#ShatteringStigmas Part II: I Am Me

Posted August 16, 2016 by Erica || 5 Comments

Shattering

Hello everyone, welcome to the first guest post that I will be having on my blog for #ShatteringStigmas! Today #ontheblog I will be having the wonderful Alexa from The Words of the Page. I really hope you guys enjoy her story, I think she has such a great message to share so read away my loves.


I am a Korean American.

I can never be considered a native Korean, but I can never also be considered a full American. However, I have this amazing thing that biracial and bi..culture (?) people have and it’s a dual perspective. If there’s anything I learned about Koreans growing up it is that we can be incredibly prideful and stubborn. I’ve met more people in my family and of my culture that are the most unwilling to ask for help. We, for some reason, are hell bent on the idea of getting things done on our own and we’d rather not ask for help. Why? I can’t really speak for everyone, but for me personally I do it because I don’t want to bother anyone. Probably the worst thing for me is to become a burden.

Sometimes, though, it’s good to ask for help.

Something I’ve learned from being an American, and more specifically Southern Californian, is that asking for help is… okay. It’s not a burden. It’s something that you should be able to lean on. Where I’ve met more Koreans that are hell bent on never asking for help, I’ve met more Americans who are more than happy to ask for help–who even rely on it. It’s a strange dichotomy that I’ve grown into. I’m constantly jumping back and forth between being a do it yourself kind of gal and also (hesitantly) asking for help when it’s needed.

The thing with Koreans is that we don’t really talk about our problems. Sure we talk about work and school and what have you, but hardly do we ever talk about what’s going up there mentally and emotionally. Like I said, prideful.

This became a huge problem when I was a sophomore in high school. Four years prior my dad had died of a brain tumor. I was thirteen. My sister was nine. Obviously this is a pretty terrible tragedy to come to terms with. At the time I had shut down any kind of room for grief with a sense of obligation and responsibility. With my dad gone, I was suddenly the second in command in my family and with my mom in a less than stable mental state I kind of had to be the stable one. Or.. “stable” one. I instantly became more pragmatic and logical. I moved schools and moved cities. There were a lot of changes in my life, honestly it’s kind of a blur.

When I finally kind of “settled down” my sophomore year, everything kind of hit me at once. I was suddenly hit with grief, loneliness, and anger. I’m pretty sure I fell into a kind of depression. I didn’t spend a lot of time out and I hardly had any good friend connections. The biggest problem for me was that I didn’t talk to anyone about it. At the time I posted on Tumblr a lot and I posted my darker thoughts there, but it was more of yelling into the void than it was really talking to anyone. I pulled myself out of that funk, thankfully–but it’s still something that effects me. I’m still really hesitant on asking for help with… really anything and I’m still so stubborn that I’d rather work out the problem myself than burden someone else with it–but from my American perspective, I understand that it’s important to talk to someone about that stuff. It’s important to let it out. It’s unhealthy to bottle it up and let it stew until the pressure is too much and you just explode.

I’m not just talking about mental health either. It might be something small like a test you’re worried about or something that upset you that day (maybe your coffee spilled on your new shirt that was super cute). Just let it out and let the feeling pass through you.

South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and while I know it’s a much more complex problem with many components I think a lot of it can be helped if they recognized and understood how important it was to talk about their emotions and mental health. I believe a lot of the problem derives from our unwillingness to do so.

If you have something that’s been bugging you in your mind, talk to someone. If they make you feel like a burden, talk to someone else. Talk to someone who will listen and, when needed, will comfort you. Because we humans are social beings. We need to talk to people and we need to have interactions, the good and the bad. It might scare you (it still scares me), but it’s about overcoming that fear to get the relief that so many of us need.

 

Much love,

Alexa

 

About Alexa

Alexa is a college student in Southern California running a blog on Wordpress called Words Off the Page. She loves her cats, tea, and all things cute. Sometimes she feels like the Lady of the Lake because of her uncanny love of water. Currently she's working on two writing projects and more projects for her blog.


A huge thank you to Alexa for sharing her story. Do you guys have any similar stories to share? Send some love to Alexa, maybe? Any comments would be much appreciated!

About Alexa

Alexa is a college student in Southern California running a blog on WordPress called Words Off the Page. She loves her cats, tea, and all things cute. Sometimes she feels like the Lady of the Lake because of her uncanny love of water. Currently she’s working on two writing projects and more projects for her blog.

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Erica

Erica is 22 years young & she loves to read, obviously. She not only loves books, but she is fond of sweatpants, sweets, & Netflix. She hopes to one day open up a bakery, put a smile on everyone's face & marry Killian Jones (who cares if he's fictional). ♥
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Latest posts by Erica (see all)

  • Christy @ Novel Ink

    I totally get where you’re coming from with the bottled up emotions as I’m like that too. I tend to keep all my problems inside and worry about everyone else before myself. Being a nurse, I KNOW that it’s not healthy and that I need to worry about myself too, but it’s hard for me. I’m trying to do better, but I do, at times, feel like a burden when I talk about my problems, and it’s not because the people I talk to make me feel that way (my husband and my mom), it’s just all on me and in my mind, I think.
    Thank you for sharing your story <3

  • Thank you for sharing your story! I don’t think it always comes to mind the way that culture can affect how someone deals with mental issues. I know there are definitely some ideas within my own culture that insist that things don’t need to be talked about. I think it’s great that you can see the value in learning to ask for help even if it’s scary

  • Thanks for sharing your story. I lost my dad when I was 6 to suicide. I am almost relieved I was so young since I didn’t have to take care of anyone but myself. Your experience is really inspiring. Thanks again for reminding me how resilient we can be!

  • Thank you SO much for sharing your story, Alexa! I am very sorry about your dad, and that you had to grow up way, way too fast. I agree that it is SO important to talk about this stuff- and I know I don’t do it often enough too. Sometimes it’s hard, because there simply ISN’T anyone there to talk to, but I think one of the biggest things to do, like you said, is to find someone who you can talk to. Such a wonderful and thoughtful post! ♥♥

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Alexa! You’re so right that when we try to simply push the pain away and ignore it, it simply becomes larger than life – sooner or later it will all explode and bring more pain that way.