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 Road to Resilience

BY AYESHA KHALID

I recently had a chance to view part of a documentary in one of my psychology classes entitled “This Emotional Life,” which originally aired on PBS. The film is a 3 part series that looks at how we can cope with emotional stressors and become more positive and resilient people. The documentary explores the stories of many people who have overcome great challenges in their life, and demonstrates how resilient we are capable of being.

For example, there was the story of Bob who became a prisoner of war after being resilience-cartoonkidnapped and held captive for 8 years in Vietnam. He was put into solitary confinement and faced brutal physical torture. During this time, he would spend hours each day envisioning the house he wanted to live in with his family, designing every last detail in his imagination. He also used a tap code to communicate with other prisoners through walls. Once he was rescued, he reunited with his family and built the house that he had spend all of those hours picturing in his head. He remained optimistic and believed he would prevail, which helped him cope with the isolation and physical pain.

Then there was Mike, who grew up with an alcoholic stepfather. He became involved with dealing and using drugs. After being arrested by police, he later got a job installing furniture, and was working in a doctor’s house when the doctor began to ask Mike about his life. They became friends and the doctor became a mentor to him. Mike is now a thoracic surgeon, and credits mentors in his life for guiding him through the tough times.

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Are You Triggered?

BY BRANDON MINIA

I’m going to open this with a discussion of Internet memes, but really what I want to talk about is much more serious, as you could probably already tell from the purposefully obnoxious title that I chose for this entry.

58384974.jpgInternet memes have been a great and often positive way for the global community to bond together in a virtual space. From classics such as Rage Comics to more recent entries such as the Doge, the Internet has created a vast array of inside jokes that have allowed us all to get along with each other and share a common space.

There are times, however, when the jokes go too far.

Enter “triggered,” the latest meme to hit the web. Continue reading

Anxiety and Avoidance Behaviours

BY AYESHA KHALID

Despite my struggles with anxiety, I am lucky to have a strong support group around me – people I can reach out to when I am feeling stressed or in pain. I know that this is not always the case for some people who do not have social support and become very isolated; their road to recovery is much more difficult than mine.

But even with this support available, when I am struggling, it can be hard for me to reachf486b16e222ac0aa_dv1080013.preview.jpg out to others. I do not always take help when it is offered. There are a lot of reasons why I hold back. Partially, it is because talking to others means that I have to confront whatever is causing me distress, and I would rather avoid thinking about it. Another reason is because I feel bad for dumping all of my problems onto someone else. I know I shouldn’t feel bad, but I imagine it’s kind of exhausting to listen to someone talk about their problems all the time. I don’t want to be that person who is constantly complaining, so I hold a lot in.

So instead of reaching out if my anxiety/pain is getting worse, my first instinct is to retreat. To run away, to get into bed, to pull the covers over me and block out the rest of the world. A part of me thinks that maybe if I avoid my problems they will disappear, and by the time I get out of bed everything will be okay again.

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Stress: The good, the bad and the chronic

BY ZAKIYA KASSAM

The word “stress” is one that carries an extremely negative connotation. Being stressed is rarely perceived a positive thing, but the alternative – being stress-lessNervous_Man_Approach_Anxiety – can be harmful to your physical and emotional health as well.

Most people don’t realize that we need stress in our bodies in order to feel vital and excited. When your palms sweat upon seeing your crush, when you get butterflies in your stomach upon starting a new job, when you’re about to take a penalty shot and you can feel your heartbeat in your ears, these are all natural and manageable responses. These are also examples of positive stress or “eustress.” Without eustress, we wouldn’t be ambitious, motivated, or excited. These are all part of the ups in life that push us forward and shape our emotional development. 
 
Everyone experiences stress, and whether you’re experiencing it positively or negatively, stress can be taxing on your body and ultimately harmful to your long-term health. But your body is equipped to deal with the majority of your stress, so long as it’s acute. When your stress shifts from short-term to long-term however, this is called chronic stress. After a period of being chronically stressed, the body’s ability to return to homeostasis (its pre-stress state) becomes dulled. 

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