By Lexy Benedict
Most days I wake up, and it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I stay up anxious, contemplating life, and thinking about anything and everything that could possibly go wrong, an overwhelming feeling of despair and lost hope.
It feels like I’m drowning, and everytime I try to gasp for air and gain some clarity, something always drags me back down. Stressed about the future, dwelling on the past, and upset and discouraged with the present.
It’s no doubt that life is always going to be an uphill battle. Whether you’re dealing with life itself or dealing with a mental or physical illness, there’s always going to be some sort of obstacle that you need to face.
In my case, my battle with depression makes me feel like this uphill battle is one that is impossible to win. If there’s one thing that is harder to fight than my depression itself, it’s fighting the urge to respond with “I’m drowning” when someone asks if I’m okay, or how I’m feeling.
Yet, no matter how strong the urge is, a more prevalent instinct is to quickly respond with a big smile, a giggle, and say “I’m okay” or “I’m fine”.
Meanwhile the truth is that I’m far from okay most of the time. My automatic response is to say I’m fine or okay because I’m scared of being seen as weak, or feeling like I can’t handle anything. I want people to see me as the strong girl that can handle all these things on my plate, school, jobs, extracurriculars, a social life, and can be perfectly cool and collected. I don’t want people to see how I see myself, which is a mess that is barely holding it together because of everything I have to do.
My biggest flaw as a person is to constantly feel like my depression makes me less of a person, so I constantly feel like I need to suppress it and be this automated perfect human. I have a massive support system of friends and family that ask if I’m okay, and I’m so thankful for that- but my response is constantly “I’m fine” or “things are great”.
It’s easy in our society, to just brush how you feel under the rug. No one ever wants to be seen as weak, and no one ever wants to reach out when they need help. We live in a society that makes us feel that we constantly need to be good and great, and fine and happy. But in reality, is anyone really okay? As a reminder to myself, and to everyone, I want people to realize that it’s okay to not be okay. We’re all human, we go through tough stuff, and you are a sum total of all your feelings and experiences, both good and bad. We just need constant reminders to tell ourselves that if you’re not okay, it’s okay. And you’ll be okay. And if you need someone to help you feel better, that’s okay too. It’s ironic that we think it’s more normal to appear like we have a perfect life, when in reality it’s a more natural human characteristic to struggle and to feel hurt.
When you feel like you’re drowning, the easiest thing to do is to give up. It’s okay to not always be okay, or be happy all the time. But when you do feel like you’re being pushed down, next time you should tell someone instead of saying that you’re okay or fine, when you aren’t. You never know, that person might show you how to swim again and live again, so you don’t have to drown.