'Everybody else has it worse than me'
'I don't deserve treatment when other people are more ill'
'I have no right to feel this way when others go through worse'
These types of thoughts regularly go through my head. It seems these are in fact common thoughts amongst those with mental illness, along with the tendency to compare our struggles with that of others. Since when did mental illness become a competition of who's is more severe?!
This thought process can be really damaging because it can leave you feeling as though you aren't as worthy of help as somebody else, whose condition is deemed 'more serious' than yours. However, this is far from the truth. It can also make you feel guilty for experiencing certain emotions, such as sadness or anger, because you think you don't have the 'right' to experience such feelings. I've therefore decided to approach things from a different angle, so that whenever these thoughts pop into my head, I can quickly dispel them.
Early intervention is key
So what if your experience of a mental health condition isn't considered as 'severe' as another person's? Why should anybody have to wait until their mental health has reached breaking point before they feel worthy of treatment? As far as I'm concerned, the earlier people get the help they need, the better.
It's not 'better' or 'worse', it's just differentI've been replacing the phrases 'better' and 'worse' in my head for the word 'different'. Each individual's experience of mental health is so unique, how can you possibly compare them to each other? It's not as simple as shoving them all on a scale and categorising this person's illness as 'mild' and that person's as 'severe'. So, instead of saying to myself 'this person's symptoms are worse than mine', I simply say 'this person's experience is different to mine, and that's okay'. Everybody is different, after all.
Focus on No.1
What use is comparing yourself to other people anyway? Most of the time, this only ever results in negative outcomes. Your main focus in your life should be you - you are your main priority. This may seem selfish to some people, but I'm really starting to believe that the key to health and happiness is putting yourself first. It doesn't mean you don't care for other people. If anything, looking after yourself makes your ability to care for others even greater.
Therefore, there really is no reason to say 'that person has it worse than me'. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Either way, it doesn't really matter. If something is negatively impacting your life enough for you to think 'I need help with this', then you deserve just that - irrespective of everyone else's experience.
Thanks for reading,
Thanks for reading,