Health

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

I’m here today to talk to you about mental health and why it is imperative that we erase the stigma around it. What is a stigma? Stigma (n): a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. We should not by any means associate mental health with the word disgrace. Your feelings are never a burden.

Let’s face it, it’s severely easier to pretend your life is all sunshine and rainbows than to face the reality that it’s not. We’ve become all-star pretenders, trust me I know from first hand experience. My Instagram is all the evidence I need. What content do I post? I curate my posts to only show the images I associate with my happiness. It’s human nature to want to show the world the best side of you but there’s so much more that goes on in life than the posts on a timeline. Our Instagram is not an accurate depiction of our real life.  

I’m human, therefore, I feel an array of emotions throughout the day not only happiness. Some days I am sad, others I am filled with rage. You know what though? This is okay. It’s okay to feel sadness, anger, and whatever other emotion you feel. What isn’t okay is letting your sadness eat away at you. My mind is my own worst enemy; there are days where I am at war with myself. I don’t quite know how to tell someone else I’m not okay. I find convenience in letting myself deal with my problems. This is where the flaw lies. Think of a snowball rolling down a mountain as it gains momentum it picks up more snow on the path down. This is how my mind works I think of one problem and before I know it I’m thinking of 50 other things wrong with my life and cursing myself.  

There was a time in my life where my personal darkness consumed me to the point of choosing self-harm. I would wake up every single day and wish I hadn’t. To be frank, I couldn’t tell what was the exact cause of my pain but to feel so alone inside yourself and to consistently choose darkness is not something we should do. Looking back now I don’t recognize that person I was, although she does make a guest appearance in my life every now and again. I’m hoping that my honesty will help others understand that they are not alone. If ever you need a person to talk to, I am here. We only get one life so you must constantly and consistently choose yourself. Struggling with yourself? Take a mental health day, you deserve it.  Life is an uphill battle I will not lie but I promise whatever hurt you are feeling will always heal with time. I’m living proof.  

I want to bring to attention Logic’s performance of 1-800-273-8255 at the 2017 VMA’s. I’ve never cried over an artist before, but this one got me. His song title is the number to the suicide prevention hotline. Please watch the video below it is so incredibly important. “I don’t want to cry anymore, I want to feel alive, I don’t even want to die anymore.” You. Are. Never. Alone.

Trending

This Week’s Binge: 13 Reasons Why

When I was in high school I read a book titled, “Th1rteen R3asons Why” written by Jay Asher. From as far back as I can remember I’ve always had my head stuck in a book. Reading for me provides an escape from reality it allows me to dive right into the setting of a novel and become apart of the world of words. I’ve always pretended to be a fly on the wall or an additional character in whatever I am reading. I’m always a little taken back when individuals discourage reading. I get it though, we all have difference cups of tea!

Even now at 21 years old Asher’s novel still remains on my list of favorites. I was a bit skeptical when hearing of Netflix’s adaptation of the book, “13 Reasons Why”. Central to both the novel and Netflix series is that Clay Jensen receives a set of 13 tapes two weeks after classmate and secret crush, Hannah Baker, commits suicide. Each of the tapes tells the one reason (and person) responsible for her suicide. Clay must listen to all the tapes to find out why he is one of the reasons Hannah killed herself.

While no movie or series could ever capture the true essence of a book, I do enjoy watching Netflix’s adaptation. There are notable differences between the novel and the series. Let’s see if you can pick up on them!  It’s always entertaining to see something that was once words come to life on screen.

I’m currently on episode eight of the series with just five more episodes left. Hopefully creator Brian Yorkey and executive producer Selena Gomez do not disappoint in the final stretch of the series.

(The series has a total of 13 episodes that run at one hour each. A half day of binging!)

Read it. Watch it. Let me know how YOU feel.

Thoughts

It’s OK Not to Have Life Figured Out Yet

Dear Youth,

If I have one more person ask me “What are you doing after you graduate?” I think I might reply with: What are YOU doing after I graduate????

I currently work three part-time jobs on top of going to school full time. It’s safe to say I am a busy bee. My life right now is work and school. This is going to be a mini rant here so bear with me.

Everyone and I mean everyone in this entire world works at their own pace. I’m not saying that I don’t have any plans after I graduate but is it completely insane to NOT have a job lined up?! Just because Jane Doe has a job offer at XYZ Company does not mean that you and I are any less on the right path. As we all work at our own pace we all have different plans. Expecting a person to have their life figured out with a plan set in stone at the age of 21 is ludicrous. In a sense it’s forcing you to believe you’re typingdoing something wrong and it creates unnecessary and unwanted anxiety.

My aspiration in life is to become a novelist and I know I will get there (at my own pace). I genuinely love the look of confusion I get when I tell people I am an English major and Journalism minor. News flash: I love books people and as you can tell from reading this I have a strong love for writing. I am sorry if you are personally offended that I am choosing to follow the route of what I love opposed to the route of money. For all of you out there struggling with the same societal concept that you have to have your life figured by your early twenties you are not alone! I am here to tell you it’s OK. Take a deep breath. You are not alone and we are going to figure this thing (life) out.

With Care,

Briana Marie Benitez

Thoughts

It’s 2017.. Stop Saying “That’s Gay”

This piece was written by me for my school newspaper, The Pauw Wow, but I felt I needed to share it with you guys too!

Around two weeks ago I was in class when one of my peers said something along the lines of, “I hope he’s not doing that because that looks/is gay and that’s not cool”. You know what’s not cool? Homophobic slurs. Come on people, it is 2017 and individuals are still throwing around inappropriate shade?

I am a Hispanic woman with a ‘straight’ sexual preference. Does this mean that I think I am superior to all other relationships because it’s between a male and female? No, it does not. People of planet Earth I have a news flash for you: love is love. You are free to love whomever you desire and this is the greatest thing life has to offer.

My classmate is unaware that his/her words can inflict serious wounds on the surrounding public. This person did not consider the fact that someone else in the class very well could have a different sexual preference than him/her. For this person to cast his/her feelings as correct is insensitive.

Now more than ever  America needs love. Making others feel inferior based on their sexual preference should be a thing of the past. I believe we should appreciate the differences between all of us. Everyone has the right to choose the relationship or partner they want to choose.

One of my favorite campaigns is the NOH8 campaign. The campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Their mission is to promote love, acceptance, and respect for all human beings will continue in pursuit of #NOH8Worldwide.

Time has passed since Proposition 8 was approved. In fact, on June 26th, 2015 the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states across the United States. On this date I felt overwhelmed with joy for all those who could now legally marry the love of their life.

I hope my classmate reads this and hopefully will take from this a reevaluation of his/her actions towards others. This person’s identity is irrelevant and I want the readers to be aware that I want to stress the notion of hate that was being emitted.

As of lately I see more and more hate crimes on a local and national level. We need not forget that our differences make us the blended country that we are. It’s so much easier to love something than to hate it, love is the easiest thing in the world. We shouldn’t shame others for being of a different ethnicity, color, or orientation. We are all a part of the human race. We all bleed red.