What If The Journey Is The Path?

As a kid, when an adult tells you that life is short, you think (or at least I did), “yeah, right.” I felt like the school year lasted forever, so how could life move fast? If life moved fast, then so would the school year. However, as I have gotten older (ugh), I found that sentiment to be true. Life really does fly by. I feel like I am not that far from high school or college. They both went by in the blink of an eye. Everyone told me it would, but it is one of those things you have to experience yourself, to believe.

As humans, we are constantly looking for shortcuts to get us ahead. We believe once we reach a “happy state” in life, it will last forever. However, that is not how it works. Like anger and/or sadness, happiness is a fleeting feeling or emotion. If you think about it, you are never just one emotion all of the time. This is good; no one deserves to be angry or sad all the time (if you feel you are, please head over to the resource page and get help immediately – there is a better way); however, the same rule applies to happiness. It seems only logical that all emotions function in the same way.

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble if this idea is new to you. However, this is part of what makes the human experience so beautiful. We are sad, angry, etc., to better appreciate the times when we are happy. It is easy to have tunnel vision and fixate on working towards a happy or dream life. Not to say that is necessarily wrong. You should work hard to achieve the life you want to live, but know there will be ups and downs. Remember to not get so far ahead of yourself that you forget to take in the present moment. Take in the bright flowers that bloom this Spring/Summer, smell the ice cream when getting your favorite treat at your local shop, and remember how you felt in those moments.

People tell you that your day goes by so fast it is hard to take it all in on your wedding day. They recommend taking “mental pictures” of moments throughout the day, so you will always have those to think back upon. I think the same rule applies to life as a whole. We cannot remember every experience, but when you are happy, don’t forget to take those mental pictures to look back upon, especially when sad and/or angry.

This, too, shall pass. If you’re at a challenging point in your life, trust that it can turn around quickly. The same applies to happy moments in life; they can soon change, so remember to savor them! 

May The Force Guide You To Care For Your Mental Health

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month To All! In case you didn’t know, the entire month of May is devoted to raising awareness for mental health. It is a beautiful dedication to such a worthy cause.

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) host the “NAMIWalks Your Way” across the United States to raise awareness for mental health. If you have participated in the walk, then you know the beauty and magic of it, and I hope you continue your participation. If you have not participated in a NAMI walk, then I highly encourage you to do so. If your life has ever been touched by mental health, then this is the place to acknowledge, validate, and lift one another up. It is a wonderfully, moving event. Click here to find a walk near you!

If the walk sounds nice in theory, but would be overwhelming for you, I get it. The pandemic has caused quite a bit of social anxiety. We’ve been isolated for so long, that it can be overwhelming for some to assimilate back into crowds. However, there are still ways you can celebrate and show your support for mental health awareness! One way is to pledge to be stigma free through NAMI. “Stigma is when someone, or even you yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgement from someone else. Stigma can even come from an internal place, confusing feeling bad with being bad” (NAMI Website). Click here to take the pledge!

Maybe you’re an artist and want to contribute in a creative way. I’ve got you covered! First, make sure to tune into MTV’s Mental Health Day of Action on May 19, 2022. “To help inspire people to talk about their lived experience, destigmatize mental health, and galvanize a movement to drive significant cultural, political and policy changes, this Mental Health Action Day aims to lift the conversation from awareness to action. Each person and company has their own ability to drive change and support this day of action in ways that work best for them, including: community, influencer or employee engagement; amplification; digital events; free support; and product updates. For more information, visit here” (NAMI 2022 Mental Health Awareness Partner Guide). If you’re on the East Coast or or looking for the next music festival to attend, look no further than New York City, specifically Central Park for the Sound Mind Music Festival for Mental Health. This event will take place on May 21, 2022 featuring amazing artists like Cold War Kids and American Authors. Get your tickets here!

If you’re a high school student (ages 16-18), lucky you! There is a “2022 Speaking Up About Mental Health!” essay contest. The National Institute on Mental Health will award multiple winners a total of up to $15,000 in cash prizes. Pretty amazing, right?

Truthfully, it does not matter how you celebrate, it just matters that you celebrate. It can easily be done in an enjoyable way for all. Use your talents and joys to raise awareness for a wonderful cause. Many have been touched by mental health, especially in the recent years due to the pandemic. Don’t wait; Learn more and advocate for mental health today! Thank you to all fellow advocates! We must lift each other up to spread this message of hope. 💜

The Depression Kitty Is Real

It’ll be easier to stay tucked in bed today, as opposed to facing the world. The monsters that creep into my head keep telling me what a failure and loser I am. (As if I didn’t already know.) The weight of the “depression kitty” (I have to credit Big Mouth for that one.) is too unbearable to lift off my chest today. Anyways, the door seems too far to muster up the courage to make that journey. This blanket is so cozy and compresses me and my feelings just right. The pillow on my stomach keeps my churning stomach at bay. My neck and back ache, and I can’t seem to find the root of it. I unmistakably smell my own BO, and I think I washed my hair a few days ago, but honestly I lost count. Gross but true.

It’s hard to get out of bed sometimes. The days turn into weeks which turn into months. Am I even getting any older? Who knows. I just keep waking up to the sound of the trash trucks and lawn mowers all getting on with their days. It should be that easy for me, but it isn’t. Ugh, the damn neighbors dog won’t ever stop barking, if only I could get a little more peace. Just a little more.

Maybe I’ll smoke my worries away. I’ll watch them swirl up into oblivion only to feel them reabsorb as the high wanes. Marilyn said it best “The nicest thing for me is sleep, then at least I can dream.” I think a lot of us feel that way when facing a mental health condition. For me it’s that sweet, sweet sting of depression. It can be overwhelming and the thoughts can become unbearable. I don’t want to feel this way and face the world. It’s too much and it’s hard to explain to people who don’t understand.

I had a glass of wine which turned into a bottle. Do I go for another just to numb the pain a bit more and pass out? If I do, then I’ll find the next morning to be even worse, than where I began the day before. Alcohol is a depressant, and I know that it’s wrong to use as a reliever, but sometimes that little relief feels necesasry. The hangover sets in and reminds me why I can’t rely on this substance to get me through. Also, the sleep I got wasn’t as sound as I had hoped for, and I can thank alcohol for that.

What do I do? I don’t want to go to work, school, family or social events. I want to stay in bed away from it all. Away from the energy drainers who just can’t seem to understand why I feel the way I do. I get it, not everyone has experienced depresion or another mentral health condition. You’re very lucky, but please don’t tell me to just get over it. It’s not that easy and while it’s partly true, I have to learn how to cope with my illness on my own; because I’m the only one who will always be there during each depressive episode. I promise that while it may seem I am being “dramatic”, I don’t want to be here either. It only makes it worse to be told you’re trying to get attention. Don’t you think I’d rather be out living my best life then stuck in here? Of course, I would and maybe someday I will.

*A journal entry from my younger days. This is not reflective of my current mental state. However if this resonates with you, please visit the resource page to seek immediate help. You’re not alone, and this too shall pass.

A Note To My Younger Self

Hi Little Me!

I hope you are well. I hope you tell people how you feel instead of masking it until you cannot take it anymore. I hope you love and treat yourself because sometimes everyone needs a little extra TLC. It does not mean you are broken or that there is something wrong with you. There isn’t. In fact, you’re about to find out what you have been feeling has a name, and it is Depression. Not so uncommon. At first, this will scare you; it will make you feel isolated from your friends and family, but know this – many of them are struggling too. Good for you for being brave enough to say, “This isn’t right; I deserve more.” There will be times in your life you needed to have that mentality but didn’t. Be proud when you do.

You don’t want anyone (friends or family) to know because they might think you’re crazy. I promise you they won’t. They will be impressed at your confidence to own it and communicate that to them. That takes some big guts, especially for a high school student. I know you feel like you are ready to be an adult, but you’re not. Enjoy this time and soak everything up like a sponge. Believe it or not this time will be something you look back upon and miss. Hold on to those memories as tight as you can. As soon as you walk out that door, they begin to fade quicker than you imagined they would.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. How cliché, right? I know you’re rolling your eyes, but I mean it. It is hard for some people even in their mid-twenties to be themselves, don’t follow that trend. Yeah, so what you’re quirky and a bit of a nerd – people will like that because you’re authentically you. If you are undeniably yourself, you never have to be worried if people love you for you because you know they will. And how could they not – we’re pretty awesome ;). No, I don’t want to toot our own horn here, but I want to encourage the timid high school girl in the same position, to be unapologetically herself. It is so hard especially in today’s social media age, for kids to be themselves because they are constantly wishing they are someone else. The comparisons that social media emits are almost more dangerous than old-fashioned jealousy. All you ever see on social media are the good parts. At least in person, you can see the whole package.

I know you can’t wait to go to college and then once you’re in college you won’t be able to wait to graduate. I get it, you’re ready for the next adventure, and believe me there will be plenty of time for that, but don’t leave the current adventure too early. Enjoy the present moment, and take each day as it comes. Your strength will be tested within these next few years. Hold on tight to yourself, your values, and your beliefs. It is easy to let life shake them out of you, but that lessens your individuality. That would be a shame. We need your uniqueness because how else will we continue to grow and better this world?

Finally, if I can leave you with anything, let me leave you with this – live your best life. If you have an opportunity, seize the hell out of it. You never know what tomorrow will bring or where one opportunity could lead you. Never take a single second for granted because before you know it – you’ll be me, 25 and adulting. There is a season for each chapter of your life – let them flow, as they come.


Future You

Dear Social Media, It’s Me Ellie

Social media – what a craze. We all know that while this incredibly powerful tool has it’s benefits, it definitely has it’s downfalls to compliment. Mental health and social media share a delicate dance with one another. Unfortunately, people attach their self-worth and confidence to social media. “I got ‘X’ amount of likes that means people must agree I am… (insert complimentary adjective here).” I’d love to tell you I have never fallen victim to it, but if I did it would be a lie.

I know I am going to date myself here, so bear with me my younger friends; I promise it will all connect. Facebook (I know, I know – it’s not cool anymore) is where it all began for me because Instagram, TikTok, etc. were not invented yet (tear drop). So Facebook was the “cool” thing, as I was entering my middle and high school years. You wanted everyone to see your pictures because the more pictures you had with different people meant you were super cool, right? Wrong. That’s great you have all of these pictures with “friends”, but if you spent your entire night running around taking pictures, how much of the event did you enjoy? What conversations blew you away? Probably none because you were too busy making sure your Facebook “friends” (before followers) knew you had a gnarly weekend.

Then came Instagram my sophomore year of high school or so. At first, it didn’t interest me, then once I realized I was missing stuff I quickly joined. This is probably my favorite form of social media because I love pictures. I love taking pictures and looking at them. I used to be obsessed with the yearbook when it came out each year because it was fun to look at all the pictures! However, Instagram is not as simple as browsing people’s photos. It has become a game in a way. If I can get the perfect picture with the perfect lighting everyone’s going to think I look great. And yeah, maybe that’s true, but do you really care? Do you really care what the random person from high school thinks or a friends mom? Not really. Or at least I hope not. The person’s thoughts you should care about most are your own. One of my favorite quotes by Peace Pilgrim states, “If you knew how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”

That’s the thing about social media isn’t it? We’re all tricking each other into seeing only the glamorous parts of our lives – the vacations, celebrations, and other social events. But where’s the humanity in that? Where are the Monday rainy blues or true testimonies? Sadly, very few and far between. It is interesting to me when someone is vulnerable enough to share something of depth on social media everyone tells them “how brave” they are. Really? Am I brave for letting you know I’m human and not all my days are sunshine and rainbows?” Well, shoot call me, Hercules if that’s the case. It’s sad that we are so shocked when others break the fakeness of social media and share real stories – the ones without the fluff and sugarcoating.

I’m not saying we all need to be posting about how sad or angry we are, that would take us in a totally different and unhealthy direction. My point is balance. It’s okay to let people know you’re not okay or see your imperfections. Photo shop – yep I’ve been a victim there too – everyone can tell (the teeth whitening wow). Guys it’s SO noticeable, no matter how good you think you are. Don’t poke and prod yourself in a picture to make yourself look different – everyone knows what you look like already – you’re not fooling anyone. Plus you’re training you’re brain to say, “yeah I’m not good enough I need to be edited.” Nope that is not true. Show us the scars, stretchmarks and curves. We’re not all meant to be Victoria Secret models despite popular belief, and guess what – that is more than okay!

Love yourself, my friends because at the end of the day that is who you’re spending your entire life with. Loving yourself teaches you to love another. Make your relationship with yourself positive – enjoy that alone time and know you’re one heck of a badass no matter what your social media presence looks like!

The Bloody Truth

Alright folks, we are going to venture outside of our comfort zones here, and talk about a little thing we like to call: periods. Let’s get the “ew’s” and “grosses” out of the way first. I will give you a moment to collect yourself…

Yep, periods, they are a biological part of life just like breathing, digesting, and the many other wonders that make up the human body. I get it my dudes, it is foreign to you, but do you think we as women enjoy dealing with this monthly? Of course not! So next time you’re tempted to gag at a tampon, remember that it effects the woman WAY more than it has ever effected you. Be respectful, I promise it is not that hard.

Founder of not-for-profit organization, I Support The Girls, Dana Marlowe says, “Periods don’t stop for (insert ANY event here). ” She is totally right, they don’t! While there are resources like birth control to combat that, those resources are not cheap or the best option for everyone. It is a case by case situation as each body is different – surprise! Think about the current homeless situation. I am sure you have heard of the tent villages that have sadly become commonplace in big cities. Netflix released a documentary on homelessness on the West Coast entitled, Lead Me Home. This is a great place to start. Watch the documentary, and then imagine that on a national and even global scale. These issues are not unique to the West Coast of the United States.

After you finish that, watch the Oscar winning short documentary, Period. End of Sentence from director Rayka Zehtabchi. The film follows women in an impoverished village near Dehli, India who fight the stigma around periods, as they begin to provide sanitary pads to the women of their village. If you think menstruation is taboo in the West, you will be shocked to see how stigmatized it is on the East. Unfortunately, the stigma is much worse for those on the Eastern hemisphere. It is seen as an embarrassment, and as a result use unsanitary methods to cope. I highly recommend this film which can be accessed on Netflix as well. Finally, if you still are interested try watching the new Pixar film starring Sandra Oh, Turning Red, which is a cute coming of age film about girls getting their periods. It would be a great way to introduce younger girls to the topic, as well. This can be found on Disney Plus. Take a second to think, if people are receiving resources, including toiletries, from donations, shouldn’t women’s sanitary products be included? YES, of course they should.

The real issue here is the stigma around periods and puberty, it is so “hush, hush,” that it leaves no woman untouched. In a Human Sexuality course I took for my Psychology degree, we were shown (to my delight) a John Oliver episode clip (shown below). The clip was on sexual education in the United States. Of course it was funny, however the facts were a bit scary. Fast facts: “…no required standard for sexual education in the United States, of that only 22 states require students to be educated, and only 13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate…” Oh yes, you read that correctly. If you are confused, join the club! What the heck are we doing providing kids with dated or inaccurate information on sex education? You may as well not do it, if you give them wrong information. How is that fair or helpful? It is not. Whether we are comfortable with it or not, kids deserve to be informed of the changes going on in their body and the birds and the bees. This does not have to be encouraging for kids to have sex, but they need to be aware of safety like what female products to use or not use.

Again, I know menstruation is a bit of a taboo topic but why? It is simply a biological function of the female body. How can we help that? We can start by looking out for our fellow females, and remembering to donate female products, as well as other needed items. These are often forgotten, and then puts extra pressure on shelters or other organizations who are already running low on products. For more ideas on how to help listen to the upcoming podcast featuring an I Support the Girls representative. Then visit I Support the Girls online to learn how to get started in your area! It doesn’t have to be the sexual revolution to provide accurate information about puberty, come on now!

To The Person Unsure Of Facing Their Fears…

Hi You,

I know we haven’t formally met so – Hey, I’m Ellie, and it’s nice to virtually meet you! 🙂

I recognize that look in your eyes. Come on, you know the one I’m talking about. The one that you can fool pretty much anyone else with to lower any suspicion of not feeling well. The shield you put up to keep other’s at bay, for you feel if you were to say how you really felt, an avalanche would ensue. The one that makes you feel that you’d be letting others down for admitting that you don’t feel okay. If the look had a name, it would be fear. Not fear in the sense of being in a wimp, but the kind of fear that paralyzes you. Fear that keeps you from reaching your highest potential.

You may or may not be familiar with the George Addair quote, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other said of fear.” And really what is fear, anyway? Dictionary.com defines it as, “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.” This definition explains impeccably well why you push off facing your fears. This is because it is a a distressing emotion aroused by evil, danger, or pain, that does not sound inviting. You do not generally want to endure danger or pain, however if you knew what would result from it, you may think twice.

Eleanor Roosevelt advised, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” Scary and fear are related, so why would Eleanor suggest this? She suggested it because once you conquer that fear, you are freeing yourself from it. Stepping outside your comfort zone is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your growth. You will feel accomplished and encouraged to keep going. Do not take prisoner to your own fears, because most of the time they are built up to be much scarier in your head, then they actually are.

Finally, if all else fails, take it from Yoda, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Translation (for my non – Star Wars folks) : Quit while you’re ahead because you definitely do not deserve to suffer. That is no way to live and it will beget a very unhappy, bitter life. You’re braver than you know, and sometimes it takes overcoming an obstacle to show just how strong you truly are. Do not give up and never let fear win.

That Therapy Thing

Hi! I’m Ellie/Suzie Q, whatever you want to call me, and I am the creator of Her Sound Mind. Starting this community has been such a wonderful and rewarding experience, however it is a vulnerable experience as well. I created the pseudonym of Suzie Q because honestly, it was an extra protection layer separating my reality from this community. However, the deeper I thought about that, the more it irked me. If I am creating a community where people can feel free to be their authentic selves, shouldn’t I be participating in that? I came to the conclusion that yes, I should.

So again, Hi I’m Ellie, lover Star Wars, Psychological Thriller books and movies, positive quotes, fast food, coffee, and pretty much anything sweet! I have struggled with my mental health “officially” since middle school, however I could make a case that it has been longer. I officially started therapy when I was about 12 years old. Unfortunately, my therapist has recently needed personal time off, but I saw her until I was about 23, so about 11 years total. I began going to therapy because I had a deep fear of going to sleep at night. I was anxious something would happen (burglars, murderers, kidnappers, etc.). When I stop to think about that anxiety, it is not surprising because when you turn on the news – it can seem like that is all you hear about. It almost felt like my ears perked up when I heard about news like that, because then I could be on the lookout for my family. However, it caused my family more harm than good. I would keep them up for hours with anxiety. I would not sleepover anywhere in fear of being in a house I did not know as well.

I was lucky to have such attentive parents who saw this was a problem and addressed it. Cue, the wonderful therapist who walked in to my life. As a 12 year old, I was a bit apprehensive about starting therapy. I mean, how was that going to help me sleep better? Well lo and behold, it did . My therapist specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). For those who are unaware, Psychology Today defines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as:

A form of psychotherapy that focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs. Considered a “solutions-oriented” form of talk therapy, CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behavior.

Once these thoughts or perceptions are identified as negatively influencing your life, the work to rewire your brain and change your behavior(s) begins. This is not easy, but it can be done. Little by little, we created steps to change my sleeping behavior, and the thought patterns that created my anxiety. It helped to familiarize myself with the true facts – how likely is it that someone will break in? I began to logically challenge my anxious thoughts. After the hard work was through, I was able to get better sleep and have sleepovers, which at 12 is a big deal!

What is my point? That you should all go to therapy to sleep better? No, my point is if there is something in your life that is bringing you down or a habit you cannot seem to kick, whatever it is – therapy can help! We live in an age where getting help is OKAY and in fact, healthy. It is admirable to see people working to better themselves. I have always thought if everyone in the world went to therapy, it would be a much more loving and peaceful world. It wouldn’t be perfect, but I think a lot of animosity, anger, pain, etc. would be dealt with, which can change how you feel about yourself and how you treat others. You realize you are human too. You make mistakes and that is okay, even part of the process, but what are you going to do to rectify the mistake? Work through it! It’s kind of like a knot in your back, it might not come out right away, but eventually with time, if you keep working on it, it shrinks, and voilà, it is gone! Have a great week friends!

The Gateway

As a kid, I can remember a classmate’s mom (a nurse) coming to my third grade class to talk about the effects of smoking tobacco. She showed the class a pair of healthy lungs and compared those to the lungs of a smoker. Pretty drastic difference, as one can imagine. We were shown pictures of celebrities smoking cigarettes’ to show us companies will try to make it look “cool”. They even said the classic line, “It’ll be your best friend who peer pressures you”. I am sure many of you have participated in a similar presentation. Did it work? Ehhh

While the attempt was noble, it was a bit dated or perhaps even sheltered. Where were the high school presentations on opioids and other hard drugs? Non-existent, which as someone who has lost multiple friends to overdoses, upsets me. Sure, we may have referenced and defined drugs in health class, but that is simply not enough. I am not saying it would have changed anything, but what if it did? What if we showed the younger generations the full life cycle of someone on drugs. We must show the unglamorous side of drugs, and highlight that it is not uncommon for addicts to suffer from mental illness.

The tried and true answer is no, it did not. Why? Because while yes, cigarettes are nasty, they have become a bit antiquated. They are not as “cool” as they once were. The evolution of technology has dated yet something else. What is popular now are e-cigarettes’ (ever heard of Juuling?) which are probably just as bad, if not worse. However, I am actually not here to talk about cigarettes.

Many addicts start out like you and me, just trying to get by and lessen the noise and evil in the world. However, when you get knocked down a few times and are unsure where to turn – drugs can feel like a viable option, but I promise you it is never worth it. It can help you escape from your feelings in the waking hours. To numb the pain from undiagnosed or untreated mental illness and unresolved issues, people turn to drugs. And man, that first time is supposed to be as euphoric as they come, but after that you are left chasing that same high for the rest of your life. Trust me, you have way too much to do in this life to go down that rabbit hole. This is not a healthy way to address those feelings or an undiagnosed mental illness.

If you haven’t watched Dopesick on Hulu, I highly recommend you add it to your queue. It explicitly spells out how Purdue Pharma relentlessly advertised Oxycontin knowing full well, it was highly addictive and fatal. They promised to reformulate – how do you think that went? Every year roughly 100,000 people die from opioid overdoses. That is disgusting, and there will never be an excuse for that. If Purdue Pharma and other companies related, took the addictive quality seriously, think of how many lives would have been spared. Purdue Pharmacy even knew there was a history of abuse with opioids, and they covered it up to sell and makes billions off of others pain and sadness. That is not humane, and they should be ashamed of themselves. Purdue Pharma and other companies alike – this is me calling you out – you owe these loved ones , a huge apology. It won’t make up for the loss, but it’s a start, not to mention the right thing to do. What is Purdue Pharma doing to help curb the opioid epidemic? Oh, that’s right, continuing to produce and push opioids. Pathetic.

To our friends who left us too soon, I am so sorry. I am sorry that you were lied to by a company like Purdue Pharma, or felt you needed to seek solace from drugs. I wish I would have let you know, and made you feel like you could come to me without judgement. I’m sorry life was so hard on you that you felt you had no other option. I’m sorry, I miss you, and you will never be forgotten. If you or someone you know, is struggling with addiction to opioids please, visit this resource for immediate help. You are not alone, and we do not judge; we just want to help you see there are other ways to handle your mental health. We see you, and we are here for you. Remember, it is the smartest person in the room who asks for help.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

United is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as, “combined; produced by joint action; being in agreement. According to the National Constitution Center, the United States of America’s name originated at the Second Continental Congress stemming from the “United Colonies”. On Monday, September 9, 1776, Congress approved some significant resolutions. The fifth resolution said: “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States” spoken by John C. Fitzpatrick.

Let’s back up a second, though. As you may remember from your American History class (or if you googled it like me) the colonies formed in order to be free from the British crown. Thus, escaping the monarchy and forming the beginnings of what would become the United State’s democracy. Allowing the people to elect officials to represent their country. Fast forward, about 245 years through the invention of the telephone, two World Wars, the Civil Rights Movement, landing on the moon, the British Invasion, the birth of the Internet, among many more. Over 200 years forward, yet we are still fighting the same battles. Will we ever learn to lay down our weapons? We know a house divided cannot stand, as we have seen that movie played out in history over and over again. Is power really more important than human life? I sincerely hope not, but in today’s world it is easy to question.

If you are anything like me, you are having a hard time standing idle, as these MILLIONS of innocent lives are taken. I remember learning about WWII as a kid, and thinking what the heck was wrong with all the Americans for not helping (before we joined the war). Right, wrong, or indifferent that was the choice of the country at the time. Nowadays, we as individuals have more power than we know what to do with, in the age of smart phones and social media. Why not put that overcharged power to good use? If you feel down or helpless, know that you are not alone. Despite the politics of it, human nature kicks in, and it is horrific to watch our fellow humans beings treated so inhumanely. While we may not be able to pick up and go to the Ukraine to help, there are other ways to contribute. The saying “be the change you wish to see” applies here, as change starts with just ONE person. I have provided linked resources to several nationwide organizations like: United Way, YMCA , Habitat for Humanity , Doctors Without Borders , World Health Organization, Salvation Army , and Direct Relief . I encourage you to read about the different collections and donate to the one that most speaks to your heart. Now, it does not need to be a pricey donation, even $1 helps! Give what you can, and know that it is being put to good use. You’re helping countless refugees and citizens of the Ukraine during this trying time. Treat others how you want to be treated, right?