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

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Promises To Myself When I’m Alone

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

All my life I have been scared to live alone. The closest I’ve ever come to it is when I was living in a dorm in first year of university, and I was pretty miserable.

I’ve been scared to be isolated, scared to be the only one responsible for taking care of myself, scared that without someone else helping me along my life will fall into a stagnant rut.

I’m still scared, but what I’ve been doing is no longer working for me, so I decided that I had to change something, kind of like an experiment, and I decided to start with my living situation.

Tomorrow* I move out on my own, but tonight I’d like to take a moment to make a few promises to myself in hopes that this experiment will be a success. Continue reading

A Faded Hospital Bracelet

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

I’ve only ever been in the hospital three times in my life – when I was born, when I had a spontaneous tear in my lung, and exactly two years ago as of this past Monday for suicidal thoughts.

I credit that day for turning my life around. Although the most difficult moments of my life were still yet to come, I’ve never felt as hopeless as I did that night since.

I will say though that I have come very close. I become depressed when I’m lonely or experiencing other social issues. And for the past month and a half, I have been very socially isolated.

I’m not really sure how it happened. There are a lot of reasons – me facing criticism that I am not used to regarding my morality, other people’s changing minds and flip-flopping attitudes, new situations in other people’s lives, me just generally being annoyed with everyone for no real reason, and the fact that it’s winter and despite the fact that this is Canada, everyone becomes a little bit hermit-like.

Every couple of hours or so a thought will fleet across my mind that I’m just wasting time and my life is meaningless, because if other people don’t want me around then what is even the point of me? What is the point of life?

DBT Distress Tolerance Skills.jpgThis is the thought that makes me want to kill myself. I still have it, more than I’d like to admit. But now I can control it more often than not. I have much higher level of distress tolerance than I used to and I’m better at self-soothing.

Two years ago my level of distress tolerance was very low. I tried my best and that’s what kept me alive but I was exhausted constantly and small things affected me much more than they would affect the average person. I experience trauma-like reactions to many negative social situations, based on my experiences with bullying in high school, and I was not able to control those either. Continue reading

Merry Christmas To Yourself

BY BRANDON MINIA

Sad gingerbread manJoy to the world? Not for everyone.

There’s enough pressure as it is to be 100% on your game no matter what you’re dealing with throughout the year. The fact that there’s one day (and for some people, many days) where you have to be 150% for the sake of family and friends and peace on earth and mercy mild can be incredibly stressful.

There’s enough advice out there on how to achieve that “total peace” for the holidays, but for a large number of people, this isn’t always possible. What if you, unlike the rest of the world, don’t have a reason to celebrate the holidays this year?

Continue reading