"Hey how are you?"
We must hear that question asked a dozen times a day, but who ever really answers that question honestly? It's almost habitual to toss back "I'm good, how are you?" and move on with your day and life.
But the truth is not everyone who says they are ok are. In fact, I am not ok right now. And I have absolutely no idea what the fuck is wrong with me.
I have a good job, which believe it or not has not been stressful lately *knocks on wood* a beautiful girlfriend who loves me, the sun is starting to shine and my favorite season, birthday and Pride are just around the corner. I live in a great place surrounded by great friends. So why do I feel like I'm standing on an island, unable to escape, completely alone?
Am I simply being ungrateful? Or Discontent? Or is this what the beginning of depression feels like? Today I stayed in bed on the first warm, sunny day in weeks when I would normally be bouncing out the door at 6 am for a bike ride. I didn't eat at all yesterday, save for breakfast, and I haven't slept a full night in weeks.
I just came back from a vacation in the most beautiful place I have ever been where I was supposed to spend the time reflecting and growing with myself. Instead I spent most of it anxious and writhing at the idea of coming home.
A few weeks ago I genuinely contemplated harming myself for the first time in years. And for what? What is objectively wrong with my life right now? The sad truth is: nothing is wrong with my life. And that's what makes mental health so damn frustrating to deal with.
If a person is fat, you can tell them to eat salad and work out.
If a person has a cold you tell them to eat soup and rest.
But when a person is suffering from any mental anguish or struggle it's invisible to the naked eye. I can walk into a courtroom and smile in a pretty dress and joke and laugh and carry on as if everything is fine. And the second I'm alone, crack like and iron ship on a cold April night.
I'm learning that it's ok to not always be ok and communicating that you're struggling with something is ok too. I'm also learning (through a lot of therapy) that we don't always have to fix the problem right away. Sometimes we have to force ourself to sit in that uncomfortable place for a while until the etiology of why we're feeling what we're feeling presents itself organically. Because trying to force a solution will likely just produce more problems.
This doesn't mean allow yourself to reach the point of self harm. Go to therapy, reach out to a friend, write a blog, do the work, push yourself. But in all the internal battle, find a way to be still.
I share this not as some "plea for help" or attention, but because I think more people should feel comfortable sharing these moments of life publicly. My hope is that by sharing my current internal struggles a little bit, more will feel safe to do the same, and most importantly realize they are not alone in their suffering.
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.