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grandpa and granddaughter dancing
Photo by Natalie Hughes
Mental Health

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

Discussions about mental health have become ever so common in today’s day and age. There’s not a stigma around it anymore, which is quite a blessing. Yet still, we’re all out here joking about it because everyone’s genuinely going through something and it’s much easier to live life making fun of it. The worst part of it all? We trick ourselves into this lull of pretending everything is always fine, when obviously isn’t—and there’s no better case study than me. Cue crisis: stage left.

Recently, my grandpa passed away due to complications from COVID-19. I hesitate to use that phrase (passed away) because it wasn’t a simple and easy thing, but I thought I should go without sounding bitter and angry, even though I am. Can’t be the frustrated granddaughter, now can I? If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never been one to deal with death well, and I’m sure that’s already showing. However, when my grandpa died, I didn’t cry. I didn’t make a fuss about it. I didn’t storm into my roommate’s room begging to be consoled. I let her and a couple other friends know over text and just went about my day. Bought myself some cookies and Olive Garden and just watched Netflix for a few hours. I mean, d*mn, I had more of a reaction when my mom called to say he went to the hospital. There was an insane amount of support from my friends and loved ones, but I didn’t feel that I needed it. Then, on a Monday night two days after I heard the news, I cried myself to sleep. Not the cute, only a few tears running down my face kind of crying. No, the full-on ugly crying like Kim Kardashian.

grandpa and granddaughter posing for a picture
Original photo by Natalie Hughes

This went on for a couple of nights and I just decided not to tell anyone about it. Why should I? I’ve always been strong enough on my own and people have better things to do than worry about the death of someone’s relative that they didn’t even know. The first time I actually talked to someone about how I felt was a good five or six days later. It was my friend Dylan, and we had a really great conversation about my sorrows and wishes and everything in between. He let me rant about how frustrated and sad I was that my grandpa wasn’t going to see me become a journalist or watch me walk down the aisle or meet his great-grandchildren. It was a difficult hour or so to say the least, but Dylan reminded me that my grandfather loved me indefinitely whether or not I did all of these amazing things during his lifetime. That conversation made me feel a thousand times better and I genuinely wish I would’ve had it with someone sooner.

All this to say that, yes, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s also okay to ask for help. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the strong one in all of my friend groups. I’m the girl who makes jokes about all the things going wrong in her life and brushes them away as if they don’t bother her. I’ve been diagnosed with depression since high school and have always dealt with anxiety, but like most people, I’m good at bottling up my emotions and living a perfectly functioning life. Honestly, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this until recently. And sure, it isn’t inherently bad to keep your feelings to yourself and only express the good parts of your life to others, but everyone deals with mental health issues at some point in their life and there is nothing wrong with you for dealing with them, too. Your feelings are valid. Your experiences are valid. You. Are. Valid.

self care isnt selfish sign
Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

Everything that you might be going through is important to your life and who you are as a person. Just because you might not be facing obstacles or problems worse than someone else you might know, doesn’t mean that those obstacles and problems aren’t real. It’s taken me years to realize this and plenty more to understand that I’m not doing any harm by asking for help with something that is bothering me, even if it’s something as juvenile as the guy I met on Tinder forever ago not asking me to be his Valentine. My grandfather died and I really had the audacity to tell myself that it was a problem that could wait, that it could be bottled up inside of me and not have to be dealt with. For what reason? Because I didn’t want to look weak or bother those around me. Having emotions doesn’t make us weak, it means we’re alive. So, if you take anything from this article, please know that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for being human—you’re worth helping. Don’t be afraid to seek it.

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Hey there! I'm a staff writer for Her Campus FSU and my passions include reading, writing and binge watching anything Netflix suggests to me. My major is Editing, Writing and Media and I'm minoring in Women's Studies. I'm a lover of all things Taylor Swift, YA novels and cringey TikToks. In my free time, you can catch me cuddling with my cat Mavis or making some delicious food while an episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina plays in the background.
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