A few days ago I shared a post on Facebook about world mental health day and as I shared I realized I had more to say about it. I’m not going to share stats because I’ve never met someone experiencing something in this realm that reads a stat and thinks, “Gee, that’s really helpful” This is a simple post hoping that it helps *one* person out there reading it feel a bit more normal and a bit less alone. SO… HI. HELLO! This is me checking in with you to remind you that it’s okay to not be okay.
It’s okay to be sad, anxious, depressed, mad, happy, cheerful, enthusiastic. It’s okay to be any emotion. (I threw in the happy ones because I think sometimes we feel bad about being happy as well - especially when others around us are down).
It’s okay to have feelings and feel stuck. And it is also okay if it takes you more than 48 hrs to get out of it.
The thing that is not okay is feeling alone is those feelings and thinking you are the only one that feels them. You are not.
If you are brave enough to reach out to someone for help and they don’t get it or don’t understand and don’t know how to help… don’t stop. Try again. A lot of people don’t know how to respond to someone telling them they are depressed or anxious and end up saying really stupid things that they don’t mean to be stupid but can leave you feeling even more frustrated and alone than if you didn’t say anything to begin with. (See: “ just go for a run” “just get out of bed” “just….” ) And I know that you are thinking “ugh, you don’t get it” when someone says that. WELL I GET IT.
You are not alone. Or stuck. And it’s never just you that feels that way, even though it can feel like that.
And it’s also okay. It’s okay to feel the way you do. It’s okay to feel crappy sometimes. It’s okay if the biggest accomplishment of your day is taking a shower (I have been there). - Take the shower though - it really does help. It's okay if you have 38765678 thoughts in your head at once and worry about something, but then also get annoyed at yourself for worrying about it and then get anxious that you are worrying about worrying.
YES, I want you to be happy. No, I am not happy myself 24/7 because that would be crazy and I'm not a fictional Disney character (nor are you). Yes, I want you to feel motivated, but sometimes that is hard. This is why I believe little things make a big difference. No, I don’t want you to feel alone. This is ME. saying you are not alone.
Also, just because you don’t identify yourself as depressed or anxious or going through something and you think “I don’t need to talk to anyone I’m okay, I just feel a bit BLAH.” Well you know what? That’s okay too. A lot of times we don’t want to put on label on ourselves so we go through big chunks of time where we feel like sh*t and we might even feel guilty about it. It’s OK TO FEEL LIKE SHIT SOMETIMES. REALLY. WE ALL DO.
Maybe you think of your life and think It’s pretty awesome and you think “UGH, why am I still struggling with this? Maybe someone else says to you that your life is great/they are so jealous of something you have going on. The truth is that you still feel bad. WELL THAT IS OKAY. You don’t have to prove your feelings or wish them away or rationalize them. Its okay to have them. And yes, it IS still shitty. There are millions of others out there (myself included) that do understand how you feel. You are normal and yes it sucks sometimes to be a normal human, but you are not alone so don’t be scared to open a dialogue about it.
Email me—> firstname.lastname@example.org if you simply need someone to write an email to to share your feelings or if you want to be direction on where to get more help. Maybe you know me, maybe you don’t, but I am ONE person right HERE that sees you, hears you and completely understands how sometimes you don’t want to get out of bed or have conversations with people. That’s okay. You don’t have to pretend.
Some helpful tips for you if feeling down:
- give yourself alone time when you need it
- figure out what self-care looks like for you. Maybe it’s eating cookies on a Thursday evening, maybe it’s a massage, maybe it’s a hot long shower, Maybe it’s time with friends.
- if someone asks how you are, don’t feel obligated to say “Good, you?” If you tell the truth, chances are the person you are talking to has been there and gets it. They might not though so make sure you spend time with good people.
- don’t say yes to things you do not want to say yes. Seriously. I say no all the time. Sure, I look/sound/act like I’m going on 97 years old and my actual grandma is cooler than I am, (FACT) but I also like to go to sleep by 11pm and don’t like alcohol all that much so there you go. I know what works for me. What works for you? Figure it out and do it and do not apologize for being you.
- buy some nice candles to make your home smell and feel warm and cozy.
- don’t be scared of carbs (they taste great, eat the damn carbs)
- Read experiences of other people that have been where you are and felt how you felt to remind you that you are not stuck or alone and maybe just maybe you won't feel that way forever.
- When you feel stuck thing of the one smallest thing you CAN do and do it and then feel good about doing that thing. If it’s walking for 10 min/sending an email, making a sandwich, going home after work instead of joining people at happy hour - doesn’t matter, what it is. Just do the one thing. Even if you think it won't make a difference - DO IT. And don't put pressure on yourself to do it perfectly. You don't need to go for a 3 mile run. Walking for 10 min really will help. Simple things. Easy things. Don't try to be everything for everyone. Be what you need to be and do what you need to do for yourself.
Friends/family/If someone reaches out to you or you sense something is up, here are some helpful things to say/do:
- Ask, “How can I help?” They might say “nothing or I don’t know or you don’t get it” Then you should say “Well I am always here for you, no matter what you do need or don’t need”
- Offer help like this: “do you want to share and talk?" but ALSO offer stupid chat. By stupid chat I mean sometimes when you can’t stop thinking or feel bad, the last thing you want to do is talk about how you are feeling so offer stupid conversation about reality TV or something silly a celebrity did, or tell them a funny story about your day. It’s refreshing to have normal conversations.
- Just hang out and don’t chat. Watch TV and bake cookies. Stop by to say hello and have a quick catch up. Be there and be there consistently. Either physically or by text.
- Don’t stop inviting them to things, but invite them without pressure in a casual way like “hey, I was thinking of going to so and so area, I’ll be walking around there for a few hrs if you want to join just text me” That way they can opt in if they want but don’t have to say yes to then change their invite to no at the last minute and feel anxious about it.
- Listen. Make eye contact, reassure, never judge or make assumptions.
As always I would love for your to share this, but especially if you think someone out there just needs a reminder that they are not alone. Sometimes reading something ONE person says can make a world of a difference. XO ————
Additional Resources to check out:
https://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/resources http://www.nami.org/Find-Support http://www.mind.org.uk/ https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help/index.html
*Do you have any greats links/suggestions/organizations I should list? Please comment below or email me.