Lesson 76: Try Being OK with Not Being OK

unhappy gingerbread manI don’t DO unhappy well. I actually feel guilty when I feel down, sad or discouraged – like I’m doing something wrong. Which of course, doesn’t help. But I know that there are so many people with bigger struggles than mine – I tend to try to throw myself into work or helping someone less fortunate than myself.

I just can’t today.

Today, this week, this month — this moment in time, I’m not doing well. I feel guilty even writing that. My eyes are welling up with tears as I try. It’s not an attractive or motivating place to write from, I know. But it’s where I am. And as much as everyone, including me, wants me to be – I am not ok.

It’s not who I like to be. I pride myself on being positive and believe that we are in control of our outlook on life. Most of the time. Right now, it’s Friday afternoon, 80 degrees and blue sky sunny here in Austin. And I could not feel worse.

Our society makes it almost impossible to be anything but happy and hopeful. Something like 16 million (or 6.9 percent) of Americans have had one “depressive episode” in the last year. But looking at social media, you’d never know it. We all look so damn happy.

No one loves you when you’re down. Which is probably why it’s so hard to admit it when you are. Whatever the reason, I’m realizing how hard it is for me to NOT be ok. My brain searches for backup plans, people to call, and social strategies in an attempt to hide from the reality.

But the reality is, there is no plan that will help. Running from thing to thing just postpones me from feeling what I feel.  I’m tired of trying to outrun it. The last couple months have been an exercise of extreme self-discipline and patience, and quite frankly – I’m exhausted.

I’m having a hard time writing this, thinking about anyone reading it. It feels way too vulnerable, but it’s my truth at the moment. And I know I’m not alone. People go to all sorts of extremes to avoid admitting when they’re depressed – and I get it. I’m not clinically depressed, but whatever I am, I don’t want to be seen this way.

I think our society has a long way to go to being ok with not being ok. I certainly don’t have an answer on how to deal with that. But I’m hoping that accepting where I am, instead of fighting it, might help me get through it a little quicker.

Emma Davis likened depression to coming out of the closet, it’s that hard to admit.

“The first step is to pass on the message: being depressed is okay. Being depressed does not make you unlovable or unemployable or “damaged.” Being depressed — and this is often the hardest to remember — still makes you a worthy human being.”

I certainly hope so. And I hope maybe my writing this helps one other person feel better about feeling bad. Maybe we all just need to get better at feeling crappy sometimes. Like it or not.

 

 

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