Understand Us


A lot of people don’t know about the mental struggle I have battled in my past (and still do in my present). I suffered from an eating disorder for many years, it is not something I have made very public because it is something that I will never let define me.  From this struggle, I learnt a lot about myself, but most importantly about my strength and resilience that I never believed I had. I treat my body with so much respect now. Food is fuel. I listen to my body. If it’s over-worked, I rest it. If I’m hungry, I eat. Overcoming this mental illness wasn’t easy and it wasn’t done overnight, in fact, it will probably be something I always have to deal with. The most important thing I’ve learnt is that I’m not alone in this struggle, I’ve met and became close with so many amazing people who have helped me fight off my demons.

A friend of mine started a nonprofit organization called Understand Us.  It is about bringing awareness to mental illness and helping stop the stigma around mental illness.  For so long people have looked at mental illness as something to be embarrassed about, and something to hide, but it’s an illness just like having the flu or a cold.  Understand Us has a new initiative called “Take a Minute”.  It is a pledge you can make to take a minute out of your day and write down or think of three things that you appreciate and love in that moment.  With doing this you train your brain to think of positive things instead of negative things.

In this moment I am thankful for:
1) My beautiful friends that I am surrounded by, who inspire me every day to be the best person I can be.
2) This beautiful weather we have been blessed with this week, that is brightening my mood during spring classes.
3) My education because even though I wish I could be doing a million other things, I have to remember that there are people who would die for the opportunity to go to university.

If you have a minute take the pledge, and see how fast your mood is brightened! Also, make sure to check out Understand Us and the other initiatives they’ve done!


Understand Us website!


UPDATE: Understand Us shared this post on their site! Within only a few short hours their site had over 500 views and I got so many amazing messages and kind words. Even though vulnerability is such a scary thing, I hope by speaking out and sharing my message I inspire at least one person! 🙂
Take A Minute: Ashley Bernstein



Social Media or Social Suicide?

This past semester I took a class on Pop Culture. This class forced me to take a step back and really analyze our generation’s society. It is crazy to think that people are now able to create careers off of social media.  YouTube, Instagram.. many of the people I follow will make more money posting one video or picture than I have made in my entire life. Crazy. Absolutely crazy. Social media scares me, because I know I’ve been in situations myself, or seen the people around me do things just for the ‘likes’ and the gratification.  We’re all brave enough to post pictures, facts, knowledge, and insight of our lives to the unknown world. It’s kind of creepy and liberating at the same time.  People I have never talked to or met in my life know what I did yesterday or what I had for breakfast this morning.  The one thing people often forget when they are idolizing Instagram personalities is everything that people post is filtered. People wait for the perfect moment to take a picture, in the perfect setting, then choose the perfect filter to make this perfect photo look perfectly flawless. No one dares to post their raw, unfiltered, unperfect lives because who wants to see that right? In saying this all, I’m not trying to point fingers because when I was younger I learned that when you point a finger you have four pointing back at you. I am just as guilty as anyone.

I urged everyone to remember that not every perfect moment needs to be captured on camera.  That your worth is never based on the amounts of likes you get on it. And that not everything is as perfect behind the filters.