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Read This If You Don’t Want to Be a ‘Bother’ by Talking About Your Mental Illness

First, let me say I’m not a writer, nor am I someone who would usually share information about their personal life. It’s not that I don’t have people to talk to; I’m just naturally a quiet person who likes to listen to other people instead.

So, if you haven’t guessed already, I’m also the type of person who loves to help other people out. There’s this inexplicable joy and satisfaction knowing you have done some good in someone’s life, easing their work or pain. From that quiet, loves-to-help-everybody-out nature, the last thing I ever want is to be a bother. Why trouble someone else with your problems and issues? They already have their own troubles, so why add on to that?

I was supposed to visit a close family member who is a fifth-grade teacher (teaching 10 to 11-year-old kids). They texted me this morning, asking if I could come in the afternoon since they didn’t get much sleep that night. I said sure but honestly wasn’t too concerned about why they couldn’t sleep. Still, I thought it odd since they were off from school for Spring Break. When I got to their house, I asked, out of general curiosity, why they didn’t get much sleep. They replied in a choked-up voice that their principal called letting them know that one of their fifth-grade students attempted suicide. When the student was found by their family, they were brain dead and were being treated at the hospital.

My family member told me, out of all of the fifth-grade students at their school, they thought this student was at the bottom of the list to do this. This child was known throughout the school as kind and caring, always asking teachers and fellow classmates if there was any way they could help them. Top of the fifth-grade class, taking sixth-grade classes and tests online. None of the fifth-grade teachers detected any signs of depression and/or suicidal thoughts in this child — I know all the teachers are well-trained for reporting students in those states in the past. My family member and the other fifth-grade teachers were trying to rack their brains, thinking if there were any signs they may have missed.

As we were talking, something struck a chord with me. The nice, caring, smart kid sounded very familiar, but I wasn’t sure why. So, I asked one question — one, single question to confirm my suspicion. Was this student a quiet person? My family member replied that they were always a quiet person, didn’t want to bother or trouble anybody. That’s what hit me like a giant wall… because that was me. That’s still me. Not only that, but I was like that at 10 years old.

Now, I’m about to tangent slightly but for a very good reason — to also tell you a little about myself. At a young age, I was diagnosed with anxiety. Nothing serious — I didn’t need medication — but have always got help from family, friends, teachers and counselors on how to tackle it. If you or somebody you know has anxiety, you know how it can make you overthink and jump to irrational conclusions, leading to being absolutely terrified of it ever happening. It doesn’t matter how much logic and sensibility you can conjure up; the fear of something happening, big or small, makes you so scared out of your mind that it’s difficult to get it out of your head. Which is why, when I was in my early 20s, becoming suddenly depressed out of the blue and for no reason scared me to no flipping end. My anxiety’s overthinking made me jump to the conclusion I might die by suicide.

Thankfully, I told my significant other, who encouraged me to go talk to a counselor. From my incredible significant other’s constant love and support, as well as my counselor’s suggestion to talk to my OB-GYN, I discovered I had premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) — a condition that only occurs in about 30% of women. It makes them feel depressed and/or anxious and usually occurs out of nowhere in a woman’s early 20s. After changing my birth control method, more guidance from my counselor, a ton of research online about this condition and continuous love from my significant other, I’m proud to say I’m not scared of my PDD anymore. Still happens every month when “TOM” (Time of Month) comes to visit, but I know what to do when it comes and know it won’t be there for long.

Now that you’ve learned a little about me and about the fifth-grade student, I’m here to tell all those nice, quiet people who don’t want to be a bother to anyone — please, please bother someone.

I know you don’t want to worry anyone with your pain and add onto theirs. I know you don’t want others to take time out of their busy lives to make a fuss and help you out. I know you don’t want to seem selfish, talking all about what you’re feeling right now. But please believe me when I say this: you can’t keep it to yourself. It won’t just go away. It always finds a way to come back to absolutely terrify you, haunting your every thought. Because I’ve been there. It’s a constant struggle I still face today. Also, believe me when I say there’s always, always a way to battle it. Sadly, there’s no known way (at least not known to me, and if there is, please let me know ASAP) to have your fear, anger, sadness, confusion or anxiety go away by taking some kind of special pill or having some procedure done. There are countless ways of treating and managing those struggles, but nothing like that.

Now, details of the fifth-grade student’s condition and situation is, at time of writing, very limited, and I honestly never heard of this student until today, writing this now. But hearing about this student and thinking of my past and current struggles with PDD and anxiety made me realize I’m not the only quiet, nice person out there who doesn’t want to bother anybody. There are others like me, going through pains similar to what I have gone through. And that young, 10-year-old child didn’t have someone to talk to about this like I did. Being so young, they probably didn’t even think they should talk to someone about this, which aches my heart and soul.

So please, please, please talk to someone. It’s not easy; it may seem scary to you right now, which is how I felt too, but imagine someone you know is experiencing something similar to you right now. Imagine they are having thoughts and emotions they can’t comprehend, and they’re scaring them. And when they come to you, telling you of the pain and struggle they have, I know you would be there for them, comforting and supporting them because you are the nice, quiet person who doesn’t want to bother anybody but loves it when people bother you because you are helping them.

That’s one of the many joys of being nice, quiet person who doesn’t want to bother anyone — helping others in their time of need. So, for you, my special, wonderful nice, quiet person who doesn’t want to bother anyone, bother us to no end. Because when you bother us, we can help, support, comfort and love you like you love to do for others. And for the ones who know any special, wonderful nice, quiet person who doesn’t want to bother anyone, please just kindly ask how they are doing and constantly remind them that they have someone to talk to.

You are never a bother to anyone.

Photo by Maxime Caron on Unsplash