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When my phone lights up with a notification from Instagram, I immediately open the app and start scrolling. Scrolling on Instagram is quite addictive, and I cannot seem to stop once I start. This doesn't just waste my time but also has detrimental effects on my mental health. From body image issues to low self-esteem, using Instagram is anxiety-inducing. 
Here's the thing: depression is a mood disorder that impacts all areas of one's life. I am not saying this to be dramatic or bleak. All I am doing is stating a fact as a 31-year-old living with depression since the age of 13. Anyway, just as no amount of money can make up for a toxic work environment, no amount of ambition or purpose can make up for the havoc of depression. Therefore, it is crucial for people with it to redefine professional success.
Every time I hear of gun violence in the news, I wonder how soon after the conversations about mental health, and mental illness, in particular, will follow. It’s usually not too long. With the recent stories of gun violence in the news, it’s been no different. People were quick to blame mental health issues for the actions taken by these individuals.
I've recently, painfully, discovered that stress increases anxiety to interminable levels. Stress, of course, worsens one's mental health in many ways, but the way that I'm primarily feeling it is through anxiety (and probably depression; anxiety and depression being knitted together as they are). Previously, I didn't have the anxiety problems I do today, and I didn't realize just how bad anxiety could feel until this latest bought of stress increasing my anxiety.
A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to distribute sanitary products and a hot meal to the unhoused community of Washington D.C. through the impactful and committed organization, The Distant Relatives Project. The experience produced a mix of emotions. I felt heartbroken to see so many individuals in need; the worst of it was learning that a large number of unhoused individuals who struggle with mental health issues do not have access to professional help. It is a crisis.
For many verbal abuse victims, like myself, one of the most challenging aspects of moving forward is accepting the reality of the situation. I had an extremely difficult time in my healing journey until I realized that I could never have the relationship with my abuser that I wanted. 
It's not uncommon for those who self-injure to use self-harm to regulate emotions that may be overwhelming or difficult to cope with. But it's a temporary solution, one that does more harm than good—there are better ways to process and manage your feelings.
Over the years, I have learned so much about my anxiety, not only through formal education but also simply through taking the time to analyze what I am going through. Some might say that this is just a part of dealing with anxiety -- the overthinking and the constant overanalyzing of what you feel, think, and do. But I think it has also been helpful because it has helped me recognize my triggers and anxiety symptoms. It has also helped me figure out things I can do that are helpful for me. One of those things is leaning into my anxiety and accepting the anxiety instead of running away from it.
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, a little over two years ago, I survived a catastrophic apartment fire. Among other things, the experience left me with the fear that something bad will happen to me in the future. I have not been able to shake that feeling. In this post, I want to briefly discuss that.
In my last post, I talked about balancing pressure and self-esteem. I often place so much emphasis on my mental health that it becomes my entire identity, which can potentially negatively affect my self-esteem and denies me the ability to choose my identity.

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Jason
As a well educated person, in the workplace and with those outside the workplace and the socioeconomic circles that I interact with, people generally don't do tattoo's. I suppose I have an advantage of having an education and therefore knowledge that its toxic poisons (little understood) being injected into the body. Aside from the potential damage, skin cells are constantly dying and being replaced. About 330 billion of those cells are replaced every day — that's about 1 percent of all our body's cells. Our skin cells are replaced more often than almost any other. When someone looks at a 50 year old tattoo for example, ALL of the inked cells have long gone decades ago and the ink has migrated all over the place. Clearly its mostly people from lower socioeconomic poorly educated backgrounds getting tattoos. For some observers its a form of mild self mutilation (one is clearly carrying out deliberate damage to the body) irrespective of the reasons to get one, and in my experience its mostly peer group pressure, rebellion and yet at the same time to fit in. Perhaps the same sort of reasons as smoking, body piercings, car joy riding, gang membership, and most drug use? Often regretted once the mind starts to mature in later life.
Jay
Hello!
I’ve been dating an individual with “high functioning DID” (their words) for about 9 months. I would say I’m in a relationship with 4 of them and love them all very much and have a very different relationship with each of them. I am polyamorous and so these relationships have worked for me and how my brain functions. In other words, I haven’t felt like I am sacrificing, settling or giving too much. Some days have been hard, others so happy- just like any relationship. But the highs are high and the lows are low. One alter is a self prescribed alcoholic and frequently has mental breakdowns and she has been out a lot recently. I feel like she is only stable when I am with her. On top of this, a destructive alter has been re-emerging for the last 2 months or so and has been preying on the alter previously mentioned who has frequent breakdowns. I have tried my hardest to talk to this destructive alter and reason with them, ask them what they want, make friends with them. They have said that their goal is integration- all alters merging into one. Even though this is the conventional form of healing for people with DID, this alter is going about it in all the wrong ways. He is “taking” alters away out of malice, not for the end goal of healing. Anyways, I don’t know what to do about this. Everything was going so great until this alters emerged. But I have to come back to the fact that this alter is a part of the ones that I love; they are all connected.
On top of all of this confusion on how to navigate these relationships, the first alter mentioned, had one of her mental breaks when I wasn’t able to be with her and decided to go to her moms house and tell her everything, which is a rule of the system to hide themselves from their mom. When this was going down I was encouraging of it because I thought the mom could help in my absence as I was afraid for their safety honestly. Anyways, their mom did not accept them, didn’t understand, didn’t want to understand their DID. This feeling of rejection from their family led to an intense mental break. I feel like I can’t leave their side now. I don’t know what to do. I want them to get better, but I don’t know how that is possible honestly. On top of this, I have my own dreams and aspirations. I don’t know how to balance my happiness with loving them. I don’t know if that sounds terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I need them too. I love them and would be devastated without them. But I don’t know how to have both even though I want to.
Is anyone else dealing with anything similar- difficult alters, unstable alters, difficulty balancing your personal lives and love lives?
Bill
I too struggle with the steps and don't accept all of it as "divinely inspired." I'll save you the details; but I plan to return to my group (I need support) while maintaining my personal identity. It's a balancing act, for sure.
Julie
I've had friends for 10 or 20 years and then it's just over. No one tells me why. I am emotional and can be volitile. Having a condition doesn't mean that people give you a bit of leeway. I just get blocked. I go from close friend to invisible. As I get older, it gets worse. If I didn't have a partner, I don't think I woud go out and meet anyone - not much point as they will end up ghosting me. Everything that comes out of my mouth is wrong, every decision is wrong. I've done training and it's helped me to be nicer to everyone - but I don't get the same back. Feel like I'm just smashing my head against a brick wll. Being unlovable/unlikeable is pretty hard. Also I'm Childfree by Choice - so I don't fit with many people (talking about and looking at babies/toddlers is so boring to me)
Tommy C
I think under normal circumstances my Ed’s splitting episode would have been like my worst nightmare come true. It was so much worse After spending everyday for almost 2 years together, literally in the same space when Covid started. I was so proud of us thought we’d get through anything together… then she was just gone and it was like none of it mattered I was her enemy and she did everything she could to never have to even really talk to me again.

It’s just so hard when it’s a scary time.. I wanted to get back out into the world but then leaving me became like her empowerment move… it breaks my heart all over again just thinking how close and sweet I thought we were, to the 180 she pulled…

I feel so ashamed for loving her, believing all her promises, she set me up used my past and pin to split and that was it… the closest connection I have ever felt to another person and it was just lies… I was like her stepping stone, I still feel so used and hurt but gets easier in time.

I won’t lie tho I still wake up crying too often, feeling like my soul has been sucked out of my body, it really does a number in you being that close and finding out you meant nothing. My heart is sinking just talking about it, so I won’t anymore.. but I promise it gets better you just have to keep trying