“If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the anatomy lab for 14 hours and have 27 mental breakdowns,” my friend Dana had posted on Facebook. I’m no doctor, but I could sense something was wrong, so I reached out and we talked about the stresses of everyday life. Sadly, I gave her the only advice I could:

“Get ready to go through this about once a semester.”


It’s a heavy truth, but it’s not as bleak as it sounds. I promise. That is because, and I know this is obvious, everyone is going through the same thing. You are not alone. And just like Bob Marley always says, “Every little thing is gonna be alright.”

So, You’ve Just Had Your First Mental Breakdown: A Guide

Exhibit A:


“Hey all;

I’ve decided that it may be in my benefit to take a break from writing for a little while. I’ve experienced an incredible amount of exposure and growth between Absolutepunk and Fastest Kid in School, but as I find myself overwhelmed with 10+ reviews that need publishing with little support, I’m afraid my stress has reached a breaking point and I find it necessary to refresh myself mentally, physically and emotionally.

As a Staff writer for Edge Magazine and Funeral Sounds, I will continue to write weekly, a reminder of my passion and what will be waiting for me after this short break. I will continue to run Fastest Kid in School, but after these last reviews finally go up, I will be acting mostly as an Editor-in-Chief. Between college, work, trying to start up the Gannon Paranormal Society and juggle some sort of social life, I’m just afraid that I’ve begun to dread what I love- I started FKIS with the best of intentions, and I can only hope my fellow staff writers continue to keep the site fresh in my absence. I never want to do this if it isn’t fun for me. I guess this year, I’ve just dipped my pen into too many wells.

Attached is a photo displaying how stressed I was today; yes, I look like this every morning.

Thanks for your support and understanding,

Aaron Mook”

That’s me freshman year. Do I look freaked out? Because I was freaking out. For context, Fastest Kid in School was a website I ran for approximately three years, now defunct. It’s also worth noting I’ve since become a staff member for AbsolutePunk.net. See? Things do get better.

Need more evidence? Exhibit B:


“Me n’ Frank.

Less than a year ago, I posted a similar-ish picture in which I donned a bushy beard and essentially explained that I was having a mental breakdown and would be taking a hiatus from some writing and other activities in order to start fixing my mental/emotional/physical health.

Well, what I failed to realize is that I am not special, and there are a lot of ups and downs that everyone has to face over the span of…forever. I got back to doing what I do best, and I’m proud of my work, but last semester was particularly draining in the areas listed above. I mulled over a lot of ways to fix myself: medication, a counselor, etc. The reason I’m getting this personal is because, this past week, I’ve not only started returning to the gym to drop #30lbsByJune with Adam Miller, but I’ve taken a large number of creative leaps that have left me happier than I’ve been in about a year.

These leaps include starting work on a novel about the five people who unknowingly shaped me into the person I am now, work on two different ideas for Fringe productions next year, a brand new radio show with Adam, a paid writing gig at FDRMX, as well as an interest in stand-up comedy and plans to hang around Gannon University’s Schuster Theater in hopes of joining the APO family and work on writing, acting, and directing.

So anyways, I shaved my beard in a typically dumb symbolic fashion, and if you’re still reading this, I guess I just want to thank anyone who has helped me keep my sanity over the past year and get me where I am now, including (but not limited to) the people tagged in this post. Just know how appreciative I am of you, and now that I know the sun doesn’t revolve around me, if I can ever do the same for you, don’t hesitate to ask.

To friends old and new.



What a cheeseball. Seriously, I am the worst. A lot of those things didn’t pan out: I haven’t lost 30 pounds (I lost 10 over the summer, but alas, the tolls of school are weighed in pizza and sweets), that novel is currently on hiatus, and Adam and I aren’t DJs anymore. I don’t even write for that sham website anymore! But I have branched out in a lot of other ways: I wrote one of the shorts for Stage Fright this year and am currently waiting on a possible bid from APO. I am also writing a potential mainstage show about a mythical beast I created and have since improved at playing guitar. Last but not least, I’ve discovered the benefits of being a goatee man. Life is good. Or, perhaps more accurately, life is okay, sometimes.

So, what’s the point of this? Why did I regurgitate two personal Facebook posts as a guide to your first mental breakdown? Well, conveniently, yesterday was that time in the semester again. I had a meeting with a certain on-campus organization scheduled during one of my classes, which set off a long chain of anxiety over…mostly nothing. Seriously, this was (supposed to be) an easy week for me. I ended up driving out to Waterford to be closer to home and get some fresh air, play some songs with friends, etc. Whatever it took to get me away for the day. And sometimes, that’s what it takes.

Take care of yourself, first and foremost. The anxiety is real. The depression you might feel is real. And we believe you. We’ve all faced a similar defeat. When things get rough, put on your favorite record. Watch a movie. Split a pizza with a friend and void any gym goals you might have had for that week. And then, once you’ve taken a deep breath (possibly through a mouth full of pizza), face your obstacles head on. Knock out your papers, don’t skip class, and get on top of the ball, whether it takes a day or a week. Get plenty of sleep. And I promise, come Friday, every little thing is gonna be alright. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.