X

Poetry
Moments with you clear the darkness clouding my vision.
Your voice feeds reassurance to the light inside.
Melodic and masculine, sing the song of my heart.
And all the times I’ve felt unworthy, you reveal my true value.

You, by my side, is all I need. We could live
under a highway, without everyday luxuries, and still I’d sleep
soundly under the stars. I lean on the structural sanity of
your stoic demeanor, even if at times, you struggle to hold on.

You saved me from the dangers of my past.
You protect me from my present self.
You are my reason.

VII

Psychology
When darkness consumes me, I see you, a bright white light.
I hear you, sweet honey, through the hate I’ve been told.
At times my heartaches. I feel you, entirely delicious.
Each day, I breathe for you when I can’t.
 
Your voice, a blanket, keeps the coldest parts of me warm.
Your touch, a flame, sparks my soul with connection.
Your words are all I hold onto to feel sane.
Your actions are all I adore to know what’s right.
 
I learn the meaning of love
with you. I open myself to trust even
the bad parts and the ugly. Before,
I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t love myself.
 
We met in past lives and you found me
again. I will find you next time. You are
the part of me I didn’t know I was missing.
We’re bonded for life and beyond. You and I.

VI

Poetry
An orchid blooms through neglect
And torture. My soul is damaged
Like the dog we adopted from the pound,
I fear being bit again.
 
Yet, you still show me warmth
Even when I snap and retreat
To the former self I hate.
You tell me not to.
 
“Don’t think like that. We’re here for you.”
The fog is clearing, and I can see
The reality of my life. No one loves me
Like you. You give me happiness.
 
You hear my pain and listen to my heart.
You see me as I don’t see.
You feel all of me and reciprocate.
You protect me from hurting myself.
 
As the flower depends on the sun,
I consume the rays of your compassion.
I need you because I love you.
You showed me I can be beautiful.

II

Poetry
Toys on shelves in stores 
found their way into  
the checkout lane. 
 
Father brought home  
two cats and a St. Bernard 
when I said I wanted pets. 
 
Shows on MTV were forbidden 
except when I came home from school 
before Mother did.  
 
I even sometimes snuck into  
my parent’s room, to watch  
their pornos on VHS. 
 
One time, I wanted  
something I couldn’t have. 
I got it anyway. 

Recovery in Sight

Health, Psychology

Having depression is more than just being sad. Being depressed isn’t as simple to fix as just being happy. When you tell people what you’re going through and they say it “surprises” them, a part of you is irritated because others are constantly telling you who you are and how to feel. You feel as though something must be wrong with you, or that it’s all in your head.

Depression makes you ashamed to admit you actually have it. Depression is wearing tinted glasses to view the world in one shade. You don’t want to leave your bed. You don’t want to answer your phone. You can’t do the things you love. You can’t find the source of your pain. Each day you live with it, the more normal it becomes until you forget what true happiness feels like.

You smile and laugh, but inside you hate yourself. You tell yourself you’re not suicidal, but sometimes the line gets blurry. You want to allow others to help you, yet how can they when you don’t even know how to process what’s going on in your head? You think you’re a burden and the world would be better without you.

Asking for help is the first step.

Sometimes, it’s not enough to have others help you. You have to help yourself. All the therapy and drugs in the world won’t “cure” you unless you want to. The hardest part is doing the things you don’t really want to do. Exercise releases endorphins, but the bed is so warm. Venturing back to your passions is what you need, but it’s easier to scroll on hours of social media. Healthy relationships with good people help heal wounds, but avoiding everyone feels so much better. You don’t want to be this way anymore, but you don’t know how to change.

Step outside your element, literally.

Force yourself to join that gym. Make yourself get outside and walk down the street. Ask that coworker you’ve known for years to hang out outside of work. Keep a journal. Adopt a dog. Tell yourself you’re worth it. Confront your past. Face your pain. Allow yourself to grieve. Society has taught us that it’s negative to express emotions, yet what makes us human is not only intelligence, it’s our capacity to feel. Denying that part of yourself hurts not only you but the relationships you have with people around you.

The cure isn’t a linear path

Sometimes, you relapse. Everything seems to be going well then it all comes crashing down again. Sometimes, it feels like lying to yourself. Like, no matter what you do, things just keep getting worse. The only thing you can desperately hold onto is love. Love from a partner, from a pet, from yourself. It’s the only thing that keeps you going.

Overcoming depression takes time, and often you fall back into the same ways of think you’re used to. You ruminate, hate, and hurt. That’s okay. Life isn’t a straight shot to the top. The obstacles put in front of you are meant to be part of who you are. Some days, you’ll truly feel like you’re getting somewhere. Others, you wish you could give up. It’s hard to remember, but most importantly, you’re not alone.

Stepping Out of Harm’s Way

Health, Psychology

There may be certain people in your life that you need to let go of. Your love and relationship with them doesn’t counteract the way they treat you. Some people don’t deserve to be in your life, even how much you want them to be. Each time they betray your trust and mistreat you, you find nostalgic memories, unable to understand your own emotion. A basic human need is connection. Letting go of that connection is a painful process, particularly when that connection is with parent. You find yourself missing them, wishing they aren’t like what everyone said, and most of all wanting to believe that they wouldn’t hurt you.

There is a different kind of hurt that can only come from a toxic parent – someone who is meant to love you. Kind of like being broken from the inside out.

How to Heal from a Toxic Parent by Karen Young

The abuse that you had as a child leads into your adult life because you still crave that affection, attention, and affirmation that you were denied in your childhood. You have issues with your self-worth and confidence. You grow up not knowing your value since you always thought of yourself as lazy, selfish, and not good enough. Yet as you age, you forget and forgive the person who told you this in the first place. You understand that people are human, and more than anything, you wish to create the relationship you never had.

How many times can you keep forgiving someone whose hurt you? When you sit down to think about it, the person whose hurt you the most has never said sorry. You let it go for the sake of love, and occasionally, they showed the side of them that gave you hope. You held onto those seldom, carefree moments, using them as an excuse for their bad behavior toward you.

We are more strongly motivated by intermittent reinforcement — having what we desire happen some of the time — than we are by getting what we want all of the time, or even never getting it.

Healing From a Toxic Childhood? The Two Words You Need Most by Peg Streep

Maybe, the person you love that you need to let go is broken themselves. Maybe, they never knew how to love and have since treated you as a reflection of how they were treated. You feel empathy for them, but you can’t fix them. It’s not your job to. It’s not your fault they couldn’t be the person you wanted. No matter how much love and kindness you give to them, they’re never able to return it because they don’t love themselves. You wanted to see everything good you could in them, but there comes a point when you must face reality.

It’s okay to grieve.

Don’t try to be strong and hold it in. It hurts to lose someone, even by choice. It’s okay to miss them and want everything to go back to the way things were—familiarity is a comforting state. You’re allowed to worry about them and pray for them. But it’s time to think about yourself. You cannot control other people’s actions, despite wanting to. It’s time to start concerning yourself with your future, your happiness, and overall well-being.

The Relationship’s Emotional Rock

Social

Love relies on compromise and nurture. Through the lifetime of any relationship, there’s give and take between the parties involved romantically. Emotions are a touchy subject, particularly between two people. One person may feel like they’re putting in all the effort, supporting their partner emotionally. The other may feel like the connection is lost all together.

Over time, two people can disconnect because they feel the love and attachment fades within a marriage or relationship. We are human. We feel emotion. Still, so many of us ignore that part of ourselves, and in turn, disregard it in others. Romance is more than lust and attraction, it’s support and intimacy, emotionally and physically. Here are a few tips to emotional stability within relationships:

The important thing is that you gently communicate your feelings, so you both know where you stand and so you can figure out how best to help one another deal with the situation.

Emotionally Supporting Your Partner by Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
  1. Touch Each Other: People need human touch, and in certain circumstances, a loving embrace works better to communicate than words. When your partner is upset and frustrated, even touching their hand or arm could put them at ease.
  2. Communicate and Listen: Both men and women want to be heard. We all want to express ourselves and have our feelings validated. It’s hard to remember, as a partner, that we don’t have to give our opinion in every situation, rather we should provide our support in whatever our loved ones are going through.
  3. Deal with Stress Together: Stress is a catalyst for negative emotions. When one thing goes wrong, so does everything else, as it would seem. This takes a toll on everyone involved and is completely unavoidable. The best way to handle it is together, with open lines of communication and compassion.
  4. Take Care of Yourself: In a relationship, both parties have to work on fixing each other’s issues together. Yet, sometimes we get so involved with helping those around us, we forget to take care of our needs. Love and partnership helps in making yourself a better person, but self-care is still necessary for long term mental health.
  5. Emotions are Handled Differently: Depending on how a person was raised and their genetic make-up, humans all express themselves in their own ways. As you spend more time with someone, you’ll notice what their ticks are, based on what they’re feeling. Through observation before action, a person can infer a situation by a person’s body language.

Men release less Oxycontin than women when they are stressed, meaning they have a stronger reaction from both cortisol and epinephrine. [Women nurture] those around them in an effort to both protect themselves and their young. Men [are] more likely to have the “fight or flight” response when it comes to stress – either repressing their emotions and trying to escape the situation, or fighting back.

HOW TO HANDLE YOUR PARTNER’S STRESS Posted by: Team Tony

We are flawed, imperfect beings with irrational emotions, and intellectual minds. The emotional rock in a relationship is handed back and forth. Sometimes, you’ll be the one that needs a shoulder to lean on. Other times, you’ll be the shoulder that is leaned upon. Beyond physical pleasure, the joy and beauty in being with another person is having someone to go through it all, together.

Falling in Love Online

Social

I grew up in the generation of emerging internet and uninformed parents. My parents were going through a divorce when I entered middle school. With emotion and hormones coursing through my veins, I sought love and understanding from an outside source: the internet.

Nowadays, it’s the norm to converse, flirt, and engage with complete strangers. Phone apps and websites make these interactions appear “safe.” What exactly is safe about it? I’ve used such means of meeting potential lovers, and for me, they all ended in disappointment.

From the age thirteen to twenty, I always had an “internet relationship.” In fact, I didn’t have a real boyfriend until I met my husband, which happened in our Rhetoric Composition class at college (not online). In many ways, my formative years with online lovers hindered me in meeting someone real.

Of course, I had many other person issues that I had to overcome, but I was also stuck believing that the internet was a real place to fall in love. The problem with meeting someone online before you meet them in real life is that you fall for the idea you have of a person, not the actual person.

With a medium of text and photos, your mind forms an ideal image of what this person is, rather than who they are. Often, when you meet said person from the internet, they’re almost always not what you expected. You give them a try anyway, because otherwise all that time and energy you spent on them was for nothing.

I’m sure there are success stories out there, and I don’t discount the possibility to find your “perfect match” online, but meeting someone first, in real life, triumphs over imagination on an LCD screen. When you meet someone in person, there are countless, subconscious signals that come into play: body language, pheromones, chemistry, and gut reaction.

People need people in person. Dating apps and websites aren’t a free service, they are monetized and made to profit. If you’re lonely and want to find love, deactivate those accounts, and go meet someone doing an activity you enjoy. Love cannot be mimicked by a phone, it’s only masked.

Although I sometimes wonder what my life would be like had I not engaged with faceless strangers on the internet, it’s important for me to not regret my past decisions. What matters most to me is that the love I have now is real. We met at a physical place in time, knowing immediately we were meant to be without anything between.

3 Tips in Making a Marriage

Social

Consider myself a newlywed with a classic story. Met husband in college, moved in together, got married. Despite everyone claiming we were “too young,” we took the leap and haven’t regretted it since. There were other things to marriage, however, I wasn’t fully prepared to handle and had to figure out on the way. Things such as family, in-laws, career changes, and the basic responsibilities needed to be an adult.

Like any couple, we had our ups-and-downs, but through it all, we stayed in constant support of one another. For those of you out there trying to figure each other out, here’s some observational tips that may seem obvious, but as someone married, are often forgotten.

1. Communication is key.

We’ve all heard this one before, and somehow we forget to use it. I found myself trying to “let go” of a situation in order to keep the peace, if you will. Holding it in always backfires in the long run. Confronting an issue at hand, in a respectful way, is the only way to maintain a relationship.

Do: Express how you’re feeling, whether it’s good or bad. Compliment with an emotion when your partner goes out of their way to express their love. Allow space for your partner to process their thoughts, keep the conversation concise and to the point. Listen and validate how they feel. Say, “Thank you.”

Don’t: Become defensive, the other person’s emotion may be centralized around something else. Argue in the presence of others, keep the critique for pillow talk. Bring up past events, move past something that was previously discussed.

2. Support both of your needs.

Compromise doesn’t mean giving up what you love, it’s about learning to love what your partner does. You won’t always like the same things. There will always be the little things that bother you. That’s what makes being with someone else interesting.

Do: Express interest in what your partner is interested in. Ask questions, learn more. Share what you love and accept that they may not have the same appreciate as you do. Rotate between shared activities and communicate what you appeals to you most about what they like.

Don’t: Act disinterested, looking at your phone or off into the distant when someone is trying to explain something to you. Mock what the other person finds entertaining, even if you’re only “teasing.” Be jealous if sometimes, their hobbies aren’t involving you completely.

3. Take care of yourself.

We get wrapped up in the ones we love. We support their career goals, life goals, and provide emotional reassurance. In all of this, we can get stuck in thinking that this is not just for them, it’s for the both of us. Supporting your partner and their life goals is important, but it’s also important to not lose your aspirations along the way, otherwise you’ll end up bitter and resentful that you never got the chance to achieve your dream.

Do: Focus on your health, both mentally and physically. Talk to your partner about your dreams, working with them. Schedule a time to work on yourself, especially when they’re away, this is precious you time. Treat yourself when needed.

Don’t: Be afraid of being alone. Make excuses to avoid going for your dream, there will always be something. Rely on your partner to solve your problems, they can’t fix you, but they can work with you to figure out what steps you need to take. Let anyone let you feel like you deserve to be where you’re at, you can always do better.

Joining yourself in a binding union with someone else is exciting, scary, unfamiliar, and fun. The most important thing is that you enjoy every moment you have together, between the mundane to the adventurous. Remember why you fell in love and how you fell in love. Together, you are a one person. Love is an evolving concept that needs constant nurture.