The other day, I came across an article on Odyssey called “You Don’t Need A Reason For Your Depression, It’s Still Valid if Your Life is Technically ‘Good’“and it really got me thinking about a conversation I had with someone recently.
I was talking to a friend about how hard things have been and how badly I wished I wasn’t here. I vented about everything because I felt like I was talking to someone I could trust… someone who would help. Instead, I got the grand old “there are people who have it worse than you” lecture.
And in that moment, I felt disappointment and guilt. Disappointment because that wasn’t at all what I wanted or expected to hear. It was like I was reaching for help but they were stepping on my fingers. Guilt because now I felt terrible for taking everything I had for granted. Even guilt for speaking up about how I was feeling.
I spent a few days feeling awful about feeling awful.
Now I’m finally realizing how wrong that is. I mean, I always thought it was messed up for someone to say you’re not allowed to be upset because people have it worse than you. It’s like saying you can’t be happy because someone has it better than you. But something about the way it had been said to me that night was so manipulative that I was immediately convinced it was the truth.
My poor brain was doing flips. I kept shaming myself for overthinking or feeling pain. Any time I was sad, I told myself I was wrong. It added another layer of problems for me. It was like trying to put out a fire with more fire.
If you’re ever told that you shouldn’t be reacting a certain way because “someone else has it worse than you,” or “someone else would kill to be in the position you’re in,” know that your feelings are valid. It is not your job to base your pain on the pain of others. It is not your job to turn off your feelings at the flip of a switch because someone says you shouldn’t feel that way.
I hate what this person said to me. I hate this person’s mindset. But I don’t hate this person. I actually love them a lot. So, as you can imagine, it really hurts me that I can no longer feel comfortable talking to them about my struggles.
I didn’t want to write about this at first because I was afraid it would cause problems with the person who said it, but at the end of the day it needed to be said. Someone else might need to hear this. I hope the person who said this to me reads this. Let’s be honest, they’re probably going through some shit too.
Please, reach out to your friends. Make sure they’re ok. It isn’t easy to ask someone for help. By showing that interest yourself, it invites and reassures them.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: