The Gay Agenda: Longwood University's Pride Club Newsletter

Hello it’s I, your friendly newsletter chair!  I’m kind of a mess right now but it’s that time of year, right?  First off, I hope everyone is well.  If you’re in a similar boat, this is your friendly reminder to take your meds, take a shower, or whatever small self-care thing you can do for yourself.

Here’s a realistic list of what you can do to avoid any mental breakdowns this race to the finish line may cause you:

  1. Make lists
  2. Priorotize the things on the list
    1. If you struggle to prioritize, ask your nearest still-functional friend or roomate to look over the list you have
    2. If you’re still struggling, ask Google
  3. Remember to take breaks, naps, and set alarms if you need them to stay organized.
  4. If you’re a chronic sufferer of procrastination, break large items into small pieces.  Got a 4 page paper to write in a day?  Write for a solid fifteen minutes, stop and watch a short youtube video (or whatever you can fit into five minues) and then start again.
  5. Don’t mix coffee and 5 hour energy.
    1. Also, don’t take a whole 5 hour extra strength if you’re under 5 ft unless you want to feel like you’ve gone insane.
  6. If you’re stressed, start writing a journal to vent in.

Remember, breathe, we’re all in this together.

It’s just a bad week, not a bad life.  

See you on the other side of the war.

Peace, love, and rainbows,

Whit

Howdy Pridelings!

This week we are talking about YOU. Yes, you.

Of course, Self Care Saturdays (or in this case Monday… my bad ya’ll) is all about taking care of yourself. But this week I want to dive deeper into what that really means, and show you some simple yet effective ways to track your physical, mental, and emotional health in a way to avoid those nasty triggers.

First thing first, look in your mirror. Have you showered? Have you eaten? If the answer is yes, you’re doing great. If its no, don’t fret! Just hop on over to the Managing Depression edition and it will help you get started on feeling like a spring daisy.

Second thing is some you time. Find a space that is neutral to you, without distraction or stress in the air. Your bedroom isn’t a good idea because most of your alone time is spent there and the negative energy from your bad days may linger. Perhaps a student lounge or the library quiet study area would be a good place. You need to relax your mind and think of a good place or a good memory. For the Harry Potter fans, our dark thoughts and feelings are Dementors and our go to happy place is our Patronus. We need that even ground to stand on when things get bad or we will be engulfed in our own negativity.

The third piece to this self help puzzle is a list. Not a grocery list or a list of your enemies you wish to slaughter at the mercy of your sword, but a list of your triggers. This may seem scary, but I assure you it is super important. Documenting what triggers you is just as important as a diabetic writing down the foods and drinks they need to avoid. Doing this can help your close friends, family or even a partner understand your limits on certain topics.

Whew it got deep in here. Lets bring you back to the surface. Since I am always trying out new apps that might better someones life, this week I encourage you to try emoods. It is an app usually for bipolar individuals but the way the app works can be beneficial to anyone. Basically you log in everyday and document your level of depression, irritability, and elevation in mood that day with a scale of none to severe. The app will also ask if you ate and if you have taken any medication you have. You can add other daily reminders like whether you went to class or if you went to a social gathering. The app keeps track of these and you can write notes on what triggered you or what helped you out of the dark place. I have been using it for a weeks to show my doctor how I am day to day and it really puts everything into perspective on how I can improve my day. I recommend it 10/10.

Remember if you or a friend need someone to talk to, I am always here.

With Love,

Jenny

“I would like to see the Pride meetings become more interactive and less discussion based. I think that the meetings are a very important time for people there to get to know each other and really build those peer relationships. Maybe we could have game nights, or have every meeting have some sort of theme? I would also like to do more events together as a club. Something as simple as a movie night or go bowling (we could actually go to Sunchase but I was thinking more like find a place to watch a movie together). I also would really like to go to some Pride Fest and I think that we should start fundraising for that way earlier, and we could also figure our logistics way in advance.”

Good points, anon contributor.  I, too, would also like more club events/bonding times.  I really wish we could reserve the NH Scott center for movie nights, but alas, there are a lot of logistics to that as we’re only one club that uses it.  All fundraising would be better off if done sooner, but that’s also a question of logistics that only Exec board can answer for us.  I really like your suggestions, but unfortunately it’s a question of when, how, and who’s shoes we have to shine to get the resources we need.  If you’re really interested in pursuing this, you could always contact one of Pride’s advisors.

Thanks, and sorry that I’m not in a position to get things done.

Peace, love, and rainbows,

Whit

SCS: The Mask

Salutations Pridelings!

As we creep towards All Hallows Eve, we will see a lot of ghosts and ghouls, monsters and masks. But unfortunately, masks are not just for the night of fright. We wear them every day. We use our masks to cover our true feelings, almost to a point that we forget what our own face looks like.

This week I want everyone to keep in mind that it is okay to remove the mask every once in a while. Let your true face shin e. Find a trusted person and remove your barriers even for  little bit. Air out all your demons, even if its to your favorite stuffed animal. This is essential to good mental health. Bottling it up will only feed your mask. If you have seen a horror movie, you know that feeding the evil thing is never a good idea. It is almost as bad as that one person who forgets how to run and falls over once and gets killed.

Dont be that person. Smh.

To close out this short piece, just a reminder that if you need someone to talk to, you have me and the rest of PRIDE to lean on. You never have to hide with us.

Also have a safe Halloween and eat lots of candy <3

With Love,

Jenny (she/her)

Good evening Pridelings,

I hope you all has a wonderfully restful Fall Break.  If not, and you’re bored and want to make something, I’ve got a load of stuff for you to try!

Octoberfest Pride had a great idea for sensory bottles.  I decided to expand on this idea a little bit and give you an entire playlist of small crafts that you can do.  It’s great for anxiety because if you mess it up, you can always try something new.  It’s great for depression because it can help you feel productive and give you something else to focus on with a low energy cost.  It’s great for sensory disorders and focus as well.

Craft and be happy!

Peace, love, and rainbows,

Whit

Salutations Pridelings!

Once again I come to you to bestow my knowledge of self care. It is the most important kind of care, because, as the great RuPaul says, “If you cant love yourself, how the h*ll you gonna love anybody else?”

This week is going to be a short and sweet self care topic, but a very important one still: Toxic Relationships.

For those who are unaware of this, Toxic Relationships are connections you have with others where the other person is draining you or degrading you physically, emotionally, mentally, or sexually, essentially corroding your self esteem and overall well-being.

Now most people think of romantic relationships when they hear “toxic”. But we must not forget that non romantic relationships can be just as bad. That includes friendships, business partnerships, and family.

The most important thing to remember is no matter who this person is, even if it’s a parent, you have the power and the right to cut yourself from them in order to survive.  It’s much like getting bit by a zombie. If you act fast enough and cut off your limb, the infection will not spread and you will live to fight another day. But if you ignore the danger and continue, you will get sick and eventually die, turning into a zombie yourself. (Yes that’s an odd analogy but it’s Halloween and I like zombies)

Of course, if you are not sure if you can cut yourself from those you love, you should always have a support system to counteract the negativity coming from the toxic relationship. Surround yourself with healthy friends and family. Talk to a counselor or a teacher. Learn techniques to release the negative thoughts your toxic relationships pour onto you. Everything is in your hands. You are the center of your universe. You call the shots on your own life.

And of course, you can always count on me.

With Love,

Jenny

Greetings Pridelings!

As you all are surely aware of by now, I am the new member of The Gay Agenda team. I will be collaborating with our dear Nyan Cat Whit on our Self Care Saturdays from here on out. I’m super excited to show y’all my writing chops.

Okay, lets get serious.

This week we are talking about managing depression, something that we all can struggle with from time to time, some more than others. With the glorious FALL finally upon us, I and many others like me can take a sigh of relief as we cuddle in our coats, sweaters, and scarves. Unfortunately though, the colder weather can come with some down sides like seasonal depression, along side the endless exams and holidays. Many of us are already dreading going home to a less than ideal family.

BUT FEAR NOT! I have compiled a small guide to help you manage through the days when you are just not up for much.

  1. Dry shampoo is your friend
    • If you have hair, dry shampoo can really come in handy. Those days you just cant gather the spoons to take a shower or brush through your hair, just spray some dry shampoo, wiggle it around on your scalp, throw it up in a messy bun or ponytail, and you are good to go. It will improve your mood too because you will no longer feel gross (i know it helps me out on the daily)
  2. Make a small goals list
    1. this could be on your phone, a Post-It, or write it in dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror. Making a small goals list can help you achieve those small things like brushing your teeth, changing your underwear, and eating a granola bar for breakfast. If you don’t get to the big stuff like showering, laundry, or making your bed that’s okay. You know your limits and when you finish that small goals list, it will improve your day because you accomplished your goals for the day.
  3. Learn your triggers
    1. One of the worst things with someone with depression is when we are having a good day, but then a trigger figuratively punches us in the face. Take time and document your triggers so you know if it happens, you did everything you could to avoid it. For example, if you hear a certain song that you know will upset you, immediately change the song instead of enveloping yourself into it, feeding your depression. If you do listen to it, move on from it. Don’t beat yourself up. No one is perfect
  4. Keep snacks in your house/dorm/apartment
    1. Having a source of food in your presence will help out when you just cant get out of bed. There will be days like that. But one of the most important thing is your health. Eating something during the day even when you aren’t hungry is super important, so having snacks at arms reach will make it easier to reach that goal without going out of your comfort zone.

These are just some tips that will help during the fall and into the winter for everyone, even those who aren’t clinically depressed. Finding those little things that make the day slightly less unbearable is just as important to self care as the big stuff. Praise yourself for the little things. love yourself for the bad days and the good. And of course, if you ever need an extra ear or hand or shoulder, you have support.

With Love

Jenny

Don’t want to Ask Roy?  It’s okay, they aren’t mad about it.*  Still want to talk to someone?  Got a smart phone?**

7 Cups might just be the app for you!  I’ve just started using this app so I haven’t had a chance to fully explore the features thoroughly.  However, from what I can tell it has a free anonymous chat system with trained volunteers to help you in a myriad of topics such as depression, anxiety, breakups, family stress, mindfulness and many others.  They’ve also got cute animal videos and funny stuff for when you’re bored.

*Actually, Roy is a little sad about this.  They love people and no one talks to them.  🙁 Poor Roy.

**I mean, I dunno, you could still have a Nokia if you’re sick of breaking your screen.

Thanks again to Jenny D. for the great suggestions.

 

So you had a busy week.  You woke up ten minutes before the class.  You forgot to do your homework because Netflix just renewed Bojack Horseman and you accidently binged the season. (Just me?   Okay.)  You had a panic attack due to a test.  It’s been a rough week, right?

Well, take a few minutes.  I have a playlist for you that might help.

Meditation is a nice way to relax, or at least calm your body down enough to not feel too awful for the rest of the day.  At the heart of meditation is your breathing.  Notice how you’re breathing, and then conciously focus yourself on that.  Inhale for four seconds, hold for two, then exhale for four seconds.  It sounds too simple.  It won’t solve all your problems, but it will clear your head out of panicking so that you can reassess your priorities and get back to what matters.

Relax.  Breathe.  Here’s a playlist of meditation for you.

Already in the middle of a meltdown with nothing to stop the catastrophe of thoughts in your head?  Try this five senses trick: Name a thing you can smell.  Name a thing you can taste.  Name something you can hear.  Name something you’re touching.  Name something you can see.  I tried this in the middle of an anxiety attack and while I can’t explain why this works, exactly, it does.  It’s like “tricking” your brain into going “Oh, I am not actually about to die.  This is where I am.  This is what I am doing.”

Thanks to Jenny D. for the self-care tips, I appreciate the help.

Hello Pridelings!

It’s my great honor to welcome you back to campus!  Hopefully you all had a wonderful summer.  As your newsletter chair I’d like to express my gratitude for this position and will do my very best to serve you well.

For now, plans for the newsletter include:

  • Encouraging general body members to contribute to the newsletter, be it creative writing, poetry, suggestions on LGBTQIA2+ media,  and traditional/digital art forms.
  • Ask Roy
  • Bi-monthly book reviews
  • Music playlists by LGBT+ artists
  • And of course, Pride related events.

Occasionally, I may send out surveys to see how you all are liking the newsletter.  I encourage you all to respond to them when you can– we rely on feedback.

Additionally, I may open a Sarahah account so that you may drop suggestions anonymously.

If I can’t find a way to link playlists to the newsletter, a separate, privately listed Youtube account may be added to our pages.  Details to follow.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns or suggestions please feel free to email me at whitney.jones1@live.longwood.edu.

Again, welcome, everyone old and new.  We hope you find a place of acceptance and love here.  Be safe, be strong, and let’s all have an amazing semester!

-Whit

(she/they pronouns)