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.

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.

diary · Inspiring People

The Art of Stoicism

Life can test us in ways we can’t imagine and throughout these trials, it’s difficult to retain your character and moral values. In this post I’m going to explore the idea of Stoicism and how it can benefit a person character.

What is Stoicism?

Stoicism is a philosophy of life in which an individual can focus on living as a rational being and gain excellent judgment and fulfilled happiness. Stoics believe that human distress is caused by mistaken judgement and incorrect beliefs. Stoicism study and practice aims to correct these judgments and beliefs. Some common themes of Stoic philosophy include:

  • Virtue (excellence of character or moral beauty).
    • External events are not connected to our character and therefore cannot be good or bad.
    • There are four basic virtues:
      • Wisdom
      • Judgement
      • Courage
      • Self-control
  • Things don’t disturb us, it is our judgment of those things that do.
  • Virtue consists of acting consistently according to nature.

Putting it to Practice

Now, the ability to be virtuous and not take external events to heart sounds incredibly empowering, however it’s difficult to put into practice. It’s an extreme mental battle which takes a lot of time to learn. It takes mental rehearsal and reading to develop these thoughts and ideas because our minds struggle to understand that it’s our own judgement that hurts us.

I, myself am far from becoming Stoic. Though, I won’t stop trying as I hope reaching this virtuous state will help me to stop overthinking and developing anxiety.

Stoic Practices

I’m going to list some exercises that can aid an individual in becoming more enlightened. Here they are:

  • Whenever you remember, try to refrain from making impressions and refrain from acting on impulses.
    • Observe them as mere impulses and impressions.
  • If an impression of good or bad occurs, reflect whether it was under you control.
    • If not, it isn’t according to nature.
  • Before choosing to do anything, realise whether it is according to nature or an impulse.
  • Regularly consider your situation and surroundings.
  • Read stoic literature.
    • Reading is essential to understand your motives behind why you want to be a Stoic.
  • Re-reading the Stoic principles regularly.
  • Mental rehearsal of upcoming events that can trigger mistaken judgment.

These are just some practices you can put into place for a more detailed guide on Stoicism, check out the reddit guide.

My journey into Stoicism has been a difficult one, I have been working on mental rehearsals, however; reading literature is my downfall. Even from these little mental rehearsals I have been able to push back a lot of negativity.

Favourite Quotes

I’m going to end this post with two of my favourite Stoic quotes so far. I challenge you to reflect on them and see if they relate to you and your life.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity – Seneca

It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is complete, neither blame another, nor himself – Epictetus

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope to explore more philosophical ideas in my journey of self-discovery.

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diary

I Got Accepted – 19th of December

I just got an offer to do a PhD in cancer research. I’m really happy but I’m letting my anxiety hold me back. The events of the past year were immensely difficult, I was blamed, judged and belittled by my supervisor. I now have a new supervisor but I’m afraid to return to that environment. There are regular seminars and I’m scared to see everyone again, I’m scared to be judged again. There’s still a lot of pain but this is an amazing project that I am grateful to have the opportunity to take part in. I was offered it because the person running it saw something in me and my writing skills, so I hope to make them proud.

I don’t quite know how to heal the pain still. All I know is that I will avoid that toxic environment that I was once in and never let the people who hurt me in again.

Uncategorized

Judgment is Toxic

I see you…

What do other people think of you?

I like your face…

Wait, in that photo it’s weird

I like your personality

But idk how cute I find you

Why am I so judgemental?

Why do I care what others think?

Why…why do I think I’m not good enough for anyone? Yet, no one is good enough for me?