It’s hard not to feel impacted and potentially forever changed by a TED Talk. As someone who deals with anxiety and PMDD, I find hearing other perspectives on mental illness to be extremely enlightening and clarifying. Today. I’ve compiled what I believe to be the top five best TED Talks for discussing mental health topics, though there are several more amazing ones on YouTube and the official TED site. 

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia | Cecilia McGough

Of all the TED Talks related to mental health that I have come across, I believe this was the first one I watched. I think that this is a great introductory video for those who don’t know very much about schizophrenia, like I didn’t when I first watched the video. I was absolutely amazed and shocked by Cecilia’s story, and she painted her life experiences in such a vibrant, graphic way that I was able to easily empathize with her and her struggles. Most importantly, the video shines some light on the unfair prejudice projected onto those who deal with debilitating illnesses, such as schizophrenia, and breaks the stigma that those with the illness are inherently dangerous or violent in some way. It’s an extremely important video, and I highly recommend it to everybody. 

Imagine There Was No Stigma to Mental Illness | Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman

I recently came across this TED Talk on YouTube, and what I enjoy most about this video is the fact that Dr. Lieberman explains the stigma against those with mental health in such a clear, well-thought way. I admire that he has spent a substantial amount of his career researching mental illness and how the societal stigmas against it can be damaging to vulnerable communities, and how we as a community can continue to advocate for those with mental health struggles. I agree with Dr. Lieberman that less stigma and judgment would lead to the improved treatment of millions of individuals, so I really hope this TED Talk receives more traction and attention.

What is Depression? | Helen M. Farrell

Kind of going off of the stigmatization of mental health, there seem to be a lot of preconceived notions about what exactly depression is. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family who are clinically depressed, and one important thing in particular that I have learned is that depression does not always equal sadly moping around. Often, people with depression can put on an upbeat face and even feel happiness, but predominantly, they feel numbness or disinterest in the outside world. I really appreciated this TED Talk because Helen Farrell summarizes this notion much better than I can, and her use of visuals in the video is really helpful as well. If you know someone who is struggling with depression, or even if you simply just want to educate yourself better on the subject, I highly recommend watching this TED Talk. 

How to Cope with Anxiety | Olivia Remes

I’ve struggled with anxiety for all of my life, and that’s initially what drew me into this video. Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders, and according to Olivia Remes, very few people who struggle with anxiety actually receive the help they need. My own journey with being diagnosed with GAD was a long and often painful struggle, so I really appreciate that Olivia Remes validates this experience for us. Although I personally have found medication to be extremely helpful, I understand where she is coming from when she emphasizes trying other alternatives first. For those who also struggle with anxiety and may want to learn more about it, I really recommend watching this video from start to finish.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris

I’m very interested in childhood psychology and how the traumas of our past can influence the people we turn into, so it’s no wonder I was quickly drawn to this video. I’m really happy that society is shifting its views on how childhood trauma is handled; what was once viewed as something you can simply “get over” as an adult is now being treated as a legitimate source of trauma on young, developing brains. Incredibly, Nadine Harris also reveals that those who have gone through extreme trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. It’s an important reminder that we need to take PTSD and other severe trauma disorders seriously, and I really appreciate that this video is getting the attention it deserves.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article! Let me know if you have watched any of these videos, and what you thought about them as well in the comments. 

Wednesday, October 23

I didn’t have a chance to write yesterday, because the first half of my day was too busy, and I felt pretty disoriented for the second half. Yesterday was the day I had to give my four-minute speech, so I took an Ativan and forgoed my usual coffee. I felt pretty solid for the first half of the day, but by 3pm I was absolutely wiped and I had to go lay down. I woke up around 6:30pm, and because I’d skipped my regular morning coffee, I ended up with a pretty horrendous caffeine withdrawal headache.

So anyway, that was the long way of saying I didn’t get any work done yesterday. I’m sitting in my Communication Research class right now, and I’m feeling the anxiety creeping up on me. If my class has negative or chaotic energy, that almost always directly rubs off on me. It’s only 11:30 in the morning, and I’m already feeling overwhelmed by the stressful nature of this classroom.

Anyway, onto some good news! My good friend Eli is coming home for a visit next week, and I’m really looking forward to spending Halloweekend with him. We don’t have any solid plans yet, but I know we’ll inevitably find some fun or mischief to get into.

Friday, October 25

This has been a pretty mundane week, minus my usual bouts of anxiety popping up here and there. I am feeling a bit edgier than usual, and I can imagine that probably has something to do with my cycle and my hormones. Nonetheless, I’m pushing through, and trying to take extra good care of myself in preparation for Hell Week

I’m very excited to report that I will be taking part in my school’s chapter of DREAM, which stands for Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring. It’s still in its founding stages, but we have tons of good ideas so far for how we can get this chapter started. I love to serve as an advocate and use my voice as a tool for spreading change, especially when it pertains to something personally important to me. As someone with learning disabilities who has an easy time “passing,” it’s important to me to bring awareness to these issues. One of the biggest problems with invisible disabilities is that you often feel invalidated, or like your disabilities won’t be perceived as seriously as they deserve to be. I’m looking forward to taking part in this lovely movement on my campus. 

Missing this cute boy right about now!

I’m feeling a bit like a hermit today, I’ll probably stay in for the rest of the day and watch a spooky Halloween movie and burn my favorite fall candle. I haven’t had a chance to partake in many fall activities, so maybe I can make up for that by having my own little spooky-themed night in my room. I’d also like to continue my research papers I’m currently working on, and potentially start another writing project. We’ll see how I’m feeling after binge-watching The Shining and The Keepers

Saturday, October 26

Yesterday and today have been quiet days. I don’t have a lot of friends on campus, and the friends I do have don’t seem to like to go out and do social things (no tea no shade!), so I’ve just been hanging out in my room working on some writing. Today I started a new writing project after being inspired by a dream I had last night, so that’s been taking up a substantial chunk of my day. It’s been a goal of mine to write another book, but I struggle with coming up with story prompts that are original and unique. That’s why I’m so excited to be basing a book, a collection of short stories really, off of my dreams. I’m basically winding a story out of my unconscious thoughts, which I think is a pretty cool idea! Do any of you write down your dreams as well?

I’m not sure if this is technically Halloweekend or if it’s next weekend, but either way, nothing exciting is happening tonight. Hopefully I’ll have some decent plans for next week when Eli is here! Happy Halloween-ish!

Coming up this week:

10/28- What if College Campuses Had Animal Shelters?

10/30- A Beginner’s Guide to The Sims 4

11/1- Giving my Friend a Vintage Makeover

There are a lot of beautiful things I love about having a blog, but one of my favorite fuzzy feelings is when I publish an article that speaks to someone personally. These types of comments usually pop up on my more intimate articles, like my experiences with bullying, mental illness, and veganism. It’s a form of advocacy, but instead of actively seeking out an audience to pester, I’m letting my audience find me. For the viewer, it can make the experience feel more authentic and unforced when they use their own power to discover what speaks to them. You can’t make people feel passion, but you can certainly inspire it.

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I came into college thinking I wanted to study fashion communications- a subject just as broad and outspread as it sounds. That being said, I was disappointed when I realized all my peers and professors wanted to talk about was high-fashion paths and styling jobs, like we were training to work for Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. I was much more interested in the sociological aspect and environmental impacts of fashion, so when I realized that wasn’t really on the agenda, I dropped my courses like a hot potato and literally invented my own major: Digital Media with a focus in Social Justice.

It’s a huge relief to finally be on the right track towards professional freelance writing. And the more I write, the more I research and obsess over and explore, the more I feel like I’ve grown closer to myself. Topics relating to sociology, psychology, and film themes have struck a particular chord in me, especially in relevance to digital media.

I don’t like to publish my writing as strict pieces of advocacy; like I said, they’re extremely based on human emotions, and that’s what makes them desirable as a marketable freelancer. I recommend blogging to anyone with a strong literary voice, because it’s a truly raw and authentic way to reach an audience (and maybe even a fanbase, if you’re really active!).

I’m not quite sure what kind of exact work I’ll be doing in five years, two years, or hell, even six months, but I have a fairly strong idea of what direction I see myself going in. No matter what I’m doing, I want to make a difference in the world with my writing, serve as a voice for those who have no words to give, and answer to no one except for myself. I’ll likely never work a 9-5 job, if I work my hardest to give myself the life I want. All I really need in life is a tiny studio apartment, a couple pet rats, and a computer for me to passionately type away at all day and night. The most powerful aspect of eActivism, to me, is the personal power it provides. You’re not just punching out articles for other people, you’re working for yourself, and working to better yourself is one of the most important things you can do. After all, at the end of the day, all you have is yourself.

Coming up next: #WCW: How Regina Spektor’s Music Changed My Life