It's ok not to be ok…

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Hey how are you?

I’m good, how are you?

It’s so easy to give these knee jerk responses to a casual question we hear daily. And I’m by no means suggesting an episode of verbal diarrhoea with boundless content every time someone asks how you are at the supermarket checkout! That would be weird! But when you’re in a safe place…and if you don’t have a safe place, get one! A safe place, where you can be yourself, a person whom you trust. A real answer is just what the doctor ordered. Honesty breeds healing and progress and gives light to those dark areas in our lives.

Hey how are you?

I’m exhausted, hungry, fed up, disappointed, lonely, depressed and anxious. I got a parking ticket yesterday, I’ve got this lingering toothache. I haven’t had a shower in two days. The laundry hasn’t been done, I’ve run out of detergent and milk but forgot to get some in the last shopping trip, so no tea for me today, I can’t be dealing with black tea. My job is thankless and monotonous, and my boss hates me. The kids have given me a cold, so now my nose is streaming and as if I’m not already sleep deprived enough I’m coughing like a chain smoker on helium at night, wheezing and breathless. I’m overdrawn on my overdraft, dealing with family conflict, and I think my wife is having an affair. with her personal trainer. We’ve been secretly doing IVF and the pressure of the failed cycles is mounting, I’m not sure our relationship can endure this battering. We have one last attempt left.

I’m having a bad hair week, this afro is about to get another big chop if it ain’t careful, and I’ve gained about 50 pounds in the last month. I need to book a GP appt for myself, I’ve had this persistent problem and I need a solution not a placebo… but I’m hoping it will just go away if I leave it long enough…

I woke up this morning and it took me longer than normal to convince myself to face the world. Everyday it seems to be getting more difficult. I’ve called in sick a few times at work, but I can’t pull a sicky on life. But my response as always if you care to ask is… I’m fine.

I’m not sure if you can relate to any of this, but whatever your challenges and hurdles, whatever is keeping you up at night. It’s ok not to be ok. 

I see you holding everyone up, holding it all together. Trying to be solid like an ox. Putting on a brave face. Being the foundation that everyone needs, being the rock that you need. Putting everyone before yourself. I see you. I feel you. Carrying the weight around your neck. I see you in the small hours nursing, dreaming of sleep, writing your to do list in the dark, by the light of your phone, responding to messages you’d forgotten you even had from last week. I see you awkwardly compressed between a rock and a hard place on your daily 2 hour commute. I see you, working in a job that daily robs you of your joy, quietly stuck in commuter pain, sandwiched between optimism and hopelessness surrounded by people who need to become familiar with deodorant. Overheating, overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. Wondering when the cycle will end. Hoping for deliverance, escape, or the luck of the Irish when that euro millions advert comes on. I see you doing the daily school run, sprinting from the car to the school gates, reciting the list of chores in your head as you head back to the car, praying for a day off. 

You pick yourself up when things get tough. People sometimes ask you how you are but rarely listen for the truth. You make excuses for your nearest and dearest, no one seems to care enough, and you’re alone, firefighting and trying to keep your head above water.

If we were honest about how we are feeling if not for public scrutiny, at least for ourselves then maybe we’d find the strength to face them and stop saying we’re ok, for fear of burdening others, being shunned by others, being misunderstood, or simply ignored. Or maybe sometimes it’s easier to just pretend it’s not happening and maybe it will all just go away…

Rarely… things rarely just disappear. Sometimes verbalising your truth brings it into reality, shit gets real when you start talking about it. Talking is good. Talking is freedom and relief. Talk to the right people, find solutions and support. But whatever you’re going through, however tough or impossible it may seem, there will be an end. I hope you surround yourself with light and love. That you find beauty in ashes. Believe it or not, your worst day to someone else is a dream come true. This week has been exhausting for me on so many levels. I’ve had to push through so much pain to get stuff done. I felt drawn to write this post for you to know you’re not alone. Don’t give up, and speak up. It’s ok not to be ok.

Find someone to talk to, who’ll listen, someone you trust who cares, call the Samaritans or just message me, privately…you’re not alone, be heard. Thanks for reading! Please like, share and follow me on Instagram