How I Feel About: Frozen

So it’s 2017, and Disney’s Frozen is still one of the most popular Disney movies right now.

Frozen came out in theaters while my family was on a trip to Disneyland for Thanksgiving in 2013. Overnight, all the little girls were wearing Frozen gear, it was kinda cool. I didn’t want to get into the hype, because I prided myself on not going to a movie theater for a few years at that point, but I heard so much good stuff about it that I went to see Frozen in January 2014. I liked it, a story about sisters, no prince came in to save the day, etc. I admit, I played “Let It Go” on repeat for quite a while, but within a few months I was starting to be over Frozen. I would listen to “Let It Go” every now and then because for some reason, I loved that song.

Anyways, the next year Big Hero 6 came out and became one of my favorites because it mentions (not directly) mental health and Baymax became a loved character quickly. Big Hero 6 and the Pirates of the Caribbean series were added to Tangled in the list of movies I wanted to watch when I had a bad day, usually being depressed and stressed out about school.

Every now and then I would want to watch Frozen, like once a year, and when we were at Disneyland this summer we saw the Frozen live at the Hyperion twice because I love musicals and theater. Since then, I have found myself wanting to listen to Frozen more and more, sometimes listening to the soundtrack on repeat as I do my homework and I believe I know why.

It has been theorized that Elsa is characterized in a way that is reflective of depression. And I see it. I see the loneliness and wanting to be left alone, feeling that you are bad for others. I had read about this theory not long after seeing Frozen the first time.

Now, I see myself in both Anna and Elsa. When I am depressed, or even just a little down, “Let It Go” or “Life’s Too Short” (A song that was deleted from the movie) are what I want to listen to on repeat. Even on good days, “Let It Go” and the rest of the movie soundtrack are songs I like to listen to because “Let It Go” makes me feel empowered when I am not depressed, and I also feel that I have a lot of quirks like Anna does when I am happy and carefree. I see myself in both of these characters at times, and feel that the emotions the characters express in the movie are portrayed in a way that makes these characters so relatable.

Yes, I like Frozen. Yes, I am an adult. Yes, I have mental illness. Yes, I am a Disney kid.

And you know what, I feel that being raised with Disney movies with their fairytale stories, awesome messages (especially the newer generation of Disney), and relatable characters is what makes Disney something that helps me to cope with some of my hardest days. It doesn’t make you overthink, the music is ridiculously hard not to sing along to, and if all else fails I can watch it absentmindedly and still keep the bad thoughts away. Disney is one of my coping mechanisms and will always be a source of magic for me.

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Stressed Without Realizing

So I have been under a lot of stress lately. Some of the reasons I was able to identify off the top f my head, but I am afraid that there are some that I’m still unaware of.

To start us off, I got a terrible cold last week, like I thought it was just allergies or something, but I got major sinus inflammation and a terrible cough. My head feels better, but the cough is lingering.

Second, it is week 10. I had my big paper due last week, but still have smaller papers and assignments due this week. AND THEN WE HAVE FINALS. Honestly, I am not to (consciously) stressed about finals because I have been doing well in all my classes so far this quarter and will hopefully do well enough on my finals to keep my current grades. I’m in my senior year, finals are usually not that bad.

Third, it is winter holiday season, for me that means Christmas. I am not stressed about the actual holidays because we spend Christmas Eve at one aunt’s house and Christmas day with the other this year, so no hosting for us. But this will be the first Christmas without my maternal grandfather and even though he passed almost ten months ago I still really miss him. I’ve been missing him a lot more lately and I think it might be cause the holidays are coming up.

Fourth, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a thing that happens to me, and lots of others, and this is my first year since before my diagnoses that I am going through the holidays without medications. I am just really down, especially at night, and I want to cry. Singing in the shower helps with this temporarily.

Fifth, my mom has another business trip when I go back to school in January. Might be stressed about that, might not, can’t tell, but certainly wouldn’t be surprised if I am already stressed about that because my brain does that kind of stuff all the time.

Six, I officially started my grad school application today. It’s terrifying because this can determine what I do with my life for the year after my graduation. I am applying to the program at my current college because it is one of the best. I have all the prerequisites finished and my GPA is higher than they want, but it’s still scary.

These are just the ones off the top of my head. I could probably think of three or four more, but I don’t really want to. Currently I am trying to get into aromatherapy and got a little diffuser for my room. I like peppermint, but I tend to lean towards lavender more.

If any of you have tips with how you deal with stress, please let me know.

 

 

Middle of Nowhere

I believe I have mentioned before that my family moved out to the town where the college me and my sister go to. If not, well now you know.

Anyways, I thought you might be entertained to learn my thoughts of this town before and after moving here.

Before:

I didn’t even know the name of the city. I knew we would travel through it every year or two to go to one of my family’s (like my whole family, grandparents, parents, cousins, great aunts and uncles <– their kids and grandkids too. literally every family member who resided in the area that would be less than a two hour drive from us, with traffic!) favorite vacation stops. I would either be asleep or would quickly fall asleep after seeing the water tower that happens to be located on the edge of campus and visible from the freeway.

When I was a little older, we drove from our house to the town right before my current town because my dad wanted to go to a specific steakhouse. I thought the drive took forever, especially because we were just going to a restaurant.

Within the next few years, I went to a concert in the same neighboring town as the steakhouse. I remembered the steakhouse, but again felt like we were going to the middle of nowhere. I vividly remember thinking exactly that, “We are in the middle of nowhere.”

When it came time to look at colleges, I had no idea where this school, the school my cousin transferred to do her undergraduate and her and her husband moved out there like three years before I was touring colleges. It was not in my mental map.

Until I toured the campus, I had no intention on going to this college. I had my sights set on another closer to my childhood home. But when I went on the tour, everything changed. Even though I toured in October and it was 90 degrees (F) outside and the campus was HUGE, I fell in love. Of course I wasn’t positive of that until I toured my previous “dream school” only to find that it was crowded and hectic and the city was chaos.

Now:

My school has a large campus with many open areas to study or relax and even when its super hot outside, or when the storms roll in and start to flood our flat city, it is beautiful. Some areas of the larger city are nicer than others, but that happens with any city. Surrounding the school is a very nice area with a large downtown for students to explore. The area we live in is very quiet, many of our neighbors are older couples or families. One of our neighbors is a husband and wife who are both professors at my college. Everyone pretty much keeps to themselves, and almost everyone is friendly.

There is low light pollution, so at night if the sky is clear, you can see all of the stars. The area I live in has green strips and a massive park near the elementary school. It’s a beautiful area to walk around and get away from your thoughts. If you take another route, you might end up at our pond, which is full of trees and reeds and dries up in the summers, but fills up when the winter storms come. It’s beautiful year round.

In the summer, a majority of the college students leave, so it’s very quiet downtown. A majority of the students also leave on breaks, so it is great to go Black Friday shopping at Target because the only ones there are some of the moms of younger kids who live here.

We do not have a mall, the nearest mall is 30 minutes away, so we either go to stores in our city and the surrounding cities, or we stop at the mall when we go to visit my grandparents.

But you know what, I am happier living here than I was in the city I used to live in. Here the air smells cleaner and nature has its own place, so it doesn’t go creeping into your house. Most people are nice, and they care a lot about our earth. If you ever get bored, there are so many things to do in town or just a short drive away. We have farmer’s markets and fruit stands and so much fresh produce grown in and around the city. College students bike or bus or walk more than they drive.

Here, things are the perfect balance between quiet and exciting, depending which you like, and I hope that I get to live here for a long time.

A Memory To Keep

After having Thanksgiving dinner with my mom’s side of the family, I remembered one of my favorite parts about going to visit my maternal grandparents house when I was little.

It seems that for as long as I could remember, my grandparents would have rock hard ice cream in their freezer. My Nonno loved chocolate ice cream, and his grandchildren did too. Whenever we went, we would eat our lunch or dinner (usually we went for dinner back then) and then go back to playing. One of our moms would come downstairs to the spare room we played in and ask if we wanted ice cream. All grandchildren present (usually either three or all four of us) would run up the stairs as fast as we could. We would grab bowls or mugs, whatever we could find, and scoop the too hard ice cream with a tablespoon, which of course would bend under the pressure. Our moms would sigh and help us out so we wouldn’t ruin all the spoons. Usually, they had chocolate ice cream, sometimes we got stuck with neapolitan. If it was indeed neapolitan, we would scoop out all the chocolate first, then vanilla, and we usually left the strawberry there. We would all happily work on our ice cream and return to playing.

If we asked for ice cream, we would first have to check that there would be enough for Nonno. If he only had one container and it was almost empty, we left it for him and would settle for some cookies or another treat Nonna had in the house.

As our Nonno got older, his stomach became more and more sensitive, and I can’t recall the last time we had ice cream at their house, it had been a few good years, because as his stomach changed, ice cream was no longer enjoyable for him.

But the memories me and my sister have of going to Nonno and Nonna’s house and having ice cream with our cousins are some of my favorites. I will hold on to these memories and hopefully I will one day have kids who will be able to make their own memories like this.

Never Supporting

As many of you know, I am always talking about how thankful I am for the people who have supported me as I learn about myself and my mental illnesses and now, how to deal with them without medication. But I am sad to say that there is one person in my life who has rarely supported me in this area. If anything, this person has made it harder for me to progress at almost every step of the way.

Whenever I mention that I cannot do something because my mental illnesses¬† (usually anxiety) won’t let me, or are talking about some of my mannerisms that I have as ways to cope, they always rub it in my face that they have mental illnesses too. The catch is, they were never formally diagnosed, refuse to see a doctor for formal diagnosis, and refuse even the idea of taking medication.

I had no choice. I was brought to a doctor, received several formal diagnoses within the span of a year, and was put on medication with my parents’ consent because I was a minor. I had no say in any of this.

This person always does this sort of shit to me, they always rub it in my face that they have these illnesses too, “and they might be worse than yours” kinda shit. You know what, you chose to not do the conventional diagnosis and treatment route. I had no choice and now when I go to verbalize it to others, my journey, everything I’ve been through, what it feels like to me, you bring me down. The only thing you supported me in was the choice to be off medication. You “like me better off medication”, but when I have bad days, especially at the beginning, you would yell at me and when I would say I’m still working on managing on my own, you would tear me down again and wonder why I would be yelling and crying. I needed your support, but I never got it.

Even though I am doing better now, you still never support me. You never show any sort of support on my social media posts about my progress, never even mention that you saw them to me, as if my mental health doesn’t matter to you at all. And it hurts me, because for some damn reason, even though I have a bunch of people supporting me, I am still trying to get your support too.

Just a Day

It’s just a bad day.

Another bad day.

Force yourself to get out of bed and do something.

Anything.

 

It’s just another day.

Another day of school.

Going to class after class even though your brain can’t comprehend lectures.

Nothing.

 

It’s just a rainy day.

The clouds mute the sun’s light.

Raindrops fall on every surface they can and make the world shine.

Refresh.

 

It’s just a quiet day.

Nothing to do, nowhere to go.

Sitting down and taking a moment to relax after a stressful week.

Peace.

 

 

It’s just a perfect day.

Nothing eventful happens.

The wonders of everyday seem new, a day that couldn’t have been planned.

Magic.

 

They are all just days.

Some good, some bad.

All important in how we perceive the passage of time.

Moments.

10 Years Strong

It’s finally November, and this month will mark that officially ten years have passed since I was diagnosed with moderate depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I have gone through so many things in the past ten years, and I am proud to say that I have accomplished things that I hadn’t even though about when I was eleven years old. Of course, there have been many challenges along the way, but I keep making progress.

Everyday is a different experience for me and every year has brought new challenges with it.

I went from middle school to high school to college trying to find out what medications worked for me, only to advocate for myself and decide to go medication free. At the end of this month, it will be six months that I have been off antidepressants. I have been struggling with my anxiety lately because it is now midterms season and I hope that I can find a solution that works for me without going back on medications.

I hid my diagnoses for a while and though I started to tell people within the first year, it really wasn’t until I took AP Psychology my senior year of high school that I started to feel that I was more than my diagnoses. College also proved to be a place where I can advocate mental health awareness and share my experiences with others freely without fear of them judging me. After all, mental health affects 1 in every 5 people and many young adults are diagnosed during college.

I am thriving in college after a particularly stressful transition. My first quarter I had felt overwhelmed with my classes, commuting to school, and feeling alone on campus for much of the day. I made my first friend, a fellow freshman, in my Exercise Walking class that first quarter. By my second quarter, I realized that my major was not the one for me and started working to change it, which is how I met yet another amazing friend who I have shared several classes with over the years. In the past year alone, I have joined a great group on my campus where we talk about topics such as mindfulness, self-care, and balancing academics with other parts of our lives, all things that I am still trying to work on. I have met several amazing people who I can relate to and I feel comfortable sharing my story with that are always willing to listen.

I have learned to find my voice and share my experiences with others. I am thankful to everyone who has been there and helped me, especially those who have made big impacts in my life by supporting me throughout these past ten years. Because of you, I become more confident in myself and my abilities. I have been working hard to do my best despite my diagnoses for the past ten years and you have helped make me stronger.