“Everyone’s Been There”: A Dangerous Myth

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

Let me preface this post by acknowledging a universal truth of life – everyone has gone through tough shit or will at some point in the future. Everyone has a story.

But when it comes to mental illness, not everyone’s “been there”. People – usually sweet, kind, well-meaning people who are just trying their best – love to say this as a response to someone’s experience with mental illness (often one that is directly correlated with an emotion that everyone really does experience at some point in time, such as depression or anxiety). I believe that when people say this, it is with the best intentions. They want to make the person they’re talking to feel less alone, and they want to believe that they understand.

They don’t realize that statements like this severely invalidate the experiences of a person with a mental illness. It’s not born out of malice; it’s born out of ignorance and the limitations that come with being human.

Whenever I use the word ‘ignorant’ people tend to get all up in arms, but the thing is, when I say that I am not calling out anyone in particular. We are all ignorant because we can only fully understand things which we have experienced. We can try to better ourselves by learning more about the world and other people’s experiences, but we can only do so much, and many people do not go out of their way to do this.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand what it’s like to be a “normal” person, because I have never been “normal”. I do not know the difference. I do my best every day to imagine and to be empathetic towards others, but I do not understand. I don’t know. Continue reading

Advertisements

Whiplash (Or, Making Responsible Decisions™)

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

A month and a half after ending this relationship, in no way did I feel like I was ready to start dating again. All I wanted to do was hang out with my friends and recuperate. But all of my friends were either happily coupled up or active on the dating scene, and I was starting to feel left out.

So I re-downloaded some dating apps I’d used in the past – they’d never worked for me, but I figured that there was no harm in talking to a few people online for a little while to boost my confidence.

And then I had my first match.  “_ says, ‘I walked into a cactus once.’ Message him and ask him about it!”

Obviously I did, because that is literally the best icebreaker ever. Continue reading

Twinning With Taylor Swift (In The Worst Possible Way)

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

Taylor Swift and I both broke up with our boyfriends recently.

You may be thinking, “Wait, you had a boyfriend?”

And I don’t blame you, because the relationship was so short that I didn’t have time to tell a whole lot of people about it.

I keep trying to write about my feelings on the situation so I can heal but for some reason the words just aren’t coming out. I think this is because there is one version of this story that I am comfortable talking about, the one in which I believe whatever I need to in order to feel okay about things – the one in which I believe whatever he says – but there is another version that I could barely even think about until now.

That’s the version in which I realize that I still do not have the full story, and the full story probably isn’t going to make me feel okay about anything. The full story is probably full of half truths and lies of omission and someone who doesn’t care even half as much as I thought he did (which was already only about half as much as I do). Continue reading

Understanding Monsters and Why People Cheat

BY BRANDON MINIA

For the first time in the almost two years since I finally broke communication with my ex, I feel like I can now fully sympathize with her for something she did that I never thought I ever would.

I understand now why my ex cheated on me with my best friend.

Granted, she’s still a monster. It’s still despicable the way she deceived me for months, largewith my best friend at that, and that when it was finally convenient for her, she disposed of me and almost pretended that our relationship never happened. But there were a few moments in the months leading up to discovering their secret affair that I have never understood until now.

I’m going to reference an anime I finished last night (Thursday morning to be exact) called White Album 2, so for anyone who cares, there’s some major spoilers for that show coming up. (I also hesitate to recommend it, because as good at it was, it was the first piece of media I ever consumed that really punched me in the gut).

Continue reading

When Paths Diverge

BY RACHEL WONG

Routine makes life so easy. We become so set in our ways that sometimes it’s hard to let go, especially when we decide to go one direction and life pulls us the opposite way.

When it comes to friendships and growing up, it took me a long time to really understandparting-ways the obvious – that we all grow, and when we grow, we change. We are exposed to the world everyday and we learn so many new things. We meet new people and engage in new opportunities. All of these experiences shape who we are, and ultimately, we find like-minded people to spend time with along the way. Spending time with those who are similar to you can put you at ease – it feels natural to open up to people that you can relate to. But when friends inevitably change and paths no longer align, it can take a while to realize that it might just be time to part ways.

. . .

Alicia* and I were inseparable. It’s hazy in my mind now how we even got to being friends, but we have known each other since we were 6 and we have stayed friends ever since. Like most friendships do, ours had its ups and our downs, and we were there for each other during times of both triumph and sadness. We were the kind of friends that talked all the time about the future and what our lives would look like together: we’d be each other’s maid of honor at our weddings, we’d get matching SUVs and we’d alternate hosting play dates for our children during the day.

It was a very idealistic way of thinking, but despite reality eventually hitting us, we made it – sort of.

Continue reading