Opinion Column by J1 Reporter Jasmine Buttler
We’ve all had those sleepovers with our best friends. During the late night or early morning conversations at 1 a.m., all the secrets that have been frozen inside of us suddenly become easier to say out loud and flow just as smoothly as if we were talking to ourselves. As we spill our hearts out to each other, the late hours of the night and hours before dawn become a safe place to talk about our struggles free from judgment. No words that have been spoken ideally leave those four walls or the ears that hear them.
When we tell others something that has been weighing us down for a long time, we automatically feel that someone else understands what we’re going through.
We don’t feel alone anymore.
We need more people around us and spaces were we feel safe talking about our struggles and problems. If we have the ability to tell at least one person what we’re going through, it could change our entire mindset. There would be more awareness on the importance of our mental health and how sharing our stories help ourselves and others.
If you’ve ever shaken uncontrollably, felt cold and hot at the same time or would rather crawl into a hole and never come out during any type of social or public interaction, congratulations,—you’re probably showing some common symptoms of anxiety. Although thousands of people feel these symptoms every day, they ignore them and just brush them off with thoughts like “I just don’t like public speaking” or “I guess I’m just a shy person.” I’ve heard those words from others and said them to myself too many times to count. Once you say and hear something so many times, you start to believe it, not recognizing the true underlying problem. Now obviously not everyone in the world who feels these things has anxiety. Sometimes it’s stress from public speaking or maybe that person really is just naturally shy. These situations do happen and are still just as important.
The problem occurs when we keep these thoughts and emotions deep inside of us or ignore them completely. The more we keep them in, the more they build up. Eventually, when it becomes too much for us to handle we explode and breakdown, leaving us more vulnerable than we were before. No one wants all of their problems exposed to the public, but once you share a bit of your soul letting go feels easier than anything else you’ve ever done before.
If I would’ve known that other people who I interact with everyday experience the same struggles with anxiety and other mental health issues, I know that I would’ve been more open to sharing my own personal journey with others to help them know that there’s someone out there who relates to what they’re going through. I would be more willing to share my scars with the people whose scars are still unhealed.
When your load is too hard to carry anymore, when you heart feels too heavy for your chest to bear, when the thoughts inside your brain are so wild you think you’re going insane, let others help you lighten the load. The hardest thing in the world to do is to keep going when everything inside you tells you to stop. But, at the end of the day the scars that stain your skin will heal and fade with time if you let a trusted person in long enough for them to notice and help close them for you.
So open up. Be vulnerable to the people you would trust your life with. Be the person your friends can turn to when they feel like they have no one else. When they look down at the ground below them at the top of that skyscraper and they’re steps away from dropping off the edge, let them know that you’re there and waiting to catch them at the bottom. Break down the barriers in our minds that hold us hostage from expressing what we really feel inside. It’s hard to open up when you feel like you’re alone. No one is ever truly alone in this world, not when we’re constantly surrounded by people who understand every part of us. Let your friends, family, or even counselors know every part of you. It’s a risk worth taking when you have so much to lose.