was her fault and if I could undo it, I would.

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Mental Health Health

My self-harm scars are a reminder of my resilience

Trigger Warning: Mentions of self-harm

As summer draws near in my country and the weather heats up – an uneasy feeling falls in the pit of my stomach. Warmer weather means fewer layers of clothes. It means short dresses and short sleeves. For me, it means that my self-harm scars are open for the world to see.

During winter and fall, my arms are fully covered and no one knows my secret. I can meet a stranger without them knowing about a painful past where I used to self-mutilate because it seemed like the only thing that helped me. But in spring and summer, I am at the mercy of my visible scars. I am exposed, and without my intention, I share my past with the world. 

I began self-harming when I was 12 – unable to cope with the depression that I was experiencing. This is not uncommon as the average age at which someone may first self-harm is 13. When I tried to stop I realized the hold it had on me because it was all I craved whenever I fell into depression. 

My self-harm recovery has been a long, often unsuccessful, journey. But I am proud to say I have conquered it. Although it’s challenging, I try my best to give myself the space to recover and the courage to fight. 

However, I am left with visible scars that bring on strong feelings and reactions from others. A question I often get is “What’s happened to your arms?”. Sometimes it’s a sneaky look of pity as someone gazes past my arms in conversation. I don’t blame them – it’s just a reality that I have to live with. A reality that anyone with self-harm scars is familiar with. 

These reactions are mostly uncomfortable and invasive. Sometimes I lie and tell the excuse that my non-existent cat scratched me. Sometimes I shrug it off and say “it’s nothing”. 

Every year I experience the same guilt, regret, and discomfort when spring blooms again. I have come from the shelter of winter clothing and long sleeves and now I am thrust into the attention my self-harm scars bring. 

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not ashamed of my scars. I simply wish I didn’t have to share my life story with every person who sees me. 

But I do sometimes regret my past self-harm because I should have treated myself and my body with the kindness it needed in my dark moments. Instead, I took to causing it more pain.

At the same time, I’m appreciative of my scars. They show me that despite the storms I have weathered, I’m still here. I’m still fighting, surviving, and winning my journey with mental illness

As much as I feel guilty about my scars and as much as I don’t want to share my struggles with the world so candidly, I am proud of myself.

My self-harms scars are merely a reflection of my resilience and bravery. Some might disagree, pity, or judge me. But that’s what I believe and that’s all that matters.

The complex emotions that come with self-harm scars are not easy to navigate but I am grateful for the way my body both heals and remembers.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress, check out the resources below:

* People who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Lifeline via TTY by dialing 1-800-799-4889 or use the Lifeline Live Chat service online.

* Text TALK to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free counseling.

* Call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), for free, confidential support for substance abuse treatment.

* Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255). Here is a list of international suicide hotlines.

* Call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), for confidential crisis support.

* Call Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, a free and confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth.

7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.

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Life Stories Life

I learned that closure is just a social construct

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the concept of closure as it relates to my life, my experiences, and beyond. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands as we’re all in the midst of a global pandemic. However, whatever the reason, I think it’s worth exploring such an ambiguous concept because everyone has felt they needed closure at some point. I’ve been wondering- is the concept of closure even real? Or is closure an illusion humans have created to convince ourselves we have control of time and healing? 

Throughout my four years of young adulthood, I’ve broken off childhood friendships, graduated college amid a global pandemic, and had my formative adult years shaped by racial injustice and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Among all the never-ending civil unrest in addition to managing my ever-changing internal world, I’m trying to find what helps me cope with the intersections of loss and change. I’m also learning what are the best ways to effectively move on.

I think what brought me to examine, or re-examine, closure so closely was completing my degree in May with no commencement to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing school. I struggled throughout college with managing my mental health, especially during my freshman and sophomore years. So much so that I often flirted with the idea of dropping out to relieve myself of the stress and grief. However, semester after semester I stuck it out. Because the silver-lining amid all my strife was always going to be my graduation.

I always thought walking the stage was going to be my moment of closure. Graduation was supposed to close the four-year chapter of my life that represented immaturity, clumsiness, anxiety, doubt, insecurity, etc. and signal me to “move on.” 

Obviously, I didn’t get a graduation due to the pandemic. Consequently, I began to struggle with my mental health again at the beginning of March. Without a graduation, and the closure I thought it would bring, my poor mental health bled into the summer with what seemed to be no end in sight. What I’ve now realized is the idea of an event bringing closure, or closing off a chapter of my life, was a bit ridiculous. I created this illusion in my head to help me cope with undiagnosed depression and anxiety through college. All while never actually coping. Without the illusion of closure, my mental health was still below par because I never properly healed from anything the way I should’ve years ago.

Ultimately, the closest thing to closure is time and space. We often think we need closure to move on, but we just need time. Time to heal. Time to reflect. Time to ourselves in a safe space. What I’m slowly learning is we don’t have as much control over life as we’d like. But that’s not a bad thing.

Sometimes I can’t control my mental health. Sometimes I can’t control when people come and go out of my life. I definitely can’t control the continued injustice that happens in the world around me. I can’t even control time or how long it takes me to heal from trauma. However, I’m actively working on relinquishing the imagined control I thought I had on different aspects of life. Instead, I’m finding comfort in the healing process. Closure may not be real in the way I imagined it, but I’ve experienced so much growth upon simply realizing that fact. And that is enough for me.

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Mental Health Sexuality Love + Sex Love

My anti-depressants affected my ability to get turned on

It first started with porn. I wasn’t able to get turned on in spite of watching my collection of hot people going at it with each other. I stopped experiencing desire despite watching Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Freed, and Eyes Wide Shut did absolutely nothing for me. With time, I realized how my anti-depressants had affected me.

I have been struggling with depression for a long time and had been prescribed anti-depressants since the first time I was diagnosed. I have continued therapy and my tryst with pills simultaneously. The pills contributed to me getting up every morning which was a very good sign at that point. So, I popped them every day without fail. They helped uplift my mood, and somehow helped me manage my mood swings.

My therapist and my psychiatrist both managed to not get me addicted to my pills. Once you start relying on a drug to make you feel happy, it messes with your ability to smile, makes you doubt your happiness when you actually are happy. My drugs were my saviors, but my therapist was incredible enough to make me not doubt my increased endorphin level. However, there was a huge cost to my physical well-being along with the emotional one. I started dating only a few months after I started regularly having my pills. I went out with my then boyfriend a couple of times and it started getting serious. We kissed each other and took things slow. And, then I stopped getting turned on.

My inability to get aroused after watching porn could have been chalked off to circumstantial problems. But, when my partner started touching me I failed to feel the way I used to feel before. I was not only not aroused, I wasn’t even interested in the sexual aspect (which is weird because I love sex). Thinking it was a momentary issue, I decided that I would tried again later and eventually feel the usual ‘part and parcel of the mood’.

I did indeed start getting aroused but they were frequent spells, and not continuous lapses. I blamed it on stress, because I was absolutely serious about my then boyfriend and we had connected emotionally. Wasn’t emotional intimacy the gateway drug to pleasure and orgasm?

This affected my mental peace. I was a young girl and I wasn’t getting turned on, what was wrong with me? I stopped feeling sexy and started doubting myself. The only good aspect of this scenario was that I had a therapist I could count on, the non-judging breakfast club variety. I decided to elaborate my problems to her, because I mean I wanted to have sex! And lo and behold, my young self thought the problem was because of me! I was not getting in the mood, or even responding to being touched in my most pleasurable areas. Thankfully, she found the answer to my problems.

My goddamn anti-depressants were affecting my sex drive! My Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) were gradually reducing my pleasure quotient and affecting my ability to orgasm as well. Because I am living in India, my psychiatrist did not inform me about this particular negative effect of my pills.

Nobody openly talks about sex where I live so yeah, it is difficult. But, I finally understood why my lady parts weren’t being as vigorous as they used to before I started my pills.

Yes, I needed mental peace but what is mental peace if you can’t perform sexually or feel erotically charged? I am a sexual being, and I love to have sex, and I’m not ashamed about it! However, the fact that the only pills that helped me get up in the morning were affecting my problems getting into bed with the guy I wanted to really pissed me off.

This was a trade-off, I could continue with my anti-depressants and not get turned on easily, or I could rely solely on therapy and try to get back on track. Slowly, I did stop using my pills and I did get my va-jay-jay back on track but that ‘slowly’ indeed took a lot of time. I changed partners in the mean time because I could not make myself be with someone and let him sacrifice his sexual wants for my lack of desire.

This made me want to dig deep into the whole spectrum of having anti-depressants messing with getting turned on. I discovered I wasn’t the only person who was alone facing this problem. A host of other people have been having similar problems like me.

This goes out to all of you who had to compromise on your sexual health for your mental well-being. You shouldn’t have to do one without the other.

My fellow people, your sexual health matters as well.

So, find a good psychologist and try to solve this curious anti-depressant problem.

I helped solve mine, and currently I feel great (well I am getting better with my depression).

You owe yourself the pleasure of feeling great as well!