I haven’t seen you all since last the last decade! (Sorry for the Dad Joke)...I know I’ve been absent but not THAT absent. I took a hiatus…and I’m not going to lie, the last chunk of 2019 was probably the hardest of my life by far. And unfortunately, I am still in the thick of it. Today I wanted to talk about mental health, why it’s ok to not be ok, and a little bit of what I’m hoping the new year will bring for me. I share this because for any of you going through something similar, I hope that it helps.
And yes, this is a very vulnerable blog for me to write.
It’s a bit painful, but I think one of the most beautiful things we can be as humans is vulnerable. Some may call me weak for it, but I think it takes way more strength to let the world have a front-row seat to your emotions. To love and be loved, to push through adversity, and to lay it all out there can be exceedingly petrifying. But in the end, it’s greater to be vulnerable, to let in those parts that might sting, because with that blooms hope. Hope and vulnerability are intertwined, and hope will always, always be what makes your life worthwhile.
As someone who is driven primarily by the relationships in my life, it can be really hard when one of those gets shaken up, and it truly derails everything for me. Especially for a relationship that’s been around for almost a decade...it’s almost impossible to process. It’s even harder when you’re still in love with that person, you want to be there for that person….but you had to make a choice to put yourself first for once while they figure things out.
It sucks. It’s painful. And if it’s not painful, you’re not growing. (And unfortunately, your twenties are full of growing, full of mistakes, and full of learning).
Don’t get me wrong, I take pride in my work, I love my job, I love my family, and I am so INCREDIBLY fortunate to have such amazing friends and a great support system around me. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard.
It’s Ok to Not Be Ok
I think society really emphasizes the need to always be “Ok.” To be smiling, happy, and at peace with yourself. Especially in America, we are programmed to always be seemingly cheerful. We often ask our peers, “how are you?” as a typical greeting to kick-off the conversation. The automatic knee-jerk response that is uttered from their lips is more often than not, “Good! And you?”
Although, what if someone says, “I’m fine” or better yet, “not great.” Then, we’re thrown off. It’s jarring. Society doesn’t teach you what to say to someone who isn’t ‘great.’ We don’t have an automatic response for discomfort, tragedy, or uncomfortable feelings.
We shy away from these feelings in ourselves and others because we have associated a form of distaste or inappropriateness with discussing such ideas. And even if something bad happens to you, you are expected to bounce back, recover quickly, let go, and move on.
It’s not that simple.
Recovering, grieving, sorting out, and processing what to do with it all is a mountain of a climb. It takes holding up a mirror, looking deep into the reflection, and feeling every single bit of what that raw emotion feels like to truly understand what’s happening. Then, you work on trying to separate the heart & the head; and the truth from your perception. This is a difficult, ongoing process.
Oh, and did I mention you have to do that all multiple times? Sometimes for weeks, months, years, etc.…all while trying to maintain the rest of your life by staying on track with your goals, keeping up with loved ones, and working to be a good employee.
But, do not ever let anyone tell you how long it should take you to ‘get over it’ or whether or not you need to move on, to hold on, or anything. It is YOUR decision, and your timeline to process what you need to.
11/10 Baileys Would Recommend Therapy
Things like therapy can help a lot though, and I HEAVILY recommend it if you have the means to obtain it. Especially for folks who are our age, mental health should be a huge priority. A lot of us are anxious, depressed, self-deprecating, and stressed out. In fact, depression is most common in ages 18 to 25, so if you have the means, do yourself a favor and enroll in therapy.
You don’t have to be a nut job. Therapy is an incredibly healthy thing, and as a society, we should be normalizing it. Think of it the same as a workout class, only instead of doing something for your physical health, it’s for your mental health. And if you can’t afford therapy, make sure you’re coping with your feelings by confiding in trusted friends or family, working out, and finding healthy habits to keep that processing train moving.
Plans for 2020
Anyways, as you can probably tell Ramblers, my 2020 is not starting out on a high note. But with change and growth comes room for new opportunity and reflection on where you want to head. For me, I’m hoping 2020 brings me clarity in either direction.
I’m a firm believer that at the end of the day, you have to have faith in something. Whether you’re religious, spiritual, or none of the above…choose something to believe in. Even if that something is just yourself.
And while you’re on the healing journey, or if you find that some of this coming decade ends up being tougher than you anticipated, just remember that it’s all for a reason. If it’s meant to be then fate will make it so. The story doesn’t have to end just because it took a hiatus, hit a fork in the road, or encountered a rough patch.
Whatever you do, don’t stop loving, don’t stop having hope, and don’t stop being vulnerable. I hope your 2020 is full of all the good things, and less of the bad. May you all and I find clarity this year! They say hindsight’s 2020….let’s see if that’s true! ;)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.