You may ask if I'm okay. And I'll respond, "I'm fine." or "I'm just tired." or "nothing's wrong."
But inside I want to tell you so bad, yet so simply, today is just not a good day.
Today I am not okay.
Is there a reason, you ask? Well... No. Not just one, anyway. Only about a million.
But I can't say that. Because you're my boss, or a coworker, or a friend I'm not sure would want to be around me anymore because... I struggle with depression.
I've always "had it". As long as I can remember it's been a battlefield in my mind. I'm up and down. I have good days, and I definitely have bad days. Like today.
And I am educated in my mental illness. Believe me- I know all about the ways to "keep it at bay" or keep it under control. I read self-help books. I practice cognitive behavioral therapy. I recite positive affirmations when falling asleep or on my way to work. I've been in therapy. I know to exercise regularly, and have as much balance in my life as possible. Honestly, on top of doing all those things, I even recently started taking anti-anxiety/anti-depressants because it was so EXHAUSTING trying to work on my feelings every single second I was awake. I listen to Christian music in my car. I pray to God every morning and every night and sometimes, even throughout the day, and my prayer is "God, just get me through today."
There's not a specific reason. People who don't understand chronic depression always think there's a reason, or they need to have a specific reason. Or you just need "more of God in your life". Listen, I am a Christian, to my core, but sometimes praying to God does not make me feel any less sad.
You may ask, "what can I do to make it better?" And the answer is, let me be quiet. Let me just focus the little energy I have to do the work I need to do today. Be gentle, and open minded. Don't take it personal. Don't think I'm mad at you, or upset about anything in particular. I have a lot of feelings and sometimes, they are just overwhelmingly sad.
Mental illness makes people who don't have to deal with it (or can't deal with it) really, really uncomfortable. But let me just say, right now. No, it does not mean I want to, or have ever wanted to, kill myself. And if you automatically associate depression with suicide, you may need to open your eyes a little and realize it's not so black and white as that.
I am just a young woman with a lot of feelings. I've always had a lot of feelings. I am capable of great love and compassion and friendship. And I'm also capable of great empathy, anger, and sadness. If you're thinking, wow, that must be exhausting to have that many BIG feelings... well, yes. It is exhausting. But I also know that I'm a great partner, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and hopefully someday I'll be a great mother.
I'm not even sure what the point of this post is. But I felt really compelled tonight to share how I felt today. Because today was HARD. Every single thing other than clocking out at the end of the day, was hard. Words were hard. Smiling was hard. Even breathing was hard.
So if you struggle with this, my message to you is: It's okay to have these feelings. Don't let anyone make you feel ashamed. You're okay, and if you're not okay right now, you will be. Get through today, for tomorrow is a new day. You may feel better tomorrow, or you may feel worse. But tomorrow is coming and thank God you just got through today.
And my message to those of you who may be a little judgey on the subject of mental illness: Have some compassion. Be grateful that you don't have to work extra hard every single day just to get through the day. But you also need to realize, you MOST LIKELY have someone in your life who struggles with some sort of mental illness. So love them. You can't fix it. It's not about you. There's not always "one reason" and if you ask us if we're okay, we'll probably just say "yes" because most likely, we don't know if we can tell you, "today's just not a good day".
Thanks for reading.