Ooooh if I had a nickel for every time I heard, “well at least you’re not _____” or “but so many people have it worse than you” or “why are you making such a big deal?”, I could afford quite a few college text books, a mini fridge, and a parking pass for all 4 years of college.
This is the most ridiculous attempt at sympathizing with someone I have ever come across. It’s not that their effort is unappreciated. It’s the fact they are trying to make someone’s situation seem petty or trivial even though it may be destroying their life. “Oh sure, your son is in the hospital, but at least he isn’t dead yet.” “Why are you acting so depressed? At least you have a family and friends.” It demonstrates such a blind level of understanding. The level of pain you are able to handle is light years different from the level of pain someone just down the street can.
If this is a foreign topic for you, check out Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Empathy. Here is the link. She says that empathy is feeling with people. It’s a vulnerable choice that enables you to connect with another through shared feelings of anguish or guilt or loss. Through empathy, you understand that you are not the only one who has felt this way. You realize that you are allowed to feel however you feel in that moment.
For so long, I thought that since I have two parents, a house, a few friends, and a strong school career that I wasn’t entitled to the darkness creeping up on me from my repressed anxiety and depression. I told myself I was overreacting, being a wimp, being ungrateful. It took a close encounter with suicide, a year (and counting) of therapy, and a loyal best friend to convince me that feelings are feelings. Mental illnesses don’t discriminate. My chemical imbalance isn’t something I can change. If you are a billionaire with a dream job and a massive group of followers, your feelings of loneliness are not stupid. If you are a great student with an admirable GPA, you can still feel far from perfection. If you are on a beautiful vacation at a tropical island, you are allowed to feel sad and betrayed. It doesn’t matter what your current state is.
YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID.
I will not shame you for them. You will not shame yourself for them. Do not accept when other people shame you for them.
Stay strong, beautiful friends.