I had a blast visiting Cleveland, Ohio, and making new friends when I spoke at two events last weekend! I hope the information I gave the teens helps them or their friends in some way.
My next speaking engagement will be as a guest lecturer to a graduate class in Crisis Management at San Diego State University. Almost three years ago, I tried to end my life because my undiagnosed depression convinced me that I was useless and living was pointless. If you're a teen, and you feel this way, imagine all the good you can do after you receive treatment and recover. I know it's hard to believe, but look at me and know that things can and will get better.
Let me show you hope until you're able to feel it for yourself.
Beauty before comfort ;) Chllin' in our hotel with
Speaking at St. Basil's youth retreat
A HUGE thank you to youth minister Tommy Dome
for bringing me out!
I'm so blessed to give my first of two talks in Cleveland, OH, today. I'll be at St. Basil the Great's youth retreat this afternoon and Church of St. Mary of the Assumption tomorrow, speaking teen-to-teen on how to recognize depression and what to do about it with my Depression Confession talk.
Whew. Let's go save some lives!
My first glimpse of Chicago
Flying over Cleveland
50 degrees while waiting for the shuttle. Freezing! ;)
I recently watched the movie Inside Out for the first time, and I was surprised at the unique way it portrayed mental health (though I'm not sure whether or not the makers realized they were doing that).
(Warning: spoilers) At first, I thought, "Aww, this is cute." That's it. It was just like every other cartoon I'd ever seen. Then as the movie unfolded, instead of seeing little adorable characters representing emotions, I saw them, instead, representing the chemicals inside Riley's brain. And when Joy and Sadness left "headquarters", I interpreted that as those chemicals becoming imbalanced due to the situation Riley was in (and possibly also due to the girl's biology--Sadness was in charge of the mother's mind, if you remember).
But what was the result? Riley became angry--a classic symptom of depression. She became afraid, stressed, disinterested in thing that used to be important to her, despondent, sad, and ultimately created a disconnect with her family and friends.
This is what we call depression. And it's portrayed in this wildly popular Disney and Pixar film.
Yeah. That's what I said, too.
Maybe I'm examining this too deeply, but this silly little cartoon really made me think. And that's one great thing about life. We can take seemingly insignificant experiences and actually learn something from them.
Did you know that nearly 17% of teens qualify for having the clinical definition of insomnia? I'm not saying my sleep schedule is perfect every night, but I've discovered a few reasons why I don't sleep well sometimes and how to overcome those challenges. And if you love bloopers, make sure to watch till the end!
What? What people do online impacts their lives offline. Our goal is to equip people with tools that provide protection and encourage accountability and trust in the fight against Internet temptation. We bridge the gap between technology and relationships.™ To put it simply, Covenant Eyes is a computer program that monitors web actions and sends a report to someone like a parent, spouse, or even a close friend--any accountability partner. You can also block pages that are offensive.
My parents realized, with three teenage boys in the house, there was no way they could constantly watch over our shoulders and look at every single image we saw on our computers. Since being online is necessary for school, my ministry, and other projects, they needed to trust us and teach us responsibility and self-discipline. However, I knew from past experience how damaging porn is and how easily it is to fall into temptation. As much as I didn't want this looming guardian, I knew I needed it. I needed it because I want to find real love in my life, and porn can't satisfy that yearning.
Signing up is as easy as clicking this link. And by using my link, your first month is free! Hold on, let me look up the definition for amazing...because I'm pretty sure this is it ;)
We have it on all our phones, computers, and the family tablet--any device that can access the Internet, regardless of who it belongs to. It's easy to set up and, if you don't block sites, it doesn't interfere with the browsing experience.
Magic. But seriously, the way my family has it set up, my mom receives an email report that can be as detailed as she wants or just lists possible problematic sites. You can even request a list of ads that your kids are exposed to, and, boy, is that eye-opening. If anything unusual pops up, she and my dad will talk with us about why a site is problematic, and at the end, we all feel happy, safe, and loved. And after all, isn't that what you want your kids to feel from you--love?
I want to take a moment to thank you all for making my 19th birthday amazing! I hope this little event inspired you to do something (even it's teensy--weensy) to help those around you.
Some exciting things are happening around here! Today is our October San Diego support group meeting. Every time our group gathers, something special, and almost hidden, takes place. It's a safe and loving environment. If you're a teen who's struggling or a parent of one, I highly encourage you to attend. I would love to see you there (more details here).
And I'll be speaking to St. Jude's youth group in San Diego on the 14th of this month. I can't wait. I love meeting my fellow teens in person.
Last but not least, I have a brand new email address for you to contact me with anything that's on your firstname.lastname@example.org. It'd be great to hear from you.
Again, thank you so much for sticking with me. To show my gratitude, I've composed a haiku for you (yes, I know that's a little strange, but I'm a little strange):