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 have used to quickly fix me. But there wasn’t any of course besides the common bandage (prescriptions) which a lot of people end up using 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 out it’s much easier to avoid feeling vulnerable by accepting what was or is and keep going. However, I came to realize that what has been preventing me from opening up wasn’t necessarily that I was scared but it was the thought of-how my loved ones would think of me since they have always known me to be strong and brave. So, I couldn’t bear the thought of them seeing me emotionally broken-down as it felt like it would be a let down from me.
I hope am not alone when I say I feel like a social media junkie? I don’t know but it just feels like in our society today we can no longer be ourselves or accept our true realities about life. It seems like everybody is faking behind their “lavish and look at me happy” posts and pictures. It’s as if it’s a bad thing to accept our struggles and our real selves. We have become a culture that is overdosed immensely by the pressures of social media and technology.
I won’t lie, I sometimes catch myself totally sunk in social media. It’s unfortunate because I know better. Not long ago I went through a very hard time in my life, my world was completely shuttered and turned upside down. A part of me felt helpless and embarrassed while the other part of me “my ego” that is, hung on tight to try and save my pride.
I knew I was in trouble mentally due to how I was feeling and 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 personal relationships going sour. Of course, I felt unlucky because I also fractured my back within the same time. My life felt like a complete disaster.
Riding the anxiety wave
I became so frustrated and depressed. It seemed like everything I did was unsuccessful. I had bills to pay and children to feed but here I was all alone and with no income (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. But this was 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. And, even though I was sick and overwhelmed, I still had to figure out how I was gonna get through it all.
I felt like I was on my final stretch. 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.
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. Sometimes, mental breakdown is referred to by other people as Midlife crisis.
According to experts, Midlife crisis usually tend to occur greatly in some age groups for instance; (between ages group 35-60yro). This was definitely news to me because I thought I was losing my mind! But it’s 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 SPOT ON! For a minute, her reassurance of my thoughts and the crazy feelings I had, gave me some type of calmness inside. In a simpler way, she explained and said; the stress and overwhelmed feeling often occurs because people are forced to do a 360 of their lives in order to determine which direction to take in the next phase of their lives. And this situation can be very stressful to the point the brain gets overloaded and breakdown.
Shad proceeded and asked some very deep questions about my mental health at the time, and whether I have been experiencing any harmful thoughts which again, she was on point because I was. So, of course, I calmly responded yes, at times I have felt like life wasn’t worth living anymore.
Can’t judge nobody unless you have been in their shoes
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; it was about a young lady who woke up and left everything behind because she felt that she needed to go search for could be her purpose in life.
Her book caught the wave and she became very famous. She sat down with Oprah and during her interview she said, she traveled to some country in Asia, lived with the locals and all she did was eat, pray and made new friends. She said, letting go and letting it be was what helped her found her purpose in life!
Well, I thank God that I matured out of my ignorance as I got older and learned that there is really no formula to life or how people choose to respond to their struggles and situations. I was truly naive and wrong for completely disregarding her emotions and feelings. Because I thought she was just rich and bored that she decided to go travel. I mean, 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. So?!!
But above all, who was I to judge the choices she made on how she wanted to fulfill her destiny and desires in life anyway? But life is funny, because here I am today feeling not so much different from what the lady left. Life UNFULFILLED but yet, I have so much in possession.
The Universe always responds back
Life has humbled me in many ways from my ignorant judgmental lifestyle in the past. But you may ask, how can a person with so much to offer with beautiful children and a life well put together suddenly feel like giving it all up and their life too?
Well, from a personal perspective, I think there is no denying that life can get complicated and overwhelming at times. So, 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 when they feel overwhelmed because they simply don’t know how to.
But have only known to rely on themselves in every situation. These are the people who when the pressure of life get overly high and have no where and no one to turn to can easily lose it. But this is after a long time of going non stop with life and responsibilities alone or with codependents. However, I would say though, PRIDE and EGO is also a factor to blame in these types of people because often times you find people around you and who know you are not aware that you are needing help or struggling simply because 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
For instance; in my situation, I was to prideful to admit that I was not okay. But also, just like that this same pride could have costed my life. After what I went through and after seeing other mid age adults go through almost the same situations and feeling the fear of the unknown, I am convinced that “Midlife Depression” is truly a phase in life. I also believe loneliness kills. My anxiety grew bigger during this time because I was simply scared of the Unknown. I also believe loneliness can kill a person!
While it’s natural for people to assume that “strong” people don’t feel pain or hurt we are fortunate to now understand and realize that it’s the opposite. Strong people do hurt but they suffer quietly. So, it’s truly important to create and grow meaningful friendships with people. And, making it a habit to check on our “strong” friends or those friends who “pretend” to always be fine and happy as they are often the victims of self harm.
We Live and Learn
Overall, because of my situation, life has reminded me of a lot of important things in life such as; to always take the time to ENJOY the SMALL WINNINGS and the HAPPY FEELINGS & MOMENTS I get inside. Feeling scared of the UNKOWN is NORMAL but staying in the PRESENT MOMENT is what is IMPORTANT. Additionally, I only got ME at the end of day, so living LIFE to the FULLEST is what’s IMPORTANT.
The lessons just don’t end there, I have come to understand that some of the choices we make in life while we are young really affects us when we get older. For example: naturally being a parent is known to always being challenging but being a SINGLE PARENT is 150 times harder. There is no joy or comfort in being called both a MOM and DAD. But of course these are the lessons some of us have had to learn as we went.
Choosing to stay PRAYERFUL
But the greatest lessons of all that I had to endure was the gift of FAITH in the most high GOD. Even when it felt like he wasn’t listening to my prayers when I needed him the MOST!! I couldn’t find myself letting go of GOD. I stayed PRAYERFUL and BELIEVED that he was with me all along.
Listen, when I tell you GOD lives, I truly mean it!! It was like a Perfect storm when he showed up for me!! He blessed me with everything that I prayed and asked him for. To the T.
Finding MY PURPOSE was also an answer to a prayer I said. So, here I am today traveled all the way home to Africa to find my purpose whatever it maybe, I just knew I needed to come home. With that being said though, I hope and pray you to will listen to your heart, let go of the noise and distractions and go find that-which you have been praying for, manifesting and desiring in your life. I hope you find the courage to find you.
Nonetheless, for the youngster and ladies who are are still seeking to have a partner and raise a family, one important thing I have come to learn at an old age has been the importance of being selective with who you pick and choose to bring another life on this planet with. A well selected partner. So, be very aware and selective ladies don’t just follow your heart but be smart as well!!
My situation also taught me how vital it is to create and secure healthy friendships and boundaries. 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!
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!