We can carry anything if we learn to share the weight.
I’ve spent the semester having big kid conversations with my friends. It’s taught me a lot, as you would expect. I’ve learned much about how people cope with issues and learned things about my friends that I’d never known before. I’m lucky to have such thoughtful people in my life. So, as our tumultuous semester comes to a close, I’d like to take a look back on what these thoughtful people had to say.
In my first entry, titled “Asking for Help,” my friend Maddie told me that it’s important to take the first step and ask for help. “If you had the flu, you would go to the doctor, so why should mental health be treated any differently?” she asked. I agree with that, even on a smaller scale. The best way to take the first step toward feeling better is by talking to people, and I have found that by just speaking to my friends about serious things is incredibly helpful.
In my entry “Keeping in Touch,” my friend Shaun told me, “It’s almost essential that we are relying on each other.” Although he was speaking specifically about social distancing, I’ve found that it is something we should keep in mind always. There’s no way we can survive on our own, especially when it comes to dealing with our issues.
We need to remember that, while we should keep things in perspective, we also need to spend time thinking about our own struggles. In the conversation used in my article “Comparing Pandemic Struggles,” my friend told me, “I think people need to give themselves space to complain. This lets them validate their feelings…It’s an important mental process for learning to be okay with yourself and how you’re feeling.”
Once the pandemic hit and social distancing began taking over our lives, there was a definite shift in conversation. It almost seemed impossible to talk about anything without the conversation turning that way. At first, honestly, I wanted to avoid that topic as much as I could. But then, I found that talking about it was the thing that was helping me figure things out.
A common theme throughout my conversations was that often people feel isolated in their struggles, and that makes those struggles even worse. I’ve learned that if we speak to each other, we’ll find that most people are going through the same struggles, and the weight of them suddenly becomes easier to carry. We need to talk to each other, even though we think we sound stupid.
Vulnerability is extremely difficult. However, it’s something we have to face. When we do, we’ll find that we’re not as alone as it seems. The best way to protect ourselves is to trust good people enough to confide in them. When we speak our minds, unedited and unfiltered, we’ll have healthier relationships and learn a lot about ourselves. So, talk to each other and listen to each other. We can carry anything if we learn to share the weight.
Hannah Barras is a junior communications major and journalism minor. firstname.lastname@example.org