Sunday, August 31, 2014

Great Read from Hello Giggles

About a year ago, I discovered "Hello Giggles" which is now one of my favorite sites on the internet. Their sense of humor and fashion is spot on, but it's their articles that really pull me in. This week, there were two articles in particular that really touched me on a personal level. And I wanted to share the first one with you here for those of you who haven't found Hello Giggles just yet.

Here it is, "6 Things You Should Know About Panic Disorders" sent in by a Hello Giggles reader. Everything this reader writes, I can relate to. Some of it even things I know to be true, but didn't want to say out loud.

"This is not easy for me to write, and I want to first say that I am not writing it in order to receive any kind of sympathy or pity, nor do I expect any. But I think it is very important for people with mental illness to discuss it. To bring it out in the open. Talking about it helps prevent the illness from festering and morphing into something even scarier in your mind. It also lets people know that they are not alone, and it is so easy to feel alone when dealing with this.
I have struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for as long as I can remember, but I have only really begun to face it in the last year and a half. Before that, I never, ever spoke about it. In my mind, if I didn’t talk about it, it wasn’t a real thing. It was just nerves. It was just something that I had to deal with. Bringing it outside of my own mind would make it real. It would make it an illness.
Right before my senior year of college, it got to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. My attacks were worse than ever, and I knew it was time to face this thing that I had been pushing away for my entire life. It was by far the scariest thing I have done, but it was necessary and inevitable.
So, in order to help you understand what this sort of illness is like, I wanted to break down for you just a few things I feel people should know about anxiety and panic:
1.  People with anxiety are excellent at hiding it.
I had been having major panic attacks for 15 years without attracting the attention of a single person. Not because my friends and family are negligent, but because we have to become experts at concealing it: It just becomes a part of life. Daily mantras include: “How am I going to get through this event/meal/class?” and “Ok, here’s what I have to do to make it through this.” These are just a few of the things that constantly run through the mind of a person with anxiety.
2. It is difficult for people with panic attacks to return to places where they have had an attack.
My senior year of college, I was having panic attacks every single day, almost all day long. This made life extremely difficult and daunting, because I was forced to return to the same buildings and classrooms constantly. Once a person has had an attack in a certain location, it is highly likely that they will have another one when they go back. It’s a vicious cycle that can make everyday tasks nearly impossible.
3. Panic attacks feel like you are dying. 
I have had a lot of people ask what exactly a panic attack feels like, and this is the best description I can give you. Plain and simple: it feels like dying. The physical signs of panic can manifest themselves differently in each person, but that underlying characteristic is always the same. It is as terrifying as it sounds.
4. Mental illness is fluid. 
It is ever-changing. There is no definite solution. It is different for everyone. No one is ever “cured” of it. It will always be there. You could be having a really great few months, but you never know when it is going to come back at full force. For me, my anxiety is not triggered by particularly stressful events in my life. It is totally random, which makes it entirely impossible to predict.
5. Anxiety often affects eating habits. 
It is for this reason (and many others) why I give the following instruction: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever comment on a person’s eating habits. You have no idea what a person is struggling with, may it be an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, etc. Pointing it out to them will make them feel 1000% worse and probably even ashamed of their situation. Just don’t do it. Ever. Your friend’s bizarre and erratic eating habits are not a reason for you to put them on the spot; it may actually be a sign of real distress. Talk to them privately if you are concerned or alarmed.
6. Mental illness is traumatic. 
Memories of panic attacks or particularly anxious times can be traumatizing. They stick with you, especially because you are the only one who experienced it, and therefore, the only one who can remember it. Even if you got through it and are doing well, those memories don’t just fade.
This is extremely difficult and scary for me to publish. But, like I said, I feel it is necessary. I want to spread awareness about an illness that is so incredibly isolating. I want people to feel less alone. I want those who don’t struggle with mental illness to better understand what their friends or family are going through, because I guarantee you, you know someone who struggles with this.
I also want to send a sincere thank you to my friends and family who have helped me through some of my lowest times. I don’t know what I would have done without you all, really. Thank you for trying to understand, for being there, and for loving me.
A few months back, I lost a childhood friend who had long been struggling with similar issues. In an attempt to reach out after some concerning Facebook posts of hers, I told her that I could relate to what she was going through. I told her that my mantra had become, “Just keep going.” With this type of illness, it is too easy to focus on the mountain of possible struggles in front of you. What I have learned is that you have to keep going. You can’t focus on the negative. You just can’t, or you won’t survive. You have to get up, get dressed, and focus on the task ahead of you. You have to believe that you can handle whatever life may throw at you.
My friend, unfortunately, lost her battle. My hope in writing this is that others will be inspired to find their strength, and know that they are never, ever alone. You are a warrior and your illness is just another thing to be conquered. You have to believe that.
Catherine Santino is a writer and performer living in the NYC area. She started writing because she has a lot of things to say, and you won’t find her sugar-coating any of them. Her interests include strongly worded letters, chocolate-based desserts, and wearing the same outfit in multiple Facebook photos. You can read more on her blog"

Friday, August 8, 2014

For the Love of Humanity...

I hate politics, because it's human nature to defend your beliefs till you're blue in the face. And they are YOUR beliefs, so YOU have that right, correct? Correct. That said, I am absolutely dumbfounded and shocked at the violence and hatred that is just breeding in the middle east. Specifically the ISIS bastards. Yep, I said it, bastards. Because that is what they are. Anyone who can take another life so recklessly solely because they don't like your religion is a bastard.

Anyhoo, I am so upset by this that I felt the need to blog about it here and get it off my chest. Religion is a personal belief. As a HUMAN you have a right to choose what religion you identify with. Some choose no affiliation, which is cool, that's your choice. So why, WHY, does this "ISIS" and Muslim Brotherhood feel the need to force EVERYONE to have the same beliefs that they have?

I am a practicing Catholic and it irks me when the Church encourages its members to seek out lost souls and bring the to our religion, to find God. If they are lost, they will find their way, and I'm more than happy to share my experiences and love of my religion if they want to hear it, but I will not force it on someone. So yeah, Catholics can be a little pushy, but it typically ends with the old "Catholic Guilt". They talk your ear off about why you should become a Catholic, and if you still say no, you leave feeling a bit guilty.

Then there are baptist and Jehovah's Witnesses who like to go "knocking" door to door to share their knowledge with you and try to convince you to give their religion a shot. Again, if I want to seek you out, I will. Please do not invade my private property and my time. The worst that happens? Typically you'll lose 30 minutes of your day and feel as if your privacy has been invaded.

How do ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood try to convert you? It won't be a simple knock on the door, you can count on that! How about an ambush, capture and execution? Or forcing you to declare that you believe in whatever they want you to with a gun pressed against your head. Or maybe raping your wife and kidnapping your child? Or how about just beheading your child right there. And putting his or her head on a stick to be made an example of?

It makes me SICK to even type these words, but a simple google search of "ISIS" will bring you all of the latest news stories and reports on what they're doing. It's awful, sickening and pathetic.

Will there ever be an answer? Probably not. When it comes to religion there never seems to be an answer. Why can't we all just believe in what we want to believe in and leave each other ALONE?! Because someone always ends up on a power trip and turns religion into an agenda. An agenda that includes genocide in this case.

I was curious about ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood earlier so I did a little research, please take a look:

"Like al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups, ISIS emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt,[92] which follows an extreme anti-Western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. "

Ok, so these cold-hearted killers have emerged from the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Muslim Brotherhood follows an EXTREME ANTI-WESTERN (for those of you not paying attention, ANTI-AMERICAN) INTERPRETATION OF ISLAM. And they're violent with complete disregard. Yep, got it, they're evil bastards. 

Got it? Yep, got it. Evil. So, if that's the case...why, oh why, did this happen....


Circa April 2012...

"The Obama administration announced Friday its plan to transfer $450 million in cash to help Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government cover its massive budget deficit, which is estimated somewhere between $12 billion and $23 billion." SOURCE

Really makes you think, huh?!