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

Updating My Wardrobe

Due to some unfortunate circumstances that I’d rather not talk about here, I had to get rid of almost all of my clothes in my wardrobe last year. The awful thing was, I couldn’t afford to buy myself new clothes. It was a horrible feeling. I just felt so defeated.

Thankfully though, I had friends step in to help me to replace the clothes I had lost. One of my best friends from high school who moved across the country to Washington mailed me clothes she didn’t wear anymore. My other friend from middle school told people in her church about my situation and so many of them donated clothes and shoes to me. My cousin gave me a couple bags of clothes. Dominique, the old project assistant for TurningPointCT let me go through clothes she was giving away. I was really grateful for all of them.

I’ve been poor for years, so getting used clothes from others didn’t bother me. I’ve been taking hand me downs from people for years and they made up pretty much my entire wardrobe. In fact, I hadn’t REALLY shopped for clothes for myself in years aside from something here and there from Walmart (don’t judge, the clothes are affordable and actually really cute). My clothes were from people I knew or from the local Buy Nothing Group.

Getting New Clothes

Last year, I got a bonus of sorts from my job and I finally had a bit of disposable income to buy myself some clothes. First on my list was to get myself some jeans that ACTUALLY fit me (something I hadn’t had in years). It had been so long since I went jean shopping that I genuinely had no idea what size I needed. I quickly realized I’m still very much between sizes in some styles and brands.

When I finally found out my size, there was definitely a part of me that was insecure. But then I reminded myself they’ve been doing weird things with jeans sizes for years. After finding the size, I had to figure out what style of jeans I liked and felt comfortable in. As someone who struggles a lot with their body image, it was an agonizing couple of hours. I usually just wear black leggings everyday because it’s what I’m comfortable in.

Figuring Out My Style

While shopping, I tried things I wouldn’t typically wear like straight leg and mom jeans. I found some I liked and I bought them. But, I also got some skinny jeans, aka ole reliable. It’s been quite the experience trying to figure out my style after wearing other people’s hand me downs for years and just working with what I had.

I spent a lot of time last year trying to figure out my style and putting together outfits that I felt good in. I started to follow a lot of influencers who gave outfit ideas. Most of the people I followed have a similar body type to me because I wanted to feel confident, but I just didn’t know how to dress my body because I spent years hiding it in black leggings and oversized tops. After following some of the “mid size” clothing influencers, I realized my story is not that uncommon. I’m glad there are people on the internet to help me out with outfit ideas.

I slowly started to build a wardrobe with clothes I loved. I wish I could say that having clothes I love is enough to make me feel confident. But, I still have days where I’m changing five times and just wearing one of my tried and true outfits I know I’m comfortable in. Right now if I’m going out I have one dress I go for if it’s warm enough, a pair of straight leg pants with a white body suit, or leggings and a quarter zip or hoodie.

One of my ole reliable outfits – a hoodie and leggings.

The other problem I have is having clothes I bought that I loved in the dressing room, but hate on me when I get home. I’ll put them on and think about wearing them in public, but I can’t get myself to wear them. My boyfriend will tell me I look fine, but when I look in the mirror everything just looks wrong and I’ll hate how the clothes look on me (specifically fitted tops).

Final Thoughts on Updating My Wardrobe

I’m still very much figuring it out, and some days I’m braver and more confident than others when it comes to my clothes. But, cheers to the progress I have made so far. If I ever have money again, I’d like to improve my wardrobe even more to have more options because I definitely have comfort outfits that I wear over and over to everything lol.

One of my new outfits I rotate in from my new wardrobe

-Kaliey

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2024

The last week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders since middle school, I feel that this is such an important week. While we learn about eating disorders in health class, I don’t think they really touch upon just how serious they are. You just get a quick general overview – at least that’s how it was for me way back in the day. I really do hope that things are different.

For those of you that don’t know, I have a long history of disordered eating, which I wrote about here. I restricted food regularly. I was never overweight by any means. But, between body dysmorphia, depression, and anxiety, it was about more than just how I looked. Sure, I cared about my appearance. But I also used it as a way to punish myself. Or, it was because I was too anxious or depressed to eat. It’s something I still very much struggle with today.

My Recovery Today

I wish I could say that I’m healed and better. But, as I just said, I still very much struggle. Eating disorders are one of those life long recovery things. There will be good periods, but there will also be bad periods. Much like other mental health issues, the recovery is not linear.

Struggles With Body Dysmorphia

I think the thing for me that still blows my mind is how much body dysmorphia distorts my view of myself. Recently, I was going through my old photos on my phone from years ago. I was trying to clean up some space on my phone and I came across a lot of old photos of me. There were so many pictures I saw of myself where I remember thinking I looked so fat and disgusting. I was significantly smaller than I was now. It absolutely blows my mind that I was looking at myself then and thinking I was huge back then.

This is from 2021. When I first saw this picture, I thought it was the worst picture ever. I hated how my legs looked.

It’s not even just with old photos of me either. To this day, I find myself staring at myself in the mirror and just hating what I see. I am heavier than I was years ago, but I’m by no means fat. I am a healthy, normal weight. But when I look in the mirror, the first thing that comes into my brain is “fat.” Yet, I’ll see unposed pictures of myself and then be blown away because the things I saw in the mirror were not reality.

When I’m posed and thinking about my body, I very much close into myself because I don’t want to be looked at or perceived. I’m terrified of what others think about me and my body. It’s hard not to be when social media is filled with tiny people and when comment sections of celebrities and influencers are filled with comments about their bodies.

And, because I’m so physically uncomfortable with myself, it shows in photos. I press my arms close to myself and my arms look huge. But, I know they’re not because I’ve seen unposed pictures of me and they’re fine. In fact, they look small. It’s just something I still really struggle with, I’m still learning to love my body and be confident in it. It’s been such a work in progress. I still find myself wearing oversized clothes to hide my body. I’ll try to wear other things to dress up. But, I feel so uncomfortable that I end up changing into clothes that hide everything. I will sometimes change 5 times before leaving the house.

I hadn’t worn this fitted sweater last year because I was self-conscious in it. But, I wore it this year to my niece’s birthday party. I almost changed though lol.

Relationship with Food & Eating

In terms of my relationship with food, it’s a lot better. I don’t restrict foods or view anything as bad. But when it comes to actually eating, I still skip a lot of meals. Eating meals can still be a really daunting task for me. But, it’s not because I’m afraid of food or eating. It really has to do with my mental health and really just not wanting to cook. Thankfully, I have a boyfriend who recognizes this and will go out of his way to make me food to make sure I eat. He knows otherwise, I might go the whole day or most of the day without eating.

Wrapping Up

So all in all, I’m definitely doing relatively well in my recovery compared to where I’ve been with my struggle with eating disorders. The disordered eating is still very much a part of my life to this day. It’s easy to just fall back into the habit of not eating because my body is just so used to it. But, I have people who do look out for me and gently remind me to eat or ask if I’ve eaten, which helps.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, know that there is help. I’d suggest working with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and/or a nutritionist or dietitian to help you with eating. Nutritional rehabilitation an important part of treatment in order to restore the body and brain to sufficient health and to be able to proceed with psychological intervention.

-Kailey

Ways To Boost Your Self-Esteem

Did you know that February is International Boost Your Self-Esteem Month? This month is about taking the time to help us believe in and appreciate ourselves more, despite whatever we may be facing. So, I figured I’d take the time to write about some ways to help improve your self-esteem!

I’ve struggled with my self-esteem in the past. I had internalized what others said about me. Because of that, I had really bad views about myself as a person and I hated the way I looked. For years, I hated myself and it really effected my mental health. But, in the last couple of years, I’ve worked to love and value myself again. If you’re struggling with your own self-esteem, below are some ways to help boost your self-esteem.

Challenge Yourself

I know this sounds counter-productive, but hear me out. Having a low self-esteem can cause you to feel like you’re not capable of doing things that you may really want to do. For years, I never thought that I could be someone who hikes. That fear caused me to just not hike, which in turn fueled that voice in my head telling me I wasn’t capable.

However, there came a time that I had had enough of missing out on exploring nature. So, I pushed myself to start hiking. I started small and local and I proved to myself that I could do it. As I gained confidence, I began to do longer hikes and then I started to do more technical hikes. I’m now at a point where I’ll travel out of state to do hikes on my own. Seeing that you are capable of things that you never thought you were capable of really makes you feel good about yourself.

A hike in Oregon that had some pretty significant elevation gain that my past self would have doubted I was capable of. Old me would have missed out on these awesome views at Crater Lake National Park and just opted for non-hiking views.

Build Positive Relationships

Building positive relationships is so important. If you have toxic relationships, whether with family, friends, or a partner, it’s hard to feel good about yourself. I had a lot people in my past that made me feel like I was not good enough. I just felt like there was something wrong with me because they’d either explicitly say things to me or their actions would make me feel like I wasn’t worthy of being treated well.

In the past couple of years, I’ve cut off a lot of relationships with people who just made me feel awful. For years I just dealt with the awful relationships because of knowing them for years. Or, I dealt with it because of having to regularly see them due to close proximity. But, when I finally put my foot down and started to be mindful of who I let be in my life, things really changed for the better.

Now I have so many positive relationships with people. I no longer feel like I’m the person who gives and never gets anything in return. I have an actual support system. When you’re surrounded by good people, it’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself because you don’t have people constantly putting you down and making you feel worthless.

Recognize the Good In Yourself

For years, I only focused on all the things that are wrong with me. Honestly, half of the things that were “wrong” with me were not actually bad things. They were things that I had internalized that others had said to me in a negative way. I had people who were not kind to me when I was growing up that were always pointing out my “flaws” and almost never the good.

When I started building healthy relationships and going to therapy, I began to view myself in a better light. Finally, I realized that I do have good things within myself. I realized I am kind, caring, and creative. I started to appreciate all of the good things in myself instead of just focusing on everything wrong with me.

Give Yourself a Break

This is another one that might feel counter-productive. I used to feel like I constantly had to be doing things to prove to people that I was a capable human being. When I was in college, I was working three different jobs. I thought it was a flex and that it would somehow prove to people that I was smart and hard working. I burnt myself out.

Now, I know how to give myself a break. I don’t feel like I have to do a million things to prove to myself or anyone that I’m capable. I know who I am and I don’t feel the need to feed into the toxic hustle culture that is so praised. Giving yourself a break is so important because it’s so hard to feel your best when you’re running yourself into the ground. And if you’re like me, you’ll get mad at yourself for being tired while actively running yourself into the ground. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.

Improve Your Physical Health

You don’t have to do anything crazy like become a gym rat. It can be as simple as going for a walk in your neighborhood. It could be starting yoga classes. When you start to do these things, with time you’ll find yourself improving due to being consistent, and that will feel good. When I started to do more miles hiking, it made me feel really good about myself. I was amazed that my body could hike 7 miles in the woods. I was in awe that I was able to hike to the top of a mountain, even if it was challenging.

Mountain hike that was difficult, but making it to the top and proving to myself I could do it was amazing.

Learn To Say No

Boundaries are so important. I used to never say no because I was worried people would think I was mean or rude. But the problem with not saying no was it was basically me telling myself that my needs weren’t important. I was telling myself that other people’s needs were more important than my own. When you start to set boundaries and put yourself first, it will make such a difference. It will be really uncomfortable at first. But, eventually you’ll truly begin to believe that you’re worth it and it will feel so good to stand up for yourself.

Final Thoughts On Boosting Your Self-Esteem

I think it’s great that there’s a month dedicated to helping you boost your self-esteem. Having a good self-esteem is really important when it comes to your mental health. But, many people struggle with viewing themselves in a positive light. Hopefully this list is a good start to help you boost your self-esteem!

-Kailey

If you’re looking for more ways to boost your self-esteem, check out the post 10 Songs To Up Your Self-Esteem and Empower Self-Love here on TurningPointCT.org

Finding Community On Social Media

You hear a lot of people talking about how toxic and damaging social media can be. I’m not saying I disagree with those statements. Social media can do a lot of damage to young people’s mental health (which I’ve written about here). I’ve definitely been a victim of it in the past. But, I want to talk about the positive sides of social media I’ve recently found.

Starting To Take My Travel Instagram More Seriously

Last year, I made a conscious effort to put time and effort into the Instagram account for my travel blog. Initially, I was really just looking at it like a job I had to do. I wanted to work on growing the account and the engagement. And, I did do just that. However, something unexpected came along with the growth. I found a community through my account.

Starting To Find My People

I started to follow a lot of New England based travel and hiking accounts. Those were things that were relevant to my niche. And, of course, they also happened to be things that I was interested in.

I was loving the content I was seeing and engaging with their content. In return, I found them engaging with my content. We are all like-minded people who just have a genuine love for exploring in New England and beyond. I found myself really looking forward to their content.

As I began to recognize the accounts and become familiar with them, I began to respond to their stories more and engage with them privately in DMs. We would talk about our experience as creators, talk about different places we’ve been going to, places we’re hoping to visit, etc. Later, I began to share memes back and forth with some because I’d see things that made me think of them. I truly found people that I genuinely connected with through my account.

Curating Your Social Media Feed & Making Friends

I think one of the great things about social media is that you can truly curate your feed to be something that resonates with you and brings you joy. I love going on my travel account and seeing what everyone is up to. It helps me discover places nearby that I had never heard of.

Recently, someone I follow did a seal tour out of Newport, RI that I never knew existed. I actually did the same tour yesterday because I asked her for the details. When I planned the trip, I told her thank you so much for telling me about it!

Messages with someone I’ve connected with through Instagram and a photo from the seal and lighthouse cruise.

New Photography Friends

I’ve made a few new photography friends through my account as well. One inspired me to get back into bird photography because she just recently got into wildlife photography. We message back and forth about wildlife we’ve seen and we engage with each other’s content.

Another photography friend I’ve made is just as into waterfalls and taking long exposures of them as I am. So naturally, we go back and forth about waterfalls. It’s honestly been so awesome to just connect with people who are so into the things I am. And, they’re relatively local, which is awesome. One is in Connecticut and the other is just over the border of Connecticut in New York.

Recent photos I’ve taken – I was so excited to see and photograph this hawk the other day!

I find myself really looking forward to everyone’s content. I really feel like they just get me. And, I love seeing them engage with my content knowing I’m also helping them to find new places to visit or photograph at. Finding this community has really helped to change my view of what it means to be a creator on social media.

Now I’m more focused on posting content I’m actually passionate about. I know my followers are here because they have similar interests to me. Seeing their genuine comments and responses to my content is refreshing. It’s made me care less about going viral. And, I’m just enjoying being a part of the New England travel scene on Instagram. I love supporting their content and having their support in return.

Finding A Community On Threads (Meta’s Newest Social Media Platform)

I’ve also recently gotten really into Threads because it is full of photographers who are just supporting each other. There are a lot of travelers on Threads as well, but I’ve found myself really connecting with other photographers on the platform because that’s really where my background is. I’m getting back to my roots.

Right now, Instagram is just full of video content and I’m so burnt out by it. I hated feeling like I had to get video footage everywhere I went. I’m more of a photograph kind of gal. I also love how low-key it is on Threads. Oh and I love not feeling like I am at the will of some stupid algorithm. Everything just feels less forced. It’s a platform where people are really happy to engage with each other.

I love to ask people to share their photos with me, it’s awesome connecting with people through photographs.

Final Thoughts

Have you found a community or people you really connect with on social media? Does social media feel like a safe space for you?

If you haven’t found your people yet or if social media feels uncomfortable for you, here are some tips to make social media a more enjoyable place for you:

  • Find and follow accounts in your areas of interest. On my personal account, I pretty much have my feed curated to show me memes and cute animals. On my travel account, I have it curated to show me travel and hiking related content. On my photo account, it’s curated to see other artists photos from birds to landscapes. On Facebook, I’m in a bunch of wildlife and bird groups, meme groups, and groups of interest for me (like Twilight, The Office, etc). Eventually the algorithm will start showing you stuff related to your interests.
  • Hide content that you don’t want to see or that makes you uncomfortable. If you tell the platform “I don’t want to see this” or “hide” it will eventually catch on to what you don’t want to see. It might not feel like you have control over what comes on your feed, but you really do have control. Hide those things you don’t want to see and unfollow or block accounts that you do not want to see content from.

-Kailey

RISE Leadership Training!

Join Rise Be is running The RISE Leadership Training, a FREE 4-part training series that will occur every Thursday in March from 10 AM-3:00 PM in Middletown, CT.

The learning experience is designed to promote recovery leadership among young adults currently receiving DMHAS Young Adult Services. Core topics include recovery, the transition to adulthood, social-emotional growth, and leadership. Students will also practice stress-management techniques to support trauma recovery. We will use a semi-structured curriculum with space for self-directed learning through creative expression and dialogue.

  • When:
    • Every Thursday in March (7th, 14th, 21st, 28th)
    • 10:00am-3:00pm
  • Where:
    • Rockfall Foundation
    • 27 Washington St #2
    • Middletown, CT 06457

Click HERE to register!

A Fun Trip…Until My Anxiety Spiraled Out Of Control

On MLK Jr. Day, I decided to make the most of having the day off with a day trip to the Hudson Valley in New York. I like to take solo day trips when I can. It’s something I’m actually really comfortable with even though it stresses my family out that I travel hours away all by myself.

The day of the trip, I was so excited I practically sprang out of bed. I got up and made myself breakfast, which is something I almost never do. Usually the only reason I eat is because my boyfriend will make me something. But this day, I was up before him and I made an egg sandwich for me AND for my boyfriend.

Not only did I make myself breakfast, but I also made myself a sandwich for lunch. I had all of my camera gear charged up. Everything was packed and ready to go. I was off to a great start and ready for my waterfall adventure in New York.

The Trip

My two and a half hour drive was great I was passing the time with my Spotify liked songs on shuffle. Most people hate driving, but driving for hours and hours doesn’t bother me. It’s really just another way I get my me-time. I especially love driving to the mountains because the views are always so breathtaking, even from the road.

What’s not to love about this view as you’re driving?

I made it to my destination in one piece. And, the conservancy I went to was even better than I was expecting it to be. It featured two stunning waterfalls. One was 150 feet tall! You can view the video of my visit, but I’ve also attached photos below.

After this, I drove an hour west to the Catskills to check out another waterfall. The drive through the mountains on the scenic byway never fails to take my breath away. I got to the waterfall and enjoyed an awesome partially frozen waterfall.

Anxiety Joins The Trip

Now, I’m going to get into the anxiety. It started with me getting anxious about the fact that I hadn’t peed since 6am (it had been like 7 hours). It was manageable anxiety, but still anxiety. Since it’s the winter and I was in the middle of the mountains hiking, there were not bathrooms at the trailheads. Due to the lack of access to bathrooms, I was not drinking as much water as I should have been. Mistake? Probably.

I then stopped at a coffee shop in Catskill, NY and get a hot chocolate hoping there was going to be a bathroom. I didn’t see one, and the anxiety rises slightly. But, it was still manageable. Since I paid for a parking meter, I decided to explore a bit downtown. On my walk I stumbled upon a needles and syringes disposal box. I immediately went back to my car.

I looked at the map and noticed not far from downtown Catskill there was a small park on the Hudson River. So, I drove there. When I’m out, I like checking out little parks I find. But, there was definitely a little part of me that was hoping for a bathroom… But, as I said, it’s the winter so of course when I got there, there was no open bathroom. I pulled the handle of the bathroom at the park and it was locked. So, I left and continued heading back to Connecticut.

Views from the park in Catskill, New York.

The Journey Home

I sent my boyfriend a text to let him know I was officially on my way home, while also letting him know I hadn’t peed since I was at home earlier in the morning. He was like “no way” and for whatever reason his disbelief intensified my anxiety. I started to get a little panicky, but continued onward because what else was I supposed to do?

So, I was driving through no man’s land on some state routes in the mountains and hills of New York. I drove by some gas stations and grocery stores and then got pissed at myself for not stopping at them to go to the bathroom. For some context, I hate using public restrooms because I am a germaphobe. I don’t even like using the bathrooms at work or at other people’s houses.

Finding A Bathroom

Finally, I reached the little town of Millerton that’s on the New York/Connecticut border. It’s a super cute small town, one that I’ve stopped in before. I finally decided to just attempt to go to the bathroom in one of the gas stations. First, I tried a Cumberland Farms, and of course the bathroom was out of order.

My honest reaction when I saw it was closed: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

After, I got up the courage to go to the gas station that’s two buildings over. Thankfully, that one had a bathroom. It smelled like cigarette smoke, but I was just thankful to have a spot to go to the bathroom since I was still 100 miles away from home.

I didn’t want to be that person that used the bathroom and bounced. So, I bought a lemonade and a hand sanitizer because I was out and ya know, it’s a necessity to a germaphobe.

When I got outside, I noticed that the cap to the hand sanitizer (it was one with a pump) was unscrewed. I didn’t want to go back in and ask to swap it out because of anxiety of being a burden. My brain was definitely like “what if it’s tampered with or poisoned” but then I was like whatever. I just wanted to go home.

I got into my car and I cracked open my lemonade and immediately chugged some. SUDDENLY, I started to panic because I didn’t remember hearing the snap that typically happens when you open a brand new bottle. I started to panic thinking that the lemonade was poisoned or drugged. Full blown anxiety attack ensues and I’m 100 miles/2 hours away from home. I cannot make this up. This is…living with anxiety.

Reaching Out For Some Opinions To Try And Soothe My Anxiety

I texted my brother in a joking tone about my little predicament, asking if I should not finish my drink. He responds “Probs not lol.” Queue more panic because I already drank some. I was not expecting that answer and I started to really spiral. The anxiety symptoms hit me like a freight train. He then tried to tell me it was probably fine and to not worry about it. But, it was too late.

I then texted my boyfriend and I was just honest. I told him I was basically having a nervous breakdown. Thankfully, he didn’t tell me I’m crazy, even though I was acting completely irrational, convinced I’d been poisoned or something. He even went as far as doing some Googling for me and asking me some questions and he told me I was likely fine since I didn’t have any symptoms. He said he doubted someone would drug or poison some random lemonade since there’s no motive. Not once does he make me feel bad or insane.

Stuck With My Anxiety & My Thoughts

I was stuck with myself and my thoughts for hours. Lots of time to think about it. I started getting mad at myself saying I shouldn’t have stopped at the gas station. Or, I shouldn’t have bought anything there. Then, it was “why didn’t I check to see if the seal was intact on the drink?” I refused to touch the drink for the rest of the ride. I wanted to throw it out, but then I was like “well I can’t, what if they need to test it for poison or drugs?”

Then for some reason during this meltdown I start to panic about touching the handle at the park back in Catskill. I thought about the needle and syringe drop off and I thought that seemed it seemed like a bad area. So naturally, my panicked brain was like “what if there was fentanyl on the handle and you’re going to OD?”

I literally had thoughts of wrapping my car around a tree because I was just so overwhelmed that I wanted to die. All of this stemmed from not being sure if the seal on my lemonade was secure or not. Odds are it was fine, but I couldn’t see reason. There was just an impending sense of doom and despair. If you don’t have an anxiety disorder, this kind of spiraling probably makes no sense to you. But this is the reality of having an anxiety disorder.

So, What Happened After?

I got home safely and I immediately washed my hands and then rinsed my mouth with mouthwash. Even as I was doing it, I knew it was irrational. I was terrified to kiss my boyfriend, thinking I might have some dangerous substance on my lips that would harm him too. I got into the shower ASAP because I felt like I was covered in dangerous germs and poisons.

This happened yesterday, and happy to report I’m totally fine and still breathing. I can look back at this now and see just how irrational it was. Honestly, I can kind of laugh about it now. But in the moment, it was definitely not funny.

I’ll leave you with this: Anxiety is wild. Please be nice to your anxious friends and family. We are not okay😂😭

BUT ALSO, if you had the day off for MLK Jr. Day, I hope you enjoyed your day!!

– Kailey

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.

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!

Dealing With Massive Debt

Last year, I sat down and talked about struggling financially in a podcast here on TurningPointCT. While I was pretty honest about some of my struggles, I didn’t share how much debt I was in. Honestly, I might not have known back then because I was too anxious to even sit down and deal with it.

Earlier this year as I was preparing to leave my partner of five years, I was forced to sit down and take a look at my finances. I knew I didn’t make much. I knew I had been spending more than I made for quite some time, knowing I was paying for things I could not afford to. But, I was expected to pay for things. In an effort to not be a that person who doesn’t contribute their share, I threw everything on my credit cards. I was so afraid of admitting I was poor to my partner that I ended up with $20k of credit card debt.

I was throwing the minimum payments on my four credit cards every month, never having a late payment. But, the interest caught up to me and I found myself not able to keep my head above water. The interest was shooting me above my credit limit on every single one of my cards. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep up. My entire paychecks were going towards my debt, leaving no money for anything else. I quite literally could not feed myself.

Damage Control

After months of not being able to feed myself, I realized I had no choice but to do something about it. After some researching, I contacted a group that does debt consolidation. I qualified for the program and started my journey towards tackling my debt.

I didn’t tell my family. They knew I was poor. I made jokes about it all the time, but I didn’t want them knowing it was more than just being poor and the absolute mess I made of my finances. I quite literally put myself into financial ruins because I was so embarrassed that I was so poor at 25 years old. Nobody thinks they’ll be 25 and not able to afford to keep themselves alive.

I now put money towards my debt every two weeks when I get paid. I also have a team working to lower my debt with creditors. A part of the process is literally not paying your credit card bills. This obviously results in calls from creditors and debt collectors you’re not supposed to answer, which can be really uncomfortable.

I didn’t care much, until a debt collector contacted my entire family looking for me. Like I’m not just talking my parents and siblings, but my cousins, aunts, and uncles. Not a fun thing to explain when you didn’t tell your parents or even your brother that you were dealing with this. Then having to explain to my cousins and uncles…awful.

Reflections

The journey has been rough. I hate that I waited so long before I dealt with what was happening. I cannot believe I did not start this process sooner, before I had racked up $20k in debt. But, I think what’s worse is that my shame around not having money and not just being honest with those close to me who could have helped is worse. But, that stems from other issues like not feeling worthy and feeling like a burden. I did not feel worthy and I felt like a failure because I couldn’t afford to contribute to household things.

This is a really vulnerable thing for me to be sharing. But, I know a lot of other young people might be facing similar struggles financially. If you’re struggling with debt or feeling like you just cannot afford to be alive, I see you and I feel you. I’ve lived it. I want you to know that you’re not less than or unworthy of others because you’re not financially well off. I also want you to know that there are programs that can help you with your situation. It sucks, but you’re not trapped and destined to be stuck in the situation you’re in.

-Kailey

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

Losing My First Grandparent

This year, I lost my first grandparent. I’m very lucky to have made it to 26 years old with all four of my grandparents. Not many people can say that.

But this year, I dealt with what felt like my first major loss. When I was in fifth grade, I lost my aunt to breast cancer, but I was so young then, I’m not really sure I understood what was happening. I knew she was gone, but I don’t remember truly grieving. Sure, I was sad, but I don’t think I understood fully what death meant.

I spent so much time with my grandfather. There was nothing he loved more than his family. And I truly believe he would have done anything for us. He proved it time and time again. So naturally, when I found out he was taken to the hospital, I dropped everything to be there. I was there every single day. I think the hardest part was seeing my dad and his siblings completely heartbroken.

The night before he passed, I stayed with my brother to keep him company as he was on the nightshift (we didn’t want my grandfather being alone when he passed). While he got some shut eye, I spent time watching videos my grandfather took of me playing guitar for him on his guitar he gave me. I was pretty young in the videos, but I kept watching them over and over. When I left at midnight, I even listened to the videos of me playing on my ride home.

Video my grandfather took of me playing in 2010.

Getting Through His Passing

After he passed, I was upset. But at the same time, I was also really numb throughout the whole thing. I was able to keep it together. I have a younger sister who’s 16 years younger than I am so I tried to be a constant for her while both of my parents struggled with the loss – I wanted her to have a bit of normalcy.

When the service happened, I gave a eulogy. Public speaking is tough with my anxiety, but I knew my other family members would not be able to get through a speech like that. It wasn’t hard to write about him because he was such a constant in my life. He taught me to play guitar and my love of music overall came from him. He taught me how to drive and we spent hours on the road together. I spent countless weekends with him.

I held it together through the whole speech. The was well received. My family cried. I had people I didn’t know coming up to me and telling me how nice it was and one man told me he hoped his grandkids would speak about him in that way when he passed.

After he passed, I found myself picking up the guitar again. My guitar is my grandfather’s electric guitar he gave to me when I was around 13. Playing guitar feels like a way to connect with him even though he’s no longer earth-side. Music was one of our strongest connections. I loved playing for him and he loved listening to me play. He was so proud of me and always showing off my playing to his friends and my family.

Video I took of me playing the month my grandfather passed.

Today

It’s been three months since he passed. There are moments when I go to text him about my photography because I’ve gotten back into it lately after being in a funk. He loved my photography. He had one of my prints of Yantic Falls in his room that I had made for him. And when I was really into photographing birds, he was always telling me if he saw a cool bird. He was the reason I got so many great pictures of eagles in Norwich.

Everyone grieves differently. I know a lot of my family members are still having a hard time. I think what’s helped me personally is remembering all the good times I had with him and doing things where I feel connected to him. For some of my family members, that in itself is tough. But when I remember, I remind myself how lucky I was to get all the time and memories I did with him and how he’s no longer in pain.

-Kailey

Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023

October 9th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s a day that recognizes the Indigenous communities who have lived here for thousands of years. And yes, this day was old CoLuMbUs day. I honestly forgot that Columbus had a day because he’s not a hero. Columbus was actually very insane, extreme, and really lost at sea.

One thing I advise is to do some digging. There are videos towards the end!

Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day through Education

One thing about me is that you can always catch me dissing colonizers, white supremacists, and the government for what they did and are still doing. I honestly spend too much time trying to educate people who are actively doing colonizer things.

The biggest colonizer characteristic is marginalizing people by their differences for personal/economical gain. And trust me, there are far more than what I established!

The best way to make people or society aware of their colonized (harmful) ways is through education. But a lot of people have a hard time adjusting to the truth.

The Importance of Accurate Indigenous History

Personally, I think the most important part of education is accurately presenting history. The truth would honestly do more justice than anything! Until then, we must be aware of how and why history is being presented to us the way it is. It’s important to be aware of how we are actively doing the actions/things of a colonizer. It’s also important to be aware of the norms and cultural practices that were heavily influenced or resulted by colonization.

Side note: The colonizers really turned Turtle Island (currently the United States) into the Fire Nation from Avatar: The Last Airbender… The U.S. is ran by the fire lord.

Humorous Videos

Today, I wanted to share some videos that I found really humorous from TikTok. They are not only educational in some way but also showcase Indigenous humanity morals.

[depicter alias=”document-1″]

You can find these videos on TikTok. The first video here and the second video here!

Closing Out

Before ending, I was trying to find another video that was very educational about the common misconceptions. Especially how certain Indigenous tribes were named and why certain actions were done when the colonizers arrived. The creator on TikTok worded everything perfectly and gave the context/meanings of the word(s) that turned into certain tribe names we know today. If I ever find the video, I will make sure to share it!

– Dez 🙂

A Long Overdue Update

Howdy, it’s been a while since I’ve written here on my blog. So, here I am with an overdue update after ten months. I’ve had a lot of life changes since my last post here on my blog. There’s been a lot of good that’s happened since, but unfortunately, there’s also been some trauma.

This year, I’ve left relationships that no longer served me well and that were just not great for me. I’ve been better about protecting my own peace and being more mindful about who I surround myself with. Some of the people I removed from my life were people who I had been friends with since childhood. But, I learned that’s not a great reason to stay friends with someone. There were a lot of things these people did to me that I let slide, things that hurt me. I had finally had enough. So, I removed them from my life and I can say I have not regretted my decisions since.

Additionally, I left a romantic relationship I was in for five years, leaving behind five animals that I adored. But, it was what was best for me and my mental health. I left with next to nothing money wise and living situations were shaky for a bit. But, I did make it out on another side and I’m now living somewhere safe.

While I did have a lot of big changes and some traumatic events happen that I won’t get into here because they’re things I haven’t really dealt with yet, I am in a safe place now. I am happy with an absolutely amazing partner who I’m extremely thankful for.

I wish I could say that having a safe place and a great support system is enough to make my mental health great, but when you’ve had as much trauma as I have throughout my life, it can creep back up when you least expect it. Right now, I’m currently going through it. It’s to the point that my anxiety is affecting my day to day life and it can be crippling.

I’m finally to the point where I’m ready to get back into therapy to work through things that I never really processed. I’m ready to deal with things that I’ve shoved down to not deal with. I reached out to some therapists who specialize in anxiety and PTSD. I specifically looked for ones who are in the town I live in because I want to make sure it’s not a stressful thing for me to get myself to and from therapy.

I’m nervous, but also excited to be taking the step to go back to therapy. I know there are things I have to work through with a professional because my anxiety is starting to really affect my quality of life at this point. The traumas that happened earlier this year I really need help working through.

So, that’s what’s new with me. I’m hoping to write again soon as I start the process of going back into therapy, write some more in depth posts about some of the traumas I’m comfortable sharing publicly, and things I’m doing in my day to day life to help in my healing.

-Kailey

Healing From Past Trauma: Leaving Toxicity Behind

Healing from past trauma isn’t easy. And it sure ain’t easy breaking your own trauma instilled cycles either. Leaving my past domestic violent/toxic relationship has shown me a lot. Not only that, my relationship with my current partner has helped me see the dynamics of all of my relationships. Specifically with my current/past friends and family members.

Feeling Scared Facing My Dream Relationship

I never thought that I was actually going to be in a relationship where things are mutual and reciprical. Let alone, experience such deep emotion towards someone during a first kiss. I haven’t, EVER, experienced such magnetic/powerful connection with someone like this before.

And to be completely honest, I didn’t know what to do with this new dynamic and healthy relationship at first. I wanted to run. All because I was afraid of my traumatized self. My partner’s vulnerability and loving heart allowed me to see that they were actually different from my past partners; who only verbally told me they were different rather than show me.

Experiencing such a wonderful and beautifully hearted person, I knew I would’ve DEEPLY regretted running away. So I stayed; I already loved the person that was right in front of me. And not out of obligation.

I took it slow. And now, I’m slowly getting out of survival mode.

Being Rooted in Reality

I’ve never been so grounded or so rooted in reality. I’m no longer making excuses for people in my life on how shitty they treat(ed) me. (In other words, I’m not being delusional.) And I’m no longer coping with people’s maltreatment through my imagination. Nor dismissing maltreatment by someone’s artificial kindness.

My current evolving relationship has helped me accept how shitty my family, working environment is, and what I don’t like about my current and past friendship/family dynamics.

Accepting reality doesn’t mean that I allow.

I now hold people accountable more than ever. And, now I see how unreciprical my relationships with other people are. (Which I often reflect.)

Healing from Dynamics With Others

For so long, people wanted/went to me when they needed me or wanted something from me. But never considered how they only actively played the ‘taker’ in my life. And I allowed it.

Recently, I realized whenever I went to people, they weren’t as genuine as I was with them. Often, such interaction resulted in them needing something from me.

Reflecting on this, I’ve realized how my family members weren’t genuinely invested in my life. They either wanted low vibrational validation or material/internal gain. It really bothered me at first. But I accepted the reality of it to minimize the allowance of such dynamic.

Hence why I kept my distance from family ever since I was introduced to them. And even cut off some members (well a lot).

Healing From the Lack of Balance: Experiences & Boundaries

Experiencing a healthy balanced dynamic with my partner has allowed me to stop the continuation of unbalanced dynamics around me. It has helped me dive deeper in my healing journey.

I had to allow myself face my traumatized self in order to get here.

Having different experiences helped me understand what was best for me by paying attention to how and why it made me feel a certain way. My experiences has helped validate how I felt about each person in my life.

Ending this off, hard decisions should be based on fact and self-respect, NOT upon cognitive dissonance, ignorance and dysregulation. It’s important to consider your own contribution to a situation and to be willing to improve yourself. Seeing yourself will help set healthy boundaries with family, friends, partners, etc. It’s important!

healing from

Gabe H.

October Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what October will be filled with! Feel free to share our October themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for October 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!

Autumn Equinox 2023: Finding Balance

This year’s Autumn Equinox is exactly on September 23rd at 2:50AM. Due to such specific time, people say that fall starts on the 22nd and the equinox is on the 23rd. So happy fall season!! And for my spiritual people, happy Autumn Equinox!

What is Autumn Equinox?

Autumn Equinox is a time of transition. It’s all about balance and taking the time to pause. It’s a time where we experience stillness before the shift. To me, Autumn Equinox is all about letting ourselves experience the present moment. It’s a time to look inward as well as outward.

Inviting Balance

Balance isn’t the easiest thing on this planet but it’s definitely not that hard if you’re willing to make sacrifices. For example, if you’re struggling with something, it’s a great time to let go of the things that are contributing to that struggle. I’ve let go of relationships (family, friends, environments, habits, etc.) that was feeding into my depression and anxiety.

Sometimes it takes time to understand what is actually contributing to a struggle. It took me a while to understand and actually listen to my needs due to people pleasing. This is your friendly reminder that you should stop people pleasing for your mental sanity.

To find balance, you must be willing to be patient with yourself and let go of the things that are not serving you anymore. Whether that be a job, family member, old friend, clothes that you don’t wear, etc.

Finding Balance in Self-Deceiption

For those who think they are people pleasing and actually aren’t, you should really internally reflect. You must fit into a specific criteria for this. There’s no shame in self-deceiption as long as you’re willing to improve yourself. So the criteria of self-deceiption includes:

  • being mean to people,
  • losing a lot of relationships or opportunities,
  • manipulating people,
  • not telling the full truth,
  • not being mindful, and
  • think your behaviors aren’t a problem

This is self-deceiption at its finest and requires heavy self relfection. People who are doing these things are typically very unhappy. There’s an aquired victim mindset. The way out of that rut is facing yourself and your trauma to do better. If you fit into this, sacrifice your need for instant gratification. And hold self-accountability. Also, an apology to the people who have experienced your maltreatment can really help.

Happy Autumn Equinox and reflecting!

– Dez 🙂

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!

Want to Upload Your Content?

You can upload your content of your choice at any time of the day! View our interactive PDF flyer below!

Can’t view the interactive PDF? No problem!

You can submit blogs, art, and poetry by clicking “Express Yourself” on our Creative Expressions page. You can also share your story by tapping “Share Your Story” on Our Stories page. Go to our Videos page and upload your content by tapping “Share Your Video”!

Just want to add your favorite places for peers to see? Visit our Map page!

You can also email the TurningPointCT team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org MP3 recordings of your topic or for more information to join a podcast episode!

Workshop: Navigating Mental Health Crises w/ Psychosis (9/20/23)

STEP is running a workshop for any CT family or community member who’s interested in learning how to navigate mental health crises with young people who experience psychosis.

WORKSHOP TITLE: Navigating Mental Health Crises in the Community Among Young People with Psychosis

WHEN: Wednesday, September 20th, 2023 @5:00PM

REGISTER: https://yale.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJItfumrqjkuEtyvA6mPmI0uk0t0hEpiD3HG

This workshop is part of the STEP Family and Community Workshop Series, a series of educational workshops. They are open to both STEP affiliated families/support people and to any community members interested in learning about early psychosis. This training is supported by the CONNECTing to Care Initiative

The Accountability Adults Need to Take: Reading Past a Façade

Many adults don’t know how to take accountability. Which is a bad influence to society. They honestly don’t understand how their action(s), treatment, etc. impact us young adults, let alone, other people. The same thing goes for parents; there’s no accountability taken in their child’s experience(s) and/or wound(s). And not enough people, psychology books or resources talk about this issue; The issue of external/internal accountability within recovery.

Reading the Doer (If the Shoe Fits, Wear It)

accountability

Self-accountability within many doers feels like a never thought. It’s mainly because the doer is in denial of how the other individual feels in relation to their personal involvement in their life. Which really boils down to how they are being viewed by the public’s eye.

Sometimes, the doer tries to over compensate via their work/act of (internally ‘needed’) kindness; in order to restore balance within themselves. It’s a way to feel better about how they treat others and/or a way to invalidate their subconscious perception of how they truly treat others.

** A doer (in this specific context) – the person (parent, friend, partner, etc.) who is mistreating you or other individuals.**

Taking Accountability can Heal!

Blindness of a perpetuator is harmful.

Society talks about suicide, self-harm, alcohol and drug addiction prevention but don’t see what leads up to those very instances or of having to recover. It’s very important to know the leading cause of each coping mechanism: trauma. Trauma includes how we are treated, what we have seen, experienced, etc.

From experience, it’s healing when someone takes accountability for their actions.

Not only that, but I always try to take accountability for my own actions that may have negatively impacted another person. Accountability involves self-reflection and working on the shadow self.

Here’s Some Irony: Reading into it Further

I can say that some of the people who talk about recovery are the very people who are stimulating such internal conflict to others. Or in other terms, are the doers and show that they are hypocrites to their own ‘practices’. And it’s hard for them to take accountability.

From experience, many doers take offense when they’re called out on their unjust doings, and perpetual lack of accountability. Some of these doers act innocent in the part they play in another individual’s experiences with them. Which really confuses everyone and the experiencer. So accountability matters.

But when accountability doesn’t happen, it’s real to say: “It’s the relationship to whiteness for me.”

It’s Giving… Very Colonizer

I know some of you are tired of my colonizer references. But there are things that need to be pointed out! Unaccountability heavily traces to colonizer culture which leads to avoidance as a coping mechanism.

Honestly, If the shoe fits, wear it. Take it personal and take accountability for your actions. Sit with your offense and internally reflect past your ego. Work on your shadow!

There’s nothing wrong with being flawed if you’re willing to improve yourself.

– Dez 🙂

Breath Body Mind Workshop

breath body mind workshop

Join this Breath Body Mind Workshop to learn gentle movement and breathing practices! They’re easy to learn and allow you to heal from within!

Sessions run on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 6PM-7PM!

Facilitated by Level 4 BBM Teacher, Linda Lentini. At the Connecticut Clearinghouse on 334 Farmington Ave, Plainville, CT.

Click here to register for the following sessions: 9/20, 10/18, 11/15, and/or 12/20.

September Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what September will be filled with! Feel free to share our September themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video today 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!

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9th was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day recognizes and celebrates the culture, languages, and legacies of Indigenous people. It’s also a day to express appreciation for Indigenous contribution to our everyday life.

I wanted to create a blog post for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9th. But I really wanted to wait after I went to my tribe’s powwow. I’m Blackfoot by blood, still learning about which tribes my ancestors originate from in Africa, and was adopted in a Narragansett dominant tribal household.

Honoring Indigenous Contribution to Today’s Understandings

To me, a powwow is a sacred community ceremony that involves feasting, singing, dancing, grieving, and learning.

Last year’s powwow, the Narragansett tribe did a ceremony to welcome the Taino tribe to our reservation. This year, before the Narragansett grand entry, the Taino tribal members did a few dances. The dances they did at the powwow taught us the creation of our galaxy by also teaching us community. The Narragansett tribe and many other tribes have similar teachings!

Please acknowledge that these dances were teachings long before today’s understanding of the cosmos.

The accuracy of their teachings drew me into personal validity. My thoughts and understandings of the galaxies felt validated by the Taino tribe. Today’s sciences are constantly proving that Indigenous people were correct long before they understood. Society should honestly give our Indigenous people more credit!

Culture & Ancestors: What I’m Willing to Share

This year, I found myself needing to acknowledge my ancestral blood more than ever. Before I left to the powwow, I cleaned my ancestral altar and placed clean water on it. I also made certain ancestors leave because they weren’t beneficial to my journey. Can’t forget about their altar snacks!

This powwow, I had a mission to get indigenous ancestral blessings. I wanted to create a gesture that would be acceptable to my indigenous ancestors. So I arrived at the powwow wearing all the wampum, and 2 native non-wampum necklaces I’ve been gifted over the years. Some pieces I wore were over 9 years old. I kept them all in great shape as a kid!

Traditionally, wampum showcases the status someone has in the tribe. The more wampum someone wears, the higher their status in the community.

My gesture was accepted, not only by what I wore, but by my attitude…I danced, walked around barefoot, drank from the reservation natural water supply, and felt the spirits of the land. I can say that I left the powwow with exactly what the ancestors knew I needed in my spiritual journey.

– Dez 🙂

TurningPointCT is Airing On 107.7 FM

107.7 FM

Enfield Youth Council hosts Dez on their bi-weekly radio show on 107.7 FM WACC Radio!

Tune in at 6PM on Monday (8/14), Wednesday (8/16), and/or Friday (8/18).

Can’t reach 107.7 FM WACC on your radio?

Tune in here to listen.

Want to do/join your own podcast on TurningPointCT? Email the TurningPointCT team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org MP3 recordings of your topic or for more information to join a podcast episode!

If you’d like to upload any other content, click here!

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!

Prioritizing Self-Care

It’s National Wellness Month! This recognized awareness month really focuses on prioritizing self-care through committing to healthier habits. Healthier habits make an impact no matter the ‘size’ of the habit. Like listening to your body when you need to use the bathroom. instead of holding it in. Eating when your body is hungry. Or leaving behind someone who doesn’t treat you with respect. These healthy habits can really improve your overall health.

Prioritizing Self-Care in Today’s Society

Colonization has really fucked up the dynamics of society and self-care. We are wired to think that self-caring is wrong. We feel guilty for prioritizing ourselves into thinking we are being selfish. When in reality, the only way we are able to function properly is through prioritizing self-care. Everything around us tells us that routine care is the way things function properly. And when things go to shit, throw it out.

Think of it like a phone. You charge it for it to work. Or when it drops and gets debris on it, wipe it off. Why? So the phone can operate better and/or longer. And when it no longer works, get a new phone by tossing the old one out.

Observing society, I see that we care more for our material things than ourselves. Although it’s hard to care for ourselves, it’s worth it.

How to Self-Care

Before, I have written a blog about Coping and Self-Caring. It goes into detail about self-care tips that are also thought provoking. To say the least, there’s no specific how-to-guide for self-caring. However, there are ideas on how you can be prioritizing self-care in your day to day life.

Prioritizing self-care is to respect yourself and boundaries. You really have to treat and talk to yourself like you would to your best friend. Think about how you would like to be treated by someone else and treat yourself like such. What is also helpful when it comes to prioritizing self-care is thinking about how I would treat someone/something else. My rule of thumb is “if I wouldn’t do that to a baby, animal, and/or another thing, I shouldn’t do it to myself”.

Prioritizing self-care also includes cutting out people of your life, leaving a toxic job, etc.

It’s 2023, it’s a standard to be prioritizing self-care! So don’t rush yourself, take your time! Allow yourself to self-care. And if you get guilted for it by someone else, question their position in your life.

– Dez 🙂

Moths: Cultural Symbolism

It’s the 12th annual National Moth Week! This week celebrates the beauty, habitats and the life cycles of moths! Typically, National Moth Week is all about science; understanding and contributing data. You can do that here.

Outside of the science of moths during National Moth Week, I want to highlight a moth’s symbolism. A moth’s omen stance vary by culture but are very similar by their symbol or what they represent!

Befriending Moths, Culture, & Their Symbolism

moth

I typically find myself befriending and being protective over moths. They land on me, even in daylight. Sometimes they allow me to hold them…which is rare. And, I just admire their presence around me.

Culturally, I find these occurrences to be good luck! And when someone kills a moth purposefully, it can bring great misfortune to that specific person. So I urge people to leave them be.

Moths symbolize change, transformation, endings, death, and mystery of the night. All of which I stand for and really value in my life.

Reconciling with Uneasy Moth Symbolisms

I know many people don’t feel easy around death symbolism. Depending on your relationship with moths, the translated message of their presence may vary. Which all really depends on your outlook on life. If you’re pessimistic, you’re more likely to be uneasy and translate a moth’s symbolism negatively. If you’re optimistic and stoic at heart, you’ll understand how a moth’s symbolism is all about opportunity, and beginning/ending cycles!

Either way, moths are here to remind people of opportunities regardless of the journey it takes to get there.

So, happy National Moth Week! Remember to enjoy the beauty of nature!

– Dez 🙂

August Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what August will be filled with! Feel free to share our August themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for August 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!

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

After Domestic Violence: Relationships & Breaking Cycles

A while back I posted a blog about “Recovering from Domestic Violence“. And throughout that writing process, I was sure that I wouldn’t be interested in anyone for a VERY long time. But I found myself oddly attracted to a few people and found my intuition leading me. So this is how I experienced the formulation of a new relationship after domestic violence.

Scroll all the way to the bottom for the key take-aways!

We’re Attracted to Familiarity/Potential

When I first experienced attraction to a person after domestic violence, I questioned myself what I liked about them. I couldn’t pin point what at first, but with time I understood that they were familiar to me. AND I can’t forget about potential. In the past, when I experienced familiarity, I went for it because I saw potential. The familiarity I knew was typically by how they were internally. Which was in need of healing, stagnant in mindset, lower vibrational, addictive, etc. but with a little deception of appearing higher or better.

I can confidently say that my last relationship taught me that familiarity isn’t always a good thing. And to never fall in love with someone’s potential.

What I’ve been seeing and have experienced is that, familiarity attraction has led to more low vibrational, stagnant, domestic violent, toxic and emotionally damaging relationships. And because of how we perceive different things, we stick with what we know.

Reminder: Just because someone is familiar and you like them, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with them if they are treating you like shit. We may not be aware but families teach us that we should be tolerant of toxicity. That’s even though we don’t like how it feels.

My Experience with a New Relationship After Domestic Violence

The second person I found myself attracted to, my attraction to them was extremely strong that it really surprised me. I wasn’t familiar with anything about them. This attraction actually scared me. My brain was trying so hard to find anything that was familiar about this person that was rooted in trauma. When my brain couldn’t find anything, something made me question my attraction to this person. I questioned myself if it was obligation to stay or genuine interest to grow. Sure as shit, it was genuine and not obligation like my other relationships where I felt bad for leaving.

The First Kiss: Listening to Intuition

As cheesy as this sounds, I’ve always said that I’d know when a person is for me by the first kiss. In my past relationship, I knew for sure and deep down that the person I was with, wasn’t for me by the very first kiss. I was actually confused when I felt nothing kissing this person.

But I ignored my intuition. Never ignore intuition.

With the person I felt this strong attraction to, the first kiss made me feel everything. Through my experience of trying to see if our connection was genuine, I kept going back to that moment.

Other Moments I Visited

During the talking stage, I needed to understand my emotions I experienced with this person. I literally sat down and thought about every possible thing. It was because I was afraid to lose myself again in a toxic, emotionally damaging and domestic violent relationship. I was still finding myself.

I stopped myself in the dumps of anxiety and fear to visit the moments this person and I shared. I wasn’t going miss out on a person who was loving, kind, vulnerable, genuine, straightforward, understanding, and just everything I dreamt of. We even share the same values, have similar views on the world, and want to grow!

My Nervous System After Domestic Violence

My therapist described my experience response under the polyvagal theory. Which basically explains that my nervous system was conditioned to think that I wasn’t going to ever get what I wanted/dreamt of… So, in the moment, my nervous system was like “Now what? We didn’t think we were actually going to get what we dreamt of or wanted.”

Key Take-Aways

If you’re going to take away something from this blog, remember:

  • Never ignore intuition.
    • Don’t get into relationships out of obligation and/or because you feel bad for someone.
  • Familiarity isn’t always good for you.
    • Just because you like/love them, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with them if they are treating you like shit.
  • Never fall in love with someone’s potential.
    • Potential is an idea that aren’t typically acted on.
  • It’s normal to freak out or not know what to do when you get in a healthier relationship.
    • Take the time to heal to be your best self!

Gabe H.

7 Ways to Overcome Caring About What Others Think

I want to break down why we care so much about perception. Because I believe caring about what others think about us is so damaging. Caring about outside perception keeps us away from knowing what we believe about ourselves and knowing ourselves.

I personally admit that I think a lot about how people perceive me. And it’s rooted in so much shame, pride and fear. 

Caring and having the desire to know the perception of others is really a deeper desire for control. And for me, it is a form of anxiety. If I could control how people see me, technically I could control outcomes in my life. And I think, selfishly, that’s a want we all have.

Under the Layers: Authenticity

My authenticity is hidden under layers of my own perceptions of worth…. And a masking layer is applied every time I think negatively about who I am.

This is so hard with mental health struggles because some conditions create repetitive negative or intrusive thought cycles. Such as my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I also tend to feel like I am not worth being around because I have these conditions. So therefore I am starving myself of value and now am hungry for approval from others to replace what should be my core values.

I imagine a lot of this is due to the fast pace of media. Like the pressure it creates, catchy headlines and misleading or emotionally charged information. In general, it is making it difficult for us to know our values. To study what we care about, our opinions, and then therefore, finding people to uplift those opinions and strengthen us.

Caring About What Others Think

So the question becomes, despite the above, how do I free myself from wanting that control, and ultimately nixing the need for external validation? What is the discovery process for identifying our values in a world that doesn’t give a lot of space for formulating self-opinion? For having a belief system, and even giving work life balance to achieve a form of self care and exploration? 

I’ve learned that starts with peeling back the layers of negative thought and letting more of my authenticity appear in the cracks. For me, this is what that process looks like:

ONE: Identifying what I value and what I believe to Overcome Caring

Taking time to educate yourself in your belief structure is crucial to adjusting the course of your life and giving you direction. We are so often sold on the idea that exploration of beliefs is a lifelong process. While this is true, in the evolution of what we believe, it is not an excuse to avoid making firm statements. Especially truths and ideas during our daily lives, starting in the present. I personally have become fearful of making firm statements. Mainly because there are not a lot of safe spaces to express new thoughts and strong ideas today. Especially if it counteracts the majority opinion.

An example of this for me was confirming and standing up for my religion. It gives me structure, faith, and direction. I now know what to give time to in my educational process, in the people and experiences I look for, and that gives me confidence. It takes away negative, doubtful thoughts and gives me a truthful narrative. 

If you walk through life without confirming any truths, and you are constantly evolving with sporadic media and emotional voices, or thinking you need to recreate who you are constantly, you are opening up all those cracks for doubt, confusion and exhaustion. Being malleable and deepening education is key, but not anchoring yourself anywhere can create circles, and constant needs of reassurance. You have the ability to make time for this mindset change in your life. And therefore,  you don’t need to go on autopilot (aka, be runned by your anxiety driven thoughts).

TWO: Taking care of my physical and mental self is the best type of caring

Investing in yourself daily, in whatever way you are able, no matter the amount, gives evidence that you believe in yourself, and that you matter. This might be in the form of reading, boundary setting, drinking the green juice, going for a walk, journaling, whatever works for you. By neglecting to do this over long periods of time, you are putting value on other things over yourself. If we value other things, we are telling ourselves what we care about, perhaps work, or the opinions of others. Investing in yourself with the highest currency, time, is one of the ultimate forms of self care and with the bonus of giving us back from control that we might be seeking in validation.

THREE: Being kind and focusing on loving others

When I become very self aware for many days and hours, it usually means I am under distress. Or I am becoming more self-centered. A lot of us shutter at the word self-centered, which is totally understandable (me too). However, self-centeredness is actually a great indicator that we just need to adjust where our focus lies.

This can also include taking inventory of overall spatial awareness. Also awareness of others, and doing a check on our ignorance or assumptions. Taking the light off of us and shining it on others is a great way to improve connection in relationships and our community. Acts of kindness; sending a text, making dinner for someone, etc, can really re-ground us in gratitude and emotional needs. It gives us a better understanding of the human experience. It also allows us to sometimes exercise a sense of vulnerability. Kindness and caring often requires empathy, or taking a risk, or sharing a part of our story.

FOUR: Making gratitude a requirement in my day, like eating a meal

Gratitude is a word often used in methods to improve happiness. Especially being in the present. Which helps with reducing anxiety and so on. And while this isn’t a new concept, the reminder of gratitude is important. One of the ways I’ve improved my gratitude dialogue is by viewing gratitude as a requirement. It’s like eating meals in a day. As a Christian, I get the visual prompt when eating to pray for my meal. And often try to slip in other words of thanks for parts of my day that once seemed insignificant.

Pairing a visual cue, like mealtime, with the act of giving thanks, can help rescale the balance between negative thoughts and dialogue in your day. 

FIVE: Taking inventory of the content I am consuming; social media, music, conversations, books, television, etc.

This is a habit change that so easily goes under my radar it’s scary. But when I switch up my media I notice an overnight and overwhelming change in my mindset. I also believe this is a habit we don’t need to constantly be strict with. But be strict with checking in with ritualistically. If you find yourself struggling to keep a more positive persona about yourself; your worth, value, age, appearance, success, and so on, it may be catalyzed by your consumption. 

This is something you can do today to make a potentially big impact for your tomorrow. 

SIX: Staying curious; exploring new things I might enjoy like new wine, or foods, a hobby, even a style of clothing or cosmetics, books and literature, etc.

Trying new things gives us permission to fail. Sometimes it’s a small consequence such as regretting a takeout selection, and sometimes, it’s taking a risk and quitting your job in pursuit of your dreams. Demonstrating to yourself and others that you decided to feed your curiosity, that you are worth investing in yourself, gives you a foundation of personality and authenticity. Therefore, minimizing the need to look to others for answers and approvals when you’re already seeking them yourself. By being curious you want to learn about the world and those interests point towards what you love, and when we focus on love we gain gratitude and joy and that also reduces anxious feelings.

SEVEN: Investing in things I believe in (such as goals, people, activities) even if others don’t understand the level of commitment or why I am putting the time/effort

I think strong authenticity, values and characteristics appear when our doubts are at their highest level. When we call upon ourselves to invest time and energy into a dream, a goal, despite the statistical odds, or others opinions…we are betting on ourselves. We then bet again, bet again, bet again, until we get the outcome we want. In this circular process we stop caring about other people’s bets or validation because we’re too busy rolling the dice, and finding out new things about ourselves while we build strength and stamina along the way.

In all these methods, the pattern is to get too invested to care, dig, explore, educate and lay firm foundations that are so strong that validation from others, or from this broken world are weak against what you’ve created.

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!

Life After Graduation

Man, life after graduation can go one of two ways: very busy/chaotic or very relaxing! I can say that my life after graduation has been a little chaotic. But not in a bad way!

Good Chaos After Graduation

To be honest, I really planned to relax after graduation but the universe had a different plan for me! In all honesty, I really planned on only healing, going to work, and nothing else. But with healing, everything else starts to move too!

Reminder: Going with the flow is a must when things are coming your way!

graduation

You can’t sit there and say “tHiS iS hArD” and then stop in your tracks because that’s fear talking. It’s valid to say “this is hard” but never allow fear stop you from great things! I almost missed out on a great opportunity because of fear.

You gotta keep going because great opportunities will keep coming as long as you’re open to them as experiences!

Because of my openness, I’ve received so many good things and opportunities from the universe. All of which were very overwhelming at first but allowing myself to go with the flow worked in my favor :). I leveled up in many areas and met new/amazing people that will be there in my future!

Taking Steps into Adulthood after Graduating

I think many of us think about adulthood and kind of freak out because there’s no exact understanding on “how to adult”. Old people make it seem like everything is easy but in reality, adulting takes self-patience. It’s a process!

So it’s okay not knowing how to adult!!! I’m 23 and still learning and I know people in their 40s still learning how to adult! So please don’t worry about not knowing!

– Dez 🙂

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: The System

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This awareness month brings awareness to the challenges and unique struggles that affect the mental health of racial and ethnic minority communities. As someone of the racial and ethnic minority communities, I face a lot of unique struggles and challenges. These challenges and unique struggles are presented everywhere… In relationships, at work, with family, in society, etc.

  • minority mental health

Throughout my healing journey, I found that nearly all of my mental health disparities tie to my race and ethnicity. To be direct, white assimilated people’s cognitive dissonance and racial/ethnic ignorance has negatively impacted my mental health. And that statement is 100% true for all of minority communities.

The System vs. Minority Mental Health

One of the biggest struggle I’m currently facing, is the health system’s role in declining the mental health of minority racial and ethnic communities. At this point, it kind of feels like they enjoy marginalizing already marginalized people. So, from the bottom of my heart and the deepest depth of my soul, FUCK the system and the health system!

The system and health system always dismiss minority communities. But mostly, perpetuate and continue making the minority communities unattended to in order to keep us under the label of “minority”. These factors actually lower the help we receive for our mental health! And it really has a lot to do with how society is very oriented to the white cisgender male and/or white population.

** That’s a clue to understanding white assimilation. **

Listening to My Body & Ancestors

Although the system caused a lot of trauma and mental health decline, I learned more about my roots. I wasn’t able to learn from my family/environment as they were assimilated to white society. They were deep within their learned cognitive dissonance.

Due to this circumstance, I did a lot of intuitive learning from my ancestors, researched what I’ve learned, and started healing myself at home. My experiences with the system and “health” system has made me turn to ancestral holistic methods of healing. I learned to self-medicate through herbal remedies and heal via ancient/ancestral methods that were lost in cultural assimilation. I’m grateful for my experiences.

Racial/Ethnic Minority Mental Health Matters

Regardless of my gratefulness, no one should have to experience mental health disparities because of unique struggles or challenges of race and ethnicity. Everyone should work on their white assimilated ways, cognitive dissonance, and racial/ethnic ignorance.

Reminder: No one is safe from white assimilation nor racial/ethnic ignorance. And if you’re a person of racial/ethnic minority groups, know that you are NOT alone.

– Dez 🙂

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!

Renewed Hobbies

Who said hobbies have to be practical or useful in our everyday lives? Many of us kind of think about adopting a new hobby or hobbies. And some of us kind of think about adopting renewed hobbies. There’s no shame in renewing a hobby we once enjoyed before.

No one really talks about the self talk we have because of other people’s poisonous cognitive patterns. We often get stopped in our tracks by the unreal expectations of “ReAl LiFe” application or usefulness. All of which were placed on us by other people! Stop listening to those thoughts!

My Renewed Hobbies: Guitar Hero, Math, & Physics

I can confidently say that my renewed hobbies come from past passions. And it’s definitely not useful to my career path or anything like that. It’s geeky and nerdy. The first renewed hobby was something I was very conscious about because people found it to be a waste of time.

Nothing that improves mental health is a waste of time to me. Avoiding passions and being bitter are wastes of time.

Renewed Hobby #1

My first renewed hobby is guitar hero! Not really, lol. But it is very similar…it’s Clone Hero. I was able to download the songs I liked from other games from this doc. I thought it was cool asf! What’s even better is that you can download any song you want to play. from Chorus. What’s even better is that it’s all free!

From least expensive to more expensive: You can use your laptop keyboard, a separate bluetooth keyboard, random remote that has a USB end, remote that can connect via bluetooth, or even a guitar hero guitar.

Renewed Hobby #2

This second renewed hobby is definitely a nerdy one; math and physics. In middle and high school, I really enjoyed math and physics. Going to college, I didn’t have much time to continue enjoying those hobbies. So, I went to Khan Academy, signed in and added what I wanted to re-learn and continue learning. Khan Academy is also free! No need to pay money to learn and do things you want to!

Breaking out of Hobby Expectations

I think this kind of brings many points together. Essentially that:

  • We don’t need money to do simple hobbies
  • What improves our mental health shouldn’t have to meet societal expectations
  • And, being a geek or nerd can be fun and is cool

In case you’ve missed it, nothing that improves mental health is a waste of time. Avoiding passions and being bitter are wastes of time. Also, in a materialistic world, find something non-materialistic. Non-materialistic things can greatly improve your mental health!

– Dez 🙂

10 Simple Acts of Kindness You Can Do Today

As a society, we tend to focus on our own needs and wants, often forgetting about the simple acts of kindness that can make a big difference in someone’s day. 

Kindness is the act of being friendly, generous, and considerate to others, and it is something that can have a profound impact on both the giver and the receiver. 

acts of kindness

In this article, I will discuss what kindness is, its importance, and 10 simple acts of kindness you can do today to make someone’s day.

What is Kindness?

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It is the act of going out of your way to help others without expecting anything in return. This can be something as simple as holding the door open for someone, giving a compliment, or offering a helping hand to someone in need. Kindness is a positive trait that can have a ripple effect, inspiring others to be kind as well.

Why is Kindness Important?

Kindness is important because it helps to create a positive and supportive environment. When we are kind to others, it not only benefits them, but it also benefits us. Acts of kindness can help to reduce stress, increase happiness, and improve overall well-being. Kindness can also help to bridge cultural and social divides, bringing people together and promoting understanding and empathy.

Kindness Quotes to Inspire You

Here are some inspiring quotes about kindness that will motivate you to be more compassionate and caring:

  • “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
  • “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams
  • “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
  • “The greatest gift you can give someone is your kindness and attention.” – Debasish Mridha
  • “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart

The Benefits of Being Kind

Being kind has numerous benefits for both the giver and the receiver. When we practice kindness, it can help to:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Boost happiness and well-being
  • Improve social connections and relationships
  • Promote empathy and understanding
  • Increase self-esteem and confidence
  • Create a positive and supportive environment

10 Simple Acts of Kindness You Can Do Today

Here are 10 simple acts of kindness that you can do today to make someone’s day:

1. Smile and say hello

A simple smile and greeting can go a long way in brightening someone’s day. It only takes a few seconds, but it can help to create a positive and friendly environment.

2. Hold the door open

Holding the door open for someone is a small act of kindness that can show consideration and respect. It can also help to make someone’s day a little easier.

3. Give a compliment

Giving a genuine compliment can help to boost someone’s confidence and self-esteem. It can also help to create a positive and supportive environment.

4. Help someone in need

Offering a helping hand to someone in need can make a big difference in their day. Whether it’s helping someone carry their groceries, offering directions, or simply listening to someone who needs to talk, small acts of kindness can have a profound impact.

5. Pay it forward

Random acts of kindness can help to create a chain reaction of positivity. Whether it’s paying for someone’s coffee or leaving a kind note for a stranger, paying it forward can help to spread kindness and compassion.

6. Volunteer your time

Volunteering your time for a cause you believe in can help to make a positive impact in your community. It can also help to promote empathy and understanding.

7. Send a thank-you note

Sending a thank-you note to someone who has helped you or made a positive impact in your life can show your appreciation and gratitude. It can also help to strengthen relationships and create a positive and supportive environment.

8. Offer words of encouragement

Offering words of encouragement to someone who is going through a tough time can help to lift their spirits and provide support. It can also help to promote empathy and understanding.

9. Listen without judgment

Listening without judgment can help to create a safe and supportive environment. It can also help to promote understanding and empathy.

10. Practice self-kindness

Practicing self-kindness is important for our overall well-being. Whether it’s taking a break to relax, treating yourself to something you enjoy, or simply being kind to yourself in your thoughts, small acts of self-kindness can have a big impact.

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

Here are some additional random acts of kindness ideas that you can do to spread positivity and compassion:

  • Leave a kind note for a stranger
  • Buy a meal for someone in need
  • Donate to a charity you believe in
  • Offer to pet-sit for a friend
  • Send a care package to someone who could use a little extra love
  • Offer to help a neighbor with yard work or house cleaning
  • Give someone a hug or a high-five

Kindness in the Workplace

Practicing kindness in the workplace is important for creating a positive and supportive environment. Here are some ways you can practice kindness at work:

  • Offer to help a coworker with a project
  • Give a compliment or words of encouragement to a coworker
  • Bring in treats to share with your coworkers
  • Listen without judgment when a coworker needs to talk
  • Offer to cover for a coworker who needs to take time off

Teaching Kindness to Children

Teaching kindness to children is important for promoting empathy, respect, and understanding. Here are some ways you can teach kindness to children:

  • Model kindness and compassion in your own behavior
  • Encourage children to help others and practice acts of kindness
  • Teach children to respect others’ differences and promote understanding
  • Read books about kindness and compassion with children

Kindness in the Digital Age

In today’s digital age, it’s important to remember to practice kindness and compassion online as well. Here are some ways you can promote kindness in the digital world:

  • Use social media to spread positivity and compassion
  • Avoid cyberbullying and negative comments online
  • Practice empathy and understanding when communicating online
  • Use technology to connect with others and promote understanding

In conclusion, kindness is an important trait that can have a profound impact on both the giver and the receiver. 

By practicing simple acts of kindness, we can create a positive and supportive environment that promotes empathy, understanding, and compassion. So take a few minutes today to do something kind for someone else – it may be small, but it can make a big difference in someone’s day.

So, which act of kindness are you going to do today? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Written by Sarah Edwards. Want to get to know me? Say hi! https://liinks.co/setapartcompany

July Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what July will be filled with! Feel free to share our July themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for July or in the future, email Dez at dchapman@positivedirections.org.

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

Trans Issues: Birth Certificate Rant

The other day I was filing to get a new birth certificate with my chosen legal name and affirmed gender because I wanted to get a passport. I had an idea of what I needed until I looked on the state website. So I ran into something that I like to call a “trans issue”. If you are trans and are looking to update your birth certificate in CT, click here.

What are Trans Issues?

Trans issues are struggles only transgender people face. Meaning, an issue cisgender people don’t have to EVER go through.

Trans Issue in Context

In the case of trying to get a new birth certificate, cisgender people only need to fill out a 1 page form to send to the state, town, or fed with a copy of their legal ID. For transgender people, we have to:

  • Fill out the form cisgender people fill out
  • Attach a copy of our ID or driver’s license (like cisgender people)
  • Have a doctor or psychiatrist fill out a form that they have to get notarized (to prove gender identity)
  • Fill out the form to get notarized (to also prove gender identity)
  • Provide COURT documents
  • And if you’re adopted (which I am), you must also provide adoption proof

If you are trans and are looking to update your birth certificate in CT, click here.

Why Trans Issues?

I find it weird that we (the trans community) have to go through these hurdles. We shouldn’t have to provide that much proof of our identity to anyone. To mention, it took me about 3 years to finally update everything to reflect my gender identity and legal name.

trans issues

Although I updated things right away, the state didn’t update my name as it was updated federally, on my voter ID, state government issued ID, on the Selective Service System (war draft), and far more.

Being for real, what was the reason for going through all of this if I couldn’t get my birth certificate updated like any other person?

WE NEED POLICY CHANGE!

Regardless of someone’s gender identity circumstances, there should be some form of equity to lower the amount of struggle trans people face.

I think an updated government issued ID should be enough proof of our gender identity and name update. We should be able to provide the same number of documents cisgender people provide for everything. Especially because a lot of us went through well over enough hurdles.

– Dez

June Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what June will be filled with! Feel free to share our June themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for June or in the future, email Dez at dchapman@positivedirections.org.

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

Free Research Study on Talk Therapy

If you are between the ages of 16 and 29, have symptoms or a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or depression, you may be eligible to participate in a free and confidential research study on talk therapy on improving mood symptoms and helping reduce the risk of suicide.

The Yale Mood Study will also look at how the brain works with advanced MRI brain scanning techniques.

Compensation up to $540.

To learn more or see if you are eligible to participate in this research study, please contact:

Visit Yale’s website to learn more about the Yale Mood Disorder Research Program!

Recovering from Domestic Violence: The Journey

Many of us really don’t think about whether or not we are in a domestic violent situation. Recently, I learned that I experienced domestic violence and I had to admit it to myself. Admitting it was the hardest part of my journey. I wanted to deny it. But I quickly understood that I was romanticizing my connections out of survival. I kept telling myself, “it could be way worse”, “they’re not like this deep down”, and “they didn’t mean it”. But indeed, they were aware of how they were hurting me. Understanding domestic violence has led me to question the reality I perceived.

What is Domestic Violence?

Typically when I hear domestic violence, I think of physical and sexual abuse. But domestic violence includes emotional, psychological, technological, and economical abuse. I learned about it here.

  • Physical abuse: hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, pushing, etc.
  • Sexual abuse: forcing/coercing sexual interactions of any sort
  • Emotional abuse: undermining someone’s self-worth
  • Psychological abuse: fear by intimidation, threats to harm (either self, partner, children, etc.), forcing isolation, gaslighting, etc.
  • Technological abuse: behavior that’s intended to harm, threaten, control, stalk, harass, exploit or monitor another person via technology
  • Economical/financial abuse: using money, financial situation, or tactics in a form of manipulation for money or to control

My Past Relationship/Situationship

To say the least, I didn’t understand masculine people were valid in their experiences of domestic violence. I experienced being hit in my prior relationships but never experienced something like I did in my most recent past situationship.

In my most recent situationship, I was experiencing the most damaging emotional and psychological abuse. I questioned my entire existence a lot and rather have left this plane of existence than to experience another moment of manipulation. That includes the manipulation that came with trying to leave. I was convinced that I was going crazy. This person made me feel psychotic!

To a degree, technological abuse was there. Economical/financial abuse was there too. I was also guilted and gaslit by the person because I wasn’t sexually attracted to them anymore. It made me feel less. They found it odd that I needed to feel connected to a person emotionally to have that sexual attraction. Their response to my lack of sexual desire was to accuse me of talking to other people, and far much more. They didn’t want to put in any work.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel safe enough to elaborate more. But one day, I’ll be able to talk more. I just wanted to make people aware that masculine people experience domestic violence too.

Losing Myself & Growing

Honestly speaking, this experience broke me. I lost myself trying to prove my love and positive intentions. It was all because I saw so much potential in this person. I saw how hurt this person was and made excuses for them in how they treated me. This person wasn’t willing to grow as I grew no matter what. Because of my growth, this person felt threatened by my presence and independence. As I kept going, they just grew pessimistic. And just more agitated with how I was soaring outside of their stagnant mindset.

The Complex Lesson

There are many lessons I’ve learned through this experience. I mainly learned about the complexity of love and domestic violence. But most importantly, I learned that it doesn’t matter what other people say to you. Their actions and ability to grow is what matters. Even if they say they love you. Those words mean nothing if they can’t see you and love you like they want to be loved by another person.

I learned that people will say anything to manipulate you into taking your energy. Whether that be with guilt or honey. This person’s tactics were guilt. They only wanted me around because I was benefiting them. They made me feel guilty because I started to love myself. In other words, they kept telling me that I didn’t love them, despite all that I’ve given emotionally, because I was trying to fill my cup after the damages. They started to gaslight me even more because I set boundaries. They tried to control everything; even how my apartment looked, how I communicated, etc. In all, I learned that people will feel threatened or offended by your boundaries if they’re out of alignment with you.

Closing Words on Domestic Violence: Validity

No matter your age, love is proven to be complicated and complex. Your age doesn’t define when you experience emotional or psychological pain. No matter the age, you can experience domestic violence on any scale. No matter your gender identity and sexuality, you can experience domestic violence. Domestic violence isn’t easy to go through either. Always think about your safety in relationships.

Gabe H.

Job Opportunity at YAH

YAH (Youth Action Hub) is paying young people to lead change in Connecticut! Check out the flyer to learn more about this job opportunity!

Click HERE to apply!

Meet Our Newest Team Member!

Hi everyone! I’m Quinn and I recently joined the Turning Point CT team. I’m a queer, trans non-binary, astrology enthusiast with a degree in psychological science. My interest in mental health and wellness started when I was a teen. During that time, my younger sibling started experiencing symptoms of mental illness. This motivated me to enter the field of mental health as an agent of change and as an advocate for community care. 

My Background

I spent a few years working in direct care for individuals with schizophrenia, eating disorders, Alzheimer’s and dementia, depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and more. I noticed that many of the folks I worked with were struggling to get their needs met, even in settings that aimed to provide comprehensive care. This motivated me to continue researching and learning about the various approaches to mental wellness. When the opportunity to join the Turning Point CT team arose, I knew that I wanted to jump on it. 

Over the course of the pandemic, the need for peer support and community care became increasingly obvious to me. In a time of such widespread isolation and fear, I found myself yearning for spaces to be in community. I subscribed to the Patreon of my favorite podcast and attended weekly Zoom calls with the hosts. In these weekly meetings, I ended up meeting some of my very best friends to this day. I also hosted virtual game nights and educational workshops as the Advocacy Director of a local organization called The Reflection Zone. In these spaces, I was fortunate enough to find the connection and collective care that I was seeking. I hope to facilitate similar spaces through my work with TurningPointCT. 

For Fun

In my free time, you’ll probably find me on local hiking trails keeping an eye out for new plants and fungi with my partner, Jackie. When I’m not on the trails, I’m usually in the kitchen cooking for friends and family and measuring spices with my heart. Who needs measuring spoons anyways? I’m also a lifelong musician. I love improvising on the piano and trying to keep up with my favorite songs on the guitar.

I’m already so proud to be a member of the Turning Point CT team, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my journey and to use my experiences to connect with young folks across CT.

NAMI: Free Young Adult CT Events!

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Connecticut is holding FREE upcoming CT events and opportunities for those ages 18-29! Take a look at the following flyers for more information!

February 25th, 2025

ct events

Spots are Limited!

Register your spot here!

Location: 997 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06107

ALL materials are covered by NAMI!

April 28-30th

It’s okay if you’re unable to go to the event/opportunity in February. Check this out!

ct events

Registration Required!

Contact Val: vlepoutre@namict.org

Who: NAMI invites young adults with leadership qualities and readiness to step into the peer world!

What: There will be workshops, bonfires, fun activities, etc. and brainstorming sessions to “reimagine” the future of NAMI CT and it’s Next Gen programs!

Location: 253 Bushy Hill Rd, Deep River, CT, 06417

All meals and lodging are covered!

Visit NAMI for more CT events, opportunities, and information!

Teen Dating Violence Awareness

Each February, young adults and people across the nation raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence. National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month focuses on educating young people on how to stop dating abuse before it starts.

What is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen dating violence includes physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. This also includes harassment or stalking of anyone ages 12-18 in context of present or past romantic or consensual relationship.

  • Physical Abuse: biting, hitting, scratching, pushing, hair pulling, etc.
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse: name calling, bullying, intentionally embarrassing, shaming, monitoring, etc.
  • Sexual Abuse: forcing a teen partner into a sexual act against will or without consent
  • Stalking: following or harassing a teen partner in a way that causes them fear of safety and/or well-being

Teen dating violence can be done in person, via social media, phone communication, electronically.

Why Teen Dating Violence Awareness is Important

We want to prevent teen dating violence. Dating violence is more common than you think:

  • 1 in 3 U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • 1 in 3 teens (1.5 Million) admits to being in an unhealthy relationship
  • Transgender teens report the highest rates of physical dating violence (88.9%), psychological dating abuse (58.8%), cyber dating abuse (56.3%), and sexual abuse (61.1%).
  • LGBTQ youth statistics: cyber dating abuse (37%), physical dating violence (43%), psychological dating abuse (59%), sexual abuse (23%)
  • Heterosexual youth statistics: cyber dating abuse (26%), physical dating violence (29%), psychological dating abuse (46%), sexual abuse (12%)

Transgender, LGBTQ, and heterosexual youth/teens of color (e.g. Native Indigenous, African, Asian, Latin, Hispanic) experience a higher percentage of dating violence than their white identifying peers.

Preventing Teen Dating Violence

We know how hard it is to get out of a violent relationship, especially talk about it. It’s highly encouraged to talk with your trusted friends or a trusted adult. Your experience is taken seriously and there is always someone who can try and help!

For adults reading this; it is extremely important that you open your lines of communication. Meet teens where they’re at. Share your own experiences of when you were a teen. Model compassion and kindness. Always encourage teens to think about how they want to be treated or their “non-negotiables”. Doing so will only create a safe environment and teen motivation to step in the right direction.

Click here for resources!

My Body Image Journey

Growing up, I was always self conscious about my body image. Primarily because family members would comment on my body. I either looked like a “fat cow” or was labeled “anorexic” even though I was in the middle of the chart. Regardless of my weight, I was over sexualized and received uncomfortable comments about my body. It has caused quite the issue that has contributed to a body image turmoil.

Food to Hide vs. Losing to Be Seen

At some point, food became my only comfort. I tried eating to hide even though I knew it wouldn’t make me feel any better. I ate to no longer be called anorexic or be made fun of for being a healthy weight. So, I ended up gaining 77lbs in one and a half years; ending up at 220lbs by the beginning of my freshman year of college. And yet, my efforts weren’t enough for certain family members. My body image was then taunted with disgust.

That has led to a point in my life where I unhealthily lost weight. I lost about 60lbs in 6 months due to depression, an unhealthy eating habit, and taking weight loss supplements. I felt shame in my weight loss journey while also feeling better about my body image.

Personal Realization

It took me a while to lose weight in a healthy manner. I told myself that I had to do it for myself and in a healthy way. It has led me to research how to healthily lose weight. This resulted in me trying intermittent fasting; tailored to my active times while incorporating balanced meals. Outside of my body changes, I noticed that my brain functioned a lot better when I was fasting. I was able to do homework during the day instead of only at night. My overall mood, energy and sleep was better.

In those moments, I began to understand what I put into my body matters, not my weight. I’m only healthy by engaging in healthy things. My body is beautiful regardless how it looks because my soul is beautiful.

Navigating My Body Image Today

Although I had that breakthrough, I still struggle with my body image. In response, I try to engage in healthy activity at least 5 times a week. First, I started with a goal of stretching everyday. Then, I set a goal of doing at least 20 sit ups a day. Which is where I’m at in my journey. Setting a smaller goal actually motivates me to do more. This is what I have been doing (depending on my mood):

  • Jumping Jacks for 1 or 2 songs 
  • 15 to 20 Push-Ups
  • Air Punches for Half a Song
  • SpongeBob Dance
  • Arm Curls
  • Glute Raises

There are days where I do all of the workouts on the list! There are days where I would do just one workout. I can say that all of this has been making me want to start jogging. My next goal is to start jogging at least once a week! When I do, I may give you all an update!

– Dez 🙂

January: National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month. Mentoring others is a passion of mine that started by being mentored. Through TurningPointCT, I have been able to mentor youth and young adults all across CT. It has been an incredible experience and although I will be leaving this position at the end of the month, I am looking forward to the ways I will continue my mentorship skills in the next job.

For me, mentoring means to guide someone in the direction of their desires and dreams. It means to meet someone where they are at and help them see their strengths, reflect on areas they want to improve quality in, and encourage them through every part.

Oftentimes, I feel as if I am most successful as a mentor when I allow the mentee to lead. Although as a mentor I need to uphold role-modeling behavior, one effective way of creating a good relationship is to show my human side. Being transparent about my own life helps break the ice and creates a safe space for vulnerability and trust.

Mentors that I seek support from accept me in all ways. They are never judgmental and always embrace every part of me. Whether I’m seeking direction or a space to vent, having a mentor has not only helped my quality of life, but also has helped me become a better mentor to others.

-Ally K

Share Your Voice!

voice

We are looking for Young Adults to contribute to TurningPointCT! Unsure of what to write about? Check out the flyer for ideas for the month of February. Not much of a writer? Not a problem – we have a podcast too. Podcasts are released bi-monthly and hosted by our team members. We’d love to have you join. Share Your Voice!

Where Do I Start?

At TurningPointCT we want to create a safe space for our peers! Especially make your life a little easier!

  • Share your Mental Health Journey or read about your peer’s journeys here.
  • Interested in contributing to the podcast, but want more info on being a guest? Click here to learn more.

– The TurningPointCT Team

Grieving my Uterus: Transgender Journey

I haven’t talked much about my transgender journey here. Mostly because it’s personal and complex. As a disclosure, I’m not here to talk solely about my journey but also about grieving something sacred; my uterus.

The Uterus is Sacred: Grieving

Culturally, I have identified the sacredness of my uterus. It’s a portal that held so much of my power. With it, I felt whole and divine. I was balanced of both feminine and masculine energies. My psychic abilities were at its peak as I was tapping into that sacred energy.

Without my uterus, I felt lost and out of touch with the feminine energy. And it kind of made me angry. But mainly angry with society.

Grief that Turned to Anger

Throughout my grieving process, I wanted to answer: Why did I need to get rid of something sacred to qualify for bottom surgery when I have been aware of my gender identity since I was 4 years old?

My grief turn into anger upon answering that question. The anger sparked from the expectation that people must conform to the binary system in order to receive what may alleviate their gender dysphoria. The binary system started with colonization and the whitewashed governing body that strips people of their culture, self-expression, and self-autonomy. This forces non-binary individuals to conform to the binary system for medical procedures. Which only causes more distress.

Systemic Irrational Fears

People with money don’t have to go through any of the barriers that the gender expansive community has to. No one questions, interrogates, expect publicity, requires more than one medical document, and/or makes up a wait time for someone with money who wants a surgery done. There are no rules or barriers for them. So why do those of the gender expansive community need to go through all of these barriers? Why do we need to prove ourselves when society has prevented self-expression from happening?

What people fail to process is how self-expression within the childhood would actually help individuals find/be themselves. It’s actually why many cis-het people are so unhappy; they don’t know who they are so they try to conform to something which only makes them feel guilty. And due to how the United States was build, people fear the lack of control over another’s gender identity through forcing binary social conformity. In other words, closed/single minded individuals seek to control gender identity and gender expression within others because they’re uncomfortable with people being free of a construct they, themselves, are prisoner to.

What I’ve Learned & Done

In some way, I learned many things from my grief and anger:

  • I shouldn’t give my power away.
  • Not having a uterus doesn’t make me any less.
  • I am still me without my uterus.
  • It’s okay to grieve and be angry.
  • It’s okay to cry.

In all of this, I have tattooed a ram skull with Lilith’s sigil on its forehead on my lower stomach area. This is how the tattoo looks on paper.

grieving

These are their meanings:

  • A skull with horns symbolize the major change and death of a cycle of life.
  • The ram skull represents overcoming obstacles; my grief and anger. It also symbolizes the sacrifice I made in order to qualify for the surgery to feel aligned to myself.
  • I placed Lilith’s sigil on the forehead because she is a symbol of femininity, freedom, rebellion, strength, courage and beauty.

Remember that it’s okay to grieve something that society doesn’t think you should grieve.

– Dez 🙂

National Human Trafficking Prevention Month: What You Need to Know

What is human trafficking?

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), human trafficking is:

The “…[use of] force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”

Who is most targeted to human trafficking?

The short answer is that anyone can be human trafficked. But, there are certain populations/circumstances that may be more vulnerable to it. For example:

  • Native Indigenous/American People
  • People of Color
  • Those in the Foster Care/Juvenile Justice System
  • Those of the LGBTQ+ Community
  • People Facing Economic Struggles
  • Youth & Children
  • Those who Recently Experienced a Natural Disaster

How can I identify if someone is being trafficked?

An individual of human trafficking has more than 3 of the following identifiable characteristics. There are many individuals who present almost all these characteristics:

  • Change in Physical Appearance & Use of Language
  • Bruising, Broken Bones, New Tattoos that seem out of character (Read the Following for Tattoo Examples)
    • Branding Marks (seen under black light)
    • Hidden Barcodes
    • Small Numbers
    • Anything Royalty Related
      • Commonly accompanied with a “name”
  • Self-Harm, Use of Substances, Declining Mental Health
  • Missing a lot of school
  • Running away from home
  • Acting more promiscuous in person or online
  • Influx of new clothes, gadgets, accessories
  • Using common trafficking term “the game”, “daddy”, “manager”

There are some individuals who are not aware that they are a victim of trafficking. They are commonly brainwashed into thinking the “love” is real. Therefore, the use of their language may appear more subtle, however, loyal. The bullet points above still apply to these individuals.

I think someone I know is a victim of human trafficking or I am a target, what do I do?

There is a hand symbol that signified the need of EMERGENT help.

human

If you see someone doing this hand gesture, call 911. If you feel as though someone is in danger, call 911 (even if they don’t sign this).

Utilize the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you are reporting human trafficking, you can leave an anonymous tip. If you are the person needing help, they will connect you to recourses and bring you to safety.

Be sure not to confront the trafficker or alert the victim. This may make it harder for the victim to receive help and can put you in ganger.

How can I avoid being a victim of trafficking?

  • Do not talk with strangers on the internet without VPN and/or give out personal information (this includes chat rooms, social media, and gaming platforms)
  • Verify all job opportunities that are presented to you – traffickers will offer victims a “job” that turns into trafficking
    • Job examples include and are not limited to babysitting, and photography opportunities for a large sum of money.
  • Know the signs of abusive relationships
  • Always trust your gut, if you feel uncomfortable or in danger tell someone (trusted adult, family member, 911)
  • Do NOT indicate that you live alone to anyone! Have a friend be around if you are going on a date and/or when a new person is around!
  • Do NOT put anything that identifies specific information about you and/or your children on your car! For Example:
    • School/Institution Stickers
    • Family Stickers that show how many people live in your household

Links to learn more about human trafficking…

National Human Trafficking Hotline

Department of Homeland Security – Blue Campaign

Hope for Justice

U.S. Department of Justice

The Environmental Crisis and Mental Health

Have you ever experienced anxiety around the environmental crisis we are currently facing? Well, turns out there is a term for it…eco-anxiety. Read the article below, written by a Yale student, to learn more about eco-anxiety and what it means.

Celebrating Yule with a Twist!

Celebrating Yule was my companion’s idea; which is who I celebrated with! Yule is a celebration of the winter solstice (the longest night of the years) and the return of the sun. Before celebrating Yule, I honestly sat and thought about cultural relevancy. I asked myself: How does the celebration of the winter solstice and return of the sun tie into my African and Native Indigenous background? There was a natural understanding that my Celtic, Nordic and Viking ancestors celebrated the winter solstice and the return of the sun. I didn’t want to make my other ancestors feel left out of this celebration! I came to understand that the traditions of Christmas came from other cultures.

What I Did to Prepare/Celebrate Components of Yule

Leading up to the winter solstice, I sought to find congruences in cultural celebration to make my ancestors feel welcome, not excluded. I then decorated the place with lights, garlands, ornaments, and plants. I also welcomed a new plant child; Gaia.

Yule Post Plant

There were other things that were included and will be included in the continuation of the celebration:

  • Pine cones, pine, and sticks to make protection talismans. Respectfully hand picked and provided by nature.
  • Yellow, White, Black, & Burgundy Candles
    • Yellow – Represents the Sun (Lit the day of Winter Solstice) for joy and/or clearing mental blockages.
    • White – Lit on the 24th at sun down to bring harmony, truth and new beginnings. It tells fortune and future.
    • Black – Lit on the 31st of December to banish any negative energy remaining.
    • Burgundy – Intuitively lit to bring strength, determination, courage and willpower.

What Else Did I Do?

The night of the Winter Solstice, my companion and I went to a cleansing meditation in Unionville, CT. Meditating and having my energy field cleansed felt amazing. This experience made me understand why meditation is really important. Further into the celebration, my companion and I planned what flavor the Yule log was going to be (gingerbread). That is something that we are going to do soon! I can’t forget about the fairy house! I would show my fairy house but I like to respect their wishes/privacy. Just think mushroom and cabin in the woods!

– Dez 🙂

It’s You, Not the Place: Recovery

Recently, I heard a presentation on outcomes of Peer Support Services. The presenter had a slide comparing places of services to fitness centers. The relation is that ‘fitness centers don’t keep people fit’, just as treatment centers don’t keep people in recovery. They highlighted that the individual, in addition to ‘outside’ support, is what keeps people ‘fit’ or in the treatment aspect; ‘in recovery’.

I liked this perspective because it keeps people out of a box. It births opportunity for authentic individualized care. I commended another participant in the webinar that showed vulnerability by sharing their agreements on this. They’re a CEO of a large behavioral health organization. They said, “We claim to provide individualized care to the people we serve. But in reality, this isn’t always the case. We need to do better at this and remove barriers that cause cookie-cutter approaches.

I was impressed by their willingness to share that, especially being the role that they are in. So often, people in leadership roles have ego’s that prevent true collaboration, teamwork, and employee retention. I felt validated by the presentation and discussion that was happening amongst individuals of all walks of life. It was relieving to hear that people deserve to give themselves more credit while going through life and a healing journey. So many times we neglect our own resiliency, power, strength, and comprehension by crediting our success to an outside source. Whether it’s a treatment center, support group, higher power, loved one, etc. we tend to resist the idea of praising and acknowledging our own role. Do these things play a large role in maintaining our lifestyle and healing journey? Of course. We can recognize and appreciate others’ influences, while still showing ourselves love, empathy, and praise.

So next time you are around the person, place, or thing that helps fuel your wellness, take time to pause and acknowledge all of the hard work YOU’VE done. After all, every support system could be in place, but if YOU don’t put in the energy, you won’t have the results that you have now. Give yourself the same energy that you give others. Thank yourself for becoming the version little you have wanted.

– Ally

Take A Self-Assessment Of Your Choice

self-assessment

Click here to take a self-assessment of your choice (depression, postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis, bipolar, eating disorder, PTSD, ADHD, addiction & more).

Visit our Q&A page to learn more!

Dog Mama x2

Last week, we got a second dog, little Miss Maizey!

When I saw a post from our breeder that she was looking for a home, I immediately asked my boyfriend if we could get her. It was the second time our breeder tried to get a home for her (I remembered seeing the post for her a couple months back).

Thankfully, it didn’t take much convincing and my boyfriend said we could take a look at her. I think it helped that she was older than our dog, Rip. We got Rip as a puppy and he’s fully trained. My boyfriend messaged the breeder that night. She was eager to have us meet with Maizey to see if we would be a good fit.

Long story short, we ended up getting her! She is a little snuggle bug. Her and Rip are absolute besties. They have so much fun running around and playing together. She’s a little peanut compared to Rip who’s a whopping 80lbs.

dog

Maizey is on the Left; Rip is on the Right!

We are so happy to have her as the newest member of our family!

We probably won’t be getting another animal anytime soon because we’re up to 5 animals now LOL, three cats and two dogs. We’re so blessed to have 5 awesome animals to love.

-Kailey

Social Anxiety and Shame During the Holiday

“Oh, you’re like a delicate little flower who always needs gentle care. It’s okay, honey. You’re just fragile,” a family member once cooed to me in a baby voice. She held my hands with a confident smile, as if what she said would not bring shame and would soothe my worries like a hot cup of cider.

I’m sure she had the intention of being encouraging. But, all it did was crush my “delicate” petals.

Fighting Battles: Mental Health & Shame

As someone with Harm Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Severe Anxiety Disorder, and a newly developed Social Anxiety Disorder, I feel like anything but delicate. You can read how I learned to live with my mental health diagnoses here. The unseen battles I fight on a day to day basis — and the energy and courage it takes to do what is seemingly normal to someone else — has given me a calloused heart. 

If you have a mental disorder, you probably feel the same way. However, the shame I started to feel at social gatherings grew so strong that I began to believe in what shame was whispering to me in between the holiday music crescendos. The hardest part of it all is that shame often puts you in a lose-lose situation. 

Hypothetical Examples & Options

Here’s a hypothetical example that I have experienced the likes of, time and time again:

You spend some time at a gathering and run into triggers and stressors. This causes you to react, and now you have all of this worry and fear that you are “a burden” or “bringing the mood down.” So what do you do?

Option 1: You Power Through it All

You slur in a few apologies or explanations, further exposing your struggles to the people around you. You remain in your distress, and feel like you need to keep saying sorry. As the shame gets stronger, you start to wonder if you even belong. People might start treating you differently in an attempt to accommodate, which leaves you feeling humiliated. Or worse, they say something that is actually a bit insulting. You compare yourself to the other people in the group who are “normal” and seemingly having a good time. You use the last of your energy to mask all these feelings, and aren’t mentally present to what’s going on in the room.

Option 2: You decide to remove yourself from the event or group.

This can look like leaving early or not going at all. At first, you have a sense of relief that you can “run away” from revealing more of your disorder, receiving more judgment, or avoiding even more triggers. Then, a tidal wave of sadness hits you. You didn’t actually want to be alone — you wanted to be with your friends and loved ones. And wanted to do that activity you were excited about. You start to have FOMO, or fear of missing out.

You panic and imagine the surrounding people having a great time. And you feel the envious emotions creeping in. Worst of all, you begin to believe that perhaps you not being there is best. You are a burden anyway, so without you, they can have more fun. The remainder of your day might be ruined. And you start to question who you are to others. 

The Aftermath of Both Options: Anxiety & Shame

No matter what you choose, you ultimately wonder if you’re missing out on life. Both options make you fill with envy and confusion. And this is even more jarring during the holiday season, when you’re expected to be full of cheer. The long term damage of this shame is that you start to constantly contemplate who you are to others. Shame convinces you, that because you experience these public moments, other people only see you as the “anxious” or “depressed” person. Then, you relay the events in your mind on repeat; even months later. All of which impacts your decision making about social ability during the holiday season.

Tips on Navigating Anxiety & Shame

For me, despite being an extroverted character, my anxiety disorders have made me feel exhausted after long periods of time with others. This eventually accumulates to me feeling physically unwell, and because of that, I have spent a lot of time meditating and practicing solutions that I’d like to share. 

1. Be aware of when you’re overbooking yourself.

Saying “no” or leaving an event early is okay. Acknowledge that social gatherings are a lot to deal with, especially after experiencing a pandemic. You are completely normal for feeling overwhelmed at times, and know that you’re not alone. Check your calendar and commitments to find if you are overworking yourself socially or spreading yourself too thin with other obligations. Some of your anxiety may be because you have overcommitted to too many things and need to spend more time with yourself.

2. Know when to say no to “anxiety builders.”

Even after you have decided to attend an event, you are still allowed to turn down something that may increase your discomfort and stress. If you feel pressured to play a group game you don’t like or eat food you don’t want to try, know that it’s okay to not participate. 

3. Find someone that makes you feel safe.

Don’t be afraid to bring a plus one to the event that can help you feel more comfortable. Work together to enjoy the gathering, and if able, let them in on the triggers you may have so that they can help you navigate them.

4. Plan when you will leave, especially if you’re going with other people.

If you’re going alone, create an end time for yourself. If you’re going with other people, have a discussion so that you can agree on what time to leave together. We all hit social limits, and your limits should be respected just as much as someone else’s. Be detailed with your plan, including methods for how to temporarily remove yourself if needed.

5. Investigate the itinerary beforehand.

Before committing to a gathering, don’t shy away from asking the host what’s happening. By knowing the schedule, you won’t be surprised or feel stressed by any sudden plans. This will also help you decide if you want to commit to the event, politely decline, or prepare accordingly.

6. Offer to host.

Offer to host an event this season if it brings you a sense of excitement. For some people, hosting is a nice way to control the narrative, but moreso, be in their own space. You can decide what food and activities to plan, and have the comforts of your home around you.

7. Make time for self care before or after the event.

Don’t be afraid to cut out time to unwind or prepare for an event. Plan something super relaxing ahead of a busy day ahead, or do an activity you love as a reward for when you’re done. I love writing even the smallest rewards in my planner (like a face mask), because we deserve to love ourselves.

8. Create a safe space for everyone to talk about their mental health.

If you feel comfortable, open the floor to discuss mental health topics. It doesn’t have to be super clinical. For example: “What is something you’d like to learn about yourself this season?” “Is there anything you’re worried about during the holidays that we can help with?” “Are you missing someone this year?” Finding common ground allows us to help one another, and brings in the reality that many of us are struggling with something.

9. Address judgmental comments.

If you feel hurt by something someone said — whether at the event or in the past — set aside five minutes with them when you feel safe and prepared. Explain that you are not placing blame or accusing them, but that you want to inform them about how their statement made you feel. By pointing out hurtful comments, you can remind others that their words can cause unintentional harm. Create a space for forgiveness, and provide some statement examples that may be more encouraging or helpful. 

10. Do an act of kindness.

When in a state of stress, I find a great antidote is to shift the attention from myself to someone else. You can offer to help clean the dishes or decorate before the gathering. Sometimes, I like to bring little handmade gifts or letters to make my friends feel recognized and appreciated, and to start comforting conversations and memories.

11. Reflect with a gratitude list afterwards.

Regardless of how the event went, I find there is always one little thing I can write down and be grateful for. 

12. If you decide not to attend an event, it’s okay to prioritize something else.

Just because you have time to go to an event, doesn’t mean you have the energy to socialize. Turning down invitations doesn’t make you less than or incapable, it just means you’re choosing to put your limited energy into something else. This could mean deciding to rest, because that’s just as important as being social. Remind yourself that the other people at the event will miss you, and a lot of the intrusive thoughts you have about how they perceive or feel about you are untrue. By establishing more boundaries and limits, you can find yourself enjoying the time that you do spend together.

Reminder to You!

Remember, you are not a burden, and you do not need to defend yourself to others. Spend time with your mindfulness exercises, a therapist, or a professional to sort through the shame and intrusive thoughts that can make social experiences difficult for you. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, educate yourself, and bring love to the front of these gatherings. And who knows, your experiences may allow you to help someone else this holiday season. 

– Sarah

Life as a Game, Flash Poetry & More

Hello all! I have chosen a new title for this blog series! From “Navigating Autism” to “The Game We Call Life”. I’m still going to talk about my experiences with autism! I’m also going to talk about my experiences being BIPOC, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, with mental health and just my overall life experience(s). Or as Ally says, lived wisdom!

My Flash Poem

reminiscing life

Reading those words reminds me of how much I want my poetry to be dissected by an English class. Besides that fact, this poem highlights a generalized statement of personal experiences. I feel like many people reminisce days they never had. But this poem isn’t just about the reminiscing, it’s also about going after it; eventually.

For Future English Classes

Inspiration to write this poem was truck by feeling like I missed certain things in life because I wasn’t living for myself. I was controlled from a young age by what I can or cannot do because I was assigned female at birth. Reminiscing the days I have not experienced link to gender identity and BIPOC history. It was common that people of the BIPOC community (traditionally) didn’t assign a gender to their child at birth. However, a child was able to announce their gender identity by the age of 5 or 6 and live as their truest self. The land spirits, elders, and/or shaman would then give these children a name. In some cases, a child would name themselves. I’m quoting my ancestors on this.

Personally, at the age of 4, I became aware of my gender identity through my self-perception of being a boy. I was aware of my attraction to feminine people at the age of 4 too! I was actually really verbally expressive about my attraction to feminine people and my self-perception. Unfortunately, it was swept under the rug to be hidden from the world. I felt stuck in society’s “evolution” of norms.

I reminisce the day that I was able to be myself without expectations of gender identity from birth.

Maybe This Can Act as Words of Life Encouragement 🙂 !

As much as I can reminisce on the days I never had, I know I can’t live those experiences in this physical reality. However, I can call back what I wasn’t able to experience by healing my wounds. Play life the way you want to; as yourself.

– Dez 🙂

Voting on November 8th, General Election

How many of you received a text message from a state representative? Over the past few weeks, I have received over 5 text messages about who to vote for. I have also received over 5 pieces of mail for who to vote for with ‘red flag’ language. There probably were a few phone calls that I didn’t pick up. This makes voting a bit nerve racking due to the many choices!

To Say the Least

I’m someone who is extremely uninterested in politics. I surely don’t follow politics. But there’s an importance to keep/put people like us in office! That includes those who care more about those who are struggling with mental health, addiction, gender identity, sexuality, to stay alive, etc. rather than trying to control people’s rights as human beings.

Voting Should be Influenced by YOU

Many of us allow other people to influence our choices with their use of words without doing basic research. To the people who see past particular choices of language, AKA the ‘red flags’, thank you! We’ve all been in a position where we haven’t picked up on the ‘red flag’ language because of surrounding influences. For you, question political “arguments”, especially when they don’t make sense!

This is a friendly reminder that we must research who to vote for despite our family’s, friend’s, and even our own political affiliation! Ask yourself:

  • What do I struggle with that this person will address?
  • What are my values that this person has?
  • Will people and/or the people I love be in heightened danger due to their mental health, sex at birth, gender identity and/or sexuality if this person gets elected?
  • How does this person talk about/to others who are different from them?
  • What matters more? The people or the economy?

There are many people who regret voting for someone of their political affiliation as it has put their loved ones in danger!

Your Voice Matters!

– Dez 🙂

Working In Education: How I Feel About Back To School

Working in education has given me an entirely different perspective on the “Back to School” season. Many parents and students dread the back to school season but it’s not like that for me. Yes, I’ll admit that working in education is stressful but there is one thing I know for sure and that’s that I love my job.

I know a lot of people are already back in school but I have a week left of Summer and I’m feeling A LOT. By the end of last year, I was feeling immense burnout. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to survive another year. I was exhausted. But little did I know, I would end up doing summer school which meant I wasn’t going to get much of a break this year.

Summer school was full of chaos but it was the perfect reminder of why I love my job. It’s because I love my kids. Their excitement to see me and learn new things every day warms my heart. My kiddos are nothing short of spectacular. They truly are some of the smartest, silliest and kindest kids I’ve ever met and they’ve never let their disabilities stop them. Each of them inspire me to be a better person every single day.

So, when people ask me how I feel about back to school, I tell them it makes me sad but excited at the same time. Sad because the summer is ending but excited because I get to see all of my kids again. I’m so thankful that I get to be part of their learning journey. I can’t wait to get back to work and start the new school year.

Working in education has changed the back to school season for me forever. It is a season for new beginnings, continued journeys and so much more for our students. I know it can be daunting but don’t let that keep you from all the wonderful experiences that come with going back to school.

Read NPR’s article Keep An Eye On Your Student’s Mental Health This Back-to-School Season. Really great read

Do you work in education too? Check out my post Back To School Self-Care here on TurningPointCT.org!

To The Friends I’ve Grown Apart From…

friends

I wish someone had told me that getting older and growing up meant that I’d grow apart from the friends I thought I’d have forever. I came across a post recently on Facebook about this very subject. It was a letter written to friends someone had grown apart from but it rang true for me too. So, I wanted to write a letter of my own.

To The Friends I’ve Grown Apart From,

While we may not talk anymore, I’m so thankful for the chapter of my life that you were in. We don’t talk everyday anymore and while that can be really sad, I know that it’s okay. It seems our lives would only intertwine for a short time but I’m still so thankful for it. You taught me so much about life and myself, I don’t think I could ever repay you. You have no idea how much love I still have for you.

We’ve made so many wonderful memories and I will never forget them. I will cherish them for the rest of my life. I see you making new memories with new people and honestly, I couldn’t be happier for you. Some of you have new homes, babies, jobs or even marriages and that’s so amazing. I’m sad but all I want for you is to be who you are supposed to be, to live the life you want.

We don’t pour our hearts out to each other anymore but I am still cheering you on always. Whether we parted on good or bad terms, I am still supporting you from a distance. Thank you for being a part of my journey and loving me through all my difficult times. I am truly grateful.

Sincerely,

An Old Friend

Read Kaitlyn Dinner’s article How Losing Friendships Can Be a Sign of Growth right on Medium’s website!

Check out The TurningPointCT Podcast Friendships to hear about Kailey, Michael and Therell’s friendships over time here on our website!

My Favorite Shows To Binge-Watch

In honor of Binge Day, I’ve decided to share the shows that I like to binge on the regular. There’s only a handful of shows that I find comfort in that I like to binge. Today, I’ll be sharing my top five favorite shows that I like to binge watch. They’re all over the place but they’re the absolute best (in my opinion anyways)!

Bob’s Burgers

bob's burgers binge

My absolute favorite favorite show to binge watch is Bob’s Burgers. I’m a huge fan. The storylines are relatable for anyone watching, the humor is dry but still magnificent and the characters are just wonderful. For those of you who don’t watch the show, it’s about the Belcher family who own a burger restaurant and have to navigate the world and its obstacles. I feel like I can see a little bit of myself in all of the characters of the show. They each have their quirks and I love it so much. I’ve probably watched this show over a hundred times if I’m being honest. It’s so easy to lose track of time watching this.

Criminal Minds

Now, this one is definitely a weird one BUT I know, I’m not the only one who could binge watch this over and over again. There’s just something about the BAU and all of their cases that drag me in every single time. I can’t get enough. It’s so hard to pick a favorite character but I’d have to pick Dr. Spencer Reid for sure. Each of the characters in the show have their own quirks and they all mesh so well, their relationship as a family versus just a team reminds me that there really are good people out there catching the bad guys (even if the show’s not real – there MUST be good people out there like them)!

Parks & Recreation

parks and rec binge

Now, I know there’s been a heavy debate between whether Parks & Recreation is better than The Office and vice versa. Personally, I don’t think they’re that comparable. There’s two totally different dynamics happening and they’re both equally enjoyable. To each their own though, I will say lately I prefer Parks & Recreation. All of the characters in the show have something different to offer us as the audience. My personal favorite is Ron Swanson, he’s a no bs kind of guy and isn’t afraid to tell it how it is. I think I see a little bit of Ron in myself sometimes (which I don’t think is a bad thing).

Schitt’s Creek

If you haven’t seen Schitt’s Creek yet, definitely get on it because I’m telling you, you’re missing out. Following this high maintenance family through their journey navigating the real, working and difficult world is both relatable and hilarious to watch. David is one of my favorite characters in the series, his energy is everything that I currently embody and I love it. This crazy family is not at all what you’d expect but if you want to know more, you’re going to have to watch it for yourself. I also think there are some important lessons about life sprinkled throughout the show and those matter so much in a world like this.

Ghosts (US Version)

And finally, my current fave to watch over and over is CBS’ series Ghosts. It’s the US version of BBC’s television series Ghosts. It features a young couple who inherit a house full of ghosts but only the wife can see them. Each of the ghosts have features on them that pertain to their death. It just makes you wanna know more about what happened to them. I’ve fallen in love with all of the ghosts and I could watch them over and over again but still never get tired of it. The second season just came out too and I can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans they get into this time around.

What’re your favorite shows to binge watch?

Check out NBC News’ article What Happens to Your Brain When You Binge-Watch a TV series right on their website!

Read Therell’s post Impractical Jokers: One of My Favorite Shows here on TurningPointCT.org to hear about his favorite show 🙂

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.

Baking It Perfect: National Baker’s Day

baking

On September 23, we celebrate National Baker’s Day. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies so you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn about it. When I’m baking, I feel like nothing in the world can go wrong. I’m truly content when I’m making cupcakes, cakes, cookies and so much more. Now I have a day that’s just for me and my favorite hobby.

Lately, I haven’t had much time to bake and sometimes, that puts a damper on my day. I love to try new recipes and experiment. With baking, I feel like the possibilities for delicious treats are simply never-ending. Over the summer, I decided to try my hand at making my own buttercream frosting and it came out better than I expected.

I made chocolate cupcake batter from scratch and then I thought about what I could do with these chocolate cupcakes. I mean there are so many possibilities. I ended up settling for two different buttercreams. One was an Oreo buttercream and the other was peanut butter buttercream. They both tasted spectacular. I topped the Oreo ones with half an Oreo and the peanut butter ones with a chocolate dipped pretzel. My friends and family were so impressed, some even thought that I had bought them.

Baking is an art to me. It takes so much time, effort, creativity and love to create all of these delicious treats. So, please take the time to appreciate all the wonderful bakers that you have in your life!

Check out my post And The Baker’s Gonna Bake, Bake, Bake here on TurningPointCT.org!

Read Better Homes & Gardens’ post 6 Reasons Baking Is A Therapeutic Form of Self-Care on their website 🙂

National Coloring Day: It’s Actually Good For You!

coloring books
Two of my favorite coloring books!

September 14th is National Coloring Day! This day reminds us to set time aside for the things we enjoy while also giving us the opportunity to explore new, fun and creative art mediums! This activity alone has so many mental health benefits to offer so I’m taking today to share some with you and talk about my own experiences.

One of the biggest benefits of coloring is that it can actually reduce your anxiety. By reducing your anxiety, you’re doing more than allowing your mind to relax and function more efficiently. You’re also giving your body the chance to relax. Relieving stress and tension from your body allows it to rest and regain its energy.

Personally, coloring is one of my favorite activities. I often use it to self-soothe when I’m having a tough day. Two of my favorite coloring books are the ones pictured above, the World of Flowers and the Enchanted Forest. Both were created by Johanna Basford, she’s got plenty of others but these ones are my favorite. I love all of the intricate little details in them. They can keep me busy for hours.

I like to start by outlining the details of the page in marker with the colors I plan to use. This helps me steady my mind and focus on what I’m doing. It also really makes your page pop with detail. When I’m feeling anxious, coloring lets me escape from reality for a little while. National Coloring Day is your chance to escape. It’s a chance for you to pull out all of your favorite art mediums and just color to your heart’s desire. No matter your age, get out there and color!

coloring page
This is a page from my Enchanted Forest coloring book that I’ve been working on

Read the Cleveland Clinic’s article 3 Reasons Adult Coloring Can Actually Relax Your Brain

Encouragement Matters: You Can Do It!

encouragement you can do it

Today we are celebrating Mayor Belinda LaForce of Arkansas’ National Day of Encouragement. We celebrate this day to remind the people around us that encouragement does matter. It may seem like a very small gesture to encourage someone but small gestures can go a long way. Today is devoted to lifting the spirits of the those around us while making a positive impact at the same time.

Encouraging people is what’s going to keep the world going. With just a few words, we can inspire our friends, family and even coworkers to reach for the stars and chase their dreams. Sometimes, when we want to give up, all we need is to hear the right words. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I was feeling this way growing up. All I wanted was for someone to encourage me not to give up on my dreams.

Because I was lacking encouragement while I was growing up, I made sure to always encourage my friends and family so they didn’t give up on their dreams either. I know my life would be so different if I had a few words of encouragement but I’m also proud of all of the obstacles I’ve faced because they’ve given me the ability to grow.

So, today I want you to remember why encouragement matters. First and foremost, it’s free! It costs absolutely nothing to offer your friends, family and even strangers a few reassuring words. The right words have the ability to remind us to never give up, to keep going. There are so many different ways to encourage the people around us and with that comes so many benefits. Encouragement is self-motivating while teaching us to become better role models.

Take today to encourage the people around you to keep going.

How will you be encouraging the people around you today?

Read We Live Life Young’s article Why We Need To Encourage Others 🙂

Check out TurningPointCT’s post Advice Vs. Encouragement here on the website for a cute comic about encouragement!

Happiness Happens, So Smile!

Every year on August 8th, we celebrate National Happiness Happens Day. This day is to encourage people to be happy, no matter what anyone has to say about it. Before I get into anything else, I want to take the time to share the history of this day.

In 1988, Pamela Gail Johnson founded an exclusive club. This club was called the Secret Society of Happy People. It was created to allow individuals to speak about all the things that made them happy because they were truly happy people but they didn’t want others to rain on their parade so it was kept a secret.

Over the years, many more people talked about happiness. They talked about how to get happy, be happier, find happiness and even spread happiness. The popularity of the group increased so much that they no longer felt the need to keep it a secret. In 2019, the group changed their name to the Society of Happy People. In 1999, they created Admit You’re Happy Day, which eventually changed to Happiness Happens Day. Every year, they pick a new theme. This year’s theme is Count Your Happy.

Counting your happy simply means trying to recall all of the happy moments in your day because sometimes we really don’t. Often, we forget to recognize the moments of happiness in our day. Happiness Happens day is the perfect reminder of to remember those moments. Don’t worry, I think that it’s something everyone forgets about.

So, this year for happiness happens day, take the time to appreciate all of the happy moments in your day. Even if it’s small. I would also like to add that you should take the time to appreciate all of the people in your life that make you happy. They’re important too.

Finally, I want to leave you with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The quote says, “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness”. I think this one is an important quote to remember because it takes so much energy to be angry. Don’t waste a minute of your day on anger. Choose happiness, even when it seems happiness isn’t possible. I promise it is.

Smile a little more, happiness can go quite a long way.

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check out Kailey’s post Happiness Is… here on TurningPointCT.org! 🙂

Let Go Of The Life You’ve Planned…

This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite Joseph Campbell quotes about life. It says, “We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Funny enough, it’s from a one of my favorite Criminal Minds episodes (Season 9, Episode 24 if you’re curious). Little did I know, this quote would teach me something important about life.

This quote isn’t about giving up on what you want. It’s about preparing yourself let go of what you have to make space for the things that are to come. This is something I knew I needed to hear. I spent so much time trying to live the life I planned for myself that I forgot to actually live. I didn’t want to do that anymore and this quote was a good reminder. In my heart, I knew that there was a life waiting for me and I didn’t have to worry.

Sometimes, the life you planned for yourself isn’t the one you need. There’s a life waiting for you out there. One that is full of all the things you’ll need to grow and live a life full of happiness. Don’t be afraid to let go of the things that you have. You have to leave room to grow. Don’t forget that.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Joseph Campbell

Read Psych Alive’s post Live Your Own Life: How To Create The Life of Your Dreams to figure out where to start!

Check out Kailey’s post Taking My Power Back here on TurningPointCT.org to hear about what she’s doing to make her life a good one!

Your Body Is A Summer Body

I have no doubt that you’ve heard the phrase “summer body”. To most, a “summer body” is a skinny and well-toned body but I’m here to remind you that’s not true. All bodies are summer bodies but we’ve allowed the world around us to dictate what we should look like so we don’t always feel that way.

We can’t keep letting our culture decide whether or not our bodies are ready for the summer. We have grown up in a world where we believe that we aren’t beautiful simply because we’re not thin and don’t wear bikinis to show it all off. I’m here to tell you that that has to stop. Your body IS a summer body!

No worries if you’re still learning to love your body, it took me some time too. When I was overweight, I used to hate the summertime. I couldn’t wear what I wanted because I was so worried about what everyone else had to say. I didn’t have a summer body, so why was I going to show it off in a bikini? That’s the thing. I wasn’t. I let society bully me into believing that my body wasn’t good enough for the summer.

Eventually, I didn’t care anymore. I realized that my body could be a summer body if I wanted it to! I was overweight still but I’d finally decided to buy my first two piece bathing suit. Let me tell you, that was an emotional roller coaster. I was so happy to be wearing something that I felt confident in. For a moment, I thought to myself, why did I ever let someone tell me what I can look like for the summer. I mean, seriously? Why should we let someone else determine what we should look like in the summer, let alone any other season? Truth is, we shouldn’t. It’s not for the world to decide.

So, next time you’re wondering whether your body’s ready for summer, just say yes. It’s not anyone else’s choice to decide what your body should look like or what you should wear. You wanna wear a two piece? Do it. I bet you’ll great. Crop top and shorts but your pudge is showing? Who cares! It’s not their body. Do more of what makes you happy!

Check out SELF’s post Can We All Just Stop With Summer ‘Body Goals’? 🙂

Check out our podcast Body Image Struggles to hear about body image struggles and tips for dealing with negative self-talk!

Summer Self-Care Matters Too!

blue illustrated hello summer facebook post

School’s out and summer is in full swing! Everyone’s so focused on having fun and going out that they forget to take care of themselves. I’m here to remind you that summer self-care is just as important as your regular routine!

I know that taking care of yourself probably isn’t your first thought during the summer but it really should be. I mean, don’t you want to feel good while you’re out doing doing fun things? The answer should be yes. Summer is the best time for self-care, the weather’s warm and there are so many things you can do to take care of yourself.

When I was younger, I didn’t care much about taking care of myself during the summertime, I just wanted to have fun. Now that I’m older, I know how important self-care is especially in the summer. I was going out with friends and going on vacation but it didn’t feel right because I wasn’t feeling good mentally or physically. I did those things anyways because I didn’t want it to keep me from the fun.

Having fun is great but so is feeling mentally and physically good, that’s why you can’t give up your self-care routine just because it’s summertime. Before you go out and do all those fun summer activities, make sure that you take the time to check-in with yourself.

Check out 15 Activities for Your Summer Self-Care Checklist from Mental Health First Aid for some self-care tips for the season!

Read Kailey’s post Getting Out In Nature Is My Self-Care right here on TurningPointCT.org as I’m sure she’ll be in nature all summer!

Alone

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

Supporting Your LGBTQIA+ Friends During Pride Month

???????????????????????????????????????????

While Pride Month might just seem like a month full of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, I promise you that it’s so much more than that. This is the first Pride Month that I’ll be celebrating for myself but prior to this, I’ve always just done my best to support my friends who are LGBTQIA+ during pride. Supporting your friends during Pride Month is critical! Over time, I’ve learned that there are several ways to support your friends during pride. So, I’d like to share a few of them with you.

You can start supporting your friends during Pride Month by educating yourself. If you’re unfamiliar with the LGBTQIA+ community, or maybe know very little about it, then educating yourself on what you don’t know is one of the best ways that you can support them. Take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the spectrum of sexualities revolving around Pride Month. This is also a chance for you to learn about the history of Pride Month and how it came to be!

Another way that you provide great support to them is by using their proper names and pronouns. I understand that you might have known someone prior to their transition but you’ve gotta respect who they’ve become. The person they used to be might be part of them but that’s not who they are anymore. It’s incredibly disheartening to be invalidated by the lack of respect that people have for your identity. Don’t be disrespectful. I know it will take time but make the effort to learn your friends’ new names and/or pronouns.

My final piece of advice on supporting your LGBTQIA+ friends during Pride Month is that if you’re a straight ally, don’t make pride about you. It’s not about you. It’s a month for your friends to take the opportunity to showcase their pride in who they are! Pride can be difficult sometimes for those who have not yet come out to the world, remind them that it’s okay to be themselves even if it’s in private.

Supporting your friends who are LGBTQIA+ during Pride Month and all year round is important. It’s the best way to remind them that they matter, that they are loved. Support is critical especially when it comes to being an ally.

How are you supporting your friends during Pride Month?

Check out Brittany Wong’s article How To Be A Good Straight Ally To LGBTQ Friends During Pride on Huffpost!

Read my post Pride Month Feels A Little Different This Year right here on TurningPointCT.org! 🙂

Pride Month Feels A Little Different This Year

???????????????????????????????????????????

This year, celebrating Pride Month is going to be a little different for me. Before I get into that, I want to talk about the importance of pride month. We celebrate Pride Month in June in recognition of the Stonewall Riots that occurred in June of 1969. The Stonewall Riots were a result of several police raids that occurred at the Stonewall Inn — a well known gay bar. After the second raid, members of the LGBT community were fed up. The constant police harassment and discrimination was tiring, so they rioted.

These riots jumpstarted a movement that would change the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community today and for that, I’m thankful. June is for celebrating the voices and cultures of this community as well as the support of equal rights for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Up until this year, I’ve never actually celebrated Pride Month. I never felt like I could. I was raised in a home where being gay was okay for everyone else but not me.

It would make me feel awful. I just want to be me. Who I love shouldn’t affect how people see me. I decided to write my coming out post last year because I was tired of just pretending I was someone I wasn’t. I wasn’t out to very many people and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. It took a really long time for me to figure out who I was but now that I have, I’m not letting anyone take that from me. I’m pansexual and I love hearts, not parts and I’m proud of who I am.

So, that’s why this year, Pride Month is going to be different for me. I want people to know that I’m proud of who I am. I don’t care what they have to say about who I love. This month is for people like me to showcase the pride we have in our sexuality as well as the community. I will be celebrating all month as much as I can. I hope to take my brother Dante and his boyfriend to their first pride parade, it would be my first too! I’m so excited to celebrate this month!

How are you planning to celebrate Pride Month?

Read Bustle’s article What The History Of Pride Month Means For Celebrations Today, really great read!

Things That Are Actually Self-Care But Seem Rude

???????????????????????????????????????????

Sometimes, there are things we do and choices we make that might seem rude to other people. That’s not the case, it’s a form of self-care! We tend to put others feelings before our own and we should really stop doing that because what we need and want matters too. In fact, those needs and wants should be our first priority. I wanted to share a few things with you and remind you that these things you’re doing aren’t rude or selfish. I’ve shared a few below:

Saying No

It’s okay to say no. In fact, saying no is great for your mental health. It teaches the people around you what your boundaries are and how to respect them. Say no to things that make you unhappy or uncomfortable because you have to remember that what you need is just as important as everything else. When you choose to say yes when you really want to say no, you’re teaching yourself to put others before you. Don’t do that. Take care of you first!

Changing Your Mind

It’s okay to change your mind! Never let anyone make you feel bad for changing your mind. You are allowed to. We are always changing our minds. Think about it this way, when you were little you dreamed of becoming something but maybe that’s changed for you now. When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist and then a teacher. Eventually, I settled on being a nurse but I didn’t end up wanting to do that. Now, I’m working towards being a school psychologist and I’ve never been happier. I changed my mind and that’s okay. As we grow as individuals, we begin to learn what we like and what we don’t so never feel bad about changing your mind!

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is great for your mental health. It teaches the people around you respect as well as what your limits are. When you make your boundaries clear, people will begin understand what you are and aren’t okay with, and they’ll hopefully adjust their behavior to respect your boundaries. The people who don’t respect your boundaries are ones you should not want in your life. Healthy boundaries can also help you improve your self-esteem and make you more confident. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries, you deserve the same respect you give.

Putting Yourself First

This is a really big one. I struggle with this myself sometimes. Putting yourself first is NOT rude or selfish. It is the best thing that you can do for your mental health. We spend so much time trying to fulfil the needs of everyone around us and we forget about ourselves. I know that I’ve spent a majority of my time people pleasing and I forgot to take care of myself. What we need and want is just as important as what everyone else wants. Always put yourself first, no matter what anyone says.

Taking A Break

Please remind yourself that taking a break is okay. Sometimes, when we’ve got a thousand things to do we forget to take a break. We run ourselves into the ground until we’ve got nothing left to give. It shouldn’t be like that. We shouldn’t have to feel bad for needing to rest. Instead of running ourselves thin, we have to remind ourselves to take a break. We have to recharge and rest, it’s okay if everything doesn’t get done right away. Please know that it’s okay to need a break or rest.

Read The New York Times article Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish to learn why practicing self-care is important and not selfish right on their website!

Check out Kailey’s post Getting Out In Nature Is My Self-Care here on TurningPointCT.org 🙂

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!

Appreciate Where You Are In Your Journey…

You should appreciate where you are in life, even if it’s not where you want to be just yet. Where you are now matters just as much as where you want to be. I know it can be difficult to acknowledge the small things when you’re worrying about the bigger picture but sometimes, you just have to enjoy the ride.

Many people want to be something more and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s totally natural! Unfortunately, the biggest mistake people make is getting frustrated when they feel stuck like they’re not going to get anywhere in life. Don’t look at it like that, you have to try to learn from and appreciate it for what it is.

Life isn’t just some destination that we’re trying to get to, living our lives in an experience. We can’t spend every moment trying to get the bigger picture. Doing that causes us to lose sight of where we are now. Where we are now is important too, it’s a key part of getting to the bigger picture. If we’re not living our lives for experience and fulfillment then what are we even doing?

I look back on my life now and I’m thankful for those moments of frustration. Those moments taught me perseverance, strength and how to appreciate my journey a little more. They were the stepping stones I needed to grow. I didn’t appreciate those moments until long after because I didn’t know how important they would be to my journey through life. Now, I am glad to be where I am. I’m not exactly where I want to be right now but I am one step closer to it. For that I’m thankful.

Read I’m Thankful for my Journey with Mental Illness from Still I Run, Runners For Mental Health Awareness!

Check out Sasha’s post My Thoughts On Trauma right here on TurningPointCT.org! 🙂

Turning Red Is Full Of Important Life Lessons

Pixar’s newest movie Turning Red truly showcases the struggle that comes with dealing with strong emotions. It also addresses how these strong emotions can affect the way that we view ourselves. The movie follows thirteen year old Mei Lee and the struggles that come with being a teenager as well as dealing with the emotions that accompany it.

Though, the way that Mei learns to deal with her emotions is not exactly traditional. In fact, it’s very far from it but hey, it works. I won’t get into all the details of the movie (I’ll let you check it out for yourself) but I do want to share some important moments from the movie that I think we could all take a note or two from.

After showing strong emotion after an incredibly embarrassing event, Mei ends up turning into a red panda. She is distraught and horrified by this because she now finds herself to be gross and ugly. Even though it can be hard, she does her best to keep her emotions (and panda) at bay but it isn’t always easy controlling our emotions.

Out of all the important people in Mei’s life, her friends are absolutely the most important. They are the ones who remind her who she really is and what she’s worth. While in her red panda form, she often feels disgusted by herself and feels that nobody will like her. This clearly isn’t the case but that’s how she feels and that’s okay. Her friends love her for who she is and they even tell her that she’ll always be their girl, “panda or no panda”.

Friends like this are important, these are the people you know will always have your back. They’re the ones that will love you, I mean all of you, the good and the bad. I have a few friends like this and I am very thankful for them. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Before the end of the movie, when Mei is really struggling with whether or not to keep her panda, her father shares something important with her. He reminds her that people have all sorts of sides to them and sometimes, those sides are messy and emotional. We aren’t supposed to push the ‘bad’ or difficult parts of ourselves away, we have to make room for them. Live with it.

We have to accept ourselves for who we are. This means taking the good AND bad parts of who we are and making the most out of them. I know this isn’t always easy but the parts of yourself that seem hard to deal with are important. They’re meant to teach you and help you grow.

Read The New York Times’ article Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ Helps Break A Glass Ceiling, a really wonderful read!

Check out Kailey’s video Things That Did Not Help My Mental Health right here on TurningPointCT.org!

Rock Your Socks Off For World Down Syndrome Day!

???????????????????????????????????????????

We celebrate World Down Syndrome Day every year on March 21. We celebrate this day on the 21st day of March because it symbolizes the individuality of the triplication of the 21st chromosome which is what causes Down syndrome. This day is to create awareness of Down Syndrome and praise those who are living with Down’s every day.

Today we raise public awareness to create a unified global voice that advocates for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down’s. Now, I know you’re wondering why I said Rock Your Socks Off for this special day and there’s a reason for that. You can celebrate today by wearing your brightest, craziest and most colorful mismatched socks!

Your crazy socks will start wonderfully beautiful conversations about Down Syndrome. They are meant to remind people that it’s okay to be a little different. Everyone has their own different colorful and unique abilities. Those abilities deserve to be recognized and talked about. So, if you’ve got em, please rock em!

To brighten your day, enjoy the cutest carpool karaoke below!

Want more information about World Down Syndrome Day? Check out their website here! 🙂

A lot of children and young adults with disabilities often struggle with sensory overload. You can read Kailey’s post What is Sensory Overload? right here on TurningPointCT.org!

Self-Harming Shouldn’t Be Treated Like A Joke

???????????????????????????????????????????

T/W: self-harm and self-harming.

Talking about self-harming is something that I have always avoided because I know what people are going to say. They would say that I was doing it for attention but I wasn’t. In reality, I didn’t want anyone to know. Most of the self-harming I did was a result of my parents split when I was in middle school. Their split took a heavy emotional and physical toll on me and eventually, it just became too much.

I felt like I had no one. I couldn’t talk to my mom about how I felt and the counselor at school could only do so much. Emotionally, I felt so broken. I just wanted the pain I felt to go away and it wasn’t. No matter how hard I tried to make it stop, it just didn’t. I didn’t know what else to do, I needed an escape so I turned to self-harming. This wasn’t my best choice but it did make me forget about how much emotional pain I was dealing with. And that’s what I wanted.

Read Brianna’s post When Someone Made a ‘Funny’ Comment About My Self-Harm Scars on The Mighty

Check out Kailey’s post Quotes I Really Needed To Hear When I Was Struggling right here on TurningPointCT.org!

Check out our Resources – Support By Topic Page for resources like S.A.F.E ALTERNATIVES® and Adolescent Self Injury Foundation (ASIF).

Self-Care Plan: How To Create Your Own!

Welcome back to Self-care Sunday! This week I want to share with you the idea of a Self-care Plan. A self-care plan is a set a of tasks or activities that you should complete daily. Completing these activities will help you improve your physical and emotional well-being. Sticking to your self-care plan will lead to a fulfilling, happier, and healthier life for yourself. A plan like this can be extremely beneficial.

We don’t all need the same things to function and so that also means that we won’t have the same self-care plans. And that’s okay. We each have a special set of physical and emotional needs that are unique to us. The use of a self-care plan allows us to meet those needs with care. It allows you to better manage your stress and anxiety, improve your coping skills, and even put an end to harmful habits.

Creating your own plan can be very beneficial in improving your mental health. This plan is vital in managing your stress and anxiety. Taking the time to practice self-care allows your body to activate it’s parasympathetic nervous system. This nervous system is the one that allows your body and your mind to relax. Using a plan allows you time to rest which is important in maintaining stress and anxiety.

You can create your own plan in just a few steps!

  1. Start by taking a look at all of your current habits (the good AND bad ones). This will help you identify the habits that are most harmful to you so that you can get rid of them.
  2. After this you should take them time to identify your own needs. It’s helpful to compile a list of your emotional, mental, physical and professional needs as a good plan will take care of all these areas.
  3. Next you’ll want to think about what self-care practices will properly support those needs. Remember to make time for these practices so that you can keep up with your plan, this is important.
  4. Finally, get rid of your obstacles and I mean that. I’m talking about those harmful habits, get rid of them. You don’t need them anymore. You can take it one day at a time and try replacing one of your bad habits with a good self-care practice so that you can do better!

I have my own self-care plan in place, it’s not much but it’s what works for me! Saturday and Sunday are the days I practice a majority of my self-care because the during the week is usually hectic for me. These are the days when I have the most free time so I make sure to use these days to take care of me. Remember, self-care plans are different for everyone and that’s okay!

In order for these plans to be beneficial, you have to make sure that you keep up with it so you don’t lose any of your progress. Stick to your plan as best as you can and when things are becoming too overwhelming, remind yourself to rest. You should be caring for yourself like you do everything else because your mental health matters.

Check out Psychology Today’s post The Top 10 Tips For Beating Burnout!

Read Kailey’s video Easy Ways To Practice Self-Care right here on TurningPointCT.org 🙂

When You Stop Chasing The Wrong Things…

Natural Style Girl running on the Road HBD Photo Template

Sometimes, we find ourselves chasing after the things that we think we want instead of what we need. When you spend too much time focusing on the wrong things, you tend to lose sight of the things that might be right for you. We have to stop chasing the wrong things if we’re going to grow.

There may be things in your life that you’re chasing that are no longer benefiting you. You have to stop chasing those things so that the things you need to grow have a chance to catch up to you. This also means that you have to be patient.

I know sometimes you don’t want to wait for the right things to find you, but trying to force something to be right isn’t any better. It is much better in the long run to be patient.

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.”

Lolly Daskal

You can read The Importance of Being Patient from Forbes, really great read!

You also check out my post Practicing Self-Love On A Bad Day to learn why it’s important to love yourself a little more on the hard days.

Black History Month: Growing Up Black In A White Town

Black History Month is important to me. Being black is part of who I am, it’s not something that’s going away. I’m proud to be black. Growing up, my family never really talked about things like that. I didn’t even learn anything about it until I was old enough to go to school.

For those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in Salem, CT. The easiest way to describe Salem to you is by calling it a farm town because that’s what it was, at least to me. One of the other things that is most noticeable to people about Salem is that the population is mostly white. Now, I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but can you imagine growing up in a place where there was nobody that looked like you?

This is my kindergarten class photo. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m the only child of color in the photo.

The only other people of color I knew in town were my own relatives and a boy named Michael. I was young when we first moved to Salem, so it never really seemed like a big deal to me. When I got to middle school, I began to ask questions. Why were there no other kids that looked like me? I didn’t really have the answer for that, I still don’t. I didn’t know what it really meant to be black or white but I knew I had to “act white” to fit in.

There were so many things I did in middle school that I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had just been myself and loved me for who I was. I straightened my hair everyday. Honestly, I even tried to dress like the girls I went to school with. I thought it might make them like me more but that was never the case. Still, I continued to straighten my hair and wear clothes I didn’t like just to fit in.

Being black in a mostly white town came with more than just physical identity issues. Middle school was around when my parents split up. This now unfortunately put me in the “all black dads leave” category, and I hated it. Some of the kids in my grade at the time actually gave me a really hard time about it. I was miserable. Being black came with so many stereotypes like that. Kids asked me all the time if I liked fried chicken or Kool-Aid because that’s what black people like, according to them. I did love those things but not because of my skin color, just because I liked them.

Growing up in a mostly white town really made me hate the black part of my identity. It made me feel outcasted and different. I wish my parents had taught me to love all of myself. If only they had taught me more about black history and what it meant to be black. That those stereotypes aren’t who I am. I am proud to be black and I am even more proud of the history that comes with it.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” and I have that same dream for all the colored children and young adults in this world.

Read The New York Times’ article Teachers Tackle Black History Month, Under New Restrictions, it’s a really interesting read!

Read The ‘Other’ Aspect of Black History Month here on TurningPointCT.org!

Isabela And Her Struggle With Being Perfect

Throughout Encanto, Isabela’s family chooses to call her the “perfect” one. Isabela has one of my favorite gifts in the Madrigal family. She can grow flowers, trees, plants and so much more. She’s constantly creating these beautiful, perfect flowers that she hasn’t realized that she can make so many other beautiful things.

The Madrigal family, especially the Abuela, hold Isabela to incredibly high standards and expectations because she’s so perfect. She feels like she has to be perfect all the time because that’s what her family expects of her. She chooses to put on a brave face but she’s tired of being someone she’s not.

Honestly, we’ve all been in her shoes at some point. We’ve all pushed who we really are to the back of our minds because of the expectations set by those around us. Honestly, we aren’t going to be perfect but that’s the reality of the world we live in. I mean, I can definitely admit I’ve been there.

Growing up, I used to think that because I was a girl that I had to do girly things. You know things like doing my hair, wearing makeup, stupid stereotypical girl stuff. I felt like that’s what was expected of me. Eventually, I was over it. I just wanted to be who I wanted to be. No matter how anyone else felt about it.

I didn’t want to wear makeup or do my hair all the time. Honestly, I just wanted to read, learn and express myself. Unfortunately, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that if I continued trying to live up to everyone’s expectations of me. You can’t please everyone. In fact, the only person who’s opinion matters is yours.

At one point in the movie, Mirabel goes to apologize to her sister for ruining her special night. This apology is what she and Bruno believe will save their family’s miracle. Instead, they get into an argument because Mirabel doesn’t really know how Isabela is really feeling. She admits that she was only doing the things that she did because it would benefit the family. While expressing her feelings to her sister, Isabela creates a cactus. This is something she’s never done before. She begins to wonder what more she can do with her gift.

Isabela and Mirabel go off on an exciting, eye-opening musical montage where she creates these beautiful, multicolored cactuses and so much more. She begins to realize that she doesn’t want to be pretty and perfect, she just wants to be true to who she really wants to be. She wants to have fun and be able to express herself the way that she wants. There’s so much more to her than just beautiful flowers.

Before the end of the song, Isabela realizes who she really needs to thank. As a proud, big sister Isabela tells Mirabel that she owes all of it to her. Mirabel taught Isabela that it was okay to be imperfect as long as that’s what felt true. A truly beautiful moment that does in fact fix the cracks in their home and makes the candle’s flame burn brighter. Both Isabela and her relationship with Mirabel truly teach us an important lesson.

Isabela teaches us that being perfect comes with its own consequences. Everything Isabela was doing was not for herself but because that’s what her family was expecting of her. Eventually, she got sick of trying to fit into a box she clearly didn’t fit in anymore. There is much more authenticity in being imperfect than being perfect. Be who you want to be, not what they expect you to be.

Her relationship with her sister on the other hand, now that’s definitely a bigger picture lesson. Isabela and Mirabel do not have the best relationship as sisters. Isabela is constantly telling her sister that she’s only getting in the way and not being helpful when she does things that nobody has asked her to. Despite their rocky relationship, Mirabel still cares about her sister and wants her to be able to express herself. Mirabel was the one who reminded Isabela that it was okay not to be perfect all the time.

Sometimes, we just need someone to remind us that it’s okay not to be perfect. Or that it’s okay to not meet everyone’s expectations of you. But sometimes, that someone has to be you. Never force yourself to fit in a box, you will never have the chance to grow. You deserve to be wholeheartedly yourself and nobody should every make you feel otherwise. There is so much more to who we are than what people expect of us. We are made to grow free and blossom, we should not be let anyone or anything keep us from doing that.

What else can YOU do?

Check out Looper’s article about Why Abuela is hardest on Isabela here!

You can also read Kailey’s post Things I Wish People Knew About Mental Health here on TurningPointCT.org!

Ron Swanson Quotes To Live By

I have always loved Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation. From his wisdom, to his relationships with his coworkers, there’s just something about him that inspires me.

1. “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”

This is my all time favorite Ron Swanson quote. It’s one that I definitely hold close to my heart. Ron said this to Leslie while she was running for city council. For those who haven’t watched the show, Leslie Knope is the most passionate, hardworking woman in the city of Pawnee but she doesn’t put herself first.

Leslie continued to work at the parks department while she was running her campaign for city office. Ron suggests a sabbatical as he realizes it’s becoming too much for Leslie but she refuses. Eventually, they have a heart to heart and Ron tells her of a time when he took on too much. He then tells her “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” because he knows how passionate she is. He wants her to put all her energy and passion into her campaign so it can be successful instead of stretching herself thing between both.

We should be putting all of our passion and energy into one thing like Ron said. It’s better than doing two things with half as much energy and passion.

2. “If you don’t believe in love, what’s the point of living?”

Ron states this quote after discussing whether he’d get married again or not. What he’s trying to say is that love is what keeps us going. I know that some people don’t believe in love but for those who do, we know that it’s more than just a word. I am definitely one of those people.

For those who feel the way about love that I do will understand what I’m about to say. Love is what allows us to give meaning to our lives. A life without love is one that’s dull. The ability to love and be loved by someone else is magic alone. Love teaches us about ourselves and the people in our lives. I don’t think that we’d survive without it.

Love is not just about relationships. It is about the the care and affection we choose to give to others. I know that love can be difficult sometimes but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Love is not always going to be easy. It will hurt you but it will also help you grow. So please, don’t give up on love.

3. “One rage every three months is permitted. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it.”

In this episode, Ron has created The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. This pyramid has what Ron considers to be every to key to success. While going over it with, he points at a square titled “Rage”. He then says “One rage every three months is permitted. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it.” You can have one big moment of anger when you’re struggling but don’t take it out on the people trying to help you.

I get that sometimes you feel like you have to bottle everything up until it explodes. That doesn’t mean when it finally happens that you can take those feelings out on everyone. Especially if they’re only trying to make things a little better for you. Try not to bottle those emotions up, talk to someone when you need help. I promise whoever it is will do everything that they can to help you feel better.

4. “Don’t start chasing applause and acclaim. That way lies madness.”

During this episode, Leslie is doing everything that she can to save townspeople from themselves with her power in legislation. She worked hard to pass new acts and laws but was driven to the point of quitting. She exclaims this to Ron to which he replies, “You choose a thankless job, you can’t be upset when nobody thanks you. Don’t start chasing applause and acclaim. That way lies madness.”

After hearing this, Leslie realizes that she didn’t want to quit because she didn’t love her job or because she wasn’t passionate about it anymore. She realizes that she was seeking out external affirmation from everyone she was trying to help. While she’s trying to do this for the townspeople, it’s not just about them. She does her job because it’s who she is and she’s passionate about it. She’s not doing it for fame or recognition.

This is definitely one that I think we can all get behind. We don’t do our jobs or the things that we do for other people. We do them because that’s who we are and what we love. And we have to remember that the moment you start doing things for other people’s opinions and approval is the moment you begin to lose yourself. Don’t lose yourself trying to chasing fame and recognition. Stay true to yourself, always.

5. “Live your life how you want, but don’t confuse drama with happiness.”

During a conversation with Donna, Ron is explaining to her that drama isn’t happiness. Donna is used to living a life full of superficial and tumultuous relationships. She finds traditional, stable one on one relationships to be boring.

Ron being in a stable, happy marriage finally sees the world in a different light and just wants to pass that onto Donna. He knows Donna deserves someone who is going to be good to her, not those who bring her drama. Drama might be exciting but it’s not what makes you happy. Ron Swanson is a good friend to everyone.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have struggled with this before. I spent time in a long, unhealthy relationship with someone because I thought the drama and everything was normal. I wasn’t happy but like I said, I just thought it was normal. Over 2 years later, I’ve finally let all the drama go and I’m much happier. Get rid of that unnecessary drama, it is NOT happiness. I promise. You will find it in the right place.

What are some of your favorite Parks & Rec quotes?

Read Why Ron Swanson Is One of the Best TV Characters of the Century—As Explained by Nick Offerman on The Ringer!

Read Kailey’s post 12 More Times “Bojack Horseman” Got Real About Mental Health here on TurningPointCT.org!

Why Good Time Management Skills Matter

???????????????????????????????????????????

Time management is something that I have always struggled with. I tend to take on more than I can handle at once and time certainly doesn’t help in that matter.

Having good time management skills allows you to give yourself a break when you’re becoming worn down. We need these skills to survive. Without them, we’d find ourselves struggling much more. Poor time management skills can lead to trouble sleeping, increased stress and anxiety but for some it can lead to depression. Developing these skills can allow you to overcome these obstacles and can even lead to a more positive attitude.

Recently, I have really struggled with managing my time. Between two jobs and going back to school, it’s overwhelming but I’m managing as best as I can. My jobs are easy to manage but school can be pretty tough to juggle on top. I find myself trying to deal with everything at once instead of taking the time to work on each task.

I spent last week deciding whether it was more important to get my project done or tasks for work. Honestly, I felt like I had to make a choice. I didn’t think I could manage the time very well (this was me overthinking). It was a struggle trying to balance both. I put my project first, but because of this, I lost a lot of sleep trying to finish up my work tasks. Thankfully, I began this week with a better mind set and a plan, now I feel much better.

The best advice I can give you is to learn to manage your time. Remember to give yourself a break when you need it. Find time in your day to just breathe. You absolutely deserve it. Having good time management skills will get you through life, I promise!

What are you doing to better manage your time?

Read Jessica Schrader’s article Developing Time Management Skills to learn how to find more time in your day!

Check out this post about Time Management here on TurningPointCT!

Don’t Live The Same Year 75 Times…

???????????????????????????????????????????

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” This quote by Robin Sharma is one that I’ve held onto since I was in middle school. I’ve held onto it for so long because it continues to remind me that life is all about the experience. I used to go into the new year with the same silly goals and resolutions that never came to fruition. I was living the same life every year and I was okay with that but I was missing out on so many new and wonderful experiences. Something was going to have to change.

In the book of life, all your chapters should be different. Each year should be bringing you brand new experiences and in every day, a new adventure. Your life should be full of wonder, even when you’re not so sure it is. This new year is your chance to write a new chapter. Make new memories, meet new people, explore and remember to do everything in between. This is your story to write!

You just can’t live the same year over and over. Sometimes, you have to take the deep dive into something new and unknown, it’s the only way to gain new experiences. You deserve the chance to experience all the things that the world has to offer to you. Don’t keep them waiting!

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”

Robin Sharma

How do you plan to make this year different from the last?

Read 4 Mental Health Tips for Creating an Even Better 2022 from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare!

Check out our newsletter here to read all about our 2021 Reflections and so much more! 🙂

Don’t Be Someone’s Sometimes

Welcome back to 2022’s first Self-Care Sunday! Let’s start the new year off with a reminder. I wanted to remind you don’t be someone’s “sometimes”. This was originally presented as a quote but has become a life lesson for many of us. A lot of us have that one person we always run back to, regardless of how long it’s been. Whether they’ve treated us well or not, we always find ourselves right back with this person. I know that I have definitely been guilty of this. In fact, I spent most of my teenage years being someone’s ‘sometimes’. For me, that doesn’t stop at romantic partners. I was a lot of my friends’ ‘sometimes’.

I’ve had friends who only wanted me around when it was convenient for them and honestly, that hurt more than having a romantic partner who felt that way. I used to drop everything I was doing to help these friends with whatever they needed but they would never have done the same thing for me. How do I know that? Because it’s the absolute truth. I’ve even been with people romantically who only treated me well when it was for their benefit.

I am not someone’s “sometimes”. I am worth so much more than that. I deserve to be someone’s always. Do not bend over backwards for people who would never do the same for you. Please remember your worth and know that you deserve to be more than someone’s “sometimes”, you deserve to be their ALWAYS.

A great read for this week is Kate Burness’ article I Refuse To Be Your ‘Sometimes’ Girl on the Thought Catalog!

Also read our Project Coordinator, Kailey’s post Release Yourself right here on TurningPointCT!

Self-Care During & After The Holidays

???????????????????????????????????????????

Self-care alone is such a critical part of dealing with mental health. I will continue to stress this to you because without self-care, trying to cope with your mental health would be so hard. Self-care isn’t just face masks or bubble baths, it’s whatever you need it to be.

Self-care is especially important during and even after the holidays. In fact, the holiday season can be physically and emotionally exhausting for some people. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m definitely one of them. I absolutely love the holidays, but I always find myself feeling blue when they’re over.

The holidays can lead to stress and isolation for some people because it’s overwhelming. Having to see all your family at once can be a lot. Figuring out what kind of gifts you’ll be getting your loved ones can create a lot of stress and anxiety. The holiday season in itself can stress you out. While giving gifts and spending time with loved ones is great, it can take a lot out of you. Take a break from the shopping and stress, go ice skating or take a walk through your favorite lighted park. During the holidays please remember that what you want and need matters too!

While the holidays themselves can be stressful and draining, after the holidays can be pretty sucky too. All the cheer you had may have left with holiday season. This can leave you feeling blue and all but cheery. For most, it’s back to reality after the holiday season. People will be returning to work or school after getting used to having time to yourself. Don’t let it get you down. You should try to return to your normal self-care routine and maybe even a little extra to give yourself the boost that you need!

Please remember to take care of yourself this holiday season!

Check out the Health Coach Institute’s article 20 Tips For Holiday Self-Care!

You can read my post about having a split holiday right here on TurningPointCT! 🙂

Having A Split Holiday

As most of you already know, my parents split and got a divorce. This changed the holidays drastically for me. I was no longer sure what to expect around this time of year. I knew that it meant that things would be different. It meant having to have a split holiday. I was going to have spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my dad and my new family.

I’ll be honest, I hated the idea of having to go somewhere new to celebrate a holiday with people I barely knew. At that point, I also still hadn’t really forgiven my dad for leaving in the first place. And I certainly didn’t I want to meet the people who got to have him instead. It made me hate the holidays but I wanted to spend time with my dad so I sucked it up. Eventually, I got over it and the holidays were more enjoyable. I got to know my step-family and they’ve done nothing but love me and more.

While I do love them, sometimes the holidays are still hard. From the outside, it sounds like having split holidays is cool but it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be. Honestly, it’s exhausting. Every year I have to mentally prepare myself to have two Christmases. For the copious amounts of small talk, awkward silences and having to open presents when nobody else is. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of my families but I just want to enjoy my holiday in one place. Sometimes, I hate having to have a split holiday.

What are the holidays like for you?

Also, check out What The Holidays Really Feel Like For Children Of Divorce from the Thought Catalog!

You can also read TurningPointCT’s post How To Cope With The Holiday Sadness.

A Little Consideration, A Little Thought…

One of my favorite things in the whole world is Winnie the Pooh. Everything about Winnie the Pooh and his friends has always resonated with me. They’re all so thoughtful and have taught us so many life lessons without us even knowing. Out of all them though, there’s one character who was always so real and raw about how they were feeling. And that’s Eeyore. He taught us so much about a little consideration, a little thought and so much more.

I loved watching Winnie The Pooh when I was younger. Piglet was always my favorite but Eeyore taught me so much more. Things about both myself and life, things that would stick with me forever. One of my favorite Eeyore quotes is “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” because it is absolutely true. An act of kindness, no matter how small, can truly change the world.

I remember there was an episode of Winnie The Pooh where Eeyore was incredibly sad and nobody knew why. Eventually, they discovered it was because they’d all forgotten his birthday. Devastated by this discovery, Pooh and Piglet decide to run home and get gifts. Piglet brings a red balloon but pops it on the way. While Pooh brings a pot of honey that he eats on the way to Eeyore’s. Along the way, Owl gives Pooh the idea to turn the pot into a storage for things. Eeyore does not mind either of these mishaps because he realized he’s got a place to keep the popped balloon! Christopher Robin then throws a party for Eeyore and Eeyore is happy.

This episode alone really shows us that a little thought and consideration really does make all the difference. Eeyore knew how much thought and love Pooh and Piglet put into their gifts and he loved them. Despite having forgotten their friend’s birthday, they knew a small kindness was better than none to make up for it.

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh

Read Thai Nguyen’s post Eeyore: A Pessimist’s Guide to a Beautiful Life on HuffPost. It was a great read!

Please also check out my post Why Teaching Kindness Matters to learn why spreading more kindness is important! 🙂

Practicing Gratitude Everyday

Pink & Green Watercolor Thank You Wish Card

Practicing gratitude and being thankful shouldn’t be limited to just one day a year. We should practice gratitude like everyday is Thanksgiving. Even if we’re just thankful to have gotten out of bed in the morning.

I think we should start by talking about what gratitude means. Gratitude is a thankful recognition of something that someone receives. It teaches us to recognize all of the goodness in our lives. Eventually, people start to realize goodness comes from outside of themselves, at least for the most part.

Being grateful teaches us how to connect with things that are bigger than us. Gratitude allows us to feel more positive emotions and enjoy our good experiences. It even allows us to create stronger relationships with those around us. Practicing gratitude is so important for our mental health. It teaches us to be more appreciative of the things in our lives.

Practicing gratitude is something that I had to learn over time. I was never appreciative of the things in my life. I was only focusing on the negative that I forgot to appreciate the good stuff. Now, I am grateful for everything each day brings me. I know it can be hard to be grateful when you’re having a hard time. It’s even more important to practice gratitude when things are hard because it’ll teach you to appreciate everything else a little more.

You can practice gratitude everyday in so many different ways! One of the best ways that you can do that is by starting a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal allows you to reflect on and record the things you are grateful for on a regular basis. You typically try to write about three things you are grateful for everyday. Gratitude journaling is one of the best ways to practice gratefulness and improve your happiness.

I hope after reading this that you’ll be a little more grateful for the things in your lives (even the small ones). Our world needs less negativity and more positivity. Please practice gratitude, if not for yourself, but for those in your life.

How will you be practicing gratitude?

Learn how to start your own Gratitude Journal here!

You can also check out our podcast about Gratitude right here on TurningPointCT!

Emotional Pain: An Experience

???????????????????????????????????????????

Emotional pain is pain or hurt that comes from outside non-physical things. Sometimes this emotional hurt is a reaction to the actions or words of other people. Other times, it could be due to regret, grief, or loss. No matter the cause, this pain can become incredibly intense and can affect various parts of your life.

This type of pain has a variety of symptoms. It can come from feelings of loneliness, rage or even shame. It also leads to negative emotions or feelings towards some things or people. This pain also often leads to incredibly severe distress, which can feel even worse than physical pain itself. Emotional pain in itself can lead to unhealthy coping methods which can only worsen how you’re feeling. These methods often involve substance abuse, which can have fatal consequences. On the bright side, there are healthy coping methods for dealing with emotional pain. These methods can include therapy, exercise and even practicing mindfulness.

I’ve dealt with emotional pain practically all my life. A lot of my pain stems from my parents’ divorce, their reactions to it and how I grew up. My parents’ divorce destroyed me emotionally. I was hurt and feeling lost but there was nobody to teach me how to deal with my pain so I just kept it in. Eventually, things began to spiral. The hurt feelings and uncontrollable emotions were beginning to cause me physical distress. I couldn’t sleep, I barely ate, and I was even self-harming. The things I was feeling just hurt me so much emotionally and physically. It was something I never wanted to experience again, but it was something that I would, unfortunately, have to go through again, more than once.

While I do still occasionally deal with it, things have gotten much better. I rely on various coping methods to deal with it. One of the best methods that I’ve chosen was going to therapy. Therapy has been the absolute best thing for me and I wouldn’t change that. My therapist has done so much for me in terms of my pain. It is absolutely exhausting to deal with and work on. It just takes so much energy out of you but it will be so worth it. Eventually, this pain will try to consume you, you can’t let it get to that point. I know addressing pain, especially the emotional kind, can be difficult for some but there are people out there who want to help you. People who want you to get better. Please let them help you, you don’t have to do it by yourself.

What is the kindest thing to do for yourself when you experience this type of pain?

If you get the chance, please check out LiveScience’s article Why does ’emotional pain’ hurt?

Also, check out my post Why Having A Good Therapist Is Important here on TurningPointCT!

Going To College… Again.

???????????????????????????????????????????

This past Summer, I finally decided that I was going back to college. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been in school and wow, that’s a long time. I can’t even begin to tell you how nervous I was feeling about going to school again. I was worried I wasn’t going to do well but so far, it’s going pretty great. It’s been a long road but one that’s going to be well worth the trouble. Before I can get into what college is like now, I want to tell you about my real first year.

My first year of college began August of 2015 and came to an end May of the following year. This year was everything but easy. I’m currently pursuing a psychology degree but when I went to college the first time, I was went for nursing. And let me tell you, the nursing program was no joke. I took every possible science, health and psychology class you could think of. I was in class all day and my labs practically all night. It was exhausting and I barely slept. I didn’t feel like I was going to survive the whole year.

While my classes were exhausting, I enjoyed campus life. I stayed on campus in a dorm with the world’s best roommate, who eventually became an even better friend. She made my first year a little more fun. She really got me out of my comfort zone. There were so many new experiences that I had during my first year. I know you’re reading this and you’re probably wondering why I didn’t go back after my first year. While my first year of college was wonderful, there were a lot of things I didn’t share including why I never went back.

In the Spring of my first year of college, I was dealing with not one but two sexual assaults. These assaults broke me. I was afraid to leave my room, I couldn’t walk across campus at night without panicking. I even made up excuses so I didn’t have to go to class. Fortunately, the year was almost over but I couldn’t wait to get back home where I felt safe. After this, I just couldn’t bring myself to go back. I considered commuting but the thought of having to run into this person was too much for me. Honestly, I even thought about going to school that was closer to home but then I thought, well it could happen to me there too.

I couldn’t bring myself to go back because of those assaults so instead I just put it off. Instead, I worked various jobs while avoiding the trauma that needed to be acknowledged over the next few years. Eventually, I began to feel like I wasn’t going to get anywhere in life. I knew that I was going to need more to get ahead but that also meant going back to school if I wanted a degree. Unfortunately, I was beginning to feel like it was too late to go back even though I knew it very much wasn’t.

Those sexual assaults took so much from me, physically and emotionally. They made me feel like I’d never be able to step foot on a college campus again. It took a lot for me to come to terms with what happened. Sometimes I feel like I will never get over it but I keep pushing. I keep going because I know that I need to if I ever truly want to move on from it. I missed out on so much because I let my trauma control me but not any longer. It took everything in me but I did finally go back to school.

I’m currently enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s online Undergraduate Psychology program. I have never done online schooling before and was worried that I wouldn’t get much out of it. It’s nothing like going to class physically. Most learning in this program is done at your own pace, which I like. I don’t feel like I have to rush while trying to retain the information provided within lessons.

Going back to school has been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. If you think that it’s too late for you to go back, I promise you that it’s not. It is never too late for you to continue your education. You can do anything that you put your mind to. I encourage you to put in the effort to reach your goals even if it might not happen right away. It will happen and you will get to where you need to be.

Read NPR’s In ‘Never Too Late,’ Finally, A Guide For Adults Going To College here!

Listen to our project coordinator, Kailey’s podcast The Struggle Before Getting To My New Major here to learn about one of her struggles in college!

Reminding Yourself That You Are Enough

Often we are in situations that might make us feel inadequate. When we are feeling this way it’s absolutely important that we take the time to remind ourselves that we’re enough. It may be difficult but please try to remember that you are enough.

I have been put in these situations more often than I’d like to admit and sometimes, I would forget to remind myself that I was enough. Instead, I let that feeling of inadequacy eat me alive and that’s not good. How we feel about ourselves is so much more important than how others feel about us. If we feel inadequate ourselves, other people might make that feeling worse. We have to remind ourselves of that because we can’t rely on other people to do it for us.

I’ve had people make me feel inadequate for as long as I can remember. Whether it was friends, family or even people I didn’t know. There was always someone out there that made me feel like wasn’t good enough. Growing up I really struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I especially struggled with this after my parents divorced. I had people, my own relatives to be clear, constantly telling me that I wasn’t enough for my dad to stay or that he didn’t love me. Having to hear that constantly broke me into pieces. It made reminding myself that I was enough that much more difficult.

On days when I knew I’d need reassurance that I was good enough, I was just met with more feelings of inadequacy. I would confide in friends about how I was feeling but they’d just tell me that I was being ridiculous. Eventually, I turned to writing. I wrote poetry about these feelings and how I felt like I was always second best or not enough. I wrote a lot of these poems in my creative writing class. Writing absolutely made me feel better but one day, I had decided to share a poem I wrote about how I felt like I wasn’t enough and a girl in my class completely tore me apart.

She told me that how I was feeling was wrong because she claimed she knew my dad didn’t feel that way. How could she have known that? I mean maybe she was right but that doesn’t mean she can tell me how I get to feel. She made me feel so invalidated and only furthered my feelings of inadequacy because now I was feeling like writing wasn’t enough to make me feel better anymore. I knew I needed to do something, I just didn’t know what at the time.

Eventually, I learned that I was the one who needed to reassure myself that I was enough. I was so reliant on whether other people thought I was good enough that I forgot how I felt mattered too. I didn’t take the time to remind myself that I was enough but that’s exactly what I needed.

Sometimes reminding yourself that you are enough can be difficult. This could be because you don’t think what you’re saying is actually true. It will take time for you to really believe that you’re enough and that’s okay. This is a learning process. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to work through that feeling of inadequacy, even when you think it’ll never go away. Sometimes, even I still struggle with this. When I am having a hard time and I am feeling like I’m not good enough, I stop and remind myself of everything I’m worth because I know that if I don’t that nobody else will.

Please never let anyone make you feel less than what you’re worth because you are enough and you deserve to know that.

How do you remind yourself that you’re enough?

This week I’ve included Psych2Go’s cute video 7 Things To Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough 🙂

You also read my post Practicing Self-Love On A Bad Day to learn why self-love is most important on those days when we’re feeling inadequate.

Why Saying No Is Okay

???????????????????????????????????????????

Saying no can be incredibly difficult sometimes. This is because we think that saying no might come off as rude or selfish depending on the situation. And we don’t want that. Instead, we tend to put aside our feelings, and sometimes our morals, just to people-please. But I want you to know that saying no is okay.

I’ll be the first to say that I’ve always been a people-pleaser. Honestly, I don’t people-please as much now, but I used to do it all the time before. I never felt like I could say no to people and that got me into a lot of horrible situations. Situations that I really should have stood my ground in. Learning to say no is something that took me a really long time to understand. I’d just say yes to everything until I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I knew that I had to do something about it.

I was going to have to learn to say no. And eventually I would learn that on my own. I would like to pass that lesson onto you. One of our greatest superpowers is saying no, but this is something that we don’t always remember. Sometimes we don’t say no to things that we aren’t interested in because we don’t want to seem rude or even selfish. Saying no actually means you’re aware of your own worth and respect yourself enough to stick up for what you believe in.

Please remember that saying no is okay. Deciding what we’re okay and not okay with is entirely our choice, not anyone else’s. Saying no allows us to set our own boundaries with others. Without this power, people may take advantage of us or treat us like door mats. We absolutely cannot let them. It is absolutely better to say no to things you’re uncomfortable with than to suffer through it for the sake of someone else.

Your thoughts and emotions are more important than trying to please everyone, don’t forget that. Saying no is your right.

I’ve included a link to PsychCentral’s article Saying No (Kindly) And Then Letting Go here! It was a really great read.

Who Makes You Happy?

We always talk about the things or even places that make us happy but we never talk about the people that make us happy. What’s up with that? Those wonderful people in your lives deserve to know that they’re having a positive impact on you. They’re important too!

The things we say about and do for ourselves are an important part of managing our mental health. But you know what’s just as important? The people we surround ourselves with. The people that make us happy and feel good about ourselves are a critical part of how we manage our mental health. I say critical because these are the people that remind us that we are loved, worthy, and full of untapped potential. They keep us afloat when we feel like we’re drowning. Often, they’re our light at the end of the tunnel.

While we’re on the topic of who makes us happy, I want to take this time to talk about all of the people that make me happy. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life but there are a few who definitely deserve some recognition. These people are my siblings, my co-workers, my honey, and of course, one of my closest (and oldest) friends.

My brothers Donovan and Dante have always made me happy. Although it might not always seem that way, I promise it’s the truth. My brothers are the ones I hold close to my heart. Honestly, I’d say they actually are a piece of my heart, or at least it feels that way. Loving them and knowing that they love me back makes me happy. They are the ones that I know will be there for me when nobody else is. Donovan and Dante are the best brothers that anyone could ask for. They’re honest, kind and so full of love to give.

I am SO proud of the young men that they’re becoming, even if they don’t see it themselves yet. Their accomplishments (even the little ones) make me happy too. I will continue to cheer them on from the sidelines, I’m their biggest fan and I always will be. I know that they’re certainly mine. They’re the first people I want to tell good news to because I know they’ll be the most excited about it. I hope that I’m part of their happiness too!

My younger brothers, Dante & Donovan 🥰

My coworkers at the school are absolutely a cause for my happiness. These are the people I spend most of my week with. This is the first job I’ve been at where my coworkers have actually turned into what feels like family. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some pretty great coworkers but nothing like this. I spend my whole workday with these people, so we obviously need to make sure that we work well together. And guess what? We absolutely do. I know that I can rely on these people to pick me up when I’m feeling down. I just want them to know I appreciate every single one of them, even on the hard days. My teacher is wonderful. She’s loud, crazy, fun and so full of energy, she really keeps us going sometimes.

While I love my teacher, it’s my coworkers who have stolen my heart. Cassie, who I’ve found a fantastic best friend in, was a blessing. All year long we were full of laughs, hugs, tears and so much more. I miss you more than you know but I am so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone! But now, Jen keeps me going on long days with laughs and conversations about the most random things. Even Mr. G, who indulges me with Swedish meatball pizza and what I consider some of the best dad jokes! Of everyone, I am especially thankful for Ciara and Dwayne who continue to encourage me to be the very best version of myself. I appreciate everything that you’ve both done and continue to do for me.

Some of the best coworkers I’ve ever had ❤️

Last but certainly not least, Kailey. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to still have her in my life. Kailey was one of the first friends I made in middle school when I moved back to Salem (Connecticut) and we just never looked back. She is absolutely one of the people who makes me happy because she ALWAYS reminds me that it’s okay to feel the way that I’m feeling and that there’s nothing wrong with having a bad day.

Kailey is the one who encouraged me to apply for this job and I’m so glad that I did. This job has been a blessing. At first, I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to do it but here I am doing it! Plus, she continues to assure me every day that I’m doing a great job. She’s always believed in me, no matter what it was that we were doing. Almost 10 years later, it feels like nothing’s changed for us. We talk almost every day about everything and anything. She’s honestly a rock for me. I’d fall apart without her for sure. I know in my heart that anyone would be lucky to have her in their lives.

Kailey & I at our 8th grade graduation, June 2011 (left) and us on my birthday, May 2021 (right). Almost 10 years later!

These people are so important to me and I will always make sure that they know it. They’re such an important part of my life and who I am, they’ve helped shape me into a better person. They continue to inspire me in different ways every day. Please remember to appreciate all the wonderful people in your life. ❤️

Who makes you happy? I’d love to hear all about them and what they’ve done for you!

If you have some time, read The Conversation’s article on happiness here! 🙂

Are you struggling or just need someone to talk to? You can check out all of TurningPointCT’s Resources to see what’s right for you!

Coming Out As Pansexual

I knew from a young age that I wasn’t straight. I liked boys and girls the same, I just wanted someone to love me for me. We never talked about homosexuality at home and when we did, it was never really anything good. They never directly stated that fact but a part of me knew that homosexuality was bothersome to my mom. Though, she used to say that my dad was the one bothered by homosexuality (this is not even remotely true). She eventually admitted that she wouldn’t want her children to be homosexuals because it’s a hard life to live but that doesn’t make it okay to say to your child. I knew coming out would not be easy.

Was it okay that I liked girls? This question raced through my head all the time. It never really felt like it was. I didn’t come out to anyone until I was in high school. I never really had to come out to my friends, they all just sort of knew. Obviously, I did eventually tell them that I was bisexual (at the time) and they were incredibly supportive. I felt accepted and free to be myself. Unfortunately, at home was a different story. I came out to my mom and she didn’t take me seriously, she pretty much told me it was a phase and that I’d be over it soon. At this point, coming out to my family just wasn’t something I planned to try ever again.

I wish I could be as open about my sexuality with my family as I am with my friends. I know that someday I’ll be able to be totally myself with them but right now is not the time and that’s okay. I’m happy with the people that do know and accept me just the way that I am.

I originally came out as bisexual but currently identify as pansexual. Now, I know that a lot of people confuse this with bisexuality but they’re not the same. This sexuality means that you have an attraction to one or more genders, often men and women. Bisexuality relies on gender (and that’s not a bad thing) while pansexuality does not. Pansexuality is an attraction to people regardless of gender, this includes those who are transgender, non-binary, and so much more.

Up until last year, I identified as bisexual but I felt constricted by this label. Eventually, I ended up admitting this to my brother Dante and that’s when he began to teach me about all of these sexualities that I’d never heard of before. I was glad to hear that there was more than gay, lesbian, or bisexual to identify as. I told him about how being bisexual didn’t feel right to me. This is when he explained to me that I was actually pansexual. Then it all began to click for me.

I’m going to be real with you, I’ve been head over heels for a handful of women, even been with two, but there’s one woman I’ll always love. And that’s Nicole. She was actually one of the first people that I came out to as pansexual. Instead of invalidating me, she just asked questions about what she didn’t understand. This is the first time I really felt free to be myself. We spent what felt like almost an hour just talking about what it meant to be pansexual. It was nice to explain to someone how I was feeling and have someone actually understand what I meant.

I knew when I first met Nicole that I was pretty much in love. She was kind, passionate, and just so different from anyone I’d ever met before. I knew that I needed her to be a part of my life. Though I didn’t actually tell her about my crush on her until about two years ago but I think it’s safe to say it certainly wasn’t an issue. We always joke that we’re married and part of me thinks that maybe someday we will be (never say never *wink*). I just know that she will always be someone that makes me feel safe and I couldn’t ask for anyone better than her.

For me, being pansexual means that it’s all about your soul. I know that in my heart that if you have a good soul, I know that you’ll be good for me. Honestly, I’ve never really cared about gender because that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that you’re beautiful on the inside. I want someone who has a kind heart, a spectacular personality, and everything in between.

Coming out as pansexual has brought me so much happiness. As much as I dislike labels, I’m glad that there’s one for me. I will always love people for who they are because it’s about hearts, not parts. As a pansexual woman, I am free to love whoever I want regardless of what they identify as. I am no less valid than someone who’s bisexual. Many people in today’s society have a problem with pansexuality because it has a slight overlap with bisexuality, which in their eyes means that they’re the same even though they’re not.

All sexualities are okay and valid. You are still so loved regardless of how you identify. Please never let anyone make you feel like you are anything less than great because of your sexuality.

Coming out isn’t an easy thing for most people to do but you know what, it’s so worth it to be able to live an authentic life as YOU!

I’ve included an article that details the difference between Bisexuality & Pansexuality here!

You can also read about National Coming Out Day here on TurningPointCT 🙂

I’m The Proud Sister of A Transgender Teen

I’m the proud sister of a transgender teen boy. That transgender teen boy is my little brother Dante.

Dante decided to come out as transgender in March of 2020. He has always struggled with his gender identity. I remember that he would tell our mom how uncomfortable he felt in his body but she just brushed him off. He never enjoyed playing with dolls or dressing up, he just always wanted to be one of the boys. He knew he wasn’t meant to be a girl. And sure enough, he was right.

This is my brother Dante proudly posing with his transgender pride flag 🙂

If you asked me a year ago how I felt about having a transgender sibling, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. The whole thing was completely new to me but it has absolutely changed my life in more ways than one. Dante has taught me so much about not only himself and what he’s been through but also about myself.

Being the sibling of someone who is transgender is not easy but absolutely worth it to me. I am fighting battles for him that I know he may not be able to fight on his own and that’s okay. I will always fight for him. He needs to know that there will always be someone in his corner, even if it’s just me.

People constantly misgender him when we are in public. Sometimes, Dante is too shy to correct them so I know that I need to step up and say something when he feels like can’t. I don’t always catch it right away and later find myself feeling bad. He often reminds me that it’s okay if I don’t say anything because he knows I would have if I heard it but I still feel bad because I know it bothers him. He doesn’t deserve to feel that way.

I don’t want my brother living in a world where people are unkind to him or don’t respect his pronouns. He absolutely deserves to live in a world where he can be free to be whoever he wants. My brother has grown into a wonderful young man. It’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him in my whole life. He doesn’t care what other people think because at the end of the day, he knows who he is and that’s all that really matters.

Dante is proud of the person he’s become and he shouldn’t have to hide that. He inspires me to be a better person. I want to become a better advocate and make the world a safer place for trans teens like him to exist in. My brother is almost every part of the reason that I am who I am today.

I’m the proud sister of a transgender teen and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will always fight for my brother and his right to live freely.

I love you, Dante.

You can also check out Ariane Thornton-Mason’s article about having a transgender sibling here.

Under Turning Point CT’s Support by Topic, you can find a list of LGBTQIA+ resources, feel free to take a peek!

Why Having A Good Therapist Is Important

TW: self-harm, suicide. I’ve seen a counselor or therapist for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I saw a plethora of school counselors until I was finally able to get my own outside therapist. I love my current therapist but without these counselors, I honestly don’t think I would have survived. These counselors went the extra mile for me and made sure that I was always taken care of in terms of my mental health.

At only 12 years old, I was really starting to struggle after my parents separated. I wasn’t eating very much, I couldn’t sleep and I was self-harming almost every day. I felt like I wanted to die. My whole world was falling apart and it felt like there was nothing I could do to fix it. I felt like I didn’t have anyone to open up to about what I was struggling with until I finally decided to open up to my cousin about what was going on. She didn’t say much about it or even make me feel better but she told my mom and that’s when everything changed for me.

I came home from school one afternoon and when I walked in my mom looked so broken. Like someone had just ripped her heart out. My heart started to race and I became incredibly anxious and panicked about what was about to happen. I couldn’t even get any words to come out of my mouth. After a long silence, she finally said “Why couldn’t you tell me?”. This hurt a lot because I had already told her so many times before that I was having a hard time and she just didn’t believe me. It took someone else telling her about what was going on to finally get her to realize that I needed help. Help that she couldn’t give me. This is when she decided to contact the school about me seeing someone.

When I was in sixth grade, I started seeing Mr. Guarino, the counselor at school. I was still in middle school at the time but I can honestly tell you that this man changed my life. I saw Mr. Guarino once a week for pretty much the rest of my middle school career. He was awesome. For the first time in my life, I felt heard and acknowledged. Like someone actually wanted to know how I was feeling and make sure that I was going to be okay. I saw him every week until eighth grade when I was finally feeling okay again. He helped me with so much. We talked about how I felt about my dad leaving and how I felt abandoned by everyone else, including my mom. He talked to me about whatever I wanted and that alone meant so much to me.

While things might have been okay by the end of eighth grade, I was beginning to feel myself going into that dark hole again. Things were really hard. With graduation and a transition to high school, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I felt like I was drowning again. But the thing that hurt me most was my dad. I invited him to my eighth-grade graduation and he didn’t even show up. I looked for his face in the crowd, only to find that he was nowhere to be found in the crowd. Instead, he taped a graduation card to the front door of our apartment. I was devastated.

At this point, I knew counseling was my only option but I couldn’t see anyone until I went back to school in the Fall because my mom wouldn’t get me a therapist, nor was there anyone to take me to and from it. It was a long summer and we had also just moved back to my hometown but I was able to see the counselor at the high school. This is where Mr. Auriantal came in. My freshman year of high school was difficult. Not only was I at a new school, struggling internally with my own trauma but my dad worked at my school.

There were so many bottled-up feelings about my parents’ divorce. I was really struggling but Mr. Auriantal certainly saved me from myself. I saw him twice a week during my freshman year. My freshman year was one of my hardest school years. I was having an anxiety attack almost every day. My palms would start to sweat, my throat would get tight and I felt like I was being suffocated. The anxiety attacks began to fade after I started seeing Mr. Auriantal. I looked forward to these days the most because this was my chance to unload everything that was bothering me. We talked a lot about my dad and how that entire situation affected me. It felt good to tell someone how I was feeling. This man has always been my savior and even to this day, he continues to check on me.

Now that I’ve introduced you to the counselors that helped, I’d love to tell you about my therapist, Jessie. This woman has done more for me than she’ll ever know. I’ve been seeing Jessie since 2017, that’s 4 years total so far. Can you believe that? She was the first therapist that I ever reached out to on my own. I’m so thankful that I chose her and never once second-guessed it. I knew she was the right choice for me from the first email she ever sent me.

Jessie has gone to great lengths to help me address my trauma, emotions and so much more. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her. She makes sure that I hold myself accountable for the things that I can control and not to beat myself up for what I can’t. Jessie has allowed me to view my mental health in a completely different light. My mental health should be a priority, not something I’m constantly sticking on the back burner. She has allowed me to discuss things that I never knew I’d be able to fully heal from. While I may be in a good place now, Jessie and I still have plenty of work to do.

A good therapist is an important part of the healing process. Without them, I feel like there’s nobody holding you accountable for anything. They’re also a really great support system when you are lacking that with friends and family. They will always be there for you when you need them, and they’ll always be honest with you. Honestly, I have no idea what I would have done without the counselors or my therapist. They’ve all been such a great support system for me. This is exactly why I’ll always say that when you are struggling with your mental health, having a good therapist is important.

Want to know if you have a good therapist? Read this article about the signs of a good therapist!

You can also check out TurningPointCT’s resources here! 🙂

It’s Okay To Ask For Help!

My parents split up when I was about 12 years old. After my dad left, I really started to struggle with depression, and soon after came its atrocious best friend, anxiety. I was so overwhelmed that I constantly felt like I was drowning. It all really started to control my life. I spent hours in bed, not feeling like I was enough and like I was a burden. I hated having to go to school and pretend like everything was okay like my life wasn’t falling to pieces. It took me a long time to learn that it was okay to ask for help. Can you imagine being 12 years old and trying to hide the world of hurt you were feeling from everyone? It wasn’t easy. I fought like hell to get to where I am today, and I am so proud of myself for not giving up.

dominique with her siblings
This is a photo of my siblings and me when we were younger. They are practically my children!

While I am a fighter, I still struggle with my depression and anxiety on occasion. I try my best not to let it get the best of me because it’s nothing but a big ol’ heartbreak dealing with it and sometimes it’s hard. Depression’s almost like a person who’s constantly in your shadow, just following you around. It tugs on you, and it begs you to shut down for a little while so that it can take over and flood your mind with thoughts of loneliness, not feeling good enough, and sometimes, unfortunately, suicide.

Anxiety’s no better. It looms over you like a dark cloud and makes you feel trapped. Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve been through the tears and sadness, the physical and emotional scarring, even the suffering and the pain. Sometimes I felt like my anxiety was suffocating me. Your depression and anxiety want to see you suffer and that’s not okay. They want you to give up. It’s just simply not worth it. It’s not worth giving everything up or not trying to be better. You shouldn’t have to miss out on all the wonderful things you know that you can and will accomplish. And it’s certainly not worth taking your life over. 

We must learn to reach out when we are struggling, even when we feel like nobody might listen. We don’t have to take on the world alone, it is okay to ask for help sometimes. It’s not easy dealing with both depression and anxiety. Especially by yourself. If you’re anything like me, you’ll know how hard asking for help can be when you’re used to depending on just yourself. It is okay to put your pride aside and say, “Hey, I really need some help”. Someone will be there to listen. Someone will take the time out of their day to check on you. Just know that there is somebody out there who feels a little better knowing that you’re in the world.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression, there is help out there. Check out some of our resources here.

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how to cope with anxiety and depression, you can check out this article.

Episode 1 – I’m Not Your Therapist, BUT…

The first episode in the series, I’m Not Your Therapist, BUT…, where young adults in CT talk about the techniques and strategies they use to cope with their mental illnesses. In this episode, Turning Point CT employees Ella and Eliza talk about what they are doing to safe guard their mental health during the COVID-19 crisis and quarantine.

#TurningPointMoment Ella Gets Up Out of Bed

Join Ella, the Turning Point CT Project Coordinator, on her mission to make choices that benefit her mental health! Follow along and share your own story on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube by using the hashtag #TurningPointMoment

If you want to find out more about her mission, visit her blog HERE !

Click HERE to talk about it in the forum !

#TurningPointMoment Ella Cleans Her Room

Join Ella, the Turning Point CT Project Coordinator, on her mission to make choices that benefit her mental health! Follow along and share your own story on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube by using the hashtag #TurningPointMoment

If you want to find out more about her mission, visit her blog HERE !

Click HERE to talk about it in the forum !

Ella’s #TurningPointMoment at Sherwood Island State Park, CT

Join Ella, the Turning Point CT Project Coordinator, on her mission to make choices that benefit her mental health! Follow along and share your own story on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube by using the hashtag #TurningPointMoment

If you want to find out more about her mission, visit her blog HERE !

Click HERE to talk about it in the forum !

SMART Recovery Spanish

You Are Not Alone – Find Information and Support

Young People Recover: Vered

Young People Discover: Shaquiel

Young People Recover: Kevin

Young People Recover: Michaela

Social Anxiety Disorder PSA

Suicidio Adolescente PSA (Producido por United Way)

If I Had Known…

What to Expect From Group Therapy

What to Expect at a Psych or Detox Unit

How to Help a Friend

Recovery Poetry: EZ’s poem: Through the Poems Within Me

Recovery Poetry: Patrick’s Spoken Word, 1

Getting Started, Part 2: Tips on First Therapy Session

In this animation, our website, TurningPointCT.org explains how to set up and attend your first therapy session. Furthermore, we talk about what you should bring to your therapy session. You can visit this website here for more information on your first therapy session and how to get the most out of it. Remember to be open and completely honest so your doctor can do the best with what they are given.

Getting Started, Part 1: Find a Therapist

How Do You Know You Need Help?

What is Wellness?

Podcast: Gratitude

Hey guys! We’re back with another podcast… this time we talk about gratitude. We will be talking about what we are grateful for, and what we are thankful for overcoming. Also, we discuss what we are appreciative to have on our horizons and how gratitude affects our mental health. Here you can read studies on how giving thanks can actually help your mental health. It can create an optimistic outlook and positive change.

Also, during our holiday party we ran off to the side to record a quick podcast together and reflect on the things we are grateful for.
Joining us today are Cindy, our other Cindy, Dri, Nahjeera, Jonathan, and me- Eliza!
Check it out and let us know what you’re grateful for!

Click here to check out an older discussion on gratitude I started two years ago!

Want to practice appreciation yourself? Gratitude has real benefits towards your mental health- but sometimes its hard to practice when the world seems dark or overwhelming. Looking for something in life to feel grateful for having (or for not having) can help change your world, and self view for the better. Check out this article on gratitude journals and tips for starting one here.

Podcast: How Culture Shapes You

This weeks podcast is with Adrianna , Cindy, Emma, and Nahjeera . We had a special guest Woodeline, who is Adrianna’s aunt. Woodline is a 23 year old student at  CUNY Medgar Evers College. She came into talk about her experiences in life and gave her views on the topic of how does your culture shapes you as a person.

Everyone had different ethnicity and different views on current topic questions.

Emma is half Brazilian and Colombian. Adrianna, Woodeline , and Cindy are Haitian American . Nahjeera is African American.

Everyone gave their input about how if you act differently because you need to change your identity or show less of your culture to the world, everyone gave their honest opinion about how they show  themselves to the world.

We hope you enjoy this podcast click here to watch

What is your culture? How do you define your culture? How has it shaped you as a person?

To check out our Summer Interns other podcasts, click here

Free Summer Cookout in Norwalk

Here at Turning Point CT, we decide to make our August Monthly Antics a back to school cookout for teens and young adults. Part of our SMART Recovery Group is that we do an event every month for teens and young adults in the community and we call it our Monthly Antics. These past months we have done escape rooms and painting classes. If you want to be a part of our Norwalk Teen SMART Recovery Group, check out this page. If you want to see more you can check out our social media pages.

This cookout is a fun event where high school teens can come blow off some steam before the incoming school year. There will be a bunch of fun activities for teens to participate in. It’s a great way to have a lot of fun before the school year starts. We know that there is a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with school. So we decided to have this so you could start the school year off with a bang!

If you want to attend this event, respond to the forum post here.

If you want to help us with this event, please spread the word. Share this on your social media, and/or reach out to us.

This cookout is going to be Saturday, August 31st at Shady Beach in Norwalk, CT from 12-3 pm.

We hope to see you there!!

Summer Check In Video

Hey guys! We are here with the TurningPointCT interns: Adrianna and Nahjeera along with Eliza and Adrianna’s aunt Woodeline!

We left the office for a little while to go across the street to The Norwalk Green and enjoy the sunlight and Summer air.

At the start of every SMART Recovery meeting we all check in with highs and lows- now we are at the Norwalk Green to hang out and check in about our Summer!

How is your Summer going? What is your low and your high of the season and break? Check in with us on this post!

 

To see more of our interns check out our YouTube page here

and listen to their other videos and podcasts in our media room here

New Story: Nahjeera’s Journey with Self-Harm, Depression and Anxiety

Hey guys! We have a really great new story about depression, anxiety and self-harm.

Nahjeera is a senior in high school and this Summer she is interning with us at TurningPointCT.org

Her journey will mean something to anyone who has ever felt alone- she talks about her struggles with depression and anxiety, and how she used self-harm to cope with things.

Nahjeera also talks about her hope and recovery– how she no longer self-harms and instead helps other people at her school who might be struggling, too.

If you have ever felt alone, know that you are not. Check out our stories page to read about other young people just like you.

Click here to read Nahjeera’s story

And, click here to talk to Nahjeera and welcome her to TurningPointCT.org. Join TurningPoint to reach out to peers like Nahjeera.

Furthermore, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or self-harm, visit this website. Here you can find information and resources to make the most out of your treatment.

Vaping Podcast

In this podcast we spoke about vaping and smoking. All of us are in high school, some of us just finished our freshman year and Nahjeera is is graduating this year.

Emma, Adrianna and Nahjeera all vape, but Cindy doesn’t and really does not like smoking.

We all talked about why we vape, and when we started. Some of us were in middle school when we started, and others tried it and then stopped for a while.

We spent a lot of time talking about why people vape, including our friends. Vapes come in a ton of flavors, and a lot of us only do it for the taste, or because friends suggested it for stress. Eliza lead us in a conversation about why our friends like to vape, and if we want to stop.

our views on vaping and smoking, why we smoked and why don’t.

Some people smoke because of popularity or  as a coping mechanism. We also talked about how advertising makes people smoke more, and why some of us wouldn’t try certain flavors, like tobacco.

A lot of our friends in high school vape, and we talk about how addictive it is and if we think we are addicted.

We all talked about how we would quit if we ever decided to, and how we could help our friends quit if they asked us for help.

If you have ever vaped and want help, or just want to hear about it from the perspective of a high school, then check out our first summer podcast!

 

 

A few months ago, Eliza and Diamond (our SMART group facilitators!) were at one of our high schools, talking about vaping during lunch. To check out what that was like, click here.

Vaping Podcast

 

In this podcast we spoke about vaping and smoking. All of us are in high school, some of us just finished our freshman year and Nahjeera is is graduating this year.

Emma, Adrianna and Nahjeera all vape, but Cindy doesn’t and really does not like smoking.

We all talked about why we vape, and when we started. Some of us were in middle school when we started, and others tried it and then stopped for a while.

We spent a lot of time talking about why people vape, including our friends. Vapes come in a ton of flavors, and a lot of us only do it for the taste, or because friends suggested it for stress. Eliza lead us in a conversation about why our friends like to vape, and if we want to stop.

our views on vaping and smoking,why we smoked and why don’t.

Some people smoke because of popularity or  as a coping mechanism. We also talked about how advertising makes people smoke more, and why some of us wouldn’t try certain flavors, like tobacco.

A lot of our friends in high school vape, and we talked about how addictive it is and if we think we are addicted.

We all talked about how we would quit if we ever decided to, and how we could help our friends quit if they asked us for help.

If you have ever vaped and want help, or just want to hear about it from the perspective of a high school, then check out our first summer podcast!

 

 

A few months ago, Eliza and Diamond (our SMART group facilitators!) were at one of our high schools, talking about vaping during lunch. To check out what that was like, click here. 

 

This podcast also appears in our media room, here.

2019 Annual Run in the Pub Fundraiser to benefit TurningPointCT.org!

Hi guys! I have something exciting to share with you guys!
On July 20th (a week from Saturday!!) from 11-4 there will be a fundraiser at O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Norwalk, CT. That fundraiser will benefit us!

Jimmy Booth (a very active and caring Norwalk local) has held this fundraiser for 8 years. This year he will support TurningPointCT.org!! Amazing, right?!
We are so excited.

Jimmy will be at the pub with some supporters running a marathon on a treadmill. This is all to raise awareness for young people’s mental health! There’s also going to be a raffle and 15% of the proceeds from all food and drinks bought that day will go towards our fundraising!!
That means if you are near Norwalk and want to support us, there are many ways to do it (even it just means buying some food).
I hope some of you can come and help us spread the word!!

Check out the event on eventbrite or facebook!

Growing Up: The Coming of Age Podcast

growing of age podcast

In this podcast we talk about coming of age as teenagers and growing up. Also we explain our experiences and stories of coming of age.

Check out TurningPointCT’s newest podcast- our Summer Interns are here! And they are introducing themselves and taking about Coming of Age. What does that mean? What defined coming of age for you? How do you navigate growing up and becoming a teenager or a young adult? Click this link to watch their podcast, or if you would prefer to watch it as a video, check out this link!
Please welcome Adrianna, Cindy, and Nahjeera to the TurningPointCT team and check out their very first podcast and video!

 

If you want to say hi to us go to our forum here

New Story: Marco’s story

We have a new story on our stories page!

“I became aware of my possible depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder in high school…Once I allowed myself to be vulnerable with the universe, and more specifically my therapist, I noticed gradual changes in my psyche…”

Click this link to read more of Marco’s story

CT SMART Recovery Groups

SMART Recovery(R) support groups are popping up all over Connecticut! SMART Recovery has been around for more than 25 years, but it’s pretty new to CT. Thanks to state funding, there are now free SMART Recovery support groups for teens, young adults, and Family & Friends throughout CT.

Furthermore, we are big fans of this support group model. Our young adult staff here at TurningPointCT get trained to be facilitators. As part of the training, we had to try the skills out on ourselves–and the skills worked!

So what is SMART Recovery?

“SMART” stands for Self Management And Recovery Training. SMART Recovery is a peer support group run by trained facilitators. It helps you cope with any struggle: substance abuse, anxiety, depression, bullying, fighting, etc. But it’s more than your average support group! It also helps you develop coping skills like analyzing your behaviors, triggers, and reactions.  If you’ve attended 12-step meetings, this is different. There’s no language about a higher power, and there is cross-talk allowed. You get to take control of your issues and figure out ways to make positive changes.

What about SMART Recovery Family & Friends?

SMART Recovery Family & Friends groups provide mutual support for people who are affected by a loved one who is dealing with some kind of addictive or negative behavior. It could be anything: substance abuse, gambling, hoarding, self-harm, an eating disorder, mental illness. If your friend, roommate, or family member is struggling and you don’t know what to do, this group can help you. You’ll get support from people who are dealing with similar struggles. You’ll also learn skills to handle their behaviors better and help get them into treatment. (SMART Family & Friends is based on the CRAFT model.)

How can I find a SMART Recovery Group near me?

  • In-person SMART Recovery groups right here in Connecticut: SEE MAP HERE.  (Please note that most groups in CT are for teens (up to age 18), young adults (18-25), or Family & Friends.)
  • Online meetings: www.smartrecovery.org

Calendar for Mental Health Awareness Days: 2019

TurningPointCT.org’s 2019 Awareness Calendar is here!

Every month there are awareness days that celebrate and recognize different things relating to mental health and advocacy. Have you ever wondered when all those awareness days are?

If so, check out ours below! Scroll down to find it!

Download the PDF or save the PNG to your desktop. Print it, share it, and enjoy it! #YouAreNotAlone

So, if you ever have felt like you are the only one experiencing your struggles, you are not alone. These awareness days exist to remind us of that fact. Together, we are strong. Love yourself, spread awareness, and fight stigma.

Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter to see our posts on each awareness day. You can also find out if there are any events happening in honor of the days.

Questions? Ask the forum!

Did we leave out any awareness days that you want us to include? Or, do you have any suggestions? Then let us know in the forum!

You can scroll down for the PDF!

Here is the PDF link:
2019 awareness calendar PDF

And scroll down for the PNG! Hint: you can save these by dragging them to your desktop. If you are on your phone hold down your finger and save the picture!

Here is the entire calendar, month-by-month in PNG form:
January 2019:
January 2019
February 2019:
February 2019
March 2019:
March 2019
April 2019:
April 2019
May 2019:
May 2019
June 2019:
June 2019
July 2019:
July 2019
August 2019:
August 2019
September 2019:
September 2019
October 2019:
October 2019
November 2019:
November 2019
December 2019:
December 2019

If you want to check out last year’s awareness calendar, click here!

We need your help! Donate today to TurningPointCT.org

We are asking for your help! 

Donate to TurningPointCT.org today or on Giving Day (Thursday, February 28)!

 

TurningPointCT.org is Connecticut’s peer support community by and for teens and young adults. We’ve got your back!

 

Our website offers a safe space online to share your story, talk about your problems, get information, and connect with resources. Our staff runs SMART Recovery support groups for teens in Norwalk and Fairfield… with more to come! We connect with other young people at schools and colleges across the state through speaking events, workshops, and resource fairs.  Whatever you’re struggling with–mental illness, addiction, homelessness, bullying, family problems–we’ve been there too.

Help us raise $10,000 to support our small part-time staff of young adults in recovery to be able to keep reaching out to schools, making connections with young people, improving our online support, and running support groups! We want every young person to know that they are not alone.

Donate to TurningPointCT.org today or on February 28th–Fairfield County’s Giving Day.

 

Click this link to Donate today, and share this page with your friends and family so we can reach our goal.

 

Giving Day runs from 12:00am to 11:59pm on Thursday, February 28th. Help us to reach our goal of raising $10,000. 

Your donation may even help us get a bonus grant if you’re one of our first or one of our last donors on Giving Day! If we get at least 25 donations of $25 right after midnight when Giving Day starts, we can win an extra $1000. So think of us Wednesday night before you go to bed and just stay up a few minutes past midnight! If you miss that chance, then please donate Thursday night between 9pm and 11:59pm. If we get enough donations during that time period, we may even win a $2,500 bonus!

Whether you can give as much as possible, or you know people who care about mental health who can donate, we need your help. Click the link to give what you can, share this page, and ask your friends to give what they can.

Together we will raise $10,000 to support young people struggling with their mental wellness! 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Click the picture to donate!

 

(If you want to learn more about Fairfield County’s Giving Day overall, click here.)

 

Recovery: From All Wrapped Up Christmas Show by Step’n Out Dance Studio

Step’n Out Dance Studios, owned by Susan Tomaselli in Norwalk, CT hosted a Christmas Show called All Wrapped Up. The second act included a dance called “Recovery”, choreographed by Shelby Greger. Recovery dancers are from Step’n Out’s Girls Advanced Hip Hop 2 class, and include: Olivia D’Elia, Julia Lihv, Nahjeera Miller, Kate Riordan, and Marissa Roc. Watch this incredibly moving dance, which was opened by the announcer saying, “To all those who are suffering, you are not alone”. To those of us who fight every day to be O.K., this is for you! Enjoy, and happy holidays from TurningPointCT.org

A Love Letter.

This is a love letter to the abused,
For my friends who’ve dug fault lines so deep into their soul
They don’t understand when a compliment bounces off their armored skin with a hollow t h u n k
And stare blankly ahead with confusion when even the closest of people try to lift them higher
They think to themselves, ‘What’s wrong with me?’
When there’s nothing wrong at all

This is a love letter to the abused,
For the wise and the meek to realize that they can take off their armor
That they can shed their tears without hesitation or fear
Allow yourself to rise from your soot and ash,
You are worthy of more than limitations you’ve set
Unburden your soul and unclench your fists for you deserve to smile for yourself

… This is a love letter to the abused,
From one kindred spirit to you.

 

Submitted by: Faljak

Talk with the creator of this expression and join the conversation here

Meredith: You Are Not A Failure

Watch Meredith’s inspirational video on life after recovery. In this video, she talks about her experiences and how she believes that “you are not a failure if you feel behind in life due to struggling with a mental illness during your teenage years.” Meredith supports her mental wellness by practicing yoga regularly as well as meditation.

A Quote From Meredith: “Because I struggled with a mental illness during my teenage years, the hardest part of recovery for me was figuring out adulthood. Because I spent so much time in the hospital, I didn’t graduate at the same time as everyone else. It can be so easy to compare your journey to someone else’s. When in reality we are all on our own unique timeline. People don’t realize how much strength recovery takes.”

Join the conversation about this video here

 

“Who Am I?”

There are a lot of people who will ask, in most any plethora of scenarios:

“Tell me a list of traits you’re proud of.”

“What are some positives?”

“Give me a reason why you’re a good person.”

We always sit there listening to nothing but that off-beat clock on the wall, avoiding awkward looks that seem to give the gist of, ‘well I tried I’ll see you next week I guess’, as we attempt rather poorly to come up with just one pitiful answer.

One.

You know how disgusting it is? To not look yourself in the mirror? To see not glass, but broken shards? The past? The scars and fears? The demons lurking over your shoulders in every corner of those four walls?

All it ever took, was that one answer to get going. To get anyone going.

So who am I? Not by definition of one fucked up stigmata so screwed into my core, blaring like a goddamn police siren every time someone asks, “What’s wrong?”

My answer? What else but, “Fine.”

It’s not fine. But I can tell you what is.

Who am I but talented. You know that one professor you have that kicks your ass with work? Makes you think outside of the realm of reason? I had one. She made me think, made me understand things… And even then I was presented with a new word to my arsenal: ‘Polymath’. In layman’s terms it means having the ability to be good a great many tasks but still being shit to yourself. I was always my worst critic, and still continue to be to this day.

Who am I but selfless. I have always emphasized that the ability to make someone smile would be greater than anything. So I cultivated that. I grew with that in my heart, and with that came another greater term: empathy. The ability to know and understand, to learn and guide… Where someone falls, you should know I will have my hand right there for you to help you back to your feet. Compassion, in its more pure form and reality, comes from the most deplorable of lifelines.

Who am I but resilient. Know where you come from, but why let it drown out who you are now? It’s useless to continue to lick those wounds, pick at scabs that continue to bleed and blind you day in and out. It took me years to realize it, yes, but once you let go and live. You’re actually alive. Abuse, night terrors, addictions, starvation tactics, self-harm and mutilation… The list worsens from there, but it takes a real strong mind, body, and soul, one that is steadfast and vigil, to overcome, oversee, and make peace with it all.

Who am I?

I am someone who deserves not the toil and tremor of depression, the affliction and pitfalls of trauma, the snares and fears of anxiety. I can learn and expand beyond even those.

I am someone who does not need this wall that blockades me from the world; sheltering me from everyone and everything, surrounding me in my fear and degradation. By one foul brick and mortar at a time, I am greater than this and the masks I’ve put up to keep everyone at bay.

I am someone who knows she is limitless with potential, yet nowhere near some gross definition of perfection.

I am worthy. I am good. I am —

Fine!

 

-Submitted by: Faljak

Talk with the creator of this expression and join the conversation here

Bravery.

There comes a point in time when you have to step back. When you have to remember that the disease, the traits it comes with, is not you. It does not and never will be capable of defining you. And admittedly, it took me years to realize this, to make this breakthrough without breaking a few other things in the process.

Your presence will never lie; you do not lie. No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape who you’ve become, but you can rewrite who you once were.

I used to tell myself:
“She was right about me all this time. They were right about me.”
“For fucks’ sake what have I done to myself? To everyone?”
“What do I have to show for all these years?”

And worse still,
“This world would never miss some piece of shit like me.”

And you know, I made the attempts, I came up with my plans as unorthodox as they were and they failed. One right after the next they were thwarted. There was a reason, they told me. It took me a very long time to understand what they meant. And I spent my days to weeks to a near month imprisoned in the walls of some hive-mind Institutional facility of nothing but smiles and medical snares —

You’d maybe think that was the epiphany for me. It wasn’t.

People often tell you, “You can’t help someone who doesn’t want the help,” Or even, “You can’t get the help if you don’t want it for yourself.” And they’re right. I’ve hurt people. I hurt myself. And to this very day I still hear things that try to convince me to do those very same things.

… Cleaved wounds tilled into my skin in hopes I had staved away some essence of those demons who constantly haunted me, numerous sleepless and unending days spent as some insomniac… Paranoid that I would fall into the void if I closed my eyes once. And when I did I was plagued with terrors beyond rebuke, flashes of unending things I dare not repeat lest they tease my waking hours.

I had no help. No despondent course of action until finally… I made one more plea. And that was all it took.

Should I be some brave form of myself, I would perhaps be able to look myself in the mirror for more than a split second. I would be able to smile at the reflection rather than cringe or nearly cry. I would not have to judge the bastard falsely beaming back at me, pointing a finger, scowling… In some deeper part of my being I know that smile is turning into something less masqueraded and truer to course.

If I knew how to be brave I would cast aside the fear of pulling down this baseless construct of a wall surrounding myself from others, of letting someone close enough to me… To love me. To hear me. To hold me. Hopeless as it may seem now, it is a goal, which I strive for with every pitiless strum of my heart, one that is chased by baseless threads of terror and trauma —

When I learn how to be braver, I will no longer fear to antagonize the ultimate enemy: Myself. I will have every skill to combat my own war, my own corruptibility, to brace back my storms and know when I need anything more and anyone else to pull me from my tombs. I am the greatest thing standing in the way of my goals, and I always have been, I always was the scariest and most traitorous thing to date. But maybe… Just maybe… There is hope yet shining through.

Bravery, I believe, should not be misconstrued with the term conquest; to have the ability stand in the face of your demons is enough, but to blatantly dismantle them is another. You cannot do everything. Not all at once. And certainly not on your own. That’s another thing I’ve learned the hard way.

But to know bravery perhaps, to know and understand where you stand while facing your more destitute selves… That is, placing yourself toe-to-toe with them, flipping them the bird and righteously yelling of your freedom… Perhaps you should be mindful that they had a hand in sculpting who we are now, who you will become. If only just a bit.

 

Submitted by: Faljak

Verbatim.

I – You – Me – Us.
We.
Remember what you say this day. And those therein.
Verbatim.

No one knows your strife, who you were in a redacted essence.
Your wits and good guidance be-damned and screwed to the sticking place
Lest we all fall back into a cycle,
Over and over,
Tilting back into that same phase of incriminating definition;

You know your stigmata,
Be it so bright it blinds those who look at you now?

Hear they not our cries and pleas?
Our so-called excuses for restitution of reality that we greedily seek?
Drugs and antidotes and therapies so fruitlessly plundered
From the ministry and hierarchy
Normality, we ask so wantonly;

But to be normal would be to lose who we have become or what we have aimed for,
We are as we have always been so leave us are we are

I – You – Me – Us.
We.
Remember what you say this day. And those therein.
Verbatim.

 

Submitted by: faljak

Podcast: Why is it important for young people to vote?

vote

Eliza and Ally sat down to answer the question: why is it important for young people to vote?

We talked about how we break the stigma around voting, why we personally are voting, and why we think our vote matters.

Tell us your answers and join in on the conversation here!

Listen here:

Cursed.

“You are c u r s e d,”
They told me.

You do not know how to SEE,
You only see through a veil your mind creates, those eyes no one else knows about
You only see the good in those around you
Even if they tread you underfoot
You only gaze at others through the eyes of an old soul,
Expecting them to look back at you the same way

“You are c u r s e d,”
They told me.

You do not know how to love
You choose only to love your hate, your rage, your terror
And worst of all, have found comfort in it all
You have found love not in yourself,
But in your abusers
Yet your heart is greedy and so full of the ability to GIVE

“You are c u r s e d,”
They told me.

You know so much and explain so little,
Tell me do you know how your intuition works?
Can you explain your own emotions if asked?
Can you give yourself the time of day without thinking of someone else first?
You have grown complaisant to your pain,
You have come to anticipate it and thank those who give it

“But you are B L E S S E D,”
They told me.

As you fill your wounds with lacquered gold,
A scarred statue who feels so profoundly it connects to the souls around them
You cover yourself in the finest of cloth to hide from the snares in your mind
You have turned your demons, your monsters, into your familiars – who now service your needs
Your veins beat to a drum singing of L O V E,
And W O R T H

“My dear, you are blessed.”

FREE CORN MAZE!

Help navigate through a 4.5 acre corn field that offers 1.5 miles of twists, turns and checkpoints! This is a great opportunity for team building and will end with some homemade ice cream & Italian ices which are made FRESH DAILY on the premises!

This event will be taken place on Sunday, Oct. 28th at Plasko’s Farm 670 Daniels Farm Rd in Trumbull.

We will be starting at 12:30 and will have plenty of time to go through the maze, eat some ice cream, and say hello to the critters on the farm!

Need help with transportation? We got you!

All we need from you is an RSVP and please invite/bring a friend!

You can RSVP to Ally @ Akernan@healthymindsct.org

Join in on the convo

corn

CT SMART Recovery Groups

SMART Recovery support groups for teens and for young adults and SMART Recovery Family & Friends groups are popping up all throughout Connecticut! Find out which ones are near you and check them out with a friend!

Our TurningPointCT staff are running a SMART Recovery teen group in Fairfield and about to start one in Norwalk. To find a SMART group near you, click here, or to find other cool spots to check out in your area, visit our map here. Join in on the conversation here.

So what exactly is SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery is a peer support group run by trained facilitators. It is for people seeking support with any struggle they may have: substance abuse, anxiety, depression, bullying, fighting, etc. But it’s more than your average support group–it also helps you develop coping skills by analyzing your behaviors, triggers, reactions, etc.  When our TurningPointCT staff got trained to facilitate SMART groups, they tried the skills out on themselves–and the skills worked! Check out our “What We Like About SMART Recovery” discussion about it on our Videos page.

For more information on SMART Recovery in CT, click here or to find an online meeting visit www.smartrecovery.org

So what exactly is SMART Recovery Family & Friends?

SMART Recovery Family & Friends groups help those who are affected by substance abuse (drug abuse, alcohol abuse) or other addictions of a loved one. If your boyfriend, sister, parent, friend or child is dealing with any type of addiction, this group will not only give you social support from people who have been exactly where you are, but it will also help you develop skills, based on the CRAFT model, to help you handle their behaviors better and also to help you get them into treatment.

For more information on SMART Recovery Family & Friends visit: https://www.smartrecovery.org/family/

 

Luca’s Recovery Month

Hey Guys! It’s Recovery month this month, check out what Luca’s got to say about it and check out his blog “Heavy Metal Recovery” on our forums

Eliza’s Recovery Video

September is Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Month.

Eliza is talking about why she fights for recovery, what her life was like, and how it has changed.

Share your recovery story with us, too and tell us why you fight.

Submit your video here

Watch the video on Vimeo, Youtube, and TurningPointCT.org

Not Getting Notifications From Us?

 

Hey TurningPointCT.org! We have recently switched up our system to improve this site. So if you’re wondering where your email notifications are, check your spam folder! Remove us from spam so you can get up-to-date posts and other info. Have questions? Email us at coordinator@turningpointct.org

Talking About Borderline Personality Disorder

Watch Luca, Ally, Chelsea, and Eliza talk about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) after seeing the film Borderline.

Watch the video & other shared videos: https://turningpointct.org/category/media/videos/

Join the conversation about it here: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/new-video-talking-about-borderline-personality-disorder/

Follow Eliza’s blog about her experience with living with a mental health disorder as a young mom: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/forum/blog-well-willow/

Share your video!

 

Podcast: Is Spirituality What Young People Need?

spirituality

Hi TurningPointCT.org! Today we sat with Chris, Connor, Ally, Beth, and Olivia to talk about spirituality.

We answered questions like:

Is spirituality always religious?

What does the term ‘spirituality’ mean to you?

How has spirituality helped shape your mental wellness?

Join in on the conversation by answering these questions too: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/podcast-is-spirituality-what-young-people-need/

FREE Young Adult Facilitator Training – AUGUST

FREE Young Adult Facilitator Training

NAMI Connecticut is offering a FREE Young Adult Connection Group Facilitator training for emerging adults ( ages 18-29) who are in recovery from a mental health condition.

The training will be held on August 14, 2018 from 9AM-4:30PM located at the United Way of Connecticut on 1344 Silas Deane Highway in Rocky Hill; please see attached flyer for more information.

Breakfast and lunch will also be provided.

Please note, registration is required:
Application

Application deadline is August 1, 2018.

Forum Post

FAB Vlog from Brien McMahon High School

Watch vloggers Fatima, Ashley, and Bryanna (FAB), who are students at Brien McMahon High School. Fatima and Bryanna are at The Chill Out Lounge, TurningPointCT.org’s activity room at Norwalk High School’s Week of Wellness. We had stations of different sensory items and activities to “chill out”! Enjoy!

And, thank you Fatima and Bryanna for sharing your vlog with us! Welcome to TurningPointCT.org!

If you want to talk to them, leave feedback, or start a conversation here is their forum post! 

What We Like About SMART Recovery ®

Listen to our young adults Eliza, Ally, and Olivia talk about why they choose SMART Recovery ® and why you should too!

To watch the video and other shared videos click here

If you’d like to know more info on our group & join in on the discussion click here

If you’d like to get more info on SMART Recovery click here

NAMI YA Facilitator Training

Hey everyone! Just a reminder that NAMI Connecticut is offering a FREE training for young adults who would like to facilitate a peer-run support group.

Their first state-wide training with the new YA Connection Model will be on Tuesday, March 27 from 9AM-4PM at 1 Park Street, Norwalk

Join the conversation and get more info!

 

 

SMART Recovery Teen Group In Fairfield, CT

Join us for a free SMART Recovery Teen Support Group on Friday’s in Fairfield, CT!

Learn ways to gain control of your life and sort through it all in the company of your peers, run by trained TurningPointCT young adults.

This is for anyone struggling with anything: stress, school, peers, family, self harm, mental health and substance use disorders, bullying, fighting, etc.

Snacks are provided and monthly social activities with peers (that you get to help plan!)

We can help with transportation.

Starting Friday, February 16th from 3:30-5:00pm
First Congregational Church
Wakeman Hall
148 Beach Road, Fairfield CT

Need more info?
Contact Ally:
203-840-1187 (Office)
akernan@healthymindsct.org

P.S. if you are a high school student that enjoys mentoring or a social work/psychology student and see this as something you would like to get involved in, please contact us!

Join the conversation here: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/smart-recovery-teen-group/

Help us end youth homelessness!!!

Hi everybody! The 2018 Youth Count started today! The Youth Count is a statewide effort to count all of the homeless and unstably housed young adults aged 13-25 in CT.

The Youth Count is conducted by volunteers throughout the state who go to hot-spots (places with high concentrations of young people- such as bus stops, train stations, corner stores, etc.) and other locations, community organizations, and a “come and be counted”.

The survey is quick, easy, and VERY important to help people understand the needs of young adults and homeless youth in our state. Our goal is to end youth homelessness by 2020, but we can’t do that without knowing the need! This information is used to propel our state towards that goal, get funding and to provide resources to those in need.

So from the 24th-30th volunteers will be out there looking for people to survey!!
If you would like to help, let me know, it’s not too late to volunteer and we NEED your help!!

Also, spread the word about the come and be counted event!! It is happening on the 30th statewide. Below are the flyers for the Fairfield County Come and Be Counted Events. If you would like the information about the ones in other parts of the state, let me know and I will find the information!
There will be pizza, goody bags, and resource guides to help you if you are in need of help!
Help spread the word!!!

homeless 

 

learn more here

To help: Contact Eliza at emcnamara@healthymindsct.org

2018 Awareness Calendar

Hi everybody! To celebrate the new year, Turningpointct.org has made a calendar showcasing mental wellness awareness days to share with you!

Below is the entire calendar

Share with your friends, or enjoy it yourself! Some of the days may be familiar and some may be new!
We hope you all enjoy it!

Happy New Year!

Being a young adult female and its struggles

Our young adults, Ally, Olivia, and Eliza, came together to discuss their struggles as a female.

They share their experiences as woman, but also how their age is a factor in their struggles as well. They have many things in common and find it empowering to get honest and personal. Work, school, and home-life are all talked about, along with sexual harassment, relationships, and how they stand up for themselves! One thing they all have in common is feeling intimidated and discriminated against as a young woman.

Therefore, you can join in on the conversation – are you a young adult female that has experienced similar situations? Any different struggles? – we want to hear from you!

https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/podcast-the-struggles-of-a-ya-female/

 

Are our youth over-medicated?

We’re back and this time we are talking our experience with medication and asking the question, are our youth being overmedicated?

Listen to Ally, Olivia, Eliza, and Michael

overmedicated

share their experiences with medication for behavioral health issues as teens and young adults. In this podcast episode, we talk about both our struggles and successes with medication and how we are influenced by it today.

Join in on the convo right here and share your thoughts — are we overmedicating our youth? What has your experience been like? https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/podcast-medication/

 

Suicide Prevention and Risk Factors

Suicide prevention is possible and 100% of suicides are preventable. In fact, research finds that about 90% of individuals who die by suicide experience mental illness. Preventing suicide is key, and a number of other factors may put a person at risk of suicide, for instance:

  • A family history of suicide.
  • Substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication. More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
  • Access to firearms.
  • A serious or chronic medical illness.
  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse.
  • Prolonged stress.
  • Isolation.
  • Age. People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
  • A recent tragedy or loss.
  • Agitation and sleep deprivation.

Nami National Alliance on Mental Illness

Here you can check out NAMI to learn about warning signs and tips on how to deal with a mental health crisis.

Crisis Resources

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.

If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficulty or suicidal thoughts, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

Therefore, if you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

If you want the best advice on suicide prevention, here is the place to go!

Here are some resources and links about suicide prevention as well as how to find treatment and advocacy groups. Help is out there!

September – Suicide Prevention Month

Today

Today

No day is as lovely as today

No red carpets but youthful giggles spread the way

My heart whimpers for more of today

It is a lovely day beside the blue waters of the bay

Dark clouds come and go

And preparing for a hectic day is the sun’s glow

My soul can hardly believe it

And my mind tarries in guilt

Thinking t’s unreal, when real it is

The sky opens wide

In its dress azure and mild

Symbolizing, the epitome of authenticity

I don’t understand the perfection of today

It must be a miracle

For nothing seems to chuckle

Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month – Celebrate Men’s Health Month with us.

This week is Men’s Health Week. Make sure to wear blue on Friday, June 16th or any other day of the month to show support.

Additionally, here is a link to the CDC about men’s health so make sure to read it and raise awareness!

Men's Health

Here, you can learn more about men’s health and stay informed.

Fairfield County Walks for Mental Health

Join the region’s coalition of mental health advocates for the first annual Fairfield County Walks for Mental Health event on Saturday, May 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the Norwalk Green (parking available on Park Street).

Warm up with some laughter exercise on the Green just before Senator Bob Duff opens Mental Health Awareness Month with an official proclamation from Governor Malloy. We will be joined by state and local officials including Senator Toni Boucher and Representatives Cristin McCarthy-Vahey, Chris Perone, Jonathan Steinberg, Fred Wilms, and Terrie Wood.

Walk with us down East Avenue (1 mile round trip), check out the Labyrinth, Healing Garden and Hope-Pray-Dream Board at St. Paul’s Church, or just come to show your support for the cause of mental health especially now when state funding is so much at risk. Free admission and complimentary purple bandannas for all.

RSVP to info@swrmhb.org or (203) 840-1187 to let us know how many people will be walking with you.

The Walk kicks off a calendar of almost 50 events across the region in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month including movies, talks, trainings, and more. Find the full calendar of regional events at http://www.HealthyMindsCT.org.

New Feature Up: Tampa Conference!

TurningPointCT.org collaborated with CT STRONG, NAMI, and Street Smart Ventures to present a poster at the 30th Annual Research and Policy Conference for Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health located in Tampa, FL!

We also were able to attend the conference which was filled with great information! Our poster presentation attracted a huge crowd that had so many great questions for us!

To read about our whole experience and to catch up on new features, follow this link: https://turningpointct.org/resources/featured-events/

So Long…

Its almost the end of National Poetry Month. I just want to share a final poem before the month ends. Of course, many more to come.

The theme of this poem is perseverance. It looks at the idea that each day might come to an end but our individual fight continues.

 

-Kevin

Minority Mental Health Month

The Votes

“This poem was written many years before our current political situation. But it resonates very well with our times. Still the intention was to generate humor but I guess its about politics too.” – Kevin

There goes an old woman in a long nylon frock

Following the trail down the highway hill
Praising the name of David Phil
He is a good man they say, he is the man to run the main
And so the party people followed making their victory begging raid.
Well, they judged the candidates wife
“I believe she is pretty,” one man says
“She will make a fine first lady and I like her fashionable ways.”
“I heard she is from India
A humble lady,” someone says.
The wife prays for the party’s win
And the farmer prays for good
The lawyer prays for lower excises
And the janitor prays for higher wages
While the party president finds a perfect place, in that perfect day, to hibernate.
 The people of the nation; their thinking’s are ill
They vote a man in power with low credit and a high bill
The government full of doctors, but not accordingly they behave
And while the people wrestle to strive
The sovereign minds comes to a ‘still’

 

 

National Minority Mental Health Month

Join us in celebration of National Minority Mental Health Month throughout the Month of July to bring awareness to mental illness and to improve access to mental health treatment among minority groups.

Minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to and availability of mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.

Immigrant groups, LGBT youth, and American Americans are often a part of the most marginalized groups. Some of our forum contributers such as Salmon, Kevin, Sufie and Frankie each shared their stories, which looks into some of the issues that minorities face.

Kevin’s blog also looks at mental illness and other issues from the perspective of a gay, Afro-Caribbean immigrant.

Read Our Stories and learn about the myth and facts about mental illness by clicking this link: https://turningpointct.org/thefactsdisorder/myths-and-facts/

The National Alliance on Mental Illness hopes to bring more people from multicultural or marginalized groups into the conversation on mental illness, create more safe spaces and ensure that everyone gets the right treatment that they need.

Minority Mental Health Month

Minority Mental Health Month

If you would like to find out more about helpful resources, please click on this link or you may click here to find locations in your area that offers services for mental health.

CALL OR TEXT A TRAINED CRISIS COUNSELOR TO TALK:

  • If you or someone you know is struggling or needs support now, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

National Bipolar Awareness Day: March 31st

COMODO SCREEN

Help us raise awareness about Bipolar Disorder on March 31st. This day is celebrated nationally to increase awareness and to promote early detection and accurate diagnosis, reduce stigma, and minimize the devastating impact on the 2.3 million Americans presently affected by the disorder.

S.F. and Dolce both live with bipolar disorder. You may read their stories at the links provided below:

S.F: “The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my illness is to have patience… I rushed through my recovery, partly out of ignorance and partly out of fear that this illness was going to impact my life in ways I didn’t want it to…”. Further reading here: https://turningpointct.org/story/s-fmanicdepression/

Dolce: “I didn’t understand why I would have hyper days and then some days I would be down, I always thought that I was a troubled kid…”. Further reading here: https://turningpointct.org/story/dolcebipolardisorder/

These amazing stories exposes us to the diverse struggles that other young adults with Bipolar Disorder have to deal with. Please keep reading more stories here.

There are more resources available at turningpointct.org to guide you through your recovery. Follow the Q&A guide if you are thinking about getting help. Learn about how you can get started and do a self screening test to see if you may possibly have a bipolar diagnosis.

Learn more about Bipolar disorder by clicking on this link then clicking on the ‘mood disorders’ tab on ‘The Facts’ page.

CALL OR TEXT A TRAINED CRISIS COUNSELOR TO TALK:

  • Trevor Project (crisis intervention & suicide prevention for the  LGBTQ community): 1-866-488-7386

Young Adult Conference – Constance Lane Arnold

unnamed-1Brian talks about his experience at the recent Speaker Series, by CTSTRONG, which featured motivational speaker and talk show host, Constance Lane Arnold. The event was held on Friday, September 9th, in Cromwell, Connecticut. This was a special young adult conference aimed at helping to transform young adult leaders through self-care, relationship maintenance, setting professional boundaries, and more!

“As I take my seat at one of the banquet tables in the Crown Room of the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, I’m not sure what to expect from the day’s events.  I’ve heard the speaker – Constance Lane Arnold – more than once before, on her Think, Believe and Manifest! radio program, always enjoying her show and finding myself a little more inspired after listening than before.

Understanding the Power of Caring for Self.  Focusing and Getting Clear About What You Desire.  Identifying Action Steps and Setting Intentions.  These are just a few of the topics that comprised the day’s agenda.    

She stressed the importance of boundaries, and about who we choose to spend our time with and how we engage with them. unnamed-3

unnamed-2Those in attendance at the event expressed their struggle coping with trials and tribulations in their personal lives.  Constance discussed how the key is to not rely on external sources for your happiness, energy, fulfillment, etc.  She described certain unhealthy coping strategies as self-medication. “Medication is anything external that is used to help ease problems”. Constance also discussed how the key is to not rely on external sources for your hapiness, energy, fulfillment, etc.  

In addition to discussing the importance of mindfulness and changing your your paradigm, Constance also spoked about other practical ways to practice self care to improve life satisfaction.  “Be open to connections” she said, meaning develop healthy and enriching relationships with others, because that’s how we grow and develop.” —  Brian 

 

Screening of Generation Found – TODAY!!!

GENERATION FOUND

“From the creators of the groundbreaking film, THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE, comes GENERATION FOUND, a powerful story about one community coming together to ignite a youth addiction recovery revolution in their hometown. Devastated by an epidemic of addiction, Houston faced the reality of burying and locking up its young people at an alarming rate. And so in one of the largest cities in America, visionary counselors, law school dropouts, aspiring rock musicians, retired football players, oil industry executives, and church leaders came together to build the world’s largest peer-driven youth and family recovery community.

Independently filmed over the course of two years, GENERATION FOUND takes an unprecedented and intimate look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.” It is not only a deeply personal story, but one with real-world utility for communities struggling with addiction worldwide.”

Join Us for this Phenomenal Documentary!

Tues., September 6th 7:30pm
at the

Marquis 16 Theater,
100 Quarry Rd, Trumbull

Tickets are $11 and must be purchased before August 22nd

Click on the link to reserve your seats and review the trailer
For more information contact Carol Cruz
203-507-4223 ~ c23cruz@gmail.com
#generationfound #recoveryrevolution
Please See Flyer HERE

TODAY! FREE Young Adult Conference

Young Adult Conference

A Free Public Information Session for ALL Young Adults

~~~~~~~

BE EMPOWERED AND LEARN HOW YOU CAN DEVELOP YOUR

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE !

 

TurningPointCT.org PSA

What is TurningPointCT.org? Watch this PSA to find out:

Life

Life – This piece is colored in marker done by Ayo, young adult in the Middletown Young Adult Connection Group. She graciously energized the tree with color and let her imagination take it away.

-Ayo

Celebrity Wellness

Celebrity Wellness

Martha Stewart: I chose Martha Stewart for a few reasons. One, she is gangster. That’s right. Little delicate Martha has definitely gotten someone fired for looking at her the wrong way. In all seriousness, Martha is the queen of domestic life, which is where wellness is cultivated. Martha knows everything from gardening, cooking, decorating, even insider trading!

 

Joan Crawford: If anyone needed Mental Health First Aid, it was Joan… Queen of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Joan exuded glamour and appeal with every glance, and power and strength with her words. Yet Joan was known in real life to have particularly strict habits and routines. Go watch the movie Mommie Dearest, then message me on the forum where we can talk about it

What would happen if celebrities talked about what wellness means to them? I took a humorous look at what I think they would say!

-Michael

 

Frozen

I love Disney, and was challenged to draw Elsa and Olaf from the movie Frozen!

-Michael

Connect with peers @ CT’s new Young Adult Warmline!

Warmline – Developed by JoinRiseBe & Advocacy Unlimited to connect young people to community resources, motivate our peers to move forward, and inspire hope by demonstrating the positive outcomes of recovery. Call 1855-6-HopeNow to speak with a young person who can guide you towards wellness. Available Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 12-6pm.

image1