24/7 Hotlines: Call or text 988 or text 741741

My Self Care Checklist!

A couple of weeks ago, I became inspired to create a self care checklist after seeing other people’s on social media. Some things on my list were easier to think than others; I hadn’t really thought about some of these as self care activities before. Anyway, this is what I came up with!

  • Writing
  • Watching YouTube videos
  • Listening to my favorite songs
  • Boxing
  • Eating my comfort snacks
  • Sitting in silence
  • Hanging out with my cat
  • Brushing my teeth

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for some Reels where I plan go a little more in depth on each activity!

What are some things you would put on your self care checklist?

-T

Reels To Pick You Up When You’re Down

Check out some Reels we recently posted on our Instagram. Use them as a pick-me-up whenever you’re feeling down. 🧡🩷🩵

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

What If The Rest of This Year…?


It Gets Easier You Know


What Makes You Happy?

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

My Goal

For the past couple of years, one of my biggest goals has been to to step out of my comfort zone and increase my socialization.  Though with social anxiety, I knew it would be a challenge.

After moving out of my hometown last year, I joined the app MeetUp, where you can join different groups and meet up with group members during many different events.  Joining the app was the first step toward my goal, but I didn’t actually build up the courage to go to any events until this year.

Going to Events

One of the groups I joined was for folks in their 20’s and 30’s since I wanted to try to connect with people close in age with me.  The first event I went to with this group was at a brewery.  I didn’t drink, but meeting the other group members and chatting with them was very fun.  The high anxiety I had going in decreased as time went on, as did my social battery.  So after a couple of hours, I bid everyone a farewell and headed home.  I was extremely proud of myself for finally stepping out of my comfort zone despite the anxiety which has been a rock in the road for far too long.

More recently I went to another gathering with the same group, this time at a small bar.  I initially wasn’t going to attend this event since the space is small which means I’d feel quite claustrophobic if there were a lot of people.  Plus, a rule in the group was we had to purchase something since it was a small business.  I am all in on supporting small businesses; my hesitation was about not wanting to drink in public.  I ended up changing my mind, because interacting with people was more important to me.

At this event, I met new people who weren’t at the previous event I attended, and saw some familiar faces.  I tend to be on the quiet side in social settings, especially if it’s new, which was the case here.  Vibing with folks was very enjoyable, and as I opened up more, conversations were nice too.  Some of us also played Cards Against Humanity, which was very fun.  Afterward, some of us went to a Chinese restaurant and then an ice cream shop.

Conclusion

When all was said and done, I was completely drained when I got home.  Regardless, I still enjoyed the day and once again was proud of myself for going to another event.  I am very much looking forward to going to more events in the (hopefully near) future!

Check out my ➡️ previous blog post ⬅️ where I wrote about driving on the highway for the first time.

-T

“Just Choose To Not Be Anxious”

When someone asks why I can’t just choose to not be anxious 😑

“Just Choose To Not Be Anxious”

As Han Solo once said: “That’s not how the Force works!”

Recovery Coach Academy 2024

Want to learn to coach people struggling with addiction? We are excited to offer CCAR’s Recovery Coach Academy!

Recovery Coach Academy is an ONLINE & FREE 5 session intensive training program for young people in Connecticut ages 16-29. In this training, you will learn the skills necessary to guide, mentor, and support folks who are need of long-term recovery from addiction.

The training is daily beginning June 24 and ending June 28 from 2 PM to 6:30 PM (with breaks).

Click HERE to apply!

May 2024 Content Themes

With the end of April, we are now a third of the way through 2024. Hopefully “April showers brings May flowers” holds true and we get more warm, sunny days!

Check out our content flyer below for May 2024, which include Mental Health Awareness Month, prom, college graduation, and more! As always, content does not have to limited to what’s on the flyer, it can be about anything you feel comfortable sharing!

Email us at turningpointct@positivedirections.org or DM us on Instagram if anything piques your interest!

Quinn Advocates For Peer Respite Programs In Connecticut

A few weeks ago, our Peer Support Specialist, Quinn, sat before the Public Health Committee to advocate for Peer Respite Programs in Connecticut.

Using their own lived experience as a trans non-binary person, Quinn (they/them) testifies why Peer Respite Programs are a necessary alternative to the hospital system for folks who are struggling with their mental health.

Check out their testimony in the video below!

You did a great job, Quinn. We are very proud of you! – The TurningPointCT Team

My Story of Being Sexually Assaulted (Trigger Warning)

Trigger warning: topics of being sexually assaulted and suicidal thoughts.

Drake Bell

Investigation Discovery recently released a documentary called Quiet on Set. This documentary showcased the terrible things child stars experienced while working with Nickelodeon. During the documentary, Drake Bell, who starred in Drake & Josh, shared his story of being sexually assaulted when he was 15 by his dialogue coach, Brian Peck.

Drake’s bravery and vulnerability inspired me to share my own story of being sexually assaulted. I wanted to help other victims, especially males, feel safe and comfortable sharing their story or speaking their truth if they choose to do so. Most importantly, I also wanted other victims to see they aren’t alone in their struggles.

And since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I figured this would be a better time to do my part to spread awareness on sexual assault.

My Story of Being Sexually Assaulted

In the video below, I share my story of being molested by my father when I was 9 years old. While reliving the moment was difficult, it also felt freeing afterward.

Thank you for your time. – Therell

Advocacy Unlimited: June 2024 RSS Course

Advocacy Unlimited is running an RSS course in June 2024 where folks can learn the skills and knowledge needed to provide peer recovery services. The June RSS course is geared toward emerging adults ages 18 to 29.

Interested in joining? Apply now!

The application deadline is April 30th, 2024. The application form can be downloaded below and can be submitted to rssct@advocacyunlimited.org. Please complete the entire application using your full name and signature before submitting it. This course will be held in Rocky Hill, CT, beginning June 3rd, 2024. For a complete list of course dates, course details, or alternative ways of submitting an application, please visit https://advocacyunlimited.org/program/rss-training/#overview.

April 2024 Themes!

April 2024 is here, which brings us the first full month of spring!

As always, check out our content flyer for April 2024 below, and reach out to us if you or other teens and young adults in Connecticut are interested in submitting content:

Friendly reminder that content doesn’t have to be limited to what’s on the flyer. They’re just a few ideas to help get the brain flowing 😄.

New Story: Ashton

It doesn’t matter how “bad” your coping skills (self harm, purging, suicide attempts, smoking, vaping, drugs, etc.) are; you are valid and deserve help.” – Ashton

Read Ashton’s story of struggling with self harm, their turning point, and the aftermath HERE. And check out Our Stories to see mental health journeys of other teens and young adults in Connecticut!

Unstoppable

After nearly a year of inactivity, I recently released my 10th song “Unstoppable”!

As you may have seen from my other songs I’ve shared in Creative Expressions, the majority of my songs have a theme of sadness, regret, etc. However, I chose to release “Unstoppable” next not only to have a change in theme, but as also a sort of celebration for hitting this personal music release milestone.

“Unstoppable” is a song showcasing a growth in self confidence within myself. It did take about a year or so to write it, though. In the beginning, I used pockets of feeling content to write this song. Eventually, I had an easier time writing as I had more moments of feeling content and even self accomplishment in my life. And rereading the lyrics during the writing process helped too.

I also chose to perform this track with a more laid back flow, which for me helps deliver the message of having more self esteem, less worries, etc.

Finally, this is my first song with a new recording studio, The Recording Parlor in Windsor, CT. Since moving last year, it was just more convenient to find things that were closer to me, a recording studio being one of them. I look forward to continuing my music journey as I keep writing and recording!

New Story: RHODA

“Overcoming the deeply ingrained belief that failure was inevitable took considerable time and effort, but eventually, I was able to free myself from its grip.” – Rhoda

Read Rhoda’s story of overcoming their constant feelings of failure HERE. And check out Our Stories to see mental health journeys of other teens and young adults in Connecticut!

Peer Respite Programs

KEEP THE PROMISE COALITION IS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO SHARE THEIR STORIES TO SUPPORT BRINGING PEER RESPITE PROGRAMS TO CONNECTICUT!

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • Bad encounters with inpatient psychiatric hospitalization
  • Avoiding services in fear that talking about suicide would result in the use of force
  • Racism, transphobia, or discrimination as a Spanish speaker in the mental health system
  • Benefits from participating in non-clinical peer support groups or working with peer support specialists

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact Quinn Jannetty to share your story:


What is a Peer Respite?

A peer respite is a voluntary, short- term program that provides 24/7 community-based, non-clinical (non- medical) mental health crisis support as an alternative to inpatient hospitalization.

Peer respites are operated in a home-like environment by peer support specialists, who have lived experience with mental distress, crisis, and life altering challenges. Peer support specialists will not call the police or use force if you talk about suicide, self-injury, or hearing voices.


Fore more information, and to see the fact sheet, click HERE. And please share the flyer below!

March 2024 Themes!

New month, new content! Check out our flyer for March 2024 themes!

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Women’s History Month
  • Beginning of Spring
  • March Holidays (Easter, St. Patrick’s Day)

Send us a DM on Instagram @turningpointct_org or email us at turningpointct@positivedirections.org if you’re interested in contributing any content, or you can directly submit content here to our website!

Anxiety Reels

Check out some anxiety Reels we recently shared.

The first Reel shares a few things that people can try to help combat their anxiety. The second Reel is a funny, relatable meme. Enjoy!


5 Ways to Help Combat Anxiety


Going To The Store When It’s Busy

February 2024 Themes!

Hi, everyone! Check out our content themes for February!

As a friendly reminder, please know that any content you would like to contribute does not have to be limited to the ideas listed on the flyer. You can also submit content around anything you feel comfortable sharing!

To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast, or provide a video, email us at turningpointct@positivedirections.org. Or, you can also submit your content directly to the Our StoriesBlogsCreative ExpressionsVideos, and Map pages!

Driving on the Highway for the First Time

Hello there! A couple of months ago, I shared some wins I had against my anxiety, which you can check out here, and wanted to share another win I recently had. After having my license for about 7 years but only driving on residential roads, I finally drove on the highway for the first time.


Quick Context

Learning to drive was quite scary, as I’m sure it was for most folks. However, since I only have one fully functioning eye, I found myself trying extra hard to drive as safely as possible, maybe even too safe lol.

During the dark times, aka peak COVID days, I chose not to drive anymore after hitting a curb, and planned on not driving for the rest of my life. The first part of this decision was also based on the car I was driving in that moment not being mine, but my mom’s, and I didn’t want to risk causing serious damage to her car.


Fast Forward

During summer or fall of 2023, I changed my mind by getting behind the wheel again for the first time in a few years.  Of course I had to get used to that stressful feeling once more, but I adjusted quicker than I thought I would.

I had been thinking about driving on the highway for a few weeks.  I knew it’d be more intense than residential roads, so I needed a lot of time to build up to it.  Finally, after finishing a grocery shopping trip, I felt it was time.  To be honest, though, I only went for it because I only needed to drive from one exit to another to get home, so I wouldn’t be on the highway long.

The experience was definitely pretty stressful. I had to quickly adjust to a faster than what I’m used to speed.  I stayed in the slow lane which did ease a tiny sliver of stress, and as you might imagine, I was very glad when I got off at my exit. Even though it will probably still be intimidating for a while, I know I should do this again soon to keep the momentum going.

Wish me luck. – T

What Happens To Marshmallow People in the Microwave?

What happens to marshmallow people in the microwave?! Check out this video by some young adults at one of our recent focus groups!

If you’d like to share your input on technology and mental health, please sign up for one of our upcoming focus groups at positivedirections.org/events!

Join Our Focus Groups!

Calling all young adults in Connecticut! We are hosting a series of focus groups for folks to share their experiences with technology & mental health, talk about community & peers, and to let us know what you’d like to see from the project in the future! All participants will receive a $25 gift card as a token of our gratitude!

Register here! – https://www.positivedirections.org/events

National Hobby Month

January is National Hobby Month! While we engage in our hobbies all year long, I think it’s fitting that the year begins with us taking note of what we enjoy doing. Plus, we can think about whether there are some activities we want to continue doing or stop, and any new activities we might want to pick up.


Some of my hobbies include making music, writing stories, and creating YouTube videos. Check out my music here, and my YouTube channel here!

Let me know in the comments what some of your hobbies are! – T

Me When I Eat Spaghetti

This is literally me when I eat spaghetti 🍝. Not a dramatization 😂


What’s your favorite type of spaghetti? For me, thin spaghetti is undefeated.

2024 is here! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends. May we all continue to prosper in 2024. 😃


What is one goal you hope to accomplish this year?

A Guide To Donating Christmas Gifts

Last month Sarah reached out to her local neighborhood community to see if any families were in need and struggling to provide Christmas gifts to their loved ones. She received many responses and started putting together gift baskets. Check out her guide below on how you can donate gifts to your community too!

It’s even applicable for after the holidays.⁠ Let’s spread all the kindness we can and help out our communities. 🫶

Happy holdays!

January Themes 2024!

And just like that, 2023 comes to a close, and we roll out the welcome mat for 2024. Check out our flyer below for January 2024 content themes!

To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast, or provide a video, email us at turningpointct@positivedirections.org. Or, you can also submit your content directly to the Our StoriesBlogsCreative ExpressionsVideos, and Map pages!

As a friendly reminder, please know that any content you would like to contribute does not have to be limited to the ideas listed on the flyer. You can also submit content around anything you feel comfortable sharing!

We hope you all have an amazing new year! Let’s get this bread in 2024 😤. P.S. please enjoy the meme below 😂


My reaction to how fast 2023 flew by.

Reels: Hand Washing Awareness Week & Group Therapy (2)

Hand Washing Awareness Week

Last week was Hand Washing Awareness Week. As a hand washing advocate, especially in public settings, I felt inclined to make a video to help spread the word. Check it out below.


Group Therapy

Recently I’ve been sharing clips from a video on our YouTube channel about Group Therapy. Check out the full video below, or watch the clips on our Instagram!

Looking Back On 2023

The Rock in the Road

Anxiety has always been a huge rock in the road for me, especially during the past few covid years.  It’s made it extremely difficult to do a lot of things, even things such as interacting with folks in social settings, and making or answering phone calls. 

However, 2023 has been a very successful year for me; I feel like I’ve accomplished more this year than I have in the past 3 years combined.  I’ve become a lot more capable of pushing back against my anxiety in order to progress in life. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills from others, and have even created some of my own, that have been a big help.


Comeback Season

I’ve traveled by myself for the first time, moved into my own place, and started driving again.  These, along with many more, are things I know I would have been very unlikely to do even last year.  So being able to check off so many goals in the span of one year has made me feel very proud of myself.  I even signed up for an event in town, which would have been way more unlikely last year than the first three things I mentioned in this paragraph.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say signing up for social events wasn’t even a consideration, while the other things were.

Something that’s been a huge help to me is changing my environment more.  During my school years, besides going to classes during the week, I did next to nothing else.  There were rare occasions where I’d go to the gym, but it wasn’t enough to make a physical or mental difference.  Even up to this past summer, I wasn’t changing my environment enough, and this caused me to have a huge creative block.  And as someone who prides themselves on their creativity, this made me fear for my future.  Now that I’ve been going outside my home more, the creative block has decreased significantly.


Feeling Hopeful

At this point in time, I’m at a place where I feel content with life.  I’m hoping to keep up this momentum as we transition out of 2023 and head into 2024.  For now, though, I wish you all a happy December!


Did you know I make music? Check out my Spotify page with all music!

– T

December Themes ’23

Hello, everyone! Our content flyer for December is here, the last one of the year! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast, or provide a video, email us at turningpointct@positivedirections.org.

Or, you can always submit your content directly to the Our Stories, Blogs, Creative Expressions, Videos, and Map pages!

Please know that any content you would like to contribute does not have to be limited to the ideas listed on the flyer. You can also submit content around anything you feel comfortable sharing!

Join Rise Be’s Young Adult Leadership Summit

Join Rise Be is running a FREE young adult leadership summit!

  • When: January 26, 2024
  • Time: 10 AM – 3 PM
  • Where: Chrysalis Center, 255 Homestead Ave, Hartford, CT

Download and share the flyer below!

Registration link: https://tinyurl.com/3pjeyyfr

November Themes ’23

Hello everyone! Here are our themes for November! Feel free to share our November themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for November or in the future, email the team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org.

You can always submit other content directly to Our Stories, Creations, Videos and Map pages!

Finally Catching Some Wins (Reel)

I’ve been at war with anxiety for as long as I can remember. For the situations in which anxiety applies itself, it’s felt like my arch nemesis has defeated me in every battle we’ve had for the past few years.

Recently, however, I managed to push back and score two significant victories in this seemingly never ending war. I came out feeling very proud of myself, and I wanted to share them. Check out the Reel below to hear about those wins.

Remember that it matters not if your wins seem small to others. As long as you are proud of what you have accomplished, that’s all that matters. 🤠 – T

Covid Ruined My Vacation

During the end of September and the beginning of October, my family and I went on vacation to California and Texas. Unfortunately, I got covid about halfway through the vacation.

I made a video on my YouTube channel sharing the story of my vacation gone wrong, and how I managed to make it home. Grab a snack, and check it out below! 🤠

Before or after watching my video, check out My Poem that I recently posted here. 😃

I wish you all a safe and healthy remainder of 2023. – TM

This Show’s A Train

Context

During the beginning stages of Covid, everything was shut down, and we were all forced to stay inside. At this point, I had just befriended someone who I felt very connected with, and I’d like to think they felt the same. However, as the early lockdown days continued, I started becoming very depressed and frustrated with isolation, as I’m sure many of you also experienced. I really wanted to see her in person, but obviously couldn’t. We were both in difficult places in our lives. That, plus Covid, caused us to drift apart, and I experienced my first heartbreak.

The poem below, which I’ve titled This Show’s a Train, was written by me as a result of the above situation. I tried to write more, but decided that these six lines were enough as they perfectly explain my feelings.


This show’s a train, it’s moving fast

You and I weren’t meant to last

Just for once can life be a blast

Cause I’m tired of life repeating the past

Being with you, made me so gassed

Then our friendship broke like glass


Thank you for reading. – TM

Back to School Anxiety


Good luck to all students this school year! You got this!

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Twitter: @TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Facebook: @TurningPointCT
– YouTube: @TurningPointCT_
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Check out the Previous Episode where Dez talks about the BS of Labor Day!

Moving Out Update!

It’s been about 2 months since I moved out on my own.  Before moving day, I wrote about my thoughts and feelings on the matter, which you can read here.  Now that some time has passed, I figured I could provide an update!


Moving Day

Moving day was very hectic; it certainly deserves its spot as one of the top 5 most stressful life events.  Instead of hiring a professional moving company, we had a rented U-Haul truck and a couple friends helping.  And since we didn’t live on the first floor of our prior residence, the process took twice as long.  But, alas, we got through it.  Moving in didn’t take as long since I was only taking probably a quarter of the furniture we had.

The First Few Weeks

I spent my first week here unpacking boxes and organizing.  To my surprise, it took only six days to get everything unpacked and set up.  The next couple of weeks consisted of shopping for anything else I may have needed and what not.

I also had a housewarming party, which I enjoyed very much.  It was awesome to have family and friends over to celebrate a new accomplishment with me.  The vibe was positive, and it was just a good time spent with great people.

Another surprise I experienced was not missing my previous residence or town at all, and I still don’t.  I spent most of my life there, but I really just don’t miss it.  I concluded that I’ve been ready to end that chapter for a long time, and finally begin this new one.

Conclusion

Despite some feelings of loneliness that come with relocating to a new area where you don’t know anyone yet, I am enjoying it here.  I’m still exploring the area, and looking to get involved in activities that will help me meet new people.

One thing I have been struggling with is consistently sticking to a new routine.  Since I’m on my own now, it’s solely up to me to hold myself accountable for everything I want and need to get done.  It is a work in progress, but once I keep up the momentum, I know I will do well.


Thank you for reading. – TM

Ben’s Year of Service With Positive Directions

Check out the video below from Prevention Corps member, Ben Fitzgerald, where he talks about his year of service with Positive Directions!

Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

The BS of Labor Day: A Decolonized View

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Check out the Previous Episode where Dez talks about his transgender journey!

Follow Us On Instagram!

My Transgender Journey: Normalizing Gender/Sexual Fluidity in Society Through History


Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Check out the Previous Episode where Therell, Emorie, and Clarissa talk about moving out on your own for the first time!

Moving Into A New Chapter

The time has come… Execute Order 66…

My bad, this isn’t about Star Wars 😅. Let’s try again.


After living with my mom for the entire 23 years I’ve been alive, and in the same area for almost 20 years, the time has come where I move out.

Moving is one of the most stressful times in one’s life, and I can see why.  While I myself haven’t fully processed relocating, I’ve seen how it has been affecting those close to me, including my cat.

I’ve had my cat, Gavin, for 15 years.  We adopted him when he was 1 year old, making him 16 years old now (80 years old in human years).  He’s still very active, though, and doesn’t look his age at all.  Gavin is an indoor cat; his knowledge of the outside world is nearly nonexistent.  When moving in the past, he was very stressed and unhappy being in his cage and traveling in the car.  He will be staying with my mom and her boyfriend, but regardless of who he would have been going with, I know he’ll be very stressed like usual.  Fortunately, he and my mom’s boyfriend love each other, so we’re hoping that will help soften the blow of me no longer living with him every day.

My cat, Gavin 😺

As mentioned earlier, I still haven’t fully processed moving, and the big day is less than a week away at the time of me writing this.  I think once I’m actually in my new place, and have spent the first night alone, it will hit me hard.  I will certainly miss my mom and cat.  I’m sure that not living with me everyday anymore will be the most difficult part of moving for my mom.  I think Gavin will miss me too; a few months ago, I spent about a week in New York, and my mom sent me pictures of Gavin sitting outside my bedroom door.  The good thing, though, is that I won’t be too far away, so visiting won’t be a problem.

Of the three places in my current town that I’ve lived in, I haven’t become attached to any of them.  I have, however, developed an attachment to the town itself.  As I’m sure a lot of people experience, I feel most comfortable in familiar environments.  I know my way around this town very well, so I’m thinking it will be a huge shock to my system living in another area that I’m not too familiar with yet.

Ready or not, though, the day is upon me.  Whenever I finally experience the full effect of stress caused by moving, I know that overall I am looking forward to beginning this new chapter in my life. The place I’m moving into seems very promising, so that definitely helps. 

Wish me luck! ~ TM

Moving Out On Your Own For The First Time

How did you feel when you were moving out for the first time? Have any tips? Let us know!


Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Miss the previous episode? Listen to it HERE!

Men’s Health Month: The Connection Between Physical & Mental Health

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Miss the previous episode? Listen to it HERE!

Reels: Advice & Music (2)

This week’s Reels are both from Therell’s interview with Paige Reynolds and Joshua Perez from Child First Greater Bridgeport! In the first Reel, they talk about music, with a mention of popular TV show Impractical Jokers. In the second Reel, Paige, Josh, and Therell give advice & share some wisdom.

John Mayer on Impractical Jokers

After Paige shares that John Mayer is one of her favorite music artists, Therell asks her if she has seen his episode on Impractical Jokers.


Mental Health Advice

During the end of their discussion, Paige, Josh, and Therell talk about how having a safe and healthy mind can help you have a safe and healthy body.


Thanks for tuning in! Check out last week’s Reels here, and Therell’s interview with Paige and Josh here!

Reels: Nature Photography & Matching Outfits (2)

This week’s Reels are both from Therell! Enjoy!

Matching Outfits

During Therell’s interview with Child First Greater Bridgeport, he and Josh notice that they are wearing both similar clothes and practically the same colors! 😂

Nature Photography Day

Therell acknowledges Nature Photography Day.

Thank you for staying connected with us! Check out last week’s Reels here!

The Power of Words: Why Mental Health Terminology Matters

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Miss the previous episode? Listen to it HERE!

Reels: Star Wars & The Finch App (3)

Hi everyone! Please enjoy our Reels from the past couple of weeks from Therell (2) and Quinn (1)!

Quinn – The Finch App

Quinn shares a Reel for a blog post they wrote about the Finch app, which helps encourage you to practice self care. Read their blog post HERE!

Therell – Mental Health Awareness Chat

Both of Therell’s Reels are from a mental health discussion he did with Paige Reynolds and Joshua Perez from Child First Greater Bridgeport. Therell split the discussion into 4 parts. Check out parts 1 and 2 on our YouTube channel; PART ONE | PART TWO.

The first Reel introduces Paige and Josh. In the second Reel, Therell asks Josh about the Star Wars video game(s) Jedi: Fallen Order & Jedi: Survivor.

Thank you for watching! Watch our previous Reels HERE!

Reels: Appreciating Our Teachers (1)

This week’s Reel comes from Therell. He celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week, and shouts out some of his past teachers who have made a big, positive impact on his life!

Check out last week’s Reels about Mental Health Awareness Month & Star Wars here!

Star Wars & Mental Health Awareness! (2)

Check out our latest Reels from the past week! Both are from Therell.

Star Wars Day

In Therell’s first Reel, he celebrates Star Wars Day!

Mental Health Awareness

In Therell’s second Reel, he acknowledges Mental Health Awareness Month and gives some encouragement.

Check out last week’s Reels here!

Reels: Celebrations & Social Anxiety (2)

Check out our latest Reels from the past week!

Sarah’s Reel

Sarah gives us some tips on how to make friends when you have social anxiety.

Therell’s Reel

Therell reminds us to celebrate our accomplishments, no matter how big or small they are.

Watch the previous week’s Reels here!

Black & White

I wrote this poem, Black & White, to express how I feel being an ethnically diverse individual.

Black & White

Half black and half white, so it makes sense that I feel gray

Represented by the clothes that I wear every day

Talking about my side that isn’t safe in the streets

I feel like a doughnut, guess who’s looking for a treat

Even at home where I try to relax and eat

I’m asked if I’ll rob, instead of friendly greets

Same thing at school, all the clowns speak in tweets

Slur after slur, they treat me like a freak

Report to the teachers, gave them all of the receipts

Funny how suddenly their vision would deplete

And I’m the one that they tell to take a seat

And for the side that most don’t even see

Sometimes that “most” is in the family

I get the look that says “You’re not related to me”

And when I’m outside with mom, it’s the same thing I notice 

The scenario in their head, with me as the focus

“Why is he following that poor woman everywhere?”

“They’re obviously not related, look no further than their hair”

So as you can see, it’s a war on both sides

I won’t choose a team, so I’ll just have to hide

I rarely felt like I fit in anyway, so it doesn’t even matter

But until then, it’s time to be an actor

Final Thoughts

Since high school, I started feeling the effects of being ethnically diverse. I feel quite uncomfortable when I am the only black person in a group of white folks, due to past experiences where ignorant and racist comments have been made. Even in a group of all black folks, I still become a little uncomfortable because I feel like I lack a lot of cultural knowledge, therefore it’s been difficult to relate to others.

I very much prefer being in a diverse setting; where there are people that come from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. It puts me much more at ease knowing I am not outnumbered, and there are multiple cultures present.

– Therell

If you would like to hear other poems I’ve written, visit my Music Channel.

And check out this poem submitted by Emorie, it’s a very stellar writing piece.

Second Batch of April 2023 Reels (3)

Hi everyone! Please enjoy our latest Reels from the past week! This week we have 3 reels, two from Sarah, and one from Therell.

The Reels

In Sarah’s first reel, she shares some tips for people who experience anxiety while giving presentations.

In Therell’s reel, he acknowledges National Only Child Day.

In Sarah’s second reel, she reassures everyone that it is perfectly okay to keep learning the basics as an adult.

Thank you for keeping up with The TurningPointCT Team! If you missed the previous week’s reels, watch them here!

Bipolar Depression – Poem

My intention with this poem is to describe the perspective most people with mental health disorders go through with symptoms, not allowing the disorder to become a part of our identity and the vulnerability of connectivity with others due to stigmas placed on mental health and the help towards betterment.

Emorie – 25

First Reels of April 2023 (2)

Check out our first couple of reels this month, April 2023, both from Sarah!

In Sarah’s first reel, she shares some things she learned to do to boost her joy despite struggling with her mental health.

In Sarah’s second reel, she shares a few tips for when you might feel overwhelmed while working on digital devices during the day.

Check out our final reel from March here!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Redefining the Success and Crafting Healthy, Impactful Lasting Goals

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Miss the previous episode? Listen to it here!

Navigating Anxiety & Overcoming Intrusive Thoughts | Planting Vlog

In honor of National Stress Awareness Month, join me while planting different flowers🌷 and herbs! We discuss intrusive thoughts, making space in the heart and mind, and navigating stress and feeling overwhelmed. 🌱

Don’t forget to check out our other ➡️ videos ⬅️ too!

– Sarah

Final Reels of March 2023 (1)

Happy April, everyone! Please enjoy our final March Reel from Dez!

Miss the previous Reels? Find them here!

Thrilla T – Sabotage

Hi everyone! I’ve recently released 2 new songs: The Nerve and Wrong Game! The “album” that these 2 songs are in is called Sabotage.

For anyone who’s listened to some of my previous songs, you’ll know that I often talk about my feelings of loneliness and social loss. These two songs lean more on the social loss side.

I feel that I’ve made so many social mistakes throughout my life, so any time I think back to fizzled out friendships, I am filled with regret.

Please consider listening to these two songs, as I think they do an okay job of laying everything out. If you are also someone who feels they’ve made some mistakes in their social life, I hope my music can help you know that you are not alone.

If you would like to check out art from other people on our website, visit our Creative Expressions page here!

Reels: Week of March 12 (3)

Watch our latest Reels from Dez and Therell!

Dez Reel: “What Does Happiness Mean to You?”

Therell Reel 1: “I Am”

Therell Reel 2: “Awkward Moments Day”

Miss last week’s Reels? Watch them here!

Reels: Week of March 5th (2)

The Things We Crave: Addiction Recovery, Connection & Peace

If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health support services made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website!

Miss the last episode? Listen to it here!

The Help & Harm of New Diagnoses, and Navigating Changes

If you enjoyed our podcast, make sure you follow us @TurningPointCT to stay up to date with what teens and young adults in CT are talking about! You can find us wherever you stream podcasts (ex. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts)!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe to us on social media!
– Facebook: TurningPointCT
– Instagram: @TurningPoint_CT
– Twitter: @TurningPoint_CT
– YouTube: TurningPointCT.org
– TikTok: @TurningPointCT.org

Want to find more free mental health supports made by and for teens and young adults in Connecticut? Check out our website https://www.turningpointct.org

It’s Okay To Be Single

Single Life

Valentine’s week can be a tough time for some. Couples and couples activities are slightly thrown in the faces of those who are single.  And it isn’t just during the week of Valentine’s Day, but the weeks leading up to it as well. There’s romance movies and TV shows running all the time. There’s an increase amount of flowers and chocolates available in stores.

I have been single for my entire life.  It used to be very depressing and I do sometimes still feel lonely.  Having a romantic partner would be such an honor. I’m patiently waiting for the day where I meet them.  

It’s Okay to be Single

Some of you may feel that way too.  Just know, though, that it is perfectly okay to not be in a romantic relationship.  

I have goals I am working towards achieving.  I feel that some goals need to either be fully achieved. Or even close enough to complete before I enter a romantic relationship. That way I can give the best version of myself to my future partner.

The Day Will Come

Our time will come, my fellow singles.  Don’t force anything to happen.  Please be as patient as you can.

The days that pass from now to the beginning of your romantic journey creates perfect opportunities for you to continue working on achieving your goals.

I wish you all enormous amounts of success and happiness!

– Therell 🤠

A Love Letter to Those Who Think They Can’t Be Loved with Mental Health

Dear Mental Health Sufferer,

You can love and be loved even with severe mental health.

Perhaps that seems like a simple statement to you, or maybe it’s an outrageous one. But to me, two years ago, that was the impossible. That was unattainable. So much so, I never let myself dream of it, in fact, I cut it from my narrative all-together. 

After a major mental health collapse and a long-overdue Harm OCD diagnosis, I decided my fate was to be void entirely of being loved. Growing up with mental health also created this intimacy separation; I believed I was a burden-like side effect of society. I associated myself as a twenty-percent-off coupon that you find in the bottom of grocery bags. Somewhat useful, but perhaps not entirely worth your time. To make me feel better, I always found a new mantra to strip away the suffering. And bend the sharp edges into a (sometimes passable) illusional and artful response. A reasoning as to why I avoided, at all costs, a sense of bonding or trust with another person.

I believe my true fear was not entirely in my ability to love and be social. Rather, that I felt like a ticking grenade. That with any panic attack, burnout or collapse, I would explode shrapnel into a helpless individual that deserves a bomb (as in fun and cool) significant other, and not a literal bomb. So with every guy that turned my direction, or smiled at me, I further zipped up my hazmat suit to my eyeballs for their protection, and continued on with my evening.

The pandemic came with many mental health horrors that I will not indulge during this letter. However, the beginning was a few months after I was recovering from OCD collapse and isolation. Healing became my focus. Amidst that focus was the encouraging words of my mother who believed what I needed in my healing was a companion. I mean, she always wanted grandchildren, and perhaps my minimal-dating record made me the odds out horse in the race. I was the best return rate to bet on, but the least likely to win. Even if I did find the courage, I had the dating skills of a sixth grader.

Thankfully, I struck a deal, and saw the perfect opportunity. Amidst the pandemic beginnings, I wouldn’t have to meet any of these guys in person. Just vet and talk to them. Therefore, letting my various subtypes of OCD and Generalized Anxiety drive my internal dialogue with the safety switch of an end call button. So I made a dating profile, then I prayed to God.

No, seriously, I prayed to God. In my healing journey, I also was finding spirituality in Christianity. I leaned more into the word companion then boyfriend. I figured I’d find some hip mentor, second aunt, or college graduate friend who can walk with me in my various needs of exploration and healing. In all, I was still convinced that my messaging inbox would remain empty.

I was trying to be illusional and artful to my mother but God saw right through that. The next day I met the guy I’d eventually fall in love with and would become my now boyfriend.

If you need to reread that, go ahead.

I won’t go into the details of the process and the strength it took. But, what I can tell you is that it’s possible. I gave myself the small step of permission to take a chance. Not just in loving, but that I was able to be loved in return. You don’t have to limit or hide yourself. If you believe that the only lovable parts are the “non-mental-health parts” of your personality and identity, you’re wrong. You, as an entire being, are lovable. There is someone out there who needs you to love them in the way that you do. Just because of mental health, doesn’t mean you can’t also care for someone else. Actually, I’ve found, due to my mental health, I’m more emotionally in-tune. And detailed in seeing voids and needs of my significant other then not. 

We became a team, and we complimented the broken parts of each other. Nobody is perfect, and everyone has fragments of themselves that need extra mending or attention. Perhaps you’re the person to bring that to the table. I found, my person had exactly what I needed and still need. Be grateful that our minds don’t always conjure up our realities of what we think we deserve. God gifted me with a beautiful person I could not have thought up myself (and I have a very creative mind).

He sits on the bathroom floor with me when I’m kneeling over the toilet, dry heaving in anxiety shakes and nausea. Draws me a hot bath when my body aches from the tremors and the night sweats. He gently takes my hand in public when I start wringing the skin off my fingers in stressful intrusive thought. He stays diligently during a panic attack so I no longer have to endure the internal enemy of my mind mixed with the external enemy of loneliness. When I’m facing some anxiety-induced depression he softly and slowly brings out the child in me that I now realize I neglected companionship with in childhood. He even reads about my conditions to make sure he’s not feeding into my reassurance compulsions of my OCD.

And it took me a while to find an overarching theme of these acts of kindness beyond kindness itself. Rather, I realized it’s a form of patience. Love embedded in the waiting. The sitting, the holding, the listening, was an exercise of patience. This particular individual was always calmly waiting for the mental health moment; day, week or season to pass, knowing, during and on the other side, I was still me. A worthy and loving human being. Someone who is more than a diagnosis or an acronym or a statistic. An entire person made up of laughter and unique personality and intellect that had a lot to give to the world.

I will not be untruthful, mental health touches every aspect of life, especially if you walk the more severe side of your diagnoses, like I do. Your mental health, and you can bet, my Harm OCD, attacks my love and relationship with this person on a daily basis. However, I know for sure I would take all my daily intrusive thoughts, times ten, to continue allowing and giving myself permission to love, and be loved. I know that with proper communication, and mindfulness, you can coexist with your mental health conditions and still maintain a very happy and open relationship. Yes, I’m including all the moments of late nights, panic attacks, doctors appointments, crying sessions and cartaking. 

My advice is to promote patience in yourself to prepare the grounds for loving and being loved. What stopped me before is I was impatient with myself, unforgiving and ridiculed beyond every stretch of the imagination that I was unworthy of joy and healing. Yet in all that imagining I didn’t once imagine the possibility of me being the person for someone. I want you to do that for yourself today.

I want the person reading this to know that while I would whisk away your mental health sufferings in a minute. You have this immense beauty and personability through your experiences in your suffering. Don’t take away that light from the world and not allow yourself to love (in any way or capacity) because you think you are incapable of doing so from your conditions. You can love and be loved even with severe mental health.

Sincerely, 

Someone who is loved.

love

Written by Sarah Edwards (@setapart_company), TPCT Project Coordinator

A Positivity Exercise!

Here is a positivity exercise for everyone to try! I hope it is something that can help boost your mood a little bit! 😇

Being More Productive

Backstory

Throughout my early life, I was usually quite active during my waking hours of each day. Whether I was attending class or summer camp during the day. Being involved with after school activities in the afternoon, participating in martial arts in the evening. And going grocery shopping with my mom on the weekends; I seemed to always be up to something productive. When I entered high school, though, my daily productivity slowed down a bit.

I was still attending class during the day, but when the final bell rang, I went straight home. This would go on for the majority of my time in high school. I also didn’t have any friends to hang out with after school or on the weekends. About halfway through my senior year, I signed up at a gym. The gym was about a 5 minute walk from my school. I would go there after school a couple times a week. Another thing to mention, during the summer break during my high school years, I was no longer going to summer camp.

When I entered college, my productivity increased slightly. I would often stay on campus after my classes to do homework by myself or with classmates. Or I’d be able to hang out with someone for a bit.

The Dark Times

When the pandemic hit, it felt like everything was crumbling beneath my feet. I was extremely depressed as I’m sure most people were during the beginning of the “dark times”. I was stuck at home, rarely had the opportunity to socialize with peers, and hardly had energy to do anything at all. So my productivity decreased significantly.

Sprinkles of Hope?

In July/August of 2020, I was able to start my journey as a “rapper” which you can read about here. When things began opening back up again, I continued going to the gym and was doing online classes. All of this still didn’t feel like enough though, so my depression continued.

In September 2021, I started working here at TurningPointCT as the Social Media Assistant. While the job is remote and only 5 hours a week, I did have more opportunities to socialize with more people during events or get togethers with coworkers.

Graduating from college in May 2022 left me with one less productive activity. So I signed up for personal training at my gym in July 2022. You can read about my personal training journey so far here.  Doing this helped me go consistently at least once a week, at most 2-3 times a week.

For the past 6 months, I’ve been seeing my personal trainer at the gym once a week. I’ve been trying to go another day or two during the week to work out on my own. With that, I try working this job and occasionally going to the studio to record another song.  

Through this, my social anxiety is very high due to losing a lot of social skills during lockdown.  It’s become very difficult for me to interact with people in person. So I tend not to, which I sometimes find ironic. In person socialization with peers is one of the main things I yearn for in my life.

Rising Up

A few months ago, I began taking a new medication for my depression after previous ones failed to help much.  This current medication that I am taking is helping quite a bit; I’ve been feeling more motivated and less sluggish most days.

I feel I’ve been more productive during these past few weeks than I have been in a couple of years.  I’ve been more consistent with taking care of myself, going to the gym 1-3 times a week, doing more housework, and being more creative.  All this productivity has helped me feel a lot better than I was feeling before.

I know not every day will be perfect, but I’m hoping I can keep this up because I strongly disliked how it was before.

For those in similar situations, I wish you the best of luck in finding what will work for you to start battling depression and anxiety.

– Therell

National Spaghetti Day!

Today is National Spaghetti Day!  As someone with Italian blood in him, I’m delighted that one of our most sacred meals has its own special day!

The Beginning

Spaghetti has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.  When I was a kid, spaghetti would often be the go to meal for lunch or dinner.

I’m decent at making spaghetti and sauce myself, but it definitely tastes better when my mom or Nana make it.  They have perfected the craft, and it’s a much more pleasant consumption experience.

My favorite types of spaghetti and pastas are thin spaghetti and penne.  While I think all of it would taste the same without the flavorful seasoned sauce, for some reason, thin spaghetti and penne are really the only two I will eat.  They just hit differently.

A pic I took at a restaurant!

Carbs & Protein

While spaghetti is still one of my favorite meals, I have started to eat it less over the past few years.  As many spaghetti consumers may know, being full of carbs, it expands in the stomach.  When I gain weight, the majority of it goes right to my stomach and hips, and unfortunately, spaghetti is a big cause of that as it is a very heavy food.

Since I started personal training last summer, which you can read about here, I’ve been trying to consume less carbs and more protein.  I’ll never permanently cut out carbs, but I definitely can’t eat them as much as I want or used to if I am to lose the pandemic pounds in my stomach and hips that I had started gaining in Fall 2020.  I am trying to reduce the frequency at which I consume spaghetti to at least once every month, and at most, twice a month.

I have been vegan for almost 8 years, and about 2 or 3 years into my vegan journey, I started adding vegan meatballs into my sauce for protein so that my meal wouldn’t only consist of carbs. I’ve also recently discovered a high protein pasta which tastes really good.  Maybe a year or two after adding the meatballs, I began incorporating either one of two vegetables into my sauce.  Those vegetables would be my top two favorites: spinach and broccoli.  The addition of the meatballs and vegetables (and mandatory seasonings of course!) have made my meals even more scrumptious than they already were!

Cook Up Some Spaghetti!

So to all my spaghetti enthusiasts, make sure for lunch or dinner today, you whip up a nice, delicious pot of pasta of your choice, and enjoy your afternoon or evening meal!  And I also wish you all a happy, successful 2023.

-Therell

My Personal Training Journey 2022

I started going to the gym in January of 2018.  Up until summer 2022, I went very infrequently.  There was a time where I didn’t go for almost 2 months.  When I did go, I didn’t exercise to my full potential.  Because of these things, I hardly saw any improvement in my body or my mind.

In summer 2022, I was at my heaviest weight due to not eating well, lack of frequent movement, and medication I was taking.  I didn’t like how I felt or looked, and wanted that to change.  So, I signed up for personal training once a week at my gym. I would go to exercise by myself during the other days of the week.

Remembering my first physical training session, I had to do 3 rounds of bar push ups, bar pull ups, squats, and a plank.  I don’t think I even made it halfway through the 2nd round before I became extremely nauseous and lightheaded.  The session ended there.

Over the course of the rest of 2022, my trainer, Sam, would have me do all sorts of exercises. Some of which included leg presses, lat pulldowns, a 10 minute warm up of either jogging on the treadmill or using the elliptical machine, and many more things.

personal training
My trainer, Sam, and I

Slowly, but surely, I was seeing improvement.  My weight was relatively still the same for a while due to one of the medications I was taking at the time. But, I recently switched to a different medication which causes little to no weight gain. So the personal training and slightly better eating habits have allowed me to start dropping some pounds again.

Regardless of the weight, I’ve noticed that I’ve become quite a bit stronger. My biceps and shoulders look a little bigger and more defined.  I also don’t struggle as much with some of the exercises like how I was in the beginning. Which lets me use heavier dumbbells and increase the weight on the machines I am using.  Another improvement I am surprised to have made is from the jogging warm up.  I’ve had more instances lately where it takes longer for me to become fatigued or out of breath while running, as well as not stopping to rest so often.

I am very thankful for my trainer, Sam, for being patient, encouraging, and helpful during this journey.  This is only the beginning, though.  I look forward to what the new year brings for my fitness and health journey.  I am going to continue with personal training, try to keep going at least 2 other days during the week to exercise by myself, and incorporate even better eating habits so that I can look and feel how I would like to look and feel.

– Therell

National Pie Day

Today is National Pie Day, not to be confused with National Pi Day (3.14) on March 14, but the delicious dessert that I’m sure many of us enjoy.

I don’t remember when I first had pie, but I’ve been vegan for many years, so any pie I do eat has to be, well, vegan.  That just means that ingredients such as milk, butter, and eggs which are used to make non vegan pies are replaced with vegan substitutes.

I would say that pie is probably my favorite dessert.  So much so that for one year on my birthday, I chose to have pie instead of cake.

My favorite type of pie is apple pie.  Apple pie hits perfectly, satisfying my taste buds tremendously.  If I allowed myself to, I could probably eat a whole apple pie in one sitting.  That of course would not be a healthy thing to do, so when I do have pie, which is at most twice a year, I take one piece at a time so that it lasts longer.

My least favorite type of pie would have to be pumpkin pie.  That may be controversial, I’m not sure, but it just doesn’t hit the same as apple pie.  I had pumpkin pie a few weeks ago, and I struggled to finish it.  I ate every last bite though so that the money spent purchasing it was not wasted.

What is your favorite type of pie?  If you haven’t yet today, treat yourself to your favorite type for dessert!

– Therell

Learning How To Live Again

When most children age, parents begin to leave them home alone. This is when my earliest memories of OCD began. While my parents were comfortable going out to do quick errands, I was home alone with the golden retriever, given I was an only child. I was a pretty average kid. I would indulge in a ton of writing, reading or video games. While snacking on goldfish or playing tug-a-war with my furry friend, my mind would wander — but not in the normal way.

Despite my parents going out to grab an extra gallon of milk or attend a parent-teacher meeting, I was convinced they were in some horrific car accident. I’d run to the phone multiple times in an hour, panic-calling my father’s cell phone in a crying fit to make sure they were still alive. Sometimes, my mom would be outside planting in the yard when the sound of an ambulance would suddenly pass, causing me to drop my snack on the ground and run to the window. I was always certain the ambulance was for her and not someone miles away.

My Experience & Reaction

I’d pace around the house, sweating, anxious, then usually would run to the bathroom feeling sick about the hypothetical trauma I just endured. It felt as if I was in some terrible 4-D movie theater. If we left on a family outing, I’d feel the need to run upstairs manically making sure no candles were lit, all things were unplugged, and no windows were open. My brain would always tell me, “What if you start a fire and your dog dies?” Or “What if you leave your windows open, and then your home is robbed and someone gets hurt?” This happened every moment of every day, and it was unbearable.

I could never relax and be in the moment, no matter how wonderful it was. I rubbed the skin off my hands from anxiety. I picked and clawed at my arms until blood ran down them and would call them mosquito bites. I often had to lay down and hide from all the extra noise because my mind couldn’t take it. The only antidote was a good fictional book, or soundtrack music, so I’d read about three a week and get headaches from the non-stop escapisms and loud headphones.

Searching for an Answer

My parents quickly noticed I had some unneeded levels of stress, so they took me to the doctor. The first one said I was just going through puberty. The second gave me a medication for my stomach acid saying my upset stomach (that was actually caused by high stress) was the thing bothering me and making me scared. The third said I was lying for attention. The fourth said it was my hormones. The fifth said, finally, “Oh, your daughter has anxiety.” This wasn’t unexpected for me as I was a premature baby, and easily overstimulated and emotional. Of course I would have anxiety! So they wrote me a prescription and sent me away. Problem solved, right?

But neither myself nor my parents were convinced. I could never relax and be in the moment, no matter how wonderful it was. Obviously, it didn’t work. I didn’t just have anxiety, I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A subset disorder of anxiety that creates a weeded field of intrusive thoughts in one’s mind, but it would take over a decade to finally get someone to tell me that. So in the interim, I got worse.

I didn’t let that stop me from trying to see what the doctors couldn’t, so I would sneak into the “no” sections of the school library and open the few medical books we had. I read and I kept reading, clawing at the pages, desperate for an answer. Then, I would sneak into the computer labs to look up terminology I didn’t understand from said books. I was desperate to find a little line that could give me some hope I wasn’t slipping into manic insanity and that I was somewhere, even an outlier, on the normal spectrum.

Coexisting with OCD

Digging took a decade, but that digging eventually saved my life. I did, in fact, find the phrase that would help me get not just professional help but also the right kind. The phrase was “intrusive thoughts”. It’s been over two years now since receiving a Harm OCD diagnosis after a lifelong fight and recovering from a suicide attempt. I often have to re-teach myself the most basic elements of life, like how to eat and enjoy breakfast now that I’m not sick from anxiety in the morning anymore. I’m learning how to have enjoyable dinners despite all the triggers of “potential” allergic reactions and “dangerous” steak knives that have been born out of my Harm Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, another subtype.

I’m still trying to trust doctors after over twenty years of misdiagnoses and wrong medication. I’m working on letting people see my anxiety, crying and hand ringing, and accepting that I am not a burden. I’m letting the intrusive thoughts into my wonderful, intimate relationship with my significant other, and I bask in the fact that I am loved, and worthy of it. I used to spend so much energy trying to evict my chronic and lifelong issues such as OCD out of my space, but I found more joy once I became “friends” with them through coexisting.

How I Coexist with OCD

One of the definitions of “coexisting”, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “to live in peace with each other.” Coexisting comes with mutual understanding and acceptance — and that includes even the most violent, horrible thoughts. When you practice coexistence, you realize your value and potential don’t lie in how few or many thoughts you have (or how scary and irrational). You are a separate being, learning to share a space. And being at peace does not mean being in a season without questions. It is accepting that even in spite of not knowing all the answers, life goes on anyways.

The more you practice a state of coexistence, which in the first stages feels like pulling teeth, your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder becomes more of a nuance. Obviously, getting professional treatment is what ultimately taught me this – giving me valuable exercises that I still practice. While these were difficult, it pulled me into a world without as much anxiety, and I see everything differently now.

Grieving Myself

The second battle one has to face when getting a diagnosis of any sort is the grieving of themselves. Sometimes we grieve what we lost through the diagnosis. We take note of how drastically our minds or bodies change and the abilities or lifestyle we used to have. Sometimes we grieve the life we never had because of the condition(s) that we had to walk through. Currently, I am still learning how to grieve and find gratitude for my childhood. Sometimes I wonder what or who I could’ve been without this weight on my chest. However, I would walk through the shadows of all of those years again to discover what I know now, and make it my goal to pass that information to others.

This is why it is imperative to support funding and resources for mental health education; discussing and promoting the taboo terminology, uncomfortable questions, and realities to upcoming generations. The earlier we can pinpoint the type of struggle a child is facing, the earlier we can intervene and get them proper resources, professional help or support. If you’re currently on a path of trying to re-learn even life’s fundamentals after a diagnosis, I can promise you, it gets easier in time. I hope you someday feel empowered to share your newfound wisdom and understanding with others so we can begin to broaden mental health understanding together.

Written by Sarah Edwards (@setapart_company), TPCT Project Coordinator

Happy Halloween 2022

Please enjoy this video from the TurningPointCT team sharing what they like about Halloween! Happy Halloween everyone!

What do you like about Halloween?

Hello From Maria!

Hi there! My name is Maria Chappa. I am the new Peer Leader for TurningPointCT. I am so excited to begin working on this project and provide helpful recourses to you all!

A Little About Me

I am 24 years old and graduated college in 2020.

I have dealt with mental health struggles for most of my life and for many years felt very alone in it. I hope to use my experience of learning how to cope and function with anxiety and depression to help others. I am very passionate about making sure the people around me know it is important to lean of your support system and be honest about how you are feeling.

A big hobby of mine is painting. Typically I paint with acrylics on canvases, but also paint with
watercolor. I love making gifts for friends and family and am constantly working on projects for
myself. For me, painting is a way to quiet my mind and truly relax. When I’m not painting you
can find me reading. My favorite authors are Taylor Jenkins Reid and Collen Hoover! I also love
spending time outside whether it’s going for a walk on the local trail or simply sitting outside in
the sun.

Fun Fact

In 2019 I traveled to Costa Rica to become a certified Wilderness First Responder. While on my
trip I learned how to care for someone injured in austere environments away from medical
care. Not only did I learn many skills, I also learned how to surf, zip lined through the jungle and
went white water rafting! A few months after my trip I was chosen to go on a second trip, but
this time as a teaching assistant. Going back as a TA allowed me to work on my leadership skills
and sharpen the skills I had learned just months before.

– Maria

National Pumpkin Day

We are right around the corner from Halloween, and what better way to get into the spooky season spirit than to talk about Pumpkins! And even better… on National Pumpkin Day!

You can use pumpkins for quite a few things. You can use them to cook delicious foods, use them as decorations, or you can carve them into jack-o-lanterns.

I know many people enjoy pumpkin pie, but I personally don’t. I’m more of an apple pie fan. However, I do enjoy eating some pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice cookies!

Jack-o-lanterns are also very cool! When carved into one and with a light put inside it, they look super spooky!

Using pumpkins as decorations is also very neat. In my home, we have several pumpkins spread throughout the space. It gets us into the holiday spirit a bit and it adds more color variety since we don’t have many orange things in here.

What is your favorite thing to use pumpkins for?

– Therell

My Biggest Insecurity: My Lazy Eye

Background

I was born with hardly any vision in my left eye, leaving me practically half blind.  The medical term is “amblyopia” but basically, I have a lazy eye.  While some people’s lazy eye drifts inward, mine drifts outward.

When I was an infant, I had to wear a contact lense in my left eye and an eye patch over my right eye. This was supposed to force me to use my left eye so that the brain would make connections to it and I wouldn’t completely lose sight in that eye.  My mother told me it was a struggle to get the contact in and that I used to try to rip the patch off all the time.

When I was a toddler I had surgery on my left eye to try to correct the muscles.  I was too young to remember any of it, though.

Growing up and even now, I am supposed to (and do most of the time) wear either glasses or protective lenses all the time, mostly to protect my right eye.  If something were to happen to it I would pretty much be blind.

Affect on my Life

My left eye is one of my biggest insecurities.  I strongly dislike having photos taken of myself due to my eye.  To me, when I look at a photo of myself, it appears as if I am not looking at the camera, even though I am.  Instead, it looks like I am looking somewhere off into the distance.  I make YouTube videos, and even in those, it looks like I’m not looking at the camera even though I am.

Special pictures, such as school or graduation photos, of myself I feel are “ruined” due to my eye condition.

I’ve received countless comments from people online who point out my eye.  Their comments will say something like “What is he looking at?” or “Where is he looking?”.  While those comments aren’t that bad, I have in fact been made fun of because of it. 

I run into this problem with people in person as well.  I remember multiple occasions where I was looking at someone, talking to them and they looked at me for a second, then looked behind them as if I was looking at someone else instead of them.

I’ve been told by a few eye doctors that there is nothing that can be done to fix the vision in my left eye.  While I don’t necessarily care about the vision anymore because I’ve lived without it my whole life, I wish there was some sort of surgery that could be done (again) to at least straighten my eye so that people and myself can’t tell that I have a lazy eye.

What I feel like I look like to people

Conclusion

This is something that is always on my mind.  I figured I’d share it in case you see a video or picture of me and wonder what I’m looking at, or maybe this is something you struggle with, too.  I feel like we all have something we are born with or developed later in life that we struggle with.  The most important thing is if you notice something like that in someone, please do not call attention to it, because they more than likely already feel extremely self conscious about it.

– Therell

My New Song

As some of you may know, I make music. I recently released a new song titled Watch Your Back. You can check it out below.

This is my 7th song that I have done and I have many more to come in the future!

For this song, I had written part of the second verse first and it was originally going to be the first verse. However, as I continued writing, I felt the original first verse would work better as a the second verse. Then, I came up with the first verse, and lastly, the chorus.

The main message behind this song is to, well, watch your back for those who may be plotting against you. I have a YouTube channel for my music where I will also be making videos breaking the down the lyrics of each of my songs. You can visit that channel here and be on the lookout for those videos soon!

If you would like to check out other people’s art, visit our Creative Expressions page here!

– Therell

Sharing My Poem “Enough”

In honor of Black Poetry Day, this post is me sharing my poem Enough that I wrote a year or two ago and read aloud on my music YouTube channel.

This poem was made after the loss of a friendship that I really treasured. Sometimes relationships, platonic or romantic, fizzle out and it can be heartbreaking, especially if it was a relationship you thought would last forever.

– Therell

National Stop Bullying Day

Today is National Stop Bullying Day.

As someone who was bullied quite frequently throughout my school career, I am a big advocate to stop bullying. I know what it’s like to be bullied, and I dislike seeing others go through what I went through.

It doesn’t help that I often see stories or videos of the victim being pushed to their limit and fighting back, only for people to intervene and the victim to receive a larger punishment than the bully. That is something that upsets me greatly. All it does is tell victims of bullying that they will get in trouble if they defend themselves.

Below is a video of me sharing a story about one of the times I was bullied in middle school.

If you have been bullied or are currently getting bullied, I am so sorry. You did not and do not deserve that. If I was there with you, I would do my absolute best to help you and get you out of that situation.

I hope we can all ban together and end bullying. It isn’t funny, or cool, it’s just downright awful.

– Therell

Welcome Dez!

The TurningPointCT team would like to formally welcome our new Project Assistant, Dez! You can read more about him in his story here.

We know Dez will be a great addition to the team and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings to the project!

Alternatives To Suicide Group

Positive Directions is offering a new, free Alternatives to Suicide support group that starts this Tuesday, 10/4/22 at 7pm.

National Singles Day 2022

I have been single my entire life.  While I used to think my life would be better if I were in a relationship, I now realize that being single isn’t such a bad thing.  

Throughout high school, middle school, and even the later years of elementary school, there was this sort of social pressure that you should start having a boyfriend or girlfriend.  These days, I think it was quite silly that we were all so worried about that when we were so young.  

I remember when I was a freshman in high school, I was made fun of by another student for not having any romantic experiences.  At first I was embarrassed because of peer pressure and social status, but now it doesn’t bother me as much.  Not everyone will experience the same things at the same time as everyone else. 

Since the pandemic, dating has become even harder for a lot of people as there have been less chances for in person social interaction, something that many humans crave.  Most people are making connections online which definitely isn’t the same as in person.  It’s difficult to determine if you have a bond with someone when you’re only communicating through text.

My main reason for wanting a relationship was due to being lonely.  While I still get lonely sometimes, I know one can still feel that way even if they are in a relationship.  I’ve seen first hand and have read countless stories of people who were not too happy in their relationship due to lack of affection and what not. 

In my opinion, it takes a lot of hard work to be in a successful relationship.  When you want to do something, you more often than not will have to keep your significant other in mind and how what you want to do might affect them.  You also have to (do your best to) satisfy the needs of your partner.

I’ve also come to realize that I am not yet ready to be in a relationship.  The time and energy that it takes is something I am not capable of giving at the moment.  I feel I still need to work on myself so that when I am ready, I can give my future partner the best version of myself.  Until then, I will appreciate being single.

Therell

Who Are Your Role Models?

Therell shares who one of his heroes/role models is in his life. Who are yours?

Turning Point CT Reads Mean Comments

In this video, our Social Media Assistant, Therell, reads some weird and mean comments we’ve received on our YouTube channel!

My Favorite Quote!

Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day/Week/Month focuses on the mental health of mothers who are going through childbirth.  At least 1 in 5 new mothers go through some sort of anxiety disorder regarding childbirth in many countries.  The illnesses often go untreated which can have long-term consequences to both the mother and the child. 

Anxiety disorders can be developed by women who are from many different backgrounds such as culture, age, ethnicity, etc.  Symptoms of such disorders can be seen any moment during a mother’s pregnancy as well as the first year after childbirth.  Effective treatment options are available to help mother’s recover.  

If you are a soon to be mother or you know someone who will be, contact the maternal mental health hotline at 1-833-HELP4MOMS or 1-833-943-5746.

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Every July, National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is recognized to raise more awareness to the hardships that racial minority groups go through in the United States.  Getting help for their mental health has become even harder for minority groups because of the Coronavirus.

As someone who is considered a minority, I feel that our mental struggles need more attention.  While I am both white and black, most people perceive me as black.  I have been discriminated against due to the color of my skin, and it does have an effect on my mental health.  It makes me feel as though something is wrong with me, like I am a threat when I try so hard to come across as welcoming.  It is a constant additional stress that I have to live with.

I hope we can all come together and really focus on bettering the mental health of minority groups.  For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/features/minority-mental-health/index.html.

My College Experience

A couple months ago I graduated from community college.  I wanted to talk a little about my college experience, so as Mario would say, here we go!

I took many classes throughout my four years of college, and there are only two that stand out as my favorites.  Those classes would be Public Speaking and General Psychology 2.  The environment in those classes were very good, from my fellow classmates to the professors; it was a good experience all around.

About half of my time at college was in person while the other half was online due to COVID.  While I enjoyed being in person very much as I am someone who craves social interaction, the downside was that my grades weren’t the best.  I had to retake classes a couple times and there were classes that I barely passed.  However, the move to online classes helped out my grades tremendously.  I earned a lot more A’s and it brought my GPA up quite a bit.

During the in-person portion of my time at college, I made a lot of connections.  I got along with nearly everyone that I met and I made some good memories with them.  Unfortunately, when COVID hit, I fell out of contact with all of them.  

Other positives about my college experience would be that there were a lot of support services to help me pass my classes.  If I didn’t have those support services, I may not have passed those classes that I mentioned in which I barely passed.  It was also pretty affordable; I don’t have any student loans to pay back.

Now I want to talk about some of the benefits of a community college.  For one, you can have a pretty flexible schedule.  I always scheduled my classes when it was convenient for me, and it always worked out. 

You can also live at home if you’d like, which is what I did.  Or, you can live close to campus.  Since I lived at home, I took public transportation to get to school; the train and then a bus.  I didn’t mind this at all as I looked forward to going to (most of) my classes so the train and bus rides were a breeze.

Lastly, as mentioned before, it is quite affordable.  And, you can transfer your credits to a 4 year school.

Overall, I would give my college experience a 7/10, which is much higher than what I would give my elementary, middle, and high school experiences.  Even though I mostly enjoyed my time at college, I probably would not do it all again, as I feel I am done with school (for now at least), and am ready to enter the world of working.

Alone

Social Media Assistant, Therell, shares his song, “Alone”, which is about how he feels alone in the world.

Men’s Health Week

It is men’s health week.  If you identify as a man, it is time to take a good look at your health if you don’t do so already.  

Some important questions to ask yourself not just this week, but always, include: Am I eating well?  Am I sleeping well?  Am I moving regularly?  Am I getting enough vitamins and minerals?  

In my opinion, physical health and mental health go hand in hand.  If your physical health isn’t where you would like it to be, your mental health may be affected as a result.  I will use myself as an example.  A few years ago, I would say I was in my peak physical condition.  I was happy with how my body looked and felt and this helped my confidence.  These days, my physical health isn’t where I’d like it to be.  From the start of the pandemic, I have been struggling with depression and gained a lot of pandemic pounds.  Due to the decline of my mental health, my physical health suffered, and due to the decline of my physical health, my mental health has suffered.     

Recently, I have been making an effort to feel better.  I try to do activities that keep my mind occupied momentarily so that I’m not constantly thinking about how I haven’t reached my health goals, which makes me feel hopeless.  Some of these activities include: writing lyrics and recording songs, writing fictional stories, making & watching YouTube videos, and exercising.  I enjoy these activities and they have had a positive impact on me mentally and physically.  

What are things you do that have a positive impact on your health?

Therell Shares His Poem “Outcast”

May The 4th Be With You

Star Wars has been a part of my life since I was a little kid.  I grew up with the prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, & Revenge of the Sith), so I tend to like that set of movies the most, but I still love the originals (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, & Return of the Jedi) too.   

Watching Star Wars has had a positive impact on my mental health.  Whenever I watch it, it puts me in a good mood.  Even the sequel trilogy (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, & The Rise of Skywalker), which I don’t really like that much because of the story, but I do like most of the characters.  

I honestly feel like parts of my life would be drastically different had I not been introduced to Star Wars.  For example, I wanted to be a Jedi when I was younger, I often quote Star Wars in my day to day life, and I have also lived by some ideas within the franchise.  One of these ideas was that negative emotions (the dark side) are bad.  However, I don’t live by this anymore because I have learned that continuously suppressing negative emotions can be unhealthy.  

Star Wars means so much to me.  I still have a lot of merchandise from the franchise; toys from my childhood, clothes, books, video games, etc. 

To end off, I will leave some of my favorite Star Wars quotes below:

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

“Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try.” – Yoda

“I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.” – Chirrut Îmwe

Happy Star Wars day everyone!  May the Force be with you!

Impractical Jokers: One of My Favorite Shows

I have been watching the hit TV show Impractical Jokers since I was in middle school.  The show was about four high school friends from Staten Island who compete in challenges with the sole purpose of embarrassing each other.  At the end of each episode, the member who fails the most challenges is punished with something even more embarrassing.  

One of my favorite challenges is called “The Name Game”.  In this challenge, one member at a time acts as a receptionist.  In front of them are a list of extremely bizarre made up names that the other guys have created for them to read.  As they read the names aloud to the unsuspecting strangers in the waiting room, they have to try not to laugh.  Whichever group member laughs the most loses the challenge.  Some of the names they have created are: Cranjis McBasketball, Dr. Shrimp Puerto Rico, Secret Agent Randy Beans, and Earl Turlet.

One of the most iconic punishments that they’ve ever done on the show is when one of the members gave the other three members tattoos.  One member was given a tattoo of a ferret skydiving (they often say that specific member looks like a ferret and he also had a punishment where he had to skydive).  Another member was given a tattoo that says “38, Lives Alone, Has 3 Cats”.  The third member was given a tattoo of Jaden Smith.  Their reactions to their tattoos were hilarious, especially the member who was given the Jaden Smith tattoo- he was very upset.

Watching this show has helped me get through many dark times in my life.  It might be silly because I’m watching four 40 year old men act like middle schoolers, but it’s just the type of comedy I needed in my life to help keep me afloat.  This show means a lot to me as it’s been with me for almost half of my life.

The reason I said that the show was about four friends is because the show is now about three friends.  One of the members, Joe Gatto, recently left the show for personal reasons.  In place of Joe, they are going to have a different celebrity special guest in each episode.  A few weeks ago, they came out with their first episode with special guest, comedian Eric Andre (only at the end of the episode though).

Even though Joe is no longer part of the show, I still enjoyed the episode.  His absence was definitely felt, though.  He was the most boisterous of the four so him not being there definitely leaves its mark.

More new episodes (without Joe) return in June.  I’m curious to see how they will keep continuing without Joe, but I’m hoping it goes well.  As mentioned before, this show helps me tremendously when I’m down; no other comedy comes close to it for me in that regard.  So without it, I don’t know what I would do.

7 Year Anniversary of Being Vegan

Today marks 7 years that I’ve been vegan.  April 9, 2015 was the day I decided to give up meat and dairy forever.  The last non-vegan thing I consumed was a chicken patty from my high school and after that I was like “I don’t want to do this anymore”.

My mom was vegan and before that a vegetarian long before me so she was a huge inspiration in my decision.  I also saw videos (Earthlings, etc) of animals not being treated well as they were prepared to be brutally turned into food.  This obviously also played a role in my decision.  I just did not want to contribute to the horrors that those poor animals were going through.

In addition to feeling better about not contributing to the horrible treatment of animals, I also know that my choice has had a positive impact on the environment.  Being vegan means I have saved not only animals, but also water, CO2, and forests. (https://thevegancalculator.com/#calculator). 

Being vegan has also improved my health.  Before going vegan, I noticed that I would get sick quite frequently.  After going vegan, the frequency at which I would get sick decreased significantly.  

Vegans have a stereotype of being annoying, pushy, and talking too much about their beliefs, so I don’t really talk about being vegan with people unless they ask me or it comes up in conversation.

My favorite vegan restaurants are Three Girls Vegan Creamery in Guilford and GZen in Branford (which is unfortunately closing at the end of this month).  There are also a few other restaurants that I enjoy which have vegan options.  Outside of those restaurants, I eat vegan “meat” products, veggies, fruit, grains.  There are so many vegan versions of a lot of foods nowadays.  

I’m not sure how I will celebrate my 7 year anniversary of being vegan, but it will probably involve eating vegan food!

Will Smith vs Chris Rock

As I’m sure most of us are aware, there was an incident at the 2022 Oscars between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock. Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock in the face.

Most of the internet has been divided, some siding with Will Smith, some siding with Chris Rock. Then there are those who are either not picking a side or just enjoying the countless memes that have been created about the situation. I am one of the people who isn’t siding with anyone, but I do have some thoughts about what happened. This is definitely a complicated and complex issue.

I feel as though Will Smith had some pent up emotions. There was a shot of him laughing at the joke that Chris Rock made, then suddenly he was extremely upset and did what he did. He might have been under a lot of stress as he was a nominee that night, and there is already a lot of drama surrounding his relationship with Jada.  

Chris’s joke also calls into question what is okay for a comedian to joke about. Should some things just be off limits? Where is the line between humor and being respectful to each other? Either way, I do think Chris Rock handled being slapped in the face quite professionally, not physically retaliating, just verbally reacting. Apparently he is not even pressing charges. While Rock may not have meant any harm with what he said, I can relate to being the butt of a joke. You don’t always want to show that it bothers you, but at the same time, there’s only so much a human can take.  

Even though I am not picking a side, I will say that I don’t fully agree with reacting to something like that with violence, especially as a black male. I just feel like it proves what racist people think of us; that we are violent. I have already seen some racists come out with their opinions on social media. While it shouldn’t matter what racists think, unfortunately we live in a country where there is systemic racism. For that reason, our actions are under a microscope. When we do not support each other it is magnified. For example, even though Chris Rock hosted the Oscars and Will Smith won one that night, the media are focused on the slap.  

What are your thoughts about this? Are you taking a side?

Things That Uplift Me When I’m Feeling Down

Monster

Social Media Assistant Therell shares his song “Monster” which is about how he feels like a complete and utter monster.

Experiences of Racism

I am mixed, half white and half black. However, to others I only look black. Just like most, if not all, black people in America, I’ve had my fair share of racism come my way.

I grew up and currently live in a suburban town that is somewhat diverse but mostly white.  

The earliest instance of racism that I can remember was when I was in second grade. A white student was telling me that it is not racist to say the N word, while I was telling him that it is.

I remember another instance where I was racially profiled when I was around 12 years old. I was with my mother (who is white) in a small store during the winter. I had a large coat on and I was walking around the store looking for candy while my mother was talking with an employee. I picked some candy from the shelf and started walking back to my mother. Because my coat was large, the sleeve was sort of hanging over the candy. The store owner saw me and threatened to call the police on me because I guess he believed I was intending to steal the candy. I have not been back to that store since.

At another store with my mother, employees would often follow me, I guess to make sure I wasn’t going to steal anything? I noticed this and would stay close to my mother, but that did not stop them from following me. I also have not been back to that store.

Other instances that come to mind are two situations that happened where I live. I live in an apartment building and there are many older white folks that live here as well. One time when I was coming in from taking the trash out, a woman asked me if I was there “to rob the place”. Another time when I was going to take the trash out, a neighbor called me a “slave”.  

Then there were those times all throughout my freshman year of high school where a white classmate would often say the N word, most times directed at me. I would report him to the teachers, but they never did anything When I was a junior, another white student would often say racial slurs around me, and when I called him out, his excuse was that he didn’t know I was black.

I would also get certain looks from others that I can tell are racially motivated and those looks make me feel like an outsider sometimes. A couple years ago when I was out taking a walk on the nature path near where I live, I saw a white woman walking toward me. When she looked at me, she immediately stopped and turned around and went behind her husband.

Those are some of the instances of racism that I have experienced. I try not to let racism get to me, as I want to live my life to the fullest and be successful.  

Living With Tourette Syndrome

When I was in elementary school, maybe 3rd grade, I was getting in trouble a lot; the teacher said I was always being disruptive like making noises in the classroom and what not. My mom took me to a neurologist who diagnosed me with Tourette Syndrome and prescribed me medication.

The medication completely turned me into a zombie. I was so tired and out of it. There was one day in class where I even fell asleep, for the first and only time. The medication was adjusted to better suit me.

Ever since I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, I began trying to hide my tics as best as I could when in public because I was embarrassed. Unfortunately, one day in my 4th grade music class, I had what I would call a “tic attack”; I could not control my tics, they were out of control. The music teacher kind of shamed me in front of the class and I started crying. I went to the nurse who called my mom who took me home.

In 5th grade, I took myself off of the medication because I didn’t like the side effects and haven’t been on any medication for my tics since. 

Throughout the years, I’ve still hidden my tics in public to the point where people would be surprised to learn that I even have any. I’m so embarrassed by them that I even hide them when in front of my mom, even though I know she would never ever make fun of me for it. She’s actually always been supportive of me and my journey with everything.

While I do my best to hide my tics in public, some do end up coming through. I’m not sure if anyone has even noticed, but if they have, they haven’t said anything. Even so, I still prefer not to let my tics out in front of others in fear of being made fun of or looked down upon.

A lot of people seem to think that Tourette’s is just cussing up a storm and saying weird things, but most people with tics don’t even have those symptoms – I know I don’t.  My tics include neck & shoulder twitches, eye twitches and sometimes lots of blinking, motor noises, etc. I would recommend to those without Tourette Syndrome to read up about it so they can educate themselves on the topic. For those with Tourette Syndrome, know that you are not alone and that there is support out there.

Being A December Baby

I was born in December, two days after Christmas to be exact. I’m someone that enjoys birthdays; I love wishing people a happy birthday. I consider birthdays to be a sort of “holiday”, which would make my birthday my favorite holiday.

While I’m sure a lot of people with holiday birthdays have their gifts combined, ever since I was a kid, my mom always made sure to separate my birthday from Christmas. I would receive gifts for Christmas and two days later, gifts for my birthday – in birthday wrapping paper. And when we could, I would have parties or get-togethers for my birthday. One of my favorite parties we had was when we went to an indoor trampoline park when I was in 6th grade.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I have found it to be challenging to get friends to celebrate my birthday with me. People are more focused on spending time with their families during the Christmas/New Years season, which is completely understandable.  

Along with there being holidays, the winter weather has also played a factor. I remember one year, I invited people to celebrate my birthday with me, but on that particular day, it happened to snow pretty hard, so the get-together had to be canceled. Rescheduling was not an option as they were then busy with the holidays.

However, even when I didn’t have a party or get-together with friends, I would have my family tradition of going to a restaurant of my choosing on my birthday. Last year I chose Chipotle, and we also watched the sunset at the beach, which was nice. This year I am choosing my favorite restaurant, Three Girls Vegan Creamery in Guilford, CT.

For those of you with birthdays close to or on a holiday, how do you celebrate?

– T

My Journey With Writing Songs

My journey with writing songs started when I was a kid in elementary school. I was quite a big fan of Usher’s music at the time, so he inspired me to write my own songs. I would write whenever I could. A lot of what I wrote didn’t make sense and was not very good, but that’s okay, I was just a beginner after all.

By middle school, I had moved on from Usher and was now a big fan of Drake (the rapper, not the Nickelodeon star). My writing songs had kind of slowed down at that point, but I was still very into listening to music.  

In high school, my hobby of writing started back up again once I was a senior. I was in a creative writing class where we would write poetry and such. This is where I’d say I had an “aha” moment that writing was a true passion of mine. And my classmates and teacher seemed to really enjoy the poems I was writing. At this time, I was also introduced to the artist Juice WRLD, whose music I found to be really meaningful and relatable. 

After graduating high school and entering college, I found myself still writing poetry. Over the next few years, though, the poetry slowly started turning back into songs. During the pandemic, the transformation from writing poetry to writing songs was complete. For me, the difference between writing poetry and writing songs is that with poetry, I have no intentions of recording them, but with songs, I do.

Writing song lyrics is a very interesting process. I tap into my emotions and think about all the things I’ve been through, and most of the time, it creates something very beautiful.  

In the summer of 2020, I scheduled a day at Sage Sound Studios in Shelton and recorded my first ever song “Remember Me”.  Going to a professional recording studio for the first time was very stressful, but fun. I remember being very nervous sharing what I wrote with other people, and by the end of the session, I was pretty tired.  It also took me several takes to get the recording right, but I enjoyed my time there. 

A year later, summer 2021, I recorded my second song “Friends & Enemies”.  In my opinion, there was a massive improvement this time. It didn’t take as long to record this song as it did the first song, and I felt a little more confident and comfortable in the studio. Since then, I’ve recorded a couple more songs and I plan to continue doing so every few months.  

These days, I still find myself listening to Drake and Juice WLRD, but also Lil Wayne and YouTube musician KSI. These four artists inspire me very much, but in different ways. Drake and Juice WRLD inspire me to express my emotions and talk about what troubles me. Lil Wayne inspires me with his wordplay; I’m always thinking of different ways to have double meanings in my lyrics. KSI inspires me to push boundaries and get out there as he is always doing himself.

Writing the lyrics and then recording the songs is a very therapeutic journey for me. It helps me get my feelings out in a healthy way and it creates something that everyone can listen to. I always hope that my music can bring as much joy to others as it does to me.

Why Thanksgiving is My Favorite Holiday

By Therell Mayes

one of my past Thanksgiving meals

When I was a kid, I used to enjoy Christmas more than Thanksgiving because all that seemed to matter as a kid was getting presents. As the years went on, though, that began to change. I no longer enjoy Christmas at all, but I enjoy Thanksgiving a lot. Both holidays have an underlying theme of family, but I’ve never really had that sense of family because my family has usually always been separated; it’s really only been my mother and I.  

While it may not make sense to most because of what I mentioned above, I just can’t enjoy Christmas because of the stress of having to think about what gifts to get to people and because I don’t even see my family anyway. Thanksgiving is nice though, because while there may be some stress about getting food, for us it’s nice and quiet and we enjoy spending that time together eating delicious food and not having to worry about gifts. We are also vegan, so instead of eating turkey, we have other things.  

I also enjoy the process of saying what we are thankful for before we eat. It’s just a nice way to reflect back on the previous year and take note of all the good things that may have happened even if I’m feeling down. For example, one thing I am thankful for this year is my new job as TurningPointCT’s Social Media Assistant! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!