Assuming everyone else’s problems are bigger than your own can be detrimental

Anika Paulette, Staff Writer

     It’s late October, a few weeks before Halloween. You walk out of your room and peek into the living room. Your mom looks up from the conversation she’d been having with your dad and you sense you’re interrupting something.

     You quickly split from the living room, not wanting to stay in the heavy environment anymore. You hang around in the bathroom for a bit before taking a shower and hear crying from the living room. The word divorce is thrown around.

     A few days later, they officially tell you. Everyone’s crying, but you just sit there, numb. You eventually ask to leave the room, going back to your own. Once there, you stare blankly at your computer screen.

no matter how big or small your issue is, it’s one of the heaviest things you’ve ever gone through.”

— Anika Paulette

     You still aren’t done processing how your entire happy childhood has actually been a lie. The reason for the divorce hangs heavy on your shoulders.

     You and your friends are hanging out, eating lunch. Much uglier thoughts are sinking their fangs into the corners of your mind, clawing their way to the center as you blankly stare at the wall you’re facing. 

     Someone else is going on about their anxiety attacks, another is currently wrapped up in your arms, crying into your shoulder about a recent breakup. Someone else notices your blank stare, and asks you if you’re okay. You plaster on a well-practiced smile and reply, “Yeah, I’m fine!”

     “Why would you tell them about your problems?” that voice in your head asks. “Why would they want to know? You shouldn’t be a burden,” it continues. “They’re clearly dealing with bigger problems than you.”

     If you’re in that situation, I will tell you this from personal experience: that thought process usually ends with you in the counselor’s office. For me, it was the counselor’s office for suicidal ideation a week before finals because I broke and started crying in the middle of seventh hour for no explainable reason.

     My experience with depression is not universal, as everyone deals with it differently. But I will say that I, like a lot of people, tend to try to rationalize everything, including dark thoughts and reasons why I shouldn’t open up.

     Friends? No, they talk about their own problems a lot and you don’t want to add more to that bucket.

     Mom? No, she’s depressed too, you could lose her if you opened up and she felt like it was her fault.

     Dad? No, it seems like he’s finally doing better. Who are you to spoil that?

     Brother? He never talks to you anyway.

     I feel like a lot of people struggle with this mentality. I want you to know that, no matter how big or small your issue is, it’s one of the heaviest things you’ve ever gone through, and that’s what’s important here. Your friends and family would love to be your support system, and no one is going to accuse you of faking it or over-dramatizing small issues if they truly care.