Hopes & Dreams

Elisa. A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 09-03-2020

“One more emotion or stressor could be one too many. The greatest awareness you can have, is knowing when you cannot take anymore… and when you must hope, dream and fight for something different.”

     There are layers to this madness that is the mental health profession. I cannot even give a glimpse of how deep it goes, how deep we can go. People are like onions, with hundreds and hundreds of layers. Most of us only peal back a few layers, what’s left is a tangled mess that we are terrified to unravel. It takes tremendous courage to work in the mental health profession. It also takes tremendous courage to go to therapy and allow these mental layers to be peeled away as you bare your vulnerability to an absolute stranger. People want answers, primarily they want to ask me things like “What’s going on, why is the suicide rate so high?” “What makes people so.. ‘crazy’?” “What do you usually see in the therapy room?” How can we answer these things? Any and everything is possible. Also, no two people are exactly alike. This isn’t math, this isn’t engineering, this isn’t business, this isn’t economics. This is people. But, not their body, or teeth, or fitness or sales … but the human mind. The most complex thing to study, and no matter how much we study it, we will never have it all the way figured out.

     I think one of the more disappointing things I sometimes see in my own profession is a ‘them and us’ attitude, as if we are not the clients, and they are not us. However, when we really think about it, we are them, and they are us. Meaning we are susceptible to emotional pain and trauma just the same as they are. We as therapists, are also susceptible to addictions, depression, anxiety, grief, anger outbursts and so on. We are NOT above any of the issues that we see from our clients in that therapy room. We can also question our own mortality, and our own desires to live and die. It’s not nearly as uncommon as people want to believe it is.

     There is an unfortunate amount of people that want to die. There is also an unfortunate amount of people that claim they want to live but are slowly killing themselves in a dissociative state. They don’t even realize they are doing it. If we have ever worked ourselves to burnout and then went home only to feed on junk and poisons in front of a screen day in and day out for years, we are already halfway there. I believe that we need hopes and dreams in the same way we need sunlight and oxygen. We need something that brings joy, something to look forward to. My parents often told me I ‘had my head in the clouds’ way too often. Little did they know, I was concocting my future life plans. I was scheming a way out much like those ‘small town girls’ in the chick flicks that are prepping for an exciting future over in a place where ‘the grass is greener’. We will not always be bursting with happiness, motivation and concentration of course… but constant misery isn’t healthy either. When there is an accumulation of turmoil and misery, we need hope and desire to pull us through. We need reason’s to want to live, especially when living is horrifically painful.

     How many people in this world have looked a person dead in the eyes when they talk about their suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts? Who else has seen and heard about their scars as they recount how and why they inflicted self harm? Why does the world need mental health therapists? Ultimately, we need people that are willing to ‘go there’ with us. The ones that are willing to sit with us in the depths of our pain and unspoken secrets. There are many things that are hard to say out loud, especially when it’s a matter of summoning up the will to keep living a life we don’t want to live anymore. I will humbly admit that I have helped people summon up the desire to continue with their lives, even when I was at breaking points in my own life. Hopes and dreams even when self-care, coping tools and everything else has fallen apart. Humans are phenomenal in that way. They suffer so much, yet they hope and dream so hard. They find things to live for, sometimes, even when absent of reinforced positivity.  

HOPE gives us the ability to:

  • Have faith in the goodness of others and ourselves
  • Remember that nothing is permanent, to include debilitating emotions
  • Receive doses of positivity and euphoria

Dreams give us:

  • The beginning of a goal, which we can plan out clear objectives for later
  • An orientation toward the future while ‘trapped’ in the present
  • Guided imagery toward an alter life with envisioned possibilities

     This is what the emotional mind needs to continue the desire of life and the pursuit of contentment. Meanwhile the physical body needs safety, food, water, sleep, sunlight, oxygen etc. Decreasing suicidal thought is often about restoring hope and willingness to fight through the monotony and misery. The second step would be to establish a sense of self, self-care and the confidence to pursue what we want vs what others want for us. Self love and self-actualization (higher up on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) require a solid foundation. A descent balanced life is not as easy as we make it out to be. So, if you happen to be struggling, know that you shouldn’t be ashamed. If anything, society should be ashamed, and take a portion of the responsibility. If someone you know is struggling, be easy on them. Life does evil things to us.

Things we shouldn’t say:

  • “You have so much to live for” (not everyone shares this sentiment or see’s something in their life that is perceivably worth living for… yet.)
  • “Think about your children” (Children are an obligation, they come with many added stressors and are separate from self. A child CAN be considered a protective factor, but it is still very possible for a parent to be suicidal)
  • “It will all be okay” (we can’t promise that, especially if we are not willing to go the distance of caregiving for another human being until they are more settled in life and in their minds.)
  • “That’s a coward’s way out” (No, it’s a way out for those that feel they have exhausted all measures that they know of, still feel like shit, and have people giving them ridiculous feedback such as this quote.)
  • “Don’t be weak” (There are different types of strength in the world, mental fortitude is a tremendous one. The reality is you can’t measure another person’s mental fortitude because you will never be in their mind to feel how much they are suffering through.)

     My blanket advice to all people? Take care of you first, because quite honestly, no one else is going to know how to do it as well as you. No one is going to understand what you need as well as you. If anything, we need this constant daily reminder that we are worthy of self-care and pursuit of happiness. We are also worthy of help when we need it, and hopefully we find that help. Hopefully we also find those hopes and dreams that are worth waking up for. If someone finds something that they love and they pursue it with a vengeance, support it. We don’t really know just how much it’s saving them; to follow that dream. It has nothing to do with whether we will attain what we set out to attain. It’s about channeling the dream into motivation, momentum and ultimately, living a life.


Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 08-25-2020

     What is it that erodes our mental health over a lifetime? What can we avoid? And what must we face? There are quite a few mental disorders and no doubt our brain chemistry and biology play a role in our psyche. However, it is also that nurture factor: the things that happen to us. The theme of the environment surrounding us, that we are trapped in. This could include: Community violence, war, domestic violence, toxic work environments, poverty, chronic homelessness etc. Unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances as well as traumatic grievances that can build up over a lifetime. It is NOT always our fault and we must come to terms with the fact that life slowly erodes our mental/ emotional wellbeing. First, let us identify the four major contributors to mental erosion. I present to you an acronym I have created/ coined as TIGS! Be mindful of TIGS and the role it plays in our mental/ emotional health.

Trauma- Facing or witnessing life or death situations, as well as chronic exposure to repeated situations of helplessness/ hopelessness and/ or loss of control over time. 

Injury- (physical and/ or moral)- damage to the body or damage to the moral compass either through a physical blow/ accident/ medical complications or a situation in which someone is forced into doing something that goes against their values/ belief system.

Grief- Loss to include loves ones, job, money, time, identity, sense of purpose, belongings.

Stress- Accumulation of adverse situations and release of cortisol hormone leading to physical and mental tensions.

     When faced with TIGS, there are several things that can help mitigate some of the risk of mental erosion. It gets tricky, because it is extremely hard to remember what is important when we are in a time of crisis. First and foremost, we must establish safety before healing can even begin. Also, to heal, we must first admit that there is something to heal from. So, what are the barriers that can often make our TIGS more chronic and exacerbated? What are the helping agents that can get us through with the least amount of mental damage possible?

     The Barriers to healing during or post TIGS

  • Denial/ deflection
  • Avoidance of issue’s through excessive work or substance abuse
  • Lying about how we feel to ourselves and others
  • Avoiding healthcare and mental health care at all costs
  • Isolation & agoraphobic tendencies (staying indoors and hiding when in pain)
  • Repeatedly going back to what harms us (often due to guilt, low self-esteem and/ or obligation)
  • Lack of a support system
  • Never asking for help

What helps when dealing with TIGS?

  • Established support network (community/ family/ friends/ social clubs.. etc)
  • A variety of healthy coping tools
  • Prioritizing self-care (Sometimes this means saying no to others)
  • Medical check ups and mental health hygiene
  • Saying yes to helpful resources when in a time of need (gifts/ social welfare etc.)
  • Keeping our momentum (slowing down is always okay, but stopping/ isolating is what is harmful)
  • Grounding ourselves in the moment and allowing our emotional processing through
  • Practicing patience with ourselves as well as positive affirmations

     Many people have reported that when dealing with TIGS, they often come face to face with societal pressure’s, judgements, criticism, and a lack of support. I always stress when we choose our support systems, we must choose them wisely. When picking our healthcare and mental health care teams, we must find a fit that we are comfortable with. When going to friends or family members for an emotional outlet, we must remember which ones are actually helpful to talk to. When engaging in any type of self-medicating, we must remember the importance of harm reduction and balance.  We must also remember to keep some momentum, but also not push ourselves. These balances are excruciatingly difficult to keep up, and sometimes the TIGS just keep on coming. We are faced with enormously difficult tasks. Keeping up with the constant demands of life (work/ family/ bills etc), dealing with TIGS and being required to appear ‘normal’ and happy the entire time.

     What was your last TIGS situation? How did it go? How did you handle it? Did you reach out for support? What was helpful and what did not work for you? What were the barriers and how can you counter them next time? It is true that TIGS are a part of life, but it is also true that humans are emotional beings and require time to process, address their issue’s, tend to the wounds, and heal. Some people address all their TIGS with phrases such as: “I’m okay”, “I can do it on my own”, I’ve been through worse” etc. Be mindful that these phrases fit many of the barriers of healing in the top list: denial, deflection, avoidance, and never asking for help. Functionally Mental blog is here to remind you again, it is okay to not always be okay.

Chasing Highs & Lows

Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 08-21-2020

“The one thing that saved me and gave me hope for many years, is also what’s slowly destroying my body and mind. And now, I am forever torn.” -EaE

     What’s your poison? Have you figured it out yet? Do you still believe drugs are only injected into the body and only dangerous if society says so? People tend to want to feel comfortable while in a state of mental and physical equilibrium, unfortunately we stray away from that as life hits us with a tremendous number of tiny blows, repeatedly. How much can the mind and body take before it craves something other than what its getting? There are a few reasons I believe we must destigmatize self-medicating and drug addictions.

  1. Everyone (literally everyone!) self-medicates with something
  2. Addiction is a high indicator of emotional distress/ mental illness
  3. Lack of talking about it = lack of education = lack of insight = you will be rendered useless in how to solve the problem
  4. Sometimes self-medicating is better for us than sobriety (Yes, I said it)

Here’s the issue, before mental health education was mainstreamed, we had a very odd way of dealing with substance abusers. They were to be highly shamed, highly pathologized and pressured from everyone around them to simply cure their issue’s as quick as possible. They were made to believe that sober meant happiness and normalcy. However, for them, quitting cold turkey meant… misery. They were pressured into sobriety and social norms while being rendered useless, as they could not find any other ways to cope. They were always told to quit, but never told what to do with themselves after. Then life moves on, the family members in denial get to live happily knowing their family reputation can be saved, they won’t have an ‘awful addict’ in the family. Then, when inevitable relapse happens, they may cut off the family member completely. It’s unacceptable to poison yourself with these things and if you continue to do so, do stay away! It could be contagious…

     Don’t get me wrong, I for one know on a personal level, it is extremely hard to live with a chronic substance abuser/ addict. It was hard and confusing, and then heart breaking all the more when she chose to give up on us. All that was said to me from my family about my mother was “She cannot take care of you because she does drugs”. That was the explanation I got since I was 6 years old. Nothing further about her mental or physical state, well being, trauma history, nothing. It would take many painful years before I discovered her story. For the longest of times, we have lived in a world where people could not, or would not piece together this simple pattern: 

A Trauma/ grief/ mental illness = B chronic, distressing symptoms = C temptation to self-medicate said symptoms = D self-medicating gone haywire = E possible addiction

The list of activities we can use to self-medicate are endless:

TV & movies/ Games/ stimulants/ cannabis/ hallucinogens/ caffeine/ food/ anxiolytics/ alcohol/ sedatives/ shopping/ gambling/ opioids/ sex/ exercise/ driving/ cuddling/ listening/ writing/ inhalants/ social media/ tobacco/ stealing/ burning/ cutting & other forms of self-harm/ reading/ socials/ problem solving/ working/ fighting etc

     Read the list carefully and remember, you are not above self-medicating, no one is. The questions are 1- What symptoms are you trying to medicate? 2- What’s your ‘drug(s)’ of choice? 3- How does it help you and how does it harm you? 4- Are you capable of self-medicating in moderation or has it gotten difficult to regulate/ control?

     Are you using alcohol to counter anxiety and insomnia? Are you using a stimulant to decrease depressive symptoms? Are you excessively eating because it’s easy access and life is miserably boring? Is the cannabis helping your otherwise explosive anger? There are many different reasons we self-medicate, we must address the imbalance that may cause us to spiral, very noticeably, out of control. Phase D (Self medicating gone haywire) is typically the phase in which our family members/ friends start to notice our ‘shameful’ habits. They then induce more shame on something we are already feeling shameful about.  This will lead to more distressing symptoms, and then, more self-medicating to make up for it. Hence, when we try to pressure our friends/ family members to quit the ‘drug’, we often unintentionally push them further into it.

     Despite popular belief, we don’t necessarily have to quit self-medicating. As many can see from the list above, it is impossible. It’s human to self-medicate and we are surrounded by a stressful society with many things to medicate with!  Quitting may be counterproductive to our mental health (depending on our drug of choice). I have known clients to say that if they did not continue smoking or drinking, they would likely kill themselves. I very well, then, cannot tell them to quit just because ‘it’s bad for you’. Obviously, society is worse for them than the drug, if they cannot tolerate it in sobriety enough to want to continue dealing with it.

     So, what helps reduce compulsive self-medicating & addictive behaviors?

     My big answer: MORE COPING OUTLETS & LESS SHAME.  I recommend we all have five or more outlets.  Example:  cannabis, martial arts, reading, writing, Netflix, social media, walks.  This is a pretty damn good list!  Another example:  Yoga, baking, meditating, psychedelics, singing, shopping & social events. Well balanced, and many options to choose from. When we have only ONE coping outlet, we are more likely to abuse that coping outlet. Once upon a time, I had only one coping outlet: food. So, every time I felt depressed, lonely, bored, anxious, stressed, fearful etc, I went right to… food! Then, I gained weight. Then I received societal shame. Then, I developed an eating disorder. Then, subsequent symptoms followed such as increased depression, hypersomnia, fatigue, issues with concentration. Then, I ate more food to counter increased symptoms. At that point it was a vicious counterproductive cycle. I tried all diets possible until I realized dieting won’t ‘cure’ an eating disorder or food addiction. Literally, the only thing that helped was increasing my coping outlets while decreasing shames. The more coping activities I did outside of food, the more I was able to experience a positive world outside my ‘drug’ of choice. Then, the less I was tempted to eat all my feelings away. The more I countered shameful thoughts with positive affirmations, and the more I placed boundaries on those that shamed me, the less likely I would experience distress and temptation to continue excessive self-medicating.

     It’s funny, really, how I strived to be nothing like my alcoholic/ meth addicted mother, but then turned to food instead. We may try so hard to not become an addict, but then become an addict. No one’s goal is to be heavily addicted to something while flushing the rest of their life away. It starts small and subtle. A pain; then a pleasure to counter the pain. Chasing equilibrium, chasing the things that will get us back there again so that we may tolerate the wounds of internal and external triggers. Racing and chasing our way to ‘normalcy’ or ‘happiness’ with highs and lows. Be aware, be vigilant and most importantly, be honest and kind with yourself.

Growing Pains

Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 8-17-2020

“Laughing is easier than crying, anger is easier than grief, silence is easier than talking about it, forgetting is easier than remembering. But, we do not get the luxury of choosing how and when to feel things. And although we can disguise and hide our pain, we cannot will it to go away.” -EaE

     ‘Adapt and overcome’, it’s supposed to feel like a breeze. Change is inevitable and we all must go with the changes; use our natural adaptability skills as people often do. Just when we settle and think things are what they will be ‘forever’ a new path comes ‘out of nowhere’, forcing us to go through growing pains, yet again. Why?! Even though humans are tremendously adaptable, we cannot help but fight the changes every step of the way. That is, until we eventually give up in defeat and settle for this new reality/ norm. Why do we fight it? Perhaps because we have fought blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are at, and it hurts to see it all taken away or swept up in a whirlwind that we had next to no control over. Ouch. What feelings and emotions are really being triggered when a new chaos emerges?  Powerlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness… terrifying feelings.

     We want to believe we have control; we want to believe that if we do things right and plan our lives in a calculated manner, that everything will go okay. As much as it is true that our life choices are crucial in how we turn out, it is also true that there will be things that we have zero control over, that may ‘destroy’ all progress that we had made. Can we accept that? Can we adapt? Can we work with new limitations while we deal with these excruciating growing pains? Whether someone is gaining or losing something, yes, I will always call it growing pains. As a matter of fact, I hate when people use the phrase “starting over”. I do not believe humans ‘start over’. I believe that their life is consistently changing, and they are consistently learning and growing with it. Even if a life event leaves us for broke, are we not richer in experience? If a life event caused us to have a nervous breakdown, are we not wiser from surviving through that mental battle? Even if someone is 30 years sober and has a relapse on their drug, did it really undo 30 years of sobriety? Even if life is shit, can we not hope for and perhaps create a bigger and better future by taking from those lessons?

     I have worked with many clients during some of the hardest situations in their lives. Military deployments, family separations, divorces, abusive relationships, addictions, bankruptcy’s, legal issues, suicidal contemplations, homicidal fantasies and so on. One thing I believe in is our ability to live on despite every card and every play working against us. However, just because humans can adapt, does not mean it’s easy or that it feels ‘fair’. Currently we are going through a tremendous amount of growing pains. These growing pains involve loss, grief, helplessness, powerlessness, racial divides, changes in financial status & housing stability… it feels more like a loss than growth. However, no matter how rough the crisis, I have a responsibility to remind those that stay living, about the ways in which they can engage in self-care.

     In crisis, adaptations, change and chaos, a good therapist goes ‘back to the basics’. My basics come from a military mental health background. When in a war zone, we cannot go outside without being in danger, resources are limited, support systems are thousands of miles away, danger is lurking around every corner. Sound a bit familiar? Nothing is definite or definitive. Nothing is figured out all the way. I cannot lie and say it will “all be okay” when I do not know if myself or my client will die tomorrow. So, back to the basics of self-care. Are you eating? Are you drinking water? Are you resting? Are you engaged in a social activity of some sorts (even if it can only be tele communication for now)? Are you attempting to do something, anything, that brings joy to your life? Ever?

     Ironically when humans are faced with the hardest growing pains of their lives, that is when they often shut down and do everything except self-care. Self-destructive tendencies often kick in. Why? When we are emotionally distraught, we do not steer toward healthy activities necessarily, rather we tend to engage in comforting and coddling activities. Things that have powerful temporary ‘healing’ powers, but no true healing powers. This could include isolating, staying sedentary, substance abuse, codependency, compulsive behaviors, neglecting plans/ chores for the future and so on. I must remind people to care for themselves, especially in the hardest of times. External life circumstances can/ will break us if we let our guard down and forget the most important thing of all: our own personal self-preservation. Below is a list of tips that can help alleviate some of the current growing pains, traumas and grievances we are currently facing:

  1. Engage in regular eating and hydration, first and foremost. Listen to your bodies cues when it is telling you it’s hungry or thirsty, do not let less important things get in the way of this (it’s at the top of the list for a reason).
  2. Allow yourself an adequate amount of sleep/ time off. This should also be prioritized above the rest of the list.
  3. Filter toxic/ negative energy with boundaries. (ex: filtering social media, scheduled time in solitude, abstaining from abusive people etc)
  4. Monitor screen time to include: TV, gaming, social media, news etc. Obviously, screens are here to stay, but we are not meant to be on them all day every day. Though screen purging may instigate FOMO moments, by abusing the screen, we miss out in our organic lives.
  5. Have MULTIPLE healthy coping outlets (ex: musical instrument/ journaling/ coloring/ gardening/ singing/ arts & crafts/ socializing etc)
  6. Exercise! I put this separately from ‘healthy coping outlets’ only because it’s not optional. We MUST exercise. Humans need to keep momentum. What is optional, is what you choose to do for exercise, and the list to choose from is HUGE. Find something you love!
  7. Always remember/ be humbled by what is out of your control. This includes other people’s decisions, other people’s viewpoints/ beliefs, mother nature & so on. Picking our battles & missions wisely is imperative because we only have so much physical/ mental energy to get us through the day.
  8. Be aware of your self-destructive habits (we all have them! No shame!) and the triggers that onset these habits. Ex: Watching the news regarding ____ makes me feel ____ and then I tend to engage in ______.
  9. Learn lessons. Accountability can be one of the hardest things to face in a crisis, but when the calm of the storm hits and we can find something of value to take with us, it can foster some much-needed life improvements.
  10. Get help if you need help. There are just some things we cannot face all alone. No one is equipped for everything. Whether the help be a networking connection, a resource, professional counseling, crisis intervention or so forth, it is worth doing for the sake of your mental health.

When the Songs Got it Right

Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 8-13-2020

         To follow up after my blog: When the movies got it right, I now want to take us into various song quotes that represent mental anguish and emotional expression. Though songs may be simplified as a form of ‘art’ so to speak, there is no denying their power. Song lyrics can often remind people of a part of themselves that they do not know how to express. When people have a hard time verbalizing how they feel, it is not uncommon for them to use songs as the template of their mental pain. We may use songs to express how we felt about our upbringing, societal stressors, in addition to proclaiming our feelings in a loving and/ or painful relationship. We also use songs to express the anguish of daily life as well as the deep scars from many traumatic experiences, from historical events to current events. Also, at the other end of the spectrum, it can be an attraction toward lyrics that motivate us when nothing else can/ will. A song can fill the gap, it can be that expression that we may long to get out into the open. I apologize in advance as I know I am most likely leaving some epic lyrics out of this blog!  I do not know every amazing song in the world, but this is me trying my best! Here are some of the song lyrics, that truly got it right:

“Can’t you see that you’re smothering me? Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control, cause everything that you thought I would be, has fallen apart, right in front of you. Every step that I take is another mistake to you, and every second I waste is more than I can take.” -Numb, Linkin Park

 “Every time, when I look in the mirror, all these lines on my face getting clearer, the past is gone… it went by, like dusk to dawn. Isn’t that the way, everybody’s got their dues in life to pay” – Dream on, Aerosmith

“I’ll do whatever it takes, when I’m with you I get the shakes, my body aches when I aint with you, I have zero strength. There’s no limit on how far I would go, no boundaries, no lengths. Why do we say that until we get that person that we thinks gonna be that one, and then once we get em’ it’s never the same? You want them when they don’t want you, soon as they do, feelings change.” -Eminem, Spacebound

“I, feel something so right doing the wrong thing, I, feel something so wrong, doing the right thing. I could lie, could lie, could lie, everything that kills me, makes me feel alive” -Counting Stars, One republic

 “Broken heart again, another lesson learned, better know your friends, or else you will get burned. Gotta count on me, cause’ I can guarantee that I’ll be fine… no more pain. No more pain, no drama… no more drama in my life, no one’s gonna’ make me hurt again.” -Mary J Blige, No more Drama

“Don’t leave me I, Oh I will hate myself until I die.. My heart would break without you, might not awake without you. Been hurting low, from living high for so long. I’m sorry and I love you, sing with me, “bell bottom blue”, I’ll keep on searching for an answer, because I need you more than dope….” -Lady Gaga, Dope

“Another mother’s breaking heart is taking over. When the violence causes silence, we must be mistaken. It’s the same old theme, since nineteen-sixteen, in your head in your head, they’re still fighting. With their tanks, and their bombs, and their bombs, and their guns, in your head, in your head, they are dying.” -Zombie, The Cranberries

“Love can touch us one time, and last for, a lifetime, and never let go ‘til.. we’re gone.” -Celine Dion, My heart will go on

“It’s hard to deal with the pain of losing you, everywhere I go, but I’m doing it. It’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone. Still harder, gettin up, gettin dressed, living with, this regret, but I know, if I could do it over.. I would trade, give away all the words that I saved in my heart, that I left unspoken.” -Rascall Flatts, What hurts the most

“Vindicated, I am selfish, I am wrong, I am right, I swear I’m right. Swear I knew it all along and I am flawed.. but I am cleaning up so well. I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself.. so clear. -Vindicated, Dashboard Confessional

“Sun is up, I’m a mess, gotta get out now, gotta run from this, here comes the shame. Here comes the shame… I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier. I’m gonna live, like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist. I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry.. and I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes, keep my glass full until morning light, cause I’m just holding on for tonight.” -Sia, Chandelier

“So many times, it happens too fast, you trade your passion for glory. Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of your past, you must fight just to keep them alive” -Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

“I used to wake up some days, and wish I’d stayed asleep. Because I went to bed on top of the world, today the worlds on top of me. Everybody’s got opinions, they share, they’ve been in my position, they don’t care, and it breaks my heart when I hear what they have to say about me.” -He still loves me, Beyonce & Walter Williams

“I used to crave the worlds attention, I think I cried too many times, I just need some more affection, anything to get me by. A hundred million stories and a hundred million songs I feel stupid when I sing, nobody’s listening to me, nobody’s listening. I talk to shooting stars, but they always get it wrong I feel stupid when I pray, why the fuck am I praying anyways? If nobody’s listening?! -Anyone, Demi Lovato

 “It’s just a cruel existence like there’s no point in hoping at all. Baby, baby, I feel crazy, up all night, all night and every day. Give me something, oh, but you say nothing. What is happening to me?! I don’t wanna live forever, cause I know I’ll be living in vain, and I don’t’ wanna fit, wherever, I just wanna keep calling your name, til you come back home.” -I don’t wanna live forever, Taylor swift and Zayn Malik

“I’ve been praying for somebody to save me, no one’s heroic, and my life don’t even matter, I know it, I know it. I know I’m hurting deep down, but can’t show it, I never had a place to call my own, I never had a home, aint nobody callin my phone. Where you been? Where you at? What’s on your mind? They say every life is precious but nobody care about mine.” -1-800-273-8255, Logic

“I see no changes; all I see is racist faces. Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races. We under, I wonder what it takes to make this, one better place, let’s erase the wasted. Take the evil out of people they’ll be acting right, cause both black and white, is smokin crack tonight. The only time we chill is when we kill each other, it takes skills to be real, time to heal each other.” -Changes, Tupac

“Heaven knows that I’ve been told, paid for the life that I chose, if I could I’d trade it all… trade it for a halo. And she said that she’ll pray for me, I said ‘it’s too late for me’, ‘cause I think it’s safe to say… this aint ordinary life.” -Ordinary Life, The Weeknd

“Piece by piece, he collected me up, off the ground, where you abandoned things. Piece by piece he filled the holes that you burned in me. Six years old and you know, he never walks away, he never asks for money, he takes care of me, ‘cause he loves me, piece by piece, he restored my faith that a man can be kind and a father could, stay.” -Piece by piece, Kelly Clarkson

 “And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening. People writing songs, that voices never share. And no one dared… disturb the sound, of silence.” -The sound of silence, Simon & Garfunkel

“She won’t touch me, I won’t touch her, we rarely even ever say a word, I really want to give her everything she deserves but the bad took away the good. She thinks that I’m full of it, arguments, always pissed, man I’m tired. Every kiss that I miss, girl you know I’m trying. You never believe when I say, and I never believe it when you say, I love you. And I shouldn’t complain about it, I should take it like a man and walk up out it, ‘cause we will never be the same. I’ve been standing in gas, and you have been the flame.” -Moving Mountains, Usher 

“Too late, my time has come, sends shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time. Goodbye everybody, I’ve got to go. Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth. Mama, oooooh… I don’t want to die, I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.” -Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen

“The time has come, to say fairs fair, to pay the rent, to pay our share. The time has come, a fact’s a fact, it belongs to them, let’s give it back. How can we dance when our earth is turning? how do we sleep while our beds are burning?” -Beds are burning, Midnight Oil

“All the youth in the world will not save you from growing older. And all the truth in the girl is too precious to be stolen from her. It’s just the way it is, maybe it’s never gonna change, but I got a mind to show my strength, and I got a right to speak my mind. And I’m gonna pay for this, they’re gonna burn me at the stake, but I got a fire in my veins. I wasn’t made to fall in line. -Fall in Line, Christina Aguilera

“So I took what’s mine, by eternal right, took your soul out into the night. It may be over but it won’t stop there, I am here for you if you’d only care. You touched my heart, you touched my soul, you changed my life and all my goals. And love is blind and that I knew when, my heart was blinded by you.” -Goodbye my Lover, James Blunt

“I’m never gonna let you close to me, even though you mean the most to me, ‘cause every time I open up, it hurts. So I’m never gonna get too close to you, even when I mean the most to you, in case you go and leave me in the dirt.” -Too Good at Goodbyes, Sam Smith

“Some days, things just take, way too much of my energy. I look up and the whole world’s spinning. You take my cares away, I can so overcomplicate, people tell me to medicate. Feel my blood runnin’, swear the sky’s fallin’. How do I know if this shit’s fabricated?” -Breathin, Ariana Grande

“And now, I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives, are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss… the dance. -The Dance, Garth Brooks

“I can wait another day, until I call you. You’ve only got my heart on a string and everything a-flutter. But another lonely night, might take forever. We’ve only got each other to blame, it’s all the same to me love. Cause I know, what I feel, to be right… No more lonely nights, no more lonely nights. You’re my guiding light, day or night I’m always there.” -No more lonely nights, Paul McCartney

NOT your Mother Teresa

Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 8-5-2020

“When helping someone, if you are working harder than they are, that’s a problem.” -EaE

     The kindest people of the world get put up on the most dangerous types of pedestals. The pedestal of people pointing at them as the ‘go to’ person anytime anyone needs anything, ever. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as ‘you come first’ statements to cure this issue. Someone who is constantly exploited for their kindness, emotional maturity and excess empathy may not even see the true pattern. It feels so natural, so right, to always step up and help others. It feels good to get that constant reassurance through ‘thank you’ s’ and ‘you’re the bests’ as well as ‘No one has helped me the way you have’. However, beneath every kind/ foolish heart is a lifetime of pain. A person that constantly helps others at the detriment of their own mental health, is NOT an okay person. I will start by laying out some key terms that correlate with the ‘Mother Teresa’s’ of the world, the ones that are constantly doing for others.

Fawning- A trauma response/ defense mechanism that consists of constant ‘people pleasing’ to diffuse conflict, feel more secure in relationships and earn approval from others. If confrontation puts someone head to head with ‘fight or flight’ (common for abuse survivors that needed to appease a temperamental guardian) said person may likely fawn over others to keep the peace.

Savior complex- (AKA White knight syndrome) describes the need to ‘save’ people by fixing their problems. Some explain a sense of feeling good about themselves and/ or ‘worthy’ only if they help others. (Common for children that grew up with parent(s) struggling with Domestic violence and/ or drug addictions & needed consistent saving)

Survivor guilt- A moral injury/ grieving process that occurs when someone feels wrong or guilty about surviving a traumatic event that others did not survive. Guilt may cause individual to feel they deserve to suffer and may consistently attempt to make up for the past while disregarding their own well being. (Extremely common with war traumas)

Codependency- A behavioral condition in a relationship in which someone enables another person’s addiction(s), poor self-care choices, lack of accountability etc due to their own excessive reliance on that person’s approval. Requiring said approval for their own sense of purpose/ identity. (Common in addiction & abusive households)

Rigid Obligatory Roles- When family members or coworkers place one key person in a place of heightened obligation and said individual consistently steps up to the role until it becomes what feels like a ‘natural’ compulsion. (Examples: the ‘ATM’ of the family, the ‘go to’ for emotional support, the DD for every event etc. The obligatory person is often someone struggling with a savior complex or survivor’s guilt)

Trauma bonding- Strong emotional attachments between an abused person and his/ her abuser, formed as a result of a cycle of violence and enmeshed identities of ‘the controller’ and ‘the victim’. (Often the result of a child being loved & abused interchangeably during childhood from 1 or more abusive guardian. Love and tragedy become enmeshed)

     If anyone suffers from any of the above conditions, behavioral traits and/ or defense mechanisms, it is worth reflecting on. If we suffer from said conditions and find ourselves in a constant state of anxiousness, irritability, relational issue’s and work-related stressors, there may be a direct correlation. My very first hint of this being an issue for me came from no other: A social worker. A social worker that I happened to be deployed to Afghanistan with. After many long (and I’m sure annoying) slew of vents from me regarding my difficult friendships and relationships she blurted out: “Have you ever thought about why you have the types of relationships that you do? Why are you always attracting those types of people, who always seem to be in a state of crisis?”

     I was stunned. I was not out of denial just yet. I was just shocked and appalled that she would assume it’s ‘my fault’. I desperately in my own mind searched for someone I knew that was ‘normal’, someone that did not cause any drama. Okay, yea there were none. Then again, I used to believe ‘normal’ existed back in those days. However, what this social work colleague was really trying to point out was that there was a role I chose to play in every friendship, relationship or acquaintanceship I got myself into. I was typically fawning, saving, and providing an endless amount of emotional support meanwhile living in denial about my own issues. It was a distraction/ avoidance technique that eventually turned into a heavy compulsion. I had no clue now to create boundaries for myself. This was an extremely crucial thing to learn.  We are accountable for the types of people we bring in and out of our lives. We are 99.9% accountable for the ass pain we want to deal with or NOT deal with. It is never as simple as “I’m a good person and the world is evil toward me.” With a statement like that, we fail to see our own personal role in savior/ victim relationships.

     Here’s some important questions/ reflections: Are people using us (savior mother Teresa types) on purpose? Are they viciously and selfishly using us? Or are we compulsively helping even when some people didn’t ask for our help? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Perhaps they are using us selfishly. Then again, perhaps they are codependent and don’t even realize they are in a chronic state of victimhood, meanwhile we may not realize we are in a chronic state of fawning. Perhaps we are hunting and jumping at every opportunity we can find to save someone in order to feel ‘worthy’ or make up for an everlasting regret. The world is full of people that need saving, if we look hard enough, it’s never hard to find them. We (saviors) also need saving but tend to neglect those needs due to the preference of getting distracted by the need of others.

      What happens when Boundaries are made?

     Typically, if we are brave enough to start setting boundaries for the sake of our self-preservation, the ones that ‘need’ us most don’t respond well. There is a likelihood that they will question or counter the boundaries. There is a likelihood that they will ignore them completely. There might even be anger or guilt tactics involved to try and reel the savior back into the role. For those that are serious about eliminating their Mother Teresa Ambiance, DO NOT CAVE. Remember that a part of what makes us so approachable and inviting is exactly that: We are approachable and inviting. STOP. Learn to say no, if we don’t know how to, we must practice it. There are very little excuses needed, as boundaries are a natural human right. IF we do not teach others of our boundaries, they may never even realize that said boundaries exist. Here’s another crucial question: Can we find an identity outside of being a savior? Yes, we can. Look for it, explore it, fight for it. It’s is NOT easy, but worth it. If life feels meaningless and empty without saving other’s, we have a lot of work to do with learning to love ourselves.

     A person exhibiting codependent traits may personalize their friend and/ or family members boundaries. They may believe it’s about them. I can easily assure anyone I know that my boundaries are never about them, they are about me, and my own personal sanity. Do not put me on a pedestal, do not believe I am the answer to all your problems. Do not assume I want to go from a 9-5 where I help people all day to an evening of helping you, for free, with all your issue’s too. Do not believe that someone else is ever more responsible for your issue’s than you are. Do not believe that anyone owes you anything, ever. I (and many others) will always be a kind, because it was a value instilled in us from childhood. True kindness and empathy are extremely rare, and unfortunately the world can spoil it fast. Many of us do not want to be depleted of kindness, and in order to preserve this value, we must make boundaries. We must protect ourselves; we are not your Mother Teresa.

Heart of Ruby

Elisa A Escalante

“Maybe you didn’t need me, but I needed you,

As I sat on that rock, waiting to see you,

You called and said you’d come, and somehow I believed you,

And watched the cars go by, hoping I’d see you,

Because you gave me life, yes I came from you,

But you were not there, to see my life through,

You always left me, yet I never stopped loving you,

Because every time I saw you, I felt you were brand new,

And it made me angry, knowing I couldn’t change you,

Grabbing at your feet, begging and pleading with you,

To not go in that room, and put that stuff in you.

I thought that I meant more, since I belonged to you.

I always thought you’d change, and that you’d get a clue,

In that dazed mind of yours, that perhaps I needed you,

But you never came, as I waited for you,

That last time was the last, that I would ever trust you,

Because enough is enough, there is no changing you,

Not for your son or your daughter, not for your husband or you,

Maybe you don’t think of me, but I think of you,

As I spend my life, waiting to see you………


And then the moment came, that I could see you,

Not the best circumstance, not the best you,

It’s a shame it took so long, for me to see you,

For you to almost die, for me to hear of you,

In a way you were the same, in a way you were still you,

And I became so distant, no longer did I know you,

You told me that you loved me, that I was a part of you,

You told your son to be careful, because he was just like you,

That he’d end up in that bed, if he turned into you.

You loved how much I had grown, and how I looked like you,

And I just sat and cried, as I looked at you.

Knowing ten years sped by, we’d been torn apart by you,

The substances had won, in our battle for you,

They took you over, won your heart too,

But know that no matter what, I’ll try to be there for you.

No longer can it be as your daughter, but as a friend for you.

Yes you never needed me, and now I no longer need you,

Because as you can see, I learned and lived without you…


The call I feared had come, and they told me about you,

That you are no longer here, life has made peace with you,

And by my 21st birthday, I could not call you….

And thank you for giving me life, because I had lost you.

I don’t know if I did things right, or if I pleased you…

In your last moments of life, I hope you know I loved you.

I still cannot tell anyone, that I have lost you,

My heart has been so sacred, my soul has been shut too.

There are no words to describe, what I have felt for you,

What I have learned, and the emotions I have from you.

The memories will stay forever, I could never forget you,

The good and the bad, the ugly and the sad too.

I learned at a young age, a long life lesson from you,

That no matter what, I could change no one, not even you,

I understand now why you left, because you knew you,

And that you’d destroy us, if we all stayed with you,

And you felt you weren’t worthy…. No second chance for you…

That maybe you’d done the worst…. Betrayed all of us and you.

But you deserved a second chance, which is why I came to you,

And slept in that hospital room, and cried and cried for you.

And I had come to let you know, because I just had to…….

That through all that has happened…. Yes…. I forgive you.

RIP Mom: December 25 1965 – August 3 2010

Silencing the World

Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 7-30-2020

    I used to sit and/ or walk in silence for hours and hours, literally. As a millennial born in 1989, I still remember this: no smart screens. No easy internet access, as it wasn’t allowed in my household. The ‘special’ computer with dial up internet access was locked in the forbidden dungeon (my parents’ room). There was TV, but only accessible when my parents allowed it. I had silence. I knew how-to live-in silence, think in silence and cope in silence. I honestly forgot what that felt like. I forgot a world with silence the moment I owned my first smartphone in 2010, when I was 20 years old.

When we reflect on the first SmartScreen we bought and/ or were gifted, what can we remember? It sucked me in the way my ex-boyfriend was sucked in, from what I recall. He got one just a year before I did, and it seemed like nothing else in the world mattered but that phone. Then admittedly, I repeated the same destructive pattern. I was sucked into another world where I could keep in touch with any/ everyone I had ever met. Being in the military, that was a huge deal as we were always traveling and losing touch. Also, the fact that I was stationed far away from many friends/ family members. I remember the excitement of apps and the endless games/ activities. The portable music, all my favorite songs from every decade in one convenient area!

     One of the most difficult things we must face when we find a new/ exciting coping outlet is asking ourselves this honest question: “When has it gotten out of hand?” Also, when does it feel like too much? Am I addicted to this? Is this impairing my job? My relationships? Is this impairing my mental health? These are hard realities to face when we are sucked into something that brings so much entertainment, adrenaline and joy. Sometimes, the things we want/ welcome are not what’s good for us. When we are in emotional pain, we do not gravitate toward healthy things, we gravitate toward distractions, highs & escapes. An ill mind rarely does what’s best for physical and mental health. Smart screens just became one more interesting/ unique way to cope, and it falls in the realm of all 3 above: A distraction, a high, as well as a form of escapism.

     How much information is too much information? I would never ask that someone become ill informed or try to block out every & every atrocity in this world. But seriously, how much is too much? We are in rare times right now, where constant access to almost all information in the world is met with a mass mandated quarantine. I recently asked a client (who reported being on the screen an average of 12 hours a day) to write down what she is using her phone for. Below is the list:

  • News/ politics
  • Growing her online business
  • Socializing (calls/ texts/ social media’s)
  • Games
  • Music & other forms of entertainment

     My next question: Roughly how many hours a day do you believe you should allot yourself to accomplish these goals on your smart screen?  She thought hard about it and gave an honest answer: 5 hours a day. This does not mean that she could only be on the phone for a max of 5 hours a day. Simply, it became a template, a goal, something to work with and work on. Upon reducing her screen hours to the best of her ability, she reported a decrease in depression, anxiety and anger symptoms. There was also an increase in concentration and motivation which ultimately helped her online business generate more income.

     Less can be more. Less screen time can be more, in the sense that we silence out the world along with the external triggers and symptom exacerbation it causes. The mood fluctuations, the stress hormones it releases, the constant processing that our brain is required to do whenever we read a new tidbit of information. The mental capacity it requires to partake in such online activities every day is a lot more extreme than we give ourselves credit for. My brain literally started to feel like it was frying. The best metaphor I can use would be like when you find old batteries that leaked, and it looks radioactive and dangerous to the touch. I was literally experiencing both mental and physiological symptoms due to high amounts of screen time. Especially in the social media realm. So again, how much is too much?

Warning signs of too much screen time:

  • Constant mood fluctuations regarding what you are seeing/ reading online
  • Aggravation/ irritability
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Dry eyes/ headaches
  • Lost sense of time/ reality
  • Feeling/ anxious and/ or desperate when the screen isn’t in front of you
  • Neglect toward self and/ or others
  • Isolation/ loneliness
  • Decreased self-esteem due to increase in comparisons
  • Consistently falling behind on major activities and chores (procrastination)
  • Confusion, identity crisis, lost sense of purpose/ reality
  • Financial stress (due to possible influx of online purchasing)

     I really want to silence the world again, but admittedly, it’s extremely hard. The screen can pull us in like a vacuum to a carpet. It calls, it beckons, it’s an extreme force. So, like a very realistic and practical thinker (like I like to believe I am), I created a reasonable and attainable goal: No social Media on Wednesdays.  Today is my first Wednesday. Only phone call, text and email are allowed… because, I’m not a cave woman!  I’m roughly halfway through the day and already experiencing withdrawals. (anxiousness and restlessness) The good news? I hear silence, if that makes sense. My mind is at a standstill, I was able to get through so much work that I had been putting off. I’m filtering through my priority list and I’m able to write this blog. May this be one of many things that can help with long-term self-care and self-improvement.


Elisa A. Escalante/ LMSW/ 7-25-2020

“You can’t evaluate another person’s situation by looking at it through your world” -Terrence Coffie/ LMSW

          I would be considered, whatever the opposite of angry is. For the most part, people commonly told me I was one of the nicest people they had ever met. There were a few that knew me better, who warned me that one day I would snap and go crazy for ‘holding it all in’. I did not understand, because I did not hold or feel much anger at all. If it was not depression, it was anxiety, if not anxiety perhaps, self-loathing. Then there was a lot of embarrassment and shame sprinkled in, and minimally welcomed small bursts of joy. However, anger? Anger was not my downfall, I did not even know I possessed the capability of being angry at another person for long, let alone a slow burning rage that would wither away at my spirit and health.

     Anger behaviors were the first mental distress patterns that I took notice of, at the mere age of 6. Young children, angry, throwing things, getting paddled by teachers, and threatened at school. They fought back with a vengeance, with more cursing and back talk to each other and the teachers. I was so petrified of consequences that I could not fathom how these young children could be so angry that they would speak out loud in such a manner. What made them what they were, and what made me…me? (Timid, shy, scared, prudish, silent, secluded and so on.)  I wanted to know so badly, I just listened. I did not even judge them; I was purely fascinated and curious.

      The fight or flight response is very real. Rather, Fight, fly, freeze or dissociate. These are the four natural things our adrenaline and brains force us to do when faced with life threatening situations. These natural defense mechanisms, along with household modeling have a hell of a lot to do with how we behave when we feel threatened. Needless to say, the more threatening the environments and households we grow up in, the more our brains are forced to use the fight or flight reactions, which can and will take a toll on us in the long run. Though it is a powerful source of protection during petrifying moments, the stress hormones that are released accompanied by the brain going haywire can change up our chemical make-up.

     Before I turned six, I grew up being handed off to many strangers. Forcing me to never be able to establish a routine or trust in my environment. I was forced into freeze mode when strangers got close. I had the difficult task of evaluating what behaviors were acceptable for my new ‘guardian of the month’ while my mom went to hunt for more drugs.  My brother who was three years older had a different approach, his anger/ rage in full force. We cannot be angry around an angry person. I repeat, we cannot be angry around an angry person. It would be like gasoline to fire, this caused me to deal with everything in silence, with hopes to not make the situation worse than it already was.

     Through my mental health career, I found many more answers. It started to make sense, why some children resort to screaming back, while others run away. Then, why others must freeze and dissociate because there are literally no other options for them. My primary specialty in the world of mental health is trauma, but my secret specialty is anger. Often, trauma and anger go hand in hand, whether it be explosive anger or implosive anger. I have always had a knack for working with the angriest of clients. Why? They always told me I have this ‘calming presence’. Simply put, growing up with a drunk parent, an angry brother, and very tense households for most of my life, I had to radiate calmness. I could not fuel the rage. I took on a heavy responsibility and burden in doing so, without even realizing it.

     Anger management classes suck! Literally every person I have ever talked to, including my brother, reported that it made them angrier. I have sat in the classes, I’ve co facilitated them, I have taught anger management techniques to clients. These classes teach techniques, but never go into the root core of the issue. If someone is getting in fights on a weekly basis and exploding with homicidal tendencies and ballistic behaviors, techniques will not work yet. Also, they are angry about a hell of a lot more than what they are dealing with in their current situations. Anger is anger, it is a normal reaction to frustrating situations, but rage is entirely different. I often remind clients that anger is never wrong, it is just often misplaced and projected onto others at inappropriate times and/ or situations. Anger management tries to enforce that the client learns to ‘tame’ themselves and not hurt others, it does not focus on healing the underlying cause of said rage.

     If someone describes themselves as chronically angry where there is an extensive history of escalation, fighting and/ or legal issues, I am going to focus on getting down to the depths of that rage. I will go deep after the trust is built. The lines: “I’ve always been this way”, or “I just see red and then lose control” are not enough. Something, someone, or multiple people created this rage monster, and no one deserves to be chained down with that burden. I have come to observe that the more pain, loss of control, and helplessness we experience, the more rage we may build. Accompany this with a lack of outlets, and no justice toward those that hurt us, we will see the world in a different lens entirely. No one that can be trusted, no one that will help. The child must then build walls or become a difficult person, so that others may back the hell away.

     I have gotten to the depths of many people’s rage, even when it led to extreme tension in the session, passive aggressiveness. Unfortunately, it can chase people away at times, but they tend to come back. It is a hard topic, and we must not be pushy. We see a rageful person as a nuisance to society, a risk. Let us start asking, who hurt them? Abusive and/ or negligent parents? Bullies? Community violence? Assault? War? Other various trauma experiences? Then, why did they learn that anger was the safest and most appropriate defense mechanism to counter their triggers? Most importantly, can they gain the insight into this rage? Can they admit to themselves and others that they are in pain, and anger is the only way they have learned to express this? The anger did, once upon a time, serve a purpose, but what is it doing now? Possibly sabotaging progress, joy, relationships, and life goals. It is well worth exploring and addressing.

     I normalize anger, as it is an emotion, we are all capable of and need at times. It is perfectly acceptable and reasonable to be angry about the awful things that have happened to us. I allow ample amount of time for those that have been hurt to process their pain and admit to why they have carried this burdensome rage around with them. Then, we explore safer and healthier ways to live a functional life, free of that burden. We must accept that the world has hurt us, not necessarily forgive! Simply, acceptance. Then pursue our goals without the weight of our rage tying us down. If this means letting go of certain things: toxic spouses, toxic friends, toxic environments, and toxic drugs, so be it. We are not obligated to continuously expose ourselves to the lifestyles that hurt us and trigger our rage.

When the Movies got it Right

We may not be able to see mental sufferings or have the capacity to express them fully into words, but there were cases when the movies really did get it right. Lines and monologues in which we are left in aw of how an actor or actress spewed out a set of lines that we could relate to, to the depth of our core & soul.

     I have a bit of a writer’s block lately, as I have already covered quite a few topics in my blog. I decided to gain inspiration, once again, from the incredible movie quotes that signify emotional suffering, life lessons and mental anguish best. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, and I recommend watching all of them!

The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” – The Giver

“At the Temple there is a poem called ‘loss’ carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.” -Arthur Golden/ Memoirs of a Geisha

“Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don’t turn it off! It wasn’t my war! You asked me, I didn’t ask you! And I did what I had to do to win, for somebody who wouldn’t let us win. Then I come back to the world and see all these maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting, calling me a baby killer and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me? Huh?! Who are they?! Unless they been me and been there and know what the hell they are yelling about!” -Rambo First blood

“You don’t know about real loss because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself.” -Good Will Hunting

“I know what it’s like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in, but you can’t. How you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.” -Girl Interrupted

“We who have seen war, will never stop seeing it. In the silence of the night, we will always hear the screams. So, this is our story, for we were soldiers once, and young.” -Joe Galloway, We were soldiers

“I do this! Time after time after time! I do all this shit for other people! And then I wake up and I’m empty! I have nothing!” -Silver Linings Playbook

“And then, something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.” -Fight Club

“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t” -Joker

“The truth is I was tired way underneath my skin. I was tired where I couldn’t even see. I do not know how that happened. How I ended up like that. It all happened so fast.” -Rebecca wells, Divine secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood

“This is the job. These are the decisions. When to push them? When to back them? Worrying about your children is sanity, and being that sane…can drive you nuts. -Spanglish

“See, but that’s bullshit. That’s what everyone has been telling me since the beginning. ‘Oh, you’re gonna be ok’, and ‘oh, everything’s fine’, and like, its not. It makes it worse, that no one will ever come out and say like ‘Hey man, you’re going to die.’” -50/50

“I have to believe that when things are bad, you can change them.” -Cinderella Man

“We use words like honor, code and loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something, you use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it.” -A few Good Men

“You can’t come up with a formula to change the way you experience the world” -A Beautiful Mind

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world aint all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.” -Rocky Balboa

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Sometimes we need a little help.” -Xmen: Days of future past

“When my body get’s tired, my mind says this is where winners are made. When my mind gets tired, my heart says this is where champions are made.” -Glory Road

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” -The Breakfast Club

“You can break something in two seconds… but it can take forever to fix it, a lifetime, generations. That’s why we have to be careful on this earth, and gentle.” -Beatriz at Dinner

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world, is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” -Almost Famous

“It don’t take much strength to pull a trigger, but try and get up every morning day after day and work for a living. Let’s see him try that. Then we’ll see who the real tough guy is. The working man’s the tough guy.” -A Bronx Tale

“It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you’ve forgotten about.” -Lester Burnham, American Beauty

“Hate is baggage. Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.” -American History X

“I saw my whole life as if I’d already lived it. An endless parade of parties and cotillions, yachts and polo matches. Always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back. No one who cared… or even noticed.” -Titanic

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” -The Shawshank redemption

“All of life is an act of letting go. But what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” -Life of Pi

“How do you believe a crazy guy? That’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Crazy people, they’re the perfect subjects. They talk, nobody listens.” -Shutter Island

“Maybe happiness is something we can only pursue. And maybe we can actually never have it, no matter what.” -Pursuit of Happiness