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Coping with heartbreak on Valentine’s Day

by RO_Meredith Relationships

Let's face it. Valentine's Day can be hard to ignore. If you're getting over a breakup, it can feel nearly impossible. We get it and we're here to help. Today's blog is from ReachOut Youth Council member Brandon on how to navigate the holiday when you're nursing a broken heart.

Ahh, love is in the air! Well, for some of us. For another good portion of us, this Valentine's Day is creeping up with lots of anxiety or memories. Going through a break up is hard and going through a romantic holiday after said break up can be even harder.

The feelings of past celebrations or good memories come back and can feel like they are consuming you. And that's okay. It's completely normal to think about that person who's no longer in your life. After all, they did play a big role in the person you are today. After a break up, it can be hard to not be angry. I, myself, am guilty of this as well. But what I've come to find out is that this anger, coldness, or bitterness will not help you recover. It will only reinforce the walls you have built up and continue to shut us off from future opportunities.

So, how do we take care of ourselves and move on when reminders of coupledom seem to be everywhere? 

  • Reflect honestly on your relationship. Trying to understand how we got to this single-ness is one of the best things we can do. Trust in the process of moving forward and don't forget why the relationship ended. This takes time and in many cases, months. Check out the fact sheet on getting through a break up for more information.
  • Get support. You're feeling confused and heartbroken, and the one person you could go to before is no longer there to listen. This is the point where you can turn to your friends, your journal, or the ReachOut Forums and express how you're feeling.
  • Talk it out. The simple act of expressing how you feel can really help. We too often let our emotions bottle up and end up carrying these heavy weights on our shoulders. Unpack that. Let others know how you feel.
    • Keep it classy. But just like anything, there's a right and a wrong way to do this. Subtweeting or writing a text post for the whole world to see might not be the best way.
  • Express yo'self. If you're struggling to find an outlet in another person, write it out! Or draw it out! Both of these forms can help you process what you're thinking and leave you feeling like you can breathe again.

This past year has been full of ups and downs for me personally but one of the things that I am most proud of is how I have found inner peace with questions that I won’t get answered. Through this, I have been able to find happiness, grow more independent, and not need other’s approval to be happy.

If you want to connect with someone supportive on Valentine’s Day but don't have anyone specific in mind, try the forums here at ReachOut! This is a great way to talk to others anonymously in a safe, inclusive, and healthy way. The biggest thing is to just not keep it to yourself. Give it a try and tell us how do you make peace?

About Brandon

Hi everyone! My name is Brandon Rohlwing,  and I am a National Youth Council Member with! I am from the suburbs of Chicago and currently live in downtown Chicago attending Roosevelt University. I am studying integrated marketing communications in the hopes of starting a career at a nonprofit that focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention.


Who is your role model?

by Liz_ReachOut Family, Friends, Relationships

Who inspires you?

One ReachOut Forum member asked, tons answered! Below, we feature a few thoughts on the qualities, lessons and impact that make for a memorable role model. In the words of Danaye, who started the discussion, "I know that everyone goes through tough times as well as good times. I know that there is someone in your life that you look up to or try."

Read some of the responses below, or add your own role model to the discussion:

Demi Lovato"I know that many people have probably said this but, my role model is hands down, Demi Lovato. She's a really inspirational person and she's been through so much and has struggled with the same things that I'm struggling with. She's recovered and she told her story, she's saved so many lives. She's inspired people t save their own lives and get help. The reason why I say she has inspired and not like helped is because one day at her concert, she said that many of her fans come up to her and tell her how she has saved their life, she then said that she didn't save their lives, she just inspired them to get help and that they saved their own life. Demi is probably one of the only reasons why I'm still alive right now, I mean yeah there are other bands that helped me but she is one of the main people that have helped me in so many ways and even though I am still struggling with self harm, she still inspires me and her music is beautiful to listen to." - Savemefrommyself

"My role model is my grandmother....she's an angel. She's the type of woman who cooks for a party on HER birthday,she's the woman who's happy to be at work with a huge smile on her face,the type of woman that says treat people with respect and reminds you to not be cruel. She has nothing but love to give and not a bad bone in her body,she has shown me to treat everyone with love and to be happy to be alive. <3" - LexusGal

Eminem"My role model is Eminem. No family members, teachers, or anyone else has taught me as much as listening to his music has. I learned that I should always be strong, no matter what happens, and that I can get through it. No matter how bad I feel, somebody is always going through worse, always feeling worse than I am. If I just do what I love doing, life will be okay. - Shayd

"One great thing about Eminem, or Marshall, is that so many people throughout his life told him he couldn't do it. He'd never amount to anything. He'd never be a good rapper. Now he is arguably one of the greatest rappers alive. I think his entire essence is sticking it to the man."  - SnowyWeather

"My role model is my mother (the old her anyway). The one that supported her kids no matter what... No matter how hard she struggled she provided a way for us to me happy and she showed us that she was trying. She taught me that I can't truly depend on anyone else in this world when something has to be done but myself. She taught me how to survive on my own with little money. Although when I was young I thought that I had to grow up to fast it was for a reason. It taught me to be strong and use my head. She made me strong:-)" - Danaye

Read the full discussion or contribute yours here »

Not all schizophrenics are violent

by Liz_ReachOut Health, Individual Rights, Mental Health, Relationships

TeensThe ReachOut Forums are a place to talk about your daily challenges, whether that means battling with a parent, a specific mental health issue, or both at the same time. You'll find members talking openly about depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other mental health challenges throughout the forums, including this particularly powerful thread started by one of our community members.

We wanted to feature this post from a real forum user because of how well it highlights the social stigma attached to schizophrenia, including the myth that schizophrenics are violent, or dangerous. Got thoughts on the topic? Register to respond or see other comments here.

I am so sick of hearing about Aaron Alexis and the navy yard shootings in Washington D.C. earlier this week. The report came out on Tuesday that he was hearing voices and how someone of his extremely unbalanced mental disorder should not have been allowed security clearance or to buy a weapon. Stigma and people being uneducated and intolerant like this is why I am afraid to go to counseling or get medication that could help me or even tell anyone at all.

When I asked to go to counseling I told my mom that I wanted help with my anxiety. I couldn't tell her about the schizophrenia and I didn't even trust the counselor. When I was diagnosed earlier this year, I asked her not to make the diagnosis official and to pretend that she hadn't diagnosed me so that it wouldn't go in my medical records. I made this decision because schizophrenia is such a misunderstood label and I didn't want it following me whenever I try to get insurance or check into an ER or get a check up or anything that would give access to my medical records. I don't want anyone thinking I belong in "a loony bin" and everything I hear people joke about schizophrenia just makes me believe even more that I did the right thing.


1) I wake up and spend about 15 minutes distinguishing dreams from reality. It is very hard for me to tell what happened in a dream-no matter how outlandish-and what has actually happened in my short-term and long-term memory. I keep the basics of who I am in a notebook and look through it when I'm not sure.

2) I go through the day and I laugh and am actually a very sweet person. I try not to lie to people but again, I don't do it on purpose, when I'm telling a story that completely never happened, I truly believe that it did and I remember every detail like it was real. Sometimes later I will realize that I accidentally lied to someone and that scares me because how often did I lie to someone and not realize it? I can't trust anyone because the only person I told, my very best friend, immediately said "Well how do I know you're not lying?" And the scary thing is I had to tell her "I don't know"...

3) I am very afraid to go to bed because when I am alone at night, a couple of times a month I will see things that I know are not there, and I know are not real but I feel their grip on my arms and them dragging me away and they TERRIFY me.

4) I have a 3.86 GPA. I have a very loving boyfriend and family. I go to church. I volunteer in hospitals because one day I want to be a doctor. I put on makeup and brush my teeth every morning just like every other girl at my school. I am a functioning member of society and shouldn't be limited any more than my mental illness already limits me. I can guarantee you, you would have no idea if you ever passed me on the street. But I have to live with this huge secret and suffer alone.

I would never shoot or harm anyone and while I am certainly not condoning what Aaron Alexis did (in fact, I hate it because it made my situation worse) I am sick of hearing about the military including mental illnesses in their background checks. That scares me, to think that I will be trapped in a society where I am automatically lumped with people like this and have to suffer this stigma. It's similar to how peaceful muslims have been prejudiced against since the extremist attacks of 9/11.

I am not violent. I am not crazy. Truthfully, I am just afraid and confused because I do not understand the reality around me. People take it for granted, waking up and having the simple knowledge of who they are because most people don't know that schizophrenics like me suffer like this. Unfortunately I have to just suffer through this and can't get medication or counseling that COULD HELP ME live a normal life because of the stigma. I hope everyone on this site reads this rant, at least the mods and peer supporters, because ReachOut is the only safe place I have and I want to be accepted here and understood. Thanks ReachOut for being here.

If you are struggling with schizophrenia, think you might be, or are worried about someone else, learn more about it here, or find treatment and help here.

*photo credit: Lena Vasiljeva, flickr

How to get more replies to your forum post

by Liz_ReachOut Community, Health, Online Networks, Relationships

So, first things first, the most important thing is that you go with your gut and say what's on your mind in the ReachOut Forums. These are just a few tips for first-time posters or anyone curious about making it easier for others to respond to their post.

  1. Ask a question

    Asking open or direct questions lets people know that you want them to respond and also gives them some direction about what you’re looking for. People want to know how to help you best, so end your post with a prompt like: “Has this happened to anyone else?”, “Does anyone else know what I mean?”, “What would you do in this situation?”

  2. Make it personal

    If you say something personal, it can it easier for someone else to respond in kind. That’s how we build trust. So, by opening up in the forums, even if it feels a little scary, people are more likely to respond to you with their experience. Remember, it’s brave to be vulnerable.

  3. Try to break up the text

    You probably know this from chatting over text, but paragraphs are easier to read than solid blocks of text. Emoticons and images are also fun ways of mixing things up.

  4. You gotta give a little to get a little

    Online relationships work a lot like offline ones; if you build friendships and respond to others, they’re more likely to respond to you.

  5. Don’t make your post tooooo long

    Sometimes you just have to get all your thoughts out at once. We get it. If your posts always take up a whole page or deal with a lot of different issues, it just may take others a little longer to process and you may get fewer responses. Of course, sometimes that's all you need, but it's good to remember that you can always break your story up into different parts, or focus on one issue at a time.

  6. Think about how you'd want someone to respond to you

    Make sure your post follows the community guidelines – our golden rule at ReachOut is to always show support, or in short, be nice. We know you all are generally down with that (and that's what makes the forums so awesome!), but if a post is ever mean, judge-y or triggering, it might be removed or edited and get a lower response rate.

  7. Try to post in the right place

    People scan the forums by the latest posts or specific topics of interest, so try to put your post in the most relevant category. Question about a family situation? Go to ‘Friends & Family’. Just want to chat? Check out the ‘Hanging Out’. The mods have your back, though, and can move your thread if needed.

  8. If you’ve got time, give it a once over

    A quick proof read makes sure your post is easy to read and others will understand what you’re saying.

The most important advice of all?

Don’t be afraid to make that post! This community is kind and caring, and wants to support you.  Everybody is welcome at ReachOut, no matter what you've gone through, how you’re feeling or who you are.

Register to start posting in the forums now »

Young woman typing

‘Forever Alone’ on February 14?

by RO_Meredith Moods, Relationships

Let's face it. Valentine's Day can be hard to ignore. If you're single, it might make you feel sad, lonely or simply excluded. We get it and we're here to help. Today, we're reposting a blog from ReachOut Council member Brandon. Find out how he addresses the common challenges and how he plans to navigate the holiday. 

Walking past the Valentine’s Day section at the store can be really depressing when you feel have no one to celebrate it with. Sometimes you may feel like you’ll never find anyone, that you'll end up like the popular internet meme, “Forever Alone.” My name’s Brandon, and just like many other teens, I will be spending this holiday alone. It’s totally understandable why we get ourselves bummed out. There are the cards, flowers, chocolate, and fancy dates. And for some of us, it's just about feeling wanted. Well, when next week rolls around, try to gain a different perspective on the holiday. I know I have.

Although the history of the holiday has been masked by greeting card companies, it can generally be described as a day where you show your appreciation for loved ones. How we interpret "loved ones" is completely up to us. It could be your boyfriend/girlfriend, or it could be a family member, a friend, or anyone really. Instead of us focusing on how we don’t have the former, we should take that time and thank our friends and family for how much they mean to us and how much we love them.

Here are some valid (and some comical) reasons why being single can be beneficial:

- You can concentrate on doing things you enjoy. You don’t have to worry about pleasing someone else, so you can focus on yourself. Maybe finish reading that book you’ve always wanted to read or start up a new activity.

- Your decisions only affect you and don’t involve a partner's wants, needs or contradictory opinion. If you want to go to a certain restaurant, go for it. You have no one holding you back, no one you have to consult with first.

- You can save a lot of money. Let’s face it, relationships cost a lot of money. The dates, the presents, the clothes to look good, the gas money; it all adds up. When you’re, single you get to keep it all for yourself.

And when February 14 does roll around next week, here are some ideas thought up by all of us at ReachOut of what you can do instead:

"Make a date with friends!" –Chloe

"Buy those corny little kid valentines for your friends. It's not just a celebration of romantic love!"–Catherine

"Give your parents or best friend flowers and tell them how much you love them! Do something nice for yourself!" –Nich

"Do a nice thing and baby sit for a couple that can't get out that night because of kids." –Catherine

"Have a’ Single’s Awareness’ party with your friends where you just hang out, eat, and most importantly, have fun." - me

So just remember, no matter how you spend your Valentine’s Day this year, remember that you ARE loved by more people than you know, and just because you haven’t found the ‘right’ guy or girl yet, doesn’t mean you won’t!

Finally, you can check out these fact sheets and real stories that may also help you get through the holiday:

I'm single and I'm happy
Having difficulty finding the right person for you
Overcoming loneliness
Boys are confusing
Focus on who you are

Photo by Mandy Sousa

How do you plan to celebrate (or not!) Valentine's Day single or with your sweetie?

About Brandon
My name is Brandon. I am 17 years old and am currently a junior in high school. When I am not occupied with my part-time job or on my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr), I find myself active in National Honor Society, Rotary Interact, and Big Brothers Big Sisters all through my school. Outside of school, I volunteer at our local food pantry, am a student election judge, and am a worship leader at my church.  I look forward to helping those who are going through things similar to what I did, and to help then realize: I’ve been there. I’ve made it through. And I am now stronger than I ever thought I was before.

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