The Pressure’s Off

CAPS Peer Educator Emma Burke shares her experience of navigating a relationship during the transition to college. Read on to see what she has to say!

THE PRESSURE’S OFF
With everything we hear from our favorite TV shows, movies, and even music, it’s easy to begin thinking that by the time we get to college, we need to be in a serious relationship. College is where everyone finds their partner, right? Well, maybe not so right. According to The Daily Dot, only twenty-eight percent of married college graduates actually met their spouses during college while attending the same University (Klee). What does this tell us? College is where we come to grow into well-rounded adults. Do we like surfing? Do we enjoy tofu or steak? Do we want to travel, and if so, where do we want to go? Each one of us has to answer these questions for ourselves, and we have limitless opportunities to do so! There is no reason why we can’t find our partner along the way, but there’s also no pressure to be on the hunt for our soulmate before we find out what we actually want in one. And the most important thing to keep in mind is that if we feel the pressure to find a partner, we may be more likely to “plug someone in” instead of finding someone we truly want in our lives. Overlooking someone’s faults in an attempt to fulfill one’s societal duties can lead to unhealthy relationships and unhappiness.

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Losing Somebody You Love – Advice for How to Cope

CAPS Peer Educator Hilaria Barajas shares her personal experiences with the grieving process and offers advice on dealing with this difficult situation.

DEALING WITH THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE

By Hilaria Barajas

The loss of a loved one can be a very painful and confusing time. Whether it come predicted or not, when a loved one passes sometimes you feel as if your whole world has come to a pause. There is never a right or wrong way to deal with death. There are different stages of the grieving process and you might not experience all the stages. That‘s ok. It is important to remember that everyone goes through their own personal grieving process at their own time, and there is no “right” way to grieve.

My mother passed away when I was 17 and I was a senior in high school. She had been dealing with diabetes since I was born but she was strong. Although she had some rough times in and out of hospital because of her sickness she still seemed unfazed and continued to dedicate herself to her family. However, November 7th, 2012 was the last day she would be able to continue with her incredible strength and passed away from a stroke.

Everything after her death kind of went in a giant blur. This is where my grieving began and I entered one of the many stages of the grieving process: disbelief and confusion. At the time, everything seemed unreal and I felt disconnected to reality. I would later find out that these are very normal feelings to deal with after the death of a loved one. It is a sudden change to have someone so close to you gone so quickly. It felt as if she was just on a much-needed vacation or visiting family in Mexico. Continue reading

Mental Illness and the Model Minority Myth

Discussing Mental Health in Asian American Families

By Grace Shefcik

CAPS Peer Educator Grace Shefcik shares her personal experiences with mental illness and her perspective on how to discuss issues related to mental health within the Asian American community.
The first time I spoke to my mom about mental illness, she seemed uncomfortable. I knew it was a topic she was not well versed in, but regardless of how much I tried to familiarize her, the best I could get was her support for me to go to therapy.

Through time, her perception seemed to shift. At first, her ability to succeed and live a happy life despite major difficulties made my problems appear to not hold enough merit to lead to a mental illness. I grew up in a stable home, did not have to flee the country, only had to focus on one language, and overall, I had the opportunity to devote my life to school without major barriers. What was there to be upset about? She routinely expressed this not only to me, but to my therapist and father, who eventually showed her that mental illness does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what you have been through. Pain is subjective. What I experienced is very similar to what other Asian American and 1st/2nd generational families have – the pressure and expectation of being the “Model Minority.”

Members of the model minority are expected to be smart (particularly good at math and science), wealthy, obedient, self-reliant, and most glaringly – immune to mental illness. Not only does one’s family or culture create this picture, but the media also perpetuates these ideas.  These can all be healthy things to strive for, but if the pressure of one’s family or culture becomes too much, especially when one can’t adhere to the expectations, it can take a major toll. Potentially, the negative impact can be large enough that admitting this model is not you or that you need help can be humiliating, often resulting in anger and/or denial from yourself and others. Continue reading

Slugs Against Sexual Assault

Have you noticed teal ribbons around campus this month? They’re to honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which happens every April. Preventing and supporting survivors of sexual assault is an important part of my work at CAPS, and we are grateful to partner with our downstairs neighbors at SHOP to support this mission. Today, SAFE at SHOP intern Erica West shares some information on what you can do to help prevent sexual assault at UCSC and in our communities.

Working Together To End Sexual Assault

Teal Ribbon for Sexual Assault Awareness Monthby Erica West

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and SAFE (Sexual Assault Facts and Education) wants to take this time to spread awareness and support those who have experienced sexual assault. At SAFE we define sexual assault as any unwanted sex act that is attempted or committed without the other person’s consent. Sexual assault is not something we talk about often in our society and so sometimes it may feel like it is a rare occurrence. However 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, sexual assault is also one of the most underreported crimes and so statistics can often be difficult to find and verify. Why do so many people not report their sexual assaults? Continue reading

Building Healthy Relationships, Part 2

Conflict in relationships is inevitable – the question is, how do you handle it successfully? Last week, we covered the four major barriers to successful communication. This week, CAPS case manager Edward Olvera tackles the tricky problem of Emotional Flooding.

Fueling Relationship Conflict: Emotional Flooding

by Edward Olvera, LMFT

Flooding is a natural response to feeling threatened. Whether we’re actually in physical danger or responding to our partners’ criticism, our bodies act just like the Neanderthal did when faced with a saber toothed tiger. Once the arousal system (aka the Sympathetic Nervous System) becomes flooded, ready to fight, flee or freeze, it’s nearly impossible to resolve hurt feelings. We can act impulsively. Stress hormones compromise our ability to resolve conflict. As adrenalin and cortisol flood the nervous system, we feel the ‘fight or flight’ response. When emotional flooding takes hold it makes empathy very difficult, and thinking becomes more difficult. We can be consumed with tunnel vision and become blind to alternative solutions and creative problem solving.    Continue reading

Building Healthy Relationships, Part 1

Relationship concerns are one of the most common issues students bring up in counseling. It’s no surprise – our relationships are an extremely important part of our world! In this three-part series, CAPS case manager Edward Olvera shares some tips on avoiding pitfalls in communication that ruin relationships, as well as information on how to improve them. Our focus here is on romantic relationships, although I’m sure you’ll notice that many of these tips are applicable to your friendships and family relationships as well.

Conflict in Relationships: Recognizing Barriers to Communication

by Edward Olvera, LMFT

Many of us believe that conflict is the root cause of an unhappy relationship, however it’s not conflict itself that is the problem, but how we handle it. Venting anger constructively can actually be beneficial in getting a relationship back in balance. There are Four Barriers to successful communication in times of conflict: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Continue reading