No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to catch your breath. Your stomach tightens and you feel queasy. Your head starts to spin. In your mind, every situation has an awful outcome no matter how much planning and thinking you put into them. These are some of the symptoms of anxiety.
According to a research done by professor Weissman MM, called the Epidemiological Catchment Area study, 13.3% of United States citizens suffer from clinical and crippling anxiety. Anxiety unfortunately exists in every single person. It may not be life altering or deterring, but everyone still feels little bits of anxiety from time to time.
Maybe you’ve been living with anxiety for you whole life, so it’s hard to even realize that there is a problem. Abbie Garcia, an anxiety therapist says that symptoms of anxiety can vary heavily. They can include trembling, stomach aches, headaches, sweating, heart palpitations, and much more. It’s important to be aware of your own symptoms of anxiety so that you can take actions to calm yourself down.
A study done by Medical News Today suggests the anxiety accounts for decreased productivity, increased morbidity and mortality, and increased drug and alcohol use. The article goes on to suggest that as long as anxiety doesn’t control how you act, you have a healthy and normal amount of anxiety.
In order to get a little more insight, I decided to see if any students would answer some questions. The first student I talked to asked to remain anonymous. I asked them to explain what an anxiety attack is in their opinion. “It feels like everyone starts caring way too much about everything I do. It feels like every little worry that I’ve had gets worse and worse and just spirals. Then I get anxious about being anxious, which makes everything a whole lot worse.”
Another student told me about their worst bout with anxiety. “I think my worst anxiety attack happened when I was going in for a job interview at a grocery store. While I was getting ready, I started to think about some likely questions and how I would answer them. I started envisioning the absolute worst scenarios. It only got worse the closer I got to the actual interview. I was worried about how I looked, how high pitched my voice was, if my walk was unprofessional, how my breath smelled, whether or not I should make eye contact and for how long at a time, etc, etc. It got so bad that I had to pull my car over because I couldn’t catch my breath or see straight. I ended up completely passing out and missing the interview. I was too anxious to call and reschedule, so I just looked for another job.”
Now what do you do when anxiety becomes an issue in your life? A study by Boswell, J.F., lists several ways to treat yourself and manage your anxiety. A popular approach to dealing with anxiety is any form of meditation. Whether that’s scrambling around your house looking for you mom’s Jesus candles to light and humming a prayer, or just taking five minutes to close your eyes and breathe, meditation has been proven by multiple sources to lower anxiety and increase your mental clarity. Other methods include exercising, reading, and napping. Unfortunately, a large portion of students suffer from some sort of anxiety, but they continue to work through it. There are plenty of sources to help recognize and cope with anxiety. Whether or not you can completely get rid of your symptoms, you can absolutely find ways to make the anxiety in your life manageable.
Another police shooting video is released, but what do we know about the issue?
By Karina Hanks
Daniel Shaver and an unknown woman exit into their hotel hallway where they are met with law enforcement officials pointing AR-15 assault rifles at them. Before being told to do so, Shaver puts his hands in the air, drops to his knees and lays down on the ground while informing the officers that no one else was in their hotel room. The two comply with the orders from multiple officers and answer all questions without hesitation. The officers have the woman crawl down the hallway and is taken into custody while Shaver remains laying on the ground sobbing, begging not to be shot. Listening to the officers commands, he begins to crawl towards them. While crawling, he reaches back to pull up his shorts and brings his hand back to the ground to continue crawling. His arm was roughly halfway to the ground when an officer opens fire, fatally shooting him five times in the back, neck, chest, thigh, and cheek.
This graphic body camera video was released by police in Mesa, Arizona after a jury acquitted shooting officer, Philip Brailsford of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. The shooting occurred after officers received a call about a man allegedly pointing a rifle out of a hotel window. No guns were found on Shaver but two pellet guns, used for his pest control job, were found in his hotel room. Shavers toxicology report showed him to have a blood alcohol content of .29 percent, which is three times the legal driving limit.
To counteract controversy around unjustified shootings, law enforcement officials have started wearing body cameras. The thought being that body cameras wouldn’t only prove the innocence of the falsely accused, it would ensure the protection of police. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be that way. Thelab.dc conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Much like flipping a coin, 2,220 officers were randomly assigned to either wear a body camera (treatment) or not (control). When comparing the treatment and controlled groups, body-worn cameras didn’t appear to have any remarkable effects. Throughout the country police are being accused of commiting many different acts of brutality, but there aren’t any government officials tracking it. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) doesn’t have any data on how many people are shot by police officers. However, the government does keep data on how many officers are killed in the line of duty. According to FBI statistics in 2016, 66 law enforcement officers died as a result of criminal acts.
In recent months, police officers have started to see themselves as victims of racism. Officers in New York City have created a countermovement, Blue Lives Matter, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which was created to call attention to the killing and oppression of African Americans. The Blue Lives Matter organization was formed after NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were killed when they were ambushed in their patrol car. Blue Lives Matter is made up of active and retired law enforcement officers who believe their jobs are being discriminated against.
Police officers believing they are victims of hate crimes, created the Blue Lives Matter Bill. Louisiana, and now Kentucky become the first states to offer hate crime protections to police officers. Targeting police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel now fall under Louisiana’s hate crime law. A hate crime is considered as such if the victim is targeted because of identity-based characteristics.
Since the government isn’t tracking killings by police officers, other organizations have launched to keep the public informed on this issue. Last updated in the beginning of November, mappingpoliceviolence.net tallies the number of citizen deaths by police to be 1,049, with African Americans reported as being 279 of those deaths. When taking population rates per capita into consideration, African Americans account for 26 percent of the 1,049 killed, despite being only 13 percent of the U.S. population. So far in 2017, there have only been 10 days where no one was killed by police. These numbers are higher than they’ve been in years, but critics argue that police aren’t being held accountable. In 2015, 99 percent of cases did not result in any officers involved being convicted of a crime. A few months ago, President Trump addressed growing concerns regarding police brutality when he gave a speech to law enforcement officers at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island where the president seemed to endorse police brutality, while making a joke. Trump urged police officers to be more offhand in their use of force towards suspects under arrest. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand?” Trump stated while gesturing how officers shield a suspect’s head to protect it from hitting the squad car. “Please don’t be too nice,” he continued, encouraging officers to use force when guiding “thugs into the back of a paddy wagon”. Police brutality is a nationwide issue that requires systematic change. Every police force should examine its members, practices, policies and procedures to ensure that all suspects are treated fairly.
The Value of Art
By Brianna Snow
Art influences life every single day. The musical compositions flowing through your earbuds and the stories of past students told in color that line the hallways that adorn the hallways of our high school. However, We only let these things graze the surface of our understanding, forgetting to ask what these works mean or even acknowledging the way they makes us feel. Many students here at Valley have full schedules of core classes and don’t have the opportunity to take an art class. In a generation constantly exposed to “art” in social media, it is important for us to learn what good art is and how to understand it.
On December 8th, Valley hosted a Friday activity to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Nearly 50 students came on this trip, and I was lucky to be one of them. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is a place of inspiration and history. It holds nearly 20,000 original works from ranging from ancient to contemporary. Also, recent renovations have included more ways to interact with the art. Including installments where the viewer is asked to create something with blocks or other miscellaneous objects.
The most popular feature among students was Katie Paterson’s installation, which is part of the Salt13 show. Viewers entered a room filled with swirling light bringing their attention to a disco ball in the center of the room, appropriately named Totality, immersing the participants in images of solar eclipses ranging from the 18th century drawings to modern day photographs. Peterson creates interstellar fantasies that manipulate space and time with the use of modern objects with a unique style that engages the viewer with ideas about our connection to the universe. This showcase includes pieces such as Totality, Ideas, Candle and, my personal favorite, Earth-Moon-Earth. A work which features a performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata translated to morse code and then bounced off the moon using E.M.E. transmission. The received message is changed as parts were lost, absorbed or refracted. The piece is composed with “flaws” incorporated as intervals and rests. The final composition will be performed on Saturday, February, 17, 2018, as one day event titled “The Scent and Sound of Space”.
Throughout history, art has been used to tell stories and share the human experience. This has not changed and we are presented with these stories. If we can take the time to understand them and take that knowledge and communicate it with another person, then we can find the value in the way it influences our lives. Thomas Merton stated that “Art enables us to lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time.” Art can consist of music, photography, clothing, poetry, and graffiti. It can be seen in everything. It is a way for people to express themselves, so use that to your own advantage and get out into the “art” world. The museum is a great place to start.
Maureen Morris, an art teacher here at Valley, said, “I want students to gain a sense of importance by finding an individual perception of the art. Students need to allow themselves to be changed by the experience.” This generation has forgotten what it means to experience art. It is more than just looking at it. You listen to it. You feel it., but most importantly you must question it. These questions are what will create the connections between you and the world. Whether you are looking at a painting or listening to your favorite song, ask, “How does this make me feel and why?” Find what it reminds you of and make that connection. I noticed students on the trip looking over everything with glazed eyes, not bothering to read even the names of the pieces. The only thing the tour offered to them was answers
By Cameron Justice
Valley High School will always be more than just a place of education. It is a place of friendships, family, support, passion and artistry. Valley holds a biannual poetry slam that time after time shows the hidden talent and passion our students have, from slam style poetry, to playing instruments, to singing, to self-written rap; the otherwise silent passions of our peers shine at the poetry slam.
In my own opinion, one of the best ways to get to know someone is to read something they’ve written on their own time, but to hear them speak it so passionately gives a glimpse into who they really are. And with such a small student body it’s important we all get to really know each other.
Hosted and MC’d by our very own Off the Wall literary magazine staff, this year’s first poetry slam was a huge success. Both the morning and afternoon slam overflowed with talented students sharing deeper parts of themselves with all of us. And those who did not share made an awesome, polite, all-ears audience. Here at valley every one of us has a story, and whether you’re sharing yours through the poetry slams, your art displayed in the hallways, or the way you talk, act, and interact with everyone else here, or any way else, you’re sharing it somehow. I’d say one of if not the best part of Valley is the diversity that comes out in our school. Our school is a family, and a melting pot, and with such diverse characters, there will always come diverse talents. Each and every word shared by a student came with such passion, and was spoken with talent, but the poetry slam is more than just the students. Whether it be the wise words of Terry’s cousin, or Lanny’s excellently written poem “I am a feminist” or anything in between, the adults of Valley High shined in just the same ways we as students did. There’s nothing quite like Valley High’s poetry slam, and whether you attended our first yearly slams or not, we look forward to seeing and hearing from you guys at the spring slams!
I Have A Secret
I have a secret. It’s something no one knows, though it still consumes my life. It’s my obsession, my addiction, and I’m afraid of how far I can take it. I have anorexia nervosa, and I have for about a year now. My complicated relationship with food started when I was fifteen years old, after all the comments I received about my weight finally got to me. At first, I just wanted to lose a few pounds, so I went to the gym three times a week and went on a diet. Nothing too bad. Then, slowly, I started restricting more and more calories, skipping meals occasionally until I just ate dinner some nights. I dropped 20 pounds doing this. But it wasn’t enough. I was addicted to the feeling of emptiness that occupied my stomach, the dizziness I’d feel from going onto the seventy-seventh hour of a fast.
I kept it a secret from everyone. No one recognized the signs. I started frequenting Tumblr, searching under the “pro-ana” and “thinspo” tags, looking for tips, looking for the “meanspo” prompts for motivation, to be told that I was as fat, dumb and worthless as I felt. I looked at images of girls whose bones jutted out of their bodies, girls with petite legs covered in bruises, skinny wrists marred with cuts and scars. I now could say that I felt just as empty as I aspired to be.
Anorexia has the highest death rate of psychological disorders, every five people out of one thousand dies per year. But then, I knew the danger. I knew the horror stories of hair loss, irregular periods, heart and kidney failure, I know the risks. So for a period of time, during the summer, I tried to recover. I hung out. I made sure to eat in front of my boyfriend and his family. I tried to pretend I was normal. Then, at the end, I gained all of my weight back. So back off the end I went.
I relapsed. I was slowly back to the habits I was at before. But eventually, I had to tell my boyfriend. People started catching on. But I haven’t stopped. Often times, I feel like a fake. Because I haven’t passed out before because I don’t restrict to 500 calories or under a day. Because I eat. I’m afraid of how far I can take this. I’m afraid for the girls who I aspired to be like on Tumblr. For any person who has to struggle with an eating disorder, I’m afraid for you. No one deserves to do this to themselves. If you think you’re like me in the slightest, or even more, then please get the help you need.