• Kristina Cherep

To The Person Who Thinks Their Problems Are Too Unrelatable

They're not. I'm not invalidating them; I'm making you aware that anyone can get help. In fact, everyone deserves help. Whether you think your problems are too complex, too unrelatable, or even too pathetic; they're not. And you're not. With my 'problems' I saw them as too pathetic to go get the help I've needed for almost a decade now. It took me ten years to realize that my problems weren't pathetic; they were causing sadness and pain for me. That's all that matters in the end. Just like people tell you not to be judgmental towards others; don't be judgmental towards yourself.

When I first started my outpatient program I sat there, in my group therapy, listening to other people talk about their 'real' problems. I had people who were talking about their wife of 53 years passing away, their ex-partner sexually assaulting them, their cancer, dealing with their substance abuse, and everything you could imagine. Why was I even in the same room as them? I had just recently graduated from college, moved into a beautiful home, and married my best friend. I didn't really have problems to be suffering from. There are people who are suffering more than me.

It took me two weeks to finally speak up about my problems. It took my psychiatrist and therapist to sit down with me and ask why I wasn't sharing. I told them because I didn't know what my problems were or what was wrong with me. I told them that the other people in my group were the ones who had a reason to be suffering. Not me. I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself because I didn't have a real problem. However, that was part of my problem.

I have always compared myself to others. I have always been the listening ear and a shoulder for someone to cry on. I wanted to give other people advice; advice I wouldn't follow in my own life. That was part of my problem. I had to be sent to a different outpatient program focusing mainly on anxiety. My psychiatrist and therapist told me that I needed to go there because they would force me to talk whether I liked it or not. In that moment I felt like they were giving up on me. However, they were truly saving me.

The group they sent me to saved me. The four therapists there saved me. The people in my group saved me. The person who saved me the most was a 50-year-old male mechanic who sat across from me every day. By the end of it, we related to each other the most which was so shocking. We developed a bond that I will never forget. This help that I have needed for ten years came after the thoughts I had about my problems being too pathetic and too unrelatable, but they weren't. And I wasn't.

I have also come across people from the other side of the spectrum. They think their problems are too complex and too unrelatable to go get help. They are so confident that no one else in the world has gone through more suffering than them. I can guarantee there are people out there who are suffering just as much or even more than you. I'm not saying that to invalidate your own problems. I'm saying this so you start to understand that you are not alone. Even if there is not a person in this entire world who has not gone through something just like you; there are other people and stories you can relate to. You just have to give it a chance.

Whether you think your problems are too big or too small, go get the help you deserve and need. Don't see therapy as a sign of weakness. That's how I saw it until I gave it a chance. Don't see medication as a sign of weakness. That's how I saw it until I gave it a chance. Don't see your problems as a sign of weakness. That's how I saw my problems until I gave them a chance. Don't see yourself as a sign of weakness. That's how I saw myself until I gave myself a chance.

Embrace your problems'because most likely no one in the world has the exact same story as you. Embrace that. You are unique in that way. However, you are not unrelatable. You can find a connection with someone who is not even the same gender, generation, occupation, race, etc. I did. I did because I gave my problems and myself a chance to find the connection and similarities. If I was never forced to speak up about my problems I would still be sitting here thinking that my problems are pathetic and unrelatable. In fact, I probably wouldn't be sitting here sharing my problems with you. I would still be suffering. I would be at ground zero feeling sorry for myself. I got the help I didn't think I needed and now it's time for you to do the same.