Street Leaflet Distributors.

You know those people who roam around the streets and shopping centres, with their perky steps and sparkling smiles, ready to hand you a leaflet or flyer, telling you that there’s like 5% off in their store or begging you to join a c̶u̶l̶t church, while you have to pretend like you didn’t hear them calling you and then you feel really bad, thinking about the moment over and over again for the rest of your now ruined day?

 

Hi, that person is me.

 

I like my job and I really do appreciate the fact that I have one since I do know how hard it is to obtain one. But…like most things, there are downsides to my job. I work for a fashion retail chain (ooh ooh, get me 💁), so there are occasions where I have to go out of the store, onto the streets, and hand. out. leaflets. to. people. who. just. want. to. enjoy. their. day.

Before, every time, I’m supposed to do this role, I get the pep talk of “Be confident!” from my manager. Trust me, I can easily be confident if I’m just talking to strangers, who I’ll never see again. That’s not my issue. I can be confident. I just don’t want to be annoying. I mean, seriously, who likes those people who try to block your path to sell you something with their fake two faced personalities, or worse, those people, who knock on your door and wait outside for god knows how long, while you turn off the lights and hide behind a chair whispering “Please, no Jehovah Witnesses today!”?

 

As I walk up and down, in front of the store, I tend to pick people with kids and those who make eye contact with me. They just seem like they’ll be a little more friendly. That, and we all know you have to avoid making eye contact if you don’t want to be approached so looking deep into my eyes and soul is basically asking for it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people, who change their route of walking as soon as they see the leaflets in my hand, to avoid me, and the people who desperately avoid eye contact or whip out their phones to seem busy. I know your little tricks!

At first, I really do try, with a smiley face, the “Hi! There’s now 20% off everything in (Shop Name)” at the ready and a little spring in my step, but a lot of people either walk past, ignoring my attempts or shake their head. Some people do take it and if I’m lucky I get a “thank you” and you know what, to those people, I hope you live your best life and I think you’re an amazing human being, who should live in the lap of luxury. And that is definitely not an over exaggeration.

After all the rejections I get, I tend to mumble to myself. Because I’m crazy. I usually say things like “Okayyy… that’s fine. You could’ve said no thanks”, which by the way, I do say out loud. This isn’t in my head. There have even been points where I will literally just say “Just take it.” Just take it, how hard is it to just take it? There’s a bin just a few metres away, you can chuck it in there! Do iT FoR mY SAniTy ANd MENTAL HEALTH! PLEASE! HOW HARD IS IT?

Rhetorical question, don’t answer that.

 

I saw two of my friends walk down once, where I ran up to them and said “Hey guys! TAKE THESE!” while shoving about four into their hands. They just stood there in confusion.

There was even another person, giving out his leaflets. I should’ve done a swap with him.

 

It can be a really humiliating task to do and it makes me feel like my teeth will shatter from biting and grinding so hard and I tend to just want to go into another shop and sit in the corner, rocking back and forth. It just makes me want to read through cringey pinterest quotes about never letting things get you down and being brave because you only live once and you’ll have regrets yada yada yada! I guess, though, at the end of the day, it can all just be an addition to the pile of jokes that is my life. 🙂

 

So, the takeaway from this post, for you, is just take the damn leaflet.

 

-Shay

Misrepresentations in the Media | Mental Health of Young People (pt 2)

In this modern day and age, technology and media are blooming and growing, which in turn, shapes our lives, perspectives and beliefs. It constantly surrounds us, making it inevitable to not encounter in our everyday lives. This is why it’s so important and socially sensitive.

The media is there to make money, yes, but what is shown on it can be, in the long-term, harmful.

 

Additionally, this week is Mental Health Awareness week so this is the perfect time to share this post and my thoughts.

A lot of people, especially young people, are ashamed and afraid to speak up about their mental health issues, whether that be OCD, anxiety, depression, etc, due to the stigma and messages, that the media express and also the lack of advocating in the media about these important issues.

Young people are often seen as moody, reckless, careless and selfish people, even though there are reasons for these qualities and emotions. This is often portrayed in TV and film, which reinforces to viewers these negative characteristics are what they possess and are expected of teenagers. People are very quick to judge and jump to the conclusion that these teenagers and young people are antisocial and self-absorbed. I can prove this from my own experiences, where a lot of people, particularly my parents, would perceive me and my mental health issues as selfish and introverted behaviour and I would be constantly scolded for being angry, quiet and emotional. I understand that hormones and puberty play a role in mood swings and unpredictable behaviour but if these symptoms persist, there is likely to be a disorder involved.

  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14.
  • 75% of mental health problems are established by age 24.
  • 10% of children and young people (ages 5-16) have clinically diagnosable mental problems yet 70% of them have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

Let me repeat that again. 70% of them have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. This is partly due to the fact that these issues are shrugged off as being emotional, hormonal and attention-seeking.

 

Logic, an American rapper, released a song in 2017 called 1-800-273-8255, which is the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This song had so much meaning and honesty within in, unlike other mainstream rap songs, revolving around money, sex and drugs. A line in the song states “they say every life precious but nobody care about mine”. People are constantly preaching about spreading happiness and raising awareness about mental health but how many are willing to sit by a person sobbing and screaming, who are clearly depressed. Even in the media, there are constantly quotes being posted and videos being uploaded about positivity and telling people how to be happy but there are very few teaching people, who aren’t suffering from a mental disorder, how to approach and help someone suffering. Truthfully, people with a mental health problem, for example, depression, are unlikely to read through or watch an entire video about ways to be happy, if they are extremely depressed, because to them, it seems like there is no hope. It would make more sense to reach out to people, particularly on social media, about ways in which you can help in everyday situations.

Logic’s song progresses from representing the emotional and cognitive characteristics of depression, for example, in the lines “I know I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it…and my life don’t even matter” to enforcing unconditional positive regard, for example, in “you got everything to give right now”. Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline actually ended up increasing by 50% after Logic’s song was released.

 

Young people are pressured and forced to make huge and important decisions at such a young age. They are looked down upon for doing things like consuming drugs, getting bad grades occasionally, being sarcastic and cynical, when there are underlying reasons, in which no one are bothered to listen to. Young people are currently growing up in a generation where working incredibly hard still does not determine a bright future and where young people are seeing mass killings, terrorism and violence, which has become normalised and desensitised to, so that’s another reason for developing a negative view on the world and being cynical. There are assumptions that people suffering with mental illnesses are just going through a “phase” and are told to “just be happy”, as if it’s a choice. The World Health Organization Mortality Database showed that in 90 countries studied, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death amongst young males and third for young females. 9.1% of the 132, 423 deaths of young people, in the countries studied, were due to suicide.

Suicide is the third leading cause of deaths for 15-24 year olds. 24% of high school students have seriously considered attempting suicide and for every student, older teen and young adult, who do kill themselves, 100-200 of their peers attempt suicide, too. More young people died from suicide attempts in 1999 than cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, birth defects, strokes and chronic lung disease combined.

 

The stigma and discrimination around mental health is a huge factor in leading people to suffer in silence, feeling ashamed and confused and insecure. Men are mainly vulnerable to this as in society and the media, it’s unacceptable for men and boys to cry and be open with their emotions as it’s seen as weak and “feminine” and “gay”. Suicide rates are high amongst men not necessarily because men suffer from mental illnesses more than women but because they’re encouraged to bottle it up more.

Although it’s not the most obvious example, I think The Breakfast Club, although refers to conventional, old-fashioned attitudes, is a film where the male characters do open up their emotions and cry.

 

There are many shows that have the right depiction of mental health, for example Jessica Jones, which deals with PTSD, and Homeland, which deals with bipolar disorder. However, I want to focus on a TV show, that I love, which touches on the concept of mental health without making the plot, solely, about the struggles and suffering of those with mental health issues, The Walking Dead. Beth presents symptoms of depression and attempts to commit suicide. As her character develops, she slowly recovers and flourishes into a young, strong woman, despite the judgments and negative criticism she got, as well as being treated as a burden. She looks past this and helps others in need and demonstrates her strength, even though she’s perceived as weak from others. She proves there is always a safe way out. Another show, where it’s main plotline isn’t about dealing with a mental disorder but simply has a character with realistic symptoms of OCD, is Scorpion, where one of the main characters, Sylvester, has to deal with his disorder. Shows, like these, do not normalise and glorify mental disorders but show that it’s nothing to be afraid of and nobody is alone.

 

This is also a good time to discuss Thirteen Reasons Why, in honour of the release of season two on the 18th (tomorrow). Thirteen Reasons Why is a TV show about a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind tapes stating the reasons that led her to her fatal actions. Personally, I think Thirteen Reasons Why was good in showing people how to approach those, who are suffering in silence, and that it’s okay to admit to be going through a dark time and feeling overwhelming emotions and trauma. They raised good points but I don’t think they approached Hannah’s suffering and death well. She did not show persistent symptoms of depression, not to say that what she went through wasn’t traumatic, but it wasn’t reflective of what it’s like to suffer depression. The show, in a way, also glamorizes mental illness, as after her suicide, the show intrigues viewers into the drama and mysteries of her death.

 

Mental health needs to be taken seriously and society, the media, and platforms need to use their power and advantages to reach out and end the stigma, misrepresentation, lack of representation and discrimination. It may be mental health week but every week should be a week where we are aware and helping those with mental health problems.

If you made it this far in this long post (I apologise for the length), or if you skipped, please share and spread awareness and break the untrue stereotypes and shame surrounding mental disorders and illness, not just among young people, but everyone. And make sure to help others and maintain your own mental wellbeing or seek help if needed.

 

“The disease comes with a package: shame. When any other part of your body gets sick, you get sympathy.”

-Ruby Wax

 

-Shay

I’m A Teenager!

When you hear the word ‘teenager’, what is the first thing that comes to mind, to you? You can even comment the answer before you read the rest of the post.

 

Most people think ‘rebels, drugs, bad, dangerous, lazy,  violence, crime’. And that’s because of stereotypes. People don’t care enough to really think into it and notice that it’s just a small part of the ‘teenage society’ that are ‘bad’ and ‘criminals’ and because the fact that this is more exciting, interesting and appears in the media a lot more than anything else, nobody bothers to think about the rest of our ‘society’ because it’s not as interesting.

teenagestereotypes

Example of Teenager Stereotypes

At the end of the day, everybody is a part of a group, with a bad side to it.

 

Even if teenagers are a lot more troubling than any other age group, we have big achievements, too.

We can be funny, exciting and we’re the next generation, so what’s the point in shaming us when you can smile and feel great about what is yet to come!?

You were all teenagers once!

 

Also, as teenagers, we are at the stage of life, where we have to make decisions and choices.

I’m a very indecisive person. Sometimes I change my mind and I quit doing things that I don’t feel passionate about anymore. And that’s okay because whatever I do now will affect me as a person in the future. If I carry on doing something I don’t feel into anymore, I’ll be bored for the rest of my life. So it’s okay that I’m indecisive. I’m a teenager.

I’ve written over ten original stories, of which only one has ever been completed. I’ve set goals for myself to complete before a time limit, and most of the time, I never reach the goal or finished what I set myself to do. And before, I would be upset by that. I would be upset that I’ve failed things I’ve wanted to achieve but I’ve only lived 15 years of my life. There is loads of time to be able to complete set goals and ambitions.

 

Because I’m a teenager.

 

Following what I said right at the beginning, about stereotypes and teenagers being ‘rebels’ and ‘bad’, I can honestly say that at the back of my mind, I think that too. But that’s okay, so long as you know the huge advantages that come with the word. It’s exactly the same as when somebody says ‘adult’, I think instantly ‘suits, briefcases, work, mature, sophisticated, neat, bossy’. But in actual fact, that’s a small part of the ‘adult’ society. There’s so much more that comes to mind, too, after that.

 

I hope that I gave you more of a perspective to us, teenagers. Because there is so much more to us, than what the media says there is.

 

-Shay

 

Urgh Rumours!

I watched Easy A, the other day and it made me want to write this!

 

I hate rumours. Almost as much as I hate gossip.

Saying that, however, gossip can be interesting and I wouldn’t mind knowing some. 😉

But rumours are just the worst!

 

Why do people spread rumours, that are obviously not true! It can break down people’s self esteem…because it did to me a couple of years ago…

In year seven, the year every kid is trying to make good, sustainable friends, there was a small rumour that spread around about me. (Why did I call my friends sustainable… XD) Before I tell you what the rumour was, I have to give you the background details. At the time, I was hanging out with ‘Pen’ a lot. Pen was really nice at the time but we weren’t that close. She also used to rumours suckhang out with another group of girls, a lot more than me. That was okay. I really didn’t mind. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about it. However, after hanging out with her quite a lot, especially at the library at lunch, a rumour began to go around. Pen gave me a note in Science class, explaining that people thought I was jealous of one of the girls, she used to hang out with. She even asked if it was true. Even if that happened now and I know I wouldn’t be bothered by it, I was a very sensitive person at the time and anything could’ve sparked something inside of me to make me cry…probably because my cat died around that time. I had no idea that people thought I was jealous and I can actually remember tearing up, slightly, in the next lesson, which was English. Wow! I was such a cry-baby! After about a week, a few girls started to ask me if I was jealous and kept saying that I don’t need to lie. It was really annoying and I’m pretty sure they were the ones who started the rumour.

It was a small rumour but was still very false! Seriously, assume rumours are false than true, at first. Even if it is true, you don’t know for sure.

 

Partly why I hate rumours and gossip is because my family is filled with it. Whenever we have a big family gathering, there is always that small group, usually the older women and mums, gossiping about something. Last family gathering, which was last Saturday, they were gossiping about one of my older cousin’s wife’s weight and guessing whether she was pregnant or not. I guess that’s not so bad but they always gossip about people. To be honest, the things they say aren’t rude or mean or bad but the things that I hear distant family friends say are actually quite bad. Someone on my mum’s side actually came up with a lie/rumour saying that I (and I was like nine at the time) had told her that my mum didn’t like her, which was totally not true!

 

Even when you try to speak up and tell everyone and reason with them, they don’t listen! It’s also what happened in Easy A!

 

Why do people make rumours up???

I don’t get it! It’s not entertaining, funny or satisfying and it doesn’t make the person, who made it up, superior. So why do it?

And people are actually proud that they’re involved with drama and rumours!

 

Basically, don’t make rumours up! And assume they are false rather than true. Only if you know for sure, believe it. But even so, if it’s bad, don’t spread it. And to be honest, it’s nobody’s business!

 

-Shay

Today’s Generation!

I think, nowadays, we as humans are better at criticizing than admiring and complimenting. Maybe.

 

You hear adults nag on and on about how young adults and teenagers are bad now and in their time, they were more mature and always spent their time doing chores, going on walks at night and things like that. This isn’t all adults but in my family, it’s most of the adults over 40/50.

What they don’t talk about much, however, is how we are much more smarter than the last generation. And it will carry on like that. We’ll get smarter and smarter as the world and population and technology develops. They don’t admire how intelligent we’ve gotten.

 

Exams are a lot harder. It’s harder to get a job, it’s harder to get into universities and schools. Everything is more difficult. We’re under a lot of stress and that can cause a lot of health issues. But who made it harder for us?

Adults, technically.

 

It makes sense that it is getting harder but there are side effects to things!

IMG_2154Adults frown upon the teenager drug addicts, and before you say anything, I am not supporting drug addicts. But, I think that because school and exams and life and our futures are so hard to make seem perfect, it causes stress (as I said) and so they result to drugs. Yes, it’s the person’s fault but it’s also the stress and where that comes from. It makes sense that there are a lot of teenagers doing drugs.

It’s not just drugs, though. It can result into drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking a lot, which are drugs too but it can lead to anxiety, and health issues like that.

 

I don’t do drugs, myself, and I’ve never smoked. In fact, I’ve never even tried drugs unless I actually needed it, but that would’ve been medical drugs, anyway. But I still understand teenagers who take drugs.

I’m not speaking for all young adults and teenagers, because some just do it for the sake of it or for fun.

I’m just trying to get people to understand the stress we are under today, in comparison to what it was like years ago, when things were easier.

Maybe we need to start admiring as well as criticising, because criticism is good but not when there isn’t positivity to balance with it.

 

-Shay