Friday, June 30, 2017
It's Ok to Not Be Ok
I've been wanting to write this post for awhile, but I am not one to openly share my feelings. Being vulnerable is something that is incredibly difficult for me. When someone asks me how I'm doing I tend to stick to the typical script of "I'm ok" or "I'm good" even though it's the furthest thing from the truth. In truth it's part laziness/busyness because I don't want to take the time to wade through and figure out how I'm actually doing. The other part of it is no one actually wants to hear how you're really doing. No one wants to hear that you're struggling with (fill in the blank) because that would be awkward. But I'm sick of it.
I'm sick of living behind a facade. Because the truth is it's ok to not be ok. There is nothing wrong with saying I'm really depressed right now or I'm struggling right now and could use a friend. If everyone actually said how they felt it would be so much easier to support one another and be there for each other.
This past month and a half has been incredibly difficult. I've been face with some major life changing decisions, medical challenges, and personal loss, but every single time someone has asked how I've been doing I've responded with the usual, "I'm ok." The truth is I'm not ok and that fact smacked me in the face in a recent conversation with a friend.
We had been talking through some rather difficult things and I just started crying, like full blown Kim K ugly cry. I am not one to cry, like ever. I tear up when an animal gets hurt in a movie, but full blown crying just isn't me. For some reason I became really good at shutting down emotion and just functioning. But just functioning is not really living.
When I had calmed down and was able to talk it felt really good to just have someone listen. They didn't offer advice, opinions or anything they just listened. It was pretty therapeutic to just let it all out because I had been holding it all in for awhile. I held it all in until I couldn't hold it anymore and it blew up.
I had been presented an opportunity that would involve moving across the country to a state I've never been and not knowing a soul. The stress of trying to figure out if it would be a good move, both personally and professionally, combined with everyone under the sun offering me their opinions on the opportunity and trying to figure out if the logistics would even make sense had me extremely stressed. At the same time I was dealing with lupus complications. My stomach is greatly affected by lupus and I had been dealing with some major GI issues where there wasn't a clear answer or solution. I was getting tests done, waiting on results, all while living with constant pain, bloat, being unable to leave the house some days because I can't keep food down, and some other issues as well. I have also been dealing with horrific leg pain. It's been a combination of shin splints and restless legs that have made running near impossible this week and caused a TON of pain. Then, a very close family friend passed away rather suddenly. To say I had reached my breaking point was putting it lightly.
I was beyond stressed, the little sleep I was getting disappeared, and I was a zombie walking around. To let all of that out felt so good. I didn't want someone to try to solve my problems or offer advice or judgment, they just listened.
Did talking solve all my problems? No, of course not, but it felt like I wasn't alone in my problems anymore. In the cheesiest sense it felt like a weight had been lifted off. It really is true that sometimes it's best to let it out because holding it all in does you no good. It's not only stressful, but the stress will manifest itself in other ways and negatively impact your health. Sometimes you need to have a Kim K ugly cry moment to let it all out and that's totally ok.
I'm still facing all the same decisions and challenges as before but not holding onto it and continually mulling it over has made me feel lighter. Had my friend not pushed me I wouldn't be where I am right now. Right now I'm happier, lighter, and feel much more level. Do I still have a lot of decisions to make? Yeah I do, but now that I've let all the tension, worry and everything else out I feel like I can approach everything from a much better place.
If we would really be honest when someone asks how we are doing it would do us all a world of good. There's nothing wrong with embracing where we are even if where we are isn't in the best place. But no one is a mind reader. You have to tell someone that no you're not ok right now. Does that mean the greeter at the grocery store should hear all your problems? Probably not, they might get a little freaked out, but call a friend and ask to get coffee or to just hangout and talk. Have an honest conversation because I promise you anyone who's worth your time will be there for you. And if you're not comfortable talking to a friend or family member seek professional help, there is no shame in asking for help.
It's ok to not be ok. It doesn't mean you're permanently stuck in a place of not being ok. It means you're being honest with yourself about where you are right now.
I'm not ok right now and I'm working toward being in a better place, but I'm not afraid to admit I'm not ok. I know I'm not alone and I'm not going to be in this place forever.
Posted by Rachael Miner