Lessons From Closure

BY RACHEL WONG

When I broke up with Adam* after a failing relationship that lasted six months, I was finally free from all kinds of unhappiness. Admittedly, I had fallen in love with Adam very quickly – one minute we were talking for the first time, the next minute we were holding hands. Soon after we were meeting the families and stealing kisses from each other.

Our relationship started before we knew it and unraveled just as quickly. Though we would 051af58265dd8457690008cfc3ed3652449423-wm.jpgsee each other on a regular basis, he would always avoid talking to me. He was always too busy to hang out, never comforted me in my time of need and did not want to be seen with me when his friends were around. I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way, especially when a few weeks beforehand he was calling me “the best thing that had ever happened to him” and “his beautiful girlfriend.”

Now, almost two years after we parted ways, we seem to be on amicable terms. But over the two years, I never had closure. I never understood why he broke up with me. What did I do? Did I say something, or do something? Did he fall in love with someone else? Was I not pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough?

Recently I worked up the courage to ask Adam why he acted the way he did towards me during our supposed relationship. His answer was simple – “I just fell out of love with you.”Though he apologized profusely for leading me on and not owning up to his feelings towards me sooner, it led me to two conclusions.

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Out Of The Tunnel

BY BRANDON MINIA

It took a whole lot of willpower to finally muscle my way out of one of the worst episodes I’ve had in almost two years.

I had almost forgotten. You stay well enough for so long that the anxiety doesn’t even feel so bad, even though you know that with anxiety, depression is surely lurking around the corner. And once it comes around and hits you, you turn into a mere shell of yourself.

Since February, my anxiety was hitting almost unprecedented levels considering how well hqdefault.jpgI had been for so long. And with how tense I had been, I knew that the possibility of me slipping down into that rabbit hole was a distinct possibility. It did.

I can’t name exactly what triggered it, mostly because I don’t know what it was. I don’t know if it was a combination of factors, or if it just happened. Or both. With me, as it is with so many others, my depression is hard to pinpoint no matter how mindful I am of my emotional levels.

The depression was beginning to creep in near the end of February. I started becoming more fatigued and my motivation to do work began to dissipate. In the back of my head, I knew of course that the danger of me falling back into that dreaded state was slowly becoming more and more of a possibility as every day passed. Still, I blamed my decreasing energy levels on my anxiety.

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The Memory Phenomenon: Missing Things You Don’t Really Miss 

I’ve been writing a lot lately about minimalistic living and the importance of being mindful – topics that are proving to be similarly thematic. Their overarching theme: the importance of living simply and in the moment. Easier said than done, of course.
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The concept of minimalistic living extends further than cleaning your closet; in theory it’s tangible change that affects you mentally. Because a clutter free home equals a clutter free mind – or something of that nature. I’m not big on clutter. I like my possessions, but I keep the hoarding to a minimum, primarily due to my small apartment and my neurosis pertaining to mess. That said, I feel like I am constantly cluttered anyways mentally. 
I once attributed the fact that I hadn’t changed the background on my phone (a photo of me and my then ex boyfriend), to the fact that I’m an emotional hoarder. Maybe I don’t keep old clothes or hang on to every hairbrush that comes into my life, but when it comes to the sentimental, I’m grossly attached. In fact, just yesterday I found a photo of my ex boyfriend from high school stuffed behind a business card from a job I quit last August, snuggly layered behind behind two fortunes cookie fortunes that yet another ex gave to me years ago. It was at this point I realized, my emotional hoarding might be a little more of a problem than I’d given it credit for.

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Taking a Tolerant Approach to Education

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

We talk and we talk and we talk about what needs to change in this world and the various things that we need to call people out on. But rarely do we talk about how exactly to do that.

I’d like to say that it doesn’t matter how you say something, it’s what you say, and in some cases that is true, but in this case, the “what” and the “how” are equally important. The “how” might even be more important.

Here is why – imagine that you’ve written something (it can be anything, even a text message), and someone reading it says to you, “Um, excuse me, but just so you know, semicolons are actually only supposed to be used when bla bla bla bla. I mean I don’t expect most people to know that, I’m just a huge stickler for grammar and I went to school for Creative Writing.”

Did reading that kind of piss you off? Because it pissed me off just to write it. Doesn’t whoever that person is sound like a stuck up douchebag? They sound like they’re lecturing, and not because they actually care about teaching you something, but because they want to show off the ways in which they are better than you. Continue reading

“What It’s Like”: The Globe and Mail’s New Series and Why It’s Important

“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to overcome a paralyzing fear? Catch your reflection after facial reconstruction? Or to regain your eyesight?”

This is part of the tagline for a series debuted by The Globe and Mail, aptly titled: “What It’s Like.” In late 2015, Wency Leung, general assignment reporter for the Life section of the Globe, wrote the first story for the series, about an individual faced with relearning everything after a stroke. Since then, stories about alcoholism, PTSD and cold urticaria have been beautifully reported under head of the series. The series’ aim is to put a well deserved spotlight on individuals who live with, or have overcome, “extraordinary health experiences.”

“What it’s like … to hear voices,” is one of my favourite stories published in the series so far. Leung tells the story of 53-year-old Kevin Healey who has been experiencing the unexplained phenomenon of auditory hallucinations since the age of six. To an outside observer, his illness may seem distinctly unpleasant, fraught and disturbing; but in Healey’s story, Leung conveys the humorous side of it as well. At one point, he compares some of his voices to Captain Kirk, Spock and Sulu. Throughout, he maintains that as difficult as his condition can be, he has learned to cope with – and in a way even embrace – his illness.

“I tend to think of my voices as an amplifier of whatever I’m experiencing. I’m never without them. They’re hardly ever quiet. But if I’m in a good space and I’m not tired, and things are going well, it’s like having a bunch of friends around.”

The Globe’s new series is important for a few reasons: 1. Because once again the Globe is giving it’s loyal readership a chance to share their stories within the prime real estate of their pages; and 2. Because “What It’s Like,” allows readers the unique ability to learn new perspectives about illnesses, mental and physical, through the eyes of someone with first-hand experience.

Read more “What It’s Like” here.

ZAKIYA KASSAM12312232_10208039303806073_238423358_n

Zakiya has her degree in journalism from Ryerson University and currently works as a freelance content writer based in Toronto. Zak is a dedicated journal-er and enjoys writing and reading fiction, particularly science fiction, in her free time. Mental illness is something that has touched her life and the lives of her loved ones, so she is supportive of anything that brings attention to and provides new perspectives about mental health.