You Are Maris. You Are Not Your Disorder.

Note: This open letter was originally published on The Invisible Illnesses Project. Dear Maris, You’re only 14, but your soul has been weathered by more years than you’ve seen on this earth. From the time you were old enough to walk, you were old enough to worry. You worried about being smart enough. You worried…

What If I Told You Your Anxiety Could Work to Your Advantage?

As you may or may not know, I’m currently studying Psychology at UC Santa Cruz. Last quarter, twice a week,  I and 200 other students would pack ourselves like sardines into one of the biggest lecture halls on campus for our introductory psychology class. We covered everything from the very basics of cellular brain structure,…

Questions for a Recovered Anorexic

I recently agreed to answer some questions for a high school senior working on a project. The questions made me think, and I thought they might be helpful to others seeking to understand or recover from an eating disorder or mental illness in general.  How could your experience with an eating disorder affect you in…

The First Steps to Removing the Stigma From Mental Illness

Congress recently passed the first legislation to recognize eating disorders. The 21st Century Cures Act, which prevents insurance companies from denying support to sufferers of mental illness, is a huge leap in the movement to de-stigmatize mental illness and offer equal opportunity treatment to patients, but it is only the beginning. When I was a freshman…

Mental Illness is Not a Fatal Flaw

Before leaving for school, my friend gave me the book “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson. If you’ve never read it, you absolutely should. It’s a hilarious woman’s take on navigating life while dealing with the effects and struggles of mental illness, taking something usually ostracizing and scary and making it accessible, understandable, and relatable in a…

And I Still Haven’t Forgiven Myself

This past week, on a whim, I threw on Trevor Hall’s album “KALA” as I drove home from teaching. I have a lot of beautiful, nostalgic associations with Trevor’s music. I first heard his song “The Mountain” the first time I practiced at Just Be, and it brings me back to that first space of playfulness and…

Things Will Get Better, But They Will Never Be Perfect

Last week I had my first major panic attack in over a year. When I first began struggling with anxiety, panic attacks were a part of my everyday life. As an elementary schooler, I was diagnosed with hypochondria- a form of anxiety that manifests itself as an extreme preoccupation with the idea of having an undiagnosed…

Food and Mood Pt. II: Inflammation and Mental Health

I’ve sat down to write this article a few times before, and each time end up winding town a different (yet equally important) path. In Yogic Eating, It’s Not What You Think, Food and Mood Pt. I and The Science and Body Image of Fat, I touched on the importance of a nourishing diet for a healthy, happy, sustainable…