Art by Vivian Hsia
Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
Even those who don’t hold any divine beliefs have come to understand they have to face the struggles of everyday life. There are a myriad of ways to cope with pain, but suffering in silence is not a plausible one.
Regardless of your personal beliefs, you will face suffering. The magnitude of facing that pain might range from staying focused on your homework to accepting the death of the one you love most.
No matter who you are, you cannot escape the reality of experiencing some sort of hardship during your lifespan.
Silence and solitude are usually seen as synonymous to each other within the context of this phrase. For some peculiar reason, society conveys the message that extraordinary people must not burden others with their problems.
Yet, this poses arguably one of the most dangerous practices one can commit against themselves. Human beings were never created to shoulder the immense burden of enduring the trials and tribulations of life alone. We are a highly sophisticated species of life form that requires social interaction. It would be an understatement to say that the act of suffering alone is a crime to oneself, let alone to others.
Mental health, which is influenced by the circumstances of one’s life, draws a correlation to one’s thoughts on sharing their struggles with someone within their sphere of influence.
It’s only self-evident that mental health relies on a particular individual’s decision to share their struggles. If one decides to share their struggles, it’s as if they are metaphorically distributing their suffocating burden. In doing so, their mental health is provided with positive encouragement by knowing that they have a supportive community, even during their darkest hours.
Unfortunately, the wrongly praised norm of suffering in silence seems to be a growing commonality within society. Statistics indicate 40% of men aren’t willing to talk about their mental health, which also reflects their indifference for sharing about what they have to deal with, according to The Priory Group — a provider of mental health care facilities in the United Kingdom.
There is a dire need to admire vulnerability among those you trust. Share what you are facing, especially if it’s of greater importance.
A perfect case that would exemplify the catastrophic consequences of suffering in silence is the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s been made clear, through a report given by Harvard University, that loneliness during the mandated lockdown has skyrocketed among men, women and children as well.
In addition, the reports suggest that loneliness, anxiety and depression are all interconnected. What might start off as a lack of communicating the difficulties of personal struggles may lead to more negative experiences, and possibly even an apathetic view toward life.
Now, that isn’t to say everyone should be complaining about every minute detail of their day. There is an indisputable underlying truth behind the phrase of suffering in silence.
Our world doesn’t need an excessive amount of negativity because that in itself would just be counterproductive. How would our world make any progress if everybody whined about one particular thing that isn’t going their way?
We couldn’t. It would be a heinous crime against humanity to fall into believing the whole world is against us.
Here’s where things get complicated — despite suggesting you shouldn’t complain about trivial matters, that isn’t saying to minimize the smaller instances that bring you hardships. Rather, just be aware of what isn’t worth ruminating over.
For instance, your friend might’ve been annoying today. Your shoelace would not stop becoming untied. The barista got your order wrong. The weight you chose to lift at the gym was too heavy. You stubbed your toe on the bed frame — these are all quite unfortunate.
This might sound insensitive, but nobody needs — nor wants— to hear the complaints of such trivial matters. For such experiences, one can make the exception to suffer in silence.
However, if you find yourself struggling to find the motivation to climb out of bed every morning or even finding a good reason to live, do not feel the need to bear that excruciating pain by yourself. Don’t make life harder than it already is.
Pepperdine has partnered with the Thrive Student Wellness Program to offer students free access to counseling and psychiatric support through the TimelyCare platform. The platform is a 24/7 virtual extension of the Counseling Center, with the goal of supporting student mental health.
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