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Toxic positivity seems to be popping up everywhere on social media. Scrolling through Instagram, I see at least two or three posts promoting a view on positivity that may actually be counterintuitive to true happiness. People may ask, "What's the big deal with toxic positivity?" The answer is, in my experience, toxic positivity can do more harm than good in promoting mental health wellness.
As the youngest in a slightly dysfunctional family full of addiction and mental illness, it was no surprise that I would eventually find myself battling those same demons. I grew up surrounded by booze, drugs, and chaos with very little conversation on the seriousness of alcohol abuse and addiction. For years, I lived in a cycle of binge drinking for several days in a row, followed by crippling anxiety and deep depressive thoughts that made life feel nearly impossible. Those uncomfortable and unbearable symptoms always led me to the liquor store and right back into the cycle. I found myself stuck, repeating this over and over again.
Once you suffer from verbal abuse, it can be hard to see a life without it. I have often found myself over-analyzing responses from people trying to decipher if they are genuine or have an underlying harmful intent. It can be challenging to look past the hostile environment that one is accustomed to and see that there are positive people in the world who do not cause harm. 
I have a slight tear in the meniscus of my left knee, and the whole situation stinks. For weeks, I could barely walk around. My knee is getting better now, thanks to physical therapy. Not only is the physical therapy making my knee better--and hence making my schizoaffective disorder better--but the fact that I have to drive somewhere in the snow and ice of a Chicago winter twice a week is chipping away at my fear of driving.
It's hard to know when to ask for help—and, for many, the asking is hard, too. But for an issue as serious as self-harm, getting self-help can be a key stepping stone on the path to recovery.
My name is Robert Vickens and I’m the new author on "Creative Schizophrenia." I’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia and adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I know we can achieve great things when we have the proper support and treatment. That is what my writing will focus on, treatment and support.
I remember when I was in college, I had to stop into one of my roommate’s friends’ rooms across the hall. When I opened the door, I felt uncomfortable – not because of anything they said or did, but because of what I saw. The room was bare – I don’t remember seeing anything on the wall, on the shelves, anything. I remember thinking to myself, how could anyone live in a place like this?
So, we're on a journey to building better self-esteem and you want to know where to begin. Starting out may seem like a daunting task. The best way to tackle it is by breaking it down into smaller steps. Today, we'll cover step one: identifying what makes you, you.
As much as I would rather overlook this step in the healing process, I cannot deny that self-forgiveness is a powerful tool in eating disorder recovery. It pains me right down to my core when I remember just how much I hurt both myself and those I love most in that dark, miserable season of life when my eating disorder had all the control. I take no pleasure in those memories, but I need to forgive myself for them nonetheless.
I asked my friend, "What do you think your younger self would have thought of older you?" We retraced our steps down the hill through snow, on our way back to the trailhead. She said, "I think she would have been so surprised. I don't think I ever expected I would move away from my hometown."

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Comments

Oscar Cardozo
I am going through divorce and am an immigrant. My ex is playing real bad mind games with me. It has sucked for the past 4 months. I don’t feel like living anymore. What’s the point? Constant trauma, constant disappointment and constant fear of being kicked out ! It’s just difficult to live like this.
Charles Gardner
I love this man. You’re hitting on a lot of key points I feel like many people can relate to. Thank you for sharing the positivity and the steps that you took to find happiness. You are a great writer and an inspiration to many. Keep up the good work brother 👍
Cody Ames
Hey big shot!

Let’s talk about you coming to talk to my pe class. 😎

Love ya buddy
Lucas Fox
This is actually something I never considered before even though it seems so simple! Some things that make me happy are: cleaning, Harry Potter, bonsai trees, dogs, music, and filming music videos.
Elizabeth Caudy
Dear Matthew, Thank you for your comment. When I used to have delusions and hallucinations, I didn't enjoy them at all. I guess if you enjoy yours you won't want to do this, but maybe you could ask your doctor about how to treat your delusions and hallucinations. Just a thought. Elizabeth