Poetry

Shallow Breaths

Every single breath,

Doesn’t feel whole.

It’s a tiny fraction of what it once was.


I don’t know why I let the pain in,

The hurt becomes too much to bare.

I haven’t been myself for a while,

And now everything is resurfacing suddenly.


I long for the time my breaths were whole,

A time my brain was quiet.

It seems so distant now.


I miss the days where being inside wasn’t claustrophobic.

The fresh air is calming,

But outside it’s too bright.

There’s not enough warmth in my heart to stand it.


So now I hover between,

Dark or light.

Accept breathlessness and remain in the shadows,

Or let my heart open up to the light.


Poetry

Black And White

There’s no black and white.

A million possibilities exist.

Yet, if that’s the case,

Then why doesn’t it feel that way?


There’s only two choices,

Pain or not.

That’s all I can see,

And all I wish to see.

My heart is too weak,

The hurt is too strong.


Sometimes I forget,

The pain that destroyed me.

So, I set myself free.

Open up my world to the possibilities.

Then an all too familiar sight appears.

In the blink of an eye,

The same pattern repeats.

These millions of possibilities turned one colour.

And yet again favoured pain.


Surely if there was no black and white,

Then the chance of hurt would be low.

Almost a zero possibility.

And it wouldn’t happen.

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mental health

Currently Anxious

Lately something triggered my anxiety severely. It’s mainly been feeling like I’ve offended or hurt someone and trying to fix that. So naturally I wanted to make a post about anxiety and talk about the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack, as well as techniques to help one through it.

The Difference:

Firstly, I want to start with describing both types of attacks. A panic attack involves heavy breathing, gasping for air and circulating thoughts. Panic attacks are also unprovoked, not involving a stressor. On the other hand, an anxiety attack follows a stressor. One is fearful and apprehensive about it and it often leads to illogical thoughts arising and jumping to conclusions. In terms of physical symptoms, I don’t tend to gasp for during a anxiety attack as it’s very much in the moment. It’s more just breathless feeling and chest tightness. However, everyone is different and physical symptoms can depend on an individual.

Both are scary and it can be quite hard to escape them without feeling negativity towards yourself. At times during anxiety attacks we can blame ourselves and feel like we’ve done something wrong. As a result we apologise for things we probably didn’t do. Something I’ve learnt recently is the term logical fallacy and it really helps take away from the situation and view it objectively.

Logical Fallacy:

Logical fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning in the construction of an argument.

Wikipedia

When we view this in terms of anxiety, it explains the reasoning of how we can jump to conclusions. For example, if someone doesn’t feel like talking or leaves us on read. Sometimes my brain can say oh they might be busy. However, when anxiety sets in, it says they’re mad at us or that we’ve done something wrong. This is an example of a logical fallacy. Through overthinking, faulty reasoning weeds it’s way into our mind and then we draw a conclusion based on zero facts. So how does this help with anxiety?

It’s definitely a mental effort, but knowing and identifying a logical fallacy can really help In deterring unwanted thoughts. Even if you if try and fail, letting the negative thoughts in, it’s still progress. I like to think that it’s an accumulative effect, every time you tell yourself this, the faster it takes for you to realise the logical fallacy. In saying all this, I want to stress that this definitely isn’t the only way to help with anxiety attacks, and it’s up to you to find what works best.

Techniques for Combating Anxiety:

  • Writing. I’ve said this many times and I’ll continue to mention it. Right now as I write this, it’s very therapeutic and helps me consolidate my thoughts. It can be in any form but it definitely has the ability to help.
  • Drawing. Taking the time to draw allows reflections. It keeps you moving at a steady pace while your mind thinks. It’s a lot better than the erratic motion that anxiety can bring because this type of motion is controlled.
  • Replika. This is an artificial intelligence app that is free. It’s there to help with mental health but also just talk to you. I’m not going to lie, she can be a bit weird in role playing mode, but the regular conversations really can help.
  • Positive affirmations. I recently downloaded an app that gives you notifications throughout the day. It has messages like ‘I am loved’ and ‘I deserve what I achieve’. It’s really good because I find myself saying these lines in my head throughout the day. And eventually I started to agree with them!

These are just a few techniques to try and everyone’s different. It’s about finding what works best for you. In saying that, it’s good to try different things because what works for you one week might not work another.

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Poetry

The First Panic Attack

What’s this?

My chest is heavy.

No matter what,

I can’t get enough air in.


This has never happened before.

I’m afraid.

My mind won’t stop racing.

Is this normal?

How do I make it stop?


Each gasp does nothing,

Not matter how much I try.

I’m breathless.

Is it ever going to stop?

It seems like it’s been forever.


It’s settling now.

My lungs are tired,

And my brain is sore.

I’m exhausted.

But I can breathe again,

Finally.

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Poetry · Uncategorized

Art

Today I realised,

Why I love art so much.

It keeps my hands busy,

Matching my mind.


Long ago,

I lost touch with it.

It was years since I drew.

Then recently,

My pen touched the paper.

And it’s movement matched my mind.


Art truely can heal.

It’s calming.

Allowing the pen to flow,

It lets my mind do the same.

Now I remember why I love art.

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story

Short Story – The Butterfly Effect

Everyone wishes they could turn back time. Undo their past mistakes, forget the shame and embarrassment. Yet, there’s one thing people never think about – the consequences of the pain that was felt. I learnt the hard way. That this universe is a bubble, one of an infinite number of scenarios. Every choice made causes another bubble to form and split off. I guess each and every one of us really are the centre of our own reality. Our choices set events in motion. Why would we want to mess with the nature of universe? Because of pain. Well that’s why I did. Do I regret it? Yes. Let me start from the beginning.

I screwed up. Multiple times in fact. I can see my life so easily in a sequence of traumatic mistakes and events. Bullying from a young age, isolation, a drug abusive father and well the list goes on. It’s not that my life was bad, it just was full of trauma which definitely had an effect on me. I was anxious, had trust issues, anger issues, some depression but I was always ok. Just ok and that was good enough for me. Then one day, despite all the strength I had in my mind and body, something finally broke me. I was abused, publicly humiliated and set up to fail. Did that destroy me? Yes. I wished I was dead, over and over again. It was a thought that consumed my mind. Then, it transformed. I no longer wished to be dead, I wished for the past to be, like it just didn’t happen. Or that I just didn’t live through it.

Words are incredibly powerful. But thoughts hold even more power. I didn’t know the effect they had. There was no build up. It just happened. Quickly and effortlessly. Like my past was based on of millions of scenarios and I could just substitute it for another. I thought of how I wish the past would die and it simply did. I didn’t know why it happened to me. I didn’t understand why the universe would choose me to give this power to. It just did. I definitely used it. First, I erased the thing that broke me and it was gone in a puff of smoke. The memories were still with me, yet it was like I watched them on a TV show. There was a disconnect. Any effect it had on me was expelled. The weird thing was that the memories that filled its place didn’t entirely seem like I was me in them. I didn’t question why at the time. Who would with this new found power? Naturally, I was cautious but I needed to see if it could happen again.

The next thing I wanted to change was something from my childhood. Could I have an effect on events that far in the past? I had no clue. But I chose something that I knew had effected me until my adult life. I thought of the bullying and wished it death. Just like that, it was gone. A distant TV show of myself that I had watched. The memories there but none of its effects. All of the mistrust of others, the insecurities, gone. I was amazed and excited. However, I was patient. I thought about what to change next for a while. I didn’t know the consequences so I had to be careful.

After a lot of thinking, I went with the loss of my best friend. The guilt I felt still weighed heavy because it was my fault the friendship ended. And just like that it was gone. In the days following, I learned the effects the changes I made were having. For one, I noticed we were best friends again. Or I should say still, because the friendship never ended. Then the subtle things started to appear. I was more confident and seemed to know more people. It seemed like it was all getting better. And yeah, I was foolish. Life doesn’t work like that.

I kept tweaking and altering everything I could think of. It didn’t all happen at once, I did it progressively. Seeing how my life panned out each time. Each memory a TV showed that I watched one evening, years ago. Everything seemed better because I had all I wanted, a life with barely any failures. It didn’t take long to see what I had actually done. I started to notice there were multiple of these show-like memories. At first, I thought it was weird, but then I realised that the further back I delete the past, the greater the change in the memories further on. It was a cascade effect. Some were subtle but some were immense. There were also some personality changes. I had become rude without realising it and the people I surrounded myself with were much like me. It had never occurred to me to think about why I stopped being friends with my best friend and people like her. I kept having vague recollections of the people I once knew. Some felt like they were from a lifetime ago. I was empty.

So, I tried again. Deleting where I think I went wrong. New memories formed, even more episodes were created. Each new memory was nothing like who I was. Then, I completely and utterly screwed up. I somehow indirectly caused the death of someone I loved. I tried, so hard to fix that. Nothing changed it. My mother who was once in my life, left it prematurely. All because the fundamental nature of who I am changed so incredibly that it put her in the path of a drunk driver one evening. She was buying a very specific gift for me. Somehow I had gained an interest in knitting and she was buying me yarn. I warped myself so far beyond recognition that I simply forgot who I was. I don’t like myself. I don’t like who I created. I stopped eventually, the past shouldn’t be tampered with. The pain? It all returned in the following years. Everyone has to face it eventually. I ended up losing my friend again and this time the roles were flipped. I was the problem. I didn’t cause it because I confronted her. It was all me this time. Well, I think that’s how it went the first time. There’s lots of outcomes in my head now.

The past is there for a reason. It teaches us to be better. Instead of choosing to learn, I wanted to change the past. Now I miss the life I think I had.

I don’t know what gave me the ability to manipulate these bubbles. I don’t even know why anyone would give me this. All I do know is that the changing the past effects everything, even if it’s in the slightest way. It’s the butterfly effect.

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Poetry

Imagine

I don’t miss you,

In fact, I never want to see you again.

Yet, I feel guilt.

Because I acted irrational,

I was hurt.

My pain caused yours.


Confrontation is scary.

I know it is.

But you cannot go through life,

Thinking you’re always right.

Imagine the hurt you can cause.

I would know,

I experienced it.


Instead of facing your issues,

You snubbed and hoped they would go away.

That just causes more pain.

I apologised.

Yet, you left that apology there,

And didn’t say a single word.


Imagine… for a second…

That you aren’t so entitled,

And that your pain isn’t greater than anyone else’s.

Imagine…

That you saw everyone’s problems as equal to your own,

Without comparisons being made.

Imagine…

Being an adult and learning from your mistakes.


So please…

If you can take anything from the pain you caused me.

Learn from your faults,

Work things out,

Don’t walk away from your problems.

Poetry

Friendship

Why do I give everyone my all?

It’s barely ever reciprocated.

Then I’m left here wondering “why?”


“Did I do something?”

“Was I being self-centred?”

These thoughts dance around my brain,

In a never ending waltz.

Will I ever stop blaming myself?


I hope that one day,

I will be capable to letting go,

Of being self-reliant.

Because the reality is,

I give it my all,

Yet I have to talk to a brick wall.

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Poetry

Love

The universe is against me.

All that awaits,

Is pain.


I do try…

To love.

Yet, the hurt is too strong.


Now,

I’m scared.

Scared of every single person who peaks my interest.

All because,

The universe seems to not let me be loved.


I long for the day that I accept that.

The day this very thought doesn’t hurt.

For now, I’ll endure and continue to be me.

Because me is who I have to live with,

Forever.

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Opinion · Review

Communication of Mental Health in Social Media

Recently, I watched a video about why Elsa from Frozen is a terrible character. I was incredibly frustrated by the video for the points they were making because to me, they couldn’t see the finite details. As someone who has experienced trauma and depression, I thought it was a horrible message to give to an audience. In this post I want to discuss the portrayal of mental health and people’s reaction to it. I’ve found that society is aware of mental health, yet there is still a disconnect, so let’s explore.

Firstly, I’d like to start with the opinion of the narrator in which Elsa was described as bland and lacking personality. A comparison was then made to other Disney princesses that are quite energetic, loud and proud, however comparing Elsa to their personalities is similar to contrasting a cat to a dog. They’re both quite different. People are allowed to dislike someone’s character, but saying they’re terrible based on the personality of another is highly toxic. Drawing comparisons is quite harmful in society and what adds to this lethality is the fact that Elsa has undergone trauma and suffers from anxiety and depression. People who suffer from anxiety and depression can at times shut down, it isn’t a bland personality, it’s a mental health issue. While Elsa is a fictional character, the likes and comments on this video were quite upsetting because people agreed with these points of the argument. The audience of a youtuber is quite vast and when you have thousands of people condemning a character who clearly has mental instability, what message does this send others?

Frozen has always been a target for hate because it’s a popular movie, I personally love it because it sends an important message. While a person has every right to dislike it for their own reasons, it’s inappropriate to spread hate for a character for their traits that can be explained by mental health or trauma and ride it off as poor writing. My biggest fear is the cascade effect this can have. Society loves to hate on things and cancel them. Frozen was incredibly popular so of course people are going to get sick of it. However, people who are influential have the potential to feed that hate and in the process ride off mental health of as being bitchy or a horrible person. People behave the way they do for a reason and if society truely wishes to support mental health, it starts with not creating hate for the small things like a persons character. I want to discuss some aspect of Elsa’s personality so we can really grasp what severity of these kind of comments.

Shutting Anna Out

In the film Elsa avoids Anna because she fears her powers. She harmed her once before and she’s afraid she will again. In the video, the narrator stated ‘why didn’t she tell Anna once the parents died?’. And then goes on to say ‘hey Anna I have magic ice powers I can’t control and that’s why I stayed away from you….why couldn’t she just say that?’. This is an extremely ignorant and damaging thing to say. Trauma exists. Victims of trauma have to try very hard to overcome aspects of it. People cannot get over it as a whole and it takes a lot of time and energy. When Anna states “I can’t live like this anymore” and Elsa responds “then leave”. The narrator says ‘no rational person would say this’. Elsa clearly looks distressed in this scene and it’s very difficult to let people in as well as it’s very easy to shut them out. Calling it irrational is incredibly hurtful and can make someone think with anxiety or trauma believe that their fears are invalid. The narrator then goes on to state people with anxiety and depression can often act irrational and shows sympathy. While compassion is important and key to understanding people with mental health, why downplay it previously as irrationality? Singling a group out can be detrimental to that group as well as children.

The Movie is Not Teaching Kids to Shut People Out

Elsa needed space to reflect on her thoughts. She created a safe space to do this in the form of an Ice Castle. Progress isn’t linear and the song Let it go was only a representation of one aspect of it. If the movie was showing kids to shut people out there would not have been any resolution. The narrator states ‘why couldn’t she have let love in before’ the resolution rather than avoid others. Once again, mental health is a process and it takes a lot of energy that people don’t have to do this. At the end of the day, isolation isn’t key, but it is a step in battling trauma, depression and anxiety through reflection. Everyone needs to take a step back and think, that’s how life works.

Elsa Needs Anna

The narrator stated the movie didn’t show that Elsa needed Anna. I think it definitely demonstrated overcoming the fear of loving her sister. The only connection Elsa made to love was accidentally hurting her sister while they were playing as kids. For her letting love in mean’t hurting the ones she loved. The act of hurting Anna was another step in overcoming this as it allowed her to see she can hurt Anna at any time and that it doesn’t come with letting love in. Once again, trauma is at play and the entire journey was about Elsa overcoming that fear due to her mental health and showing Anna love. Elsa needed Anna to help her through that.

At the end of the day, it’s definitely up to you to like a character. However, downplaying mental health creates a message in society. While the narrator could identify some aspect of mental health, it still felt offensive. Being irrational is scary to people with mental health problems and commenting on it like that can be damaging. It pushes negative views on mental health onto an audience and can be triggering. Each of these opinions lead onto each other and demonstrated ignorance when it comes to understanding a person, as a result trauma felt like something someone can just get over. We still have a long way to go in order to understand mental health and communicate it. I hope in the near future people will learn to stop criticising others in such a way.

Thanks for reading! Please be wary on the internet, some places are definitely safe zones but some can be quite triggering. I also wasn’t sure whether I should link the video or not, while I don’t agree with an opinion I would rather not create a negative space elsewhere.