Eating disorder · Grief · Mental health

It is okay not to be okay

I often feel that we live in a world where being sad, depressed, hurting – generally just not okay – is not okay. Perhaps it is just me. However, I do not think so. I think many people feel this way. We are told to be happy. To be grateful. To smile. To think positive. To think about how good, we have it compared to other people.

This is all great, and I agree with it. To some extent. I do think it is very important to be grateful for what you do have. I also think it is important to smile and laugh. In fact, I think smiling and laughing is very important. One of my favourite quotes is: Smile to the world and it smiles back. I love smiling, and I think everyone should do it more. Along with being nicer to each other.

However, having suffered from severe depression, an eating disorder as well as anxiety and self-harming and now grief over having lost my boyfriend, I know smiling, laughing and being happy is not always an option.

And I am sick of people saying it is just an option. Do these people know what it is like to be grieving, being clinical depressed, wanting to end your life, suffering from an eating disorder, feeling a panic attack rising while you are standing in the Tube?

I honestly do not think so. It is so easy to sit on the other side of the table and say happiness is just a choice. I get that to some extent it is a choice – but I also think it is very easy and too simple to just say it like that.

But what I am even more tired of is that all my life I felt like it wasn’t okay that I wasn’t okay. Sure, when my boyfriend died, people thought it was absolutely okay that I wasn’t okay. But what about when I was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed in the morning? Or I cancelled plans last minute because I did not have the energy after all? Or I did not finish my homework on time because I stared into the ceiling for three hours? Or when I skipped gym because I was ashamed of my body and suffering from an eating disorder? Or couldn’t go to any parties because alcohol meant consuming calories? Or I had panic attacks?

Somehow people didn’t care then (besides my parents, sister, two friends and some of my parent’s friends). People told me to just “pull it together”. It was not okay that I wasn’t okay. I didn’t have a reason back then. Now people understand if I have a day where I am not okay – I did, after all, lose my boyfriend recently. But how long will that last? Two more months? Six months? A year? When is it again not okay for me to not be okay?

I want to tell you that it is OKAY not to be okay. It is okay you are depressed. It is okay you are suffering from an eating disorder. It is okay you are grieving (no matter when your loved one died). It is okay you have anxiety. Whatever you are feeling it is OKAY.

I am not saying you shouldn’t get help – I most certainly do think you should get help, and I will be the first to let you know. If you are not okay, please seek help. But not because it is not okay to not be okay but because you want to feel better and happier. Because you want to smile and laugh. But know that it is always, always, always okay – more than okay – to not be okay. No matter what people say. It has and always will be okay to not be okay. Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.

Love & Happiness,

Heidi

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