Feature Articles

Inside Out Challenge: Taking Beauty to the Next Level

What if the inside does not reflect what is seen on the outside? 

Most of the time, people suffering from mental health problems hide their pain and struggle with a mask saying ‘I am okay’ when in reality, they feel like they are going to burst any moment.

Beauty blogger and mental health advocate, Yasaman Gheidi, encourages everyone to not be afraid of peeling off their fear and start accepting the scars caused by personal experiences with mental health problems through a make-up challenge.

Covering up with powder of lies

Gheidi admitted in an Instagram post that she is suffering from depression and anxiety. During a party at her workplace, she experienced panic attacks which made her leave the party earlier than expected. After that incident, she was terrified of questions from her officemates asking where she’d gone. Gheidi’s fear of revealing her illness even compelled her to ask her partner to cover for her. She then questioned herself on why she felt the need to hide the real reason for her early departure that night–wondering why she can’t say out loud that she has a mental illness.

“Why did I have to be ashamed and lie about my anxiety attack? So many wonderful and amazing people suffer from the same mental illnesses that I do on a daily basis. Why can’t we just talk about it openly? Mental illness shouldn’t have to be hidden away, let’s start to talk about it,” she further explained about her realization.

Smudge colors of hope

On January 9, 2017, Gheidi posted a video on her Youtube channel entitled “The Inside Out Challenge.” In the first part of the video, her face was adorned with her usual make-up and a smile on her lips. As the video progress, she started erasing the make-up, revealing the bare half of her face. This time, her eyes turned dull as she started drawing lines using her make-up brushes. At the end of the Youtube video, half of her face was painted in blue and her eyes were surrounded with black pigments of teardrops.

INSIDE OUT CHALLENGE 1
Game changer. Beauty blogger Yasaman Gheidi was inspired by the movie Inside Out in creating her viral online campaign where she encourages people to share their struggles and raw thoughts on mental illnesses. Pphoto from cosmopolitan.com

 

She wrote on her Youtube page that she created the challenge to raise mental health awareness by expressing what she actually feels inside through the art of applying make-up. She later revealed that the Inside Out Challenge was inspired by the Pixar film, “Inside Out.” Gheidi also revealed that the incident which happened at the party is what pushed her in creating the said online campaign.

Full look of courage

On top of that, it made her really happy that her video became viral. Ever since she posted it, a lot of people have been speaking out the truth behind their mental illnesses through photos and videos of the said make-up challenge campaign, creating art out of their scars.

One of the most viewed posts under the Inside Out Challenge is from an Instagram user named, Brit Gorman wherein she painted half of her face with a white pigment accompanied by scribbles of thoughts and stigma surrounding mental health patients.

INSIDE OUT CHALLENGE 2
Of beauty and pain. One of the people who admired Gheidi for doing the challenge is Brit Gorman. In an instagram post, she shared how she dealt with anxiety disorder and how she got the strength to push through with life in the presence of her mother. Pphoto from mymodernmet.com

 

She stated the reason behind her make-up on her post, “Anxiety affects me more often than depression, and my mind is constantly buzzing. Small thoughts (like sending a text or remembering someone’s name) often feel just as important as the big ones (like a family crisis or financial emergency.) The internal buzz can make my heart rate spike, and put me into panic mode for no good reason.”

Gorman thanked Gheidi for taking the initiative to start the campaign and for bravely speaking up about her mental health condition. Aside from Gorman, more people are posting their make-up looks on their social media accounts under the hashtag: #insideoutchallenge. As a way of giving back to the people who are supporting and contributing to the Inside Out Challenge, Gheidi keeps on reposting her favorite photos and work of art on her Instagram page.

Gheidi and the people who’ve joined her campaign are engaging the people to discuss their own experiences with mental health which would help the public to further understand the complexity of these problems.

Her fight against depression and anxiety is what started her online campaign which now serves as a creative outlet for people in the same situation as her. She gives them hope by turning a mundane thing such as make-up, as a tool to express their courageous battle with mental illnesses.

Feature Articles

Spark of Change: Taking Mental Health Issues into the Light

It’s time to step out of the shadow and talk about mental health issues.

The misconceptions surrounding mental health problems have been sitting in the dark for so long, making it hard for people with mental health issues to actually seek help and openly talk about what they are going through. UK rugby player, Luke Ambler, wanted to shed light on mental health issues by starting the campaign called #ItsOkayToTalk.

Sliver of light

It broke Ambler’s heart when his brother-in-law, Andrew, died of suicide last year. Until now, he and his family are still grieving from the death of their beloved Andy. Due to this heartbreaking experience, it dawned on him that issues about suicide and mental health are hardly talked about in the environment he is living in, so it inspired him to start creating change in hopes of saving people with the same illness as his late brother-in-law.

He started the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign by posting a photo of himself on his social media accounts doing a hand gesture which means ‘okay’. His post was accompanied by the campaign’s hashtag and the growing number of Australian men who have chosen to put an end on their lives. He then encouraged five of his colleagues to post the same thing and nominate more people into spreading the information about mental health and suicide.

okay-to-talk
It’s okay to talk. Luke Ambler, a Halifax rugby player and the founder of Andy’s Man Club support movement for men encourages every man that’s it’s alright to talk about their problems. Photo from: http://www.recoveryfocus.org.uk

 

Ambler also wanted people to share their innermost thoughts on their battle with a mental health problem along with the post and the hashtag. Soon after, thousands of selfies and encouraging messages have been posted with the #ItsOkayToTalk hashtag and it overwhelmed Luke and his family.

Passing the light of change

Ambler also stated that he doesn’t expect to create a larger impact on the world by just using the online platform for the campaign so together with his friends, he also formed a community of Australian guys who gather weekly to share their thoughts about their mental health troubles and talk about what has been bothering them. The group is called, “The Andy’s Man Club” and its name is an homage to their deceased friend, Andrew.

The Andy’s Man Club was made to reach out, speak to people, tell them how you’re feeling, and never let it get too bad because it’s okay to talk, and we all go through struggles in life”, he further explained in an interview with The Telegraph.

Moreover, people have appreciated the effort Ambler has been putting into his advocacy. Even some celebrities like Matthew Lewis who played Neville Longbottom on the Harry Potter series and Ricky Gervais who is more known as David Brent from the film called The Office, have supported the campaign by posting about it on their social media accounts, eventually gaining more attention from the public.

1
Photo from: http://www.newstatesman.com

 

Change, in full brightness

Since the creation of the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign together with the weekly club gatherings, it has been making a change in the lives of people who have suicidal thoughts.

He stated that the support the campaign receives from all over the world made him so happy. Most of the messages he got from people of different races stated that they fully support the cause Ambler is trying to spread and they are willing to help him get the message across the world in any way they can.

Meanwhile, Ambler has been doing talks about suicide and mental health all over the United Kingdom together with The Samaritans charity organization. Recently, he discussed the message and goal of the campaign with Prince Charles at a gathering at the Clarence House. According to him, it was a dream to talk to Prince Charles and he was looking forward to making the campaign known globally. The efforts he had been putting for the project was worth it because of the overwhelming support it received from the public.

It has been phenomenal. It is eight months since we started and not even a year since Andy died. There is still a lot of grieving taking place, but it gives us the strength to keep fighting,” he shared.

Luke Ambler turned his grief into something inspiring which would serve as a step towards changing the lives of people suffering from mental health problems. Join him in his advocacy to help in saving the lives of people who have problems with their mental health. Let them feel that it is definitely okay to talk, to cry and let it all out and most especially, to seek help. Lastly, make them feel that they are human, and as human beings living side by side in this world, everyone needs to stick with each other, for better or for worse.

Feature Articles

Fiction Meets Reality: Movies about Mental Health

Sometimes, what you see on screen does not really reflect what is happening in real life.

But the movies listed below perfectly captured the real struggle of people suffering from mental health problems.

Try watching this recommended list of movies to better understand what people with depression and anxiety is going through.

Amelie

amelie_poster
Amelie’s official theatrical poster. (Photo from google)

This French film is about the Parisian life of Amelie and her struggle in finding her place in the world. Raised by a family who did not want too many social interactions, she grew up really shy and lonely. When she turned 18, she moved out of their house and tried to find her life’s purpose. As she lives independently, she unravels a mystery about a boy who lived in the apartment she’s currently occupying and she promises herself that if this adventure would turn out really good, she’ll dedicate her life to making other people happy.

Amelie reminds us that, giving love, kindness and compassion are never a loss on a person’s part; it just makes the world a better place and every people, a better person.

The Hours

the-hours-poster-the-hours-8411486-1024-768
The Hours official theatrical poster. (Photo from google)

An award winning movie which touched the hearts of the public when it was released back in 2002, The Hours revolves around the story of three girls dealing with depression. The movie shows the viewers how people suffering from this illness find it difficult to seek help because they fear the judgment of the society more than anything else.

Melancholia

mv5bmtk4njm0mji3mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnjcxmdyzng-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_
Melancholia official theatrical poster. (Photo from imdb.com

Lars von Tier, director of the film, got the idea of the story during one of his treatments for depression, wherein his therapist told him that people suffering from depression often stays calm when faced with catastrophic situations because they have been through worse.

Melancholia is the story of two sisters, one getting married and one, a depressive and how they faced the end of the world together.

It’s A Wonderful Life

5164phrtw2l
It’s a Wonderful Life official theatrical poster. (Photo from amazon.com)

George Bailey just wants to be happy and help the people who need him but things do not feel right in this quest, leaving him with thoughts of killing himself and depressive episodes.

Ever since he was a child, he was so used in sacrificing his happiness and his heart’s desire just to help the people he cares about. He did not know that through this, he was leaving himself empty, making himself feel hollow and worthless so he decided to take his own life by jumping off a bridge. Good thing is, an angel sent from heaven came to the rescue and made him see flashbacks of his life which lead to him finally appreciating his worth.

Revolutionary Road

revolutionary_road
Revolutionary Road official theatrical poster. (Photo from imdb.com)

The film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DeCaprio is about a husband and a wife struggling with their careers, tainting their relationship with cheating and distrust. Their neighbors at the Revolutionary Road thinks that their life is perfect and everything is smooth sailing when in fact, everything is falling apart. After a heated argument which led to the wife’s fleeing out of their house, she came back next morning with a decision that would change the life of her family and how their neighbors portray them.

The Virgin Suicides

4ac58334d9663e5672d6251199b5f86d
The Virgin Suicides theatrical poster (Photo from pinterest.com)

A 90’s film directed by Sofia Coppola tackles about how isolation from human interaction makes one feel alone and unworthy of love. The Virgin Suicides is the story of five teenage sisters who all killed themselves because of depression caused by their parents’ over-protectiveness after the loss of their eldest sister. This depicts the reality that when people isolate themselves too much from life and social interactions, one may suffer from huge consequences.

After watching these films, share it with your friends so more people would be aware of the truths surrounding mental illnesses. In that case, we might be able to live in a world where mental health patients are treated with respect and compassion.

Feature Articles

The Scars Project: Turning Pain into Beauty

Battle scars turned into beautiful beginnings.

People suffering from mental health problems often feel like they don’t deserve the life they are given. They try to inflict cuts and bruises on themselves because they think they deserve those.

Australian tattoo artist Whitney Develle wants to change the way these people feel about themselves by giving free tattoos to cover up self-harm scars and make them feel good about themselves, flaws and all.

WHITNEY DEVELLE-THE SCARS PROJECT
Ink on Skin. Whitney Develle, a third year tattooist based in Melbourne, Australia uses her love for the craft in raising mental health awareness by giving free tattoos to survivors of self-harm. (Photo by Whitney Develle’s Facebook page)

Sprout of an idea

The idea of giving free tattoos came to Develle last year when she attended a party and met a girl battling an eating disorder and depression. On the arms of the girl, Develle found two words written in scars caused by self-harm which says, “Don’t eat.” Develle felt saddened by the fact that this girl thinks that she is not worthy to eat or even to live so she suggested covering up the cuts with a tattoo. The girl agreed and Develle then painted over the scars with a bouquet of flowers.

Develle shared that she was overwhelmed by the reaction of the girl after the session, and felt like she wanted to do more of this. She shared, “The way the tattoo made her feel, it was like she was wearing armor on top of her scars. Seeing the expression on her face and how happy it made her, I thought what a great idea to be able to do that for more people.”

After that life-changing moment, she decided to cover more cuts and bruises from painful past experiences. She wanted to raise mental health awareness by using the thing she’s most capable of: turning battle scars into beautiful pieces of art.

On March 2016, The Scars Project started; she posted an announcement on all of her social media accounts about giving a free tattoo once a week to survivors of self-harm for a year. She immediately received thousands of messages from people who want their scars to be covered with a tattoo designed by Develle.

MITCH-THE SCARS PROJECT
Of art and pain. This tattoo was one of the latest designs that Develle inked on the skin of a boy named Mitch, who found out he was gay and resorted into inflicting cuts to himself for the world made him believe that something is wrong with him. Fortunately, he has friends who supported him throughout his journey and he finally accepted who he really is. (Photo from Whitney Develle’s Facebook page)

Root of change

A lot of people had been trying to reach out to her, requesting for their scars to be covered by her tattoo designs. After getting thousands of emails on the first day after the announcement, she decided to prolong the project in order to accommodate all the people who have sent their messages.

Originally, The Scars Project was planned to run for only a year but since she wanted to attend to all the requests, she promised to give huge discounts for the other clients who wouldn’t be able to make it to the list for the year of 2016.

Moreover, on a Facebook post, another client shared her gratitude to Develle’s kindness and passion on raising mental health awareness stating that, “I came to terms with my scarred body many years ago, and most of the time forget they are there, but it made me rather uncomfortable when friends, family and even strangers would comment on them and ask ‘why did you do that?’ I sought out Whitney and discussed covering my left forearm which was the worst of my limbs, not because I was ashamed or embarrassed, but because I was ready to move on from that chapter of my life.”

The Scars Project have been changing the lives of people who suffer from mental illnesses and abuse. Develle’s wish to create a change in the world definitely came true and she encourages everyone to do the same by using their talent into something that would make the world a better place.

Growth from the tough land

Whitney Develle believes that the world is too cruel to judge a person by their physical appearance, and that is why she created The Scars Project. Now that more people know about her project, she feels really happy for her tattoos to be a part of the journey towards a better tomorrow for people dealing with mental health problems. She says that this project is now part of her heart and her soul.

“Every person we meet in life is facing their own struggles. We don’t know what someone has been through or how hard they’ve had to fight, to judge a person on appearance alone is just ridiculous. I hope to change that by turning their scars into something beautiful, something worth embracing — a sort of badge that screams ‘I am here and I am more than my scars,” shares Develle when asked about how she wanted to inspire more people by doing this project.

DEVELLE-THE SCARS PROJECT
In the act. Develle happily inks her design on one of her clients. Her genuine care and passion for her work make the client at ease as she turns battle scars into beautiful tattoo pieces. (Photo from bbc.co.uk)

To know more about Develle’s advocacy, you can visit The Scars Project in her Facebook page. Always remember that your scars are the representation of how strong you are and the chance for a new beginning is always waiting for you.

Feature Articles

Alya Honasan: On Words and Purpose

“I think anybody who writes from direct experience comes from a very informed place, but when you combine that with fearlessness and a strong desire to speak your truth, then readers can tell and they will respond.”

 

ms alya
A born fighter. Alya Honasan shares her insights to people who are afraid to take medication and encourages them to do whatever it takes for them to feel better. 

 

A survivor’s fight

Alya Honasan, a Lifestyle writer at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, shares her story on coping with depression through writing her personal experiences about it. She also shared her insights on mental health and how writing somehow gives purpose on what she’s been going through.

Honasan first encountered her depressive episodes in 1990’s and she described it as a hollow block not leaving her chest. She gained a lot of weight and always slept at four o’clock in the morning, making it hard to concentrate at work. She once shared in an article she wrote that she felt like crying first thing in the morning and eventually, it turned into something worse. One day, she just couldn’t function–she couldn’t even write which was the only thing that she knows she could do forever. That was the time when she realized, she needed help.

After knowing about her own state, she immediately consulted a psychiatrist who then diagnosed her with clinical depression and advised her to take Prozac, an antidepressant. Her family was new to what she was going through, which made it even harder to cope with her illness.

Now that she is more stable because of medication and meditation, she continues to do what she needs to do in order to fight her illness. She sees her psychiatrist for two months, and as for her meds, if she feels better for months straight, the dosage will be reduced but if she’s experiencing too many depressive episodes, she has to go back to the original dosage.

Moreover, as part of her healing process, she had voluminous journals of thoughts during and after her depressive episodes. She also opts to do more of the things she loves such as taking care of her two dogs and attending yoga classes.

Her words as swords

Honasan loves the way words are a writer’s weapon in helping build the world a better place. Writing and informing people about the causes she believes in made the writing process therapeutic and fulfilling. The writing process greatly helps in coping with her illness, so she promised to write about mental health every chance she gets in order to raise awareness on the said matter.

“Now that I’ve generally got it under control (her depression), I write as often as I can about relevant subjects, because helping others overcome the unnecessary shame and fear gives some purpose to the experience, too. The fact that I can make myself understood as a writer in a mainstream newspaper means I can reach and potentially help more people,” she explained on how writing about her illness and personal experiences becomes a huge part of her healing process.

She shared that most of the people who have read her articles about mental health issues have contacted her directly on Facebook or email. They thanked her for her insights on the said topic and for giving voice to those people who are suffering from a mental illness. Honasan shared that these kind of messages are overwhelming and at the same time, it adds up to her passion on publishing more articles which discuss mental health issues.

The promise of hope

When asked for a message for the people who also suffer from depression, she said, “Get help, because life can be so much better. Find the right doctor, because some may not be ideal for you and please don’t be afraid of medication. It can ease a lot of the pain, and no, you won’t become dependent or crazier, although you have to see how you react to it. Don’t let self-righteous people tell you how to manage your illness.”

Alya Honasan’s story, as well as the stories she writes, serves as hope for those who are still afraid to get help or to talk about their condition. Her newfound purpose as a writer and a mental health advocate helps her in fighting her illness. She hopes to enlighten the public on this issue which is sitting in the dark for ages, not getting the attention it needs. By writing about mental health issues, she wishes to create a sliver of hope that the country needs in order to help people going through the same thing she does.

If you doubt that it gets better, Honasan’s story is a proof that it does. With the help of your loved ones and your own self, you will soon find a way to love yourself despite your illness.

Feature Articles

Unravelling the Truth beyond the Lies

It’s time for the Filipinos to take part in breaking the stigma surrounding issues on mental health.

In the Philippines, there is an alarming number of people suffering from mental health problems, but still, there is insufficient help that is done for those who are in need. As of this moment, these people remain in the dark and are continuously pleading for the rightful actions to address the country’s dilemma.

But despite the said national problem, hope has seemed to be immediately bestowed upon these people who suffer from mental health problems.

In order to help shed light on issues surrounding mental health, Ira Giorgetti, a 23-year-old Latin honors graduate of the University of the Philippines Film Institute, turned his school project into something more life-changing for the benefit of many people.

Through his short film entitled, The Truth as Told in Lies, Giorgetti hopes to spread awareness about depression and suicide in the country.

I believe mental health is an overlooked aspect of wellbeing in Filipino society, as it is in most of the modern world. Film is my way of expressing my message in a convincing, entertaining, and captivating way that still drives what I’m trying to say home to your everyday viewer,” Giorgetti answered on why he created a film that advocates mental health.

Giorgetti’s short film was originally a part of his university dissertation that mainly centers on suicide and aims to raise awareness on mental health issues such as depression and abandonment, including its impact in the real world; be it in the lives of rich or poor people alike.

ayufdtf1tpbarldg3ebhxo7urmywmihf5vhxge4x1

xmk23uzoskciqkcbwu5d
From college project to nationwide project. Ira Giorgetti’s storyboard of his short film, The Truth as Told in Lies. (Photo from indiegogo.com)

 

The Truth as Told in Lies is a story that tackles about abandonment and abuse.  Viewers will get to see what it is like be left behind, leaving a kind of pain that eventually turns into scars. It is a mark in which it can change the fate a person for the rest of his life.

The film revolves around the life of a boy named Dominic, who spent his childhood under the hands of his abusive mother. As a way of escape, he attempted suicide but failed, making his way inside a coma. Now, with his current state, he has no other choice but to helplessly watch his mother as she retells his story through her lies.

 

gpn4p7x4acwafiv42v7y
His only escape. Dominic, who is in struggle of living with his abusive mother, attempts suicide but had himself in a coma instead. (Photo from indiegogo.com)

 

Not only does the film exposes the stigma revolving mental health issues, but also it lets people experience the world of Dominic, or the people with mental health problems in general, and see all the misconceptions from their own point of view.

On the other hand, the film has garnered critical acclaim in the Philippines, even headlining a series of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, as well as gaining attention from various mental health associations.

Moreover, in order to have more supporters for the film, Giorgetti made a partnership with the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation and he also hopes to widen the mental health campaign in the Philippines.

Raising awareness alone does nothing. It’s the equivalent of running someone over on the road, getting out of your car, and telling everyone else to look at that person on the floor. You have to take action!” Giorgetti shared.

Giorgetti’s film is only one of the few projects in the country that hopes to break the stigma in issues about mental health. But like what he had mentioned, raising awareness is not enough, there has to be an action as well. Through his creation, he had implanted in the minds of many people that mental health is a serious yet overlooked matter in the country.

As of this time, there are already various charities and foundations which prioritize mental health. The only thing left to do is to keep fighting and supporting these groups of people in the journey towards a country that fully supports those who have mental health problems. These people must know that they are not completely forgotten and set aside by their countrymen.  That no matter how hard their situation may be, help will always be on their way.

Feature Articles

Collecting Life Fragments through Lens

fragmentary-poster
Fragments of one’s self. Photograph by Daniel Regan during his 2015 exhibition entitled Fragmentary, a project exploring the dual perspectives of both clinicians and the artist as a mental health service user.(Photo from fragmentary.org) 

Broken, scattered pieces of oneself on the ground.

As we get older, the scars and the cracks get bigger, making it hard to deal with life and to fill the empty spaces it brings. Living with a mental illness is like having to collect broken pieces of yourself every day; you have to try your hardest in order to survive.

Daniel Regan, a photographer, and a mental health advocate talks about how he managed to collect his fragments and how he deals with his mental illness through photography.

***

Daniel started to realize that he had a mental illness when he was in his teenage years because he deals with situations differently from other guys his age. He felt like he was being consumed by his emotions, making it hard to follow through everyday life. The good thing is, he discovered photography and he used it as a way of expressing himself and how he sees life and the world.

“It’s my artistic medium and what I do best. It’s also an increasingly democratic and universal creative medium that’s understood by society,” said Regan on why he chose photography as a platform for raising mental health awareness.

He loves capturing the world through a camera and he also wanted to explore mental health issues. With this hobby, Fragmentary.org was born.

Fragmentary.org is a UK based online hub of artists and photographers where they share personal photos and experiences with mental health. All of the collaborations from the online community ranges from local to international photographic projects as well as other artworks making it popular all over the globe. The site has reached a wide array of supporters, informing the public that one can heal through art.

Abandoned
An old picture attached to a slowly disintegrating wall. Daniel Regan’s work focuses on themes of emotional states, well-being, and the human condition. (Photo from fragmentary.org)

Regan shared that the blogsite’s name came from a personal project called “Fragmentary,” where he showed series of his medical records and his representations of it through photography. The project tackles the dual perspective of both the patient and clinician and the spaces between. The word fragmentary also represents the diverse fragments of human experience and stories told through art.

“I felt that as someone exploring mental health in their own work there was a lack of a community of artists exploring similar issues. I wanted to create something that felt safe and a creative hub for artists to share very personal work and experiences,” Regan explained.

Aside from showcasing photographs and interviews, Regan together with his fellow artists and photographers, gather once in a while to conduct mental health-themed exhibits and events. The gatherings are informal and open to anyone who wants to share their thoughts and ideas regarding art and mental health.

While pursuing their love for the craft, Fragmentary.org also plays an important role in educating the public about mental health issues. According to Regan, five years from now, he sees the organization as a fully developed hub of artists working in different ways to understand and express mental health.

Through photography and helping others find their way through life with the same art, Regan feels more stable and hopeful now. He is slowly gathering back the pieces he lost during his teenage years, understanding himself and his illness better through his lens.

Now, the pieces are in his hands. He keeps trying and waiting for the day for it to be whole again.

To see more photographs and artworks at Fragmentary.org, click here

Feature Articles

How to Cope With Depression and Anxiety

Often times, a person dealing with depression also suffers from social anxiety, and if you are having trouble coping up with two of these mental health problems, we’ve round up five things which are proven to help people with anxiety and depression on most of their panic attacks and rage of emotions from the biggest health websites namely: Project NHS, webmd.com and  and helpguide.org.

People who suffer from the said mental illness can’t just ‘snap out of it,’ because the healing process takes time—­a lifetime even. It is a constant battle between choosing to get out of bed and live life or build walls of terrible thoughts around you which will not even permit you to breathe. The thing is, there are baby steps to take so someone with depression and anxiety could get through the day and hopefully, with life.

***

It is not easy to socialize but surrounding yourself with people who knows that you suffer from depression and/or anxiety would help. It pays to surround yourself with people who are informed enough with your illness and still support and love you anyway. Stay connected with them as much as possible because being supported and loved is sometimes all we ever need to get through the day.

636028523184190514-37662593_happy.jpg
Of laughter and acceptance. Spending time with the people who truly understand what you are going through and encourages you to have a good time is a vital part on nurturing good thoughts about life and yourself. photo from The Odyssey Online

Hearing them talk, laugh and share stories with you or about you will make you realize that these people are there with you, flaws and all. Human interaction is a need­­­­—for no man is an island and it is good to be proven wrong in  thinking that you have no one at all when in truth, there are people willing to spent time with you, with or without your illness.

It may seem hard but eating healthy and exercising daily could actually help boost one’s mental health condition. Foods that contain omega-3 fats helps boost your mood while caffeine and alcohol cause underlying effects to your brain. You may hate leaving your bed in order to get some fresh air however, walking somewhere you feel comfortable around would help your mood a lot. It does not have to be a long walk, a 30-minute stroll would be good for starters but if you feel like the exercise helps in clearing your mind, then put your favorite playlist on, your comfortable foot gear and your brave face on. Run like you are so much bigger than the world and its mess.

How-Going-for-a-Run-Keeps-You-Safe-from-Depression-460051-2
To run is to breathe. Running releases endorphins and it also helps you to get your mind off things. photo from softpedia.com

Music helps boost endorphins so if you are feeling really down and anxious for the day, spin a playlist that will help you calm down. Know what kind of music triggers sad memories or thoughts and know what kind of songs you can really connect to or make your heartbeat goes back to normal when you listen to it. There are also playlists available online which was proven by scientists to help calm socially anxious people. If you are in a place where you can’t get hold of a music playlist, try breathing techniques or counting until the panic slows down.

A time for doing things that makes you happy should always be on top of the list. Appreciate what makes you happy then do it again. It may be the little things like, picking flowers or going to the library or it may be extravagant like, travelling abroad or donating on a cause you’ve been wanting to volunteer to.

The thing is, if you feel like what you are going to do will genuinely make you feel better about yourself, do it and don’t let others tell you it’s not worth it. Self care and self expression is very important on nurturing one’s mind so put your energy on things that would help you feel good.

Lastly, if all of the metioned steps can’t help you today, seek help from a professional. Going to a psychiatrist or a counselor is something you should not be ashamed of because what you are dealing with is an actual illness. If you are afraid on going alone, seek assistance from your loved ones or friends.

Experts would talk to you about what you have been feeling and suggest steps that would help you, depending on your case. Meanwhile, some would recommend medications. However, it’s hard to find the perfect medication since most of them will trigger side effects but it’s part of the process. Even if it’s difficult, you will find a good medication, too.

Remember that there are still people who believes that you can do it and in return, you also must learn and promise yourself that little by little, you will believe in yourself, too. Your illness does not define you because you are so much more than that. You deserve to be happy and in case you feel that today, you are unimportant and alone, we are here to remind you that you are not. You matter and we are all here rooting for you and your story.

Feature Articles

Worlds Collide: Recommended Books and Music for Uplifting One’s Soul

Music calms the soul, books nurture the mind.

If you are feeling really down lately, we’ve come up with personal recommendations when it comes to a playlist where we feel like we are so much bigger than the world and books that makes us hope for a better tomorrow.

***

Books

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

its-kind-of-a-funny-story
(Photo from http://mylifes-library.blogspot.com)

Vizzini’s best selling novel shares the story of a boy who wanted to jump off a bridge but then in the middle of doing it, he stops and run to seek professional help. He was diagnosed with clinical depression and the doctor made him stay on the psychiatric floor of the hospital for a week. During his stay at the hospital, he made amends with friends from school and made new friends at the ward while discovering more about himself. He realized that after his stay, he is stronger than he think.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-book-cgghyk6j
(Photo from http://oibstcharles.blogspot.com)

Charlie, the lead on the book, was struggling to find his place at school. This is when he met Sam and Patrick, who both made him feel more alive than before. Who would forget that iconic line from the book, “And I swear, right at this moment, we are infite”? This line has touched so many hearts because of the way it made people feel that there are moments in life where you would feel more alive than most of your past memories and experiences combined. The book reminds us that whatever we are going through right now, everything will soon be fine. There are so many wonderful memories you can create and those memories are even more powerful than the painful ones you’ve had.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened  by Allie Brosh

hyperbole-and-a-half-book-cover
(Photo from geek-retreat.com)

It all started on the Internet where Brosh shares her comics based on her daily life and personal experiences. However, she stopped posting online in the year 2011 because she was diagnosed with depression but in 2012, she posted about what she’s been going through and the blog post reached millions of views. She was overwhelmed from the response from both her readers and psychology experts which drove her to publish a book version of some of her best works in her blog and added other unseen content on it. Her readers were quick to agree that even though the book was lighthearted, it somehow helped them in recovering from their illness.

Music

This Isn’t The End By Owl City

owl_city_ultraviolet_album_cover___download_by_bgamix34-d7o7w71
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Spin this when you feel like giving up. You should not forget that you made it this far, breathe and then heal at your own pace.

                How close is the ending, well, nobody knows

                The future’s a mystery and anything goes

                Love is confusing and life is hard

                You fight to survive ‘cause you made it this far

Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

kellyclarksonstronger
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Make sure to have this one in your playlist just in case everything is just too much to bear and it will help you remember that you are strong and at this moment you are a fighter, a survivor.

                What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

                Stand a little taller

                Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone

Firework by Katy Perry

bbb0870bbf78455ae2dde1bedf0f1966
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Immerse yourself in listening to this whenever you feel like you don’t matter, it will remind you that you do, always.

                Do you know that there’s still a chance for you

                Cause there’s a spark in you

                You just gotta ignite the light

                And let it shine”

 

In a world filled with judgement bounded by stigma, lies a different world waiting to be opened and discovered, a world where literature and music collides. A safe haven for everyone, including you.

Feature Articles

A Call for Hope, An Act of Change

The video above is created by Vince Serrano for a competition launched by NGF last 2016 entitled, “Hope in 40 seconds.” 

 

Hope is only one call away.

 

An act is all we need, the ripple effect will follow soon.               

According to the World Health Organization, Filipinos suffer from depression as much as they suffer from hypertension and cardiac arrest. Tourists may have dubbed the Philippines as one of the happiest country in the world but the mere neglect for mental health issues here in the country is alarming. Jean Goulbourn, founder of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation, is taking the lead on changing the scene for people with depression as she launched the foundation on 2007.

Sprout of a new beginning   

The foundation’s humble beginnings were composed of simple lectures for the youth and overseas Filipino workers and the Be Happy movement where people can freely share their thoughts about depression and their healing process. Jean Goulbourn admitted during that time that it is hard to come up with more projects and events due to lack of fund and support from the government. Private companies have been telling her in the face that the issue she is advocating is ‘too dramatic’ but she still pushed through with her goal to educate the Filipino community about depression and its effect on a person’s life.

However, this issue is not something that should be regarded as too dramatic. Although Goulbourn had been very open about the reason why she put up the foundation, the story behind is still something that would deeply move anyone.

20130417-ngf-1
Hope is alive. Jean Goulbourn, president and founder of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (Photo from Rappler)

The foundation’s name was named after her daughter, Natasha Goulbourn, who had sadly left the world because of depression. Goulbourn decided to name it after her daughter since she felt the need to create something her daughter would surely want her to do.

It took her years to actually recover from the pain of losing her precious daughter but now that she is helping in breaking the stigma surrounding people who suffer from depression, she is sure her daughter would have been very proud of what she had become as a mother and as a mental health advocate.

Cultivating change

NGF, now sporting a partnership with the Department of Health and with different private organizations and companies all over the country reaches a wide range of Filipinos to shed light on the issue about depression and how it often leads to suicide.

In fact, the foundation together with DOH and their affiliates have recently launched a crisis prevention hotline called HOPE LINE which caters to the needs of people who wanted to harm themselves because they feel like they don’t have someone who would listen and actually understand what they are going through. The project had been running for months and it is being handled by top psychologists and volunteers who are trained and educated on how to properly communicate with people with depression.

Moreover, for helping someone who is in the verge of hurting themselves, HOPE LINE is always one call away. Everyone must save the HOPE LINE number as their speed dial in case someone close to them needs to seek help. The person-in-charge will do everything to help the caller and secure them with the necessary guidelines so they would know what to do in trying to help solve the problem. It is important for them to know that there are other people who are willing to talk to them and help them.

After all, mental health is not just a single person’s problem, it concerns the entire world because even if it’s not really obvious in the first glance, the problem lies beyond and it is something that should really be taken seriously. People who have mental health illnesses must know that they are not alone and there are people who are ready to provide them support no matter what.

Today, if you feel like not getting out of bed because your thoughts were pulling you hard, pick the phone, hope is waiting for you.

hope
One call away. The numbers above are available 24/7 so if you are in need of immediate help, don’t hesitate to call.