Howie: Depression Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco here and today’s topic is depression specifically the second part of a blog I wrote last year. This blog has changed drastically from the idea had to write for this a month ago, for the better mind you as the part of depression we’re talking about is the after. If you’ve read my previous one you know I covered both causes and how it feels to be depressed and said that everyone goes through it differently and in different stretches of time. At some point though people need to stop being pulled down and need to stop feeling as though they’re drowning. Sadly that point comes to happen one way or the other, by taking their life or they’re life changing for the better.

You could take your life, you could it’s a quick easy end to your suffering and no one can blame you for doing it. However, you’re robbing the world of your life, your talent whatever it may be and whoever loves you of your love. Yes ladies and gents, your life matters because despite how it may be going right now it’s apart of the story it isn’t the whole story though. You thrived once, laughed once, felt joy, felt love, had hope, one of these things came into your life before and it may be staring you in the face right now. Looking to pull you out, or at the least give you ground to stand on. A person in your position doesn’t have to let it go, they might, or move on sure but if you can be reminded of the pain everyday and still feel good about yourself. You just have to look for that reason to smile. I mentioned that before to that taking it one day at a time was important and looking for your reason to keep going was too.

Once you find that though that bit of faith, you have to use it. Faith and hope and love are powerful emotions that can change you’re views for the better, I told you all in my last blog about that I thought I was starting to get better, I wasn’t I was just holding on to that piece of hope. I hadn’t changed anything in my life hadn’t fixed anything, still was doing things to forget the pain I didn’t want to be doing anymore. Then last month I took a leap of faith in myself, I applied for a new job at this point it was the biggest thing holding me back in my life. I stayed for a long time there because I was comfortable and I think that was a bad idea, I think it was just a reminder of everything that happened the last few years. Not to mention a constant stressor and that every day it chipped away at what little self esteem I had everyday.

So I took a leap of faith to change that get rid of it and I ended up proving to myself that I could do something like that. That I was strong enough to fix my life and pick up the pieces that people had left shattered. It all came from just finding one reason to go on everyday for I guess 5 years now it feels a lot longer.

However the purpose of this blog I need you whoever you are to understand. This is not someone saying hey look things work out, this not someone saying hey look at I fixed things. That is not the point and if that’s what I conveyed I owe you an apology. For the purpose was to say things come in time, pain doesn’t necessarily go away it gets pushed to the side. You can’t push it all at once though, it takes a bit every day. Every day you have to push it a millimetre, a centimetre, a metre, a kilometre away, until it’s far enough away. Far enough that you can remember and feel the pain without feeling the suffering.

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Lynn On: Depression and Me

Here’s a little warning before you start getting into this. I’ll be writing on my experience with depression and how I manage. My way may not work for everyone and if it’s extreme enough for suicidal thoughts and tendencies, I suggest going to a medical and/or mental profressional instead.

So I’ve suffered from depression for a long time and still do to this day. I used to take antidepressants for it, almost every dosage doctors could legally give me, but nothing really worked. Nothing really made me “happy” or “stopped the sadness”. I realized later in life that that’s not what the pills are supposed to do anyway and even if they did, a lot of my depression came from my situation at the time so there was really no way of fixing that. Leaving the situation I was in did help, but it was more than that. I still have depression and it’s still affecting me, but I’m trying to figure out a way to manage.

When my depression hits hard, I feel…empty. Like I’m not supposed to exist. Like I should, and I’m going to get stupidly artsy here, melt into the night sky or sink into the sea. Something like that that leads to me vanishing and putting and end to something that’s gone on too long. It’s not a suicidal thought process I don’t think, just a very empty, lonely, and all around sad feeling. It may take a long time to push on sometimes like weeks or months, and I doubt the feeling will ever really go away, but I learned something that helps me feel better about it all.

It’s okay. It’s okay for me to be upset. It’s okay for me to feel down and out and tired of life in general. I know it’s a mental illness but I also know that there’s no real ‘end all’ cure. Like I said, it’ll probably be with me my whole life and in my case it’s not all consumming, so I think I can handle on my own for the most part.

It’s like a really pesky cat in my case. I should know, I own one. Sometimes it’ll do everything in it’s power to get my attention and most of the time I hand it over. I pet it and talk to it as it meows at me, but sorting it out tends to quite it down enough to take it’s attention off me a while. Other times, like now as I’m writing this for example, I have to push it aside to get this done. It’s tried to get my undivided attention, but I put on some chill music while I work. That seems to shut it up for a while and makes it like a cat sleeping on my lap or something akin to that.

After I’m finished this though, I’ll probably keep the music going while thinking on this whole thing on my own. Which is fine since I usually do that anyway, even when I’m out with friends or at meetings. Sometimes, I just need to stop and step away to sort it out. Again, it may take a while and I may not get it all done, but I’ll be good enough to make it the rest of the way. And I think that’s all I need at the end of the day.

Madison’s Struggle with Depression

I suffer from Depression, which is no news flash for anyone who knows me. I struggle every day with it, it is not something that will ever go away. I know that, and I’ve grown to accept it, so in a way I have it under control with just the acceptation. I’ll give you a definition on depression then I’ll get into a little more detail about what brought upon this topic.

Depression: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

I got this definition from Dictionary.com

I wanted to bring this topic to light because I have been struggling with my emotions lately, and it’s starting to drain me physically as well as emotionally. With people who have depression of any kind go through emotional detachment between them self and others or themselves and object/activity they enjoy. They may even withdraw from people or certain objects due to their emotional detachment. A big one for me is a loss in energy or motivation to do anything. There can be days where I don’t even have the motive to lay in bed, and all I want to do is disappear. Another one that I go through is feeling lost and alone even though I may have 2-200 people around me. Sometimes my emotions will get the best of me and I have thoughts. Thoughts about packing my stuff up and taking a trip no phone, not internet, nothing, and only telling family where I’m going and seeing how many people notice. Though that may be fun and relaxing that’s nothing more than a thought for two reasons. One: because I do not want to put my friends through that, two: I don’t want to know the answer. Depression can send your head through so many situations and put every day fears in you then times them by 10.

There are some pros that my depression has brought into my life. One of the pros in my depression are that I feel it has given me is empathy. I have a great sense of empathy for those around me, and with that it’s given me the strength to help and relate to others who are struggling, and the power to say you are not alone. The second pro is my friends, it’s given me a group of friends to relate to and confide in. And the biggest pro is me, I wouldn’t be me without my depression, nor would I be capable of being who I am at without going through the struggles I have.

What I am about to talk about is going to be a little touchy because it’s going to be of how I feel and act when I’m the middle of my depression, so I advise you to read with caution from here.

I go through what I call episodes where my depression affecting me the most  and then I have my highs which means I’m alright and then my lows where I’m not doing so well. My episodes only typically happen for a week maybe a week and a half at most before I reach out for help. Right now I’m sitting at my 12th week in a very bad low, my worst in a long time. This episode has taken over me emotionally, right now I feel like an empty shell with over bearing emotions that aren’t mine. Because of this it is causing paranoia, fear, desperation, OCD, and anger. I’ve been going through multiple anxiety attacks, yet I got it in my head that I cannot show it, because I’m afraid of being judged and it’s funny because the only one who would judge me is me. I was once told that we are our own worst critics. In many ways that is too true and I am afraid of letting myself down, I have been trying for so many years to prove to everyone around me that I am better then what I am now. I have pushed myself further than I ever thought possible, but not for the right reasons. I shouldn’t have had to prove I was better to anyone else but myself. My depression stems from a lot of my fears, my worries, my lack of self-worth, my lack of self-confidence, etc.… I don’t know how to correct it, but I have learn to live with the fact that I am better then what I think I am. People always tell me it will get better if you talk to someone, but what I don’t understand is how you are supposed to approach someone and go “hey I feel depressed today because I feel unimportant”. One if I say that to someone all there going to say back is that I am important to them, which is nice to hear don’t get me wrong but that not what I need to hear. But at the same time I don’t know what I want to hear. It’s funny cause I just said that my friends are a pro to my depression and in many ways they are, but sometimes I just feel that if I keep them in the dark I give them a better chances to let go of their emotions and help them deal with what their struggling with.

I have always been told I act older for my age when I’m having to deal with situations, yet every other time I act too young for my age and people always seem to wonder why. It’s simple that’s a wall I’ve had up since I was little, you can’t hurt someone who is already insulting themselves it takes the fun out of it. The same way how I always talk myself down, because no I’m not the smartest pea in the pod but you can’t talk me down when I’ve already said it myself. It is not a healthy way to live and I’m trying to break the habit just for the fact that I’m not a dumb women I can be smart if I tried but after being told that so many times it’s hard not to always believe that, but hey I’m still working on it and my boyfriend is calling me out on it. As well as a son that always tells me I’m beautiful, when I’m feeling down.

I apologize, I know it’s not really a blog it’s more just vomit of words and emotion, but to be honest I am feeling a bit better now that it is out. Feel free to leave any comment, concerns, questions anything I’d love to hear from you.

 

~Madison

Marie Talks: Tattoos and Piercings In Society

I remember growing up being told to not get tattoos, they’re ugly, dangerous, and makes you labeled a delinquent.  I remember being told not to get any visible piercings, nothing on my face or body, on my ears only. Even at the age of 12 I was when I saw a tattoo or piercing I thought was awesome I immediately thought of the potential implications and issues that could come with it later on I life.  I was taught from a young age that having tattoos, piercings, and unnaturally dyed hair made you basically unemployable, irresponsible, and ugly.

When I was twelve my parents finally allowed me to get my ears pierced.  They are of the belief that piercing a child’s ears before they are old enough to make the decision themselves isn’t right.  Not for the reason of it “promotes body piercings”; but for the sheer fact that it is altering the child’s body without their consent. They waited until they felt I was mature enough to make a decision to put holes in my body for a pointless reason other than that it’s pretty.  They wanted to make sure I was old enough to make a well thought out decision myself when it came to my body, and take care of them on my own.  No parent is wrong in the decision of when to pierce their child’s ears, if to even do so at all.  However I feel my parents made the right decision for me, they instilled the belief that I should be the only one to decide what is done to my body from a very young age and promoted it with the decision of piercing my ears.

However they also instilled societies stand point on how tattoos and piercings were viewed.  Which as I stated previously meant no piercings anywhere besides my ears and definitely no tattoos. When I was sixteen I went and got my tragus pierced, the cartilage that protrudes out in front of the ear canal. Needless to say my parents had no idea I was going to get this done, and were furious when they found out.  See I went with the loop hole that it was part of my ear, whereas my mother saw it as part of the face. Now I expected this drama, and had also worries of my own.  I was worried about how society would view this piercing and what it may imply about me.  Down the road seven years later I’ve learnt the only troubles having my tragus pierced caused is the pain in the bottom that healing was, trying to not get snagged while getting my hair cut, and children love yanking on it. If I haven’t pointed it out people rarely even realize it is there.

As soon as my tragus was fully healed, which was six months later I decided that I wanted my tongue pierced.  I had always thought it looked pretty and I wanted it for that fact alone. So again off I went and got my tongue pierced.  I had doubts and almost chickened out last minute. I worried that it would tell society that I was promiscuous, or tell men I was easy. I worried what future employers would think and if it would make me unemployable.  What pushed me to actually walk in the room and let the lady covered in beautiful tattoos and piercings stick a needle through my tongue is the knowledge of why I was getting it. I remembered at the end of the day I liked how the piercing looks and I cannot let society dictate what decisions I make for my body. That my opinion the only one that truly mattered, because the piercing, and my body, are for me and me alone to decide what I do with. A week and a half later when my parents finally saw the piercing they were furious,  I disobeyed them,  I ruined my beautiful face,  and I made myself look unemployable.  To me the only one I really held dear to me was the fact that I went against my parents and did something they had strictly forbidden me from doing. I did not feel as though I ruined anything, nor was I unemployable. All that happened is I put a piece of jewelry in my body that I found esthetically pleasing to look at.

When I was eighteen I got my first tattoo, I’ll admit I was terrified.  I was getting my grandpa’s nickname on the back of my neck, three months after he had passed.  As I mentioned in my Grieving a Loved One blog, I hadn’t taken his passing very well. I thought maybe putting his nickname on my body would help me move past my loss and have a piece of his memory visibly with me at all times.  I had thought it out, he was a big part of making me who I am and I loved him dearly. I had wanted to put it somewhere I could see the reminder when I needed, however with not knowing what I wanted in my future and how the tattoo would affect my career I put it in a more hidden place. As I was getting ready to get it done I was worried that it would hurt and how my parents would react. In the end my mother was upset that I got the tattoo as she is not a fan, and that I hid this decision from her; however she was touched that what I had done was in memory of her father.

The next fall I approached my mom, I wanted a tattoo in memory of my grandma who I had lost three years prior.  She was iffy with the idea but agreed to allow me to get it done as it was something that meant a lot to me and I had clearly thought it out.  I got an angel holding three hearts (one for my mom and both her brothers) on my shoulder with her name and the words “first and foremost my heart and soul, forever and always my guardian angel” on my left shoulder blade.  I had chosen those words as much like my grandpa she had a large part of shaping me into the woman I am today and will forever be one of my closest relatives. As well as I used to always call her my guardian angel as she was always there for me and always seemed to know when I needed her.  I now despise the tattoo as some of the detail was horribly done and ruined it for me. I want to get that covered and put something new on my body for my grandmother when I can afford it.

My last tattoo I got just after my twenty-first birthday, is a black and grey tiger lily on my right shoulder blade.  I love it, it holds two different meanings to me and is absolutely beautiful. My original plan for the tattoo was for it to be in full colour and also have forget-me-not flowers and my daughter’s name; however with a lot of thought going into it I decided to leave out the extra details as I knew what the tattoo meant and didn’t feel as all the extra details were necessary. As I mentioned in my teen pregnancy blog I miscarried at sixteen and had kept it fairly secret. Therefore I didn’t want to put this extravagant display on my body for everyone to see. To me a tiger lily represents beauty, strength and resilience, which I thought was fitting to use in her memory.  Over time before I got that tattoo it also gained a second meaning.  It also became a personal reminder to always keep fighting my battle against bipolar type two.  It was a reminder that I can get past even the darkest times, that things get better. A reminder that I didn’t let the Sorrow of my miscarriage drown me, that I shouldn’t let anything else. To me this is my most powerful tattoo that serves as the biggest reminder to me that nothings worth giving up fighting over.

I do believe that tattoos and piercings make it harder to find a job, but as the years pass it is becoming easier to find jobs that allow piercings and tattoos. There is still a stigma attached to tattoos and piercings, although it is slowly losing its wide spread influence on society and more and more people are appreciating the beauty and self-expression, over the belief it makes you ugly or a delinquent.

My personal belief is that every tattoo you put on your body is a piece of artwork, and each one tells a story, holds a meaning.  As long as it means something to the person who put it on their body and/or they like it, that is all that matters. As for piercings as long as the person who has it likes it and it does not pose a health or safety risk to them, go for it.  Your body is your own, tattoo it, dress it, and pierce it as you wish. But remember tattoos are permanent, so think it through before you get it done.

Stay Beautiful. Stay You. Stay Unique Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Madison and The Stereotypes of Suicide

Definition from dictonary.com:
“The intentional taking of one’s own life.”

Suicide like self harm is hard to talk about because of how touchy of a subject it is and there is always a fear of accidently triggering someone , or offending someone. So I always try to keep that in mind and try to keep as many details as possible so this blog may not be as personal as my other blogs. So my blog today like most other times is going to be on stereotypes.
Stereotype:

People who talk about suicide do it to get attention.
That can be true in some ways, but I believe Its on the same kind of attention people think it is. When at any point someone come to you talking about the difficulty they are facing/ having it more of a cry for help, rather the attention seeking. Suicide is a very serious issue that people go through and it’s not something people want to do. If I could it out of my head I would, but it takes a lot of love and support to help get through it.
I struggle with suicide and depression as some people know if you guys got a chances to read any of my other blogs. I go through suicidal episodes and it’s hard to take about it. I can openly talk about I when I’m not going through an episode but when I’m in one it’s hard enough to even smile let alone let some one else in, and that is typically the time I need the most help.
Suicide is not very common.
Oh I wish that was true, but sadly it’s more common then people think. It’s something that is not typically talked about much, unless it impacts you. I have a few family members and friend that struggle so I’ve always known a lot about the topics, but due the negative stigma around suicide it’s not very heard about. My parent for one have a very different look on suicide because they think if no body talks about it, it will go away on it own. With some thing yes that may work but other not so much.
Once someone has made up their minds to die, they can’t be helped.
No there is always hope, someone may just need to see you fight for them to help change there minds. If a person really wanted to go they already be gone, there would be no talking about it. There is always a reason to stay, they just might not be able to see it.
There had been days that I felt like I’ve had nothing left to live for, and sometime all it took was a simple hello from a old friend, or a sweet smile from a random stranger. The little thing in life make life worth living but even the best of us seem to miss it sometimes. Nobody perfect, where would the fun be if we all were.
To be able to enjoy a good day we have to experience a bad day. To be sad you have to know what happy feels like. To ask for help is not weakness it’s a sign of strength and trust in one’s self. Never forget you are cared for, you are loved, and you mean something, you just may not see it yet.

-Madison Taylor.

Howie Discusses Suicide

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and this blog is going to be talking about suicide. I was gonna start this blog off talking about different feelings that can lead to suicidal thought, and what causes those feelings. When you look at it all though it all boils down to the fact you see no other way, then to release yourself from this life. Speaking from experience it felt like I was drowning, and there was a force that every time I tried to pull myself away from it, it pulled me deeper down into an abyss. Mine stemmed from feelings of loneliness, isolation and rejection, I’m not going to retell that story it’s all in my blog about depression. At the point where I was about to do it though, the reason I didn’t was because, my phone went off and it just kept ringing in the background.

Before I continue with the story though, let’s just talk about some of the causes for that feeling that leads a person to consider suicide. Firstly it can be caused by a few different medical reasons including mental disorders, including but not limited to, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety. Any psychological trauma can bring those thoughts out, whether those be from abuse, or PTSD. Of course a number of causes are also from the societal front, isolation, bullying, genetics, only being a few among them. No matter what though that feeling of being unable to escape, not able to cope is there and is overwhelming.

Personally at this point in my life, I have found one reason and only one reason where I can see suicide as an answer. As I’ve come to see there is always another way, another road, another choice to take. If though you have a disease, an ailment that would end your life painfully, or worse have your mind degrade and you wish to end it rain her than suffer through that. That I can understand, but when you’re not at that point then you can always find a way to fix your life, it takes time sometimes and sometimes it just takes a moment to think of a reason that you need to be around the next day, and the next day and the day after that.

The phone just kept ringing and ringing, that night I had no idea who it was at that moment. When it started ringing though, I froze I couldn’t go through with it. I started remembering a scene from Lethal Weapon when Riggs holds his gun up to his head, with his special hollow bullet that go clean straight through. How he doesn’t pull the trigger, how when his partner confronts him about whether he’s suicidal or not he says every day I find another reason not to pull the trigger. To me that first day was the phone ringing it was just a friend wanting to see if I was doing ok, but I took it as a sign. Every day for a while after I’d look for a reason not to put that razor against my wrists and pull my arteries out and live for the next day.

Since that day I’ve had 2 friends in my life who committed suicide, one of whom I didn’t find out about for a few months and still don’t know her story. The other was very saddening, I will not even give her a fake name out of respect, we had all left for summer vacation at the end of grade 11, assuming we’d see each other in September. When September came round though she was nowhere to be seen, she was still registered though and they’d call her name out in class. After a few weeks the police found a body matching her description, none of us were expecting that. I tried to go to her funeral but sadly was given the wrong address and since I was bussing spent the day lost in Surrey. A day later though.. Actually wait, you need to know all this was going on at the same time of the whole Amanda Todd thing. Someone I knew about a day later was saying how weak she was, and making fun of her for committing suicide, saying that he gets bullied every day you don’t see him posting it all over the Internet and killing himself and so on. I looked him dead in the eye and said, would you also say it was weak of my 2 friends to commit suicide? How about the fact I have more than thought about it? Are we weak for it? He stopped talking after that.

I’ve become very respectful of life since then I think it’s incredibly precious, and that everyone deserves a chance at it. No one is weak for committing suicide or thinking about it. If you do feel that way though, talk to people, talk to your loved ones don’t look yourself up in those feelings. Always look for a reason to live the next day.

Brian’s Views on Addiction

Addiction is one common thing that can go two major ways in life, one it will break your family and friends apart and two it will end up with you being six feet deep, harsh I know but its true. I have seen a lot of my close family and friends go through addiction and trust me its not a pretty seen when you have to see your own blood smoke crack right in front of you. I have had my own share of addiction from drugs and alcohol, I have lost a lot of family and friends because they got fed up seeing me struggle with it, my mom walked away, my best friends everyone I ever cared about walked away, and I thought I would never see them again. I don’t know which was worse though at the time losing them or loving the addiction…? I know we all make mistakes in life not one of us is perfect but addictions kill us slowly.
How would you feel seeing your loved one walk away from you? Or seeing you kids get hurt by not having their mom or dad around, because they would rather party and drink or go do drugs…? Its the worse feeling ever putting someone you love in that position, I hated the fact I put everyone I love in the position seeing them walk away and leave me, I had to chose between liquor or family and sadly I chose liquor over them for a year, until I hated myself because I was lonely and hurt for not having anyone. But to be honest, after everyone walked away from me and after couple months of thinking I stopped because family and friends means more to me than liquor. I can say yes there are days where I can have a couple drinks and stop but there nights where I’ll go a couple days drinking then stop, I have gotten better after realizing what is more important in your life addiction or family?
We all have our addictions rather that is drugs or alcohol but we can all get better one day. It takes time for some of us to quit completely and for some of us we can quit cold turkey, either way we can quit on our own or quit with someone’s help. Don’t try to do something by yourself if you are unsure if its the right thing to do, talk to someone about the addiction, attend addiction seminars or meetings, find something that you can get help from, check into a rehab or treatment center. Once you get the help you need don’t think that its punishment think of it as a brand new start and a brand new beginning to a new you, life gets better when you have the love and support from your family and friends, sure it maybe tough but the reward at the end of it is worth all the stress. Believe in yourself and think positive and if your going through any addictions right now i believe in you that you can get better and you will.
Much love,
Brian O’Connor

Madison’s Story of Domestic Abuse

There can be many ways you can be a victim of domestic abuse. there are physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, economical. I have been through more then I want to admit, I’m also sorry this blog is late everyone. this topic was alot harder to write then the others were. I have been through a couple different types of abuse and I have also been a bystander for some and it’s not something I’m proud of but the fear at the time was alittle over powering.

I’ll start with the deffinition like I always do. I got this definition off of Dictionary.com.

Domestic Violence: Act of violence or abuse against a person living in one’s house hold, especially a member of one’s immediate family.

that may be the definition, but it can also come from a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Physical: In my very first relationship I was physically abused. I was really young at time only 8 years old, it wasn’t really a relationship it was more like a guess what your mine now from my boyfriend, Jack was 16 at that time he was my bestfriend big brother who took me in when I didn’t have anywhere to go. Jack would beat me everynight until I gave into him sexually. Yet he treated me like a princess during the day. If I got hit during the day he would tell me it was because “I missed behaved” or I didn’t follow his rules. I was at the age were i didn’t really understad that it wasn’t ok to be treated that way, and it happend so rarely in public that no one really took notice. I ended up in a vicious cycle that sent me into a deep depression, I ended up moving provinces because of it to get away from him.

Sexual: As I mentioned before I have been sexually assulted and raped by my boyfriend and his friends if I didn’t follow the house rules. I’ve had many boyfriends tell me that because I’m dating them they could do what ever they want and they could do no wrong because they owned me.  That tormented me because I’d feel so used and nothing more then a toy to them. Also I couldn’t leave because where would I go? I was always afriad.

I went through much more but That will be saved for another blog.

My feelings:It took me a long time to recover from some of my past relationships. I had so many trust issues that my boyfriend now is still trying to help me with. I feel bad seeing the fear in his face when I flinch when he gives me a hug or him having to keep reasuring me that he loves me because I sometimes can’t tell the difference. I would do anthing to give my heart and soul to him, and I know it will come in time, but there is always going to be fear until the light breaks through my heart once more. 🙂

Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! By Audrey Hepburn
​~Madison Taylor.

Madison Take on Learning Disability

This week during the learning disability, I wanted to talk about Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is really misunderstood. It’s also something that myself and my family struggle with? So like always I’ll start off with a definition I got off of Dictionary.com.

Dyslexia: Any of various reading disorders associated with impairment of the ability to interpret spatial relationship or integrate auditory and visual.

People with Dyslexia don’t always just struggle with reading. We also struggle with writing, spelling, math and many more that I’ll list later on in the Blog. I constantly have to check my writing over because I know how to spell most words now that I’m older but it doesn’t always come out on paper the right way. Numbers have to be the hardest for me because I would always draw them backwards so now that I have reversed that I can’t tell if there backwards or forward. It took a while for people to figure out what was wrong, and why I struggled so much as school. Most people don’t know is that Dyslexia doesn’t show up when taking a learning disability test, because it’s not that we don’t know the information it’s that are brain process things differently. For example I have weird tricks to remember my mathematics. I’ll try and make a video of the cool tricks I’ve learned and attach it to the Blog another week. The biggest issue with Dyslexia is that the warning signs for it can be so similar to other learning disability and mental health concerns that it’s typically over looked.

I wanted to write down a few of the most common warning signs for dyslexia

Pre-school/ Kindergarten

  • Has trouble recognizing the letters of the alphabet
  • Struggles to pronounce words correctly, such as saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”
  • Has difficulty learning new words
  • Has a smaller vocabulary than other kids the same age
  • Has trouble learning to count or say the days of the week and other common word sequences

Grade school/ Middle School.

  • Struggles with reading and spelling
  • Confuses the order of letters, such as writing “left” instead of “felt”
  • Has trouble remembering facts and numbers
  • Has trouble learning new skills and relies heavily on memorization
  • Gets tripped up by word problems in math
  • Has a tough time sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Has trouble following a sequence of directions

High School

  • Struggles with reading out loud
  • Doesn’t read at the expected grade level
  • Has trouble understanding jokes or idioms
  • Has difficulty organizing and managing time
  • Struggles to summarize a story
  • Has difficulty learning a foreign language

Here are a few more general warning signs that are not linked with age.

  • Labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” or “behavior problem.”
  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.
  • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
  • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.

Every one struggles with Dyslexia in their own way. Not something that you can outgrow but it’s something you can understand and work around. I struggled my whole child not understanding anything, I couldn’t figure out why people kept telling me I wasn’t trying hard enough when I was giving it my all. It wasn’t until grade 5 till I was Diagnosed and started understanding that I could learn I just had to focus on what my strengths were and use those. I learn allot through picture, I can remember stranding and mathematics through images in my head. It’s like flipping through a photo album and remembering everything you’ve done. That’s kind of similar to the way I think except I can’t always understand what I’m remembering or even chose what I want to remember.

A few sites that I suggest checking out I’ll link them to the Blog. It’s where I got the info above, they have great information on them, take a read if your infested on learning more :).

Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! By Audrey Hepburn

-Madison Taylor ❤

Sexual Abuse Myths #3

Welcome to the Fourth Installment of the Five part collaboration on Sexual abuse, thank you for the read. This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Monday Was of myths

Tuesday was answering questions

Wednesday was more baffling myths

Today is even more mind boggling myths

Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

Enjoy!

  1. Women get raped because they are dressed provocatively

Marie: As I stated previously in my last response, I could be standing there absolutely naked and that still does not say I want to take part in any sexual activity. The first time I was sexually assaulted I was seven wearing jeans and a fully buttoned up shirt. The last time I was sexually assaulted I was wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. However I will sound like a broken record by saying it does not matter what I am wearing, even if I am absolutely naked in front of you I am not asking for it. Every time I was raped or sexually assaulted I had on pants and a shirt that did not show off my body. A woman does not get raped because of what she is wearing; they get raped because the other person had no concept of consent or controlling their urges.

Ivybelle: This is a big no, a girl can be wearing a long baggy shirt with baggy pants and she will still get sexually abused/rape. I know this for a fact because when it happened to me when I was younger. I was wearing a covered up with baggy t-shirt and baggy pants and yet I was sexually abused. A girl can wear a mini skirt and just a bra, or walk around naked but that still doesn’t mean a man or woman have the right to touch her body. A women should have the right to wear whatever she wants and still feel safe and not judged. It’s like saying if a guy walks around just in boxers, shorts or walks around naked then he is asking to be raped. It doesn’t make any sense.

Madison: when it comes to clothing it shouldn’t matter if a female wears short shorts and heels or baggy pants and a t-shirt, when it comes down to rape it could happen to anyone. Females do not go in to a store to pick out an outfit going “does this outfit help me get raped tonight” most females look for outfits that best fits their body, and makes them feel good.

Lynn: How one dresses has no relation to anything, sexual desires especially. The only thing it has relation to is what clothes a person feels happy and comfortable in and making them feel less so is a really dick move.

  1. When men become sexually aroused they have to have sex and cannot stop.

Marie: No, that’s rapists. Men respect women, they make sure their partner is consenting. Men do not rape. A man is able to control his urges when he becomes sexually aroused, he does not absolutely have to have sex. Males are not the only gender of rapists, women can be rapists too.

Ivybelle: It doesn’t matter if a man has sexual urges. If the person does not give you consent, you can’t just continue because you want it. If you really need to get some relief, pleasure yourself or find another consenting partner.

Madison: No, men can get an erection at random points of the day. Men aren’t always aroused when they have an  erection. Also men have just as much self-control as a female does.

 

  1. Rape only happens to young sexy women.

Marie: Then explain to me all the children, men and older women who are raped or sexually assaulted. Rape is not just a pretty young women issue, it’s everyone’s issue. Anyone can be a victim of rape, no one is safe. I was 7 the first time I was sexually assaulted, and I was barely 13 years old the first time I was raped… If that’s the definition of a young and sexy woman, what’s the definition of an innocent child?

Ivybelle: It happens to children and men too. There’s no specifics to who it happens, it just does. You can be 3 or 17, man or woman, be 90 lbs or 200, unfortunately it happens.

 

  1. A weapon is used.

Marie: One’s hands and body are a weapon in this kind of assault. I don’t need a gun pointed at me or a knife to know I am at danger. A weapon is not always necessary, the fear is more than enough to freeze someone and give their attacker an advantage. Never mind the fact that if your assailant overpowers you they don’t need a weapon to get their way.

Ivybelle: Weapons are not always used. Sometimes force is all they need and some people are too afraid to say no.

Madison: A weapon doesn’t always have to be used. A person could use body strength to overpower someone. You do not need to put a knife or a gun to someone head to assault someone else.

  1. If the attacker is drunk at the time of the assault then they cannot be accused of rape.

Marie: I’m torn on this, it all depends. I’d have to know all the facts as this varies from situation to situation. However just because the attacker is drunk it does not excuse raping another person.

Ivybelle: That’s like saying if a murderer was drunk then he cannot be charged for murder… how does that make sense? Whether you are drunk or not you still know that rape is wrong. Unless the person gives you their consent (says yes I want this), then you are not to have sex with them.

Madison: Yes and no, it all depends on the person. Some people can be much disoriented after it happens. But then there are some who are able to hide their pain better than other. There not really a toll tell sign of how someone acts after sexual assault.

 

  1. Women lie about being sexually assaulted to get revenge, for their own benefit, or because they feel guilty afterwards about having sex.

Marie: Why would a woman do that? It’s not funny nor is it something to be taken lightly. It’s a scary, life altering event and it’s not a scapegoat. If a woman uses it as an excuse then there’s something wrong with the whole picture.

Ivybelle: I’ve heard cases that a woman would lie about being raped out of revenge but some of them have a mental illness. I am not saying that they are right for doing it, but it happens. When women/men lie about that it makes it hard for cops to believe us victims. I once knew a guy who met this girl at a bar and they both agreed to a one night stand, but the next day she got attached. He told her that he made it clear that there’s nothing going on between them. She got so mad that she told the cops that he raped her and he had to go to court. He never got charged guilty because of proof, however she went to jail for falsely accusing him of rape. It was really sad because it had an impact on his career.

Madison: No not all of the sexually assault case are going to be lie. There may be the odd case where a female was upset. Majority of case that have to do with sexual assault are actual case and no matter what should be taken seriously. No assaults should be joked about it’s not a method to be taken likely because it can physically and mentally harm someone.

 

  1. You can tell if a woman is really sexually assaulted by the way she acts.

Marie: You may be able to tell she is uncomfortable in certain situations; but in no way can you tell for sure she has been sexually assaulted.

Ivybelle: Yes and no, everyone reacts differently. Some people will act distant yet others will act like nothing happened. Some people will want to stay single and not sleep with anyone for years while others will want to sleep around or want to be in a relationship. However most people, will have a bit of a change to their personality or attitude. They may either be bitter or just withdraw themselves from everything.

Madison: Yes and no, it all depends on the person. Some people can be much disoriented after it happens. But then there are some who are able to hide their pain better than other. There not really a toll tell sign of how someone acts after sexual assault.

 

We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.

“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”

We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!

Thank you for reading!

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these myths, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until tomorrow,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal

Sexual Abuse Myths #2

Welcome to the Third Installment of the Five part collaboration on Sexual abuse, thank you for the read. This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Monday Was of myths

Tuesday was answering questions

Today is more baffling myths

Thursday was even more mind boggling myths

Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

Enjoy!

A rapist is a stranger.

Marie: No, the rapist is not always a stranger. Personally I have been raped by 6 different men, only one of those six men was a stranger to me. Of the others 2 were friends and 3 were boyfriends. This isn’t even taking into account just sexual abuse that did not end in sex, but I think rape alone painted a good enough picture. This idea that you don’t know your rapist is not always true, many times you know your assailant well. It is very likely that your rapist be someone you trust.  Realistically 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim making it a lot more likely that you are more likely to be assaulted when you feel safe then walking home alone.

Ivybelle: No, a rapist can be anyone: family, friend, boyfriend, ex, stranger, co-worker, etc… I personally know this because I was abused by family members, an ex-boyfriend, school mates and friends. A lot of people who go through abuse, rape is by someone you know and it makes it a lot harder to admit.

Madison: No, it’s not always the case. In cases when a child is the one being sexual assaulted it is typically coming from someone they already trust. In the case of a stanger taking sexually assaulting someone that has already been stalking them a while or they were an object of opportunity.

Lynn: Not always. Rapists can be strangers, but they can also acquaintances or friends or even family. Personally, I really trusted my sexual abuser until I found out what it was he was doing to me, seeing as it was my mom’s boyfriend at the time.

 

They didn’t struggle so they were not raped.

Marie: Personally I have fought back; but I only fought back the first few times or if it was a new assailant. I learnt pretty quickly that it hurt less and was over faster if I didn’t struggle or put my all into it. Overpowering my assailant was a fight I could not win, I was left drained and hurt but that did not stop me from being raped. That’s not to say that trying to stop your attacker from sexually assaulting you is useless or will not make a difference and I am not saying you should not try. All I am saying is that I knew my struggling was futile and I gave up, but that does not mean I consented. I was much younger and much weaker then all my rapists, leaving me at a disadvantage. But just because I did not give it my all to fight back does not mean I consented and was not raped.

Ivybelle:  That’s not true. Not everyone reacts the same way in the moment. Some people are too scared to do anything, some people are in shock mode, some people already have their trauma’s and they don’t just don’t want to fight it cause they know there’s no point. I can say that I’ve been sexually abused and raped but I’ve never actually fought to make it stop. I remember being scared and telling myself that if I tried anything I would probably get hurt.  When fear takes over you never know what’s going to happen. You cannot blame a victim for not defending themselves.

Madison: In my past I was sexually assaulted by the same guy for almost a year. After a certain point I couldn’t fight anymore. That is still considered rape, I was half the guy’s age and I did not consent to any sexual activity but after a certain point I couldn’t fight any longer. When it comes to rape it doesn’t matter if the female fight back or not, there was no consent. Your brain goes into the 3 f’s mode (Fight Flight or Freeze), if a person doesn’t fight back it could either they froze in fear or in a state of shock. If your judging someone on how much they fight back, that could be more harmful to their mental and emotional state the not giving any support.

There are always visible injuries when someone is sexually assaulted.

Marie: Just because there are no marks left on a victim’s body does not mean it did not happen. Just because you cannot see an injury doesn’t mean it’s not there; they could have hidden it or could be somewhere no one else should see. The trauma of sexual assault can scar you mentally, and that’s more than enough.

Ivybelle: No. Not everyone has marks left behind. It depends on the force of the rapist/abuser.

Madison: Not all sexual assault is rape. It can be anything, sexual assault can be; Groping, kissing, touching inappropriately, rape, it’s can be anything that would make you feel violated. It comes to a point where if that person crosses your boundaries willing or after you have clearly stated you are unwilling then that is clearly sexual assault.

You can identify a rapist by just looking at them – and they are usually from a particular race, or from a disadvantaged background.

Marie: yeah, sure, that makes complete sense… I mean just looking at my assailants you could clearly tell they were. I mean a couple white guys, an Asian and a Hispanic, how did I not see the pattern. Majority of my assailants came from a relatively advantaged background and most seemed like perfectly sweet gentlemen until you really got to know them. The only way to know someone is a rapist is from being told or experiencing it.

Ivybelle: The rapist can be anyone. Sometimes it can be a friend, family member but sometimes it can be a complete stranger. When it happens in the street or anywhere, you can’t always identify the rapist.  There’s no specific race or background that makes someone an abuser. The rapist can be white, black, Asian or any race.

Madison: If you are walking down the street I wouldn’t be able to honestly tell if someone has sexually assaulted someone or not. I believe there is no particular race or background that sexually assault someone, it honestly can be anyone. You may be able to tell if there is something off by their behavior, not by the way they look. If we start judging people by the way they look are jails will be ten time more crowded with innocent people. Let’s stop judging people by their ethnicity and cultural background and start looking at people with their own personality, because every person is their own person.

Lynn: Not at all. There is no “poster child” for rapists. Rapists come in all different shapes, sizes, races, and genders. Anyone could be a rapist.

 

Unless she is physically harmed, a sexual assault victim will not suffer any long-term effects.

Marie: Sometimes the most harmful events are the ones that don’t (always) leave physical scars. PTSD is a very real problem, and it can be an issue for sexual assault survivours. I personally have a hard time being intimate with another person in fear that if I say no they’ll ignore it or force me.

Ivybelle: No matter what way you were harmed; physically, mentally, or emotionally, you may suffer in the long term.  When you are being sexually abused it takes a big toll on you emotionally and verbally. You could spend most of your life looking over your shoulder, not being able to trust others. You may feel worthless and disgusting. When it comes to relationships you could have a hard time giving everything you have because you’re scared of what they can do to you or you may have problems expressing yourself. You may have trouble focusing in school or at work. Sexual assault trauma isn’t something that just goes away. Your life may change after that.

 

Rape is a sexual act that is taken too far.

Marie: Rape is rape. Rape is assault; it is violence. Rape is not a sexual act nor is it is not a sexual act gone too far. Rape is a physical assault violating someone’s body.  It is something to not be down played, justified or made excuses for; it is a vile act of ignoring a person’s wishes to not perform a sexual act upon them. Without consent a sexual act is not sexual, it is rape.

Madison: At what point is it too far? The moment the person says no or when the person is screaming in pain. For me as soon as a person says no and the other person continues then that is already going too far.

If a woman has had many sexual partners then she cannot be sexually assaulted.

Marie: Without consent a sexual act is sexual assault or rape, regardless of how many or few sexual partners the person has had.

Ivybelle: Sexual assault has nothing to do with how many partners you’ve had.  When’s there’s no consent, it is rape. Even if you are in a relationship it’s possible to be sexually abused.

Madison: It should not matter how many sexual partner she may have, it’s about having her rights stripped from her. What is the different is a female has 2-30 partners. The point is that no matter what no one deserves to be sexually assaulted

 

 

We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.

“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”

We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!

Thank you for reading!

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these myths, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until tomorrow,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal

 

Source:

“Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm&gt;.

Questions on Sexual Abuse

Welcome to the Second installment of our five part Collaboration!

This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Monday Was of myths

Today we’re answering questions

Wednesday is more baffling myths

Thursday even more mind boggling myths

Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

 

 

Questions about Sexual Abuse:

 

  1. Was it my fault?

Marie: No. When you are sexual assaulted or raped it is never your fault. It does not matter how many ‘what if..’ and ‘if only I had..’ thoughts went through your head, not consenting for a sexual act that took place makes it not your fault. Did you ask for it to happen? Did you consent to the activities that took place? If you answered no to either of these questions it was not your fault. I asked myself this question when it happened to me and sometimes I still do, but I have to keep reminding myself that I do not take any blame in my sexual abuse.

Ivybelle: No. No matter what people say, it is never your fault. When something is taken away from you without your consent, it is not your fault. Someone took advantage of you. For the longest time I thought it was my fault that I got abused because everyone told me that I started it, that I wanted it. At first I blamed them, but then I thought “what if I did start it? What if it was my fault” and I started to believe myself. I was lucky to have my best friend around at that time to help me and remind me that it’s not my fault and what they did is wrong.

Madison: No, if you are sexually assaulted it is not your fault.

 

Q: Will I ever feel better?

Marie: You may, it varies from person to person. You will not always feel as bad as you did right after it happened, but it may never fully go away. Personally I still have a lot of triggers and trust issues when it comes to touching me, which I don’t think will ever disappear. However I can say they are not as bad as they were, and I can learn to trust others and let them in. It may take baby steps but I no longer cringe every time a male is near me and I have managed to have a physical relationship since with a lot of trust building. Having support from friends, family and, if you decide to seek it, therapy.

Ivybelle: Honestly.. No. It doesn’t go away. The memories are still there sitting in the back of your mind. One day you may be fine and the next you might have a meltdown or not even want to get out of bed. You may be angry and push people away without realizing it. You have built this wall between you and the world, you might shut down. You may not be able to be intimate with someone for a long time. You may become more protective of your friends and family. You may always look over your shoulder. When a guy/girl flirts with you, you may get scared. When you drink you might feel vulnerable. You may have trouble sleeping at night, sometimes you may feel like someone is on top of you. Sometimes you may feel like you are being watched. There’s a lot of things that may happen. This constant fear might take over. I’m not saying that this will happen to everyone, but for a lot of people that’s the case. Please, don’t be afraid to get some help.

Madison: I agree with Ivy belle the memories will all be there, and it may not fully go away. But it’s the also the part of us that can make us stronger. I wouldn’t be where I am today if my past was not what it was.

Q: What do I do, or whom do I tell, if I am sexually assaulted or my child is sexually abused?

Ivybelle: Tell someone you trust, whether it’s a friend or a family member, also call the cops. It’s a scary thing to do, but the cops will be able to help you. If you can’t call the cops, try to get someone who you trust to call for you so he/she can send the cops to your home or wherever you feel safe. Maybe if you are scared to be alone with the cops, get someone to sit down with you and support you. The cops will give you a phone number or reference you to some therapy or someone to talk to. Therapy does help.  The cop will ask you to go to the hospital, so try to not take a shower after the assault has happened.

Madison: if my child or I had gotten sexually assaulted then I’d so to my family doctor or the police. But in a different situation especially when fear is involved then the only thing I can recommend is go to someone you trust. That can be anyone from friend and family to a social support work and counsellor.

Q: I do not know how to help a friend who has been sexually assaulted.

Marie: Be there for them. Be supportive and patient with them. When you find out they have been sexually assaulted ask if they’re safe, are they in any danger. Ask if they’ve reported, and if they have not ask why. They may be unsure of the process, they may be scared of their assailant, or they could feel like reporting it is not going to help. They could also be afraid of talking about it out loud, in a lot of detail over and over again; or that they will not be believed. Those on top of many other things are legitimate thoughts to think in that sort of situation; but urge your friend to report the incident and reassure them that you will be there for them and that it is a good thing to do. But never pressure your friend into anything, whether it’s talking to you or the police, that’s the last thing they need at that moment. Talk to them about the possibility of support groups or therapy and help them look for that if they’re interested. When someone reports their sexual assault to the police they can also be referred to services such as support groups and/or counselling through them as well. If they don’t want to report it or go to therapy or support groups don’t force them, be supportive of them. You can also ask if they have thought of seeing a doctor for screening (STI testing and such) to ensure their health.  All you can do is ensure their safety, and be there for them, reaching out is their job and you cannot force that to happen.

Ivybelle: All you can do is be there for them and don’t judge them. They are already struggling with expressing themselves and they feel like everyone will judge them. Tell them that things will work out, but never tell them to just get over it. Ask them if they have reported it, if not ask if they plan to. If they haven’t yet because they are afraid, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help. Sometimes they just need a little push to help them get the ball rolling. After I was sexually abused, I didn’t report it to the cops or get help, but my mom knew I needed help. She took me to therapy and my therapist gave me 2 choices. Either I go to the police station myself or he was going to call the cops to get them to meet me at my place. It took me a week, my mom knew I didn’t go. She grabbed me by the arm and made me make a report. It was hard, they didn’t want my mom to be in the same room, but I told them that the only way I was going to do this is if my mom joins me. They let her come in but I wasn’t allowed to talk to her. After the report, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I thank my mom and my therapist for it. I still struggled and when I needed a friend the most, my best friend was there for me. She gave me comfort, gave me hugs, reminded me it’s not my fault and talked a bit. It was a relief to know that my best friend wasn’t judging me. Sometimes people need a little push. Before taking that step, make sure the person asks for your help.

Madison: The one thing I needed most after mine attack was compassion. The only thing you can do is try to just listening and supporting them.

Q: Aren’t gay people more likely to sexually abuse children than straight people?

Marie: I hear this quite a lot and honestly, no they are not. That’s like saying girls are more likely to be smart then boys are. It’s quite an outdated, uneducated and baffling way to think. It’s not true and it never has nor will it ever be.

Ivybelle: Yes, I also ride a polar bear to work, live in an igloo and I drink maple syrup… No! I’ve never heard this before but no. Gays are just like straight people, there’s no need to label people. Anyone can be a rapist, gay, straight, transgender, etc..

Madison: No, Being gay does not automatically mean you will sexually abuse a child. People who sexually assault children struggle with something more the sexual identity. I don’t think it matters if you are straight, gay, bi sexual, lesbian when it comes down to it anyone could be anyone.

 

Q: Can I be sexually assaulted by my boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or acquaintance?

Marie: I cannot say this enough, without consent it is sexual assault. It does not matter what your relationship with the person is you still have to give consent for it to be a sexual act.

Ivybelle: Yes. I know this can be confusing for a lot of people… “He’s my boyfriend, they can’t rape me.” Yes there is. If you tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or whoever else that you are not in the mood or no and the person is still being pushy about it – it is rape. Whether you are married or not, if you don’t want it and they force it, it is rape. It’s something that not a lot of people mention but yes it does happen. If there’s no consent, it’s rape.

Madison: not every person get raped or assaulted by their partners but it can happen. As soon as you say no and your partner does not stop it is consider assault/rape.  Doesn’t matter who it may be, as soon as you say no it means no.

 

We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.

“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”

We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!

Thank you for reading!

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these questions, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth or question you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until tomorrow,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal

Marie Olsson on Grieving a Loved One (In honour of her Granddad)

Personally I am struggling even trying to write this blog for you; as I am still struggling with accepting the loss of my loved ones. However I am going to do my best to give you guys something, even if it is short. For that I apologise. Without further ado here is my blog on grieving a loved on.

—-

  “There are as many sorrows as there are people who feel them and there are no rules…

It is solitary… Grief is such a lonely thing. There is no-one in it with you – others may grieve for the same soul, but they do not grieve exactly for what you also grieve. No-one has lost precisely what you have lost. Not exactly, never exactly. We are in it alone…

 Oh it is wild and it is lonely. It is as if you’ve woken to a world that you recognise but it has been tilted, somehow – coated, or rubbed down, or made colder or less bright. It echoes where it should not echo; where it should echo, it is as echoless as a single, muffled thud. And grief is not merely sadness, as if sadness alone was not enough to bear. I had imagined the sorrow to be as deep as a well, a howling grief, but I had not imagined the other feelings that have no right to be there, which seem wholly misplaced in a state of grieving – rage, impatience, self-pity, disgust. They come from the dark and rush in upon you…”

― Susan Fletcher, The Silver Dark Sea

No one does things the same way another person does, no one feels the same way either. For some people moving forward is easier and for others it feels a lot harder. Everyone takes different amounts of time to move through the steps of grieving and encounters them in a different order; but everyone who has ever lost someone has been through them, and could still be going through it.  However I feel as though you’ll have seen all about the stages of grieving in at least one other blog so I will not be covering that.

As I am currently writing this it is five days before the fourth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, and as the date (Saturday, Sept. 26) grows closer I am realising that I really am not done grieving. I’ve yet to accept he is really gone, that I will never hear his voice on the other end of the line, or be able to give him a hug.  For months after he passed I would still call my grandparents’ house hoping to hear his voice, asking me how I’ve been, yet I was met with a short clipped message of him apologising for not reaching the phone. I tried again and again, not ready to come to terms that he wouldn’t one day pick the phone up and we’d talk and laugh together. Eventually the number was disconnected and that’s when I started to really feel the loss. When reality hit me I didn’t break out sobbing or lock myself in my room for days, although I would have much preferred that, instead I felt numb… absolutely numb.  I continued on with life as I had been prior, I was just void of any and all emotions.

For months after the loss of my granddad I tried to fill the void in my heart and find some emotions by drinking every weekend. I found comfort in the alcohol induced emotions, figuring that even a ‘fake’ emotion was better than the nothingness I was feeling.  However that did not get me anywhere, when I would sober up I was back to feeling nothing, it did not help me move forward.

“You can’t truly heal from a loss until you allow yourself to really FEEL the loss.”

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

I didn’t realise by feeling numb it wasn’t really helping me and the worst hadn’t even started yet. I had thought feeling numb had been a good step towards healing. However when the numbness faded I was not prepared for the tidal wave of emotions which rushed over me. I was a mess, I was crying, I wanted to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth, but I expected that. What I wasn’t expecting the short temper, exhaustion or codependency that came along with it.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I have come a long way in my process of grieving for my granddad, but I still have a long road ahead of me. I don’t think the hurt will ever go away but I’m closer to fully accepting that he’s not with me anymore. I’ll love him forever and always, and he’ll always be alive and well in my heart, and that’s good enough for me.

“But in all of the sadness, when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking,

You’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love.

Grief is the proof that love is still there.”

― Tessa Shaffer, Heaven Has No Regrets

 In Loving Memory of my Grandad,

Marie Olsson xoxo

Ivybelle take on grieving a love one

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Everyone loses someone at some point and everyone grieves at some point. We’re often told to get over it or that eventually we will but it’s not that easy.  As for those who are suffering, grieving takes time. We need to go through all the stages of grieving; SHOCK & DENIAL, PAIN & GUILT, ANGER & BARGAINING, “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS, THE UPWARD TURN, RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH, ACCEPTANCE & HOPE. I’m not saying that everyone deals with it the same way everyone has a different way to cope.

I could give you a list of all the people my mom and I have lost, but it would never end. It’s really hard to see my mom grieving for that list. She tends to shut me out, sometimes she’ll lock herself in her room and cry.  Although she tries to hide it, I can hear it and it hurts me because I cant make her feel any better, I can’t bring back a loved one. I think I get that from my mom, I try to shut everyone out and cry myself to sleep.

It usually takes me a while before it hits me that I’ve lost someone. Sometimes it can take days, sometimes it takes weeks but when it sinks the pain kicks in. I feel like my lungs are giving out on me, my head starts spinning and my throat hurts from trying not to cry. Sometimes, I feel like I’m going to be sick. I’ve lost a lot of people especially family. My family is getting smaller and somehow my family is becoming more distant with one another, it hurts to see that.

When I lost my Great Grand Mother, my whole family fell apart. I moved out here to BC to live with my mom and a year after that is when she passed away. I got the news from my mom when she received it in an email from her brother. At first she thought it was a misunderstanding but then she realized that it wasn’t. She tried so hard not to cry, but for me it hadn’t sunk in yet. She broke down crying in front of her computer and I didn’t know how to react or what to do. When she calmed down she told me that she felt guilty. She felt guilty because she promised her that she would go visit her before she left us, and unfortunately she couldn’t afford to go see her. She felt that she failed as a grand daughter. That’s when it hit me… She’s gone…

I tried telling my mom that it’s not her fault, that there’s nothing she could have done. That life throws us curve balls and we try to make the best of it. We found out a month later when her funeral was, but my mom still couldn’t afford to go back east to attend. She cried for hours and told me “ I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. I should’ve started saving money years ago.”  My great grand mother was like a mom to my mother. She took care of her growing up when her mom was too busy working.

My mom went through all of the stages of grieving before accepting that her grandma is in a better place. Today she still hurts a bit, but she accepts it. Me on the other hand, took a bit longer to accept it. I knew for a couple years before her passing she wasn’t going to be around much longer. She was getting thinner and she was barely eating. I cried a lot before her passing because I knew I wasn’t going to have her around much longer. When she did pass away, in that moment it was unexpected. She was the one to make sure the family was close and taught us what we know today. She taught us the importance of family values.  It wasn’t until last year that I finally learned to let go.

If I had the chance to talk to her again I would ask her if she’s happy. Tell her that I miss her, that I think about her all the time and that I love her. That my mom wants her to know that she’s sorry for not being there for her. I wish I could tell her how much my life has changed and I’m doing things that I love. I would ask her for life advice and tell her we’re okay.  Grieving is a long process, but it takes time to heal. There’s no time or magical way of making it all go away. Take time to heal and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember that it’s not your fault and tell yourself that now, they are in a happier place and they are looking over you.
Breathe. You’ll be okay.

Stay strong, Stay beautiful, Stay you.
-Ivybelle- xox

Grieving A Loved One -Howie Defranco

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and today we’re gonna be discussing grieving the loss of a loved one.  Well not so much a discussion as its one sided with me on the keyboard and you doing the reading.  I guess the best thing to start out saying is that everyone deals with with the loss in different ways, not in the sense that they don’t encounter each stage of grief.  Instead it’s more like you don’t go stage one, two, three, four and five, you go stage one, two, one, three, two, four, one… Etc as it has no limit to how long grief can go on for.

Now I have not experienced the loss of a loved one personally since I was a child at least not anyone I was close to.  Therefore I’m unable to really speak from a personal standpoint about what it’s like to lose someone you love to death.  In spite of that though I’ve lost people in my life and seen others lose people in their lives go through different stages and cycles of grief over the loss of someone they love.  It’s painful and although the stages usually can bounce around and people need time to get past it, people can get lost in.
In the same way, the fallen loved one is lost the one still alive can become a shell of the person they were or who they want to be.  It starts because people have trouble letting go of the past, when they put on obstacle in the way of letting go.  Overworking, drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive behaviour, avoiding emotion and minimizing feelings are ways people avoid and obstruct themselves from moving on from the pain and learning to accept their life moves on.  It’s as simple as breathing to not even notice that you’re doing it, that you’re holding on to the pain of your loved ones memory.
Earlier I mentioned the stages of grief, they’re are five of them and everyone deals with them in their own time and way.  Denial and shock are supposed to be the first stage in which you don’t accept the fact that they’re gone, you just don’t believe it which is a good thing as it can diminish the impact of the loss on you.  Bargaining trying to figure out a way, a way you could have helped them something better you could have done, how you could of treated them better.  It helps to bargain as you come to better terms with what happened.  Depression is the worst of the stages although it’s only natural, if it persists too much can cause a lot of stress on your mental (feelings of isolation and loneliness) and physical health (with loss of sleep and appetite).  Anger is the stage that causes you to feel like your loved one abandoned you even though you know it wasn’t their fault and can cause you to just be angry at the world.
The fifth stage is acceptance the stage every one needs to reach but get trapped in the mentioned stages.  The best ways to help yourself or someone you know with dealing with these stages is to give them a way to express yourself or confide in someone you trust.  Allow yourself to just have sometime, to draw, to write, to create, something that opens your feelings and let’s out your emotions for you and others to see.  As well you could talk to a close friend, they’ll help you more than you think, find a support group that has people going through the same emotions or better talk to a therapist if you wish.  That’s what they’re there for, me personally I have a fear of speaking to professionals just cause I always have a fear of what there thinking.  How they’re reacting to what I’m saying, if they’re judging me, or fitting me for a straight jacket in their head.  So I don’t see them but it’s what they were trained to do and it’s an option for those of you who liked to talk.
Speaking of acceptance I mentioned earlier when I was kid was the last time I lost a loved one it was my great grandpa.  I was four years old, and he died peacefully in his own home in the kitchen, my great grandma found him in the morning.  My great grandpa is the reason I wasn’t given up for adoption when I was kid, I was an accident and my mom, and her parents wanted to give me up.  Mind you my mom wasn’t set on the idea but my great grandpa basically put his foot done, said I’m family and I belonged with them and that he and my great grandma would help my mom anyway they could.  I loved him, even though he was tough sometimes.  To be fair i hear they were times I was a little monster but the worst thing I ever did was I tried to climb up this old ladder.  It was outside my grandpa was doing something on the roof and I tried climbing the ladder, he comes over picks me up and spanks me.  I deserved it and when he died, my mom brought me to a therapist so I could process it properly.  He asked me to draw a picture and I drew my great grandpa climbing a ladder up to heaven.  That was my acceptance in my mind.
There’s not really much else to say I think but that if you feel the loss of someone you love is the end of your life.  Then talk to someone, I’m not saying your wrong because it’s your choice if you want your life to end or to wallow in self pity.  Just take some time talk to someone, express yourself, find something that gives your life meaning again.
Bibliography
“Stages of Grief: How to Cope With Grief and Loss.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2015.