Updated: May 1, 2020
We don't have to share the same degree of hardship in order to warrant feeling anxious or depressed.
Considering the news these days, it's hard not to compare our difficulties to those of the people we see on our screens. And very likely, in doing that comparison, we find ourselves either feeling like our challenges are no match to those of someone we'll never meet or that our challenges distinguish us from the mainstream. This is nothing new, of course. Being the social creatures that we are, we're constantly assessing ourselves against those around us on all kinds of levels, including as parents. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? My kids have 2 activities and yours have 10! My child's reading level is 3 below theirs. My daughter can't sit through the assembly. Their son excels at every sport. Those moms don't attend IEP meetings .....
You're entitled to your feelings of hardship no matter the cause. These are stressful times whether you're healthy or not, employed or not, single or not, and so on. We don't have to share the same degree of hardship in order to warrant feeling anxious or depressed. And you're no less worthy of inclusion and understanding when fully immersed in your own struggle.
We all understand struggle. We all know what it feels like to hurt, to worry, to have sleepless nights, and moments of panic. We all know what it's like to feel completely alone and uncertain about what to do next. Our reasons may differ, but those feelings are universal. In times like these we can and we need to connect at that emotional level. This is a time for compassion not necessarily born of common actual experience so much as born out of common emotional experience. We'll get through this together.