Others Have it Worse

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I was recently hanging out one evening with some friends, at six feet of distance, outside, at a bonfire. I started to engage in a conversation with an acquaintance who is a firefighter. He knew of the advocacy work that I do around mental health. We hadn’t spoken in quite some time and I could tell he was a bit “on guard” for what he could see was going to be a mental health check-in that I often get into when I see him.

This was the first time having this conversation with him since the COVID pandemic began. When I mentioned that it must be tough being a firefighter and seeing so much death, his response was, “Sure I’ve seen a great deal of death, pictures in my mind I’ll never get out of my head, but others have it worse”.

Why do so many people diminish their own pain and suffering by thinking and/or declaring that “others have it worse”? Sure, others may have it worse. In fact, you could think of the worst case scenario and somebody’s more than likely got it even worse than that person. That doesn’t mean you don’t have your own challenges with which to address. This isn’t about comparing who has it worse. It’s about maintaining one’s own mental health.

It seems to me that by stating that “others have it worse”, one can avoid the responsibility of acknowledging and taking ownership for their own difficulties or struggles. After all, to admit that things are challenging would mean that you’d have to address them. And to address them takes time and effort. But if taking that time and effort to work on your own mental health would allow you to once again “feel”, to get out of the depths of depression, or to finally understand how to handle your past traumas so that you weren’t always in the “fight or flight” mode…wouldn’t it be worth it?

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. As with all of my posts, questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged.

2 thoughts on “Others Have it Worse

  1. Amy

    100% yes, especially your last paragraph. Society needs to stop with the nonsense that dealing with mental illness is selfish or like going to the spa for a “mental health day.”

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