Friday, August 15, 2014

Autumn at Bath & Body Works [... and some info about a good cause]




I am so in love with seasonal scents from Bath & Body Works, and autumn scents are always my favorite. Recently Bath & Body Works has released tons of autumn scents and I am really excited. Sadly, they did not bring 'Aspen Caramel Woods' back, which was my favorite scent, but there seems to be a lot more exciting things to try.

Here are a list of some of the scents that Bath & Body Works has come out with for the fall season:

Pumpkin Cupcake
Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin
Pumpkin Caramel Latte
Sweater Weather
Leaves
Apple Orchid
Warm Caramel Apple
Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun

...and much, much more!

Please let me know what scent that you're most excited about. Post your favorite product in the comment section below! You can check out all the new products at BathandBodyWorks.com. And, no, I didn't get paid to write this. I just really like Bath and Body Works.

And this is a little bit off-topic, but I wanted to list some information about a good cause that's going on right now. Redditgifts.com is having a school supply drive, and sign-ups end on August 18th. As you should know, teachers usually pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, so they need all the help that they can get. There's tons of teachers in need and there's actually prizes that you can earn for signing up for this gift exchange.

Help us reach 6,000 donors by the end of Friday and open up tons of giveaways! 10 people will receive any item worth up to $40 from the reddit marketplace, 20 people will receive a year of reddit gold or elves, and 30 people will receive a reddit sticker pack if we make it. 

Here is some information from the website:

  1. There is no minimum or maximum value or suggested spending amount; we just ask that you send something thoughtful that will help a teacher in their classroom!
  2. Sign up for the exchange and choose "I want to send a care package."
  3. The morning of August 18th, 2014, we will close signups and our computer program will choose whom you will be sending a care package to.
  4. Once you come back here to pick up your teacher’s information, you'll have until September 5th, 2014, to ship your gift. When you ship it, keep a receipt and come back here to tell us you've shipped it.
  5. Once your teacher posts the care package you sent, we'll send you an email with a link.

I really recommend to donate some school supplies. Redditgifts is legit and this is a great way to help teachers all around the world.


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more random ramblings! :)
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression: Myths and Facts


After the death of Robin Williams, I've seen a lot of ignorant comments floating around about depression and suicide, so I just wanted to take a bit of time to dispel some myths that a lot of people seem to believe. I know that there's always been ignorant comments about mental illness, but I've been seeing a higher prevalence of such comments after his death. I just wanted to write this blog post for anyone who is struggling with depression, knows someone who is struggling with depression, or for people who just want to learn to help eradicate the stigma of mental illness. I'm just an 18 year old girl who has been struggling with mental health issues my whole entire life, and I don't claim to know it all. I've never been diagnosed with a mental illness, but I have struggled with feelings of anxiety, emotional pain, depression, mood swings, and emptiness almost my whole entire life, and it's caused me extreme amounts of suffering. I'm going to be seeing a psychologist eventually, but I just wanted to point out that I am not an expert. I am obsessed with mental health advocacy and I do want to help improve the lives of the mentally ill,  but I am not an expert, so please don't paint me as. I've done tons of research on mental illnesses in the last few years, and am currently spending several hours a day studying psychology in hopes of someday having a job in the mental health field and helping others who are struggling, but I definitely don't know everything there is to know like a professional would. But I do have a few things to say. So let's start with the myths:

Myth 1 -- Just make yourself happy, take up a hobby, etc. That will cure your depression. First of all, if someone's depressed, they can't just make themselves happy. That's the whole point of depression. Yes, they may have moments throughout the day where they feel some happiness, but most of the day is going to be spent feeling empty and miserable, and everything is going to seem bleak. Taking up a hobby isn't going to magically make someone happy. Depression is an ILLNESS, just like all other mental illnesses. Can you cure cancer by taking up a hobby? Nope. Illnesses need to be treated with proper medical care, in addition to diet, exercise, etc. Taking up a hobby may help you forget about your depression for a while, but it's not going to help in the long run.



Myth 2 -- Depression isn't real, mental illness isn't real. It's just a matter of changing your perspectives and then you'll feel better. Once again, can you cure cancer by changing your perspective? I don't think so. Mental illnesses show up on scans of the brain. Scientists have even invented blood tests that can test for certain types of mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are the result of neurotransmitters becoming imbalanced. They are not something that people make up to seek attention. Mental illness causes REAL pain and REAL suffering. Mentally ill people are not lazy, they're not pretending. They're in pain. Yes, there are some people who fake mental illnesses for sympathy, but it's usually easy to tell when someone is faking it because they usually don't know crap about mental health issues. Just because you see some people faking it doesn't mean that you should invalidate everyone who claims to have mental health issues. Some people fake cancer as well, but we don't invalidate people who ACTUALLY have cancer.


Myth 3 -- Depression is a "spiritual problem" Um... so a popular Christian blogger (Matt Walsh) wrote an entirely offensive article today stating that depression (and all other types of mental illnesses, I'm assuming) are not a chemical imbalance, but are rather the result of a "spiritual" problem. I'm not kidding. And he also took the time to be an absolute *insert whatever insult you'd like to put here * and say that suicide is cowardly and selfish, and that Robin Williams was a coward. At first I got incredibly angry at these statements and went into a rage, but I decided that, instead of being angry, I should spend my time and energy writing this blog post and hopefully a few people who are struggling with depression will stumble onto this and read the truth. You can take a look at the article here.

Depression, and all other mental illnesses included, are the result of imbalances in brain chemistry, in addition to environmental causes. If you are too lazy to understand brain chemistry, then I suppose you can go and blame "spiritual problems" as the result for mental illnesses, essentially putting all the blame on the person with the mental illness. Hooray for victim blaming! But, if you actually want to take the actual scientific route, then you would know that mental illnesses ARE NOT the result of a spiritual problem. Your neurotransmitters getting all imbalanced has nothing to do with religion. Anyone who believes that mental illness is the result of a spiritual problem is being incredibly offensive and downright insulting to everyone who has ever struggled with mental health issues.

If you think it is a spiritual problem, then please show me scientific research to back up your claim, because otherwise there's no truth to it. I'd believe you if there's proof that devotion to religion decreases mental illness, or that devotion to religion decreases the size of tumors, or that devotion to religion helps control your blood sugar levels, or that devotion to religion can prevent heart attacks, but I don't see any evidence of those things. The only evidence I have seen is that, according to scientific research, spiritual people are more likely to become mentally ill.
And if you still don't agree, then I'm sorry that you can't understand science, and I'd suggest enrolling into kindergarten. No offense to kindergartners, because a lot of them may understand more science than you do. :) Science is a lovely thing to learn, and it's quite enjoyable and fun.

Here's some articles that you can read about depression and other types of mental illnesses and learn about how neurotransmitters play a role in mental health:

Brain basics
Psychology 101 - Neurotransmitters
What are neurotransmitters

You can also take a psychology class if you want to learn more. If you can't afford one, there's some free psychology classes at saylor.com. Some of the lessons aren't completely accurate, but it should help you learn about brain chemistry and psychology.

Also, I don't really want to add my own situation into this, but I'll do it anyway. When I was a Christian, I was more miserable than ever before. Perhaps it's because I believed that I was destined to burn in hell for eternity and that my sole purpose in life was to worship and bring glory to some creator, but I digress. When I became agnostic (learning more towards atheism), I became a more calmer person and my mental health issues diminished slightly. I don't have as many anxiety attacks or as much paranoia anymore. So, if mental illness is a spiritual problem, then why did removing religion from my life somehow improve my mental health? I mean no offense to religious people (unless you're one of those religious people who oppress other people or stigmatize legitimate health issues, and if that's the case, then please travel to another planet, far, far away), I'm just stating that being religious never helped me. I prayed for God to take away my mental health issues, and it never worked. No amount of devotion to religion ever helped me.

The Bible doesn't talk much about mental illnesses, but if you are a believer in any form of God, then I just want to say to please not refuse to get treatment for a mental health issue just because you think that it's just a spiritual problem or that enough devotion will somehow cure it. If a God exists, he gave you psychologists, psychiatrists, therapy, and psychiatric medication for a reason. It is very dangerous to be struggling with something and not seek help for it. If you would seek help for diabetes, if you would seek help for cancer, then you most certainly can seek help for mental illness. It's just as legitimate as all of those illnesses.

Myth 4 -- Suicide is selfish. I see this thrown around way too many times. To anyone who thinks suicide is selfish, I just want to ask you this...

Which is more selfish?

1. Forcing a miserable person to stay alive so that you don't feel a little bit of grief, which is probably much less pain than the person who committed suicide had to deal with each day.

OR

2. Someone committing suicide while not intentionally trying to hurt anyone.

If suicide is selfish, then you're also selfish for considering suicide to be selfish. It is entirely selfish to force someone to stay alive for your own selfish desire. If the first thing that comes out of your mouth when someone commits suicide is, "why didn't they think about us," then that shows that you're only thinking about yourself. You're not thinking about them, you're not thinking about their pain, you're not trying to help prevent suicides, you're just being completely self-centered. A suicidal person is not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. They are trying to end their pain. Yes, a person should exhaust all options (medication, therapy, etc) before even considering suicide, but that's not always the case. Most suicidal people even think that people would be better off without them. And a lot have tried every option but are still not getting better and are stuck living a life of pain.

To the people who say suicide is selfish -- so you're saying that you'd be happy knowing that a family member is living each and every day in complete misery just so they don't upset you and cause you a little bit of grief? Why don't you think about what a suicidal person must be going through? Instead of pointing fingers at people, why don't you spend some time helping people who are suicidal and showing them that they can get treatment and that there is a chance of some of them getting better? Why don't you show them the ways that life is worth living? And if the first thing that comes out of your mouth is, "think about us, think about all the pain that we'd feel if you died," then please shut your mouth because all you're thinking about is yourself. Make a person want to live for THEMSELVES, and not yourself.

There is no point in shaming people who are in pain. Not only that, but think about the family members of people who have committed suicide. I'm sure they don't appreciate you being a scumbag and gallivanting on about how people who have committed suicide are selfish cowards. Show some freaking respect.

Myth 5 -- Depression and all other types of mental illnesses are untreatable. WRONG! I'm not going to lie to you. It may be a life-long struggle. Not everyone gets better. And there's also the fact that sometimes people can go into remission for a few years and then suddenly get worse again. But you could be the one of the people who do get better. If you're struggling with any type of mental health issue, please don't keep it to yourself. Talk to anyone you can, find someone out there who will listen to you. Find someone that you can lean on and someone who will help you through tough times. If you don't have anyone, please try a crisis hotline.

They are available 24/7 and they will help you through. It's not going to be all sunshine and rainbows, but you may look up one day and realize that everything has gotten better. Also, please try to seek therapy. And if you're dealing with something really severe, please try medication. It isn't evil. It's not dangerous. Yes, medication has some side effects, but it's better than the alternatives: living miserably or committing suicide because you can't deal with the pain anymore. You are worthy of life and love. Please don't forget that. And please don't be ashamed for being mentally ill. Mental illness is an illness, just like every other illness. It is not something that can be treated by trying to "get over it" or by plastering on a fake smile. You need actual treatment, just like every other illness.

Thank you for anyone who took the time to read this. I hope it wasn't too jumbled up. I was very angry while writing this because I am just tired of seeing such ignorant comments.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Loot Crate!!!




A lot of people probably have already heard of this subscription box, but if you haven't yet, I highly advise you to check it out. I recently signed up for it and I'm so excited. It's a subscription box called Loot Crate where you get a bunch of geeky things sent to you every month in the mail. This can be video game merchandise, comic book merchandise, etc. The subscription box is around $19 a month and this month's theme is villains. There are 4 days left to sign up for the July box, and if you're interested in comic books and gaming, then I'd definitely suggest signing up. I know that last month was a Transformers themed box and it included a really cool figurine and a t-shirt.

There's a mega crate that one lucky winner will get each month that includes tons of things valued at over $750. But even if you don't manage to get that, the subscription box is still worth it with all the amazing things that they'll send you. If you're not into gaming or comic books, you could still buy this as possibly a birthday present of some sort for any family members that you know of that are interested in things like this. It's like they'll be getting a gift in the mail every month thanks to you! :)

If you want to check it out, go to lootcrate.com.  Also, if you want to learn a bit more about the subscription box, here's a video from Loot Crate's website: