It’s okay to NOT feel okay
Before I deep dive into the discussion, I want to first say BRAVO to the people who openly share their internal struggles and pain, vulnerable moments and traumatic events with the world because it is hard and it surely takes courage. So, Bravo!!
The reason I wanted to share my story is because I wished when I was going through my personal struggles that there was a formula I could use to quickly fix me. But there wasn’t. All I knew was the common practice of using prescriptions which as we all know is just a temporary bandage to avoid feeling the pain.
So, my hope is that; maybe by sharing my experience someone, somewhere might feel encouragement, comforted and strengthened to keep going despite whatever situation they are going through in their lives.
Anyway, I learned to suppress and hide my emotions when I became “what is considered” the adult age (18 yrs old). I had figured it’s much easier to avoid feeling vulnerable by accepting what was or is and keep going. While this was a great coping mechanism to a lot of things I faced through out my life, I came to realize what has been preventing me from opening up when I should have after-all wasn’t necessarily that I was afraid but instead, it was the thought of-how my loved ones would think of me since they have always known me to be this strong and brave person.
With that in mind, I couldn’t bear the thought of them seeing me emotionally broken-down as it felt like it would be some kind of a let down from me.
Truthfully, I am a social media junkie. Anyway, because I am sucked in by social media, I am noticing that we can no longer be ourselves or accept our true realities about life anymore because the society norms have changed so much. There is this pressure to act a certain way which sometimes, have people faking being “happy” and “having it all” through fake social media posts and pictures. It’s almost a bad thing to accept our struggles as humans. I won’t lie but I shouldn’t be sacked in social media as I do sometimes but it’s unfortunate. I should know better.
Mentally I was incapable of helping myself
Not long ago I went through a very hard time in my life, my world was completely turned upside down and shuttered. A part of me felt helpless and ashamed while the other part of me “my ego” that is, hung on tight on trying to save my sanity.
I knew I was in trouble mentally due to the state I was and how I was feeling because of what I had to deal with at the time. A lot of traumatic events had happened in a very short period of time such as; losing a close friend to suicide, experiencing financial loss in some of my investments and love relationships going sour. I felt so unlucky because at that same time I fractured my back. My life felt like a complete disaster.
Don’t be too strong for your own good, seek help whenever necessary.
It seemed like everything I did was unsuccessful a situation which made me become even more frustrated with my life and felt depressed. I had bills to pay and children to feed but here I was all alone and with no income (since I had to quit my job due to my back situation). I remember feeling so anxious that even when I was around friends, I felt alone and afraid. It felt strange. I was so scared of the unknown. But I couldn’t tell nobody of what I was going through. This was thought due to the “pretense” I was describing earlier. I had to pretend that everything was fine because I didn’t want nobody to feel pity for me. Even though I was sick and overwhelmed, I just knew I had to figure out how I was gonna get through it all on my own.
I was on my final stretch but thank goodness for an amazing therapist who was excessively available for me. She, together with my best friend became my biggest cheerleaders during this difficult time. And this, is when I learned what true friendship really meant. I also learned a lot about myself but most especially, I learned about the transitioning period I was in at the time.
Mental breakdown can lead to suicide
Unfortunately, my diagnosis showed that I had a mental breakdown which was accompanied with some depression due to an overwhelming stress. Luckily, these types of break downs are common and normal. The type of mental breakdown I experienced in regular street language would be referred to as Midlife crisis.
According to experts and clinically, Midlife crisis situations or episodes usually tend to occur greatly in some age groups; for instance (between ages 35-60yro) which was definitely news to me because I thought I was losing my mind! It’s also said that mid-age usually can get people feel confused and overwhelmed about life because it’s a major life changing and transitioning period in a human’s life.
Therapist are like a magical friend
Now, we all know therapists are not Gods. But in my case, my therapist was like that magical friend who is always SPOT ON in all your affairs! For a minute, her reassurance of my thoughts and about the crazy feelings I was having, gave me some type of calmness inside. She basically told me, most people when they start getting closer to older age they can internally undergo the pressure for the need to do a 360 on their lives. They feel the pressure to assess their lives and determine which direction they need to take in order to go into the next phase of their lives. But this situation can be very stressful to the brain to a point it gets overloaded and force an automatic shut down which clinically it’s referred to as a mental breakdown.
She asked me some very deep questions about my mental health at the time, and whether I have been experiencing any harmful or racing thoughts, of course, I calmly responded yes, at times I have felt like life wasn’t worth living anymore.
Unless you have been in their shoes, don’t judge them
Well, Fourteen years ago, I read a book called EAT, PRAY, LOVE. At the time, I was so young and naive about life. But briefly about the book for those who are not familiar, it was about this young lady who left everything she owned behind to go search for her purpose in life.
Her story caught a major wave and made her very famous. She sat down with Oprah and during her interview she said, she realized living and going far away from her comfortable life and living with the locals in a farm in some country in Asia allowed her to find her purpose. But all she did was eat, pray and made new friends. She said, letting go and letting life be it be was what she needed!
I thank God I matured out of my ignorance because I was truly naive when I watched this episode on Oprah. I judged the lady to filth and thought she was so ungrateful of her rich life that she had to go find poverty. Now that am looking back, I realize how completely wrong I was for disregarding her emotions and feelings. Just because I have seen people; young and old, children and mothers with overwhelming struggles but who didn’t simply feel “LOST” about life or felt the “URGE” to leave everything behind and go find their purpose in life, it didn’t mean I had the right to measure or compare her at any scale or with anybody.
Above all and how funny life is, here I am today feeling not so much different from what that lady felt 17 years ago, life so UNFULFILLED but yet, I have so much I should be grateful for.
The Universe always responds back
Life has humbled me in so many ways. Perhaps you are reading this and probably wondering, how can a person with so much to offer, beautiful children and a life well put together suddenly feel like giving it all up?
Well, of course, for us all, there is no denying that life can get complicated and overwhelming at times. However, a compacted head space with an accumulation of so many things such as; stress or a stressful life and traumatic events can eventually lead a person to feeling overloaded and extremely exhausted. Also, there are people who; for instance, don’t know how to ask for help even when need it most, I being one of them. I simply don’t know how to.
I have only known to rely on myself in every situation. So, when the pressures of life get very high and I have no where and no one to turn to, like most people we can easily crumble because it could be that we have reached our limits and there is no any other way out but the brain shutting down by causing a mental breakdown.
Nonetheless, I would say PRIDE and EGO plays a major role. Often, people around and who know you are not aware that you are needing help or struggling simply because you have created and established an environment which they are accustomed to seeing you taking care of things and finding solutions graciously and independently with no help. So, who is really to blame?
Everyday is a NEW day
While it was hard for me to admit that I was not okay, I also realized I was being selfish not trying to see that my kids needed me. Additionally, because I cared so much for my PRIDE/EGO this mental breakdown and depression could have easily costed my life. But I am convinced that “Midlife Depression” is truly a phase in life. I also believe loneliness can kill a person. My anxiety grew bigger during this time because I was simply scared of the Unknown.
While it’s natural for people to assume that “strong” people don’t feel pain or hurt, we live in a world of so much open information and we are fortunate to learn and recognize that it’s not TRUE and that strong people do hurt just like anybody else but suffer quietly instead.
Through these times or such personal struggle, I have come to truly understand how important it is to create and establish meaningful friendships with people. And, making it a habit to check on people especially those we see and regard as “strong.” Also, those friends who always “PRETEND” to be OK and HAPPY, no, unfortunately these are the ones who are usually the victims of self harm.
I am forever grateful for my best friend who I simply can’t describe in a few words. But I could have not made it through this most challenging and difficult time in my life without the abundant love and non judgmental support he showed to me. So, my advise is to choose your friends wisely!
We Live and Learn
But we live and learn! My situation reminded me a lot of the important things in life such as; taking time to ENJOY the all WINNINGS in my life no matter how SMALL they are. To also always enjoy the simple JOYS OF LIFE such as; the little abrupt HAPPY MOMENTS I feel inside. I have learned it’s okay to allow myself to feel scared of the UNKOWN and that it’s NORMAL but just not to stay with that feeling rather to always try to be in the PRESENT MOMENT. Finally, I only got ME at the end of day, so living LIFE to the FULLEST is what’s IMPORTANT.
Fortunately, the lessons just don’t end there because it’s important we understand that the choices we make while we are young and feeling brave do really come into play when we are older. For example: choosing to be a SINGLE PARENT is 150 times harder than if you would work on your relationship problems and not be to stuck up unless there is abuse of any kind. There is no joy or comfort in being called both MOM and DAD because the work of performing both parent duties is intense. But of course to each their own! I don’t judge nobody’s choices.
Choosing to stay PRAYERFUL
Listen, when I tell you GOD lives, I truly BELIEVE it!! It was like a Perfect storm when he showed up for me which made me show out for him!! He blessed me with everything that I had been praying for to the T.
This was my greatest and best lessons of all. I got through the toughest time in my life because I had HOPE. I also had so much FAITH in my lord and most high GOD. Even when it felt like he wasn’t listening to my prayers I didn’t let go of GOD. I stayed PRAYERFUL and BELIEVED that he was with me all along.
Needing to travel back home was an answer to finding MY DIVINE PURPOSE. So, here I am today traveled all the way home to Africa. That being said, I hope and pray you listen to your heart and let go of the noise and distractions so you can find that-which you have been praying for, manifesting and desiring in your life.
I hope you find the courage to find you.
Feel free to follow me on this journey and see my video logs by clicking the PodCast page (at the top). Also, if you enjoyed this discussion and would like more of this type of content let me know by leaving a comment down below! Don’t forget to rate this discussion as well by checking the start down below. Shalom!