As my first year of college comes to a close I thought I’d share something that happened a lot this past year that really makes me angry. I know and the people around me know what I struggle with and that leads to a lot of differences in opinion.
I am a strong person and there isn’t anything I can’t handle. I’ve felt the need to prove that to myself and others recently. Proving it to myself is easy. I prove it everyday; when I get up and go to classes, when I finish my homework instead of getting overwhelmed and quitting, when I get good grades, when I can sit in a room with my ex and not feel a surge of panic, when I don’t automatically look for him when I enter a room, when I talk to new people, when I ask for help, and when I put myself first.
With other people it’s more difficult. More often than not, they try to make the decision about what I can and can’t handle without my input. Accordingly, this leads to me being left out of plans, and people not talking to me.
When people assume what another human being can or cannot handle it alienates the person that they are trying to “protect”. I know from my own experience that it definitely does more harm than good. The alienated person obviously won’t feel good, in fact they’re more likely to feel unwanted, unworthy, and alone. It’s really tough when you have ‘friends’ who think they know what’s best for you, when in reality they know very little of what you’re actually going through and they definitely don’t know what you can handle.
Another big thing is this, I haven’t succumbed to everything that has been going on. I’ve been fighting my way through and so keeping me out of things is like a punch in the face. It is saying to me, that you don’t believe in me, that you don’t trust in my ability to overcome this and what’s more it doesn’t say that you’re looking out for me. It says you’re underestimating me and everything I work so hard for everyday.
It’s not easy to get out of bed everyday knowing that more likely than not you’re going to be eating meals alone. It’s not easy to get up when your chest is heavy, your stomach hurts and the thought of talking let alone getting out of bed is like trying to push a glacier with bare hands. But I do it, and that glacier? Has been moved, and it keeps moving, little by little everyday.
People who are suffering through mental illness, and heartbreak know their limits. Instead of thinking that you know what they need, what they would want, ask them. Tell them of your plans, and ask if they would be interested. We are strong people, what we can and cannot handle is up to us and we will always have the right answer.
If you genuinely care, ask. Never assume.