Complete guide for your international move to Italy

Complete Guide For Your International Move To Italy
By Diana – find her site with above link


Blame it on the beautiful travel blogs, inspiring influencer accounts, and your semester spent abroad: sometimes, it feels like every other person has lived abroad, and therefore it must not be all that difficult to do. All that’s required to have this exotic life for yourself is quit your job, give up a bunch of your belongings, save a lot of money, and want it badly enough.

Of course, that’s not all there is to it; there is no one official path to taking the plunge for an international move, and the reality is that it is very difficult. Here, I turn to guest blogger Jay Mueller, a Canadian expat living in Costa Rica and the CEO of A-1 Auto Transport to give a solid, brief guide on the basics of moving to Italy from the US*, starting with taking your possessions — including your car! — with you.

Complete Guide for Your International Move to Italy

An international move to a nation as beautiful and inspiring as Italy is one that comes with a great amount of preparation and organization. It might feel overwhelming, but once the move has been completed, you’ll finally have time to enjoy your new home and all of its surroundings. Just remember, this is what you have to look forward to at the end of completing all those facets of international relocation.

One of the biggest struggles of an overseas move is making sure that all your possessions make it through Customs. This is something that a dependable international moving service will assist you with, but it’s in your best interest to also have knowledge pertaining to the import laws of Italy. To obtain the information necessary, contact the Embassy of Italy. They’ll share the current import regulations with you as well as the latest tax rates.

About Italy’s Import Taxes

If you’re moving with more than a couple of suitcases’ worth of possessions, you will need to obtain a certificate of import approvalthrough Customs. To do this, you must first gather all the required proof, which includes a receipt showing that all taxes have been paid in full. Goods imported into Italy are taxed based on their CIF (value of the goods + insurance + freight). If the value of an item is under $178.00 U.S. dollars it is not subjected to any import tax. Otherwise, import duty rates can reach up to 17%.

There are some goods that aren’t subjected to taxes even if their value is over $178.00. These items include laptops, mobile phones, video games and digital cameras, as long as they are previously used items. Used furniture, linen, kitchen appliances, books, toys, clothes, accessories and other personal items may also be exempt from import taxes which you can learn more about by calling the embassy.

Excise tax and a VAT of 22% are also usually included in the total cost of your import taxes. The excise tax is only applies to alcohol and tobacco items or an item that must undergo testing or evaluation for permittance into the nation. You’ll also be expected to provide specific forms of documentation, including:

  • Copies of passports
  • Original bill of landing or airway bill
  • List of inventory written in English or Italian
  • Copy of the tax code number
  • Original consular declaration

Keep in mind, too, that not all items are allowed into Italy; or they are allowed only in specified quantities. Check here for a list of prohibited items.

List of Items Allowed into the Country in Moderation for Personal Use

  • 200 Cigarettes
  • 50 Cigars or 250 grams of Tobacco
  • 1 Liter of Spirits
  • 2 Liters of Alcohol below 22%
  • 16 Liters of Beer

Under certain stipulations, all EU natives are allowed to ship over one personal vehicle duty-free with a Certificate of Origin and proof of one year of ownership. The vehicle’s engine cannot be over 2,000cc. All non-Italian citizens are allowed to import a used vehicle for up to six months without paying custom duties. After the six month timeframe, the vehicle must either be registered to the nation or exported elsewhere.

Gaining Permanent Residency in Italy

Step one: Vista d’ingresso

The vista d’ingresso is step one of your living-in-Italy goal: it allows permanent residency after the end of a three-month span of residing there.

A person traveling in Italy can stay for up to 90 consecutive days. After that, anyone who stays in Italy for longer than three months is considered a permanent resident. If permanent residency is your goal, before arriving in Italy you must obtain the entrance visa (vista d’ingresso) from an Italian consulate. The visa is valid only for the time period written, and it must be obtained in the US before you leave (if you’re already in Italy, you have to leave and then return). Bear in mind that it takes several weeks to months to obtain this type of visa, so make sure you start necessary preparations well in advance.

Step two: Permesso di soggiorno

Once you arrive in Italy with your vista d’ingresso in hand, if you plan on staying after the three months are up, within eight days of your arrival you must apply for the permesso di soggiorno, or permit of stay. This can be done by stopping at the local post office and picking up the application kit, filling it out, and submitting it to the local central police station, or Questura (the post office will send it to the Questura for you).

Keep a copy of your receipt from this transaction for proof later down the line. Note that all of these steps cost money, and be prepared to pay cash. As a general rule of thumb, Italy is cash-only when you least expect it.

Step three: Applying for residency

Twenty days after receiving your permesso di soggiorno, you’ll need to go to your local Vital Statistics Bureau, Anagrafe of the Comune, to apply for residency. As in everything in Italy, this process could take a couple months to complete. Another general rule of thumb when dealing with Italian bureaucracy: Any time you receive a receipt, keep it, make copies of it, and bring it to your next appointment.

Once you have permanent residency, or at least your receipt, you can apply for a bank account, health insurance, and an ID card, or carta d’identità.

*Laws, regulations, and requirements change all the time. I hope this can provide a solid overview of what to expect, but be sure to verify all information you find, whether here or in doing your own research.

The Important Health-Related Reason You Should Have More Hobbies, According to a Psychologist

Author Article Here

Whether you pick up knitting or join a book club, hobbies are a fun way to wind down and tap into your creative side. They could also, it turns out, make you a happier person.

We recently checked in with Barbara Nosal, Ph.D., chief clinical officer at Newport Academy, for her tips on combatting seasonal affective disorder (which, per the American Psychiatric Association, affects roughly 5 percent of U.S. adults). One of her suggestions? Spend time doing things you love.

This seems like a no-brainer, but, especially in the depths of winter, it can be really tempting to veg out 24/7. Don’t cave into the temptation: Spending time with friends or keeping up with hobbies, according to Dr. Nosal, fills “an intellectual, creative or social need, as well as builds self-esteem and self-confidence—bolstering against or lowering the intensity of SAD symptoms.” So basically, resist the overwhelming urge to hibernate until spring and instead spend time reading or cooking or learning pretty much anything.

Networking For The Beginner Blogger

See The Art Of Blogging’s Article Here
When just starting out, it is quite clear that a blogger has no audience, so to speak.

0 followers isn’t inviting one to put his best content, of course.

As a matter of fact, I think that lacking an audience is far worse than earning no income from blogging.

The thing is, people tend to go about building an audience the wrong way.

Notice that?

I said, building an audience.

You have to build it, one reader after another. One great blog post after another.

But how exactly do you do that?

Easy. You network.

When you first arrive online, you are nobody. If you are trying to be read, you have to become somebody.

I remember when I started posting on my main blog back in April 2012. It was like I was talking to myself.

Lack of feedback means there’s no way to figure out what needs to improve.

Was a any good?

Well, the thing is that I managed to get other bloggers to agree to interviews, got a few blog posts Freshly Pressed (it’s now called Discover) and I even had Neil Gaiman and Random House share a couple of posts of mine via Twitter.

Here’s the thing: you might not have an audience, but other folks have one. And that’s where you can find as many readers as you are willing to work for.

How to (properly) network

Most bloggers’ idea of networking consists of them begging other people (via the comments section) to follow them. It’s insane.

As a matter of fact,  I rarely even approve comments that include a link to someone else’s blog. It’s just rude.

Instead, what did I do? I interviewed interesting people; they obviously had a lot more readers than I did.

Other ways to network?

Social media

Interacting with others, sharing the content of others, and participating in communities are all great ways to generate attention and build an audience.

Think of it this way: you can engaging in a conversation. You are enjoying it for what it is.

The “social” element of success is so, so underrated. Sorry to break it to you, but without this, you cannot be successful, no matter how good you are.

I know brilliant artists who have 184 followers on their Instagram accounts. Brilliant.

Public Speaking

Not only do you get in front of the people in the audience, you can also start letting people know that you have speaking experience, which is a great credibility builder.

Getting interviewed

Interviewing people is great, but so is getting interviewed.

Comment on other blogs

Find the top ten bloggers in your niche, interact with them. Read their stuff, offer great comments. This is a big, big part of networking.

Write each comment without even mentioning you have a blog. Write really great comments. Ask questions, state your opinion, respectfully disagree if it’s the case.

Just don’t be a jerk, okay?

Guest blogging

After you’ve built rapport with some of the most popular bloggers in your niche, you can ask them if you can guest blog. Some will say no, some yes, some will ignore your message.

Don’t take it personally.

But when someone accepts, then do your very best. I mean it. Write something you are proud of. Don’t save your best stuff for your blog, but rather use that content to get as many readers as possible from someone else’s audience.


Promoted posts on Facebook, promoted Tweets, are all great ways to promote content and get in front of others. This can bring you rapid exposure and help shortcut the overall process.

Your blog needs to have a strategy for building your own audience. You need to map out a smart strategy and pursue this in a purposeful manner.

You may need to do some experimentation to find what works for you, but there is no time like the present.

21 Startling Facts That Everyone Should Know About Adderall

The More You Know…

Adderalllllll facts 👀

PTSD And Complex PTSD: What Happens When You’ve Lived In A Psychological War Zone

ThoughtCatalog’s Link!

Normally when we think about “PTSD,” our minds jump to those who’ve been in combat. While it is certainly an issue for those who’ve been in real-life war zones, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD isn’t just exclusive to war veterans. In fact, many survivors of childhood emotional neglect, physical or emotional abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape can suffer from the symptoms of PTSD or Complex PTSD if they endured long-standing, ongoing and inescapable trauma.

These individuals face combat and battle in invisible war zones that are nonetheless traumatic and potentially damaging. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 8 million people can develop PTSD every year and women are twice as likely than men to experience these symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms of PTSD and Complex PTSD?
There are four types of symptoms that are part of PTSD and some additional symptoms for Complex PTSD as listed below. Complex PTSD, which develops due to chronic, ongoing trauma, is more likely to occur due to long-term domestic violence or childhood sexual and/or physical or emotional abuse. Around 92% of people who meet the criteria for Complex PTSD also meet the criteria for PTSD (Roth, et. al 1997).

It is recommended that you seek professional support if you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, especially if your symptoms last longer than one month, cause great impairment or distress and/or disrupt your ability to function in everyday life. Only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose you and provide an appropriate treatment plan.

1. Reliving and Re-experiencing the Trauma
PTSD: Memories, reoccurring nightmares, persistent unwanted and upsetting thoughts, physical reactivity, vivid flashbacks of the original event can all be a part of PTSD. You may also encounter triggers in everyday life – whether it be something you see, smell, hear, that brings you back to the original event. This can look different for every survivor. A sexual assault survivor might hear the voice of someone who resembles her assailant and find herself reliving the terror of being violated. A domestic violence victim might find herself being triggered by someone raising their voice. Triggers can be seemingly minor or overwhelmingly major, depending on the severity and longevity of the trauma endured.

Complex PTSD: According to trauma therapist Pete Walker (2013), you may also suffer from emotional flashbacks where you ‘regress’ back into the emotional state of the original event and you behave maladaptively to the situation as a result. Walker states that for people with Complex PTSD, individuals develop four “F” responses when they are triggered by emotional flashbacks: they may fight, flee, fawn (seek to please) or freeze. These responses are protective, but they may end up further harming the survivor because the survivor might fail to enforce their boundaries or may use excessive force in protecting themselves.

2. Avoidance of Situations That Remind You Of The Event
PTSD: You go to great lengths to avoid anything that might potentially trigger memories or feelings associated with the traumatic events. If you were in an abusive relationship, for example, you might isolate yourself from others or stop dating in an attempt to avoid being harmed by others.

If you were raped, you might avoid situations where any form of physical contact might arise, whether it be getting a massage or being affectionate with a romantic partner. If you suffered bullying, you might avoid places where group activities are likely to happen, such as large parties or even certain careers that might require high levels of social interaction. This avoidance can include trying to avoid trauma-related thoughts, too; you might keep yourself persistently busy so you don’t have to face any thoughts regarding what you went through.

Complex PTSD: Throughout your life, you may go to excessive lengths to avoid abandonment and resort to people-pleasing or “fawning” behavior. This might result in you having trouble setting boundaries with others, standing up for yourself when your rights are violated and becoming enmeshed in codependent relationships. You might be hypersensitive to signs of disapproval or micro-signals of abandonment.

As therapist Pete Walker (2013) writes, “The Abandonment Depression is the complex painful childhood experience that is reconstituted in an emotional flashback. It is a return to the sense of overwhelm, hopelessness and helplessness that afflicts the abused and/or emotionally abandoned child. At the core of the abandonment depression is the abandonment melange – the terrible emotional mix of fear and shame that coalesces around the deathlike feelings of depression that afflict an abandoned child.”

3. Skewed Belief Systems and Negative Perceptions, Including Self-Blame and Toxic Shame
PTSD: There is a shift in your belief systems and self-perception after the traumatic events. You might suffer from low self-esteem, depression, excessive ruminations, negative self-talk, memory loss related to the trauma, decreased interest in activities you used to enjoy and a heightened sense of self-blame.

Complex PTSD: Individuals with Complex PTSD may struggle with guilt, a sense of toxic shame and feeling different from others or even defective in some way. They may have a heighted “inner critic” that develops as a result of any verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse they went through in their lifetime. This inner critic might judge everything you do or say, prevent you from taking risks or pursuing your goals, can lead to a sense of learned helplessness and can often mimic the voices of any abusers you encountered, especially if you had toxic parents.

4. Hyperarousal and Hypervigilance
PTSD: You develop an excessive sense of alarm concerning your surroundings. You may experience a heightened startle reaction, increased irritability or aggression, engage in risky behavior, and have difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Complex PTSD: Survivors with Complex PTSD can struggle with emotional regulation, suicidal thoughts and self-isolation. They may engage in self-harm, develop substance abuse addictions, and have a hard time trusting themselves and their intuition. They may end up in unhealthy, abusive relationships in what trauma expert Judith Herman calls “a repeated search for a rescuer” (Herman, 1997). They may have a deep mistrust of others but also a heightened attunement to changes in their environment as well as a hyperfocus on changes in microexpressions, shifts in tone of voice or gestures in others.

Treatment for PTSD and Complex PTSD
Treatment for PTSD and Complex PTSD requires highly skilled therapy with a trauma-informed and validating counselor who can help guide you safely through your triggers. Based on research, effective treatments can include some form of trauma-focused psychotherapy such as prolonged exposure therapy (PE) which involves facing the negative feelings you’ve been avoiding, cognitive processing therapy (CPT) which teaches the client to reframe their thoughts about the trauma, or Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy which involves processing the trauma by following a back-and-forth movement of light or sound. You can learn more about treatments for PTSD here.

Keep in mind that not every treatment is suitable for every survivor and should always be discussed with a counselor. Supplemental remedies may include trauma-focused yoga and meditation to heal parts of the brain affected by trauma and release trapped emotions in the body (van der Kolk, 2015).

Although PTSD is manageable with the right support and resources, recovery from Complex PTSD is admittedly a more lifelong process as it deals with trauma that usually originated from childhood, further exacerbated by traumas in adulthood. Grieving the losses associated with the trauma or traumas experienced is an essential part of the journey.

It is important to remember that healing has no deadline and that recovery is a cyclical, rather than linear, process. Every survivor recovers in their own way and is worthy of the support it takes to get to the other side of healing. TC mark

Insomnia Series: Why It Hurts to Lose Sleep

NY Times Article Here

Sleep deprivation can make your physical aches more painful. A new study begins to explain how that happens.

A subject in a sleep-disorder clinic in France. Recent research found that staying awake all night can increase a person’s sensitivity to pain the next morning by as much as 30 percent.CreditBSIP/UIG, via Getty Images


A subject in a sleep-disorder clinic in France. Recent research found that staying awake all night can increase a person’s sensitivity to pain the next morning by as much as 30 percent. CreditCreditBSIP/UIG, via Getty Images

Veteran insomniacs know in their bones what science has to say about sleep deprivation and pain: that the two travel together, one fueling the other.

For instance, people who develop chronic pain often lose the ability to sleep well, and quickly point to a bad back, sciatica or arthritis as the reason. The loss of sleep, in turn, can make a bad back feel worse, and the next night’s slumber even more difficult.

Why sleep deprivation amplifies pain is not fully worked out, but it has to do with how the body responds to an injury such as a cut or turned ankle. First, it hurts, as nerves send a blast up the spinal cord and into the brain. There, a network of neural regions flares in reaction to the injury and works to manage, or blunt, the sensation.

Think of the experience as a kind of physiological dialogue between the ground unit that took the hit and the command-control center trying to contain the damage. In a new study, a team of neuroscientists has clarified the nature of the top-down portion of that exchange, and how it is affected by sleep.

In a sleep-lab experiment, the researchers found that a single night of sleep deprivation reduced a person’s pain threshold by more than 15 percent and left a clear signature in the brain’s pain-management centers.

In a separate experiment, the team determined that small deviations in the average amount of sleep from one day to another predicted the level of overall pain felt the next day.

“What’s exciting about these findings is that they will stimulate, and justify, doing more research to figure this system out,” said Michael J. Twery, director of the sleep disorders branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, who was not involved in the new study. “Once we understand how sleep deprivation changes how these pathways function, we should be able to manage pain more effectively — all types of pain.”

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Other researchers cautioned that the study was small, and in need of larger replication. But, they said, at a time when chronic pain conditions and narcotic addiction are on the rise, the new work is a pointed reminder that the body’s own ability to manage pain can be improved without a prescription.

The study team, led by Adam J. Krause and Matthew P. Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, had 25 adults come into the lab on two occasions to measure their pain threshold for heat. Two measurements were taken from each subject, one in the morning after a full night’s sleep, and one in the morning after staying up all night. The two visits occurred at least a week apart, and included measurements in a brain-imaging machine.

The subjects judged the pain sensation of having a small, heated pad pressed against their skin, near the ankle. By gradually adjusting the temperature up and down, the researchers identified the level of pain that each person graded as 10, or “unbearable,” on a scale of 1 to 10.

Pulling an all-nighter increased everyone’s sensitivity to heat the next morning, by 15 to 30 percent on the pain scale. This wasn’t unexpected; previous research had produced similar findings, for a variety of painful sensations.

But the brain imaging added a new dimension: For each participant, activity spiked in pain perception regions, and plunged in regions thought to help manage or reduce pain. The biggest peaks were in the somatosensory cortex, a strip of neural tissue that runs across the top of the brain like a headphone band.

This is the seat of the so-called homunculus, the distorted “little man” neural map of the body; it seems to be where the perception of pain becomes a conscious “ouch.” The lowest troughs of activity occurred in deeper brain regions such as the thalamus and nucleus accumbens.

“So you have two things happening at once here,” said Dr. Walker, director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at U.C. Berkeley. “There’s ramped up sensation to pain, and a loss of natural analgesic reaction. The fact that both of them happen was surprising.”

Deliberate sleep deprivation is rare in the natural world — robins and squirrels tend not to stay up late to catch “Saturday Night Live” — so it may be that no backup systems have evolved to help restore or tune the brain’s pain management system, Dr. Walker said.

In a separate trial, the research team recruited 60 adults online who reported having daily pain. The participants rated their sleep and pain over two days, scoring the previous night’s slumber in the mornings, and their pain level in the evenings.

For each individual, poor sleep quality predicted higher ratings on the daily pain scale. The duration of sleep was not the critical factor, the study found; what mattered were alterations to deep sleep, the mostly dreamless period of rich slumber.

The implications of the new work are wide-ranging, perhaps starting with hospitals, where noise levels are high and interruptions frequent. Handing out earplugs and sleep masks, as the airlines do, would be a cheap way to speed recovery and shorten hospital stays, the study’s authors suggested.

“The good news is that it has become really clear in psychiatry and the memory field that sleep is a big player,” said Dr. Robert Stickgold, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “The bad news is that the average trickle-down time from research to practices is ten years plus.”


Author Post Here!

Create an Informative & Intriguing Title

So many times, I have read an awesome post and thought the writer sold themselves short on a minimalistic title.


Let’s say that someone started writing a post near Thanksgiving talking about their blessings; maybe by the end, they realize that they primarily spoke about moving to a new house. “Feeling Thankful” is a vague title that might be easily overlooked. “Appreciating my New Home this Thanksgiving” is more specific and piques my interest…thus, I’m more likely to click on it.

Adding more details makes it even more enticing.Hypothetical examples:

  • “From City Slicker to Country Gal: Appreciating my New Home this Thanksgiving”
  • “Appreciating my Cats, my Husband, & our New Home this Thanksgiving”
  • “A New Home & a New Philosophy on Life: Counting my Blessings this Thanksgiving”

You get the idea. Give ’em the old Razzle Dazzle. [Yes, I recently watched Chicago.]

Use Pictures

Use at least five images to get the image slideshow above the post preview in the Reader.

I’d say that you should select a featured image at minimum, but including pictures throughout a post is a good idea. People retain information from text better when it’s reinforced by images (Read more here). Also, do we need to look further than social media (esp. Instagram and Pinterest) to see that people simply enjoy looking at pictures? My favorite image resources are Pixabay and Unsplash.

If you use five or more pictures in the post, the post appears differently in the Reader. Posts with the images across the top will draw the eye more and probably get more clicks.

Share on Multiple Platforms

“Build it and they will come” does not apply to blogging (or almost anything besides drive-thru restaurants). The more you use social media to promote your blog, the more people will see it. Social Media Sharing Options:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Etc.

Use Tags


Browsing through the results of tags is a way to find cool blogs (recommended for new/small bloggers), but whether you actually look at tags or not, using them will expose your posts to more people on WordPress. [Just like using hashtags on an Instagram photo brings more likes.]

Sidenote: If you are using the tag Humor, don’t literally type #Humor; type the word Humor and hit “Enter.”

Vary the Formatting

The more variation in formatting, the better. We have evolved past walls of text in 2018. Ways to Break Up Format:

  • Bullet lists & numbered lists
  • Bolding & italicizing
  • Blockquotes
  • Sections with headings
  • Emojis (use sparingly)
  • Hitting “Enter” every few sentences

Do a Series (But Not in “Parts”)

Success almost never comes easily, so be forewarned that some of your series ideas will crash and burn in dismal interest. However, if you think of a series that does intrigue people, you will gain more return readers. Consider creating one featured image for the series on Canva to use for each post.

I caution you to make all the posts in your series stand-alone rather than having part 1, 2, 3, etc, even if the posts do have some chronological connection. Seeing “part #” in the title can be a turn-off (because it subconsciously sends the signal “this is going to take extra work”). Just my two cents.

Incorporate Your Personality

Readers return first and foremost when they like you. Let them get to know you by displaying your humor, your kindness, your witty sarcasm, your optimism, your vulnerability, your realness, or whatever makes you who you are through your blog. Don’t come across as distant and disconnected from your writing!

Network With Other Bloggers


Unless you’re already a viral sensation, you will have to work to build a readership. Read, like, and comment on other people’s blog posts. Respond to every comment you receive with individual care and attention. You reap what you sow!

*Not my original content
See Author post above

The Dangers Of High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety

Nicole Kordana on Living With High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety
Author Page Here

“It’s been 8 years since I was diagnosed with depression and 5 since I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety. For many people when I tell them, it comes as quite a shock. “Wow, you don’t seem depressed” or “I’ve never seen you panic about anything” is a rather common response. Reflecting on this, I can understand why it would come as a surprise. I graduated high school with above a 4.0 GPA because I loaded my schedule with Advanced Placement courses so I could get ahead in college.

I participated in sports, I volunteered, I had a job, and generally seemed to be doing pretty well. I was accepted into the colleges I applied to and started school in the fall, where I also excelled and became involved in many activities around me. I was functioning as a “normal” young adult, so how depressed or anxious could I be right?

My depression and anxiety seemed like a war going on inside my head, reeking havoc on my physical health and general outlook on life. You would never have known by looking at my grades, my endurance on the soccer field, my performance at work, or my interactions with peers. It was easy to go about my daily life and excel in public, my mind was too busy to be sad or nervous, but when I returned home I entered a different world.

I was inconceivably sad and overwhelmed reflecting on the day I had. I knew I had a list of things I needed to complete before I could fall asleep in good conscience, but I lacked all motivation to complete a single task. On the other hand, not completing anything made me irrationally fearful that I would not succeed. I was sitting in the shell of my body unable to do anything.

Do your homework. I can’t. If you don’t you’ll be a failure, you’ll never be accepted into a good college. I’m too tired to do anything tonight. If you don’t do anything tonight, your grades will plummet; your teacher will be disappointed with you.

I’d go back and forth with myself until I forced myself to agonizingly and poorly complete something.

The physical toll on my body was no less. My back hurt immensely, I experienced migraines frequently, my panic attacks made me feel like my heart was going to be ejected from my chest, and my outbursts of anger toward my family were uncontrollable. And despite my insisting “nothing was wrong” my mother took me to see a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist informed me that I experienced high-functioning depression and anxiety, which is not uncommon, especially in teens and young adults. High-functioning illnesses are scary in the fact that its easy for people who experience them to convince themselves that everything is fine, that they are just going through a phase because every other aspect of their lives are relatively normal.

Due to the “normal” levels of functioning in people who experience high-functioning depression or anxiety (or both), these people often go undetected by themselves, family, friends, co-workers, even medical professionals, and therefore don’t receive the treatment they need. Prior to receiving treatment, I was excelling in my personal and academic life, which made me question: what was the point in seeking treatment at all?

Our society is becoming more aware and accepting of mental illnesses, yet it is too common that people put the symptoms of mental illnesses in a box. I want to be explicitly clear when I say mental illnesses affect each person differently, not one experience with mental illness is identical. From therapy to medication to natural remedies, many treatments exist to help people who have depression or anxiety — but not receiving treatment often worsens the issue.

Many mental illnesses are invisible ailments, and high-functioning illnesses can often be silent, but that doesn’t mean they are not felt. We often hear that the people who fall victim to suicide “led perfectly normal lives” or their friends “had no idea they were sad enough to feel suicide was their only escape.”

Seeking treatment is not only a preventative measure to ensure symptoms don’t further progress; it is a proactive way to better your quality of life. As cliché as it sounds, with some simple ways to be proactive about your mental health, managing depression and anxiety is 100 percent attainable.

If you or someone you know experiences depression, anxiety, or a combination of both here are some ways to be proactive about your health and some important tips for when you are feeling low.

1. Know your body.

There are typically warning signs – bold or subtle changes- of when you are about to experience a little more of a struggle with your mental illness. Pay attention to these changes so you can take preemptive measures against your symptoms.

2. Have a solid support network.

Struggling with depression or anxiety is not something to be ashamed of. Millions of people are experiencing the same thing as you. Lean on people who can relate to what you are feeling, or find someone you trust that you are comfortable explaining your situation to. It’s good to have someone you can call, text, or talk to when you need a quick pick me up.

3. Give yourself some well-deserved attention.

Pamper yourself a little sometimes. You work really hard in your daily life and you manage your mental illness, appreciate yourself. It’s okay to have an extra helping of ice cream, buy those concert tickets, or just plain old relax for an afternoon. If you don’t take care of yourself, how are you expected to be able to perform at your best?

4. Exercise and eat right.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times but it is a miracle what eating right and some exercise can do for your body. I love to think of the mantra “feel good, do good” because it’s true; the better you feel the happier you behave. When you feel good it is reflected by how the people around you behave and leads to positive reinforcement.

5. Discover a hobby.

Finding an activity or hobby that you really enjoy can serve as a very positive distraction for negative things, and a mood boost for when you’re feeling above average. Find a group of people

6. Five sense distraction.

If you are in a public place and feeling overwhelmed, you can use the five sense method to calm down. Focus and examine: 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 taste. Try to breathe through your nose as you complete this task and you will feel relieved in no time!

7. Don’t give up.

Treatments are typically not a quick fix, they take time, and yes a little energy. But the outcome is well worth it. Don’t give up on your treatment plan, on the people supporting you, or yourself. You are a powerful, resilient individual.

You can do this.

I love how relatable her story is. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It took me tying to kill myself to realize I was struggling