Did you ever say that out loud? I AM NOT OK?
Did you ever answer someone's question of How are you doing with I AM NOT OK?
Were you ever crying and someone asked you are you ok and you said No, I AM NOT OK?
Answering the “Are You Ok” question can be one of the most challenging and tricky things anyone can do. It is tricky because a lot of us feel the urge to say Yes I am ok when truly they are not. It is challenging because it takes a lot of power and strength to answer the question with No. We all face a lot of struggles every day in every aspect of life, some of us didn't get the deserved promotion, some of us are in deep debt. Some of us lost a loved one, some of us feel alone. we all look and perceive challenges life throw at us in different ways.
A few days ago I was attending a TEDx event and there was a speaker who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and with being Bipolar, I was shocked with his strength and courage to come out on a stage and talk about it. How he talked about his daily emotional struggles and the challenges that faced him within his life, it was more than inspiring for me. He kept speaking about how it all started with him questioning God, and how he was being attacked rather than being heard and understood. He was speaking about how when he was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder everything changed and people who left him and family who gave up on him. I was moved that despite everything he moved on and graduated Med school, but that's not my point or the most thing that stopped me. What really stopped me was why do we fear mental illness?
This guy, he wasn't ashamed to answer the How are you doing question by I am not OK. Depression, stress, energy draining are all normal feelings that many people feel yet try to hide from the world, and I just can’t seem to understand why? Why do we need to shed our emotions from others and just always pretend to be perfect, super? Why do we hide pain and cry in the dark or even stop our selves from crying? I believe this is self-oppression, I believe this is unjust to yourself, abuse of ourselves.
I asked around and I got many reasons as for why we try to hide our emotions, why we fear to say we are in need of emotional support or why we are shamed to say we are mentally not ok these days.
“I don’t want to be vulnerable,” many of people say is the main reason they don’t show their depression or negative feelings, or why they would hide saying they are seeking mental help or even why they may not seek that help in the 1st place. While other replies were “culture, our culture portrait the mental illness as a shameful thing, and going to a psychiatrist as something equal to going to a whore house, something to be ashamed of, something to hide. As a result, more and more people everyday fall into depression every day.
Jim Carrey, Ellen Degeneres, Johnny Depp, and of course the unique Robin Williams, they all battled depression one day. Some of them who came open about it they were able to pass it, others like Robin Williams who took all possible measures to hide it, reached a point where they didn't find a way out but taking their own lives.
Mental illness is not a shame. Being sad, down, depressed, stressed, overwhelmed is not a shame. Crying is not an act of weakness and laughter is not always a sign of happiness. Don’t suppress yourself and prevent it from feeling what it is supposed to feel. Whenever you feel you want to cry do, whenever you feel you want to scream do. Whenever you feel you want to laugh do even if its not the place for it. Whenever you feel saying I AM NOT OK; say it, you owe it to yourself, and remember, it's ok not to be ok.