Eight months ago, my best friend told me she was pregnant. I was ecstatic – happy for her, her husband, her family, and for a new chapter of friendship that would be simultaneously just like it had before and also, entirely different. At that point in my life, I was in my last semester of graduate school and just beginning to study for the licensing exam that would later make me Sarah Henry, LGSW. I was looking forward to what was to come and proud of what I had worked through.
On March 27th, 2018, I passed that licensing exam.
On September 14th, 2018, her baby was born.
A lot has happened in-between.
Five months ago, the same friend and her amazing husband moved back to the small town in PA where her mommy and I spent years growing together. Swimming in lakes, making music videos, laughing until we cried...we, for the majority of the time, acted like complete lunatics and I loved every minute of it. The plan: to raise their soon to be daughter in the same place that her mommy had grown up, close to family and friends, and surrounded by a community of loving people. In that same month, I graduated with my MSW in Maryland, excited to take the world by storm as a new social worker, but nervous that my upcoming trip to Europe would interfere with my next professional goal – finding a job.
On July 1st, 2018, my fears were realized. Having just returned home from a trip that was incredible, eye-opening, and emotionally exhausting all at the same time, I was jobless, (mostly) penniless, and forced to take the step I had been hoping I wouldn’t need to take. I moved back in with my parents.
Just about three months have passed since then and I’ve found myself humbled by this process - having let go of many of the dreams I had six months ago to allow space in my heart for new ones to grow. It has been a process that has involved acceptance and forgiveness, all while dealing with a feeling of failure wrapped up in the realization that I have not yet reached the passion filled and deep-rooted goals I set for myself months ago.
In early July, the universe gave me hope – as I began a job search that still had so much potential for a positive outcome, I had faith in what was to come. But days and weeks passed and that hope dwindled as I drove from state to state for interviews that would come up short, watching the numbers on the gas gauge go up while my bank account quickly emptied. I wrote and submitted what seemed like buckets and buckets of cover letters, at least enough to start a decently sized bonfire, and networked until my capacity for any more human conversation had cracked. I faced frustration and tears. I felt lost and hopeless, and I just wanted to give up.
But August and September brought me excitement as I found joy in reuniting myself with other passions. I spent time nurturing old friendships and being reminded of the love within the community that I grew up in. I completed my first quilt - mentored by my mother whom I have watched for years making quilts for those she loves, including me. Today, I laid my sweet baby niece on this quilt, sitting beside one of my most special friends who has blossomed into the loving mother that I knew she would become the day she told me she was pregnant. I sat down and played the piano again, not only hearing the songs that I love but somehow, creating them myself. I picked up a pen and paper, wrote out my feelings, kept some to myself, and found the courage to share others with the world. And somewhere, somehow, I found the energy to write more cover letters, drive to more interviews, and sustain the exhausting reality that has and continues to be getting on my feet again.
Today, I feel calm. Maybe, it’s because I have been offered a few jobs, one of which I am feeling excited to accept and will likely begin in a few weeks; a job that I was drawn to only after allowing myself to let go of the very rigid career guidelines I created for myself months ago. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling grateful that the universe has somehow wiggled me through challenging times in order to bring me joy in others that I would have never experienced without those challenges. It reminds me that God has a funny way of putting us right where we are supposed to be and carrying us through moments that are honestly just the worst. I know I’m not alone in this. I know that many people find themselves feeling lost one month only to find hope again the next. I know that I am lucky to have hope at all because I have seen people live through realities that are much more horrifying than any I have ever had to face. I also know that at some point in my life, I will be met with hard times again, times that test my patience and make me question my own passions, some of which will be easier than others and some which may just make me feel like I am going to break again. I am no stranger to those moments, and I know I will never be stranger to them. I’ve found peace in knowing that they will come and I will meet them where they are with the strength that I have built along the way. I am encouraged knowing that I will continue to find comfort in the people, places, and things that exist by me, for me, and within me...through the dark, through the light, and through everything in-between.
We spend our days looking forward to what comes next (or at least I do).
I spend so much time thinking about what I'm working toward that I often have difficulty enjoying the moment I'm in. Sound familiar? I know I'm not alone in this.
Most people I know are shooting for their next big thing - a solid relationship, a new job, a more exciting place to live - you name it - we've dreamed it and we want it. But how does that feel now? How does that affect our self esteem in those moments where we haven't quite reached that dream or secured that "new" reality that we've been working toward. I can tell you from experience, it doesn't feel great.
So, why do we spend all of this time focused on something else? - something that we feel is bigger, more exciting, or more aligned with what society expects of us at age 25 - 35 - 45 or wherever it is we are in life. We've got to have goals right? We can't just sit here, choosing not to work toward our dreams because that wouldn't get us anywhere either. But at what point did we decide to sacrifice happiness in the present in order to achieve "happier- happiness" in the future? Because it seems to me that one day that "happier-happiness" in the future is going to become the present and then there we'll be again - designing a new goal in our minds and no longer enjoying the present that we worked so hard for in the past.
So, where's the balance?
I definitely haven't figured it out yet. How do we shoot for our goals while remaining fulfilled in the present? Maybe it starts with accepting that there isn't ever a single place we need to be or exact reality that we need to achieve to be happy. Maybe part of working toward your dreams without being destructive to yourself in the present comes with forgiveness - choosing to be ok with where you are, even if it's not where you expected yourself to be. And maybe, it starts with choosing to ignore the pressures of society that tell you that right now you should already be wife, CEO, mother, musician, artist, friend, and advocate ALL AT ONCE. Maybe, just maybe, there's a place between the person that you are and the ambition that you have - a place where who you are right now is perfectly right and wonderfully OKAY - a place where you can dream and plan but understand at the end of the day that you, your life, and the reality that you walk in is still just as valuable and as beautiful as what is coming next.
I know its a continued battle for myself - you bet I'm not there yet. Today though, I've decided to be ok with that. Okay with the fact that I still haven't found that balance and that I have dreams yet to be reached. Today, the sun is shining and I am writing - two things that I love and right now those are the only two things I need to be happy.
An Important Note: Sharing one perspective can often lead to stereotyping and the overgeneralization of a specific issue or group of people. That being said, it is important to recognize this post as one person’s story and not the experience of all teachers and students. It is not meant to reflect every urban teaching experience, but rather to open people’s eyes to the reality of the hostile environment that exists within many (not all) inner city schools and the negative effects teaching without proper support and resources can have on an educator’s mental health.
I remember sitting on my bed on the seventeenth floor of my downtown apartment building feeling trapped both physically and mentally - inside the walls that were holding me there and the mess of emotions I’d collected over the previous months I’d spent teaching. It was crazy to think how naïve I’d been four months prior to that moment – naïve to the reality of the adult world, my own inner demons, and the true horrors that had existed for years within the city that I now called home. I felt so much in that moment, yet I was frozen in fear, scared to move forward in life, and unsure how to get out of my own head. At that point in time, a jump from my seventeenth floor window seemed like one of my better options. Lucky for me, I made a phone call and an appointment with a psychiatrist instead.
About four months prior to that phone call, in August, I’d started my first real job out of college as a fifth grade teacher in a low-income public school in an east coast city (which shall remain nameless, as to avoid further stereotyping). This was my dream. Working with kids was what I lived for. I wanted to do something good and make a difference in the world – and at the time, teaching in a place most people don’t want to teach in seemed like the right way to do that. Yet, here I was in a troubled inner city school, with very little support, and might I add – no formal training as an educator, oblivious of what was to come. As you might imagine, a strong passion for something so important with little foundation for success can lead to a rather messy cocktail of emotions. And, as most people warned me would be the case, it was the hardest, most mentally taxing thing I’d ever done. With time, my passion faded and my anxiety and depression creeped back in, just as it had in high school. I struggled to relate to my students, had no time for myself, very few people to talk to who knew what it was like, and I started viewing myself as a failure - anxious to come into work everyday, yet scared of what would happen if I left the only job I that was supporting me financially.
Imagine something you’ve always wanted – and I’m not talking about that fancy new car or expensive handbag you won’t ever come close to affording. I’m talking about that deep-rooted dream you’ve always been passionate about, something you feel you were born to do, something that drives you out of your bed in the morning because it’s just that important. Then, picture yourself holding it in your hand for one minute and placing it on the ground in front of you, right where you can see it. Then have someone put a solid, bulletproof, glass window in-between you and that dream. You can still see it, but no matter how hard you try to reach it, or the tools you use to break that barrier, you just won’t.
Well, that’s how I felt trying to teach.
At first, I woke up everyday and went to work because I was passionate about my job and my students. I loved every bit of each one of them, despite what obstacles we faced in the classroom. Every story and every little face that looked to me with such trust made me more determined than ever to be better and do better as their educator. They deserved so much more than what they were getting, but I didn’t know how to give them that. I barely knew how to meet their needs and when I did, I either didn’t have the necessary resources or the time to do what I needed to prepare. Slowly, day-by-day, things started to fall apart. There was asbestos in the walls, lead in the water, students punching each other over pencils, kicking you when you tried to break-up a fight, banging their heads against the wall, throwing chairs at other students, flipping desks, and screaming until they were red in the face, most likely because they’d never been truly heard by anyone before. The Internet didn’t work for weeks, yet I had fifty students to submit grades for. My kids couldn’t learn because there weren’t any books but the ones I provided them with out of my own pocket. I couldn’t plan proper lessons because I barely knew how and my planning periods were filled with the after math of the violence that occurred in my classroom on a daily basis. I started to lose weight because I had to hold lunch detention myself and didn’t have time to eat. The more energy I gave, the more exhausted I became, and nothing came back in my favor. No one was learning in my classroom and I not only felt like a failure at my job, but I grew to fear the students that I loved and hate the person I’d become. The months went on and I got more and more anxious. I’d wake up in the mornings struggling to breathe because I knew I’d have to spend another day pulling students off of each other, wiping blood from their fists, and crying in the staff bathroom – with not a single person coming to my aide in a time of crisis. I felt my students were unsafe and I felt empty – stuck in an authority role where I was failing to protect the little bodies and minds of tiny humans who needed me. Calling in sick was my solace on a few occasions, but there was only so much recovery I could achieve in one day.
Once November rolled around, I broke down. The only motivation I had pulling myself out of be each day was the paycheck I needed keep up with my rent. I was miserable, anxious, and dangerously depressed. I’d spend the entire 30 minute commute to school thinking about which tree or building I could run into that would get me out of work that day. I started to give my students packets of work because I didn’t feel my classroom was a safe environment for them to interact with each other. I wasn’t myself anymore and I no longer stood for everything I used to believe in. Once Thanksgiving rolled around, I felt like a different person. I was thinking dark thoughts and crying every night on the phone with my parents, unsure what to do next. Then, my worst day of teaching rolled around and I officially reached my breaking point.
It’s not as important to talk in detail about what happened on my last day of teaching, as it is to simply say that it was traumatizing. I left my school that day without any advanced notice, never looking back. I’m choosing to refrain from the details because the story has the potential to stereotype my former students – which is something I’d like to avoid doing. At no point did I ever blame the kids I taught for their behavior or the state of the school I was in. It is more complicated than that. The blame lays elsewhere, in politics and racist, oppressive policies that keep low-income, minority families in schools that are unsafe, failing to support them and their teachers. I will always believe in my former students and I will always pray that they are able to achieve their dreams, despite the obstacles thrown at them everyday. Sometimes I lay in my bed hoping that the teacher that followed me was better prepared, stronger, and more equipped to meet their needs. Because on this day, I reached a point where I was no longer helping anyone, including myself.
It’s sad really that I had to reach such a low before I was able to recognize that I should no longer be working in a job that made me feel like life wasn’t worth living. It’s even worse that I’m not the only first year teacher who’s ever felt this way. And what really still gets to me is that very little is being done at a policy level to change inner city schools so they are safer for both students and teachers. Unfortunately, the education gap is real. There are kids going to school less than five miles from each other: one group sitting on Ipads and planning language immersion trips abroad and others simply hoping they won’t be shot walking to school that day.
My reality is this. I didn’t leave teaching because I wanted to. I didn’t quit because I stopped believing in my students and the people that I know they are capable of being in the future. I didn’t walk away from the most emotionally involved job I’ve ever had lightly. I left because I had to. I went my separate ways because I had no choice but to do that for my own mental wellbeing. And, after almost two years of recovering from the toll it took on me, I remain more passionate than ever about raising awareness about the mental health challenges students and teachers face in urban schools – so that other dreamers and doers who decide to teach won’t find themselves alone in a job that holds so much meaning but takes so much of who you are with it. We need to create a world where people feel supported, especially in jobs that are often paired with pain. We need to support the good in the world so that it becomes a better place for this country’s children and their children after that.
It can be difficult to be open about the very things that have hurt us most. We are social beings – we worry about what other people think and spend more time than we should paying attention to the opinions of others. It’s easier to hide ourselves from the world and pretend to be people we aren’t. The internal need we have to form a tight friend group and be accepted within our various social circles can often lead to secrecy and a lack of self-acceptance. So, how do we grow to be so comfortable with ourselves that we no longer hide any part of who we are to please others? How do we increase confidence and build a community around us that accepts every part of who we are?
It starts with our stories
& sharing them.
When I say stories, I don’t mean where we grew up, why we work where we do, or what hobbies we have. When I say stories, I mean the deep, meaningful things – what really makes us tick? What inner passions drive us to wake up in the morning and live another day? What makes us cry? What makes us smile? How do we feel when someone ignores us? What parts of our families do we love and what parts have driven us to create different lives for our children than the ones we had in childhood? What has happened to us and what has shaped the person we’ve become?
Part of developing a real sense of self worth and embracing our beautifully flawed personalities starts with removing toxic people from our lives and surrounding ourselves with people who accept the real us. It comes with our ability to share every part of who we are with the world, unapologetically, and we can't do that if we are worried about what others may think. We all know the saying: if they're real friends, they won't care & if they care, then they aren't real friends. Well, it's true.
There is something incredibly cathartic about opening up. It’s scary because there’s always the chance that someone will be turned off by our honesty. Yet, once we start to surround ourselves with good people - kind people - people who want us to be ourselves, it becomes increasingly difficult not to be just that.
So, if you’re hiding something because you’re afraid – don’t be. The people who love you will accept that truth. Those who don’t will fall slowly out of your life and it will be to your own benefit. You'll find that those who leave you will also leave room in your heart for a new community of people who truly love you, for you.
Remember ya'll. There's always an upside.
Thinking back on my life, I realize now that I’ve always struggled with anxiety, even as a child. I didn’t really know how to label it back then because as a kid, you have no idea what’s going on in your head or why you’re feeling the way you do. Anxiety is not a term people just throw around in daily conversations either. Even if people recognize it, they don’t usually talk about it. As far as I was concerned, I was an over thinker. I was easily stressed - detail-oriented – high maintenance. These overwhelming qualities I had were personality traits that were a part of me. I was that kid who couldn’t go to sleep unless my bed was made in exactly the right way. I experienced actual, breath-taking frustration when things weren’t the way I wanted them. People reminded me on a daily basis that I was difficult and dramatic…and I was choosing to be that way. As I understood it, this was something I was doing to myself.
It’s interesting to look back on these moments as I grow to be more in touch with my emotions. I never really knew all of my sleepless nights and insecurities were a result of my anxiety until I got to college and had to figure out a way to take care of myself. Years passed and I grew more and more aware of the fact that it wasn’t necessarily normal for me to be overwhelmed to the point where it got in the way of my daily functioning. I've cried and laid awake at night simply because of one small thing someone said or a bad grade, and I recognize now that it's because I’ve been dealing with anxiety my whole life. It’s only been within the last few years that I’ve been able to acknowledge this part of me and learn to live with it.
It’s crazy to think that the simple act of admitting to myself that I have an anxiety problem has helped me more than any coping mechanism or self-care technique I’ve ever tried. I have anxiety. And it’s okay for you, the one reading this, to know about that part of me. Having anxiety doesn’t make me less important and it surely, doesn’t make me weak. I get worried about things that are small, sometimes I’m unable to complete daily tasks because my fear of failure is so intoxicating, often I panic about nothing or spend hours fixated on one issue, and other times, I isolate myself because it’s easier than facing the uncertainties that life brings. In my head, I paint every situation to be more serious than it actually is and I don’t always have control over that.
It’s anxiety and it’s real. There’s been no bigger step forward for me than acknowledging how anxiety plays a role in my daily life. As I’ve grown to accept it and embrace how life works for me, I’m better than I’ve ever been before. Now, when I feel anxious, I am able to recognize those feelings early on. I accept their presence but don’t let them take over. I fight anxiety with exercise and writing because that’s what works for me. Unapologetically acknowledging this part of myself that I’ve always been afraid to reveal to others has helped me become stronger and better at coping. My anxiety is no longer something that defines me. It is there and it will always walk with me, but now, when it wakes me up in the middle of the night screaming loudly in my ear, I shout right back. My anxiety is part of me, but it will not break me, it will not control me, and most importantly - I will not apologize for it. It is who I am and I'm okay with that.
Life is tough, especially in your twenties. We’ve all been there. Let’s see - you’re in that sucky bottom-feeder job where your pay stinks and hours are long, you’ve moved some place new and don’t have time to meet people your age because of that crap job I just talked about, or maybe you’re just eating cookies out of the box every night because life is stressful and chocolate chips are a good solution to most shitty situations. Whatever it is, we’re hard on ourselves. Life can get busy and it’s easy to forget to focus on yourself. So, here’s a few, quick changes you can make to your daily routine that will help you pick yourself up and keep those happy juices flowing.
Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again - get up and get moving! Set your alarm for that god-awful hour of the morning before the sun is up if that’s what you have to do to fit this in. I promise that if you keep it this up consistently, you’ll feel happier and more energized despite that hour of sleep you may be losing as a result.
TWO: Take vitamins.
You’d be surprised how helpful vitamins can be for our mental health – especially B-Complex. This stuff is gold. B-complex vitamins help your body convert food into energy. Taking these is not only good for you, but it will give you that extra kick-in-your-step you’ve been searching for and provide you with the energy you need to live a happy, fulfilling life.
THREE: Take more bubble baths.
We’ve got to get clean right? Showering is a normal part of our days already. Why not add a few bubbles and scented candles to the mix and really soak up that YOU time? Baths are not only amazing, but they help with deep muscle relaxation. Hot water can ease muscle cramps and prevent those tension headaches work is probably giving you. In fact, if you really spike up the temperature, a bath can serve as a natural detox - activating your lymphatic system and helping your body to sweat out toxins.
FOUR: Eat healthier.
Research actually shows that eating healthy is a protective factor when it comes to anxiety and depression. Meaning – if you eat unhealthy you’re actually more likely to be anxious or depressed and making this particular lifestyle change can prevent that. This one can be tough – veggies are expensive and sometimes stress makes you want to snack on something a little more satisfying than let’s say, a bag of kale chips. Luckily, if you can resist the urge, this change requires very little added time to your day, as it’s important to eat and you simply just need to swap out that junk food for something more nutritious. This change will up your energy and make you feel better about yourself. Pair it with that exercise and vitamin B-complex and you’ve got yourself a confidence cocktail!
FIVE: Leave work at work or set some boundaries.
Pick a time, anytime, and never allow yourself to work past it. This can be difficult, especially if you’re in a taxing job and it requires a lot of hours outside the office. However, if you’ve ever been in a job that consumes your entire life, you’ll know that nothing good comes from working all hours of the day. You’ll find that if you cut yourself off at a certain point, you’ll actually be more productive when you are working – as you’ll be less exhausted, less frustrated, and more effective at your job. This change also has the potential to make you more successful in the workplace, as you’ll be fully invested when you are working and less likely to burn-out.
For some reason, we live in a world where people spend more time breaking others down than they do building them up. Going to a therapist and talking about mental illness are particularly taboo subjects. People, myself included, often filter their therapy experiences out of social conversations. Here’s why we should stop.
Reason #1: Needing someone to talk to is normal
We all have challenges. Whether you are living with mental illness or it’s just one of those days where nothing is lining up in the way you feel it should, we could all use a little support in our lives from an unbiased and judgment-free third party. People are social beings. We crave love and support from others, often repetitively searching to have our feelings validated while life continually falls short of that expectation. A therapist provides a relationship that we cannot get elsewhere – as speaking freely about our problems to friends and family is sometimes paired with another challenging emotion – whether that is fear of judgment, feeling that you have become a burden, or disappointment when a loved one doesn’t have time to listen to you at all. Social relationships are complex, often making deep, emotional conversations difficult for you or for the person you love. Having a therapist as a sounding board, with no strings attached, offers a repetitive, consistent security blanket that is not easily replicated in other areas of life.
Now, don’t get me wrong – talking with friends and family is important and has perks that you won’t get from a therapist either. The love a human receives from social relationships is incredibly valuable and cannot be replaced. However, it is often helpful to have someone to talk to whose sole purpose is to focus on you, your problems, and your goals. Even more importantly, it’s okay to need that and it’s okay to want it. A lot of people do. You should be proud that you have found an effective way to satisfy your emotional needs. Most people search their whole lives for a way to do that. Mental health is no joke and you have chosen to commit time to building your self worth. There is strength and power in that.
Reason #2: Secrecy breeds pain
Nothing good comes with a loaded secret. Think back to those times in grade school when you lied about where you were and got in trouble for it or said something negative about someone else only to have it circulate around and bite you right back. Secrets hurt. People keep them because they’re worried about what will happen if they get out. The anxiety, sadness, concern, and guilt that is often paired with a secret eats away at the human consciousness and puts a barrier between you and your sanity. Hiding the fact that you’re in therapy is no less excruciating than that.
People hide what embarrasses them. They box up what makes them vulnerable because building a wall is much easier than explaining the ins and outs of your emotional self. But what if we stopped being embarrassed about it? What if we decided right here and right now, that it’s okay to talk freely about the things that bring us deep, sometimes unbearable pain? Emotions aren’t anything to be embarrassed about. Everyone feels emotions; some people just express them less often. And those deep, dark emotions – the ones that no one talks about: depression, anxiety, misery - those rock-bottom emotions – are the ones we need to express the most. The pain that you feel is real. It’s okay to embrace it. Being scared of it and feeling guilty for being miserable will only add right on to the feelings of loneliness and isolation that you’ve come to therapy to battle in the first place.
Reason #3: People won’t ever understand what they’ve never been exposed to
More often than not, people don’t know how to respond to dark, deep-rooted emotions. In fact, some people feel those emotions and don’t even know how to understand them in their own lives. Part of this comes from this world’s sucky track record for oppressing those with mental health challenges and exiling others whose lives don’t live up to “societal expectations.” More often than not, the people who seem closed to hearing about your therapy experience are the people who’ve never met someone who’s been open about therapy before.
It’s vital to break down this barrier so that people can learn to accept those around them, regardless of whatever shitty situation someone is walking through or not-so-sparkly story they are telling. Part of breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness and therapy is being open about the real parts of it – the good, the bad, and ugly. Trust me, there’s so much relief in speaking freely and uncensored. We also can’t expect those who have never experienced therapy to be immediately open to or understanding of the concept. The first step in evoking empathy in others is to share the real truth you’ve been hiding. In order to get to a place in the world where people who are hurting can shout for help from the rooftops and find the support they need, we need to be truthful. Our openness about therapy will help others feel okay asking for help.
Reason #4: It’s not as uncommon as you think
I promise you, if you start talking about therapy you will find people who are right there in your shoes – people who’ve cried about what you’ve cried about, people who’ve laughed at the things that make you smile, people who’ve found frustration in the same things that turn your stomach inside out. There are more people in therapy than you probably realize. The thing is - they are hiding their experiences too. It’s easy to feel alone in your therapy journey because no one’s talking about theirs. Start mentioning it in your daily conversation. People might do a double take at first, but I promise friends will fall into your lap that you never thought you’d have and people will find comfort in the real you. You will grow to be confident in yourself because you will be embracing all that you are and not hiding a huge part of yourself from the world anymore.
Reason #5: Your bravery will inspire others
You’re scared. I’m scared. Honestly, most people on this earth are scared about something in their life. Committing time to therapy is a brave thing. Sitting in a room with someone and consistently verbalizing the very things that shake you to your core is the definition of strength. There are few things more difficult than exposing your heart to the world, for that is the deepest, most emotional part of our inner selves.
Being open about therapy will not only give you a sense of relief, knowing that you no longer have to hide a huge part of yourself to satisfy some messed up social norm, but it will also give relief to others. As you change the way you speak, the people around you will grow to be open to their own emotions too. As you embrace your truth and share that with the world, the world will open around you and people will start to find strength in you. People will start to be comfortable in their own skin and the world will continue to grow as a more accepting and kinder place full of people who are not afraid to show their true colors. There is beauty and joy in helping others find strength in their lives as you continue to find strength in your own.
Featured quote: "What is stronger than the human heart, which shatters over and over and still lives." -Rupi Kaur
Trigger Warning: This blog may discuss topics related to mental illness and trauma that could be potentially triggering. If you or anyone you know is in crisis, please click the link below for 24/7 support. Dial 911 if you or anyone you know is at immediate risk to yourself, themselves, or another.