Hidden struggles that lie among us


Photo illustration by George Fry

Jordyn Thompson

As I sat in the big rectangular room filled with tables of strangers at my sister’s baby shower, I looked around, fiddling with my sweaty, shaking hands as thoughts raced through my head. There were a lot of different conversations, people and events going on at once that made me feel out of place and nervous to be in the middle of the crowd.
My dad and stepmom asked  if I was okay, knowing how crowded events and places can change my whole persona. My dad, whom I really appreciate knows when I am getting too overwhelmed when I get very quiet and and does anything to help me. In this situation he told me to take a few breaths in the bathroom or get some fresh air by myself so I could relax. In that moment I got up and went outside. The building was located in a neighborhood,so I walked around for a few minutes where I could calm down and slow my racing head.Even though I was at my own sister’s baby shower, I didn’t know the majority of the 100 plus people there.
Anxiety is something I don’t really talk about because it’s one of those silent struggles that I wrestle with in my life.I think we all silent struggles that not all of us talk about, this is mine.This is a hard topic to talk about, mainly because having anxiety is something I don’t want people to know about me. By keeping it to myself, I honestly feel that it has affected my mental health in a negative way only because I can’t talk about it to anyone besides my therapist.
When people hear the word therapist, some people may have different opinions about it, however for me it is the only way I can talk about what is going on in my life without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
I hear people who give motivational speeches who have gone through traumatic experiences sometimes tell their audience that it isn’t the hard times that defines them but how they have grown from it. That piece of advice is important for all people to remember, but I don’t feel like friends or teachers would understand that if they knew about someone having mental disorders such as this one.
I have gone through things in my life no one could ever imagine,and there are many others out there that wake up every day that deal with mental disorders and hide what is going on in their lives.One in four people will be affected by mental illness or neurological disorders in their life, according to World Health Organization. From my knowledge, people most likely hide their problems or stressful parts of their lives because they don’t want to be seen from it. Going through negative experiences of your life for example living in poverty, parents nasty divorce, sexual assault or any form of abuse can even give you a feeling of being ashamed or embarrassed. One thing I will remember as I become an adult is that compassion is so important when it comes to treating others.
Everyone experiences stress and anxious feelings;however, having anxiety means each day will be captured by fear, worry, extreme times of sadness or lack of concentration. Anxiety and Depression of America, states more than 40 million Americans suffer from this. This statistic reminds me of how many others are going through anxiety and/or depression and have troubles everyday, it could be my own peers or even the people I look up to that struggle with this.
Every day, we meet people, judge them, or talk to them without truly knowing what is going on in their head or lives. Every day we walk past other students in school or strangers in other public places such as the mall.

We have entire conversations and get to know people without understanding how their view of the world may be different.  
One day, my therapist and I talked exactly about that how many individuals that we see every day are struggling with problems that no one knows about. This is somewhat interesting to me because not many people think about this and will do whatever it takes to tear another person down. The significance of hidden struggles is magnificent because if everyone knew what the next person’s heavy weight they were also carrying on their back, there may be less bullying and anger toward one another.

Mental health is really important to always bring awareness to, especially in this day and age where crime, violence and anger is filled in the world. That affects mental health because it is bringing more stress on our everyday lives. Take school shootings in America. Parents have to send their children to school daily with the fear that they may never see them again. In a universe where there isn’t enough mental health aids, it needs to be increased. I have kept my very own problems kept between my family and a few trusted friends. Whenever I am stressed I remain quiet so no one can recognize what I am going through. So many keep their problems so hidden they don’t talk to a trusted person to get help and left untreated, are going through life alone.   Those friends and family sitting around us at my sister’s baby shower had no idea what problems lied at my table and they most likely may never know but underneath most smiles is somewhat of a unique way of dealing with life.
More people should just keep that in mind in their everyday lives when they are socializing with others. It’s important to not only reflect about your own hardships in life but recognize that we have no idea what others are experiencing when they go home or behind closed doors. I think if people worldwide remembered this simple idea of hidden struggles there would be fewer hurtful comments toward others.
  What do you think will help decrease violence in the world? Make sure to comment down below.