I am _____________.

What am I?
That’s the real question.

I know that I am a human being, and that is one of the only labels that I ever wish was used to describe me.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Many labels are associated with my existence, including negative and positive labels, depending largely on the individual labeling me.

Labels are unfortunately inevitable, and human beings, as well as our society, enjoy utilizing labels to describe, define, and pass judgement on others.
Even more unfortunately, negative labels are inevitable as a human being, as our society seemingly enjoys using labels in a negative connotation, in order to categorize, group, and associate, or even differentiate, individuals.


I am imperfect.

While this is an unsettling label to have to live with, I am human, which ultimately means that imperfection is part of my genetic makeup and DNA.
These imperfections, or flaws, are things that you should not punish yourself for, as they are the parts of yourself that set you apart from others.
However, a handful of new labels can come from your imperfections, as individuals will continue to judge and label you for your unique, or “flawed,” qualities.
Labels can be applied to both physical and intangible qualities.

I am clumsy.
I am ditzy.
I am forgetful.
I am a complainer.
I am distracted.
I am temperamental.
I am sensitive.
I am emotional.
I am loud.
I am fast-paced.
I am over thinking.
I am eccentric.
I am unique.
I am irritating.
I am energetic.
I am lazy.
I am anxious.
I am intense.
I am passionate.
I am annoying.
I am happy.
I am impulsive.
I am confused.
I am EXTRA.
I am crazy.
I am weird.
I am a try-hard.
I am competitve.
I am hypocritical.
I am curious.
I am naÌve.
I am opionated.
I am critical.
I am gullible.
I am stubborn.
I am sassy.

The list could truly go on for days, but I figured I would stop here.
These qualities are some of the many facets that makeup my personality, and myself.
Descriptors of all sorts can be used to describe others, but many of these descriptors, or labels, have a negative connotation. The way to overcome these imperfections, or unique facets of your personality and inner workings, is to learn to look at them with a new positive perspective.
I dare you to put a positive twist on your imperfections.
Your imperfections are given to you, in order for you to learn to utilize them in the real world. Find outlets or opportunities that allow you to showcase your “imperfections,” or qualities that make you who you are. It is especially pertinent to be able to use these qualities for your benefit, so instead of sulking over that stupid label, utilize it and manipulate it for your advantage.

Of course, this is all much easier said than done.
I can say for certain that these imperfections of mine have gotten me into a lot of trouble, but at the same time, they have been the reasons for some of my biggest blessings.
It truly just depends on whether you would like to look at things as a glass half full, or a glass half empty.

Labels can really take the form of an ugly creature, especially when negative, malicious labels are used against you.
Words, such as “ugly,” “fat,” “skinny,” “emaciated,” “loser,” “bitch,” “faggot,” “gay,” etc. can really hit home for most individuals, as these labels can really be internalized and cause serious damage to someone.
Personally, as a girl with a very fast metabolism and a very petite frame, I have been around the block when it comes to vicious labels about my weight and small frame.
“You are anorexic,” “you are emaciated,” “you are disgusting,” “you are so bony,” “you have an eating disorder,” “you are SO skinny,” and finally, “you are TOO skinny.”
Our society worships the idea of being skinny, as our society, by popular belief, has decided that being skinny makes one attractive.
While many individuals would idealize having such a small frame, or being unable to gain weight, my small frame actually is one of the many things that I am not proud of, as it draws unnecessary attention towards me.
I let these labels and opinions affect me so much so that I would never wear form-fitting clothing and felt uncomfortable wearing clothes that may have shown, not even show off, my body shape.
The baggier the clothes, the less people were able to identify my size, or so I thought myself. So, I chose to hide my body by wearing clothes that were comfortable nonetheless, but did not always make me feel good.
I felt as though my body and my small frame almost offended individuals, or bothered them, as it seemed to be one of everyone’s favorite topics to address with me.
My secret to keeping a small frame is something that I have yet to find out, because I can tell you for sure that my diet is far from healthy. I can also eat more than a boy going through puberty, however, for some reason, I am still unable to gain any form of substantial weight.
I do not know what to say other than, “I have tried time-and-time again.”
This is something about myself that I cannot change, so I naturally had to accept my body and learn to love this small, bony body that allows me to do all the things that I love to do.

Unfortunately, labels are mandatory in some aspects of our society, especially when it comes to mental health, as one must receive a diagnosis, in order to receive help.
In this sense, professionals utilize labels in order to categorize and to diagnose your symptoms.
Having a professional psychiatric diagnosis can come with its’ own negative labels and connotations, as many will attempt to utilize your diagnosis to label you in a negative light.

According to a handful of professional doctors, my existence comes with a handful of labels, as a result of my unique biochemical makeup.
So, here it goes…

I am complex PTSD.
I am OCD.
I am social anxiety.
I am panic disorder.
I am agoraphobia.
I am phobias.
I am ADHD.
I am six types of ADD (classic ADD, inattentive ADD, overfocused ADD, temporal lobe ADD, limbic ADD, ring of fire ADD, and anxious ADD).

With these labels automatically associated with my existence, it is quick for strangers to continue what professionals have addressed and continue associating me with unprofessional labels.
unfortunately, these strangers, or peers, do not have professional qualifications to diagnose me with labels that fall outside of these psychiatric disorders in which I have been diagnosed with.
And, I am not going to lie, mostly because I am horrible at it anyways, these unnecessary labels formulated by various individuals experiences with me, or through word-of-mouth, were and still are hurtful and greatly offensive.
It is incredibly difficult not to internalize these outside opinions, as I have spent years obsessing, internalizing, and believing these horrible labels that others have attempted to shove my way.
For someone who is so critical of myself in order to avoid getting labeled, I really ended up with a handful of labels, especially when it comes to my mental health. It is truly ironic, as I actively have always worked to be as close to perfect as possible, in the hopes of facing any negative criticism from myself, as well as others. Unfortunately, getting labeled with these diagnoses was not something that I asked for and these labels are the last possible thing that I could have ever just had handed to me.
But, I cannot run away from these labels, as they are a significant part of my life, and allow me to understand myself and somewhat understand my actions, behaviors, and reactions.
Why I have so many labels is a mystery to me…The world works in such interesting ways, am I right?
I can tell you for certain that the more that you listen to these comments, which are simply just opinions and not based on facts, you may start to believe them, and in turn, react in a way that coincides with that label.
For example, for many years, and still to this day, people have told me that I am crazy. In fact, I have been called various synonyms of crazy, as well.
And, for a while, I took this offensively, ran with it, and internalized it.
I would literally try (VERY HARD) to be “crazy,” because that is what I thought people wanted, and that is what I thought people thought of me. So, naturally, I began believing that I was much more crazy than I already am and began acting out. With anxiety like mine, I began obsessing over how crazy people thought I was, even though I was not even THAT crazy, but if a large majority of people are saying I am, then that must be so.
Instead of being “crazy busy,” “crazy lazy,” or “crazy fun,” I internalized this label in a negative light, which only fueled my fire to attempt to showcase a very extreme version of “crazy.”
To be honest, trying THAT hard to be something that I simply am not was extremely tiresome, extremely difficult, and required an extreme amount of motivation, which was fueled by the labels.
I would think to myself, “They think I am crazy? Well, I can give you crazy. Let me show you what crazy actually is!”
The point of this story is that I let these labels get to me, and instead of turning a cheek, or simply embracing my eccentric existence, I decided to go out of my way to put on a show for myself (because who really actually cares and who really actually wants to watch), in an attempt to try to embrace this label.
This was simply not constructive behavior, and in fact, I did not do a very good job at acting the role of “crazy.” If I had to grade myself on the effort, I would give myself an A+, but my execution was C-, at that.
I was trying to prove a point to the world, but instead, I forgot that everyone else is so entirely wrapped up in their own worlds that no one truly was watching my “crazy show.”
The funnier part about this time of my life was that all my close friends, who know me very well, treated me no differently and did not buy into my act. In fact, they kept telling me and reassuring me that I was completely sane, which completely defeated the purpose of trying to act “crazy.”
This was the complete opposite reaction that I wanted!
I clearly did not do a very convincing job, and have to do better next time.
My efforts were truly for nothing, as I realized that the only opinions that truly matter are your own, which also include your tight-knit support group, who always love, support, and cheer you on.

In my day, I have been labeled a lot of negative things. A lot of these labels emerged as a result of my diagnoses, as many people find it difficult to understand me, accept me, and be patient with me.
I am a very confusing and controversial person to understand, as many people have come to understand that I have more layers than an onion.
Many of my behaviors, actions, and words are confusing and make people wonder where my head is at, but I sware it is right where it needs to be, which is right above my shoulders.

I am misunderstood.
I am an acquired taste.

It is no one’s fault truly.
I am like a grapefruit, because when you first try grapefruit, not that many people like them right off the bat, as they are very tangy and very startling to one’s tastebuds. But, grapefruit tends to grow on people, and with time, you begin slowly acclimating to it.

Maybe, I am tequila. 
Tequila is a contradiction, as it is truly an acquired taste and not many people truly enjoy it. In fact, people love to hate tequila! However, people are still willing to drink it, because tequila gaurantees a good time (most times), poor decisions, and a break from reality. Though most people hate drinking tequila, everyone still tolerates it and can always count on tequila for a not-so-memorable time.

With that said, I also know what and who I am, or at least I think I do.
I can for certain say that I know what and who I am more now than I did a year ago.

I am strong.
I am charismatic.
I am fun.
I am intelligent.
I am friendly.
I am motivated.
I am energetic.
I am beautiful.
I am trying.
I am hardworking.
I am patient.
I am kind.
I am forgiving.
I am exciting.
I am open-minded.
I am witty.

I am perseverance.
I am creative.
I am hilarious.
I am awkward.
I am outgoing.
I am adventurous.
I am a lover.

♥ I am me ♥

You see even with all these labels attached to me, I still would like to think that I have some redeemable qualities, whether people recognize it and appreciate it should not matter.
All that matters is that you appreciate yourself and learn to practice that notion we call self-love.
This is very difficult for me, as I have always been an individual who was quick to criticize themselves, and take every loss and mistake too personally and too seriously.
I am always thinking about ways I could have been “better,” and often fall into the pattern of simply just punishing myself for small mistakes, or faults, that I may have made throughout the day. Even if I have not made a mistake, there is always something MORE I could have done.
Instead of simply letting things go, I begin picking myself apart and letting this mistake define myself, my self-worth, etc.
It is a toxic cycle!
With mistakes and losses, there comes labels, which I am always trying to avoid. However, labels always seemingly make their way into my life.

Labels are being dropped more frequently than human beings drop their phones on their faces while they are texting laying down.
That is saying a lot!

Labels are all fun and games, until you let these labels get the best of you. While most labels are thrown around with a negative connotation behind it, do your best to utilize this information, or this label, to your advantage.
While you cannot control other people, you can control what you do with these labels, or descriptors, of yourself. Labels, as bad as this sounds, can actually be beneficial to a certain extent, as labels are often based upon observations and experiences that others have had with you. You can find out a lot about the way that you may come off from an outsider’s perspective from people labeling you. Maybe, there are things that you can work on and improve on, which means that the control the label was supposed to have over you is no longer existent.

Labels will be around until the Earth decides to rest in peace, or human beings become extinct. And, while labels are great to use to identify people, things, places, etc., realize the power that a label can have on a person and their ability to live.
Stop telling people what they are and let people figure it out for themselves – that is, unless they wish to seek your help.

Next time someone tries to label you, just simply respond, “I know you are, but what am I?”

All I know is that…

[I am human]
[I am hungry]

[I am parched]
[I am tired]

What are you?
I challenge you to fill in the blanks and share your labels, and your experience, with them with me.
I am ________.

Do not let others tell you what and who you are, you be the judge of that.

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

 

 

May Your Mental Health Be With

In order to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, I decided to address mental health and all the controversies surrounding it.

“You are so crazy” is a phrase that has been repeated about me, especially after my discovering my psychiatric diagnoses.

“Are you sure this girl is NOT bipolar or schizophrenic?”

“You are completely irrational.”

May is a very important month for me, as it marks mental health awareness month. As a person who struggles with mental health issues, as it may be one of my biggest problems, I find that bringing awareness to the universal health issue and speaking freely about mental health combats the stigma behind mental health issues.

While mental health issues are prevalent worldwide, our society seems to have managed to continue to make it difficult for individuals to seek help, get diagnosed, and share their diagnoses openly. In my experience, talking about mental health issues, specifically my diagnosis, automatically makes others feel uncomfortable, as they slowly begin treating me differently. My mental health diagnosis literally has resulted in numerous friendships ending, which did not surprise me, as I have been informed by a variety of people, including professional doctors, old friends, strangers, etc., that I am “too much to handle.”

To break the ice, my diagnosis is complex PTSD, which I have been dealing with since childhood, six types of ADD and ADHD, both of which I have dealth with my whole life, OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, and phobias. I am a fairly well-rounded individual.

The two specific diagnoses that tend to steer people away from me are my complex PTSD and my panic disorder.

While every “disorder” that I have been inflicted with is “very extreme,” I have managed to be fairly successful and functional when performing the task that I call life. I cannot imagine being the person I am without these diagnoses and the symptoms that accompany it. I may not be pleased with certain qualities about myself, as a result of one of my handful of disorders, but I can say without a doubt that if I had never been labeled with these disorders professionally, I would feel a lot better about the way that I react and act.

Once an individual gets diagnosed, it is super common for an individual to be confined and defined by the disorder. You are more than a label, and the symptoms you experience are just as a result of your unique brain chemistry. It may seem that your mental disorder(s) are holding you back, but this is not the case, unless you allow it to. Working around your symptoms is important, as it is vital to learn to find coping mechanisms and ways to continue living the functional life that you are capable of living.

People may attempt to belittle you by using your mental health as the theme of their belittling. This has occurred to me more often than not, and I would define this as the most commonly used blow, in order to attempt to bring me down, or fill me with self-doubt.

The stigmas surrounding mental illness are prominent, as we have not transitioned into a accepting society. The stigmas instill embarrassment, and the most common instillation is shame. These stigmas that we have enforced into our society have left people feeling afraid of seeking proper help and of disclosing honest information about the state of your mental health.

While our country advertises the importance of seeking help and the praises the courage of the individual for seeking help, there are many factors involved in seeking professional help that contradict this statement.

Seeking professional help and care is extremely expensive, even with the assistance of health insurance. Committing to a treatment plan is painful these days, as I begin to wonder if my mental health is worth the large investment that I know I will have to make.

Participation in treatment is a long process, and often requires a lifelong commitment.

With my particular situation, with more disorders than you can count on one hand and that I can remember, receiving a proper diagnosis and a correct diagnosis cost around $3,000. With a proper diagnosis, which can take many sessions, you can continue to move forward with depleting your bank account, as purchasing a monthly medication prescription adds up very quickly, even with insurance. My medication, without any health insurance, came out to the grand total of $2,000 a month. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether the medication is covered by insurance, the cost of your medication can fluctuate.

While professionals are very qualified, they are capable of making mistakes, as the wrong medication, or a medication that does not help you, could be prescribed to you. With my situation in particular, the variety of disorders and the severity of my symptoms led to large amounts of cash being wasted on medications that do not assist me. Medication is very expensive, regardless, once again reaffirming how difficult it is for individuals to seek help.

All these factors play a huge role in discouraging acting on seeking help.

The financial and lifelong burdens of being inflicted with these mental disorders are enormous.

Stigmas behind getting diagnosed and seeking help are completely negative. Stigmas are powerful and have the ability to control and define individuals, as a result of how much society capitalizes it. Similarly, our society loves to shame those inflicted with a “disability,” which is what those inflicted with mental disorders are defined as. In addition, the attaching the words “disorder” and “illness” to describe , or otherwise label, one’s mental health only implies negative emotions towards the situation.

While we have made headway in the acceptance of those who may suffer from mental health complications, “more major illnesses,” such as bipolar, schizophrenia, and PTSD, are the most stigmatized mental disorders out there. The complexity of these disorders make individuals discouraged about learning about them, let along attempting to understand them. I will admit that even I have a very big struggle attempting to conceptualize and understand what I am feeling and how these symptoms effect me, all while attempting to control these symptoms, in order to live a comfortable life. Stigmas often to lead a world of problems that bloom, as a result of the negative connotation associated with mental health disorders. You are not sick if you have possessed a proper diagnosis! These negative terms are half the problem. The other half of the problem is that individuals often feel too ashamed, or afraid of judgement by others, to disclose to others what they have been diagnosed with. It is incredible how quickly people are willing to figuratively “swipe left,” and not even give those struggling with mental illness a chance. Not openly speaking out about mental health and your own situation only strengthens the falsified idea that mental illness is something to be ashamed of.

Even at 2018, I have found it quite surprising how little individuals speak out about their mental health. Fortunately, with my ADHD and my six types of ADD, I love talking non-stop and forget to consider how uncomfortable these topics make people. However, I have found that living in secrecy is dumb, plus, I love to complain, or talk about my life. My mental health and the obstacles I face with controlling my symptoms is such a big part of my life, and there is never a moment that I do not think about it.

Okay, I am exaggerating. On a good day, I can not think about my professional diagnosis for only about five minutes maximum. Even when I am asleep, my PTSD manages to creep its way into my dreams.

I guess from first glance strangers would not correlate myself with the diagnosis that I have. Most often, when disclosing the PTSD part of my diagnosis, people tend to shut down, give me a look of pity, and engage in attempting to understand how someone with PTSD appears to live a fairly normal life, without avoiding responsibilities.

Speaking up about mental illness, in particular PTSD, openly has helped me more than I expected, though I was not pleased with the outcome.

Recently, I was in an Uber and hit a standstill with my treatment process and being able to control my symptoms. For some reason, I could not resist making a “trauma/trigger joke,” and the Uber driver ironically goes, “PTSD, much?” My reaction was so happy, as I disclosed that I actually did have PTSD. After sharing this information, I immediately realized how uncomfortable this could make a stranger feel. Regardless, the Uber driver also had been diagnosed with complex PTSD, too, so the comment slowly began to lose its awkwardness. This young man gave me amazing advice about how he combatted his symptoms and spoke with me about what PTSD felt like, which we both concluded felt like “a an on-going, loud war within your brain.”

We jinxed each other, when we both attempted to decide how to describe living with PTSD. He did not get me a soda, but he did give me some hope and some coping mechanism skills to try when my thoughts begin racing with trauma that I have experienced.

I love complaining about my symptoms sometimes….Nope, just kidding, I love making jokes about my mental conditions in order to attempt to take the stigma out of the disorder. I have the PTSD jokes down. While I am enduring one of my major panic attacks that can last for up to 24 hours, with a side of flashbacks, nightmares, racing thoughts, and reliving trauma, I tend to have time to think about great jokes as I am living the experience. This applies to all of my mental disorders, including ADD, ADHD, OCD, and social anxiety.


Here are some of my best jokes to throw around:

1. “There is no amount of adderall or vyvanse that could possibly make me do anything.”

2. “I am not procrastinating, I just have to clean because I have OCD.”

3. “Having PTSD is exciting, because you never know when you are going to be triggered.”

4. “Everyone hates you when you have ADHD.”

5. “Be prepared to be PTSD-ed.”

6. “If I tell you that I have PTSD, will I give me a break?”

8. “When you are inflicted with PTSD as a child, you are allowed to have low-energy levels, because you have been fighting a war since ‘nam.”

9. “PTSD taught me how to deal with myself, as I am forced to hang out with myself because I am too afraid and triggered by other people.”

10. “Don’t call me traumatic, I have PTSD.”

11. “Hi, my name is Aichan and ADHD is my game.”

12. “If you are looking away to get a quick, dramatic response from me, try messing up my daily routine, triggering me, or assigning any kind of homework that contains a headline.”

13. “I can’t tell if I hate having ADHD more, or if I hate going to class more.”

14. “I do not have social anxiety, I just hate new people.”

15. “Do not trust anyone, because everyone is your enemy. I got trust issues #PTSD”

16. “Harry Potter and I have a lot in common, mostly his PTSD.”

17. “Just call me the ADHD bunny, not the energizer bunny.”

18. “What is OCD if you do not color-code your notes and re-write them perfectly?”

19. “Yes, you are allowed to drink my water, but I would rather have you drink your own water.”

20. “I blame my PTSD for not ever letting a grudge go, because I can never forget it thanks to my nightmares and flashbacks.”

21. “My favorite hobbies, include “anxiety-ing,” organizing and re-organizing my studio apartment, spending 12 hours deep cleaning my apartment, doing the same stuff everyday, procrastinating, looking like I may poop myself when I am simply just panicking, TALKING, TALKING, TALKING, and trying to utilize positive coping mechanism skills.”



I still struggle with acceptance and loving my diagnoses, despite the challenges that come with it. The greatest part about my unique, extensive and almost unbelievable diagnosis is that no one will ever meet anyone like me. I am an acquired taste, with a brain that never rests and always working. While things can get hard and I can get salty, I know that there are many benefits that came out of having to live with the symptoms.

I do not know what the big secret is. Is it your mental diagnosis?

If it is, stop keeping the secret and spill the beans already.

If you do not even know what the big secret is, then you are missing out completely and you need to get familiar and educated. Finding out your biggest secret, otherwise known as your mental health diagnosis, is the best Christmas gift that you could ever receive.

The longer you wait to get yourself this present, the harder you are making things for yourself.

A lot more people have received their best Christmas present, and you would be surprised how many people receive treatment, attend therapy, and engage in medication intake.

Secrets do not make friends, so open your mouth and spread the word. The more you are willing to address and acknowledge the “so called illness,” the less power that it will have over you.

Mental health is a very important part about living a full and happy life. While mental illness is very prominent, access to these outlets for treatment, help, etc. is limited and does not allow for many individuals to truly follow through and work on their mental health.

If you are struggling to control your symptoms, try to remind yourself that your brain is a muscle, and therefore, it can be trained, or rewired, to react differently towards situations, control your stream of thoughts from unfolding, etc.

Speaking out about mental health openly should be allowed ALWAYS. What are your personal experiences with mental health? Have you ever sought professional help?

If you are struggling, lost, or just bored, give my friend therapy a try. I haven’t hung out with my therapist and my psychiatrist since ‘nam, but I would recommend therapy to everyone, as it is nice to have someone you can trust to talk to about ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. You can even use your session to complain mindlessly, and they must listen to you. For someone that loves talking and cannot seem to shut my trap, therapy is my best friend.

Finding a proper therapist, or team of specialists, that are willing to work with you and are a good fit is a process, which may take a long time, or it may take a very short period of time. The key is finding people who you can be comfortable with, and if things do not work out, try again and look for other specialists.
Becoming comfortable with your team of specialists is also a process, as not everyone is meant to work together.
I have faced rejection from many doctors, who have said that my diagnoses are “too extensive” and that “it would require more energy and time to work with me than they would like.” My first psychiatrist and therapist admitted to me that when he found out my diagnoses, he was “VERY HESISTANT TO TAKE ME ON AS A PATIENT.” In fact, he disclosed that after meeting me he “DID NOT WANT TO TAKE ME ON AS A PATIENT, BECAUSE I WAS TOO COMPLICATED.” I have heard these kind of statements from a wide-variety of individuals, which has made the hunt for a specialists incredibly difficult. At times, it has been completely discouraging and these statements have stuck with me since I heard them.
While there has been negative aspects, or hardships, seeking and finding my “perfect team,” I know how healing having this kind of support can do for someone’s mental health, for their overall well-being, and for their overall sense of confidence.
Finding outlets where you can express yourself freely and talk honestly about things that you may not otherwise address is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. By speaking and being open about your life, not only can you receive advice, but you can also begin to work on getting to know yourself, getting to know the things you need to work on, etc. This is all much more helpful with the assistance of an outside observer that genuinely has your best interests and knows you honestly, as they can identify behaviors, reactions, thoughts, etc. that you engage in when stressed, when triggered, when anxious, when emotional, when focused, etc.
The greatest thing about therapists, or specialists in this area, is that they are not there to punish, scold, etc. you, they are there to provide a sense of safety, a sense of stability, a source that you can trust, a source that does not judge you, and a source that only wishes to help and to support you.

In reality, with my extensive diagnosis, which can be considered a “double whammy,” I am supposed to be participating in therapies, such as CBT, CPT, and exposure therapy. Similarly, my diagnoses make me more than qualified to have A TEAM OF TRAUMA SPECIALISTS to help guide me through life. In addition, a life-coach also is highly-recommended and beneficial for a young thug like me, even though I do not like listening to other people.

Let me be the LAST PERSON to admit that I NEED HELP!
THERE IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.


•SEEK HELP, UTILIZE HELP, & GIVE HELP•

 ♥♥♥♥It is #TIMETOTALK ♥♥♥♥

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Dear 2017,

I know I say this every year, but this was supposed to be MY year to be good at life and to “bounce-back” from last years mistakes. You went by like a breeze when I look at you from far away, but up-close and every day, you were the hardest thing I ever had to deal with.

To say that 2017 began on the note that I would have liked is a misconception, in fact, I began my year in a hospital, due to anxiety, overwhelming amounts of stress, so much so that I was put into a state of confusion, and just left lost. Of course, other events exasperated the issue – but, to say it was not tough, was, and is, an understatement. I also began this year with some cyberbully, something I do not condone by any means, and it left me feeling truly hurt. Yet again, someone had found their way onto my Facebook page anonymously leaving a poorly written, gramatically incorrect status on my page, as me. This has happened so many times now that I have stopped counting. Of course, this ruffled some feathers, as well. Needless to say, I was pretty beaten down.

This year was tougher than any other year, because I had finally truly grasped my own reality, trauma included. And, the list of trauma that I had endured the past four years, or my whole life, was quite extensive and triggers me even thinking about it. If there is one thing I am thanking 2017 for is assisting me to find outlets to relieve my stress and embarrassment that I faced from my traumas. I would also like to thank each, and every single individual that expressed love, exerted happiness towards me, and believed in me, each and every day. The support I received from SO many individuals makes me cry tears of happiness, as I truly felt lost, trapped in my own thoughts, and stuck. I began this year with a fairly weak support system, and now here I am, with a whole squad on my back.

I find every year an adventure full of surprises and unexpected events, and though my negativity clouded much of the good moments, I must say I did overcome a lot. This year has taught me that I need to learn to be with myself, as much as I preach it. I still feel uncomfortable with the silence and the simplistic aspects of my life, as stability is a new-found theme of my life. Instead of constant partying and seeking acceptance from others, I am looking to lead a life full of simplicity, happiness, smiles, coloring, hardwork, school, friendships, photography, hiking, cooking and crafting. Allowing the simplicity back into my life forced me to deal with my MANY inner demons, and it is truly uncomfortable from time-to-time.

As I am recovering from what seems like the most self-destructive four years, I have finally found parts of who I am, that I seemed to have misplaced, admist all the drama and nonesense within my life. While I am still a work in progress, I have found peace knowing that deep-down I am still the same old, happy soul I once was. The abuse, the trauma, the bullying, etc. did make me skip a step, or ten, but I found out that I was still the person I was missing. Aspects of my youthful soul were ripped out of my heart and taken away from me, and life felt pretty personal. I forgot how you are not supposed to take life so personal, but call me sensitive.

Today, even to this day, as this years begins coming to a close, I am still in shock, simply because I was so lost this year, I did not know where I was going to end up by December. Aspects of my life were spiraling out of control and I could not control them, so I just had to deal with my emotions and take it milli-second by milli-second. Now, I am sitting here realizing that the best thing 2017 brought me was courage and self-determination. While struggling with all these problems, I still managed to find the courage to take on the world and accomplish some of the goals I had made for myself. I still remember setting those goals and thinking, “this is NOT possible for me.”

This year, I had to change my thought process, if I truly wanted to grow and heal. To say that my thought process was healthy is a very falsified statement. With my ADHD, six types of ADD, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, numerous phobias, OCD, PTSD, my thought processing is a bit out-of-whack to say the least. The world is still a very scary place for me, as I wiggle my way back into what a “normal life” means. I still sweat my balls off every time I leave my apartment for fear that something may go horribly wrong, yet I am still sweating my balls off in my apartment, because I cannot stand my repetitive negative thoughts and get all up in my head. It is all still confusing, but every day, as much as I can, I STILL try and challenge myself. Some days are easier than others, OBVIOUSLY, but it is all hard, not just for me, but for evreyone.

I learned that I cannot always take home the “W” in 2017 – talk about a piece of humble pie. No, I know I am overtly competitive, but this year was full of more “L’s” than there were “W’s” sometimes. That is okay, though. It certainly sucks not to get your way, but with my diagnoses, I do enjoy a little drama and frustrations, as it helps light a fire under my ass. Taking losses is definitely not as easy as it looks, as we all yearn for success and to be the best, most successful forms of ourselves. I had to work hard, constantly feeling like I was battling a fight that I was never going to win. But, once again, this just required changing my thought processing and behavioral techniques. Instead of falling to the wayside and giving up, I often found myself pushing past my boundaries, and finding strength and a will to want to live deep within me that kept me going all-year.

While this year most certainly had its ups and its downs, this was the very first year I was completely indepedent; independent of roommates, independent financially, indepedent academically, emotionally independent. Independent is where I began, and I built on this cobblestone, and will keep building on it until I die. Learning to be independent is uncomfortable, frustrating, annoying, boring, emotional, awesome, and everything in between, but it is most certainly not easy. In order to be indepedent, you must possess the skills to not only be willing to do things by yourself, but be self-motivated enough to actually execute them. Nope, thinking long and hard about an assignment will not get it done. And, yup, you do actually have to do it. This took a while for it to sink in for me, as I am still struggling to juggle all these responsibilities, all while taking care of myself. When you are independent, your parents or guardians are no longer nagging you, or forcing you, to do things. You need to find this will within yourself. Being independent, just like 2017, has its ups and downs, but is something I am truly proud of accomplishing. I truly had to rely on myself, making my own shoulder, the primary shoulder to cry on.

I deemed this year “the year of upgrades.” Considering where I began, I know I have upgraded. I realize upgrades do not happen overnight, though, and that patience is most certainly a virtue. Upgrades did happen and are happening even before my eyes, currently. I predict upgrades in the future, but for now, I must learn to be happy with where I am in my life. Yes, this year was not spectacular sometimes, and I did have to settle, but I learned so much that I do not think it matters. Sometimes, I want to expedite the whole process, but in order to truly change, it takes time.

When I look back and realize how many people I simply interacted with and built relationships this year with, I cry, realizing how blessed I am. Realizing how much human beings need other human beings’ energies was a vital aspect of life that I learned this year. No matter how happy you may be with yourself, human beings crave and need other human beings to achieve happiness. The amount of happiness that certain individuals bring to me and care for me is phenomenal, and it took almost having most of my loved ones ripped away from me to realize how much their support meant to me. I found support in the slyest of places, not even expecting or even believing that I deserved this amount of support and love. This is when I realized that instead of being mad at the world by myself, I could do it in the company of others – JUST KIDDING. I learned to embrace the love – something I normally avoid, and honestly, makes me uncomfortable. Oh, to be loved…I generally do not know how to handle it, but it is truly humbling. To all that do not even realize how much your endless amount of unspoken or spoken support has helped and encouraged me to continuing growing, I thank you. For those who believe me and shower me with love, even when I do not feel I deserve it, I also thank you. And, to myself, who I shower with self-doubt, I still thank you for deep-down loving myself and realizing my potential.

Most importantly, I would like to thank 2017 for my health, my happiness, my mental health, awareness, my support system (family, extended family, friends, and loved ones), my endless supply of clothing, the number of opportunities life has presented me, my education, my financial stability, the roof over my head, and all the blessings and hardships life has handed me. I learn every year that life is not that easy, but I am constantly learning new things every day, making life a little bit easier to deal with. MOST, MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want to thank 2017 for making me so uncomfortable I finally started the blog I always wanted to. I thank every reader, follower, viewer, whoever, who gives my voice and opinion the time of day. Creating a blog has been a dream of mine for centuries, and I was full of self-doubt and was not sure how much of a hit it would be. I am approaching almost a full-year of starting up this blog that I named indulgeyourlife.wordpress.com/ and it turned out to do some powerful, therapeautic things for me, as well as others. This, in itself, was one of the biggest highlights of 2017 for me. I love what I do, and I hope you do too!

I can only say that I am sure 2018 will be just as rocky, full of upsides and downsides, as this year was. But, every year is different, because of the new memories, new experiences, new relationships, and new opportunities we encounter. So, with that said, I can already taste 2018 in my mouth, and while it may not be drastically different than this year, I sense some upgrades coming in the future, and more goals that are going to be met.

2018 – HERE WE COME. 2017 – YOU HAVE BEEN ONE HELL OF A RIDE.

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is full of so many things, so many changes, and it marks the beginning of summer. There is one important thing I would like to particularly acknowledge about the month of May (and no, it is not the fact that my mother’s birthday is in the month of May, though that is important to remember), and that is that it is mental health awareness month! THIS IS A SUPER IMPORTANT AND PRECIOUS MONTH TO ME, AS WE DISCUSS AND BECOME AWARE OF ONE OF MY BIGGEST PASSIONS. Mental health is an incredibly important aspect of many individual’s lives, even those who do not know it, so now I am here to celebrate and acknowledge it all.

My homage to mental health awareness month will begin by encouraging everyone and anyone to seek therapy and help, even if it does not seem necessary. In addition to seeking therapeutic help, to please take care of the state of your mental well-being. I also encourage as many individuals that I can to go get yourself diagnosed and seek help – it may be more useful than you think. You also may need it more than you think, as our daily stressors take huge tolls on us and can sometimes become overwhelming.

I am finally relieved to see society beginning to acknowledge the importance of mental health, and by dedicating a full month towards mental health, it allows us to speak up about and acknowledge the mental health crisis that is flooding our society to this day. I truly hope that one day mental health issues will be in the forefront of controversial discussions and will not be seen as a stigma, rather a unique way that a human operates during daily life.

Our mental health affects us more than we know – it affects the way we live, the way we build relationships, the way we learn, the way we think, etc. Many aspects of our lives are directly affected by our state of mental health. Lack of treatment of our mental health can lead to severe lifelong issues, and may cause further problems and hardships for oneself down the line. If mental health affects our daily lives, why wouldn’t it be considered a more monumental issue?

Personally, getting diagnosed, receiving treatment and medication, and attending therapy have all helped me effectively work on issues I personally struggled with, and am still struggling with today. However, finally getting a proper diagnoses from a professional doctor was the best day of my life. Just when I thought things could not possibly ever fall back in place, receiving a proper diagnosis actually made life seemingly a bit easier and a little less stressful. Do not be afraid by the diagnosis or diagnoses you receive, as they are just labels, or names, for certain behaviors or issues that you may be experiencing internally and externally. Just like we name our cars, pets, and stuffed animals, diagnoses are just labels to help categorize the type of problems you are experiencing. While there are stigmas attached to each and every diagnosis, how you choose to take these labels is up to you. I would choose to take them not personally, and somehow learn to celebrate them. I swear the days go by much faster when I am not dwelling on the fact that I am stigmatized to be an “insane psychofreak.” These labels are simply, once again, are just labels to help identify what you are living with. They are nothing more, and they are nothing less.

Therapy also has become a place for me to safely express my emotions and feelings, something that I barely do, and it was a place where I could be honest with someone. I am able to work through my hardships with someone, and knowing that you have that kind of support truly helps bring a sense of stability in your life. I am very lucky, however, to be able to access treatment and medications, but it is not to say that it has not been a struggle finding the correct team of doctors to assist me through life.

Do not get it twisted, therapy is not a place to get fixed, IT IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN GET BETTER AND IMPROVE. I had this attitude towards therapy, viewing it as a place I had to attend in order to be fixed. This confused me, because despite my flaws, I did not think I needed to get fixed. But, NOPE! That is not the point of therapy, I swear. If you are seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who ever tells you that you need to be fixed or that the medications will fix you, switch as soon as possible. The stigma behind therapy and seeking help is that you are attending it in order to fix all your problems, but that is also impossible. Therapy can do a lot for you, and with your general well-being and happiness, but it cannot fix you.

One of the greatest things I have experienced through treatment is that I have been able to source and recall times in my life when I did not feel very stable. I soon would begin engaging in detrimental behaviors habitually as a result of my instability, not knowing how to handle life stressors healthily, the biochemical makeup of my own brain, and a lack of behavioral structure, among many things. These behaviors often would discourage me from living out my daily tasks and obligations the way I wanted to, and almost stopped me from truly living my life to the fullest. For many years, or really as far back as I can remember, I could never break the cycle of these behavioral issues, as they soon became a habitual practice of mine. Not to mention, they caused me to live an unclean, self-destructive, unhealthy life, which resulted in FAR MORE problems and issues of my own that I never thought I would or could ever come across. I remember always knowing that how self-destructive I was, especially when things were going well for me. I remember always thinking about I needed to celebrate and f**k s**t up, after doing well and behaving myself for a few months. My parents even began noticing that as soon as I took three steps forward, I would immediately take five steps back. Leaving my relationship with my parents, close friends, etc. at a real standstill. As a result, it made my life extremely difficult to manage, and it was completely unclear how much longer I could engage in the self-destructive behavioral cycle. Now, I know there is behavioral therapy and counseling for engaging in these impulsive behaviors. Though I meant well, my behaviors most certainly would not show it. I struggle especially with a constant need for immediate satisfaction of my ego, so let’s just say I love to have fun doing whatever it is that I am doing. At a young age, I began satisfying my ego with alternative substances that quickly made having fun easy. At some points, I just craved something to do or “the next thing” (party, hang out, concert, movie, etc.). A lot of my bad habits came out of boredom and an inability to realize how much my boredom was truly taking a toll on me. For me, these alternative substances helped numbed the stresses of the ambiguity of life, as well as my constant need to be “perfect.” All these small “issues” turned out to be bigger problems, as I went undiagnosed, untreated, and the issues were ignored. I knew, at this point, what I was dealing with was more than one mental health disorder.

Engaging in detrimental, impulsive behaviors is a symptom of many psychological disorders and will lead to a worldwind of problems, drama, and stress. In a recent study, social psychologists conducted experiments directly correlating crime to low serotonin levels. The results of the experiment insinuated that individuals who commit the worst of crimes, such as murderers, serial killers, etc.  have concerningly low serotonin levels. These low serotonin levels directly disrupts cognitive decision making skills, your mood, your social behaviors, sleep habits, among many other health and behavioral issues. This lead social psychologists to assume that the state of a criminal’s mental health is somehow correlated to levels and severity of crime. Or simply stated, mental health can be directly correlated to destructive behavioral patterns and criminal behavior, whether you are a murderer, drug kingpin, drug addict, or simply just someone who steals. Criminals often have underlying issues, resulting in resentment, animosity, and overwhelming pain that leads them to often act like this. However, this is never taken into consideration. If society were to take another study on unlawful behavior, I believe they would find that mental stability and health plays a monumental role on the destructive actions, unlawful or lawful, that criminals engage in. Other factors, such as environment, your personal experiences, and the decisions you make in life also affect the levels of serotonin in your brain.

Now, I am not saying that the crime rates worldwide would just completely dissipate if everyone received treatment, rather just insinuating that impulsive, sometimes amoral, criminal behavior could be as a result of an underlying, more serious issue. In a perfect world, criminals would have access to medication, therapy, behavioral intensive therapy courses, and help. Instead, the world once again stigmatizes criminals, considering them incapable, leading them to engage in the same self-destructive, sometimes unlawful behaviors that they were locked in for. Therapy and behavioral intensive therapy courses truly helped me break the cycle, and I hope that some day, even criminals, will have the opportunity to receive help, re-learn new healthy behaviors, and ultimately feel better about themselves.

While psychology is a relatively new practice, and there is still so much to be researched, many doors for further research and different specific practices have slowly become more accessible. Therapies, such as art therapy, experimental therapy, and psychotherapy have become valid options for treatment. Similarly, our society has begun further researching the use of MDMA, LSD, and marijuana in psychological practices on patients suffering from mental health problems.The problem with society is not the lack of information on psychological matters, as we as a society have great access to incredible amounts of psychological information, but it is the societal views, expectations, and stigmas surrounding mental health disorders. Instead of viewing mental health issues as a normal health issue, we have begun stigmatizing all psychiatric disorders as a crippling disease. It is almost as if they have stigmatized it to be as crippling as cancer. Personally, it almost seems as if society is afraid of mental health patients, as a result of our extensive of knowledge. In the United States, however, we have so much access to psychological knowledge, and have encountered it so many times that it almost seems silly that we have not become a more accepting society towards mental health patients.

This way of stigmatized thinking towards psychological disorders is something that our modern day society needs to steer away from, as we should slowly, or QUICKLY, begin accepting the heavy impact and the heavy presence of mental health issues within our own society. In addition to stigmatizing mental health, society also has stigmatized the individuals struggling with these diagnoses, often implying that they are incapable of success. This is far from true, as many of our brightest individuals struggle with some of the most impacting mental illnesses. It is quite confusing to me that an individual, who has been professionally diagnosed and is seeking treatment, should be considered disabled, and furthermore impaired. A health issue should never be allowed to be used against you, especially in a society where we are supposed to love, care, and celebrate our differences. Those battling mental health problems are simply not disabled, and enforcing that debilitating, degrading mentality around is simply not okay. This only leads to putting fear in individuals heart’s, making even the most brave and courageous fearful to find out their fate, with the potential to seek long-term help.

My experience receiving help was humbling, frustrating, embarrassing, fearful irritating, and full of emotions for me, as I received my diagnoses for the first time. I LITERALLY FELT EMBARRASSED AND SCARED TO GET MY OWN PSYCHOLOGICAL DIAGNOSES. I felt this way simply because of the need to feel “wanted,” “accepted,” and “normal.” Whatever these words mean. MY ONE QUESTION TO SOCIETY IS WHY SHOULD ANYONE EVER FEEL EMBARRASSED, ASHAMED OR FEARFUL TO BE RECEIVING HELP? DON’T WE PROMOTE THE IDEA OF SEEKING HELP WHEN NEEDED? Truly, no one should ever feel like this, unfortunately society does the opposite.

All members of our society, even those battling mental illness, should be accepted by individuals, however, that is not the case. I have noticed, with my own experiences, that people often get scared or steer away from you even upon talking about mental health problems just in general. I found out the hard way that therefore people felt even more uncomfortable around me once I was diagnosed and was open with them about it. It is truly surprising how many people are shocked that I am diagnosed with seven psychiatric evaluations, but more shocking is the fact that most people cannot even tell that I struggle with these things. Yes, I had to find out the hard way that I not only had six types of ADD, but I also had ADHD, four types of PTSD, severe OCD, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, severe social anxiety, and naturally, I have serious phobias. Not going to say I was not pleased with the fact that I had every anxiety disorder, plus ADD and ADHD, however, these are the cards life has given me. And, I would not have it any other way.

Sometimes I laugh, because each of my psychiatric diagnoses contradict each other, making it hard for me to cry for very long, be bored, or be unhappy. And, sometimes I cry because I have been fired from four jobs the last year, and because I cannot seem to sit down and submit an essay or complete a quiz, just because I procrastinate and have a fear that what I turn in will not be perfect. I swear I could sit and write multiple variations of an essay, and never end up turning it in out of straight fear that it will not be perfect, and as a result, I will not be perfect. It absolutely drives me insane. Some days, I truly enjoy cleaning, organizing, and reorganizing my entire room for no reason. And, other days, I get frustrated that I cannot leave my house, due to my overwhelming anxiety. For what it is worth though, my OCD is so bad that I do the same thing, basically at the same time, every day. So, it is incredibly hard for me not to be doing the same thing every day – I HATE CHANGE AND BREAKING MY ROUTINE. This makes it even harder sometimes to hang out with friends, especially if I have been hanging out with myself for a few days now. MY WHOLE SCHEDULE IMMEDIATELY BECOMES WAY MORE STRESSFUL. A great thing about my OCD though is that since I’ve picked up blogging as a habit, it’s become a habitual way for me to start every one of my mornings. And, just to restore some fate into humanity, even during my worst panic attacks, some of which can last up to 20+ hours, as a result of my anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ect. being triggered, I seem to somehow manage to work through my shifts, go to class, take tests, engage socially, and be a human. Even when I am profusely shaking, or crying, or sweating, or hypervigilant, or antsy, or my heart is profusely beating out of my chest, I can seem to manage a smile and to handle life as gracefully as possible. So, for what it is worth, it is possible to succeed. The world will always be your oyster if you let it be, even if you have been inflicted by mental illnesses.

Finding out how uncomfortable I made people feel sometimes and how uncomfortable psychological illness made people was a little bit unsettling for me, as I began wondering how on Earth anyone else was going to be able to be able to get through this uncomfortable, semi-humiliating process. I tried for months to not make people feel uncomfortable around me, but then after a while I broke down, and just decided to let me be me and talk about my mental health issues if I so pleased.

All these thoughts and emotions are okay and relatively normal, unfortunately. Do not fret though, it took me 21 years to finally get the courage to help myself out a little more in life. So, if you are feeling hesitant and/or dismissive towards the idea, trust me – I have been there. Most of my life, especially with societal stigmas, and the cultural background I grew up in, I dismissed ever receiving therapy and proper treatment, considering myself a “normal” human being. No one wants to be labeled “disabled,” “incapable,” or “impaired” for that matter and you never want to feel less than anyone else. These are all normal feelings that you may feel if you ever decide to reach out for help, but do not let these negative thoughts cloud your spirit. Understand that psychological health issues are much, much bigger than the stigmas associated with them. ALSO, NOT GOING TO LIE, IT FEELS GREAT TO BE ABLE TO LIVE, BE HUMAN, KICK LIFE’S ASS, AND PROVE EVERY PERSON AND EVERY STIGMA THAT THEY ARE WRONG FOR NOT BELIEVING IN YOU, DESPITE BEING CATEGORIZED AS DISABLED.

As a global community we should view our mental health patients as warriors, not victims. Each and every day, us warriors live, we are breaking down the walls and barriers that encompass modern day mental health issues. Not one of us is any braver or more courageous than one another, just simply living through and pushing through the pain, and uncertainty is a monumental act. Never forget that.

I beg you this summer, or whenever you come across this, to either research and study about psychological disorders, or maybe even  seek therapy, especially if you have been struggling. Most individuals do not know that many psychological disorders become apparent, during an individuals young adult life. Whether it be seeking therapy, medication, or both, I believe that mental health should be held to a higher value in our society, as it is often ignored, stigmatized, and set aside as a minuscule matter. Let me ask you: if your friend was truly bothering you every day, would you ignore the matter completely and turn a blind eye towards them? Maybe even consider them disabled? I did not think so, and I sure do not hope you think that way. Such close-minded thinking does not allow our society to grow, to adapt, and to most importantly, become a better, loving, coexisting society.

In another perfect world, our society, and even the worldwide population, would make all health issues, including mental health issues, the utmost priority, as it continues to resurface all over our world. Additionally, every single human being would be able to seek and have access to resources for help, including receiving medication, long-term treatment, and a professional diagnosis. And, of course, money would not be an issue, as mental health should be completely covered by health insurance companies. I would even go as far as to say that everyone would be medicated each on a unique medication regiment specifically molded to the needs of every individual and their unique biochemical makeup of their brain.

The unique biochemical makeup of your brain is something you should be proud of, and something you should be happy about. Never forget to remind yourself that getting a professional diagnosis is not something you should be ashamed of, feel held back by, or something that should be ignored or silenced. When a health issue is ignored and silenced, that is when the health issues exasperate – that is something that I had to learn the hard way.

Do not be silenced by the stigmas of our society, and feel free to always openly speak out about your own personal experience with mental health 🙂 Silence and ignorance is best combatted with knowledge and your words.

Before the month of May ends, I deeply encourage you to take a look at the world of psychology, including the role its’ presence plays in our society, and the way that it directly affects people. Research and study about issues you may be struggling with and stay aware about current HEALTH ISSUES. MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH, AS WELL.

If you are truly feeling courageous, or feel like you need a helping hand, I also encourage you to join me in my fight to bring awareness to mental health issues, as we learn to celebrate and embrace our inner demons!

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

P.S. Please never hesitate to comment or share your own personal experiences and battles with mental health ❤ I would love to hear your own unique stories and your own personal experiences, as they all need to be heard! All of you fighters out there inspire me!

 

A Lil’ Segment On What…I am majoring In.

I am beginning a new segment, called “a lil’ segment on what…” where readers can find out a little bit more about me and what I do. I obviously get to pick the topics, but a little less about me and more about what I am majoring in at the University of Colorado Boulder, why I am majoring in these field studies, and what my dream career goals are.

I am currently not in school, however, will be picking up classes once again during the summer, in order to be able to make the May 2018 graduation ceremony. Honestly, finding my major was almost hopeless for me, and at the end of sophomore year, I had to make a big decision. My initial decision was to join the Journalism school at the University of Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, I did not get in on my first try. But, hey! Second time is the charm. I finally after two attempts got into my dream school, however, I made the bold decision to stay enrolled in the Arts & Science’s school, as well. I am currently pursuing a Double Degree in both Advertising & Marketing and Psychology. It is a hard feat, but these are things I am truly passionate about.

I had to pick my Psychology major in a room full of angry, frustrated freshman trying to get enrolled – and I looked lost. As they finally called my name, as I had a hold on my account and could not sign up for classes until I declared my major, I soon found out that I had to decide my entire future in about five minutes on a iPad, in the next three seconds. Pain, panick and sweat passed over me, as I had found out that the counselor I was seeing no longer was my assigned counselor. I chose Psychology – it seemed pretty cool at the time, I did not know much about it, and I did not know how much I could learn and relate to my classes. Psychology has now become one of my biggest passions, as I hope to one day solve the global issues of addictions of many, to handle the mental evaluations of many patients, to make medication accessible to all, and most importantly, help bring light to a subject that is often ignored and overlooked in our society.

So much crime, addiction, and problems within our society would be solved if we were all put on correct medication, molded to each and everyone’s unique biochemical makeup of their brain. Wouldn’t that be something?

So many of us neglect getting diagnosed. Beyond that, many individuals are afraid to receive proper medication and treatment, or do not have the means to meet the overpriced treatment plans or to buy medication. This is a sad thing for me, and I believe that with more knowledge of our neurological systems and our brains, we can all learn so much about what is going on, why we feel the way we do, and how to stabilize even the slightest unstabilized part of your brain.

Accessibility and knowledge of all aspects of psychology, including therapy, disorders, medication stabilization, long-term treatment, social aspects of psychology, cognitive aspects of psychology, aspects of abnormal aspects of psychology, among many other things are some aspects of psychology that I would like to unlock.

Similarly, I would like to have more research done to the correlation of crime rates versus mental well-being, more specifically serotonin levels. Most recently, I learned in my Social Psychology class that most “hardcore” criminals, such as those who rape, murder, etc. have very low levels of serotonin in their brains. Similarly, I learned that drug abuse or long-term use can be linked to an undiagnosed disorder that went on too long.

So much about Psychology is unknown and I would like to make it known, during my path towards treatment and a proper medication regiment.

My second major includes the field of Advertising and Marketing, where I learn how to manipulate people into being interested in what I would be selling at the time. I have been told I have a way with words, art, etc. that make it easy to make things relatable, and appealing towards the masses. I have finally decided to use my hardcore manipulation for the better good and start combining my knowledge in Psychology, in order to learn more about humans, in order to then sell the product that I will be trying to advertise so carefully.

Advertising and Marketing is often not paired with Psychology, and I do not see why. The majors go hand-in-hand, as I discovered that the more I learn about people, how they react, how our bodies function and work, the more successful I could be at selling my advertisements, and being successful at it.

Advertising and Marketing involves a lot of thinking, and a lot of time spent in your head, as you try to come up with the next new idea or way to sell your product. I believe that my ability to be an excellent problem solver will help me in this career, as I know that advertising and marketing relies a lot on your problem solving skills. Some may say it’s a dying business, but advertising and marketing is now growing on another platform – social media. With our latest technological advancements, advertisers have to spend less time working with print, and spend more time working digitally.

In order to fully embrace the digital age and my inner nerd, I decided that being in the creative field of advertising and marketing would perhaps be my forte. I channel a lot of my creativity out through blogging, coloring, and photography, in order to help myself find creative solutions to problems, using the right side of my brain! I actually believe that advertising and marketing, as well as psychology, allows you to access both parts of your brain, letting me entertain logical, yet creative solutions to problems.

I am also using my strong, thorough knowledge of popular culture and worldly news to my advantage, because staying informed in the best way to stay ahead of the game in the advertising and marketing world, as it is an extremely competitive field. Especially in recent years, with the use of advertisements on social media, being a social media guru and growing up in the social media age helped me. This market is extremely profitable, only if your ads sell and people are buying the product. I guess I kind of like the uncertainty. My dream is to run an advertising campaign for a major fashion enterprise, such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, YSL, etc. I would truly enjoy working for a large fashion corporation, as fashion has become my world. I believe when choosing your major, tapping into your skills and interests are key. And then, once you figure that out, it’s easy peasy from there. Dream jobs and goals come up in your head, as you try to make something different and unique out of yourself.

I have yet to make a portfolio, but I have seen so many genius one-liners and excellent fake ad campaigns completed by my own peers. The target audience is constantly craving for something new and fresh to catch their attention, so it’s truly competitive since most of my peers have the same access, interests and life goals as me.

The last reason why I chose these majors, beyond the fact that I am completely mindblown by both topics, is the fact that it is a versatile two majors to have. If I get bored working at an advertising company, I can switch back and forth between career paths. Call me crazy, but one, singular career path is not the life for me. I want to do more than just sell things and catch people’s attentions, I want to help people.

Similarly, my psychology major will hopefully open some doors for me to work for nonprofit organizations, where I would like to work. I would love to do a bit of both volunteering, as well as volunteering my services towards ad campaigns, and marketing. Running an advertising campaign for a great non-profit with a good message is also one of my lifelong goals. It would be incredible to be selling a product that does good for the world. With my psychology major, I can also work with people directly, not just working behind the scenes. And, after this semester of social psychology, I learned how much I truly love being around people, getting to know people, and working with people. My dream in life is to make a stance, make a difference, and get a little noticed for my work!

Ideally, in order to set myself apart from other projected advertisers and marketers, I started this blog. Don’t get me wrong I mostly started this out of simple boredom, a need for release of creative thoughts, and because it had been one of my goals for this year. I hopefully will still have this blog up and running in ten years still. Talking mindlessly about shit I only care about…but hey, whatever 4ever, right?

I want to hear from others, what are your goals, aspirations, and career goals? What are you current majors at school and why did you chose that? With these new gadgets, and robots, we have so many outlets for information and ways to receive information that our society has developed a need for more specialized, unique job openings that require specialized skills and majors. I am interested to see how you believe you can change the world!

I believe college should be filled with fun times, but it should also be filled with a purpose and motivation to want to get your certificate and graduate with the major, or majors, you so desire, so you can be let out into the world and be living out your dream job.

I am a leap and a half away from all these goals, but I am finding that after two years of deliberation, I am finally happy with my major.

Feel free to share your thoughts, DON’T BE SHY!

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Call It An Autobiography

Simply put, I am an anonymous 21-year-old blogger, who is so curious about this world that I felt the need to share all my thoughts and feelings online. I entertain myself with blogging, hiking, coloring, working, discovering new fashion trends, and just about anything that soothes my soul (this list never ends). Some would even say I am boring or too eccentric, but my boredom and eccentric attitude are what have landed me on this page. I have made this blog, because, as Jonah Hill once said in 21 Jump Street, “this is my temple. This is where I come to find peace.”

Now that you know some surface level details about my life, I also would like to say that I live in Boulder, Colorado, attending the University of Boulder, Colorado, pursuing a double degree in Advertising and Psychology. I am a locally grown native of Boulder, Colorado and have yet to get sick of the beautiful views of the Flatirons.

Normal, eccentric, friendly, crazy, and bored are all words I use to describe myself. I will go a little bit deeper and disclose my deepest, darkest secret…I have been diagnosed with six types of ADD, ADHD, OCD, social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. My diagnoses generally turn people off, as they often complain that they are scared of me, scared to trigger or enable me, or treat me differently than they normally would if I had not been diagnosed.

Though I have been labeled with these diagnoses, I do not want to hide the gifts or hide the unique biochemical makeup of my efficiently functioning brain. Though many individuals, including society, have stigmatized my “mental illnesses,” I’ve decided to not let this hold me back.

With that said, I embrace life. Perspective is the key to success, and one of the best ways I cope with my anxiety. Society spends so much time masking and shunning those who are considered “disabled,” when in fact, these labels are not disabilities, rather they are powerful abilities that I have been blessed with. Stigmas are the world’s Miracle Whip (no one really likes it).

My life can be difficult at times, but happiness is not hard to come by for me. In fact, I choose happiness; I do not look for it or try to locate it. The happiest times and the most memorable times are the times in which I’ve practiced mindfulness and perseverance.

At times, my gifts have served as a disadvantage for me, as it has been used against me time-and-time again. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unforunate Events could be viewed as an actual representation of my life, as it is a constant trainwreck, where I am always adjusting to change. My life may mirror A Series Of Unfortunate Events; society even foresees that my life will be an eternal train wreck, but I beg to differ.

Despite all these stigmas and roller coaster rides, I have decided to make a blog, in order to let people in and show how normal those who have been diagnosed are.

Things that are important to me are as substantial as non-materialistic items, such as family, positive, meaningful friends, pizza, art, nature, photography, making memories, practicing kindness and patience, and the small surprises that life throws my way.

It has been a hard journey to find comfortability and love within myself. I am not talking about just spreading love to others, just like you spread peanut butter and jelly on bread, I am talking about finding self-love. This blog marks the day that I have decided to let everyone know how much self-love was hard to come by and that I finally love myself. I love every single gift, every single “flaw,” even though I hate the word “flaw,” and fragment of myself.

Every day that I choose life, I am also choosing to beat the statistics. In fact, on average 98% of PTSD patients commit suicide. This statistic is a very important statistic for me, because it proves that anything is truly possible if you set your mind to it, this even includes self-love.

Self-love is never taught in school, though I personally believe it should be. Celebrations, including celebrating life and yourself, are not held frequently enough, especially in our society. Society has become toxic, constantly thriving off of the failures of others. We are all human, however, and deserve to celebrate ourselves, because we are all connected in one way or another.

I love humans, I love meeting new people, I love making new friends, and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know everyone. I also love celebrating people and their successes, especially in a society where we constantly forget to pat ourselves on our back, let along acknowledge one another.

The reason I love talking and meeting people is because we can all learn something from every human being we encounter in our lives. Whether the human is toxic or a positive force in your life, every human being has something substantial to offer and has good qualities. If you just look hard enough, you will realize how much good there is in the world and in every single human being. Though you may clash with many individuals in your life and you may have some hate left for certain people in your heart, no human is truly bad to the bone.

Seeing the world in just black-and-white, just as good vs. bad, is a clouded, and distorted way to view your life. You miss out on opportunities to forgive, opportunities to make more memories, expand your horizons, and most importantly, miss out on truly finding love within yourself and finding love with others. It is always easy to blame others for your own faults, trauma, anxiety, etc., however, humans shape the world and make the world go round.

When you break it down, every single human being is molecularly and genetically unique from one another, this includes personality as well. I believe it is important to encounter every single human, including yourself, in order to truly live a life filled with love and passion.

Getting to where I am today was difficult, and full of many bumps in the road, as I still continue to struggle to be a better version of myself every day. I had to spend over 21 years dating myself, encountering people who I altercated with, finding hobbies, becoming self-aware, and becoming self-motivated.

As a child, I was enrolled in a Montessori school, where I learned the importance of kindness, respect, independence, celebration, schedules, having hobbies, and learning to be an inclusive human being, who should get to know everyone. Most importantly, I was taught the importance of kindness, how to be kind, to always forgive those around you that may have made a mistake, and to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness. I also learned how much I love art, how much I love to travel, and how much I still practice these lessons I learned to this day.

I am no longer discouraged by societal norms, as I found that basing my self-love on what others think of me more toxic than ocean water after an oil spill. Every day I live is another day that I can better myself, smile more, laugh more, and make more memories. It has become essential for me to take a moment out of every day to realize and count all my blessings, and to realize how rare the gift of happiness is. Taking a minute every day has allowed for me to realize that every day is, and should be, a blessing and celebration, full of surprises. Every day is full of presents for me, and I have realized that the more that you look for and acknowledge the simple, synchronistic, and beautiful things in life, the more life will gift them to you.

I face fear every day, however, my fear used to be based on what others thought about me. Now, I face more rational substantial fears, involving how much more I can challenge myself to make my day better, whether or not I am budgeting enough, whether or not I should call in sick to work, what I want to wear today, or whether or not I should even finish college.

I strive to be the most raw, real, and resourceful human being to those around me. My curiosity for the world is what combats my six types of ADD, ADHD, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and PTSD. All of those words put into one sentence brings fear to not only me, but to my team of therapists. I, unfortunately, am asked on a daily basis how I am able to wake up every morning and simply just live. This question is mind boggling, because living can be as simple as just breathing and opening your eyes. To me, when you break everything down, life is the simplest gift that has graced my presence. I choose to live, because I am afraid of not living.

The definition of life is very interchangable. Personally, “living” involves daily adventures with myself or my friends, engaging in constructive behavior, going to work, being responsible, passing on kindness, and being a support system for someone else.

The only fear I face is the fear that my mental diagnoses will be used as a hindrance towards my success, or may stop me from living a “normal” life. I can not say my life is not difficult and/or hard at times, because it truly is hard to live with my unique biochemical makeup. In fact, it took me years to figure out how to live with such an active mind and how to manage my stress when I truly do have more issues than Vogue.

Instead of hiding in the dark, I’ve finally decided to test my own courage by releasing my biggest secrets to the public. It’s not quite opposite day, and I can not take this blog post back, just like I can not take back my mental diagnoses. These labels no longer define me, but are used as tools to my advantage.

My life motto is, “life is life, you have got to face reality.” You can not choose the cards life hands you, but you can take the cards life hands and try to find solutions to make it better. Trying is better than never trying at all, as “what if?” is a constant question that runs through my brain. Choose life and give me a chance to let you into my complicated, distorted, adventurous world.

~Always remember that no one, but yourself, defines you. No one but yourself can dictate your happines!s ~

~Even if your cheerios get peed on in the morning, eat it well and eat it all! ~

xo,

Aichan Tewahade