There are few occasions where it is socially acceptable to be open about one’s own thoughts, feelings, and troubles, given that the norm is to abide by very restricted codes of communication. This is to say that we are rarely ever truly permitted to express our innermost thoughts to those beyond a select few in our lives, and we may occasionally feel as though our worries may simply vanish if we attempt to hopelessly keep them inside.
For all that is good and holy, do me one favor: reach out if you ever feel a pain growing in your chest (and I am not talking about a medical check-up).
A few weeks back, the opportunity to discuss some of my own thoughts and feelings to others who have been going through similar troubles reinstated within me a sense of humanity and of normality without having to explain all of the inner workings of my own mind. Most problems we face as a society are far more manageable when you have the opportunity to speak openly with others, whether that be a close friend, an adult, or somebody you just happen to have met for the very first time.
Everybody has their own fair share of problems, although some may be better at concealing them. There is never a time where you are truly alone in your situation. I know I am one of the biggest culprits of the bright smile and “don’t worry, I am fine” motto. Other times, I am simply the boy who cried wolf; I know I am going to be fine, but I simply need an opportunity to vent my feelings.
While it is possible to earn some victories through sheer brute force and willpower, other battles are simply too great to fight alone. Obviously, the troubles we face vary immensely, and could range from internal, to external, to anywhere in between. The solution is not always as simple as a book or a remedy.
Some have told me their means to cope involve holding a conversation with themselves in front of a mirror, writing all their thoughts into a book in order to revisit the differences between their state of mind at the time it was written and read, and trying to search introspectively to trace the problematic to a root cause. In some cases, as I have personally experienced, it very well could simply be an extremely mundane, non-traumatising event from childhood that may be the cause of some of the issues. There is nothing wrong with harboring emotions toward something; we simply cannot stop ourselves or others from feeling the way we or they do.
There are always people you could reach out to, no matter how lost or severe your troubles are, or how alone you may feel.Whether that be seeking guidance from a counselor, talking to a friend, getting involved in a community, or turning to some other source such as religious texts for answers, there never ceases to be options. A little bit of time and effort can go a long way.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 3 on October 12, 2017