Growing up, I can’t say that I had it the worst, but I know I didn’t have it the best. I always gazed upon the kids that ‘had it all’ and my jealousy overcame me. I wanted that perfect family that all got together for Sunday dinners and took cute family pictures so bad that it actually hurt.
I envied them to no end and it drove me a little crazy I think – for the time being at least. While I may not have had it the best, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
Being older now, I look back and realize that even if they did appear to ‘have it all,’ everyone has their shit. The popular girl with all the friends in the world and a rich family, who seemed so perfect, is usually putting on a face to hide from the struggles in her life. The captain of the football team probably went home to a parent that pressured them so hard to win the big game and it probably drove them crazy too.
The memory that triggered all of this though, stems from the struggles that I did have in my own life. I remember when I was a junior in high school, my parents decided to send me to a shrink to “talk about my depression” and I wanted nothing to do with it.
To this day, I still hold a similar opinion to the majority of people who sit in that chair and try to act like they know everything about you and why you think the way you do. If you haven’t lived a rough life, I don’t think it’s justified to sit there acting as if you know how to deal with the struggles of someone who does, just because you have a piece of paper saying you’re qualified.
In my opinion, qualifications come with experience. While the schooling is a form of experience, for me, it’s not enough. Not in that position at least.
One of the moments that I realized I was wrong about some of the people sitting in that chair, trying to help you through the battle with yourself, was when I was about 13-years-old and my parents made me go see a shrink. I was so angry that I was being forced to do something I didn’t want to and that she was making me re-live the reasons I was so depressed.
I got up after a while and snapped, threw a chair and began yelling at her.
“You don’t know me, you don’t know shit about my problems and you probably haven’t gone through anything close to as fucked up. So get off your high horse and stop acting like you know everything,” I screamed at her.
She looked at me very calmly and said,
“No, I don’t know you, but every once in a while in this job, a little girl that reminds me of myself comes and sits across from me. Some of them ready to talk and some of them just as stubborn as I was. Angry and full of bottled up rage. Those are the times I remember why I got into this – because I want to be the person I never had to talk to when I was struggling. So you can be angry and you can storm out of here like I’m sure you will, but when you walk out that door and you breathe for a little bit, I hope you come back after you realize that you don’t know shit about me either.”
Being the person I was at the time, I didn’t go back and I didn’t realize that what she said would later on change my view entirely of psychiatrists and people in general.
It’s human instinct to judge. Everyone does it, it just takes the extra time to look past your initial judgements and realize that you really can’t judge a book from its cover. The way you overcome your struggles makes you who you are and if you can be someone who doesn’t take your own pain out on others, then you’re the better person in the end.
I remember that woman fondly, and hope to someday give back as much as she does. Not to sit in that chair, but to reach someone through my writing – be who someone that just wants to connect with someone else who’s experienced hardships turns to when they feel as if they have nothing else.
I hope sharing my experiences and struggles with the world will someday help someone through theirs.
That little girl who goes home every night and cries herself to sleep also deserves something to turn to. The little boy who hides in the shadows at school because he’s so afraid of rejection, he needs to know that he’s not alone. That bully who pushes you into a locker and calls you a geek, they need to know that hurting others isn’t going to change the pain they feel.
No one is alone in this world, as lonely as somewhere so populated can feel, you’re never truly alone and while it may seem like someone has it so much better than you do, remember that behind the facade, everyone has their issues.