Allow Yourself To Feel Your Sadness

Allow Yourself To Feel Your Sadness

It's okay if, some days, the only thing you did was wake up.

One out of four adults over the age of 18 live with a diagnosable mental health disorder.

In college students, this number is even higher. A quarter of college women will experience an anxiety disorder, and 1 in 12 college students make a plan for suicide. I am that statistic. I am most mental illness statistics, in fact.

My mental illness developed around the time I turned 14, I am the one in four with anxiety, and I am the one in twelve who have made a suicide plan.

I am medicated, working through therapy and my own feelings and choosing to put myself first. But the most important thing I learned about my struggle wasn't about knowing when to scream for help at the top of your lungs, or how to talk about your struggles without triggering others. It was learning to accept my sadness.

My depression manifests itself in a soul-crushing elephant sitting on my chest, making it impossible for me to get out of bed. I can't do anything to change my brain chemistry, but what I can change is how I respond to my bad days. If I spend time beating myself up for not making it to my attendance-optional recitation, then the cycle will only continue rather than being interrupted.

You have to understand your illness, your mind, and your life -- no matter what medication you're on or how great your therapist is or how good things are going in your life, you're going to have bad days.

You're going to have those days where you wonder if you made any progress at all with all the hard work you've been putting in. Know that you are making progress, and recovery isn't true recovery without setbacks. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to forgive yourself.

Allow yourself to feel that sadness, allow yourself to take the time to deal with those feelings and that heaviness in your bones without worrying about the other things you have going on. A hard lesson to learn is loving yourself enough to put yourself first, and moreover, having enough respect for yourself to allow yourself to feel that deeply.

It's okay if, some days, the only thing you did was wake up. It's okay that some days you feel hopeless and like nothing is going right, and it's okay that sometimes you have to take a mental health day. It's okay to accept your sadness and use it on your journey to balance.

So put on your sad playlist, curl up in your favorite blanket, and have a good cry if that's what you need. Or surround yourself with friends who make you laugh. Or do whatever it is you have to do to work through what you're feeling so you can return to the long, painful but ultimately important road to recovery.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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What's Your 'Why'?

If you can't yet find your goals, first, find your 'why'

The thing that drives you. The reason behind your ambition. The thing that catapults you (or in my case, not a morning person, slowly drags, but drags nevertheless) out of bed each morning. Your why. Whether or not we realize it, there is a why behind everything we do and there are ways in which to increase the motivational capacity of our "why's".

My junior year of high school, in my English class, we examined how rhetorical strategies in literature, advertising, etc. all employ a motivating force. John Lennon once identified the two main motivating forces in a human's life as fear and love. When we are afraid of something, we draw back out of a desire to avoid the very thing with which we fear coming into contact. When we are motivated out of love or rather, passion or concern, we are motivated to action rather than inaction.

I've found myself in the middle of quite the paradox regarding my personal, general, overarching "why". I so badly want my decisions to be motivated by love, by ambition, by the selfless care of others, by passion, that I fear of making decisions out of fear. Ironic, right?

Here's my reason behind why I'm wary of making my decisions out of fear: I'm talking about the big decisions, not things like, I'm afraid if I take the 2 train after 1 am, I'll get mugged, so I avoid the 2 train. That decision is COMPLETELY motivated by fear and that's not a bad thing. Seriously, people, if you're ever in New York, avoid the 2. BUT, ANYWAY, as I was saying, my reason behind why I'm wary of making my decisions out of fear is because fear is crippling. It is paralyzing. Fear prohibits you from moving forward to whatever it is that rests ahead. Inaction is the enemy of ambition. Inaction is the opposite of pursuit. And I want the things in my life, my goals, my opportunities, the people I love, to be held close to me because of my conscious decision to include them in the fold of what I hold most dear. I want the things and people that bring me the most joy to be avidly under my pursuit, not just remaining in my life by happenstance.

So I guess you could say that my "why" is the constant pursuit of intentionality behind my endeavors, but most importantly the pursuit of intentionality in my relationships with my people. I want to glean the most out of my hobbies and pastimes and passions by pursuing them fervently, and in turn, hopefully bettering myself for how much of my heart and soul I invest into these things. I want the people I love to not only hear and know that I love them but to feel that I love them because of the value I place on really knowing and caring for their hearts and everything about them that is intrinsic to who they are.

Without a "why", you can't get very far. Motivating force to a person is as gasoline is to a car. Your "why" catapults you toward your goal. It is what you have within your reach, even while your goal may still seem out of reach. It is what you are able to cling to, on the days when you feel in a rut, desolate, without hope, and as though giving up would be the easier and better option. And while, in the moment, giving up might in fact be easier, it won't get your toward your goal; it won't satisfy your why.

I know in times in my life where I've had a hard time defining and establishing end goals for myself, I have first tried to define and establish why it is that I want to end up achieving that certain goal, and once I've found my motivating force for why I'm doing what I'm doing, I've found that it's much easier to get from point A to point B. If you can't yet find your goals, first, find your why.

We all have a "why", even if we don't know it. What's yours?

Cover Image Credit: Photo by ben o'bro on Unsplash

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Sometimes It Is OK To Be Better Off Alone

And everything else will fall into line.

In a society that tells us we need to focus on quantity over quantity in terms of those that we surround ourselves with, it is reasonable as to why we forget how important “me time” is.

We start to become clones of those that we surround ourselves with. We listen to certain music, watch certain movies, and read certain books, all based on the recommendations that others give to us. While it is nice to take recommendations from those that we admire and love, it’s easy to stop having your own interests. It’s easy to stop listening to that one singer because they’re not deemed “cool” or are even known about.

But when we do share our likes and dislikes, they may not be opinions that are shared by those we are close to causing us to start being afraid of speaking out. We are so afraid of “not connecting” with those we want to be close to that we forget whose opinion truly is important. We put others before ourselves and hold them on a higher pedestal than we hold ourselves.

We start to be afraid to sleep alone or spend any time alone, for that matter, because we forget what it’s like to be alone.

We have relied on the presence of others for so long that we forget what it’s like to rely on our own presence. We start to forget what it’s like to call our bed our own and what it’s like to put away your phone before falling asleep. Instead of honoring ourselves, we are constantly worried about how others are honoring us. We attempt to input our place in society so strongly that we forget that everyone else is trying to do the same thing.

We forget that sometimes it is OK to be better off alone.

It is OK to not receive a text or a call from a friend to make plans one day because we’ve been so scared of not having anything on our agenda. We forget that our bodies are the only bodies that are 100% carried throughout all of life with us. We are the only ones who truly know ourselves inside and out to a depth that no one could ever reach. Letting go is one of the hardest parts of being alone because it means that you have to be strong enough to value your own presence. But you had to cut them out because it was a toxic relationship.

Our need to self-love comes out eventually because it’s inescapable. We are unable to escape the fact that we need to take care of ourselves before we take care of anyone else. It is MORE THAN OK to text friends to tell them that you are in need of for time to yourself or to put away your phone for the rest of the night. It is not an inconvenience to take time for oneself; in fact, it’s crucial.

In the end, you truly are the only one that’s there for yourself so that might as well be honored.

It’s so relieving to say “its ok to not be ok” or “it’s ok that this sucks”. Because sometimes life does. Life has its ups but it definitely has its downs. But if you’re strong enough within to acknowledge a mean comment as meaningless or to not be devastated and beat yourself up when someone leaves, you have the key to success.

Having the key to success means being strong enough to understand that life is lemonade. There are many times that are sweet but there are also MANY times that life is bitter. That doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or that you need to analyze every little aspect of a relationship. It just means that you need to let go.

I believe in the strength of human ability to get through anything that is thrown our way. We are the mentally strongest beings on Earth because we are the deepest beings, as well. It is incredible to see how strong the mental muscle gets the more we use it and practice it. If we never practice our strength, it is harder to find. I promise it gets easier the more that it gets strengthened. It may not feel too easy now, but you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Cover Image Credit: @lindsaybonbon

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