Everyone has baggage, whether it’s in the DSM or not.

If you are old enough to read this, you have baggage.

If you are old enough to read this, you have damage.

If you are old enough to read this, you have habits and thoughts and impulses and actions that you struggle to work with or overcome.

You are still a member of society, and worthwhile.

Maybe you had a bad breakup. Maybe you’re aneurotypical. Maybe you have something that is classified as a mental disorder. Maybe you simply have some aspects of a mental disorder or of being aneurotypical.

But that does not mean you are crazy. That does not mean you are wrong or bad.

You are still a person. You are still amazingYou still deserve the same love and respect and consideration as everyone else.

What some people see as othering or want to classifying as an illness I frequently see as different degrees of obstacles.

Maybe you need medication to overcome the obstacle. Maybe you just need to change your point of view. Maybe you were unable to overcome the obstacle and just have to work around it.

All of these are valid.

Make no mistake, I am not being dismissive of anyone’s struggle. Quite the opposite.

I am saying that there is a lack of empathy for the struggles we all face.

Regardless of the shape, size, or type of struggle and obstacles you face, you are not alone.

Perhaps your struggle is different than mine. Perhaps it will take extra time to understand the scope of your struggle or the shape of your struggle.  Maybe I could overcome your obstacles easily while you’d struggle with mine.  Perhaps it’s the opposite.

It doesn’t matter. We all have obstacles. We all have struggles.

In the end, we are all damaged goods.

We have this in common, every last one of us.

We have received help and aid and comfort during our own struggles.

You may not understand or share the struggle and obstacles of the person you are interacting with today.

But you know what your own feels like.

You know the shame and fear that you feel while fighting your own struggle and overcoming your own obstacles.

The only sin here is if you do not extend that empathy and understanding to those you care about as they face their own struggles in life.

The only sin is denying others the comfort and caring that you yourself crave.