In my therapy appointment the other day, my therapist brought up a term I’d never heard: “terminally unique.”
“Terminally unique” is used to describe the feeling that one feels so alone in their situation that they believe that no one else could possibly understand. If you’ve ever had any of these thoughts, you’re guilty of terminal uniqueness:
- There’s no help for depression as severe as mine. No one knows how truly f***ed up I am.
- No one has this kind of anxiety. They wouldn’t know how it feels, so how could they help?
- Maybe I’m just not capable of getting healthy. It’s just so much harder for me than anyone else!
The first one was one of my own terminally unique thoughts way back when.
Fear has this way of trying to convince us that we’re so unique we’re beyond help. Our situations are beyond what anyone else in the history of the world has ever gone through, so they can’t understand us. It’s Fear’s way of guaranteeing it’s got a place to stay for a while longer.
If you believe that you are alone and no one else will ever be able to understand, you won’t reach out for help.
You won’t take actions to create a life that supports your recovery.
You won’t even think recovery is possible because of how unique you are.
While I’m all for standing out and being different (have you seen my hair?), there’s a line between accepting that you’re different and moving forward, and believing you’re so different you can’t be helped.
Everyone’s situation is different, yes. Within your unique situation, however, there are elements that many people can relate to. There are details a professional CAN help you understand.
While you will always be a complex, distinct, snowflake-of-a-being, you are not terminally unique.
You are not so different you won’t be understood. There isn’t a person on this planet who is that different.
Some people won’t understand you. That’s ok; they’re not meant to be in your life for long.
If you keep your struggle silent, the only thing you’re doing is making sure that you’re alone. Doing Fear’s bidding by listening to its lies gives Fear more power. The more power you give to Fear, the less you have leftover for yourself.
Fear is the root of all depression, anxiety, and other maladies we face. To unroot from Fear, we must trust that there is healing and Love for us. We must not isolate in our Fear.
There is help out here for you. There is hope. There is understanding and compassion that you will never know if you stick to your terminally unique guns.
Loneliness is the strongest when it’s self-inflicted. Do yourself a favor and toss your terminally unique myth in favor of the small glimmers of similarity you may find when you reach out.
Focus on the compassion you receive.
Focus on the understanding in someone’s eyes.
Focus on the Love you get back from someone who doesn’t understand at all because they don’t have to understand to love you.
It took me a long time to understand that was the case. Don’t wait as long as I did to be proved wrong.
From my therapy room to yours, stay strong.