Humans of Grandview: Maya Epstein

"I’m Maya and I like to write and I like to help other people so a few years ago I decided to create a blog called the Avocado and Me. I write about mental health ‘cause I think it’s a really important subject that’s taboo and not addressed in society and it's something that all of us have. And mental illness is something I personally struggle with, so I think it's important to talk about that. I talk about body positivity, empowerment, equality, the whole nine yards. I write about once a week on a good week of course. 

I've been doing theatre, forever! When i was in preschool I wrote a version of Alice and Wonderland as a play. My favorite musical that I was in was Shrek. Then last year for my freshman year I went to Denver School of the Arts for creative writing actually. And that meant--and I didn't realize this when I got in-- that I wouldn't be able to do as much theatre because DSA is separated into majors and because I was a creative writing major I didn't have the opportunity to do a  lot of theatre there. So that's actually why I transferred to Grandview this year is so that I could get back into theatre and choir which i'm also really really passionate about.

I did like DSA, it was a lot of fun. I liked DSA. I really liked the culture there. Grandview has a very different culture from DSA because at DSA everyone auditioned to be there so you have this feeling that everyone actually wanted to be there which made the school  really fun.

I have struggled with mental health since about 7th grade. In 7th grade, I developed anorexia and that was rough for a variety of reasons but essentially I was not taking care of my body or myself and if you go back on my blog, in fact, you can see that in my old posts. And I didn't delete my old posts intentionally because I think that growth is important. It's important to show how people change and then last year, especially, though I had a wonderful time at DSA and made new friends and still saw some of my old friends. I fell into a pretty extreme depression so I started going to therapy, which I would recommend. It doesn't work for everyone, but it certainly works for me if you find the right person. I've been diagnosed with mild OCD, depression, clinical depression, and anxiety. So I currently take medication for primarily depression but the medication I'm taking also helps with the anxiety and OCD. I feel like medication is really stigmatized as is everything with mental health but if it's something you're comfortable with and you've tried other methods I think it's a really viable option so its definitely working for me so obviously it's not a magic bullet i have to go back every other week pretty much to change my prescription ultimately based on how I'm feeling and it obviously affects sleep and school and how I interact with other people so but i would say it's definitely helping. Even for me it was really hard to find the right therapist, I think I've gone thru only two which is really impressive, a lot of people  they go through quite a few and I feel really really privileged to have the opportunity to get help and I know a lot of people don’t.I think it’s really important that everyone is able to reach out and get the support they need.

I do still cook, but not as much as I’d like to because AP World History. I cook dinner less. I find it very therapeutic and fun because I really like Chemistry. I really like science and I feel like cooking is the ultimate expression of science application in daily life, so when I’m cooking it makes me happy to think about how it applies to what I'm learning in school and also the food is delicious and important. It’s a good way to bond with your family. I think food is a way to connect with people because when you're eating with someone you start having conversation and open dialogue. It’s important that you take care of your physical state in order to promote your mental one."

Interview by: Emma Wilson

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