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The Word I Have Removed From My Vocabulary as Someone With Depression

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A couple years ago, I decided to remove a word from my vocabulary. A simple four-letter, two-syllable word. I had found that I really do not need to say it to anyone, ever again. What is this word you at ask?


Our lives are filled with responsibilities. We have our daily/weekly to-do lists. Goals to meet. Schedules to attend to. Places to go and people to see. Facebook statuses to update and Instagram photos to upload. Why wouldn’t I use this word to describe my life as a response to the question, “How are you?”  Sometimes it’s out of a need to vent, or a call for some sympathy.

Then depression changed my thinking. If I needed help, and someone told me they were, “busy,” am I going to bother them with my struggles? They have their priorities — be it family, work or home stuff. Maybe they have more struggles than I do. Maybe they are just trying to make it through the day just like I am. Are they going to have time to sit down with me to talk? Am I keeping them away from their family time?

But my fear above all, was that I was going to become another burden to them. Will they worry about me on top of all of their other stresses? Am I being a “Debbie Downer” and bringing down their mood? Will I take up more of their time, especially when it could be used with their family? Will they utilize their own resources to help me out? Will additional stress hurt their health? Am I being annoying? Am I sucking out their energy like an obnoxious parasite?  Some people may already feel like a burden to their loved ones, so they are stifling the urges to scream for help as an emotional riptide pulls them away. Their mind continues to silently crumble.

The fear of being a burden to others is one of the biggest reasons that people struggling with mental illness do not seek help and sometimes end their life entirely. It takes a great amount of courage and trust  to ask someone for help, but as soon as the response of “busy,” is registered in a person’s mind, a metaphorical brick wall immediately pops up between them, and the struggling person is left to move along; feeling more alone this time, but at least they’re not a “burden.”

So next time you are asked, “How are you?” think about the silent struggles the other person may be facing. They might be approaching you for help, and that is worth all of the time in the world.

Getty Images photo via Grandfailure

Originally published: September 13, 2018
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