Learning Not to Fear Differences

Me with red flower in hair

I am slowly learning to be different and enjoy that as well as talk with others who are different from me.

When I am different than others, it scares me.

What do they think of me? Are they judging how I look or who I am? How can I not draw attention to myself?

I have tried to be normal and blend in, but this always fails dramatically. Instead, I must learn to deal with being different and caring for those who are not like me.

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Helping Others While in the Midst of Suffering

Standing with Joni Earkson Tada who struggled with depression after being paralyzed

Standing with Joni Earkson Tada who struggled with depression after being paralyzed

Yesterday, I was honored to receive an award that I dreamed about winning ever since I heard about it several years ago. My classmates and faculty nominated me to win the Friend of ADA (American Disabilities Association) Award at my university. The reason for this was my work blogging and advocating for those with mental illness and aspergers.

For most, yesterday was a dream come true. A lightness lifted me as I carried my bouquet of flowers around campus and blushed as people congratulated me. This award seemed like the first step toward helping others on a more global scale and winning the Noble Prize one day.

Yet, another part of my day was filled with gut-wrenching sobs and suicidal thoughts. As I cried so hard talking to my mom that I nearly collapsed, I shuddered to think of what people must think when they passed by my heaving form. What a failure I was to the award that I had just received!

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Being a Strong Leader with Mental Illness

Winston Churchill's grave

Winston Churchill’s grave

The idea of being a leader has always haunted me. If I was one, did it mean that I was too loud or bossy? Instead of seeing this as a positive trait, I feared how people would perceive me.

At the same time, my father lauded the values of strength and leadership. In fact, some of his greatest work has been starting youth programs that encourage teenagers to work in teams and practice servant leadership. His example gave me some hope, but I never believed that I was worthy of leading others.

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Deciding to Take Medicine

Choosing to take medication for mental illness is a difficult choice. People may ridicule your choice, side effects might be brutal, and you might need to go through many different dosages until you find what you need.

However, people who struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other mental disorders can be helped by medication. That decision to take medication is between each person and his or her medical team. However, I encourage that you do not eliminate the possibility that medication can be helpful in recovery.

This video really inspired me. The faith element of it as well as the honesty really inspired me.

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The Danger of a Single Story

In class today, a professor showed this video. The speaker and her subject impacted me. How often do we view someone and only see part of their story? When in your life has someone done that to you?

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

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Seeing Someone’s Life Apart From Your Influence

My friends and I in front of the Stonehenge

My friends and I in front of the Stonehenge

I have made a horrible mistake. I judged someone and lead others to as well because of my own hurt and blindness. It took taking myself out of the picture to realize my selfishness.

People with Aspergers struggle to focus on others and not equate things with themselves. That is a constant battle I have faced. Trying to manage that urge to put myself into everything makes me feel like a rotten person. I need to remember that this trait is common in those with Autism and not necessarily wrong by itself. However, we must strive to keep seeing the world through the eyes of others and not blame ourselves for the good and bad.

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Reclaiming and Listening to My Inner Writer

Note on Tolkien's grave

A note that I wrote and placed on the grave of Tolkien – he is an amazing writer who inspired me.

Monday is my media day. That is what I should write about and focus on in today’s post. Doing anything different would be against the schedule that I set and posted for my readers to see. Thus, I would essentially be lying to them as well as not being organized.

These were the thoughts that circled through my head several times today as numerous ideas came to me about this blog. Each idea was shot down by my brain or written on a note to address in the future.

At play practice tonight for the show on creativity and faith, I realized how often I tell my inner artist no. The ideas and creativity that wells up inside of me is silenced by the scholar, the perfectionist, the organizer, the judger, and the practical part of me. No wonder writing seems like such a challenge with no joy! I am no longer engulfed in imagination or the process; it has become a task, a way to function and communicate. That is all.

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Beauty Looks Different Around the World

Studying in Oxford and seeing museums with figures from around the world opened my eyes to how unique beauty is to each culture. For centuries, ancient peoples saw rounder bodies as gorgeous signs of childbirth and new life. Being as pale as possible used to be ideal to show that one did not work outside but had wealth. Now I have come to realize that others regard my pale skin as gross because one should be tanned.

All of the different ways that people think of beauty is fascinating to me. It is interesting how we feel the pressure of the society that we are in instead of thinking of how our appearance would be seen as lovely in another part of the world or another era. Of course, it would make sense that we would want to be accepted where we are currently residing. However, maybe we should take more time to realize how subjective appearance is and how standards vary everywhere you go.

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Understanding Suicide and Depression

“I just don’t understand.”

Those words might seem trivial, but when someone is honest about not understanding my illness, it is refreshing. So often, people try to belittle my depression, anxiety, or other mental health problem by reducing it to something they can understand. “We all have anxiety.”  “I sometimes don’t like how I look either.” “No one is happy all of the time.

These sayings might be true, but they can reduce the struggle that millions of people face daily. Instead, sometimes the best option is to simply listen and admit that you do not understand what someone is going through despite your love for them.

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Why is it Strong to Endure Physical Pain?

Rainbow over St. Paul

Here is the sky that I arrived home to on Saturday

At my medical checkup today, the physician instructed me to schedule a bone scan to make sure that I will not have osteoporosis. Numerous people have mentioned this condition to me, hoping to frighten me into eating more. The idea of my bones deteriorating is anxiety-producing, I will admit.

Yet, the sick part of my brain proclaims this a victory. After all, physical pain is good. The more that you endure, the stronger you are as a person. We respect and affirm those who battle each day through agonizing pain.

That is, we applaud them unless they are causing that pain to themselves.

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