I have had several people close to me almost slip away. They were each battling a war, a war in which they were losing. I have seen overdoses (and thankfully subsequent recoveries). I have seen hospitalizations (and thankfully subsequent healthy discharges). I have seen the less extremes in those who have shared their grief and anguish in due time, in those who, with a little bit of prying, poured their hearts out about the past weeks or months gone by. I have seen those who I have had to talk to others about, in hopes that they will be able to keep an eye on them because something about their smile did not seem right. They all had one thing in common: they were too afraid to bother me with their problems, because they thought I had better things to do. I wish I had known what was affecting them, and to what extent. Nothing can ever be more intense than almost losing someone important in your life, be it the medical school admissions process or the journey through medical school.

Sometimes we are afraid to face the problems in front of us for the fear of bringing down others. We are afraid to take up too much of their time, and we are afraid we won’t be able to be accommodating. We concoct all of these hypothetical situations in our minds, each with a worst case scenario plotline:

I’m having trouble with some personal problems and I need some help. But I don’t want to ask the wellness advisor for help. What if they think I’m incapable? Maybe I should talk to my friends. But they are probably busy with school… I will take up too much of their time. It’s not important anyways, I’ll just hope it goes away.In reality, those could be truths, but they may also be completely wrong.

We spend so much time worrying about others, and then we forget to worry about ourselves until it is too late. Whatever it is, when it comes down to a twenty-four hour day in a seven day week, that moment you need is only a small fraction of time. If we get help earlier on, we can stop these problems before they accumulate and snowball into a larger, more difficult to manage situation. What if the solution was right before your eyes, hidden beneath the shadows, and you just didn’t see it? What if the solution was as simple as a lending ear? Or a hug? Or some tears that have been held in for an extended period of time?

As I have mentioned before, when you neglect taking care of yourself, those around you are affected as well. Those who care about you, and those you care about feel the same pain you are experiencing. To the same effect, then these people will never be too busy for you, because they love you and care about you. It does not do well to be afraid of being loved, or to love. In loving, we are letting those who care about us into our world, and seeing what we see. It is a sign of trust. Don’t let fear hold you back; let your strength be your guide instead. And when you face these demons, you are not alone, everyone will be there to catch you if you fall.