The Privilege of Being Heard

It’s funny because we are all so busy trying to become who we are. And we are so busy trying to find our tone of voice and creating solid opinions. We’re so busy that we don’t even have time for regular conversations. We don’t talk anymore. We share our points of view. We exchange our mindsets. 

I am tired and lost, occasionally curious and crazy. But it makes me so sad that people who don’t judge and don’t get jealous about stupid things make me so happy. I love to be excited about simple things, but I don’t want simple things to be AS MUCH exciting. I want to say “I don’t know” more often. I want to declare that I have no idea where I want to be in 5 or 10 years. I wish not to feel stupid when I don’t have any conclusion.

I usually write to check what I think and it seems like today I am thinking about the privilege of being heard and not being judged. And I am thinking about the people who make me comfy (which aren’t many), realizing that they are all okay with the things I say. It doesn’t mean that they agree with my opinions. But they are open to listen and try to get them. I don’t expect them to understand everything (maybe sometimes it’s better not to follow my flights of ideas), but I appreciate their honest attention. 

I usually take a long time to open up. I may joke with you from the very beginning, get a little bit crazy or even act cringy, but – for sure – I won’t talk with you about my feelings. Feelings are there where I FEEL comfortable enough. Emotions are there where I have a chance to be listened up. 

It’s funny because people usually have a completely different view of me when they get to know me closer. I always hear: oh, I thought you were different. And maybe, therefore, I am so unsure and wary about the others. Like, okay, I am sure about what I see, but I am also aware that there are multiple things that cannot be noticed.

I guess that, in theory, we all know that everyone is going through something they don’t talk about it, but at the same time, we often like so much to pass judgment on different topics.

Last weekend I watched with my boyfriend a documentary about Billie Eilish: “A World’s a Little Blurry”. After 2 hours and 20 minutes of observing a deeply intimate look at the young artist, I was like: OMG, DO YOU SEE? WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT PEOPLE. 

I am not a fan of Billie Eilish, but I love biographies, documentaries and series about celebrities. Stars who are well known and get lots of public attention. Different people around the world think they know them, but NO. They have no idea. 

But, really – IT ISN’T ABOUT HAVING THE IDEA. It’s about accepting the fact that we have no idea and not pretending as we have. 

It’s funny because people are always surprised when they found out that someone has depression. They are like: woah, but she looked so happy. She didn’t say anything.

What should she tell you? 

You work with people. You think that everything is fine because they smile and talk with you about being tired and sleepy? Come on. We’re more than that.

Mental issues are mind-blowing and we don’t know how to deal with them. 

When you have a broken leg, people say: oh, a friend of a friend also had a broken leg, you will be fine in some weeks.

When you have a tooth extraction, people say: yeah, I also had it a couple of months ago; you should be fine in a week.

But when you say that you cannot sleep at night, you’re crying multiple times during a day and you’re too tired to stand up from bed, people are like: hmm, did you try jogging? It’s good for stress.

Like, I can only imagine how bad it feels, which means that, once again, I probably have no idea.

I have a friend who struggles a lot. It’s super hard for me to accompany her because I don’t really understand and feel her pain. I don’t get why some things touch her so much. I am often close to saying: aiii, don’t exaggerate. But then I remind myself that her pain is her pain and who am I to judge? I chose listening over coming up with opinions. 

I have eating disorders. For a long time, only a few people knew about it. I was afraid to talk about it because I really didn’t need to hear: oh, come on, you’re not fat, why are you searching for problems?

The point is that eating disorders are not about being fat and depression is not about being sad. According to American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It’s about the mind, which gets crazy and you cannot control it.

I know that it’s hard to talk about something which is not visible. And I know how difficult it is to be next to people who are suffering. But the point is that BEING is the best what you can give them. Being, accepting, listening and not judging. 

What do you think about this girl?

It’s Lee MacMillan. Instagram personality and world traveler with 76k followers on Instagram, 52k followers on one YouTube channel, almost 500k followers on another. 

Last week Santa Barbara Police confirmed that she was hit and killed by a train by the intersection of State and Hollister roads in Noleta. Although there was no suicide note, police expressed concern that MacMillan’s death had been self-inflicted.  

Lee was an advocate for mental health. She was candid and open about her own struggles. She was receiving help: from professionals, from family, from friends. She had support around her. She was not alone, she was not trying to fight this alone. And yet she still succumbed to this terrible illness. It is more nuanced than we can, or do, appreciate or understand.

Life is more complex than a single social media post. Things are complicated. Don’t believe what you see online. Get out into the world and talk to your loved ones. Check in. Ask them genuinely how they’re doing. Be available to help. To listen. To offer help. Remove the stigma of asking for help.*

*

I just want to leave you with a message that mental health is just as real as physical and that illness can strike anyone. No matter how unlikely they may seem.

Think about it and hold your loved ones tight. Tell them you love them. Because life can change in an instant.*

Leave a Reply