#PsychoParents: Sacrificing My Stomach Health For A Sleepover
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#PsychoParents: Sacrificing My Stomach Health For A Sleepover

The things I do for my friends...

As any Asian-American young adult knows, our parents take crazy to a whole new level and you don't want to test them. You would never dream of talking back, sneaking out of the house or bringing a boy home if you wanted to live to see the next sunrise. As a particularly stubborn child I tried to resist what was common knowledge by seeing what I could get away with. It usually wasn't much and I've had many a rice spatula hit against my palm in response -- and my mom was still more lenient than others!

The town I grew up in had a particularly large Asian-American population so my best friend also had an Asian mother. The only difference between our parents was that they were from different countries and her mother was even more strict than my own.

When we were younger, about 8 or 9 I'd say, I wanted my friend to sleepover. My mother had no issues with it, but my friend's mother insisted that she had to go home.

Now, her mother loved to feed us healthy food, which ordinarily would be fine, but the things she tried to feed us weren't particularly... delicious. At the time I was able to weasel out of it because I had no reason to be healthy, but my friend was constantly training for tennis: aka, she actually had to look after her body. In a last-ditch attempt to get her to "okay" the sleepover I decided to make a deal, and wound up sacrificing my stomach in the process.

One of the dishes my friend's mother tried to feed us was bitter melon soup and yes, it's as horrible as it sounds. She insisted it was good for us but the dish was what I suspect is served in hell... as punishment.

I told her mother I would eat a tub of bitter melon soup if we could have the sleepover. I'm not sure if she doubted I'd be able to do it, or if she just wanted to see me eat something healthy, but she agreed to the arrangement.

I ate every last drop of that horrid soup and my friend was able to stay the night. Of course, I wasn't able to enjoy it because my stomach -- and tastebuds -- were in horrible pain.

Oh well, sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do to get a #win.

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Confessions of a Crazy College Chick Part 1

Why we must tell our unedited stories.

Part 1: Miles Traveled
Miles traveled? Ohhh, I've got miles traveled.

Have you ever found yourself in one of those situations where you're in the middle of an interview with a recruiter from the top medical school in the country and you let it slip that you used to be absolutely bat-shit-nuts? (And then showed that person you just might still be?) And by nuts I don't mean one of those people who you heard went to therapy during their parents' divorce in third grade, I'm talking actually-thought-Akon-worked-at-her-psych-hospital, certifiably nuts.

There I was, about 30 minutes into selling myself as a future psychiatrist, asking educated questions, and generally just trying to show the best edited version of myself. The recruiter said that applicants with "miles traveled" stand out, then asked me to elaborate on my miles traveled.

Something in me said, "screw the edited version of myself!" That part of my brain that's usually working 24/7 to make sure I don't seem crazy completely shut off. I then went on to share my ever-so-heartwarming and interview-appropriate tale of depression, periods of mania, and a stay at a psychiatric hospital right before college. And then remembered I had just met this person and they're freaked out and I need to backtrack immediately and CODE RED, and remind the person you aren't insane and your head is on straight and maybe just SHUT UP.

"Yeah... ok... well... you can probably just tell the edited version when you apply!" was his response.

But that's the thing. I'm sick of having to tell the edited version of my story. I'm sick of that part of my brain that filters my craziness. Sharing the most raw and vulnerable part of who I am--Bipolar Type I--is something that has taken me a long time to be able to talk about. And I don't care if it made him uncomfortable. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to be able to tell that recruiter that my stay in the loony bin was the best experience of my life and the very reason I want to be a psychiatrist.

One in five people have a mental illness (and I have this theory that those other four people in that statistic are the craziest of all). So why don't we talk about our craziness? Why do we have to be politically correct? Let's call ourselves crazy if we want to. And, most importantly, why can't we laugh about it? If you don't struggle with mental illness, then according to the statistics, your sibling does, your best friend does, your parent used to, or one day your child might. It's our duty to talk about it openly, honestly, and even humorously if we need to-there are people out there that feel alone because they cannot talk about how they don't want to wake up tomorrow.

So let's talk about it.

Let's tell our unedited stories to those we feel comfortable with. Let's tell our most trusted friends that sometimes it's impossible to get out of bed and about the times we've lied to our psychiatrists. Or maybe, let's start by telling that one old friend who doesn't keep in touch but will without a doubt listen. Then let's tell our parents that we want to talk to a professional about how the days are running together and nothing seems worthwhile anymore. And let's be thankful when these people, or at least some of them, really do listen.

I'm thankful for the people who don't blink an eye when I tell them about my illness, after I spent weeks or months building up the courage to have "that talk." I'm thankful for the kids at the hospital who made me realize how lucky I am and that I'm not alone (and I'm thankful for Akin, the mental health technician there who I thought was secretly Akon). I'm thankful for the people who forgave me after I thought I had ruined our relationships forever. I'm thankful for the friends I can laugh with about it.

I'm especially thankful for friends who, after telling them about the past couple years, reveal that they went a little crazy too after losing their mom; or that they, too, have a hatred for the medicine Seroquel; or that they actually just got diagnosed as bipolar and have never told anyone, but always wanted a friend who was, too.

That is why we must tell our unedited stories to those who are willing to listen. We must tell our stories because of all the other people out there suffering in silence and shame. We have to in order to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness for our generation and for generations to come. We have to in order to save lives: our own and our friends'.

Because you never know who else is suffering if you never tell them that you are, too.

If you or someone you know if suffering from feelings of depression or feelings of suicide, please get help.

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Confessions of a Crazy College Chick Part 3

Where do you end and where does your mental illness begin?

Read part 1 and part 2 of the series here.

Let's say you have a panic disorder. This is incredibly likely if you're a college student. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in colleges, with about 41.6 percent of students experiencing this disorder.

Scenario 1: Let's say you're at a party with a group of friends. Something, maybe it's the lights, the music, the amount of people, who knows, triggers a panic attack. You feel like you're going to die. You have to leave the situation immediately. Nothing and nobody else matters. You might appear dramatic and very selfish, but it's what you have to do. You scream at your best friend until she pulls the car up so you can leave. You can see her crying from something you said.

Scenario 2: Or maybe, if you can't relate to that, let's say you have bipolar disorder, like 10 million other Americans. Let's say you're going through a period of depression. You know how it goes: You can't get out of bed; nothing excites you; and you're just never in the mood to do anything. This is even more common in college students: almost one third of college students report feeling so depressed that they had trouble functioning on a daily basis. Imagine this is you, and part of your depression involves fits of anger. Anger that makes you scream at someone you love. Rage that makes you crazy out of seemingly nowhere. So, let's imagine that you, in a moment of blind rage, experience a fit of anger and scream at your boyfriend. You threaten to end the relationship, all over a small fight over him not doing the dishes.

So, regardless if you related more to scenario one or scenario two, now imagine it's the next morning. You wake up and immediately feel a rush of guilt wash over you, thinking about what you did last night. How could you treat a person you love like that? You text them and they're obviously upset over what happened. Do you apologize? Are you or your mental illness responsible, and which do you say sorry for?

Where do you end and where does your mental illness begin?

You know that if you didn't have this diagnosis, you would never have acted this way; yet, it still happened. This is the dilemma faced by college students living with mental illness everywhere. I personally have stewed over this problem for months. The only way I can explain it is with a metaphor. Think of yourself as a kaleidoscope, with a million beautiful sides. Some sides show more often than others, some let more light in than others, and some come out only when held in a specific way. One of these sides is your mental illness, which you may not like as much as your other sides. It comes out eventually, like all sides do, and you have to take ownership of it. It may be broken or not as beautiful as the other sides, but it is and always will be a part of who you are. It is important to love this side of you just like the other sides.

So let's say you had that panic attack, or you screamed out of anger. This doesn't define who you are as a person. Just take responsibility for it and ask the other people in the given scenario to forgive you. They will if they really love you. Because the best ones forgive, so forget the ones who don't.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there are many resources to help. If there is an emergency, call 911 or this 24-hour hotline. Other resources include ULifeline, SMH, The The Jed Foundation, Healthy Place, Strength of Us, and DBSA.

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Health |  Source: kosphotography13

Wait. My Parents are People?

How did I not realize this sooner?

My mom was going to drive up to visit me this weekend. We were going to go to my church, stay in my dorm, and attempt snowshoeing if the weather permitted. I say "was" because due to a change in her work schedule and an impending snowstorm in my area, her trip was postponed.

"I just don't think it's going to work this weekend," she said over the phone.

"Yeah," I said. "We would have been rushed anyway."

We hung up the phone with the promise to schedule another weekend soon. Sigh.

I had just gotten back from winter break which I spent the entirety of at home, piecing together a quilt for my friend, practicing my watercolor skills, and watching copious amounts of Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman. Why should I be disappointed when someone I just spent several weeks with can't make it up for the weekend? Maybe it's because in college, a world of constantly shifting friendships, my parents are two of the few things that have stayed the same.

However true that may be, I think it's more than that. Over the past few years, my parents have become two of my closest friends. They talk to me about stuff; I talk to them about stuff. When I need help with a friend or a professional situation, I call up my mom or dad. When either of them needs something proofread for their small businesses, they ask me. We frequently work together. Throw into the mix many long car rides and lots of deep conversations about politics, global warming, and my personal life, and you have a recipe for only one thing: the realization that my parents are people.

"What did you think they were before, Lindy?" you may ask. "Did you think they were fairies?"

I know saying it like that is a little weird. But before now, they were just parents, as steady as the rising and setting sun. They took me to church, my Dad took me to dance lessons, and my Mom took me to piano. They spanked me or took away privileges when I misbehaved. We would goof off around the supper table when we were all done eating. They were parents. Those were their jobs.

Now, I'm starting to see them in a totally new way. They have personalities, inner struggles, and faults. When I was having some trouble with a friend, my Mom told me about a similar situation she had with one of her friends when she was my age and comforted me with the fact that they are still friends today. My dad has told me more about his college days than I care to know.

And it's great.

If it's even possible, I think I love them more now than I used to. I can identify with them as individuals. Maybe this is all part of becoming an adult (yikes!), but it's pretty great. I have gained two new friends whom I can trust with everything.

When my mom was still planning on coming up, all my friends asked me what I was up to this weekend. "My mom is coming up to visit," I said. They just looked at me. I guess viewing your parents as your best friends is a little weird, but that's okay. We've always been a weird family.

Originally published on upbintrotoblogging

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Health |  Source: jlhairston

9 Reasons Why Guy Friends Are Important

The besties with the testes.

Despite the constant accusations that you guys are dating, and comments from people that claim you would be perfect together, guy best friends are SO worth it. I had several in high school and I have a couple really great ones in college. Without them I don't know where I would be.

9. He's always honest.
He tells me when a guy will screw me over, how stupid what I just did was, and he's usually right about everything. He'll never lie to you or sugarcoat anything to save your feelings, because even when it's something you don't want to hear, it is something you need to hear.

8. He's a great wingman.
He knows your type and can tell who's worth your time and who isn't. He can set you up for formals and date nights, or just put in a good word for you at a party. He knows you'd do it for him, so he won't screw it up.

7. You can be yourself around him.
You aren't trying to impress him and you aren't trying to get with him so you can be yourself, which includes your quirks, psychoness, and gross tendencies. He isn't shocked when you burp in front of him or order a 20-piece mcnuggets plus fries and scarf it down after a night out.

6. He gives you fashion advice.
He tells you when you look fat in something, whether that outfit is right for the occasion, and if you look like a slut or not. You can drag him to the mall with you and he will give his opinion on what you're buying.

5. He sets you straight when you're bitchin or just being a bitch.
He knows your moods and knows how to make you shut up or stop with the drama. He won't put up with it like other people do, and he will make that apparent to you.

4. He always lets you know things from the guy perspective
He will let you know what the guy is thinking and will be your go-to friend for relationship advice. I go to my guy best friend about all my relationship problems because I know he knows guys better than my girlfriends do.

3. He scares off creepy people and is protective
He'll scare off that creepy guy at the bar by pretending to be your boyfriend or yell at the cat-callers as you walk by. In general just having a guy by your side is a pretty good shield for creepy guys.

2. He's an easy last-minute date to a formal or date night
If you're out of options for a formal or date night you can always count on him for a fun night with no drama. Unlike other guys, he won't pressure you to hookup with him after.

1. He's always there for you
He's always been there for you and helps you out in clutch moments. He'll come pick you up from a party at 4 am when you don't know what to do and he'll save you from uncomfortable situations with guys. He listens to you whine and offers his advice. He'll buy you food when you're broke and comfort you when you're sad.

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Health |  Source: popsugar.com

All About My IUD

It's never been so 'in.'

Birth control is a common topic for students. Yes, you should always use condoms, but it's nice to have a safety net in case circumstances prevent condoms from being used successfully (i.e. it breaks, you're too drunk, etc...).

Pregnancy is something that is not extremely appealing to college students (both girls and boys), so why not protect yourself against it temporarily? The most talked-about types of birth control are the pill, the shot, the bar, and the IUD. Every girl has her own preference, and most find one that works the best for her. This is the story of how I found mine.

During the summer leading into my senior year, I decided to get an IUD inserted. A lot of my friends discouraged me from getting an IUD, recommending the pill instead.

But I really didn't like the idea of carrying pills around with me everywhere, having to take them at the same time every day, and remembering to take them in general. I also didn't like that the pill would mess with my period and create side effects like it does for some of my friends.

For some reason, the idea of having a small piece of plastic filled with hormones in my uterus for three years did not phase me. I liked the idea that my gyno could put an IUD in and leave it for a long time before it had to be switched out. There'd be no reason to stress about getting a shot every month or having a scar on my arm. I wouldn't have to worry about becoming pregnant, and I'd feel safe and protected in the bedroom.

I had my appointment that December. It was slightly nerve-wracking, but I trusted that my doctor knew what she was doing. I had never been to the gyno before, so the speculum was a bit terrifying at first. Other than that, the five-minute process was not very painful- just some discomfort and pinching during the actual insertion, but I tried to relax my muscles and mind as much as I could to ease the uncomfortableness. The side effects afterwards were far more annoying.

I've never had such painful cramping and long periods, but both are starting to fade now. I'm supposed to not even get my period at all in the next few months! That's a bonus, but I'm still gonna take pregnancy tests every once in a while, just to be sure.

Over all, I can't complain about my IUD. It works, it's convenient, and I don't even notice that it's there. Sex without a condom is not the smartest thing ever, but if your partner doesn't have an STD, the IUD is reliable for preventing pregnancy. What guy would turn down raw sex? Getting my IUD was a lot easier with my mom by my side. She was very supportive about me going on birth control.

Although I decided I wanted to be on birth control before I was sexually active, she was relieved when I came to her and said that it would be in my best interest to get one ASAP. I recognize that some moms are not as laid-back about their daughters going on birth control, but teenagers and college students have sex, and it's best if it's protected sex. If you're debating getting on birth control, definitely consider getting an IUD. I strongly recommend it!