Posts tagged with "depression"

Mental Health Awareness illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mental Health Awareness

Many people, including children and adults across diversity backgrounds, can struggle with social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health. These challenges can be situational, present for a season of life, or be a struggle across a lifetime. The symptoms may also turn on and turn off, be persistent every day, or resolve just to pop back up again.

Even though having complications with mental or behavioral health is common, it does not necessarily mean a person is functioning at their best or the symptoms should be left unaddressed. Early intervention can be more effective, than the choice to put off addressing a mental health concern for another time.

Awareness of mental health signs and symptoms are important. The first step is recognizing when we need support. Let’s set aside labels such as depression, anxiety, addictive behaviors, and disorders for a moment. Instead, let’s consider observations. Below is a clustered list of commonly experienced struggles we can lookout for to monitor our mental health:

Socially

  • Noticing a pattern of withdrawing or avoiding friends, family, or activities
  • Having interpersonal conflicts with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or even strangers
  • Having a difficult time understanding and/or relating to others or common life scenarios
  • Feeling disconnected from others or struggling to get close to others
  • Feeling lost about knowing who you are

Emotionally

  • Experiencing sadness, despair, distress, prolonged sorrow
  • You or others noticing changes in your mood from high to low
  • Enduring excessive worry, fears, or discomfort with the unknown
  • Experiencing extreme guilt, self-blame, or negative self-talk
  • Having bouts with excessive or persistent anger

Cognitive/Thinking

  • Noticing thought patterns that are confused, conflicted, indecisive, repetitive, or forgetful
  • Having a lowered ability begin or maintain focus
  • You or others noticing a disconnect between your thoughts and the world around you
  • Feeling fearful such as paranoia
  • Having repeat unpleasant or worrisome thoughts or images
  • Hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not truly there
  • Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself or someone else

Behavioral

  • Having a reduced ability to cope or resolve daily living complications or stress
  • Struggling with adjustment to life changes
  • Experiencing problems related to alcohol, tobacco, and/or legal or illegal substances
  • Noticing changes in eating habits such as too much, too little, overly focused on eating
  • Observing patterns of overexercise
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Having episodes of violence towards others, yourself, animals, or objects
  • Challenges with impulsive decisions or risk taking

Physical

  • Seeing trends in energy level such as significant tiredness or grand amount of energy
  • Struggles falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up, or low quality of sleep
  • Having physical symptoms such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, heart pounding, shortness of breath, or other unexplained physical symptoms
  • Experiencing medical providers do not take your symptoms seriously enough

Experiencing one or a few of these symptoms at one time may be a part of life based on the amount of lemons life just handed you. However, there may be a mental health concern worth seeking proper care for if you experience one or more of these symptoms for a short or an extended period of time. Due note, some symptoms are more serious than others, such as harm to yourself or someone else, that should not be ignored and need care immediately.

Another element we can use to monitor our mental health is awareness of how our mental health symptoms interact with our daily lives. Sometimes mental health struggles can become disruptive to daily life such as negatively impacting relationships with others, how you think or feel internally about yourself, employment, housing, finances, and/or legal issues. Other symptoms are manageable and do not cause a large disruption; however, beware some symptoms can fly under the radar, but that does not necessarily indicate all is well.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing mental health concerns and would like a better understanding, then consider completing a screener. Mental Health America provides a free, quick, screening tool that provides mental health you can use to make decisions about next steps for care. The results can also be used to start the initial discussion with a mental health provider.

There is hope! In most circumstances, symptoms can be managed, reduced in intensity, and relief increased when working with a mental health provider. There are various forms of care, and you can find the right fit for you such as talk based therapy in-person or online, activity-based therapy, and collaboration with medical providers for mediation as needed.

If you are ready to take the next step, then there are multiple resources available to help you find the right provider. In emergency situations such as thoughts of harming yourself or someone else as well as severe mental illness, then calling 9-1-1, going to a local emergency room, or contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or using live chat on Suicide Prevention Lifeline  may be the best routes.

In non-emergency situations there are options such as contacting a primary care provider for a referral, reaching out to loved ones, connecting to your religious or spiritual community, or finding a professional provider. Below is a list of resources for locating a provider in your area:

Mental health is just like it sounds….health. It can be scary or there can be a stigma to seek out care. However, removing the stigma, overcoming fear, seeking care, and taking steps to improving life takes courage. But you are worth it, and you deserve a better tomorrow.

Michelle Perepiczka, PhD, LPC (CO), LMHC (NY), RPT-S, NCC

Core Faculty

University of Phoenix

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Eyelinerz illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Importance of Eye Contact

THE ALL-IMPORTANT SUBJECT OF MAINTAINING EYE CONTACT DURING VIRTUAL CONVERSATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

Did you know that we have oxytocin receptors in our eyes? When we make eye contact with someone (researchers say about 30 seconds of maintained connection should do it), the receptors tell the brain to produce the hormone, which travels through the body, hits the internal organs, and ends in the heart. Each time the eye contact is maintained, the reaction repeats. The result? Our breath and heart rate slow down, we feel calmer, we feel… happy. Even better, research shows that this effect is achieved when we make eye contact virtually as well as in person.

The Dangers of Losing Human Connection

Connecting with others doesn’t just make us happy, it can apparently also make us better people. In one study, researchers found that individuals who felt connected to others were more likely to want to volunteer in their community or do kindness for strangers. Researchers are now trying to determine how our wellbeing and connection to others is being impacted by spending so much time distanced from our social groups.

Some studies seem grim. One extensive study out of the UK analyzed over 80 research articles on loneliness indicates that as children experience increasing levels of loneliness due to being away from school and friends, they’re at increasing risk of depression and anxiety.

But the good news is that we are getting really creative (and effective) at keeping our human connection going despite the social distancing.

Connecting Creatively

For children navigating distance learning and time away from friends, doctors from the University of Michigan encouraged parents to see this time as an opportunity to teach children new skills that focus on kindness, resilience, and flexibility, while reminding parents that children are incredibly resilient as long as they are in a supportive and loving environment.

Kids can find social connections in lots of creative ways, from Zoom playdates to video game challenges with friends’ half-way around the world.

Technology also helps adults maintain — or form — meaningful connections. More than ever, meeting online is leading to meaningful, romantic relationships despite (or maybe because of?) couples waiting longer to meet in-person. Apparently, flirting via video chat is incredibly effective, despite the fact that you’re never quite really looking each other in the eye.

We are also connecting deeper with our coworkers, as Zoom happy hours have brought socializing into our homes, making for more relaxed conversations. There’s something about seeing your colleagues sipping seltzers from their kid’s playroom that really ups the camaraderie.

Connecting Effectively

Research has shown that the key to virtual connection is the same as it is in person — eye contact. Now we just need to get better at forming that connection during video calls.

The best way to do this is to look into the camera intermittently as you would someone’s eyes when meeting in person. I know, easier said than done! Our instinct is to look at the person’s face on the screen. But one solution to make maintaining eye contact with a camera more natural is having a tool like Eyelinez around your lens. The fun designs will grab your attention and remind you to keep looking into the lens.

What Are Eyelinez?

Maintaining proper eye contact with a camera is not a new challenge.  In fact, the challenge has existed ever since anyone had to stare into a cold dark camera as if they were engaging with a smiling human.  An “eyeline” is where the speaker is looking and Eyelinez is the solution to enable you to maintain a natural and engaging eyeline with the camera.

Stethoscope illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

TMS Therapy

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/TMS Therapy?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, otherwise known as TMS therapy, is a non-invasive technique where magnetic fields are used to stimulate the brain.

TMS therapy is used in people suffering from depression. It is an alternative to other forms of treatment like psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. TMS therapy is painless and highly preferred by most patients.

How does TMS Therapy Work?

TMS treatment for depression follows a certain process. The therapy is conducted by a TMS physician/TMS technician.

Before the therapy begins, you should get rid of any magnetic-sensitive objects or items on your body like credit cards and jewelry. For comfort and ear protection, you’ll be asked to put on earplugs. Also, the process is conducted while the patient is sitting.

The therapy involves placing a magnetic coil against the scalp close to the forehead. Before the coil is placed on your head, the therapist must conduct various measurements to determine the right position of placing the magnetic coil. The coil conveys a magnetic pulse stimulating the nerve cells in the part of the brain that manages depression and mood control.

The physician then applies multiple brief pulses to measure the patient’s motor threshold. This ensures that the treatment settings are personalized according to the patient’s motor threshold.

During the TMS therapy, the patient will experience a sequence of clicking sounds and a tapping sensation under the coil.

Depending on various factors, the TMS treatment can last anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, and you’re good to resume normal activities afterward. However, you’ll need to come back for the same procedure about five days a week and continue doing so until five to six weeks. However, this period can vary depending on how the patient responds to treatment, among other things.

Why Go for TMS Therapy?

There are many reasons why most patients go for transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS therapy. First, the treatment is non-invasive. This means nothing will be inserted into your body during the treatment. Also, the treatment is painless. Pain is not something most people love. Anyone will always go for a painless alternative if it’s available.

In addition, TMS therapy has reported a high efficacy rate compared to other depression treatment methods like antidepressants. When it comes to health matters, effectiveness is essential.

Furthermore, TMS therapy is an outpatient treatment that allows patients to get treatment while continuing with their daily activities.

The FDA approved transcranial magnetic stimulation in 2008 for the treatment of depression. This means it is a safe method. And in the future, we could see TMS therapy being used to treat other brain disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tinnitus, generalized anxiety, and cognitive impairments.

Side Effects and Cons of TMS Therapy

Despite its high efficacy, TMS therapy has some cons and side effects.

Patients experience mild to moderate side effects which disappear after some time. The possible side effects include.

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tingling, twitching, or spasm of facial muscles
  • Scalp discomfort

Some patients experience seizure and hearing loss, especially if their ears are not well covered during the therapy. Those with bipolar disorder complain of mania. However, such cases are rare.

One of the downsides of TMS therapy is that the patients keep visiting the treatment center until they get well. This can be tiresome, especially if you do not respond to the treatment in a short period. It can also be expensive if you have to cover a long distance to get the treatment. You’ll need to pay for transport costs daily.

 TMS therapy takes a long time; for instance, a patient may need more than 30 treatments to get better. Also, some insurance policies may decline to cover your TMS therapy costs. You should find out if your insurance policy will cover the costs.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS therapy is a non-invasive and painless procedure used to treat depression. The procedure is conducted by a TMS technician or physician, and it follows a specific sequence. The treatment is an outpatient service, has high efficacy, and is FDA approved. However, it has some side effects, including headache and scalp discomfort, which go away after multiple sessions. The therapy takes time to work, usually four to six weeks of regular visits.

Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey article Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images for 360 Magazine

Harry and Meghan’s Oprah Interview Was One for the Royal History Books

Kelly Faircloth

In 1995, the BBC documentary program Panorama aired a sensational interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, in which she uttered the immortal line, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” The fallout for the monarchy and Diana herself was immense. That interview now looks like a friendly round of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden in comparison to the primetime special event that was Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

In the course of the two-hour program, Meghan and Harry lodged bombshell after bombshell, guided all the while by an absolutely legendary interviewer at the very top of her game. The interview was just getting started when Meghan replied to longstanding rumors that she and Kate had had a blowup over the bridesmaids’ dresses in the runup to Meghan’s wedding—by confirming that it had indeed happened and saying that, contrary to the stories circulating, Kate had actually made Meghan cry. She insisted that she didn’t want to share the details because Kate had apologized and she’d forgiven her, but said it was an important turning point in their relationship with the institution, which didn’t refute the story.

This was a theme Meghan returned to over and over again: the lack of support from the institution. “Not only was I not being protected,” she said, “but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.” And she was still just getting warmed up.

One of the most shocking moments came when Meghan talked about the depths of the depression she was suffering while pregnant with Archie, under intense media scrutiny and facing a barrage of criticism. She said she was struggling to the point of having suicidal thoughts: “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.” Even worse, she added that she approached a senior member of the family about getting care for her depression, and was told it “wouldn’t be good for the institution.” She didn’t have her car keys or her passport, at that point, and—as she pointed out—couldn’t exactly call an Uber. It’s worth noting, here, that “mental health” is supposed to be a big philanthropic cause for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who recently did a virtual appearance to promote a mental health hotline.

She said she then went to HR—“in my old job there was a union,” she noted—but they couldn’t help her because she wasn’t on staff, she said. (Sounds like the only thing everybody can agree on inside the Palace is that their HR department isn’t much use at all!)

Some of the most radioactive allegations were—unsurprisingly—about race. Meghan said that a family member at one point raised the issue to Harry of just how dark their child’s skin would be; when Harry joined the interview, he refused to divulge just who, exactly, had said it. Meghan also suggested that their children’s race was a factor in their not receiving titles (which aren’t automatic for the monarch’s great-grandchildren and have to be granted); her main concern, she said, was that Archie—the first royal with a biracial mother, at the center of a publicity storm—therefore wouldn’t automatically have security protection. Not a great series of revelations for a royal family that would like to continue their connection with the very diverse Commonwealth.

Elsewhere in the interview, Harry said that his father at one point stopped taking his calls during the negotiations over their potentially leaving the ranks of working royals. He was surprisingly frank about his family, in fact: “I’m acutely aware of where my family stand and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them,” Harry said, adding that he had been “trapped within the institution like the rest of my family are,” specifically his father and his brother, and that he has compassion for them. He said that currently he and William are giving each other “space,” and that there’s a lot of healing to be done in his relationship with Charles. He also revealed that his family cut him off financially, including his security. Apparently, Tyler Perry stepped in and offered them not just a place to stay in the U.S. while they figured out their housing situation, but also covered their security.

The couple also revealed that they were actually married three days before their highly public wedding in a private ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury; that they’re having a daughter; and that they’ve started keeping chickens.

The interview generally did a good job of shredding the princess mythos; Meghan painted a picture of being cooped up inside her home, unable to leave because she was already “overexposed,” basically living on lockdown before anybody had ever heard of covid. At one point, she compared it to The Little Mermaid, in which Ariel literally gives up her voice upon falling in love with the prince. But she closed out the interview by saying their story was “greater than any fairy tale.”

Kaelen Felix illustrates Ritchie Torres for 360 Magazine

TRAILBLAZER: CONGRESSMAN RITCHIE TORRES

By Elle Grant

January 3rd marked the commencement of the 117th Congress and the swearing of its newest members. For many, it marked the beginning of a new dawn. One that will be followed by the inauguration of TIME’s People of the Year, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. They will replace President Trump on Inauguration Day on January 20th. Yet several other remarkable individuals were elected this year and sworn in a bit earlier, solidifying the 117th Congress as the most diverse in American history. One of these representatives is a freshly elected Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old politician serving the 15th congressional district in the Bronx, New York. Torres is the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to Congress, and one of two gay Black men that will serve in the 117th Congress, a distinction he shares with fellow New Yorker Mondaire Jones. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Torres to discuss the story of his life, the issues he considers vital, as well as pick his brain for his thoughts on current events.

“I am a product of the Bronx,” Torres says of his childhood, “I spent most of my life in poverty.” Ritchie Torres was raised by a single mother, one of three children, in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the East Bronx. He recalls the difficulty his mother had raising a family on minimum wage in the 1990s, as well as the awful conditions of the public housing he grew up in. Torres recollects these experiences with the soft yet fluid countenance that marked his speech throughout 360’s conversation with him. He floats between topics and memories with ease.

He recalls, with a rich sense of irony, the construction of Trump Golf Links as a child. “My life is something of a metaphor. I grew up right across the street of what became Trump golf course and actually something funny, is when the golf course was undergoing construction, it unleashed a skunk infestation. So, I often tell people I’ve been smelling the stench of Donald Trump long before he became President.” His own situation, compared with the government subsidized construction of the Trump Golf Links, deeply unsettled Torres’ image of society. He says collectively of his youth, “Those experiences shape not only who I am as a person, but as a public official.”

Such injustices prompted Torres to seek to become “The change that you wish the see in the world,” he says, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. He named public figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy as role models. He got his start as a housing organizer and eventually took the leap of faith to run for public office, becoming New York’s youngest elected city official at age 25. He had “No ties to the machine. No ties to the dynasties of Bronx politics, but I was young and energetic. I knocked on thousands of doors,” he claims that kind of face-to-face contact won him that election. Torres then became the first LGBTQ+ official elected from the Bronx.

“I think it has several implications,” he says when asked what this early accomplishment meant to him. “I mean, first, we are all products of our identities and our lived experiences. Right? Who we are as people shapes what we do as policy makers. It is important to have LGBTQ policy makers in the room where decisions are being made. A wise person once said, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you are probably on the menu.’” Referring to his 2020 election win, he says “My election means that LGBTQ people of color, in particular, will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, the United States Congress.” He calls the reality of his election both empowering and normalizing. “I am a symbol of possibility.”

“I met Mondaire for the first time four years ago,” Torres says of Mondaire Jones, U.S. representative of New York’s 17th congressional district. “I remember when I met him for the first time, we had a conversation about the lack of LGBTQ representation of color in New York state politics. And I never imagined that four years later, he and I would become the first openly LGBTQ Black members of United States Congress.”

Congressmen Torres recognizes that his path, though marked with accomplishments, has not been one of only highs. Torres stands apart as a public official on the national stage who is open about the lows of his life and his struggles with mental health. When asked why he chooses to be so transparent, he says “I felt a deep sense of obligation to speak openly about my own struggles with depression in order to break the silence and shame and stigma that surrounds mental health.” He seeks to evolve, not perpetuate, the current ideas surrounding mental health. He hopes to show that “there is a way forward” out of difficult moments, which for him were struggles with substance abuse, the loss of a friend, and moments when he considered taking his own life. But seven years later, Torres was elected to city council. “I would not be alive today, much less a member of the United States Congress, were it not for mental health care which saved my life.” He aspires to send a message that “Recovery is possible. You can take an antidepressant, as I do every day, and find normalcy and stability” and achieve feats like being elected to Congress.

The 117th Congress is slated to be the most diverse in history. Torres says of this reality, “I think American is increasingly becoming a multi-racial, multi-ethnic inclusive democracy. We are witnessing the collapse of politics as an old voice network. I am part of a new generation of young leaders every bit as diverse as America itself. Congress is becoming what it always should have been, a miniaturization of America itself.”

Torres acknowledges the year 2020, monumental in many ways, as harrowing for his Bronx community. “COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for the city and the country, and the South Bronx has been the epicenter of COVID-19. The South Bronx had the highest rate of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality during the peak of the pandemic. And just as destructive as COVID-19 itself were the deeper inequalities that were brought to light.” He argued that the coronavirus exposed the deeper health inequalities, racial inequalities, and class inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.

These issues are at the forefront of Torres’ mind in thinking of his work as a legislator. When asked what he saw as the first step to rectifying the rampant racial injustice in the United States, he answered “the first thing is to bring greater accountability to policing in America,” an argument familiar to many Americans following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd and their ensuing protests. As the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation with greater momentum than ever before, cries for justice and defunding the police became common across the country’s cities. “Where there is no accountability, there will never be an end to police brutality” Torres says, being especially critical of qualified immunity in the United States.

Torres heads to Congress as a man with a mission regarding many issues. He himself declares “My great passion is affordable housing,” reflecting a long journey working continually in the housing sphere. He seeks to secure far greater funding for public housing in New York City and to expand the Section 8 program. The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, created by an act in 1978, provides assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families to rent housing in the private market. Torres says, “For me the surest way to stimulate the economy is to put money in the pockets of struggling families.” In order to do that, he believes the solution is an expanded child tax credit, which he describes as the single largest tax expenditure in America, yet he finds fault with a system that is “so regressive that it excludes a third of American families. Particularly the poorest families in America.” Torres’ passion shines through when he discusses the subject, detailing how this solution could slash childhood poverty by 40% in the span of the year. He calls its potential an absolute “game changer.”

Without question, affordable housing and tax reform are the first issues Torres hopes to address after being sworn in to the 117th Congress on January 3rd, 2020. “For me, the central mission of my life is to fight poverty in America. Racially constructed poverty in America. The South Bronx is said to be the poorest district in America and if we can make progressive policies work in the South Bronx, we can make them work anywhere.”

360 Magazine also had the opportunity to discuss a variety of current issues with Congressman Torres, one of which being the then impending Senate run-offs in Georgia. Following races too close to call in November 2020, Republican incumbent David Perdue is facing a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. Additionally, GOP appointee Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. The election is vital because it will determine which party will control the Senate. “The stakes are supremely important,” Torres says of Georgia. “As long as Mitch McConnell refuses to bring critical bills to the floor for a vote, there is a limit to what we can accomplish. For me, Mitch McConnell is the single greatest obstruction on the path to progress. Winning those two seats in Georgia are essential.”

Regarding the impending mayoral race in his home of New York City, as well as early polls that display former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang as the frontrunner, Torres is coy. “The mayor’s race is wide open. Anyone who claims to have it figured out is lying.” He goes on to affirm “It is full of more than one credible candidate.”

“To be clear, I never announced that I wasn’t going to be in the squad.” Torres says, referring to ‘The Squad’ of United States Congress, composed of Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New Yorker, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. With new young progressive politicians like Torres joining the fray, claims of expanding membership are common. Torres, along with the aforementioned Mondaire Jones, as well as Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, and Congressman Jamaal Brown are commonly referred to as impending members.

Instead, Torres clarifies, “I would never issue an announcement that I would not be a part of something. That would be an odd thing to do. Whenever I’m asked about the squad, I simply state that I’m my own person and I prefer to be judged on the basis of my own story and my own record, on my own terms.” He goes on to assert he is willing to work with “anyone and everyone in the service of delivering to the people of the South Bronx. That is my highest priority.” Torres is clear in this declaration that he is willing to work with more conservative members of his own party or the Republican party in hopes of progress.

On a future in politics, Torres affirmed his intent to serve the people in the moment and to “let the dice fall where they may” regarding the future. When asked what wisdom he would impart to a younger generation, Congressman Torres says “We are all only as strong as the support we have in our lives and be grateful for the supporters you have. The friends and family. I would not be here today if not for the friendship of people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Know who those people are and value them and be grateful for them.”

Update as of 1/14/21, Congressman Ritchie Torres has formally endorsed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang for mayor of New York City. This comes just a day after Andrew Yang announced his campaign in a video titled ‘Why I’m Running,’ which features Torres in it.

Rita Azar illustrates relationship article for 360 MAGAZINE

“If Anything Happens, I Love You”

By Hannah DiPilato

Warning: Spoilers Ahead 

Netflix has recently released the heart-wrenching short film, “If Anything Happens, I Love You.” The twelve-minute animation has gained immense popularity on social media and many people on TikTok are urging others to watch the film. 

Written and directed by Michael Govier and Will McCormack, the film looks into the life of two grieving parents. At the beginning of the film, it’s hard to tell what to expect. We see a couple that is visibly fighting and their shadows, which could represent their souls, leave their bodies, and interact with one another. We soon see foreshadowing that the loss of their child is causing the grief. 

The entire film is in black and white except for a few strategic placements of color. We first see this color on the side of the family’s shed, a large, blue spot that the father looks at as if the spot holds meaning. The next time this same blue hue appears is while the mom is doing laundry and finds a blue shirt in the grey pile of clothing. She embraces the shirt into her nose, another hint to the watcher that this family is grieving. 

A soccer ball then falls off the washer and rolls into an ominous room with a closed door. The family’s cat follows the ball into the room and the ball bumps a record player which begins the song, “1950” by King Princess. The mom follows the sound into the bedroom and is met with photos of a young girl with a toothy smile. The dad is close behind and the mother holds up the shirt she found while doing laundry, they share a sympathetic smile. 

The shadow of a young girl pops up out of the record player and shares a heartwarming reconnection with the cat. The parents’ shadows come together and embrace the shadow of the girl and we see the parents finally reconnect since their argument. 

We get a few flashbacks and watch the couple’s daughter grow up. We see the family take a road trip, the girl learns to play soccer and the family celebrates her 10th birthday. We learn the spot on the shed came from the girl kicking a soccer ball too hard into the side. The parents then send their daughter off to school and this is when the tears really start flowing. 

The girl starts to approach the school and the shadows of the then naive parents are trying desperately to stop the girl from going. Of course, the shadows are unsuccessful and the girl waves goodbye as she walks into school, and impending doom. 

An American flag is seen hanging over the doors inside of the school and the red, white and blue pops against the grey background. This is another time the directors used a splash of color in the grey film. At first, the background noise is the basic sounds of a school such as chatter and slamming lockers. Then, we hear a gunshot. Two more gunshots blast in the background followed by the horror of screaming children. The screaming and gunshots continue and police sirens begin to blare while the screen switches to flashing red and blue lights.

While the chaotic background noise continues, a sketch of a phone appears with a bunny phone case. “If anything happens, I love you” sends from the phone and one final gunshot makes the screen go black. The audience finally connects the pieces of the film. The daughter has been killed in the school shooting. 

The text appears again and the letters fall turning to raindrops. The rain falls on the parents’ shadows as they sit facing away from each other on two sides of a piece of land. In the final moments of the film, we see the parents reunite thanks to the shadow of the daughter, and we see the parents finally find comfort in one another. 

It was shocking how much emotion could be fit into a twelve-minute animated film. There were many themes displayed in the film touching on family, loss, grief, trauma and love. This film also speaks out on the very important issue of gun control in America. For so many families, losing a child to gun violence in a school shooting is a harsh reality. A child’s life can be snatched away from them at an incredibly young age. 

With no dialogue and simple illustrations, the writers were able to convey an entire story that plays with the emotions of the viewer and evokes important conversations. The distress shown in the marriage after the loss of the daughter is something parents experience and may not necessarily want to talk about. It’s easy for the loss of a loved one to break people apart. 

The main takeaway from the film should be to hold your loved ones close because you never know what will happen next. In our fast-paced lives, we often take our lives and loved ones for granted. This film flawlessly shows how easily we can experience a loss that can make our world come crashing down. Remember, hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them, before it’s too late.

Watch the short animated film on Netflix now.

CBD vape cartridge illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

Who Can Use CBD Vape Cartridges


Vaping is a method of taking CBD that became popular in the last years, and there are many reasons for this. The leading one is the effectiveness of this compound and its health benefits. Then, there is the ease of use, convenience, and swift action of CBD after inhaling.

The safety of cannabidiol use is also one of the main reasons why this substance is a buzz. Vaping, as explained on Cheef Botanicals, is a way to administer CBD that has the least side effects. If you use vape gear and cartridge according to the instructions, the risk of abuse is minimal.

Whether this natural remedy is used as a supplement or adjunct to conventional therapy, it is suitable for both healthy and sick people. Still, in some people, vaping will have an excellent effect. This method of CBD ingestion is especially recommended to them.

People Suffer from Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are common conditions that can have devastating effects on health and well-being. These mental issues always lead to many difficulties in all areas of life. Sufferers try to keep these conditions under control using medication.
Still, no matter how effective, conventional drugs often have many side effects. Even worse, they can be addictive. Natural remedies like CBD have minimal side effects and are safe for use whenever you feel upset or depressed.

CBD is proving to be an excellent choice for relieving all the symptoms of anxiety. The healing properties of this compound reflect in its positive effect on receptors in the brain. CBD ingested through vaporizers can affect how these receptors respond to serotonin. That way, it reduces nervousness, stress, and depression.

Everyone with Sleep Issues

Sleep issues don’t always manifest as a disease, but these are not normal condition as well. In some people, poor sleep can be an acute problem. It can occur for various reasons – night work, rest, time zone changes, etc. Also, insomnia can be directly related to stress and anxiety. People who feel anxious have trouble falling asleep and sleeping continuously. That is why it’s necessary to act first on the cause of insomnia and then on this condition.

As described in the previous paragraph, CBD’s soothing effect will help anxious people improve their mood and get rid of anxiety. As for sleep, that means it will be easier to fall asleep and have more extended periods of sleep without interruption.
Why people need a quality night’s rest, read on the following source:
https://www.popsci.com/why-we-need-sleep/ 

People with Arthritis

Arthritis is the leading condition among many others that occur as a result of inflammation. There is still no cure for this disease, and those currently in use can have harmful effects on inner organs. That is why more and more patients turn to natural remedies that can be used along with prescribed therapy. They don’t damage the kidneys, pancreas, and heart.

Some receptors in the endocannabinoid system are responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system. They also keep the inflammations under control. CBD affects these receptors, which means it directly treats the cause of arthritis. It also reaches the painful place where it ‘fixes’ the damage.

Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that gives outstanding results but often has some side effects. Read more about them on this web source. They are not risky, but they reduce the quality of life of a cancer patient.
 Sometimes it can last for years after treatment is completed. These are most often neuropathic pain, chills, appetite disorders, nausea, fainting, and many others. CBD can help people struggle with these adverse effects of chemo. 

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic features, this compound acts as pain relief. Thus cancer patients who vape CBD don’t feel neuropathic pain. They are in a better mood, have a healthier appetite, and so on. All these mean these people can return to daily activities soon after chemo.

Inhaling CBD is a safe way to provide your body with the dose of cannabidiol needed to treat or prevent disease. This substance affects many processes in the body, which means it can help treat and fix the damages resulted from diseases.

Billionaires Gain, Workers Feel Pain

Half a year into a paralyzing pandemic that has cost millions of Americans their livelihoods and lives, the nation’s 643 billionaires have racked up $845 billion in collective wealth gains, a 29% leap since March 18. America’s billionaires reached this startling milestone of wealth accumulation even as special federal relief was drying up for millions of unemployed workers and for hard-pressed state and local governments struggling to provide vital services. Billionaire figures are from Forbes analyzed in a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Between March 18—the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were in place—and Sept. 15, the total net worth of the nation’s billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion to $3.8 trillion (see table below and this spreadsheet of all billionaires). That works out to gains of $141 billion a month, $32 billion a week, or $4.7 billion a day. Forbes’ annual billionaires report was published March 18, 2020, and the real-time data was collected Sept. 15 from the Forbes website.

Needless to say, ordinary workers did not fare as well. From mid-March to mid-August, the collective work income of rank-and-file private-sector employees—all hours worked times the hourly wages of the entire bottom 82% of the workforce—declined by 4.4.%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In fact, this billionaires’ bonanza occurred against a general backdrop of working-class pain:

The stock market in which billionaires have much of their money invested dropped sharply in the month before the pandemic lockdown. But the six months of gains that followed were not merely a reversal of those losses: billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22%, richer today than they were in February 2019, the release date of the most recent previous Forbes annual report (see table below).

“Every candidate in this campaign season, from presidential hopeful down, who’s pledging to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis must address this stark divergence between the nation’s wealthiest elite and their struggling fellow citizens,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “The answer starts with creating a fair share tax system that narrows obscene wealth gaps and raises the trillions of dollars needed to address the present emergency and invest in our families and communities over the long-term.”

“The billionaire economy has been turbocharged by policymakers who are now stalling on relief for the real economy,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the report “Billionaire Bonanza 2020.” “The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down.”

DATA ON THE WEALTH OF U.S. BILLIONAIRES AT 6 MONTHS & 20 MONTHS AVAILABLE HERE

Even among billionaires, wealth is highly concentrated. Roughly $400 billion, or only a little less than half of the total gains, were captured by just the 15 wealthiest on the billionaires list. The top three gainers alone—Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—enjoyed fully 16% of the spoils, or a collective wealth surge of $137 billion. The total wealth of these three—$403 billion today—is nearly three times the $1.5 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans. One billionaire from Michigan, Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth increase an astonishing 672%, growing from $6.5 billion to $50.2 billion.

The $845 billion wealth gain by 643 billionaires over the past six months far exceeds the:

Low-wage workerspeople of color and women have suffered disproportionately in the combined medical and economic crises because of long-standing racial and gender disparities. Billionaires are overwhelmingly white men.

House Democrats passed a relief bill back in May that offered a lifeline to Americans not sharing in the billionaires’ good fortune during the pandemic. Among its provisions:

All of the above data is available in one table here.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have introduced legislation for a 60% tax on the pandemic wealth gains of billionaires between March 18 and the end of the year and use the proceeds to help working Americans cover healthcare costs.

Storm illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

This Is How to Sleep Through the Night

Do you have trouble sleeping at night and looking for advice? A lack of sleep each night can increase your risk of serious health problems. 
Some of these might include stomach problems, lack of energy, weight gain, and depression. There are tips that you need to follow to avoid these health conditions and for you to improve the quality of your sleep.
Here’s how to sleep through the night and to wake up feeling energized and rejuvenated.

Relax Your Body With Exercise

Did you know that regular exercise can prepare your body for quality sleep? Physical activity can help you to sleep through the night without disruptions. 

Moderate workout sessions can decrease the length of time it takes for you to fall asleep. Exercise also helps to relax your mind and body, which makes it easier for you to fall asleep.

Exercise is known to reduce muscle tension in the body, reduce stress, and to increase the production of endorphins, which are the ‘feel-good’ hormones. You don’t have to perform a strenuous or challenging workout to get substantial benefits.

You can dedicate thirty minutes of exercise sessions to improve the quality of your sleep. For example, your exercise routine may consist of jogging, brisk walking, swimming laps, washing your car, sweeping, or other simple chores around the house.

Try to avoid physical activities for at least three hours before going to bed. This is a precaution that you can take to give your body enough time to cool off from your workout and to prepare for sleep.

For long-term results, you need to find an exercise routine that you enjoy and stick with it. This is one of the easiest ways for you to overcome your sleeping problems.

Use a Leg Pillow

Are you a side sleeper? Your pillow can be a critical component of your sleep health. Placing a pillow between your legs is an effective technique that increases the quality of your sleep.

When you place a pillow between your legs, you’re helping to eliminate stress on your hips, prevent lower back and leg pains, improve blood circulation, and to improve spine alignment.

This technique might also be useful if you suffer from breathing conditions such as sleep apnea. Positioning a pillow between your legs may help to alleviate this condition.

Using a pillow might seem simple, but it can be very effective for you to sleep peacefully during the night. This is a comfortable sleeping position that you can utilize to enhance your sleep. 

Read this article to learn more valuable information about sleeping with a pillow between your legs.
Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
Be sure to optimize the comfort level of your bedroom so that you can get quality sleep. There might be issues in your bedroom that you’re not even aware of.

For better sleep, you might need to adjust your lighting, so that it’s not too harsh to disrupt your sleep. You can also keep your bedroom completely dark when you’re sleeping.

You might need to remove your television set from your bedroom and move it to another room. Watching television before you fall asleep might prevent you from getting enough sleep during the night.

So, you need to turn off your television screen or remove it from your room.

The electronics in your bedroom could also interfere with the quality of your sleep. Your radio, tablet, laptop, cell phone, and other items in your bedroom can be problematic.
So, it is beneficial for you to remove your electronics from your bedroom. 

Another important bedroom makeover is to change your mattress. Be sure to get rid of your old, lumpy mattress. Replacing your old mattress can be an effective way for you to get the quality sleep that you deserve. 
These are simple tweaks that you can use to turn your bedroom into a better sleeping environment. 

Avoid Smoking

Less smoking might help you to sleep better. Smoking is detrimental to your health, but it can also cause you to have sleeping problems. It might cause sleep apnea, snoring, and a host of other sleep-related issues.
Nicotine found in cigarettes could be the main reason why you’re unable to get a full night’s sleep. This is a chemical that is known to be responsible for insomnia and other issues.

When you’re trying to fall asleep, your nicotine cravings might be too intense, especially if you’re in the habit of smoking before bedtime.
Too much smoking tends to disrupt the patterns of your normal sleep cycle and might keep you awake for most of the night. Due to these problems, you should consider quitting your smoking habits. 

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is a common stimulant that might prevent you from falling asleep. Once it enters your bloodstream, it might cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and sleep disturbance.

Try to avoid caffeine intake to improve your sleep. You need to avoid drinking coffee, tea, and soft drinks before bedtime. These are essential steps for you to sleep better. 

Follow a Guide to Learn How to Sleep Through the Night

When you learn how to sleep through the night, it will be easier for you to adapt to a strategy that improves your sleeping patterns. Instead of waking up in the middle of the night, you have the chance to get the beauty sleep that you deserve.

Do you want to discover more helpful tips? If you want to read more useful articles, you can check out the rest of our website.

Tamar Braxton Attempted Suicide

By Eamonn Burke

American singer, actress, and TV personality Tamar Braxton was found by her boyfriend unconscious in her hotel room last Thursday. After an emergency call about a possible overdose she was transported to a local hospital. It’s reported that she had been drinking and using prescription pills that night, and the incident is believed to be an attempted suicide after this note was allegedly discovered:

“I am a slave. I do not own my life. My stories. My pictures. My thoughts or beliefs. I’ve asked my massa to free me. I’m threatened and punished for it. The only way I see out is death. I will choose that before I continue to love (sic) like this. Please help me.”

Tamar’s team has thanked fans and friends for the “outpouring of support that Tamar has received”, which is “a testament to the light that she brings to people.” Her family, meanwhile, asks fans to “pray 4 our family.”

It’s no secret that Tamar was having a tough time leading up to the incident. She sent an email the the bosses of WeTV, her network, shaming them for destroying her family and making her suicidal. She claimed that the show Braxton Family Values distorted the image of her family and caused “disarray” among them, even likening it to “cruel white slave masters who once chained our forefathers.”

Reports say Tamar is now awake and fully conscious, and is being moved to another hospital where she can receive more specific treatment for her apparent mental illness. She will remain there until further action is determined.