The other day, I was taking a practice exam for AP English Language and Composition, and there was an essay called “Talking About Our Troubles” by Mark Rutherford that caught my attention. Instead of focusing on the passage, I found myself analyzing my own habits.

Discussing the dangers of sharing personal issues, Rutherford stresses his opinion that “expression is apt to carry with it exaggeration.” In other words, secrecy will save people from pessimism and save others from the burden of solving problems that aren’t theirs. 

As the essay elaborated on how it’s harmful to be pitied, I began comparing Rutherford’s words to my own self-dependence. Since I was little, I’ve relied on this idea of figuring things out for myself, thinking it’s wrong to ask for help. If I’m troubled or stressed, I’m inclined to keep quiet and pretend I can get by on my own even when I obviously need assistance.

For example, during school projects, I forcibly give myself more responsibility than I know I can handle. Convinced I’m unnecessary baggage that my group members have to lug around, I sign up to do most or all of the work to keep from being a bother. Too concerned with others’ comfort, I sacrifice my own.

Stuck in this mindset, I refuse to talk about my feelings, afraid of wasting someone else’s time. It’s draining enough for myself–why put that on someone else, too?

Juggling an extensive queue of unsolved problems, worries begin to transform into doubt, and thoughts of failure become overwhelming. Not only does one form an unwillingness to trust others, but also a tradition of blaming all troubles on oneself. 

As negative habits continue, people tend to struggle with thinking clearly and making practical decisions. Vulnerable to unnecessary breakdowns, many don’t realize how toxic they can be to themselves.

A myriad of people fail to realize that mental health deserves just as much attention as any other aspect of one’s life. Similar to how bandaids can heal a wound, accepting help from others can ease any stress. Sometimes prioritizing ourselves is the best form of protection.

What do you think about relying on other people?