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Vulnerability is Powerful

I remember a time where my family gathered at the dinner table. It was not the standard gathering of parents and children, who pass the salad and spilt bread, like we see on tv shows. I never had that. Instead, we had our own version; the dinner table where my parents were almost always absent due to their line of work, and where my grandma was the one in charge of feeding us. Whether my parents were sitting with us at the table or not, I distinctly remember always having my siblings around me. We would share our school stories between us and most often, have my older sister help us with homework once supper was over. That was over 10 years ago, when we didn’t have jobs or odd sleeping/working schedules. Today, I’m lucky to even see my own twin brother more than twice in 24 hours – despite living under the same roof. I eat by myself most times or in the company of my dog, who only joins me to beg for a nibble. I miss the times where I heard their stories and shared my own.

Dr. Starla Fitch’s 2015 TEDtalk on human relationships talks about the importance of human contact. Her message is impactful in the simplest form as she merely suggests for us to give hearing, seeing and talking to each other a chance. Her message is brilliantly important: We are social beings and when social contact is denied we threaten our own lives.

Humans. We are odd creatures. Brene Brown, renowned author, speaks about human vulnerability in her 2010 TedTalk. As I heard the words coming out of her mouth, I began to question my own shame and heartbreaks and struggles. For many years, my weight has been my biggest challenge to overcome. In school I was briefly treated by a school psychologist for bulimia. Prior to treatment, I had already accepted my binging habits as a part of who I was and I did not see myself as being out of control. So much so, that I only attended therapy a few times, believing I did have control. As any teenager would, I promised my mom that to start anew and dedicate myself to school as an emerging freshman in high school. Yet, my disgusting tendencies continued well into high school and not much changed.

It was only at the end of my high school career that I’ve learned to contain my anxiety and fears through reflection and healthy eating. You can say I’ve transformed from a chocolate binging addict to a broccoli obsessionist. I had to let go of my shame, my past hurt and embrace a new me. I had to change for me, not for my mom, not for a school psychologist, but for me. I had to be okay with not knowing this new lifestyle I was to embrace would guarantee a positive change, instead as Brene Brown says I had to accept my vulnerability as a way of life and sought comfort in knowing she was right.

Here’s why: people who were unable to accept their vulnerability become numb and turn uncertainty to certainty. I numbed my pain. I ignored my therapy sessions. I ignored my mom’s pleas and dove into school work as a distraction. Out of stress, I became rude and out of frustration, my reality became terribly skewed. I was certain my family hated me when they looked at me. I was certain I was meant to be fat and forever ugly. So I became mean. I refused to attend family gatherings and made a point to have them know I didn’t want to be around them. I pretended that my struggles were my own problem and that it didn’t effect those around me. I saw how my mom looked at me, in concern, but pretended she looked at me in disgust. I pretended I was fine. I pretended I was okay and didn’t need any help. I isolated myself from family and friend and in parting ways with human connection, I ultimately paid the price.

Human connection is built on love and compassion, and one cannot receive it if one does not practice it. All those years I felt alone was because I made myself lonely. So when I learned to love myself first, I was able to shred the blame and rage I had felt for so long.

#MentalHealth #BreneBrown #psychology #Students #studentinterns #Imhc #GradSchool #MentalHealth #Therapy #counselors #Selflove #vulnerability #Shame #Powerful

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Happy National ASL Day!

Today is National ASL Day! 🤟🏻🤟🏼🤟🏽🤟🏾🤟🏿

Did you know that the American School for the Deaf opened in Hartford, Connecticut on April 15, 1817?

“There, teachers and students worked together and, by intermingling Native American Signs, French Sign Language, and even Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, American Sign Language (ASL) was born.”

National ASL Day is celebrated every year on April 15. This day celebrates and honors American Sign Language. ASL serves as the main sign language of Deaf groups in the United States.

Growing up hearing impaired, I learned some sign language from a good friend of mine who is deaf. She and her family and friends taught me many things that I utilized and was greatly helpful. A few years ago, my grandmother lived in a building for deaf and blind seniors, I had the wonderful opportunity of communicating with them through ASL and connecting with them on a personal level due to my own circumstances of being hearing impaired and legally blind. Last year, I took some online/remote classes through the Helen Keller National Center and one of them was for communications, where I expanded my knowledge of sign language and learned more. I even got to learn about haptic signs and tactile sign language which I would greatly benefit from due to my blindness. I am so grateful for all the people I have learned more from and am so excited to teach others about ASL!

This day is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn more about sign language.

Do you or someone you know uses sign language? Ask them to teach you some words and phrases. You never know when it may be useful!

Image Description: A light blue background with National American Sign Language Day April 15 in white font. On the bottom left corner of the image in a large white circle is a cartoon hand doing a sign for I love you.

#ASL #ASLDay #AmericanSignLanguage #NationalASLDay #NationalASLDay2022 #NationalAmericanSignLanguageDay #Inclusion #inclusionmatters #Accessibility #Language #Awareness #Deaf #DeafBlind #HearingLoss #HearingImpaired #Communication #Celebration #AmericanSchoolForTheDeaf #DeafCommunity #Opportunity #Love #people #communications #Students #Student #learning #AccessibilityForAll #AccessibilityMatters #Inclusivity #Inclusive #DeafCommunity #DeafAwareness #SignLanguage

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Very glad I booked off a couple days from work.
I really can't bring myself to do my assignment today, but I feel better knowing I have 4 days free from work to spend time on it before the deadline next week.
#Fatigue #LivingWithPOTS #BrainFog #University #Students #PosturalOrthostaticTachycardiaSyndrome #EhlersDanlosSyndrome

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#College #Students Is there a rolling/wheeled laptop briefcase you recommend for daily use? (Big enough to carry a laptop, textbook, binder, etc.)

I have fibromyalgia and lugging around my heavy backpack with my laptop, binders, textbooks, school supplies, lunch and water bottle is a LOT.
I’ve been trying to find a wheeled laptop briefcase/bag that looks professional and could be doubled as a carry-on for flights. I need something that is sturdy, durable and long lasting, and relatively affordable — not trying to spend hundreds of dollars on this.
If any of you have experience any rolling laptop bag that you would recommend (to get or to stay away from!), please share!
Thank you!
#RollingLaptopBriefcase #FibroCHRONICals #Studenthelp

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