I like metaphors because it helps you understand unfamiliar concepts using familiar comparisons. The problem is I can’t seem to find a metaphor that accurately portrays this, and maybe that’s the best way I can describe what it feels like to deal with depression and anxiety at the same time. I always have trouble explaining to people because it’s not always the same experience. Both exist on a spectrum, and they can simultaneously work in conjunction and against each other, which means there are endless layers of complexity. I heard the best way to understand something is to try and…

A Playlist For the World, By the World: Vol. 1 || Giving In

The Project

I gave 20 people a short phrase that depicts a certain mood. Everyone got the same phrase, but they get to interpret it however they want. Then I asked them to share with me three things based on how they connected with this phrase.

The three things I asked for:

  1. A song that relates to this phrase
  2. Their favorite line in the song
  3. A brief explanation of why they chose this song, what this song means to them, or how this song reminds them of the phrase

I compiled everyone’s responses and created a public Spotify playlist with their song…

Observing and analyzing trends in my own mental health

The Preface

I tracked my mental health each day throughout 2018. I rated my happiness on a scale of 1–5, with “1” being a really bad day, “2” being a kind of bad day, “3” being a neutral day, “4” being a kind of good day, and “5” being a really good day. I want to preface this article by saying that I understand how complex and difficult it is to try and quantify mental health. My absurdly simple, completely subjective, and inherently biased rating system is by no means an attempt to accurately represent the complexities of the mental health spectrum…

I am my own worst enemy. I’m always overthinking and second guessing everything that I do. I took the past year to really sit with myself and reflect on what I’m doing or not doing to take care of myself. I discovered a lot of patterns of behavior that were damaging to my mental health. It’s taken a lot of unpacking and self-discovery, but I’ve compiled a list of things I can do to get out of my own way. Hope some of it resonates with you.

I was stuck in a fixed mindset.

I kept telling myself that this…

Two years ago, I decided to stop using all my social media accounts. I deleted all of the apps off my phone and deleted my accounts permanently. The only exception was Facebook. (I use FB messenger as one of my primary ways of communicating with important people in my life.) I stopped using everything else though. I wanted to see how social media affected my day-to-day life and mental health.

Here’s my completely unbiased and scientifically proven findings.

I was conditioned to compare myself to others.

The issue with social media is that people get to filter what they want to show. What you usually see online is…

My mom called me the other day. She usually calls about once a week to check in and catch up with me. When I was in college, she would call to ask if I’ve eaten yet. That translates to “I love you” in Vietnamese. Now that I’m a bit older she calls me to ask for my advice on certain things, but no matter how old I get, she’ll always worry about how I’m doing. If you’ve read any of my past writing, I post publicly on Facebook because people have told me that reading my stuff has helped them…

Hi NV,

Has it really been a year since I’ve last wrote to you? Feels like it’s been much longer. Sorry, I should be better at keeping in touch. How have you been? How’s the family doing? Hope everything is well with you. I can’t thank you enough for the kind words you gave me last time we talked. I’ve taken all of it to heart and it’s helped me a lot. I’ve had a lot of time now to reflect on my battle with depression, so I just wanted to share some updates with you on how I’m…

Do you ever watch a TV show and get mad at a character because he/she didn’t make the obvious right choice, but instead ends up making a huge mistake and messes everything up? You’re sitting there yelling at the screen and wondering what could have been if they had just chosen the other path. You start to feel sorry for them, but then they keep making mistakes and now you’re just annoyed at them and wish they would change their ways. Well what happens when you realize that you are that character in real life?

Maybe I’ve been watching too…

Pt. 1
Dear ________,

I apologize that it’s been so long since I’ve written to you, but I just wanted to let you know about something that’s been on my mind for a while now. I don’t mean to worry you, but I’m writing to you to apologize for something that I should have told you a long time ago. With everything that’s been going on with us recently, I just don’t think I can keep this from you much longer. So ok here goes. I’ve been dealing with depression for a while now. I say a while because I…

Nhan Thanh Vu

Let's talk about mental health.

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