It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

Life is hard. You don’t need me to have figured that out. Every person has their challenges and some hurdles are bigger than others. Some individuals jump over those hurdles alone and some receive support. Other people can’t seem to get past the hurdle in front of them and that’s fine too.

I am not going to tell you that all of the hurdles are worth it, that your struggles are blessings in disguise, or that everything will be okay. We both know that’s bull and promising smooth sailing ahead is something I can’t guarantee; it’s a bit naive and overly optimistic.

I am neither a convincing optimist nor pessimist. I, like my wonderful family, am a steadfast realist who believes that sometimes things will be okay, or they won’t, but to continue striving on, everyone could use a little support.

There is this idea in American society that we are always supposed to be okay, while also consistently at our highest rate of functioning. There are far too many instances of people in need of support, or at minimum the allowance of a bad day, pushing through their circumstances as if nothing is wrong, in both cerebral and physical capacities.

There is a feeling; pressure to act as if everything is dandy and that idea deserves some attention.

Anyone from new moms, to teens, to professionals in the workforce can suffer from the notion that we as individuals must be okay all of the time. We ought to hide from the world any suffering, pain, or loneliness, and solve our problems ourselves.

This makes asking for help even more trying for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or personal battles.

There are over 74 million Google results of articles telling readers why everything will be okay, or why you should be okay with whatever life has given you. Many of these articles lead to a notion of blind optimism, complacency, or simply moving on without dealing with the problem. Pretending that you are fine doesn’t resolve the issue. It just covers it, like a lid on a pot; sometimes you need to let out steam or things will boil over.

An ever-growing obsession with social media, has made it even more impossible to have an off day. The pressure to have this Instagram perfect life that is idyllic, adventurous, but also cookie cutter is overwhelming. Pinterest features pages upon pages of memes displaying text such as “suck it up and pretend you’re okay,” and “smile, move on with your day and pretend everything is okay.”

How are we supposed to be imperfect humans when the world only sees our very best moments? Not only does the world only see our best moments, but also we are supposed to hide the imperfections. We are supposed to conceal our struggles.

What is with this trend of pretending?

Mental health is a subject matter that cannot be dealt with in pretend land. It requires hard work, support, and a lifetime of dealing with things I am sure we would all prefer not to. Everything might not always be okay, which IS okay.

It is okay to have a bad day, it is okay not to be okay and it is okay to ask for help.

It is acceptable to be overwhelmed, have a rough time, feel alone, want to scream and cry, or even drink too much wine after said crap-tastic day. Eat some chocolate, let yourself process the unfortunate circumstances, vent if that’s what makes you feel better, journal if you like to write, or confide in a friend, just get it out. Sometimes you have to say, “Today sucked!” The goal is to get through the bad days and hopefully have more good days than not. Nobody is perfect and life isn’t perfect.

The next time someone that really cares about you asks how you are, fight the urge to say, “fine” if you aren’t. Speak up because your loved ones aren’t mind readers, no matter how much we like to believe they can be. You are not alone, and if you are, you don’t have to be. Asking for help can be terrifying; it is not an easy task, but dealing with things alone is not always the best approach.

This is for my friends who have suffered, are suffering, and even for myself.

“Your story is not over.” Visit Project Semicolon for more information.

For those who are still struggling, seeking help is not only brave, it means you are strong. Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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