On a recently unusually cold morning in Massachusettes, I started the day like I typically do, listening to Pandora Radio. Scrolling through my 99 stations (of which I honestly only listen to like, 10), I stumbled upon and selected 90s R&B. After suffering through a series of commercials, I heard a familiar beat with synthesizers, baseline, and a kick drum that made way for melodious vocals. I recognized it from the very beginning: TLC’s “What About Your Friends” (1992). Now, I was only four-years-old when this song first hit the airwaves, but having older sisters pretty much meant that this song was on constant rotation at the time. 25 years later, and I’m still dancing around the room every time it comes on. The only difference is, I’m now more aware of and see the value in the lyrics because having incredible friends who stand by you at your lowest low and highest high is one of the most significant and necessary elements for one’s overall well-being.
Since starting this blog, one of my main goals was to address mental health, and I’ve been really candid about sharing my own ups and downs, much of which started, unsurprisingly, when I began my freshman year of high school (what is it about that age???). I was experiencing so much and wasn’t quite sure how to cope until I found unhealthy strategies that weren’t really helping me properly cope or heal, namely self-harming. Thankfully, I didn’t stay there long, and to this day, I firmly believe music is one of the things that pulled me from this darkness. It was one band, in particular, that helped me put into words what I was feeling inside, helped me know that I was not alone, helped me find somewhere I belong.
Last week, Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, succumbed to the demons that plagued him for so long, the very same demons he helped save me from. I’m still processing and mourning such a deep loss, and as an adult who largely grew up with him and his bandmates, I know I can never listen to those albums the same. Chester left this world without a suicide note because, if you listen closely to those lyrics, every painful and angst-filled song was one. We found peace, understanding, and even hope within each album. And while I’m so thankful for what Linkin Park did for me and so many others, I only wish Chester had, too, been saved. I don’t know what support systems Chester had, but I hope you know that if you ever find yourself in the darkness, please look for the light. Seek help. Tell me. Tell someone you trust. You don’t have to walk this road alone. I promise.
In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
Crisis Text Line, the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis, is here to support. For support in the United States, text HELLO to 741741 or message at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine.
For support outside the US, find resources at http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html
Now, to honor his work and legacy, here are five (plus two LIVE bonuses) of my favorite and most meaningful Linkin Park songs from their earlier albums. #RIPChester
Happy Monday, friends! It has been exactly 101 days since my last post, and while I never intended to take a break, particularly one this long, I need you to know that it was needed in a way I didn’t realize or expect. And it’s probably no surprise that my return is one day after the new moon–a point where we leave behind the old and make way for the new. I don’t think this period of the month or my life could have come at a more perfect time! Now, the break was hard, as are most disruptions and endings. But when we let go of that which does not serve us, when we leave behind the pain and suffering, we make room for peace, love, and joy. I’m feeling empowered and renewed this morning, and I’m so happy to be back, so here’s to this new moon and new beginnings. May goodness abound. And before I share all the goodness and positive changes I’ve encountered over the last three months, I feel like I need to explain my absence. In short, I no longer felt like myself.
Happy Wednesday, friends! On this edition of Wellness Wendesday, we’re once again looking at the intersection between technology and wellness, this time at an iPhone and Android-friendly app called BoosterBuddy, a free app dedicated to improving young people’s mental health. BoosterBuddy first made its appearance in 2014, and has since garnered 31 MILLION Facebook likes! In fact, 95% of people who’ve tested the app found it to be very helpful, fun, and easy to use. So, what does it do, exactly?
Yesterday, Washington Post journalist, Amy Ellis Nutt, published an article reporting the inadequate and oftentimes nonexistent mental health resources and treatment available to adults. According to an annual assessment conducted by the non-profit organization Mental Health America, “Twenty percent of adults (43.7 million people) have a mental health condition, and more than half of them do not receive treatment.” But what is even more alarming and applicable to the work I care most about is that not only are depression rates among youth rising, but “80 percent of children and adolescents get either insufficient treatment or none at all.” 80 PERCENT!!!! Eighty percent. I cannot wrap my head around that number. It feels almost overwhelming–as if there are too many young people suffering, and not enough mental health workers or effective public policies to affect real change. This is obviously an oversimplification of the problem, but I believe we can and should be doing more to improve everyone’s mental well-being, especially children and adolescents.
So, this Dear Kermit… is less of a letter from someone in particular to me, but it’s my letter to you all–to all those who suffer…who suffer in silence…who suffer out loud…who suffer among loved ones who just don’t get it…who suffer within a society that belittles, trivializes, or even denies one’s mental illness. This one’s for you.
Happy Friday, friends! We made it to this week’s finish line, and are just a few short weeks away from summer vacation (woohoo)! Earlier this week I shared that May is National Mental Health Awareness month, and if you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that Kermit Says… devoted this week’s posts to all things mental health. One thing I realized is that some individuals oftentimes privilege visible illnesses over invisible ones. Why? Why do we take a broken fist more seriously than a broken mind? Just because you can’t see that someone is suffering, doesn’t mean it’s not happening and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to support them and provide resources to help them.
Happy Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a beautiful, relaxing weekend. As last week’s Mother’s Day theme comes to an end, another themed-week begins. May is National Mental Health Awareness month, and this week’s posts couldn’t come at a better time. After recently talking to a number of my former students who currently find themselves cramming and stressing out over their college finals, I figure now is as good a time as any to share some helpful reminders on the importance of taking care of your mental health; what you can do when you’re down and out, anxious, grieving, or anything in between; and how you (we) can combat stigmas and provide support. Here’s hoping today’s post encourages at least one person! Sending lots of love and rays of sunshine your way ❤