A single story

Is a single story “dangerous” or is it “powerful”? Or maybe it’s both. This question was recently brought up in my English class where we discussed both the power and the danger. Some say it is dangerous because maybe the whole story is not being told, or because it is the only story being told, so everyone who has had a similar experience is assumed to have the same story. Some say it is powerful because you can understand someone’s viewpoint and empathize with those who have similar experiences. Personally, I think that there is truth to both. A single story may not tell the whole situation, but no one experiences things in the same way, even people who endure the same things, still experience them in different ways.

I’ve heard many stories of similar experiences and in many ways it has been helpful, but some of the stories you hear not only break your heart, but you wish you never had to hear again. Unfortunately, that’s not the way life works. In some ways, you never truly can say you know what someone is going through because you haven’t experienced that situation in the same way they have, you can only try your best to relate and empathize. This is only my opinion though, I can not, of course, say this as a fact.

Some days, I wish I could just take a break from my life. I don’t mean to say that I wish my life were different or that I even wish I could change the hardships that my family and I have endured. I don’t think I would change any of it. I feel guilty sometimes when I say that because I never want my family to experience the pain they felt so strongly, and still feel so strongly sometimes, ever again. I never want to watch my brother attempt to take his own life again. Or watch my little brother feel the pain of loneliness. I never want to see my mom have panic attacks on a daily basis ever again. I never want to see that look on my dad’s face ever again, the face he had when he finally accepted the brokenness that was our family and that his son was really suffering from a severe mental illness. Never again do I wish to see the helplessness on my parents’ faces. The look of terror on my younger brothers’ faces. Never again… do I wish to feel the pain, horror, and anxiety, of knowing that I could never make my younger siblings forget about that day, and know that I could never help my older brother not feel that pain. Despite ALL of that, those experiences made us into the people we are now, and I’m really proud of who we are now, so how could I change that if I had the option to? If any of you could change the hardships you endured, would you? The ones that changed you forever?

The reason I brought up the topic of a single story is because lately, I’ve heard too many stories of suicidal ideation. Thankfully, none of the stories I’ve heard have the people acted on their thoughts. But, I have known too many people that have. Two of the recent stories I’ve heard are of people I am friends with. One told me in private, while the other told a group of their friends, including me. The way one of my friends talked about himself made me start to cry…(thankfully it was sent in a group chat so no one saw me cry). It was really hard to hear how he felt about himself when I feel the complete opposite about him. I wish there was some way that I could change how he feels about himself. Unfortunately, the only thing I can do is support him. My friend had sent a message in the group chat that made all of his friends concerned. We had all texted to make sure he was okay… He wasn’t responding. We all waited with anxiety until he finally messaged back about a half hour later. It felt like an eternity. The relief when he messaged back was unbelievable… It felt like I could breathe again. I cried for a couple hours afterwards and, in all honesty, I don’t remember how long it has been since I cried like that. I felt stupid for crying to hard, but I think a lot of my tears were from the memories that wouldn’t leave my head. I could see me standing and watching my brother attempt suicide. I still cry over it, and I don’t know if I’ll ever think about it without crying.

Life is a challenge for everyone and there are days when the world can only be viewed as, for the lack of better words, f**ked up… it is cruel, unfair, and just plain terrible. But every once in a while, there is something that makes us remember that there is still some good in humanity, even if it does not “out weigh” the bad.

I try my hardest to live by this quote: “Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.”(Or a lot harder) -Unknown

Sometimes it is truly amazing to me that any one can wake up in the morning and still feel like there is a reason to get out of bed when they know that it is yet another day of struggles. There is nothing braver than continuing to do what you must everyday despite the feelings that tell you it is no use. I hope everyone knows that you are always cared about by someone. You are priceless… There will truly be no one like you ever again. You are worth the time, effort, love, and care.

“Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.”- Markus Zusak







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