Stress and Strength

I am drowning in the small things everybody deals with. The couple of chapters that I need to read in my textbook for homework, the essay due next week, the quiz I need to study for, and the hundreds of lines of code I’ve yet to write for a programming class. Everyone gets overwhelmed with work sometimes, and that makes me want to hide how times like this impact my anxiety. Everyone else is dealing with it. What right do I have to ask for comfort or be dramatic?

Usually when things get stressful, I bow my head and endure it. Better yet, this strategy always works. I do always come out on top and eventually the stress does subside and I return back to a state of normalcy, but the process isn’t pleasant. It’s draining- and sometimes it makes me feel like I need to sleep all day just so I can recover from it. But I can’t do that. I have too many things to do, and I need all the time I can get. There is no time for rest, only work.

Logically I know that everyone has a right to ask for help and talk about how they’re feeling. I tell my friends all the time to tell me what’s bothering them or if I can do something to help them out. But for some reason this logic doesn’t apply to me. For some reason I have to go through it alone. I’m not allowed to ask for help nor am I allowed to talk about my stress. I chalk this up to my anxiety and low sense of self-worth, but a part of me wonders if it’s something different. Sometimes it feels like it’s not the thoughts or worries of bothering someone that hold me back, but it’s the drive to be strong that makes me.

I want to be able to do the work alone. I want to be the best student and employee that I can. I want to be self-sufficient, independent, capable of figuring out my problems without the guidance of another. This is what strength is to me. The ability to manage everything without the guidance of another.

I know my definitions is warped. Strength is having the humility to ask for help when you need it. So even though I know the right answer, I still remain incapable of changing my mindset regarding strength. It’s almost like it’s ingrained in me, like I don’t want to let it go.

I wanted to talk about this because I feel like guys never really share how they’re feeling. But we need to talk to each other and we need to relate to one another. I hope that this piece can be that start. The start that lets us talk more openly about anxieties and not feel bad for doing so.

--Jonathan Holden

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