What Not To Say To A Person With Mental Illness

Since World Mental Health Day just happened on Sunday and I have yet to pay tribute to it, I wanted to shine some light on some ignorant things that are often said to people suffering from mental illness. I think it’s incredibly important to speak up about the seriousness of mental health and end.. the…stigma. I’ve already shared my anxiety story in a previous post (so if you’re curious.. go read) because I wanted at least one person to read it and know that it’s okay to talk about. I also want you readers to know that if you’re ever feeling down or anxious or anything in between, I am 100% here for you to reach out to or message. Don’t ever think that there is nobody out there. I understand your feelings and I know what it’s like to feel alone.

If this post is just TOO DEEP for you then you don’t need to continue.

Here are some things to NOT say to a person with mental illness:


“You’re just doing it for attention”

This one really gets me. Right, I’m having a full-blown panic attack just so I can make people feel bad for me. There are probably 4,000 other ways to do things for attention (like post a scandalous tweet or tattoo a lovers name on your forehead) and depression, anxiety and all the other illnesses out there aren’t those things. If anyone ever says this to you, let them know that they’re a total a-hole. Instead of pointing fingers and accusing.. use the energy to help each other.

“You’re too old to be acting like this”

IMPORTANT: You don’t outgrow mental illnesses. This relays to the ignorance and stigma towards the mentally ill. Saying this to a person can make them feel even more small and helpless, which are two things they DON’T need. Sure, it may be “odd” to you seeing a 22+ year old on the ground in a panic (maybe some screams included), but pushing them down when they need to be lifted up is the worst thing you can do. Also, several people have specific things that trigger them.. don’t make fun of them for not being able to swallow a pill, ride an escalator, go into crowds, etc. It’s beyond their control.

“Everyone Freaks Out About Things..”

Yeah, some people get nervous for a job interview or a first date.. but that is not an ongoing mental illness. The average persons “freak out” is a 2 on our scale of 10. We know that nobody is completely worry free. Although you may be trying to calm us down and make us feel “just like everybody else”, it’s unfortunately not working.

“What Do You Want Me To Do?”

Just be there to hold our hand and help us come out of whatever if happening. Asking us what to do can push us deeper into a panic or depression, because we don’t even know what to do. Just keep telling us it will be okay. Knowing you are there for us is good enough most of the time.

“I Thought You Were Over This?”

There are good times and really bad times with mental illness. You can go years, months or weeks with nothing going wrong and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you are completely debilitated. So no, unfortunately the “over this” was only temporary. It can always creep back on you. It doesn’t mean it will ruin you forever, but there will be times worse than others. Be patient and accept us during this time.


Never stop fighting for our acceptance in society. It will get easier.

Don’t forget to laugh and smile and be beautifully you.

If you need help.. get help. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s like going to the doctor for the flu.

Thanks for reading and helping to end the stigma.

xoxo Emily

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11 Terrible Things Better Than Donald Trump Becoming President

If you keep up with modern day America, you should probably know that the Presidential elections are taking place is 2016. We have one year left to decide who has stolen our vote and the candidates are coming out swinging.

Another key fact you should probably know is that Donald Trump is running for president. I’ll repeat that just in case I lost anyone due to trauma: Donald Trump is running.. for.. President. That’s right.

So, what? It’s not like anyone actually wants Trump to run our country. Who would ever choose him over Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders? GUESS AGAIN, FRIENDS. He is LEADING in several polls across the U.S. Just when I was starting to get really proud of America for making progress in society (Obama being president, Hilary Running…). Is it too soon to start looking for places in Canada?

I’ve decided to compile a list of some pretty bad things that would be BETTER than Donald Trump being elected for President in 2016. Here they are:

11. George Lopez Punchlines on Repeat ALL DAY

Lopez may be painful to listen to when it comes to comedy, but OH DOES HE HATE THE DONALD. We could live with a little “WATCHA”.

10. IKEA Going Out of Business

How WILL WE EVER survive without the fine Swedish craftsmanship? And what about all those hours spent trying to understand the instructions? If you’re a lover of all things IKEA, this will be hard for you, but much better than… need I say it?

9. Coffee Drought

Goodbye Starbucks and Dunkin’. The beans are all burnt up from the rage of America for Donald running for Prez. Let’s kick the Caffeine addiction if it means no Trump in office.

8. Polar Ice Caps Melting

It’s happening anyway, keep up the pollution, Gang!

7. No. New. iPhones.

HOLD THE PHONE, literally. Stopping at the iPhone 6 may seem like an okay way to end it. You never miss what you’ve never had.

6. Student Loan Rates Rise Above 20%

I mean, what’s like 10% more than what they already are? We will probably get there soon anyway, so let’s take it like champs to keep away GRAMPS (Trump).

5. Grandparents Following You on Social Media

Hopefully you’re up for talking about the sweater you knit and what cookies you’re making for the rest of your life.. cause Grandma’s got an eye on ya. Family loves you unconditionally, so we will survive a few mistakes online. AGAIN, BETTER THAN TRUMP BEING PRESIDENT.

4. Outlawing Dog Ownership

Cute, cuddly and GONE FOREVER. A world with no puppy companionship would be a sad world, but nothing compared to the sad America we would see with Trump running the game. Ruff Ruff.

3. Any Other Republican Candidate Winning

They all suck. (If you’re a Republican here’s your cue to leave). But if having one of them take office is the only way to save us from The Donald.. bring em’ on.

2. Chipotle Getting Rid of Guacamole

Closest thing to the end of the world. But, if it would mean no Trump, I think we could live without having to pay an extra $1.95 (maybe).

1. Having Jared Fogle Invite you to a Sleepover

This is probably the worst thing I could think of which is why it earned it’s spot as #1 on this list. (If you haven’t heard, the ex-Subway spokesman is guilty of Child Pornography and other gross molestation nasty shenanigans). Let’s just hope Fogle is rotting in prison by the time this presidential campaigning heats up.

How I Stay Energized Without Coffee (From A Former Caffeine Addict)

    About a year ago, my daily routine included waking up and going for a Starbucks black iced coffee. I would go to class, get whatever else I needed to get done and then end up going for another cup. The typical routine for a college student (especially in the busy city). It was great for a while; I felt like a superhero able to do whatever I needed. I had extra energy to work out and stay up all night to finish homework.  I went to Starbucks so often that I had earned the privilege of the almighty GOLD CARD (a special gold, glittery card with your name on it which gives you a free drink after 12 purchased drinks).

I thought everything was great until I noticed that the stimulant had started stimulating.. but way too much. It triggered my anxiety disorder and had me shaking and in full-blown panic mode. I knew I had to kick it to the curb. Not only were my poor teeth suffering from the heavy staining of black coffee, but my nervous system just couldn’t take it anymore. I was pretty upset that I had to let it go; there is nothing I love more than a fresh brewed cup. But now, a full year later, I am doing completely fine without it.


Here are some ways that I keep energized WITHOUT coffee..

1. TEA

If there is one thing I could hype up to everyone.. it’s tea. Not only are a good amount of teas really healthy for you, but most of them taste really, really great. There are plenty of caffeinated options such as green tea and black tea that range from 25-70 mg which is plenty to give you a buzz to keep going; brewed coffee has 200 mg of caffeine (and if you’re anything like me.. beware). When I’m really not feeling caffeine at all, Rooibos tea is great caffeine-free option and they have the best flavors.

2. EXERCISE

It may sound backwards, “how can putting out more energy make me less tired?” But, believe it or not, working out is one of the best things you can do to feel more energized. Even if it’s as simple as a walk around the hood or a bike ride with your guy/gal (or even your dog if you have a basket) you are getting your heart pumping and body moving which is enough to make you feel better.

3. DIET

Nobody’s perfect: I can’t say this enough when it comes to eating. Especially if you’re from the Midwest like I am, you understand that we love food and no one can stop us. But if you substitute your deep dish and everything Portillo’s for some healthy alternatives you will notice a serious shift in your mood and energy levels. When the body is getting the nourishment it’s supposed to be, you will feel it from the inside. Start your morning with a healthy breakfast instead of a few donuts and notice the difference. It truly speaks for itself.

4. SLEEP MORE THAN 4 HOURS

I know.. so hard, right? If you live a busy life you know how hard it can be to get a good nights sleep. But, try your best to not put sleep on the back burner. Your body needs at least 6 hours to be able to function properly throughout the day (even though 8 is recommended). So, if you can, cut your night out on the town a few hours early (if the sun is coming up you’ve probably over done it) and get that needed sleep time. You will feel way more energized than you thought possible.

5. KEEP BUSY

If you have a full day agenda, you will keep moving and keep focused which in turn keeps you from sitting around and feeling sluggish. Start a hobby, join a club, make plans with friends you haven’t seen in a while and get going! There is a good chance you’re not as tired as you think you are.

If you guys can relate to the coffee blues, then try out some of these tips and you will no longer be reaching for that cup o’ joe. 

6 Struggles a Chicago Student Searching for an Apartment Knows Too Well..

The time has come to leave the dorm rooms behind and say hello to your own bedroom. You’re in your twenties and the thought process is like: “I’ll just find an apartment this year.. they’re everywhere”… and yes.. they are.. but, it is a little harder then that. With Fall quickly approaching, know what to remember and look for while on the hunt:

1. You Want the IKEA magazine apartment on a student loan budget

The easiest way to sum this struggle up is that you probably have exceptional taste and standards.. which is normally awesome. But, unfortunately your Logan Square apartment might not be exactly what you have envisioned. I mean come on, what do you expect for $700 a month. It’s all about how you decorate and hide the imperfections. Sorry, but unless you have the money you will not be living on the Gold Coast… and that is OKAY.. you are broke probably.

2. You Find the Perfect One! (or So You Thought)

“A 2-bedroom, 1 Bath place in the middle of Wicker Park for $900 a month? The pictures look sooo nice.” I think we have all been here. You have found a great deal and it looks like what you want (and there’s even exposed brick). You schedule a viewing, you walk in AND WHAT THE HELL IS THIS. It’s not hard to take make a place look okay through pictures. Just know that going in you may not see exactly what you’re expecting. Again, going back to #1, if you don’t have a lot of money.. don’t expect the best in Chicago.

3. UTILITIES

This pretty much speaks for itself. Water, gas, electric, cable, and internet: AND NO YOU CANNOT LIVE BY CANDLELIGHT AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH BOTTLED WATER WHILE WATCHING NETFLIX OFF YOUR LAPTOP. I mean you can, but who really wants to do that. Just remember while looking for apartments you will want to factor in the extra $100-$150 bucks a month and don’t think just because you didn’t use any that the roommates will cover you… they will kill you.

4. Access To The CTA

Unless you are that one kid, you don’t have your car in the city (PARKING AND GAS DOWNTOWN ARE BOTH CRAZY OVERPRICED) and you rely heavily on the Chicago Transit buses and train lines. Most colleges now provide the Ventra Student Pass which allows unlimited usage for one low fee included in the tuition.. which is super nice. So, while looking for your new place, pay attention to where the closest transit is located. If you are on Craigslist and it says “close to transit” that could be BLOCKS away. Unless you want to waste your spending money on Uber rides.. plan ahead.

5. Know What Neighborhood You’d Like To Be In

Do not blindly go into apartment searching and wind up in Englewood (sorry Englewood). Do your research online and ask fellow students and Chicagoans where they live. Chicago can be a threatening place if you don’t know where to be. Places like Wicker Park, Logan Square, University Village and Lincoln Park are good spots to be if you can find a deal.

6. Finding The Right Place Could Take Weeks

Don’t just jump into the first place you look at (unless you waited til the very last minute). Try at least 3 places and make the decision then. Scrolling through Craigslist and other apartment searching websites can be super annoying and tedious, but if you want the apartment of your undergrad dreams then recruit your roommates and start a hunt.

Don’t get discouraged, keep looking and you will find a decent place to live. We are in this together, College Kids.

Frappuchino Crappy Hour — Finals Week’s the Worst.

It’s 4:30 and I’m sitting at Starbucks dealing with the overwhelming stress of the last two weeks of the semester. Who knew art school would induce the want to jump from a moving vehicle? Okay, it’s not that bad.. But I am just WAITING for those summer weeks of freedom from deadlines and grades.

I chose to visit a Starbucks at the absolute worst time: 3:45 during frap happy hour. This Dearborn street location is (unfortunately) right next to a high school so I came at the perfect time to push past a thousand teens just to get a tea and steal their wifi. 

Sitting here I can kind of compare my next two weeks to the employees of this Starbucks during happy hour. Everything is calm, people just come in for their coffee and go on their way, and then the time comes and everything is THROWN AT THEM. Then eventually the calm comes again and it’s all over.

Do you get my analogy? It makes a lot of sense in my head. 

So I’m trying my best to pull it together and come out strong (despite dealing with some serious conflicts that have made it very difficult). 

For those of you struggling with the end of this semester… I’m with you.

Try not to drown yourself in liquor.

Do I Attract Creeps (and other concerns from being in the city)?

Just a typical Monday and I survived my long morning commute to Chicago via train. The music in my earphones drowned out the chatter of people arguing with the conductors about why they don’t have a ticket (this happens every time).

I grabbed a black coffee to wake me up from the corner bakery outside Union Station as I waited for my Uber. My first uber cancelled on me (I couldn’t believe it) and I was eventually picked up by Jayc, my very kind driver. He was concerned about my drop off point saying “we gon’ get jumped over there”.

I finished my slow, dragging class and went into my usual panera to sit, not eat, and use their Wifi: The joys of being a part of the technological generation. I was approached at my quiet little table by a boy who asked to sit with me. I passively agreed and looked back at my tablet… But then, of course, he wanted to talk.

I guess I can’t accept friendliness as friendliness in a world where a guy talking to a girl often ends in them asking for your number. He wanted to know everything about my college experience. I just wanted to bask in my loneliness.  Does this make me a cold-hearted wench? I’m not sure.

Additionally, during my panera trip, a homeless man quietly ventured through the restaurant asking for money and food. I have neither so I did the traditional bitchy Chicago thing and ignored him.

During my last year, when I used to actually live downtown, I was involved in some sketchy situations. I was an innocent bystander in a 7/11 hold up. I had a presumably mentally ill man whisper in my ear “y’all gon die” referring to my friend and I; not the most comforting message at 3 am on the CTA. I had a “rapper” come up to my roommate Taylor and I offering us some Patron. I had an insane boy try to kill me because I didn’t want to date him (after one day of meeting him).

Each day downtown provides you with some incredibly interesting stories. There is always something happening and there’s nothing better than fearing for your life sometimes, right?