Trigger warning: This piece discusses themes of suicide and losing a loved one- if these issues are especially personal to you or hard to read we recommend heading to the homepage to read another one of my posts. If you or someone you love is struggling and needs support or a safe space, please call The National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255


August 10th, 2020 is a date that will forever be etched in my mind and my heart. It’s the day I got one of the worst phone calls ever; my best friend had taken his own life.

At that moment, I must have gone through a million different emotions. The first one utter disbelief. I had just spoken to him four days ago. It just didn’t make any sense to me. How could my happiest best friend, take his own life? How can anyone so wonderful and loving feel that they are not worthy to be loved back?

My friendship with him was so wholesome and pure. He was one of the very few people in my life that I could actually be myself in front of, and he would never judge me. He knew my darkest secrets and accepted me for who I was. Our friendship was built on tough love and honest truths. He had some demons that he fought with for years, but that didn’t stop me from cheering him on and praying that he finds his way out. No matter what road he went down, I was always there at the end of it waiting for him.

He has taught me many things like how to love myself, how to coordinate outfits, and about darkness that I myself was lucky enough to not experience in my life. Depression for me was nothing more than “a bad day”, but for him, it totally consumed him. He was struggling, but you’d never know once you heard his infectious laugh that would overpower any banger party we were at in town. My bad day could be a horrible day for him, and he would still do anything he could to make me laugh.

Another major stigma in today’s society is Depression, Mental Health, and Suicide. If you’re unfamiliar with the word “stigma” it’s when a person acts and feels negative about a certain situation. Unfortunately, negative attitudes of beliefs towards people with mental health are very common in today’s society. And when the world around you is judging you, how can you not judge yourself? Depression makes you feel vulnerable and unworthy. While you can love others so much, you feel like you aren’t deserving of love back. That’s how Mikey felt, and it breaks my heart, and will forever break my heart, to think that such a caring soul with the biggest heart could ever think he wasn’t deserving of love. There wasn’t anything that he could do that would make me turn away from him as his friend, and trust me, he had gone down some dark roads in life only to come out stronger in the end. But no matter what, I and so many other amazing family members and friends of his were there to cheer him and his accomplishments on.


Can I brag about all of his accomplishments with you guys for a second? Because they are something to brag about! Right before his passing, Mikey was working full time, he bought his own car, and had just moved into his own apartment which he was so incredibly proud of. Not to mention, he physically looked amazing and had been clean for a very long time. Mikey overcame so many obstacles and really turned his life around. I will always share this with anyone who may be facing tough times like he did and will always be so proud of all he’s done in a short amount of time. I am a better person for having such an amazing friend in my life. A friend who was there for me when we lost our first home 3 days before moving in. A friend who was by my side during all of my fertility treatments. A friend who was there for me when I lost my job. Mikey was the most amazing friend anyone could ever have, and I just hope he knew how much he meant to me and how much I loved him.

Grief is one hell of a rollercoaster filled with emotions scattered on the floor. It’s a mad rush of feeling anger, frustration, and sadness all one ride. The one thing I have learned: There is no right way to grieve.

When I heard of Mikey’s passing I just became numb. I felt my brain shut off almost instantly and this empty feeling filled inside of my chest. It’s been about 4 months now, and that feeling is still there. In the weeks passed, I cannot tell you how many times I picked up my phone to call him to tell him about some ridiculous event from my day only to remember he’ll never pick up the phone again. I just finally gained the strength to go to the cemetery again to visit him. It was an unsettling feeling to talk to your best friend and not have them talk back to you. Let that be a reminder to you all: In today’s world, it can be very easy to dismiss one another, may it be due to political views that differ, or just the stresses of Covid-19 that make you want to shut down. Remember that tomorrow is not promised, and to love and cherish those in your life.

One thing that I did do in the days following his passing was reaching out to a Therapist who specializes in grief and loss. It was very difficult for me to pick up that phone and call but I had been through this before with losing someone I love and finding myself spiraling out. Five years ago when my cousin Thomas unexpectedly passed away, I became distant, depressed, and felt sorry for myself. All I did was drink, sleep, go to work, and repeat. It was an unhealthy pattern that continued for 6 months, and I knew I couldn’t go down that road again.


Being able to speak with someone who was a professional was one of the best things I could have done, and I encourage, no I beg you to take that first step in getting the help you need. I know it is easier said than done. And I am one to just keep my issues to myself and handle them in a not-so healthy way. But I reached out when I needed it the most. Mental Health does not discriminate. It does not care if you are rich, poor, black, or white. The happiest people suffer from depression and there is no rhyme or reason for it. If there is anything you take away from this piece today, please let it be that you are WORTHY of living, you are ENOUGH, and you will get through any difficult situation life may throw your way. There are many free resources to reach out to, and I encourage you to do so before making a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling.

Free Resources for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention:

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357),

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255)

Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741




Updated: Jul 8

Toxic relationships come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They do not necessarily have to be with someone you share an intimate relationship with like a significant other. It can be a friend, family member, or even someone you work with. They can be hard to spot at first, and then difficult to remove yourself from. And unfortunately, I have two stories to share, when I worked for two horrible people. For a year or so, I found myself in a toxic relationship with an employer, but at the time I didn't notice. What I noticed was a job promotion, extra pay, and what seemed like a newfound “friendship.”

On our first official meeting at the Four Seasons in New York City, she rudely told another couple that they could not sit by us near the fireplace. I instantly felt like an asshole, but since I was JUST promoted, I decided to not say anything. Instead, I just sat there like a soundless airhead while my so-called boss who ran a magazine catering to Empowering Women aggressively sat that forcing that couple to move away from us. But what is even more embarrassing is the fact that I allowed that to continue. I was so wrapped up with building my own portfolio and moving on in the world of writing, I allowed this woman to belittle a couple who were doing nothing out of sorts.

There were many other things I left lying under the rug for months. That was until we went away for the weekend to Key West for a “business trip.” What was supposed to be a weekend of brainstorming and creating new ways to market the company, turned into a crazy, girls-gone-wild, trip, but minus a good time. This woman really showed me and a fellow editor who was also on the trip with us (thank God), what a rude, selfish, and entitled person she really was. While the trip itself was a total bust, I now use it as a growing experience and had one take away from it; when someone shows you their true colors, do not try to repaint them. After I cut myself loose from the crazy ties, it was then I really started using my own platform to share my life experiences. I also decided to end my hiatus with teaching and started looking to get myself back into the game. This is where I viciously collided with one of the foulest human beings I have ever had the displeasure of meeting.

I had started looking for a teaching position, but ultimately landed a role as an administrator in a private school. It was pretty sweet to be offered a position where I could hold some sort of authority - or so I thought. The first few weeks were pretty smooth. I got to know my new co-workers and really started to build an amazing relationship with all of them. While having a few management skills under my belt from mentoring new writers, I knew exactly how I wanted my leadership skills to be. The one thing I was not going to let happen was my co-workers thinking I thought I was better than them. That my position meant more because I was an admin. I took pride in the fact that I got to know each teacher on a personal level. You get better work results out of employees who trust their higher-ups.

My boss HATED that. He hated the fact that I was immediately well received by both the staff and parents and had established a rapport that exhibited respect on both sides.

With my good-willed demeanor now on his radar, he now dissed EVERY SINGLE THING I DID. There is not one time in my year at this facility where I can share with you, that he praised me for my work. And listen, I’m not a child and I also wasn’t raised on receiving participation awards either. You’re either a good worker or you’re not, and not to toot my own horn, but when it comes to working in the Educational Field, I know I’m pretty damn good. But as I mentioned earlier, when you respect your staff and treat them like humans, you get the absolute best results from them. But if you’re going to critique everything they do “wrong”, have them sit in your tiny office every morning with your breath smelling terrible, and talk down to them daily, all while continuously grabbing your junk, that’s when you’ll see that line of respect start to disappear.

It took an order of tissues that was delivered incorrectly and a grown man yelling in my face telling me I’m a “useless fucking assistant” to finally put my foot down. With a well written, articulate, and respectful letter, I shared with him my feelings and frustrations. And once I stood up for myself, I was let go of my duties. It was a bittersweet blessing in disguise.

After taking a week to compose my thoughts and remember that one bitter man's feelings towards something I worked so hard to obtain, did not define my work ethic, I started sending out my resume again. Within a few days, I had an interview at another school. It has been almost a year and what a change! When you leave a toxic work relationship and find yourself in a calm, respectful environment, it’s like a million bricks are lifted off your shoulders. In the 11 years, I have worked as an educator, I’ve never found a school that has both an amazing staff and amazing administration. It may have taken me a while to find, but the point is, I’ve found it.

Life is absolutely way too short to work or live in any sort of toxic environment. Change is terrifying, but so is staying stuck in the same miserable race. Once you make that leap of faith, it’s amazing how everything else just falls into place.



**Disclaimer: The information I am about to share with you is what I found to work for ME. My methods are my own, and may not work for everyone. 


It’s no secret that I have been going down this road to baby for quite some time now. And while we remain as positive as we possibly can, stress really doesn’t give a shit and can show up at any time. Aside from the stress that comes along with trying to start a family, the usual day-to-day stress just doesn’t disappear. 


Life has really tested us in the last few months. Between losing our first home two days before the closing, transferring to a new school, and working tirelessly to ease the financial burden of infertility all while being on a completely opposite schedule as my husband, I’m honestly shocked that I haven’t pulled a circa 2007 Britney Spears. 


People LOVE to say, “Oh, just relax. Stress won’t help your situation!” And yes, while your remark was both unwarranted and unnecessary, it’s almost physically impossible to not be burdened by stress. 


HOWEVER, I have found a few things that have helped me to relax and not feel so overwhelmed. Again, this is what has been working for me. I am always here to share my thoughts and opinions, but I’m not expecting anyone to agree or follow what I do. I will say this though, once I started incorporating these next three things into my life, I felt a TREMENDOUS weight lifted off my shoulders. I have learned to relax more, not explode the very moment a minor inconvenience happens, and to just let life happen and roll with it. 


Acupuncture:

This is something that I have been wanting to do for a few years now, however it can be pretty pricey so I kept putting it off. Many places do except insurance but even so, a lot of places still wanted $180 out of pocket. I finally found an amazing acupuncturist, (thanks to another IVF Mama), located in Ocean called The Zen Den. It’s community based so you’re in a room with other people. When I heard that, I was very skeptical. I thought it would be noisy and crammed, but I was way off! The entire space is extremely relaxing. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. My acupuncturist, Michelle, really takes the time to get to know you and the reason(s) as to why you’re there in the first place. I go once a week and this has been the best decision ever. The first initial price is $50 then $35 for each visit after that. Extremely budget friendly and well worth it! Taking one hour for yourself a week really isn’t that much when you think about it, but being able to just shut out the world for a bit really makes a difference. 


Oils / Meditation:

Yes, I use oils. I know many skeptics and I’m going to say this once: unless you know the added stress of trying to get pregnant, then keep your bullshit remarks to yourself. Oils have been used as an all natural stress reliever for many years, and while they may not cure cancer or your ignorant attitude, they have helped me in many ways. Anyway…. Running my diffuser at night after a long day is absolutely magical. Not only does it make the apartment smell good, but there are certain blends that really help to ease the mind. I combine this with simple meditation. I sit with relaxing music playing and literally just take a few deep breathes. Working as a teacher can be extremely stressful and doing this a few nights a week can really clear your mind and assist in getting ready for the next day. 


Exercise:

My last bit of advice is a no-brainer: exercise. Whether it’s going for a long walk, or just running on the treadmill, once I pop in my headphones it’s goodbye world. I just to get to the gym at least 4 times a week, usually after work at night or over the weekend. You gotta keep that blood flowing when you’re going through IVF. You also need to work off all the frustration that comes along with all the medication you’re on. There are days when I want to Hulk out and 45 minutes on the mill can typically do the trick. 

All in all, you’ve got to do what works for you. It’s a tricky road to motherhood filled with many different emotions. Just don’t forget to take time for YOU. That is the best thing you can do for your mental health and well-being. 

1
2
Join My Mailing List
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
Instagram@muddledmillennial

© 2023 by Arianna Castillo​. Proudly created with Wix.com