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Mental Wellness



Sorry, I'm PMSing.

Jalyn Harden

Almost two weeks before a woman’s menstruation phase, she is almost always expected to feel fatigued, moody, + have these out-of-control cravings that may lead to bloating and/or excessive cramping. For most women, myself included, we might be precipitated by symptoms that disrupt our social functioning, sleep schedule, productivity + work ethic. In most phases, I find myself apologizing for my irritable mood and blaming it on the PMS. This can't be life. 

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

If you’ve experienced these symptoms, more than likely it’s premenstrual syndrome which is characterized by the "physical and emotional symptoms." Recently in my studies, I was informed that Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is the severe form of PMS, clinically diagnosable with its' respective criteria and appropriate duration.  After reading the criteria, what surprised me were two things: 

1. The criteria: Wow, this is actually a disorder. 

2. These symptoms affect A LOT of women I know! 

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

This is NOT to say every woman I know has PMDD. However, PMS can definitely impact your regular routine + may even have you to develop another routine just to deal with the precipitated symptoms. I’d like to examine PMDD through a socio-cultural perspective + possibly challenge the current literature which explicitly states PMDD isn't a culture bound syndrome.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

To any woman reading this, you have literally felt my pain or even worse. In our “American” culture, most times we pop some ibuprofen to relieve of the physical pain + continue to our roles as a professional, wife, mother, daughter, member of society with these daunting symptoms. If we’re lucky enough we can call out or work, and spend the day crawling from our bedroom to bathroom because we can’t stand [the pain]. Some, not all, phases are as symptomatic - but I've gotten used it and deal with it, because I'm an American woman. 

On the contrary, in other cultures and countries, menstruation is not seen as a week of suffering, but rather a cleansing, a process encouraged even for men. Menstruation also is not as disabling + negatively viewed for women in other parts of the world. Women are still able maintain their weight with proper diet and exercise. With this being said, socio-cultural influences may play a bigger part than we imagine in our physical + behavioral symptoms during this time of the month. Take inventory of your diet, lifestyle,  and overall physical health to get more answers around your PMS and/or PMDD symptoms. 

If you have any questions, please see a medical doctor first ruling out all other somatic issues. 


Until next time, 

Jalyn Tai 

Stepping Into My Purpose

Gabeal Davis

"I Declare I will be experience God's faithfulness. I will not worry. I will not doubt. I will keep my trust in Him, knowing that He will not fail me. I will give birth to every promise God put in my heart and I will become everything God created me to be. This is my declaration." - Joel Olsteen

There has been so much going on in my life these days. I have almost given up on my dreams and myself and fell into dark place. When reading this quote from Joel Osteen's "I Declare (31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life") I sat down and remembered the promise that God made to me years ago from multiple sources outside of hearing it within myself. One source being from my aunt after I fallen years ago. I remembered that God has promised me better days and success in what I enjoy doing which is writing. At the time of this message, I've felt no way out of myself and my feelings and allowed myself to really give up on everything. Almost ten years later, I find myself back in the same predicament. It feels like I'm going in circles, but I have to remember what God has promised me, which is better days and success.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

I have started writing originally back in 2005/2006 on Xanga which, at the time, was a popular online blogging site. I went to writing to help release my thoughts and feelings because it was easier than actually talking about them. At the time I was attending Clayton State University here in Georgia located just outside of Atlanta. My mind wasn't focused on writing or doing anything in a field that requires me to write anything, but when I decided to be a part of this Xanga community I found myself deeply involved and entangled into my work and begun to love it. That's when I decided to take it further and start and take my writing to a level higher than it was. This is when I began to find my peace, and this is when I feel like I began to hear more of God's voice and promise over my life.

To be more clear, it wasn't like God just spoke to me clearly and said that this is something I will be doing for a living, but through what I was doing I found peace and drive to push forward and create something amazing and successful.

What is your promise or calling? What will you do to get on the path to claiming what's yours?

Even though it seems like things we aren't where we want to be in life we have to hold to what we feel is right and what was promised to us.  Even though we go through so many obstacles and overcome every challenge know that you will come out better than before and closer to our goal. Use these things to your advantage and create.

Spark your creativity. Use your trials as motivation and find success!

Wild Thoughts

Jaya Johnson

I often find myself in moments of intense thought. I will see or hear something that will spark a thought, but that is not the end. This thought will take a journey through my mind as I process it and consider storing it. Most will call this moment of intense thought "day dreaming", but that has a positive connotation. Others might say this is just visualization, but that implies that these thoughts are focused and intentional. However, this is not a term for the thoughts that run wild and lead us to be anxious and to worry. 

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

I want to discuss those "wild thoughts" -- the thoughts that create an illusion of our past, present, and future, but are not supported in truth. The reality is that our imaginations, if we let them, can turn against us. It creates within us irrational fear and doubt. We start to treat people differently based on things they have never done. The Bible even advises us on such thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (NIV). We literally have to catch our thoughts when they start to run away. 

Here are some other ways to control our "wild thoughts":

  1. Meditate. Meditation allows you to look at your thoughts without judging them as they pass through your mind. It gives you an inside look into what is going on in your mind. By incorporating meditation into your daily routine, you will learn how to clear your mind of those harmful thoughts.
  2. Journaling. Writing down your thoughts helps you to see them more clearly and to think through them rationally.
  3. Assess your environment. Our thoughts are inspired by what we see and hear. They are also inspired by who we spend our time with. Change the course of your thoughts by changing your circle and what you listen to, watch, and read. 

We have to learn how to control our thoughts because thoughts become things and we may begin to manifest these irrational fears and doubts in our lives. By reining in these wild thoughts we can live our lives in the present and without fear. 

A Dish Best Not Served, Period.

Anais Terry

Sometimes bad things happen to people, and sometimes we wished for those bad things. As humans, we are no strangers to the concept of revenge.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

History is full of schemers and dreamers, people who have been wronged and thirst for some form of retribution. Revenge is defined as, “the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.” Now I know what you're probably thinking dear reader, “Well I only thought about it, so that doesn’t apply to me.”

Wrong. Studies show that revenge, even thinking about revenge increases stress and impairs health. The desire for revenge can also affect you socially, as you become consumed you begin to transform into the type of people we hate; petty, insecure, and angry. It becomes harder for you to open up to people because you won't trust anyone, and who wants to be around a person like that? Unfortunately, being hurt is a natural part of life.

It’s not okay, and it’s not fun but it does happen. However, how we handle those situations and move forward is completely up to us. So here are a few tips in forgiveness for the next time you're itching for some good old karma.  

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

1. It’s ok to be salty.
You’ve just been hurt and have every right to be upset. Go ahead and cry. It’s important to address your feelings when something like this happens. You should also accept that your ill intentions towards them are a normal reaction and your in the right to feel the way you do. With that being said, don’t make any rash decisions right away. Wait until you have a chance to calm down before deciding your next choice of actions.

2. Consult with friends. 
Run your situation by other people you trust and get a second opinion. Is your anger justified or are you just overreacting? Because hey, it does happen. Finding out what somebody else thinks is also a good way of understanding how the person you're angry at might feel as well. Make sure your confiding in the right people and word doesn’t get back to that person before your ready though. 

3. Let it go. 
Begin the process of forgiving before you confront this person since there's no telling what will happen when you talk it out. There's a chance you won't get the apology your looking for. It's possible you won't even restore that relationship again. No matter what, continue to be the bigger person and forgive them anyway. Forgiving them ahead of time allows you to be at peace with whatever happens and move on afterward. Don't waste your emotions on difficult people, it's their loss.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

I know it can be difficult to deal with emotions objectively and that this isn't a black and white subject. There are millions of scenarios that come with revenge, and we've barely scratched the surface, However,  I hope these tips can help you the next time you're feeling angry or upset anyway. You're too busy being great to worry about a relationship that can't be redeemed. Good luck and God bless. 

3 Tips For Tackling Post-Grad Depression

Sydney Wingate

Photo by iStock Images

Photo by iStock Images

Picture this: there's sun shining all around you but right above there's a dark storm cloud that only you can see, feel and sense. The presence of rain, the roaring thunder, the piercing lightning and the desire to do absolutely nothing. Well, that is what my depression feels like.

Pair that with constant comparison, tireless applications and the discouragement of one rejection email after the next and there you have it, post-grad depression.

It has officially been three plus weeks, seventeen-ish days and a countless amount of hours since I crossed the stage as a graduate of North Carolina State University. 

And as much as I tried to avoid it, there I was. A statistic. Another graduate with a degree and without a job. 

Post-grad depression seemed like a mythical legend until I was looking it right in the mirror. Like many, the past twenty-two years of my life has been planned around the advancement of my education but that all changed when I decided to take a gap year among other options. During my gap year, I had plans of holding a full-time job in some bustling city while brunching and traveling on the weekends. 

Well let's just say, my reality set in.

Before I knew it, I found myself back under my parent's roof with no job, in debt and unmotivated. 

Photo by iStock Images

Photo by iStock Images

And in that moment I knew that I had to take the reigns of my mental state. In order to change your position, you have to tweak your perspective and here's how:

1. "Check yourself before you wreck yourself." 

We all know this unsung phrase often curated from the lips of our parents, warning us to get in check before they do it for us. Well, sometimes you have to get yourself right, sis. Your mindset and mental health go hand-in-hand, so when one is off so is the other.

Here I was, crossing the stage one day and sulking over my nonexistent full-time position the next, forgetting that I was first-generation college student and that this was a major milestone for my immediate family.

I say all this to encourage you to not let the clouds overshadow the shining moments. Obtaining a degree may seem normal but let's not forget that it isn't something that is always achieved. So be proud of your now instead of worrying about the unknown. 

2. Faith it until you make it and then faith it some more. 

To keep it hot, short and to the point: you can either choose to place your worries in the hands of the Lord or you can sit there and let it consume you. BUT, what you CANNOT do is both. *sorry Drake.*

3. Be Humble. Sit down. And breathe.

Just because you aren't traveling, moving across the country or going to law school doesn't mean that you don't hold value. Just because you're living back home after spending thousands of dollars on a "piece of paper" doesn't mean you wasted time, resources or talent. Instead of constantly thinking on the contrary, I had to remind myself to stop taking the small things for granted. Instead, I should be grateful that I have parents allowing me back into a loving home because not everyone can say the same. Grateful that I can return to a community rooting for my every move. Grateful that I was able to experience college in itself. 

Stop letting the articulated highlight reels that are Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat devalue what you are and who you are becoming.

And just like that, my every day fight with post-grad depression becomes a little bit smaller and my positivity, productivity and passion takes it's place.

So I ask, what are you letting consume you?