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When I Realized I Saw Myself in Every Character on 'This Is Us'

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As we get back into our routine of weekly crying fests that occur every Tuesday with the onset of the new season of “This is Us,” it’s time to discuss some things everyone might be thinking. Why is every character dealing with such heavy stuff on this show? Why do we put ourselves through it each week? Answer: Because it’s raw and genuine. That’s rare to find these days. If you don’t turn the TV off after every episode feeling a bit “shook,” then you may be disappointed in this article.

For me, I identify with every character in one way or another. I have to watch, as I feel close to them and I get what they are going through. You may have anxiety like Randall, or struggled with substance abuse similarly to Jack. You might even have lost a loved one suddenly or to terminal illness. Maybe you have eating disorders/self-love issues like Kate or struggle with anger, self-destruction and letting go of the past as Kevin does. Or are you trying so hard to keep everything in your life together while it falls apart, like Rebecca?

As I sat on my couch during the family therapy session episode, I realized, “I’m everyone on this show! Is that OK? Omg, I have so many problems!”

With this unsettling realization came a positive affirmation. The fact that I recognize I have these problems is a good thing. How many of us have gone for a long time not addressing the issues and getting ourselves stuck in a rut instead of moving forward? Too many (raising my hand, here!). For a long time, I ran. I chose other outlets to deal with my pain. I didn’t address problems with other family members, friends or stick up for myself. I sat with my untreated anxiety and depression and just ignored it. It took some trips to rock bottom and some breakdowns to finally switch from “I got this” to, “um, I really don’t got this and need help.”

In a culture saturated in social media and efforts to make ourselves appear more “together” than we are, “This is Us” is literally calling B.S. and shouting to the world that none of us are perfect. Life isn’t fair and we all struggle and that is OK. This beautiful little family has so much hardship and we get to see how they all deal and grow through it.

This show reminds me that the amount of problems we have doesn’t make us less of a person. It’s how we face it that is pivotal to our quality of life and healing. Acceptance and honesty is key and you can only go up from there. Letting people you trust know what you’re dealing with is healthy! The ones who matter will stick around. Hold on to them and love them every day. Look at those people and see what they see in you: someone who is incredibly worthy of love. Give that love back to them ten times over. While life is as beautiful as it can be difficult, it’s all we have. Never forget that this is us — all of us — and we are in it together.

Image via “This Is Us” Facebook page

Originally published: February 26, 2018
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