Changes don’t come from comfort zones

find your passion, pursue it, & never stop

April 28, 2020

Hey there, I’m Cass!
..ask my mom though, and i’m Cassandra Rose Franklin

I’m your average 25 year old worshiping at her dogs feet, while hopelessly wondering when Friends will be brought back to Netflix so I can finally CHILL (a girl can dream, right?)

SO, here’s a little ‘get to know me’ or whatever it’s called. I’m new to this, but I’ll get the hang of it, bare with me!

I was born and raised in Syracuse, New York with hard working parents and three older brothers that have always set the bar high for me. I grew up with a competitive, driven mindset and a lot of bumps and bruises (what else are brothers for?) But at the end of the day, I don’t know who I’d be without them. With that being said, it’s no surprise that I have developed an intense passion for sports, specifically field hockey and baseball (Yankees fan, I mean, my dogs name is Okie Berra afterall). With this, comes the love for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I also love animals (my dog is my heart&soul, my pride&joy ...i know, literally every dog parent, we’re nuts), vinyl that speaks to my old soul, traveling, IPA’s, and making people laugh is kinda my forte.

Back in May 2019, I achieved a B.S. in psychology from Syracuse University and I am in the process of pursuing a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. My dream? To work as a mental health OT focusing on Veterans. The military is very endear to my heart as my brother has been serving over 10 years in the Air Force.

When I was younger, my father always told me, “do it with passion or don’t bother.” If it doesn’t excite you or light a spark inside you, what’s the point? When you’re passionate about something, it shows through your commitment, effort, and time put forth into it. It gives you a purpose to give 110%. This motto has been my driving force through out my life, especially when I chose Occupational Therapy.

This platform is being used to express my thoughts, share experiences, tips, to connect with like-minded people, and to even help you. Writing has always been an outlet I’ve chosen to alleviate anxiety. At this point, I’m choosing to use it as a creative outlet as well. It’s very out of my comfort zone, but what’s the fun in staying in a bubble your whole life? (10/10 not a good time, hence why i’m accident prone) Ask me anything whether it’s related to mental health, fitness, school, personal life.. favorite toaster strudel? I don’t know dude, ANYTHING. I’m always, always, always here to listen, to help, and even entertain because I’m a character (or creature)- just view my posts & stories.

So there’s a little about me, you’ll have to stick around to learn more.

Cassfranks 🌻🌿

External link

Anxiety and Depression

Healing is not linear, growth is a process. Trust it and trust yourself.

May 14, 2020

Here’s to my first actual blog post. Drumroll please...

^Kidding, lets get started.

*PSA: This post is very personal and it is very real, and I am sharing in hopes that it will help someone in a way that someone helped me. Carry on.*

Anxiety is the #1 most common mental illness that affects every 1 in 13 people. Lingering anxiety more often than not can lead to depression.

When you put that into perspective..

-At my high school, classes consisted of 20+ students
-At my college, most classes consisted of 200+ students
-There are over 15+ athletes on most teams
-There are over 20+ people on buses
-There are more than 100+ people in a restaurant or grocery store
-There are 1000+ people at sporting events

You walk by, sit next to, play with, or talk to someone suffering from this everyday- and you may not even know it. The thing about anxiety is that it cannot really be seen, unless maybe you have it yourself and can relate.

What does that look like?

-Practicing a speech for class and reciting every word without looking at your notes. Giving the speech in class while your voice is shaking uncontrollably and completely forgetting everything you’ve rehearsed in the last week.

-Not wanting to leave the house for the sole fact that you simply can’t get yourself to

-Taking days to respond to a message, even if it’ll take seconds to formulate a response

-Having a conversation with someone then replaying the entire convo word for word hours later.
You hours later:
“I shouldn’t have said it that way.”
“I wonder what they were thinking when I said that.”
“I wish I would’ve thought of that at the time.”
“Why am I like this.”
“I’m so embarrassed why did I do that.”
“They probably think i’m so stupid.”
Them hours later:
“Damn this taco is good.”
“Why won’t my dog answer me when I talk.”
“How do you even spell quarantine? quarentine? corantine?”
“Why is Friends off netflix!!!” (Not over it, clearly)

...Get the picture?

Anxiety is a power of thought. What you allow into your headspace is what has power over you. The bright side? You’re in control of that. YOU. No one else. Of course, it’s easier said than done. BUT it’s not impossible, it’s a form of habit. When something or someone is bringing negativity to your life, let that shit go, let it go far and fast. As I have said before, some people you just have to love from a distance.

I have dealt with anxiety most of my life, ever since I can remember. I was 12 years old and just starting to get a grasp of what life was about, aside from Spongebob marathons and Playstation thrills (90’s babies, what a time to be alive, am I right?) I was in the 7th grade and I got called on in math class. I was SHOOK, not only because I hate math and math hates me, but because I simply hated having eyes on me. Not knowing the answer was even worse. I was shaky and I couldn’t even formulate words. It was as if someone stripped my mind of a language that I’ve spoken since I was a fetus, how could I just forget it? I was... anxious?! I didn’t even know what that meant at that age, but I knew it was a feeling not every 12 year old probably had. I don’t know, maybe that’s why I hate math.

In high school I struggled, but in college, it progressed even worse, manifesting into depressive episodes. The worst was during my fall semester of senior year at Syracuse University. I took 19 credits of predominantly psych courses to graduate on time, worked 3 jobs, was President of the SU club field hockey team, got diagnosed with alopecia, and faced many personal issues, just like everyone else does day to day. I took on more than I could mentally and emotionally handle at that time. I was overwhelmed and over stressed. I was malnourished. I slept more hours than I was awake. I was constantly sick. When I would go out with friends, I would drink to numb the pain, not to enjoy the night. I had many days where I thought there was an easier way out. I had little concern for my well-being. I was uncomfortable in my own skin and I resented myself because I wasn’t acting like myself.

Recognizing I was now living with depression was my first step. I was extremely frustrated with myself being a psych major because I knew the condition like the back of my hand, yet still couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just help myself and snap out of it. But that’s the illness, it’s debilitating and consuming. Depression instills a mindset of “I can’t,” but I promise you, you can. You ALWAYS can.

I paid out of pocket for therapy instead of going through insurance because I didn’t want my parents to worry. I was wrong. You need a support system, and your parents need to know, along with your friends, and even employers. Going through depression is a battle with oneself, not others around them. Outside factors influence it, yes, but it all comes from within. It’s a mindset that is plagued by experiences, self-doubt, stress, perfection, disorders, etc. But it is a battle that you CAN win.

Things that continue to help me:

-Keeping a journal, and writing down how i’m feeling, what i’m thinking, or what’s happening. Sometimes we listen to react instead of listening to interpret. As someone that’s hurt, we tend to let emotion drive our impulse. By writing things down, it allows me to look at the situation from a different perspective and give myself time to think with a clear conscience instead of reacting in the moment.

-Writing letters; send them or don’t. I’ve found that writing letters to those who have wronged you, those you have wronged, or those who have made an impact on you is extremely therapeutic, and a key step when it comes to healing. Writing letters to friends I also recommend, especially during this quarantine (bringing it back to the old days).

-Staying active. Working out is such a positive outlet for stress. But do it because you WANT to do it, not because someone is telling you to do it. It could be yoga, walking or running around your neighborhood, HIIT circuits, going to the gym, etc. Whatever working out looks like to you, have at it.

-Therapy. It is not frowned upon, screw stigma. It is okay not to be okay and it is okay to reach out for help.

-Invest in a furry friend- there’s a reason they qualify as service pets and for emotional support. Ever since I adopted Oki from my brother, he has brought me so much comfort and relief that I can’t even describe. If i’m anxious, he walks right over. If i’m crying, he licks the salt off my face until my face is more wet than it already was. I’m forever thankful for him and for my brother allowing me to experience this kind of love from a pet.

-Reading, any genre. For me, I gravitate more towards fantasy and mystery. It pulls me into a different world and allows my mind to wander for a while. I also love self-help books as they force you to think about what’s going on in your head, and encourages a positive mindset. You can read those when you feel ready to.

-Opening up to those who will let you, not those who will judge you or belittle you. My loved ones whether it was friends, family, employers, etc. played a huge role in helping me heal, and still do. And I will forever be grateful for the unconditional love and support from each and every one of you; you all know who you are and I love you, immensely.

-Rollerblading and listening to my favorite music

-CBD oil (Sunsoil has been my favorite so far)

-Listening to podcasts, I will dedicate a ‘Favorites’ slide for my recommendations!

-Traveling by myself and with others. I make sure to note by myself because falling in love with your solitude is crucial. You need to be content with yourself and be able to enjoy life altogether. It creates a gap for self-discovery, personal growth, and opportunity to connect with who you are as a person.

Best for last- CONQUERING YOUR FEARS.
-Remember the shaky voice girl I was talking about in the beginning? Yeah that’s me! In order to graduate with my BS, I had to give a 30 minute presentation for Cognitive Psychology on Prototypes. I was 1. discussing something I barely understood myself and 2. talking in front of peeps, obviously. I literally debated graduating with a BA instead of a BS just so I didn’t have to go through the emotional turmoil of dreading the very day I’d have to do it. My best friend happened to be in that class with me, her name is Lo. Grateful for her giving me tough love and listening to me worry about it everyday, she pushed me to do it. “You just gotta do it, nobody’s even really paying attention, once you do it, you’ll realize it was just you stuck in your head all along.” So, I did it. And midway through, I stopped stuttering, and I stopped shaking. It was like I had an epiphany. (so d r a m a t i c), but seriously. It was a breakthrough in my recovery where I finally realized, WHO CARES? Nobody was going to care if I messed up, and if they laughed, I probably would have to. Anxiety sucks and it’s always an ongoing battle, but when you find ways to manage it, and change your mindset, you can find ways to overcome it.

It’s been almost a year and a half now since that point, and I have experienced an immensity of personal growth. I’ve learned that what you give power to, has power over you. Pain is inevitable and how you choose to deal with it will either make or break you. I’ve realized that perfection is unattainable and the sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. I’ve realized that hurt people, hurt people and it’s not out of spite. It may be that their world is falling apart and they can’t understand why. People will act out and they will hurt you in ways you wouldn’t expect, but in those moments it’s crucial to be forgiving. People do the best they can and sometimes they fall short, but it doesn’t mean they’re bad people. Pain will do that to a person. But as one of those hurt people, accountability is vital. Most of all, I’ve realized that unconditional love can mend anything, and will conquer everything. At the end of the day, that’s what will save you. People will tell you, “you’re way too young to be so sad,” and they’re wrong. Depression and anxiety affects children and adults of all ages, some more than others. It’s not something that magically disappears, it’s an everyday battle. Everyone has problems- big or small, it doesn’t make anyone’s problems more significant or more real than another. Taking time for yourself to make sure you’re okay is more important than worrying whether your job will be staffed, whether the quiz you missed will tank your GPA, or whether someone will understand your decision-making. None of it matters as much as the quality of your life.

Take care of yourself and listen to your body. Have hope that things will get better. I promise you, I know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It is an everyday process, and some days are better than others.

If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out for help. Tell your friends and family you love them, every chance you get. You don’t know how much it can save a person.

And if nobody told you yet today, I’m proud of you. You’re always stronger than you think and you are capable of anything and everything. I’m here if you need anything, friends.

With love,
Cassfranks

I’m the ‘ pride & joy ’ she’s always talking about

I’m sorry if she never stops

Tattoos

May 15, 2020

Everyone’s favorite topic.

...for different reasons, of course.

You have people that loathe... ENTIRELY (name that reference) tattoos, and you have people that love tattoos- to each their own. I see why people love them and I see why people hate them. Believe me, I do get it.

Now. for me? Biiiig tattoo fan. love all the tattoos- so much that I just wanna tat it on my forehead because “no ragrets” 🤙🏼 (We’re the Millers- watch it, love it. thank me later) But in all seriousness, I think they’re a powerful way to express who you are creatively and who you are soulfully.

I get a lot of people that say, “is it really necessary?” Probably not, but is drinking alcohol really necessary? Definitely not, but people do it anyway even though in the grand scheme of things, it’s more detrimental than ink on skin. (I know, wooowza)

The way I see it. Do what makes you happy. If you want a tattoo of a lightning bolt that gives you super powers like Justin Timberlake from Friends with Benefits, DO IT. If you want a tattoo of a quote that makes you feel a certain way whenever you read it, DO IT. If you don’t want to permanently have something on your skin, DONT DO IT. If you prefer other ways to express yourself, DO IT. A big issue in our world everyday is judgement, which is something we all actively need to work on.

Tattoos are art and some people like to think of their body as a canvas, let them. You don’t have to like them, but don’t treat anyone different just because they have them. If I had a $1 for every time someone insulted my tattoos, I’d have enough money to pay off my loans, your loans, your parents loans, your pet hamsters loans, etc. If I had a $1 for every time their insults affected me, I’d have nothing. When they finally ask the meaning behind each one, they feel a bit differently. You don’t get a tattoo to please other people, you get it for yourself.

Below, I’m going to share my tattoos with you and the meaning behind them all. In total. I have 9.

1. Swahili symbol for ‘Hakuna Matata,’ on my ankle- it means no worries. Lion King was and always will be my favorite Disney movie growing up. You don’t realize how many life lessons you are taught as a kid until you revisit those movies as an adult.

2. ‘Philippians 4:13’ on my back below my neck. It means, “I can do all things through God who gives me strength.” I didn’t grow up going to church, but always envied those that did. As I got older, I developed my own faith and beliefs through my own discovery and experiences. And that’s okay, I’m thankful for that.

3. Next to tattoo #2, I have 5 birds. 3 for my brothers, and 2 for my parents. Where’s mine you ask? My bible verse represents me. They are my strength and the people that made me who I am today. I chose birds because birds fly in packs; they may go their separate ways, but they always come back for one another.

4. Tiger below my shoulder blade (Contrary to popular belief, it is not because of Carole Baskin) Tigers have always been my favorite animal, ever since my first time at the zoo. Some qualities they embody are independence, strength, guardianship, and energy. 4 qualities that I believe describe me in some of the best ways.

5. “You can and you will, love ya” on my forearm. ‘You can and you will’ is in my mother’s handwriting, and the ‘love ya’ is in my fathers handwriting. In previous posts, I have mentioned my battles with anxiety and depression. It’s crazy that the 5 seconds I look down at my arm, are 5 seconds where I feel at ease. I got this not only as a constant reminder, but for some guidance and so I always have a piece of them everywhere I go.

6. ‘joi de vivre’ on the front of my bicep- it means joy of life, be happy to be alive in French. People have asked, ‘are you even French?’ Yes, I am, but that’s not the point. The french language is known for being the language of love. When my grandma was alive, she used to say this to me when she would babysit me each week. If I was being a brat and pouting because I didn’t get my way or something didn’t go right for me, she’d tell me to just enjoy life and not waste energy over things I can’t control. So, I chose French as a reminder to love life, day in and day out, and as a reminder of her constant love and encouragement.

7. A gutterflower (rose, if you will) on the side of my wrist under my thumb. Gutterflower is the name of my favorite album by my favorite band Goo Goo Dolls with my favorite song, Sympathy. (favorite favorite favorite, did i say it enough yet?) The tattoo is of the flower on the front of the album, hence Gutterflower. This song seems to find me when I need it most.

8. Airplane on the inside of my bicep. (No, it’s not a G6 people) It represents my love for traveling; the one thing that has brought me the most self-discovery and mindfulness in my life. It truly makes me insanely happy experiencing new places and cultures. You realize how big the world actually is and how many unique people there are from palm trees to sand dunes to snow banks (ha guess which ones N e W y O r K)

9. ‘Stay human’ behind my right ear. Self-explanatory enough I guess. Keep making mistakes for as long as you live, but always learn from them. Be kind to everyone, we’re all going through something no one knows about.

10. Wildflowers with a rose around my upper arm with ‘sometimes it’s roses, sometimes it’s weeds’ intertwined throughout. I’ve been listening to Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks since I was old enough to walk. I’m an old soul at heart. Music has always been my outlet and what I’ve chosen to express through my tattoos. If you analyze them, you’ll shortly realize i’m an open book. This entire piece means so much to me in so many ways, representing every emotion, every feeling. Sorrow, tragedy, the constant battle with mental health, but also contentment, and celebration of life. To those who left far too soon, to my favorite artists who put all of my feelings into words, and to all those who have helped along the way. You belong somewhere you feel free. #Wildflowers #TomPetty #FleetwoodMac

So there you have it, friends. A compile of inkwork that reveals some vulnerability and personality. I hope you enjoyed 🤙🏼💛

Much love,
Cassfranks

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