Learning to Embrace Change

As I enter the 22nd year of my life, I am finding that my life is changing relatively quickly. Quicker than I had anticipated, and quicker than I had wanted.

I got a job as an editor for an awesome online magazine, I’m planning a really big trip to go to Europe for the first time in my entire life, and I moving to a new place to live.

It’s quite a bit of change. And boy, am I not good with change.

I remember when I was just about to start college and my mom dropped the bombshell on me that she was selling the house that I had lived in for my entire life, up until that point, and would be moving into a new place (as soon as we found one).

I was scared out of my wits.

To back this up a little, I have never, and I mean never, been good with change. Well, I shouldn’t say that I wasn’t cool with change at all, but rather that I wasn’t very fond of rapid change. I wanted the opportunity to get acclimated to the change in my life.

So, I was really anxious and scared when my mom told me that we were moving.

Then, shortly after moving into our new house, I was heading off to college. Not only did I have to deal with the new surroundings at home, I had to get used to an entirely new city and the college I was attending.

During the first night on my own in my dorm room, I freaked out. I mean, like, ready to go into full-on panic attack mode. I called my parents, who thankfully were still in town at a hotel, and my dad came to pick me up just as the sun was starting to come up. I cried and cried, and said how much I wanted to be away from this new place because I was scared and could not handle all of this change.

I went home with my parents for the week before school started and returned more prepared for adjusting to this new stage of my life.

Then, about a year later, my parents told me that we were getting rid of the car, which we had had since, well, forever. I went with my parents to the car dealership and looked at all of the new, pretty, shiny cars. “What do you think of this one?” “What do you think of that one?”

All of the cars just didn’t feel right.

But then, I stumbled upon the newer, updated model of the car we previously had. As soon as I got inside the car I knew that this was the one. The familiarity. It felt like I was back in our old car that we so fondly called “Bessie.” It felt like home to me.

Bless my parents, because they decided that with all of the change I had been through and with how much it had impacted me, they got the new model of the car we had.

But as I embark on this new chapter of my life, with all of these changes coming my way, I have decided that I will not get anxious over this. I will not let it scare me, and stop me in my tracks. I will face it head-on.

Change is never easy. Change means stepping out of that comfortable box that you had become so accustomed to. It means that you have to put yourself in a new position, and that means being more vulnerable that you are used to.

And putting yourself in a vulnerable position can be the scariest thing ever. It’s easy to say no to change because it means that you won’t be affected in any way.

But you know what? If we don’t accept change and let it happen, life would be dull, and we would never get to try anything new. We would never get to test ourselves to see what we are truly capable of.

The only way that we can grow as individuals is if we accept change.

In fact, perhaps the one thing that is more frightening than change itself is if we cease to progress in life all because we turned our backs on change.

I mean, think about it; if the caterpillar feared change so much that it refused to embrace it, the caterpillar would never turn into the beautiful butterfly that we all know and love.

And before we know it, that change in our lives will become the new status quo, and we will find ourselves comfortable with this change that we once feared.

So I accept this new change in my life. Because I know that it will teach me more about life, and about myself.

After all, life is a series of changes; we just have to dive into it and hope for the best.

Emily Veith

Emily has her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and has always believed in helping and serving others. She wants to make the world a better place, and aspires to be a politician someday to do just that. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Glenn Miller. When she isn’t writing about imperative news- and political-related, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar or reading a good mystery book.

Mental Disorders Are Not Adjectives

Talking about mental health is important.

It’s even more important to make sure that we are supporting those diagnosed with a mental disorder (or any disorder for that matter).

With that said, there is something that I have been wanting to discuss because it has been bothering me a lot, especially lately.

To those of you that do not have a mental illness or don’t have any experience with how scary it can be sometimes or don’t understand how it can impact that person that has it, please do not use mental disorders as adjectives.

Let me explain what I mean by this.

When someone gets a little angry sometimes and can get upset pretty quickly, please do not say, “Oh my gosh, he’s so bipolar.” I know that you are trying to say that that individual can get upset fast, but that does not mean that he, or she, has bipolar disorder.

When you are having are having a bad day at work, and you feel like everything is going wrong, please don’t say that you are “so depressed.” You do not have depression, and having one bad will not suddenly bring an onset of depression.

When you are nervous about a big project, please don’t say that your project is “causing you so much anxiety.” If you haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you can’t begin to understand what those with an anxiety disorder, like me, have to endure every. single. day.

When your friend likes to keep their room clean and organized, please do not tell them, “Oh my gosh! You are so OCD!” Being clean and organized does not even equate to having an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

When you are out with your friends and you see something that you think is dumb or silly, please do not call it “retarded.” First of all, please just don’t ever use the R-word; it’s not nice. But especially do not use it when you think that something is silly. Just use the word that you actually mean to use: silly or dumb.

Now, I know that this one isn’t an example of a mental disorder word being used inappropriately, but it’s still an example that needs to be shared. When you think that something is uncool, please don’t call it “lame.” Lame means that someone has difficulty walking because of an injury or an illness. So if it’s uncool, say that it’s uncool.

But for now, I think that this is enough examples and you get the point.

The point of this article is not to reprimand you for using any of the above words or phrases in the manner in which I am asking you to not use it; instead, I want to educate you on what these terms actually mean, and bring awareness to the point that the words you use can have a profound and negative impact on someone.

Using mental disorder related words or conditions as an adjective or to describe something is not right. The problem is that this use of the language only adds to the mental health stigma.

By saying that someone is “so bipolar,” you are equating that person with being crazy, and that is not at all what bipolar disorder is about. But by using “bipolar” in this way, it is further creating this negative picture in people’s mind about individuals that have bipolar disorder.

When you say that you are “so depressed” because you had a bad day, you are lessening the experiences of someone that has been diagnosed with depression. It equates having a bad day to having depression, and it can’t even begin to compare. You see, those that aren’t diagnosed with depression can’t begin to fathom every day struggles that a person with depression has to endure, so please do not equate yourself with them.

Mental health has long had a stigma associated with it, and those with mental disorders, and any other disorder have long been fighting to break that stigma. We have been trying to show that having a mental illness does not make us “crazy” or “nonfunctioning.” And it certainly does not make us any less “able” than any other individual.

So in order to break that mental health stigma, we need to stop using mental health words or phrases as insults, because if we let this behavior persist, it will only lead to more negativity surrounding mental health.

Mental health is not an insult. Mental disorders are not bad. And having a mental disorder does not make us any less.

So please, I ask that you please stop using mental health words or phrases inappropriately, and take a moment to reflect on how individuals with those mental disorders, or disorders in general, would feel if they heard you use their condition in such a manner.

Please remember to always be kind, and to use positive, supporting language so we can continue to break the mental health stigma.

Emily Veith

Emily has her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and has always believed in helping and serving others. She wants to make the world a better place, and aspires to be a politician someday to do just that. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Glenn Miller. When she isn’t writing about imperative news- and political-related, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar or reading a good mystery book.

The Only One That Can Make You Happy is You

Growing up, I was a somewhat happy child.

I know, you’re probably thinking that she’s going to tell you another sad story, but just bear with me for a second.

While I, for the most part, tried to keep a happy front, down inside I was mainly sad. You see, during my life, I have had to say goodbye to so many people, both family, and friends. Moreover, I, unfortunately, did not have a traditional family life during my childhood. As a result, it often left me feeling sad, and that for some reason, people would never really stay in my life. The ones that really hurt were those that left of their own volition.

I didn’t really understand why people wanted to exit from and create big holes in my life. I mean, I don’t think that they were intentionally trying to hurt me; but why leave and leave me so unhappy?

I remember not that long ago, I was talking with my father about how not having a traditional family while I was growing up really impacted me. I told my father that while everyone around me, including my parents, was walking out the door and focusing on their own interests and happiness, I was left feeling so unhappy.

But I’ve been thinking more about this lately and had started to realize that I was basing so much of my happiness on others. I was becoming so dependent on others to create or bring me happiness, when all along, it should have been up to me. I assumed that happiness meant having someone to listen and talk to me, spend time with me, and just generally always be there for me. I equated happiness with not being alone. But I was wrong.

Because the only one that can make you happy is you.

You are the only one with the ability to take your gray sky and paint it blue. The only one that can change your attitude.

We can’t keep waiting around for others to make our lives better because then we could be waiting a lifetime to find happiness…because you control your own happiness. So, we must create happiness for ourselves.

Happiness is not something that is given to us by others; it’s something that we must give to ourselves.

Just like the Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

So I told myself that I am not going to depend on anyone else for happiness; I will only depend on myself. I have come to recognize that life isn’t always perfect, sometimes we are dealt a terrible hand, but I refuse to wallow in the sadness.

And so, this year, I am going to work on doing what makes me happy.

This year I have resolved to travel more, visit with friends, work on furthering my love life, go on walks with my dogs, write more, read more books, change my scenery…

I have decided that 2018 is going to be my year whether 2018 likes it or not. I have decided to create my own happiness and to make my own self happy.

Emily Veith

Emily has her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and has always believed in helping and serving others. She wants to make the world a better place, and aspires to be a politician someday to do just that. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Glenn Miller. When she isn’t writing about imperative news- and political-related, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar or reading a good mystery book.

When You’re Missing a Loved One That Has Passed, Bring Them to Life

I was in third grade when my favorite aunt passed away.

She was a second mom to me. I always had fun going on wild rides or shopping with her. One day, when I was visiting with my aunt and grandparents, my aunt took me to a Target out of town because she wanted to get this pretty fire pit for her house, and while we were there, she bought me some fun bug catchers and other things for the yard. And on the way home, we sang the song Downtown by Petula Clark at the top of our lungs. I also remember the day when she gave me her fur baby, Daisy, because, unbeknownst to me, she was already very sick and the doctors told her it was best that she does not have a dog in the house. But to me, it meant the world that she was entrusting me with her most prized possession — basically her own child. She was always the life of the party, and it was hard when she was suddenly gone.

I was devastated.

Fast forward to when I was a freshman in high school. I lost my best friend, my grandpa, to cancer.

Again, I felt my world falling apart. My grandpa and I were very close, and he would always call me and we would talk for hours. Every time my report card came out, my grandpa told me that he better find a copy of it in the mail, and he would send me money or a gift for doing so well in school. He told me he would take the copy of my report card to the school where he worked and show the kids that he assisted that his granddaughter got good grades in school so they could, too.

My grandpa would always come and visit me for the summer, and I would always cook him breakfast. Or sometimes we would go to McDonald’s and he would have coffee and a breakfast sandwich but insisted that I get the pancake platter and eat it all up. We would go to the dollar store, which was his most favorite place in the whole world, and he would buy me five hula hoops and other things that I insisted that I didn’t need, but he wanted to buy them for me anyway. He was the best grandpa in the whole world. He always did everything for me and loved me so much. I remember when he got his silver truck but got a pink stripe on it because “that’s what Bubba wants.” I remember the time he took me to the swap meet, and I saw this beautiful toy princess castle; I told him that I liked it, but we kept walking. But on the way back to the car, he stopped at the booth and bought me my princess castle.

My grandpa was my world, and now my world was gone.

I also lost Daisy, the dog that my aunt gave me, during my sophomore year of high school. And during my last year of college, I had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to the first dog I ever got: my Jack Russell Terrier, Missy.

It has been difficult to lose a lot of those that were dear to me, and it has left a lot of holes in my life.

But through the sorrow of having lost those that I loved with all of my heart, I learned that when I was missing my loved ones that had passed, I only needed to bring them to life. In telling stories about our loved ones — like I the stories I told you about my aunt and grandpa — I am keeping them alive.

Every time I tell someone a story, especially those in the generation after me, that story passes down and their legacy will continue. As long as they are remembered and loved and talked about, they will always be living amongst us.

It was not that long ago when I told a dear friend of mine about this. My friend was missing her grandmother that had passed away and I told her the same thing: if she was missing her grandma, all she had to do was bring her to life. When we become sad, we must talk to about them as though they are there. Share stories and talk about what you liked about your loved one. The more we talk about them, the more they are with us.

So when you are missing your loved one that has passed, just remember to bring them to life. Celebrate their lives, cherish your memories of them, and continue their legacy.

Emily Veith

Emily has her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and has always believed in helping and serving others. She wants to make the world a better place, and aspires to be a politician someday to do just that. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Glenn Miller. When she isn’t writing about imperative news- and political-related, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar or reading a good mystery book.

What It Was Like to Live With an Emotional Support Animal During College

I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was in high school. But when I made my way to college, I found that it was getting harder to cope with my anxiety while being away from home and trying to adjust myself to my new setting. During my second year of college, I found myself taking on more: harder classes and becoming a Resident Advisor. My anxiety wasn’t getting better, and I didn’t want to turn to medication at the time, so I asked my doctor about other options for me. She brought up the idea of an emotional support animal (ESA) to support me while at school.

When I learned about ESAs — which support those with health conditions but are not actually trained service animals — I reached out to the Disability Resource Center (DRC) on campus to find out how I could have an ESA with me at school. After finding out that I could have an ESA live with me in my on-campus apartment, I proceeded down the path to get an ESA. After going through all of the complicated steps (because bureaucracy is so fun), I finally had the stamp of approval and was allowed to have an ESA with me at school.

I chose to bring my dog, Sparky, who is a Corgi/Husky mix, to school with me to be my ESA. At first, I was nervous because having an ESA meant having a physical representation of my mental illness, and could possibly be an open door to ask me about what my story was since I needed an ESA. And that scared me since I was a Resident Advisor to 180 residents and worked with a staff of 20 Residents Advisors and two supervisors.

But Sparky quickly became my miracle.

Sparky was the best medicine I could have ever asked for. On days when I felt low or overwhelmed and didn’t want to get up for me or function, I knew I had to get up for him. We started to create our own little routine. Every morning we would get up at the same time, and depending on the weather would possibly put a sweater on him, and take him outside for a quick walk. Then we would go back inside and have breakfast together. (Sometimes I would spoil him and make us both some eggs.) I would take him on walks, and work outside on homework with him sitting on the bench next to me with his nose in the air taking in all the scents. Sometimes I would work in the Community Center in the community where I worked and would let him look out the window as people walked by, or let him sleep under the desk when I worked at the front desk.

If I had to go grocery shopping (on campus), I would walk him down with me and hook his leash up to the bench outside, and he would sit patiently until I was done (with a few people stopping to pet him). The workers at the small market even got to know the routine, and when I would stick my down the aisle to check on him outside the window, the workers would tell me that he was doing alright and still waiting patiently. And every night, before I would turn off the light, I would tuck him into his bed; then I’d turn off the light, and we would both go to bed.

And even though I was worried, my staff accepted him, and my residents loved him. Nobody looked at me differently. In fact, most people were just happy to have Sparky around.

The following year — my last year at the college since I graduated early — I was excited to bring Sparky with me. I knew that he would be my pal again and would support me, and let me hug him whenever I was on the verge of a panic attack.

When I brought him with me, my staff quickly accepted him and called him the “Cerro Vista Mascot” for our community. In fact, one of my coworkers admitted that she, too, battled with anxiety and that it meant the world to her that Sparky was here with her. Some of my friends on staff even cared for Sparky during times when I was in class or needed a break from walking him. My residents came to love him. Everyone wanted to pet Sparky, especially when he came to community events.

Sparky, however, came to support not just me, but other students around me. I remember when my coworker went through a breakup during our first quarter and came over to my apartment to vent. When my coworker started to cry, Sparky went and sat on their lap and licked them. Residents that were having bad days would often stop and ask if they could pet Sparky. Then, one day, a resident of mine so bravely opened up about her mental health struggles to me and asked me to help her in possibly getting an ESA. Sparky helped me so much, but I learned that he was helping others, too. And that meant everything to me.

As I was nearing graduation, I remember telling my parents that it would be nice if Sparky could walk with me on graduation day. He was, after all, pretty much the one thing that got me through college. He really was my savior.

My parents told me that I should ask. So I reached out to the graduation team to ask if I could have Sparky walk with me during graduation, and they said yes.

And on my graduation day, Sparky walked across that stage with me, holding his head high. My family and friends joked that I graduated with a degree in Political Science, but Sparky graduated with a degree in “Barks and Rec.” But I was so proud to have Sparky by my side that day. And I could tell that he was, too. He got me through some of my darkest days, and he deserved all the attention and love and honor on that day.

So when people ask me what it was like to live with an ESA during college, I tell them it was the best thing I could have ever done. Sparky was my miracle, my best medicine, my best friend. Sparky was what saved me.

Emily Veith

Emily has her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and has always believed in helping and serving others. She wants to make the world a better place, and aspires to be a politician someday to do just that. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Glenn Miller. When she isn’t writing about imperative news- and political-related, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar or reading a good mystery book.