The Bracelet Project

Aylalala_xo:

I would have a purple ribbon with orange, black, and teal beads. What does your bracelet look like?

Originally posted on The Self-Harm Project:

Each disorder has a color that corresponds to it.
Schizophrenia is Gold
Bipolar/mood disorder is Silver
Anorexia is Red.
Bulimia is Purple.
EDNOS is Pink.
Depression is blue.
Self harm is Orange or Black.
Fasting at the time is Green.
Suicidal is Yellow.
Overweight/Obese is Turquoise.
Anxiety/Panic disorder/OCD is Teal.
Adding 1 white bead means you’re trying to recover.
If your bracelet is half of the color that corresponds to your disorder and half white it means you’re in recovery.
You can also make the strand the main disorder you have then add beads to your lesser disorders, or if you have EDNOS, if you have more anorexic or bulimic tendencies then you can add a red or purple bead.

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Miss America and Beauty Ideals

I don’t know about y’all, but I think this Miss America “beauty” pageant is seriously messing with the minds of girls all over the world. My entire family (minus moi) is sitting in front of the television right now waiting to find out who will be the next Miss America.

Last year there was all kinds of drama surrounding the event because of the fact the Nina Davuluri (the 2013 Miss America) was of Indian decent. This was a classic example of racism of course as race cannot be equated to nationality, nor should race be seen as a mark of superiority or inferiority, but nonetheless, there was public outrage from many people who believed that Nina should not have been crowned Miss America. If you want to see how the views of those outraged individuals are downright wrong, just check out my girl Superwoman’s video below:

Moving on, race is not the only issue that comes about with the Miss America pageant. On the contrary, the very idea of the Miss America pageant representing “beauty” from all over America is another issue which needs to be addressed. I mean, for starters, every single one of the women on stage right now is a toothpick. What kind of message is that sending to women and girls all over the world!? This pageant is just a perpetuation of the unrealistic, unattainable, UNHEALTHY beauty ideals that are the norm in North America.

Add to this the fact that one aspect of the competition is a swimsuit competition, and we begin to see even more issues evolving. Not only is this telling viewers that in order for a woman to be beautiful she must be skinny, but it is also perpetuating the patterns of male dominance that we have seen in society for so long. Lets be real, those women aren’t marching around on stage on national television while wearing bikinis as a way of expressing their self-empowerment. On the contrary, this parade of women is more like a form of dis-empowerment.

The title of Miss America is supposed to be this huge honour, but I mean really, how did you get there? You paraded yourself around in a pretty dress and a bikini then went through a relatively easy question-and-answer test. But lets not forget the fact that you made it all the way through the selection process! Congratulations! Not only do you meet the ageist standards of youthful beauty, but you are also of “reasonably good health”. Which brings me to my next point.

The criteria for eligibility outlines that you must be under 24 (because god forbid someone over 24 is seen as beautiful) and in “reasonably good health” among a list of other things. What bothers me about the latter requirement is the fact that someone who could be suffering from an illness might be excluded simply because of this illness. And what about people with a permanent disability? I would LOVE to know what is classified as “reasonably good health” because apparently its impossible to be beautiful while suffering from an illness.

Needless to say, the Miss America beauty pageant is not very representative of the American population. I mean, sure, they have retired the old racist “only white people” criterion from the pageant, but there are still so many other problems. How about the fact that there is not a single plus-sized woman on stage? How about the fact that there is nobody on stage with a disability? How is it fair that these groups of people are being overlooked?

From where I am standing, this Miss America pageant is excluded 99% of women in the world from the category of “beautiful”. The idealistic portrayals of beauty in the pageant are wrong on SO MANY levels. If you ever find yourself questioning why there are so many girls and women in the world with body image issues and/or eating disorders, take a look at the messages that these women and girls receive about how they need to look in order to be beautiful. I for one am seriously sick of all of these unrealistic expectations.

Going through a break up? What this video

This girl offers some AMAZING advice for anyone going through a break-up. I know that I am definitely using some of the excuses she mentions in the video (ie. he is a really great guy, I’m never going to find anyone like him). I also know that she is right about needing to cut him out of my life, at least temporarily. The only way to move on is to stop feeling attached and emotionally dependent on the other individual and the only way to stop having these feelings is to give yourself a break from them. You are not likely to forget how you feel overnight, but if you give it some time you will eventually stop having those feelings for someone.

I’m in the really emotionally low phase of the post-break-up cycle so I know this video definitely helps to lift my mood. I’ve watched it at least once a day for the last 4 days and it helps me every single time. Its like a reminder of the fact that even though I don’t feel okay right now, I will be okay eventually. It takes time to heal.

xo

Ayla

Break ups, moving on, and music therapy

Recently, I’ve been dealing with the ending of a relationship and its been really hard. I use the term “relationship” really loosely because he was not my boyfriend. He was more of an on-again-off-again companion that was definitely more than a friend but never an official partner. It lasted 2 years but neither one of us was interested in a commitment and that was okay. But now he has decided that he is interested in someone else and I can’t really blame him for it or begrudge him.

The truth is that I love him with all my heart and I want him to be happy. If I am not the best person to make him happy then I don’t want to hold him back. What hurts is the fact that I’ve lost the one person who knew me inside out. He knew my story and he accepted me despite my troublesome past. He loved me even when nobody else was there. When I needed someone to hold me he was there. He was the first person to know about my childhood trauma and he is to this day one of only 6 people who know about it (3 of whom are medical practitioners).

Long story short, he was basically the only person that I ever trusted with everything. I trusted him with my deepest darkest secrets and he helped me through. He encouraged me to seek out help and he is really the reason that I finally decided to see a counselor. He is the reason that I finally got the help that I needed. But now he is gone.

When it ended I thought we would be able to go back to just being close friends but its just not like that at all. Its like he has completely cut me off. It almost seems like he doesn’t want anything to do with me. In fact, the way that he has been acting of late has really made me question whether or not he really truly accepted me for who I am.

He know that I am really struggling right now. I’ve relapsed into disordered eating habits, self-harm, panic attacks, and anxiety. I used to go to him for comfort and support when I was dealing with a lot but now I can’t. Its like he doesn’t have time or interest in helping me. I don’t really understand it because he promised that he would always be there no matter what, he promised he would always love me as a friend. And now it just feels like those were empty promises.

It took me 3 years to build my trust and now I just want to shut him out completely. It isn’t even the fact that we are no longer romantically involved that is bothering me so much, its the fact that he won’t even talk to me anymore. What I need right now more than anything else in the world is someone to talk to who will understand my struggles and support me. And its not even like he is the only one who is not there for me right now. My so-called “best friend” of 8 years started dating someone less than a week ago and since then she has told me that “[she] can’t be [my] distraction right now”. In actuality, I wasn’t looking for a distraction, I was crying for help. I needed someone to talk to because I was having self-harm urges. One of the coping techniques I have learned is to talk to someone when I have those urges and she is one of the people that I would usually go to. But last night she told me she doesn’t have time for me. I cut. It’s stupid, but I was already upset and then to have my “best-friend” reject me like that in favor of a guy shes been with for a week was just the tip of the metaphorical ice berg. I lost control. I had nobody to turn to.

I’ve been in so much pain and since I’ve had nobody to turn to, I’ve started listening to really emotional music. “My Immortals” by Evanescence is one of the most emotional songs that I can think of and this cover of the song is so emotionally sung that it actually breaks my heart. It is painful to listen to because it makes me feel so much anger and sadness and hopelessness, but it really helps because it is an outlet. It’s a poor replacement for the support that I used to find in my friends, but its something I guess.

I don’t know where to go from here, all I know is “These wounds won’t seem to heal. This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase”.

xo

Ayla

“Have you ever been tested? Do you have a mental disorder?”

I’m sitting here watching TV after a long day of school and work and the Dr. Phil show comes on. The episode is called “Get out of my house: The ultimate mother vs. nanny feud”. It is an absolute ridiculous situation in which a nanny refuses to leave a house for 30 days based on the fact that legally she is entitled to stay for that time despite the family’s obvious opposition to the situation.

But it is not the situation that got my attention. It is the fact that the mother used the line “have you been tested? Do you have a mental disorder?”.

This statement is wrong on SO MANY levels. I mean, for starters she is insinuating that only someone with a mental disorder would be so unreasonable and outlandish. Furthermore, the question also insinuates that people with mental health issues are in some way incapable of acting “normal” therefore, being the ONLY reasonable explanation for the nanny’s actions.

This woman is a prime example of the stigmatization of mental illness. As someone who has been diagnosed with not one, not two, but FOUR mental illnesses, I can assure you that you could not be more wrong in your apparent understanding of mental illness. I can also testify to the fact that mental illness has no impact on my perception of this situation as I can clearly see how the actions of both the nanny and mother are wrong in many respects. Thus, my ability to recognize the issues at hand completely undermines the mother’s assumption that the nanny must have a mental disorder if she cannot understand what the situation looks like from the mother’s perspective.

The fact of the matter is that the mother and the nanny are on opposing sides of the argument. As with any argument, it can be difficult to understand where the other person is coming from. However, that does not mean that it is okay to belittle individuals who suffer with mental disorders. To do so is absolutely disgusting.

Mental illness is a serious health condition for many individuals and it should not be used as an insult in an argument. I understand that there are some situations in which mental illness may affect one’s ability to perceive reality; however, the woman on the show is quite obviously of sound mind. Therefore, the mother’s accusations are unwarranted and intended solely as an insult. To be honest, I’m sort of surprised that Dr. Phil did not call her out of her belittling accusations, but that’s the reality TV biz for you I suppose.

Regardless, this is a perfect example of how mental illness continues to be stigmatized. Clearly we still have plenty of work to do in order to end the stigma.