Mindfulness: There’s an App For That | by Nicole Profeta

In this day and age, it is nearly impossible to go a full 24 hours without your smartphone. We use our phones to do everything, from sending text messages to our friends, calling our parents to update them, posting IG stories of the concert we are watching, posting updates on our class group on Facebook, to reading about the latest gossip on Twitter. Smartphones have become a very integral part of our lives. So many aspects of our lives have become much easier and have been made more accessible thanks to the technology of the apps on our smartphones.

And who’s to say mental health can’t do the same? Over the past few years, more and more mental health apps have been developed and used by many people, those with mental illnesses as well as those who simply want to take better care of their own mental health. Such apps have presented exciting advancements for the field, including the possibility of educating patients better, monitoring more accurately mental as well as physical symptoms, and even offering immediate yet not clinical-level assistance.

SOME USEFUL MENTAL HEALTH APPS:

  1. Daylio

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

As the name implies, this app is best used daily to track the different moods you experience as well as your activities.

Features

Track your daily activities and correlate these with the moods you experience. You will soon notice patterns between certain activities and moods – do you always experience more positive moods when you are hanging out with your friends? Do you feel anxious whenever you are at school? These correlations can later be looked into by your psychologist or health professional (or even yourself). The bonus addition of turning your data into a printable PDF offers the advantage of having something concrete to show to your psychologist. Additionally, you can also log a short entry at the end which can serve as a mini journal.

You can also track habits and goals and set reminders to achieve these. Do you need to be reminded thrice a week to hit the gym? Or do you need to be reminded to do your grocery shopping at least twice a month? This app has got you covered. 

This app is more of a self-awareness tool than a specific self-help tool. It does not offer advice or activities to do, but it does present data that can help you or your psychologist analyze your day-to-day moods and activities. It is most helpful for those experiencing mood disorders, but anyone who wants to become more self-aware can use this app. 


2. Headspace

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

This app basically teaches mindful meditation, or learning how to be more present in the present. 

Features

It starts off with basic guided meditation sessions which teach you how to be more present. These come in the form of podcasts which talk you through basic skills such as noting your thoughts, steadying your breathing pace, learning how to sit still and concentrate for longer periods of time. You can even adjust each session to the amount of time you are willing to meditate that day, and the session will automatically be tailored to your timeframe. 

After finishing basic sessions, you can move on to unlock more advanced sessions which cover self-improvement topics like handling stress, sleeping better, help with overcoming fears, and becoming more confident.

Although this is a paid app, some packages come free if you explore the app well enough.

Bonus: some Headspace guided meditations are on Youtube and Spotify! 

3. Calm Harm

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

As its name implies, this is an app that helps individuals struggling with self-harm or panic attacks. 

Features 

This app relies on distraction and ultimately channels the self-harm urge into something more productive. Self-harm is seen as “wave” which you must “ride out” until the urge passes. When experiencing such urges, it is often difficult to distract the mind, so this app offers a wide variety of activities with specific prompts to lessen even more stress. The activities range from those that provide comfort, distraction, release, and even explore creativity. Additionally, the app helps track occurrences of attacks for better monitoring. 

Similar apps

#SelfCare – also an app to help deal with panic attacks

4. Woebot

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

Don’t be fooled by its pun-ny name. This app is centered on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, one of the most popular forms of clinical therapy. 

Features

This app is an AI robot that holds conversations. As stupid as it sounds, it is actually very efficient at teaching lessons from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, such as determining cognitive distortions (a.k.a. Bad thoughts) like all-or-nothings and shoulds, establishing a growth mindset, and attaining mindfulness. “Sessions” with Woebot are short and consist of check-ins which are best done everyday. As with most other mental health apps, Woebot also helps track progress over a span of days. 

This is perfect for those days when your therapist is not available, but it should be kept in mind that this app cannot stand as a substitute for professional help. 

There are numerous other mental health apps that prove to be useful, but nothing still beats good ‘ol therapy and self-care. At the end of the day, these apps are not a substitute, but merely support. 

Special thanks to: COPE UP of UP Diliman, Gleeselle Rosales, and Wren Breda



CLOSURE: Grieving a Loved One | by Sakshi Sahijwani

Sometimes the hardest part of losing someone is losing all the possibilities. Losing the chances of what could’ve been. 

It’s one thing letting go of what was— saying goodbye, and moving on. It’s another thing having someone die. A death that you can’t even explain, and being forced to say goodbye; letting stories become memories. You wonder how life would go in the future if they were still with you. You wonder what moments and love you could have shared if you just had more time.

But truth be told, you can hold onto the memories, but you can’t truly hold on to the future. You can’t hold onto what might have been because it never was and it never will be. I know, losing the chances of the future is tremendously hard. Losing the chance to make new memories is terrifying. One day you had a whole future planned out with someone. You had a whole life to live together. You had endless possibilities just waiting for you. Thousands of perfect, deep conversations, and millions of beautiful little adventures. You hoped for many more perfect moments.

And then one day, one moment, it was all gone. The hopes, the possibilities, the lovely moments that the future had in store for the two of you have washed away as if they had never existed. And at that moment, you couldn’t even begin to grasp the emotions you were feeling. And even now, you still can’t fathom the loss you are feeling in your heart.

The part that really messes with you is the fact that you are never going to know what would’ve happened or what could’ve been. No matter how many times you replay the ending, nothing changes. Your future together doesn’t magically return. Your person doesn’t come back, no matter how many hours you spend hoping and hoping.

You can’t fix it. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. So your only option is to just settle with what you had, and treasure every single moment – good and bad.

Why’d you leave? 

This question haunts everyone who has lost someone. Looking for answers, seeking guidance, recalling memories, and out of all these, you try your hardest to stay strong because you believe that that’s what your loved one would have wanted. 

For me, it always felt selfish to grieve. I think of endless excuses for those who were closer to the person like my mother, my grandma, my aunts, my cousins— urging myself to be strong for them, I belittled my own feelings to be able to present a strong front. While trying my best to succeed at this, I learnt something. 

Grief is an intensely personal thing. It is not dependent on a who-has-it-worst battle. Your grief is legitimate, whether or not someone else was closer to them, or has it worse. Grief, when handled, is also incredibly unifying. This is why funerals are so powerful. Funerals, I’ve learned, are not for those who have passed but for the living. Funerals are for processing grief together. By grieving, you do not lose your ability to console and be with your mother, your grandma, your aunts or cousins. Instead, by grieving together, you strengthen that ability to be there for them when they need it most.

When you deny grief, you isolate yourself. If you shut down, and avoid, you often destroy the true possibility of helping your loved ones through their grief as well. Helping someone grieve can depend on the person or family. For me, I’ve learned that crying together is more helpful than I ever could have imagined. 

If I had shut down, I wouldn’t have been able to tell my aunt’s stories that I’ve shared with my family since her passing. I wouldn’t have talked to them about how she always fed me a lot of yummy food when I was young, or how she was so good at playing cards, or ultimately how amazing of a person she truly was. 

And one day, it’ll get easier. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next month. But one day you will see that what you had was beautiful, and you’ll be able to make peace with the ending of your story together.

Through this loss, I’ve realized a lot. That grief is not a sign of weakness but strength. I no longer wish to avoid and cause unnecessary additional pain. I wish to grieve with my family. I wish to heal, and I hope that you do too. It’s going to hurt a lot. It’s going to punch you over and over again. You’re going to cry every single day. But through all the tears, you’ll realize that what you had was something so special. Something that you will hold onto as you move forward on your own. Something that will always be with you, even if the person is not.

I hope you remember that by grieving, you are not forgetting them. You are not dismissing their life. You are not selfish. You are not alone. But rather, you are celebrating their life and their impact. You and your loved ones are stronger together. Never forget that.

UNTITLED JOURNEY | BY ANTONIO SISON

It’s a new month, it’s the middle of 2019, some of us may know where we are going but some of us may be confused on where to steer our boats for the next few months of the year.

In line with this, the team would like to share a poem on the importance of embracing our struggles and pushing thru it all no matter what the circumstance.

We got this, Talang Dalisay family! We will resist thru it all.


 

________________

By: Tonio Sison

64958157_451216775712768_718659186669387776_n

What to write?
Will it be enough?
It’s looking like one of those days,
Where I don’t know what to say.
The page is empty,
It’s at a blank again,
My fingers are typing down random words,
At random times for the sake of the rhyme.
With this comes the temptation of erasing everything by pressing a button. Funny how it all is so simple…

What do I do now?
Am I doing enough?
For so long I was comfortable with expressing the way I feel,
Being vulnerable, opening up and living by the moment, that was my forte.
But right now its like I’m trapped inside of a cold, lonely and worn down cage with nothing I can use to escape.
These feelings are all over the place,
Confusion, guilt, and regret go from being cameos to a more recurring role.

Will it ever stop?
Is it enough?
My mind is running laps around the oval,
Circling over and over and over again.
With every kilometer that’s been recorded,
Another memory deleted…at least for now.
Suddenly there’s a shift that didn’t seem all strange.
A certain calmness,
Comforting yet a little bit alarming.
It’s a different set of lenses.
Clearer, brighter, and better.
I can see the most intricate of details down to the tiniest dust particles that needs to be vacuumed away.

Despite it all there still are the few that get away,
Astigmatism, nearsightedness and all the other genetic terms used, Are enough to make things resurface.
These temporary corrections were just band-aid solutions,
Only designed for the short-term but will not last for the long-run. Alas this new perspective became one I didn’t quite conform to. And just like that it all began to change.

Out with all with the questions and just embrace all the reflections. The page is different from before,
What started out as a blank became something filled with experience. I close my eyes and begin to think of the journey:

The pain I went through,
The problems I tried to ignore,
And all the times I felt I was bottling everything up and becoming a mask, hiding my own self.
Everything that has happened was necessary and became the push I needed.
I know I’m far from where I want to be,
But for now a deep breath and a little bit of time to write is enough.
It may not be perfect but that’s okay,
As long as I’m satisfied and fine with it,
It is enough.


 

About the author

An incoming college sophomore at UA&NP, Tonio Sison is passionate about poetry and his ability of expressing himself freely – sharing his journey in life through good times and adversity. You can view more of his poems at sisonpoems.blogspot.com! 

TO THE COLLEGE FRESHMAN | BY RAINE RIVAS & KARMELLA TAPIA

Summer break is supposed to be just that: a break. As a senior high graduate, chances are you’ve been looking forward to this blissful vacation/reward for a very long time. Well then, you should be feeling relaxed, right? …At least until you notice the fast approaching first day of freshman orientations on your phone calendar. And then get hit by the realization that you’re going to be the new kid surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar environment again. Oh, and that you’ll be handling a college-level workload complete with college-level expectations of independence. Plus a dozen more changes to your high school-set routines.

Are you anxious yet? Well, if you are, you’re in good company.
Hi. We’re Karmella and Raine, a dynamic duo of Talang Dalisay editors, and yes, we’re fresh high school graduates. Are we worried about entering college? Definitely.

K: I’m worried about having to get out of my comfortable social circles in awkward attempts to make friends. I’ve quite literally forgotten how to initiate conversations with strangers.
R: And I’m scared of becoming complacent. I’m terrified of waking up one morning and realizing that I’ve been letting college pass me by… I don’t want to just be cruising through college—I want to experience it fully and be satisfied with what I’ll be doing.

We all have our own sets of worries. So if thinking about the upcoming school year makes you feel queasy and stressed, you should know: Your worry is completely natural and valid. In fact, it’s not just you who’s freaking out. Major change is a widely-acknowledged reason to be scared and doubtful. Change is scary, and so are the uncertainty and instability that tend to follow in its wake! Chances are, your world’s gonna shift 180°, and we can all agree— that’s a big deal. So, the big, looming question is: what do we do with all that worry? (And how do we save our summer from that ominously encroaching cloud of fear?)

We find that widening one’s perspective of what’s to come can do wonders for transforming a negative mindset.

First off: we’re well aware of the fact that we’ll be surrounded by strangers and saying goodbye to our respective barkadas (“No!” an inner voice screams. “High school is forever!”). This sounds pretty terrifying, but we can’t ignore all the possibilities of meeting amazing new people. Strangers? More like a ton of future friends.

It’s possible that most of us have forgotten what it’s like to be the new kid—nervous, self-conscious, and brimming with the simple worry that you won’t have anyone to sit with. Remember this, though: Everyone else will probably be just as nervous as you. Every person you’ll see in that freshie orientation room will likely want to make friends too. Don’t sweat it too much. But in the event that friend-making doesn’t come as easily as you had hoped, you can always join an org to meet those with similar interests or advocacies as you!

Another big source of worry is failure, and how inevitable it seems. You’ll have no shortage of challenges when your college life begins, no doubt about it. But consider this: you definitely won’t be alone in the struggle. Having a hard time with acads? Adjusting to dorm or condo life? Realizing how hard it is to juggle everything? These can all be springboards for you to bond with someone going through them as well. You’ll find that growing in resilience together can do wonders for a budding friendship.

There’s also the fear that as college kids, we’ll still have that feeling of being lost. If you find yourself frustrated that you haven’t found your niche yet, find comfort in the fact that there really is no rush. It’s easy to forget this when some people are doing really specialized things and are seemingly set already in their respective fields. College is a time of exploration, and if we keep this mindset moving forward, it’ll save us a great deal of worry. (Raine here!) I chose AB Psych as my course, knowing that it might take some time for me to figure out what I really want to do. While it’s within my realm of interest, it’s still an extremely broad area. I plan to use it as a guide as I continue my attempts to get closer to my future profession. These attempts include: looking into how training and HR work, and writing about mental health awareness— something I’m extremely passionate about. (Shoutout to all our lovely friends over here at Talang Dalisay!)

Last, but not least: there’s the fear of falling behind our college peers. Maybe it was a long post by an honored university graduate, or the already dazzling work resume of a batchmate—something always manages to remind us that we’re miles away from matching the capabilities and prowess of others our age. There’s always the feeling that we have to. When that feeling comes, all our shortcomings come into focus, leaving many of us feeling much too mediocre to survive a year in college. The truth of the matter is that there will always be someone better than you in some facet of life. That need not be a bad thing, though! Not only can you gain help and learn from the abundance of talented people around you in college, you can also look to their example as inspiration to hone your own strengths.

So yes, fresh high school graduates! Should you be worried about college? To be honest… probably. However, that worry need not consume nor overshadow your dwindling days of vacation. Things will be changing for you, undoubtedly, but, hey, as we’ve illustrated, change isn’t all that bad. The unknown can be scary at first or second or even third glance—but it can also be an exciting, promising time of great things to come! With so many opportunities around the corner, let’s enjoy and experience the openness of life in our own places and at our own pace!

Once again, that emotional torrent of fear, doubt, and anxiety is totally valid! We’re with you. You got this. AND GOOD LUCK, CLASS OF 2019!

From the bottom of our shared article,
Karmella and Raine

THE BULLET JOURNAL AGENDA | BY GIULIA MARTINEZ

I’m sure we all kept notebooks or diaries at one point or another as we were getting through our tween to early adolescent years. For a lot of us, those were just filled with thought dumps, doodles, and terrible songs we attempted to write. Admittedly, I lost a bit of creativity in that sense once I got more and more entangled into high school. Instead of spending more time writing leisurely, I was writing purely for academics and research. From then on, the creative writing side of myself seemed almost lost. With this being said, what if I told you there was a way we could put creativity and productivity into one journal?

Over recent years, bullet journaling has been a growing journal format trend that entails a method of organizing yourself and your thoughts into a journal that aims to be both artsy and productive. Its inventor, Ryder Caroll, was forced to create a personal system that would help him become a more productive individual because of his difficulties with his learning disabilities. Through the bullet journal method, Caroll aims to promote “the art of intentional living”.

The bullet journal method may have been created by one man, but trust me when I say that each person can come up with their very own bullet journal style. Each individual should be allowed to find out what kind of journaling method will cater to their own organizational needs while still allowing them to show off their own creative flair. From checklists to diary entries, timetables to illustrated diagrams–whatever way to get you organized will work, as long as it works for especially for you. Furthermore, owning a bullet journal means creating every notebook spread from scratch. In other words, there will be no manufactured planner layout spreads needed, since you will be making the format on your own. Besides its ability to boost productivity, there is an outlet for your creative side as well! Each spread, layout, color, and motif for each page will be according to your liking. Let your imagination run freely! As previously mentioned, you just have to do whatever will work for you.

Each month begins with a title page
I write and doodle a bunch of thoughts and lessons once the month is over
I use a mood and diet tracker to keep tabs on how I feel and
how my eating habits are each day
One day = one bullet; I summarize what happens in a day +
add tickets or pictures for remembrance

Personally, keeping a bullet journal (BuJo) really helped me in high school, especially in my senior year. Because it’s very personalized, creating each spread felt very therapeutic, and it really forced me to take some time out of my day to actually sit down and write in my journal. Through this, I was subconsciously giving myself my daily “me time”. My own twist on the journal was that I would write things down only after they happened, so it wasn’t really a planner-type of BuJo for me (because I have a separate planner to write down my agendas). This way, I’d be able to reflect and remember everything that happened that day when I write them all down. Those spreads could go from stating what event transpired up until what I was thinking to myself when it happened. When everything felt hectic and stressful, it was nice to just write it down in my bullet journal so that I could have a good release without needing to publicize it so much. It really allowed me to stay in touch with both my emotions and my daily productivity, and it did so as well for other friends that I know kept their own BuJos. For them, it helped to keep their journals as planners and have recommended keeping one as well, for it helped them gain more control of their personal agendas.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a notebook now! Let your imagination run freely. It’s time to get yourself get inspired (and organized)!

For more on the bullet journal method, check out: https://bulletjournal.com/

NOTE: The images used are from the author’s own personal bullet journal.

Celebrating Pride Month: An Uprising Out of the Shadows | By Jochelle Campo

It’s L.G.B.T.Q Pride Month and we need to fill the gaps in the society and accept everyone’s diversity. In relation with the L.G.B.T.Q Pride Month, we all should be aware of the foundation of the famous L.G.B.T.Q Movement that created a huge significant impact for the L.G.B.T.Q Community. It was on June 28, 1969 when the Stonewall Uprising happened because of the raids the police were making in Greenwich Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. The police raids ignited violent conflicts and protests that lasted for days. The L.G.B.T.Q. community had a long process of acquiring their rights and that is why today there is change as they are more empowered and accepted.

Screen Shot 2019-06-08 at 11.47.21 AM

However, the battle is not yet done; there are still a lot of people who narrow mindedly discriminate the beautiful rainbow handprints of the L.G.B.T.Q community. The world should be a secure place for every human being in this world and the menacing problem in discrimination is that it induces mental health problems. Everyone should bear in mind that human rights are embedded in the rule of law and Gay Rights are human rights as well.

In relation with the illustrious celebration of Pride Month, we interviewed an expert in LGBT Psychology who is also a part of the LGBTQ community herself and also a member of the Psychological Association of the Philippines- LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group, Ms. Riyan Portuguez, RPsy, RPm.

DSC04443

During the interview, we asked her how she usually cope up with people who do not recognize your difference and rights?

She calmly stated that:

As time passed by, I learned to not be bothered by these people. Reacting too much on their negativity feeds them. So instead, I focused more on what really matters such as continuing the LGBTQ+ campaigns, taking charge of the conversation when there’s opportunity for me to educate others, increasing LGBTQ+ visibility through social media, etc.”

As the interview went on, we delved to asking how the stigma and discrimination affect the L.G.B.T.Q Community as it is a common notion that the L.G.B.T.Q Community is still facing a lot of puddles in walking with life everyday with people who are questioning them.

Ms. Riyan Portuguez explained that:

There are a lot of stigma and discrimination going on. There are almost 80 countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal and worse, there are 5 countries where being LGBTQ+ is punishable by death. In workplace, there are still existing reports whereby LGBTQ+ are deprived of hiring and promotion despite their competencies. In most religions, some of us who are persecuted and discriminated against. We are told that our souls will perished in hell and the only way to be saved is by letting them help us. In some households, LGBTQ+ are evicted from their home, deprived of or threatened to discontinue their education because of their SOGIE, and being beaten by coming out as LGBTQ+. There’s a lot more stories that you can’t even imagine, these are few things we deal with the world and it’s disheartening because no people deserved to be treated this way. LGBTQ+ rights are not special rights but of basic human rights. It is normal as it is part of human sexuality supported by numerous research evidences.

 

It’s no wonder why we are highly vulnerable to mental health problems because on top of general stressors, there are stigma and discrimination. Imagine the hurdles we face for being LGBTQ+?”

It has always been a question how people should be sensitive and respectful towards a member from the L.G.B.T.Q. community and to those who needs help to come out to their true selves.

Ms. Riyan Portuguez imparted her knowledge that:

They (people) just need to be more understanding, empathetic, accepting, and nonjudgmental. Whenever they see someone who has difficulty in coming out, they just need to be there. When the person feels accepted and safe, they will come out. They don’t need to out the person that will be rude.”

In relation to how to be sensitive and respectful towards a member of the L.G.B.T.Q community, we asked how we can all be able to advocate in decreasing the stigma and discrimination. Her reply was:

As I have said, I increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ through seminars, workshops, social media, interview engagements, attending pride march, and wearing LGBTQ+ merchs for others to know that I am one with them.

I also join advocacy works such as collaboration with organization or institutions that will help zero in stigma and discrimination on mental health, domestic and family violence, and bullying.”

As we look into more with the connection of mental health with the L.G.B.T.Q. community, we asked for proposed solutions in line with mental health since some studies show that the risk of a mental health condition, like depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is almost three times as high for youth and adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), some even dies by suicide as some of them are not accepted by their own families? In this question I learned more that members of the L.G.B.T.Q community do not commit suicide, they die from it because society stimulates it as it wants to accord life with the traditional and parochial approach they had been fond of without realizing how insensitive it is.

Ms. Riyan provided an eye opening answer when she said:

I hope organizations, such as United Nations, will realize that aside from women empowerment, LGBTQ+ should be included in Sustainable Development Goals to achieve gender equality. True gender equality will not be achieved by only including men and women. If you look for Sustainable Development Goal #5 of UN, you will see that Gender Equality goal focused more on women and girl empowerment. I hope they will include us as well since most institutions, especially in the government sectors, follow their plan.

Gender and development offices should also include LGBT+ dialogues and create more projects for LGBTQ+ to alleviate mental health problems.”

We provided a follow up question on how can we help those are still scared and depressed to come out to themselves as part of the LGBTQ since they may lost some of their friends and become hated by some of their family members?

In her authentic answer, she uttered that:

I just make them feel safe, accepted, and heard. I let them talk about their problems without interrupting them and ensure that it’s okay for them to take a little time to come out. I try to be their friend through their darkest day. I think these things are effective since I got feedback from previous LGBTQ+ on their coming out.”

In schools and in some workplaces, discrimination in the L.G.B.T.Q community in the Philippines is still prevalent since only 15% Filipinos reside in areas protected by ordinances against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/06/21/just-let-us-be/discrimination-against-lgbt-students-philippines).

Screen Shot 2019-06-08 at 11.47.07 AM

This current situation in the Philippines helped us create our next question on: “What advice can you give to those individuals who are part of the LGBTQ that are victims of homophobic bullying and the gossip mill they face whether it be in their workplaces or schools?

Ms. Riyan Portuguez gave a very informative reply to:

Make sure to report the incident, increase your social and emotional support, and don’t be afraid to seek help. You can also join LGBTQ+ support groups so you can feel safe and accepted.”

As a lot of people from the LGBTQ community go through each day afraid that someone will hurt them because of who they are, what advice can you give for them to cope up every day as well? Ms. Riyan gave a beautiful advice:

Reshift your focus to things that really matter. There are more people who love you for who you really are. Know that you are important and beautiful. There’s nothing wrong for being true. Okay? Always love and trust yourself.”

Our next question sparkled from the youth since nowadays, young ones can already determine that they are part of the LGBTQ community but some of them still cannot understand it so we asked Ms. Riyan what is the best way do we to talk with kids about their sexual orientation and prejudice that no mental health problem would affect them as they grow up?

Miss Riyan’s sparking answer puts an emphasis on a reminder what we all need to be aware of that we must:

Remember that sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE) dialogues aren’t exclusive for LGBTQ+ so it will be helpful to all kids to talk about this at their early age. It will teach them to be more accepting, understanding, and empathetic to other kids who don’t share the same sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE). It will also help them to understand that it’s a normal part of human sexuality that no kid should be stigmatized and discriminated against by being what and who they really are.

Lastly, we asked what we must be done to improve more the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. She ended the interview very empowered by saying that:

I think, we need to keep doing what we’ve started and continue to engage more on our advocacy. We are hoping for the passage of the SOGIE Bill to protect our rights.”

Screen Shot 2019-06-08 at 11.46.25 AM

No, You’re Not Just Faking It: Fighting Impostor Syndrome | by Raine Rivas

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 12.38.21 AM

It’s been a little more than a month since I graduated. I’m still incredibly grateful that the whole ceremony went smoothly, and that I can look back at the day happily. Everything seemed to fall into place— our wonderful Mass, the songs we composed and sang, and the thrill of seeing some of my best friends receive well-deserved awards. However, to be perfectly honest, as I was in my seat getting ready to deliver what were probably the most important words I had ever written, I had a few moments of overwhelming uncertainty. All of the negative thoughts that had been gnawing at me leading up to this day suddenly returned on full blast. I didn’t know what to do about it, except breathe and push them aside for later.

I can’t tell you exactly what those voices were saying, but it was something along the lines of: Congratulations on fooling everybody. Everyone who hears you do this is going to think that you’re so much smarter and nicer than you actually are. Only you could turn a great opportunity like this into another chance to fake it.

Yikes, right?

Don’t worry! Since then, I’ve mostly gotten over this train of thought and I’m more at peace with what I was able to achieve. But because of this experience, my graduation day became a sort of zoomed-in version of my ongoing journey with something called impostor syndrome. More and more articles are being released about this phenomenon (I’ve included a few links at the end!), but I’m taking this time to talk about my personal experience in the hopes that some of you can recognize your own thoughts and finally give them a name.

For me, senior year was full of opportunities for me to go the extra mile, deepen my love for art and writing, and finally do things I could say that I was proud of. Of course, as with anything else, I’m not 100% satisfied with everything I did as a senior. But one thing I do know is that, in retrospect, I exceeded even my own expectations. I was able to keep my grades up, give advice to friends in younger batches, perform my poetry for the very first time (yay!), and connect with people through music.

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 12.38.28 AM

Behind all of these achievements was a difficult lesson that I absolutely needed to learn and take to heart: that it’s okay to say I did well, and to see good things as truly good— not just products of luck, or the trust that other people invest in me. I didn’t finish Grade 12 simply because I got lucky, or because my adviser believed in me so much, or I tricked my classmates into thinking I was competent. Somewhere along the way, I put in the work that was needed to push me forward.

Impostor syndrome takes every chance it can to whisper the opposite in your ear.

It’s the reason you might get that sinking feeling whenever someone compliments you. It’s why you can’t help looking back at your old work and thinking, “gosh, I didn’t do my best there.” It’s the fear that one day, everyone around you is going to realize that you’ve fooled them into thinking good things about you.

To be clear— it’s good to want to be deserving of the praise and recognition you receive, it’s good to make sure that what you do meets certain standards, and it’s good to revisit your past actions to see what you could have done better. However, as we all know, anything can turn bad if it is overextended. Impostor syndrome is what happens when you find yourself getting too caught up with the concepts of perfection and achievement and external recognition.

If you can relate to what I’ve shared in this article, know that almost everyone feels a similar way at one point in their lives or another. So, what can you do to fight it? Start with the little things. When you receive praise, don’t automatically discount yourself (for example: “OMG noooo it wasn’t that good TBH”). Instead, thank that person genuinely and internalize their kind words. Adding onto this, another anti-impostor syndrome measure you can do is to start congratulating yourself on a job well done. Celebrate your achievements and the good things they’ve brought into the world. The world isn’t gonna end just because you took some time to be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

To whoever is reading this, you are amazing! It’s not easy being you. Think about that for a second. You’re not a fraud, and you’re not a disappointment either. As long as you’re putting in the effort to be genuine and work hard, guess what? You have nothing to worry about.

To read up on the different forms impostor syndrome can take: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-different-types-of-imposter-syndrome-and-5-ways-to-battle-each-one

To get an idea of how much you actually come across impostor syndrome in your daily life:

http://impostortest.nickol.as/

Into the 3rd Month of The Year (Hello, March!) | By Maureen Cambay

Let’s admit it. We’ve always been told to compete, to aim for the highest grade, to achieve our dreams by the time we’ve reached a certain age, to be better than anyone else yet rarely have we ever been told that:

“You are enough.”

I’m not telling anyone to settle for less but what I’m saying is that there are times that we have to accept that our pacing is different than someone else’s. We have to accept that it will really take time for us to be the person God wants us to be and it includes not rushing certain aspects of our lives just because it’s not the same as the majority’s.

For example, a lovelife and career. I’m 23 (turning 24 this year, kinda old), still NBSB (no boyfriend since birth) but sometimes society is pressuring me to have a boyfriend. I know in my heart that I’m not yet ready yet sometimes, in a joke, people tell me: “Bakit wala ka pang boyfriend?”, “Ireto kita kay ganyan”, etc. Yet little did they know that I’m still healing. In terms of career, I have a part time job but people tell me to aim for higher goals yet I can’t tell them that I’m still recovering from depression. It just left me speechless because I’m also convinced that: “Yes, they may be right?”

My inner promptings tell me otherwise.

Listen, if we rush things and force them to happen, we will only end up disappointed and confused, especially if we don’t live up to the high expectations of us or if we try to fit in to the society’s mold.

We are all created for unique purposes and we need to see our worth not in comparison to others but someone who’s set apart, someone who’s design is still and will always be tweaked and molded by God.

We also have different seasons and let us just enjoy every part of it. And it will take TIME. The process will be hard since it may include some pruning, sacrifice and pressure but let us remember that it will be for the best in the long run. We need to be patient. Always take note that we are all works in progress, and as Rick Warren said:

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 2.54.36 PM

I’d like to end up this with some lines from Hillsong:

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 2.54.51 PM

(Both images are from © Pinterest)

Embrace your Vulnerability | By Sakshi Sahijwani

Rejection hurts the most when it’s something you really really want. It can come in many forms. When the guy or girl you like rejects you, when you weren’t accepted to your dream school, when you don’t make the varsity team — We’ve all been there. I mean, let’s face it, it’s a part of life yet we still refuse to accept it.

53208664_2139059096186593_4799056981782429696_n

Why is that though? Why is it that we refuse to accept rejection and try to turn the other face? Why does it affect us so much?

There are two types of people. People who try embracing it then crumble and people who crumble then embrace it. “Psh, their loss”, “They might have made a mistake”, “I’m better than them anyways”: These thoughts gather in people who try to embrace it as soon as they get rejected.

On the other hand, there are people who crumble then eventually embrace it. When faced with rejection, they get sad, they cry, they get frustrated — they break down. I’m telling you to crumble. Not the typical advice right?

People usually tell you to stay strong, you’ll get through it, but i’m telling you to break. I’m telling you to not fake how you’re feeling just because someone is telling you to “stay strong” because it’s “nothing”.

Stop lying and convincing yourself to be okay because it’s okay to feel that way. In society nowadays, being vulnerable is considered weak. I however think it’s a beautiful thing. Contradictory, i think it makes you SO strong. You faced your rejection headstrong, and that’s the strongest thing you can ever do.

Vulnerability is terrifying. The courage it takes to reveal your heart is one of the most daunting yet rewarding experiences in life.

In time, you’ll be set free.

You Are Not Alone | By Lexine Dy

Author’s Note: Lexine Dy is a 17-year-old girl who believes that she expresses herself best through writing. Her spoken word poem entitled ‘You Are Not Alone’ is written in the perspective of a friend of someone who’s going through a mental health issue. After gaining inspiration from the insights and experiences of others, she believed it was so important to get her message across by sharing it to a wider audience. Share this with anyone you think needs to hear this.

52410532_2142973962660458_1571184283387691008_n

Forgive me, for I may not know exactly what you may be going through,

But please know that I will do everything I can to be here for you

Every waking hour, I’ll send you virtual flowers and remind you to take a shower

Just until you know how much I care.

I’m sorry for all the times I tried to help but sort of make things feel worse

Now I know, sometimes, actions can speak louder than words

Someone once said, “It’s pointless to try to fix someone’s illness”

Because you can’t change someone without their willingness

It could get exhausting—turning one into something they are not

It doesn’t work, it definitely does not

But it is not our fault, and neither is it theirs.

So, all that’s left for us to do is to simply be there

To catch them when they fall, bend, or break,

To pick up the pieces no matter how long it will take,

To listen to them with our heart, ears, and arms open wide,

Ready to accept and support whatever it is they decide

Because that’s what true friends are for;

Not to tell them what to do, not to do, or what the future has in store,

But to reassure them that they matter.

And it doesn’t matter what others say,

“Mind over matter”, “at least”, “Everything’s gonna be okay”

You have every right to feel how you’re feeling

By the way, how are you feeling?

Is there anything I can do to help?

Help is something you are allowed to ask for

Whenever you need it, just call my name, and I’ll be right at your door (step)

Every step of the way, I’ll be cheering you on

I’ll be right by your side

And when you feel like there’s just not much to live for,

I’ll tell you I’m so glad you’re alive

Like a broken record, I’ll leave you a thousand messages saying,

“I believe in you. I care for you. I’m here to support you.

I miss you. I love you. I’ll always be there for you.”

Yet, for weeks, I still don’t hear a word from you.

The doctors say, “Only time will tell when you will be ready”

And that it’s not your fault that you’re feeling unsteady

I’m sorry for making you feel sorry for making me worry

Cycles of apologies float above my head in its own little flurry

“It’s complicated”; that’s how grown-ups would describe such

The feeling of having a friend who’s going through so much

You must be feeling overwhelmed or afraid to overwhelm me,

But don’t worry, I can handle it. It’s my job to take care of me.

I know you never asked me to do any of this for you,

But after everything you’ve done for me, this is the least I could do.

My dearest friend, we’ll get through this together

We’ll brave every storm, wind, season, or weather.

Take my hand, and I promise you won’t turn me into stone

Because in this battle, you are not alone.