It's Okay To Not Be Okay

I Hope You Know That It Is OK To Ask For Help

Asking for help doesn't signify weakness. Personally, I think it may be the strongest quality to have.

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You're struggling. Hitting a wall. You feel exhausted; mentally and physically tired. You don't know how to verbalize what you're feeling, and you really don't want to. But you're at a point where it's bothering you enough to make you debate on letting it all out. You battle back and forth with saying what you're feeling to someone. You either don't want to bother someone or you don't feel it's worth saying. Saying something won't change anything, you assume.

Well, this is your wake up call. This article right here, no matter what led you to it, it was meant to find you, and you to find it. I hope this article is the sign you've been looking for.

Whatever you were taught growing up, or what society seems to expect of you, please understand that it is okay to reach out for help. Yes, you read that right! It is 110% okay to call up someone and say those three words, "I need help." It's okay to let someone know you need to talk. It's okay to tell someone you're having a rough day. It's okay to be upset. It's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay.

A lot of people are scared to ask for help, including myself. Through television, movies, and experiences growing up, I found it might be easier for me to just hold everything in and say nothing. Having a bad day? Put on a smile and deal with it. I did that for a really long while, but it started to weigh me down. Each time the emotions and stress just piled on, making me sink deeper and deeper. I did this until one day a friend told me that I needed to start vocalizing how I was feeling, or else it was going to consume me.

And, oh, it did.

From that moment on, I tried to practice opening up. Just telling a friend if I was in a mood. Telling someone they upset me. Standing up for my feelings and vocalizing when I needed a shoulder to lean on.

I hope you understand how important asking for help is. No matter what you know, understand that asking for help is completely okay. Also understand that asking for help does not mean you are weak in any way, shape, or form. Being in touch with your emotions and vocalizing that is probably one of the strongest characteristics one can have.

Remember that. Strong. Not weak.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Burnout Doesn't Make You Successful, It Makes You Neglect Self-Care And Mental Health

It's time to stop wearing exhaustion as a badge of honor.

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Nowadays, millennials and generation Z'ers are more involved in the workforce and starting their careers sooner than later. One of the factors of this may be the fact that technology that has become increasingly more accessible over the years, and with that came the rise of social media platforms. These give us an insight into the lives of others that we necessarily don't need to know about or wouldn't have known about without them posting it on the platform.

Some people post every aspect of their careers and doing this can make us feel like we're behind, that we aren't moving fast enough in the game of life and that if we aren't thriving with thousands of followers, set our Instagram accounts to a business format or use stories to promote our skills that we may feel aren't as good as someone else, that we are failing. So what do we do? We take on everything possible.

"We" in this case could just mean me since this is something I do often. I've since limited my Instagram stalking but months ago, I would spend hours a day scrolling through my feed aimlessly doing nothing productive. All I would get out of my scrolling binge is feelings of dissatisfaction with myself, and my work ethic.

"This person just got their dream internship and they're only a sophomore."

"Wow, they made their first short film in high school and its nominated??"

"She's 23 and already has her own web series."

These are all thoughts that go through my head and their success does inspire me at times- but what did it take for them to get to that point? Perhaps endless working. Taking on more jobs and tasks than humanly possible. And yet, they're doing it.

"If they can do it, so can I," is my mentality as I undergo as many things as possible for me to try to catch up to the success of my peers. I've been working since I was 17 and my first job was in retail. From then on I've undergone countless of jobs in various fields- administrative jobs through a temp agency that I'm still involved in, freelance gigs through my township to hone my production skills, as well as a part-time job at a movie theater just because I need more money for better equipment so that I could have a web series at 23 myself- all of these on top of going to school full-time.

To many people, this may seem like a lot. To others, it may be the tip of the iceberg. I know some people who work AND go to school full-time, on top of outside responsibilities such as maybe family obligations, or trying to maintain a social life or the most important and often underrated things: self-care. I have learned the importance of self-care recently and I realized that it isn't something that you just have the time for on your schedule- you have to make the time. Now on top of my regular duties, I had self duties to attend to. This was something I was never used to so I still struggle to find time for myself. But lately, my body has been reminding me whether I like it or not, to take a break.

I thought it was just feeling "tired," but this was a whole new level of tiredness. It's a complete shut-down, like performing a force shutdown on a computer or laptop. That's what I relate it to. This feeling of intense exhaustion to the point of near collapse is called burnout. I have heard the term before, but didn't really know what it meant until I experienced it. It got to a point in which I had to go to the hospital. The burnout was not the only cause of my hospitalization, I had mental and physical health conditions that were not attended to prior to it. However, because of the burnout, I realized that I was doing too much and I was not okay.

I just kept going. Despite my body feeling as if it was hanging by a thread, that I could fall asleep for days at any moment, I ignored all the signs of exhaustion and kept going. It took drastic circumstances for me to take the actions necessary to get my life back on track and we as young adults and innovators shouldn't have to get to such a drastic point to realize that we need a break. Just because we're doing the most, doesn't mean we are at peak productivity.

In fact, studies show that if we do take 5-15 minute breaks in between our assignments, whether school-related or personal, we'll be more alert and productive. Plus, our performance quality will increase too. It's not always about just getting the job done, but doing that job/task at the best of our ability.

Sometimes we feel as if we need a life vacation... a break from the hustle, from people in general. I remember feeling like this a few days ago. I love keeping myself busy but I had once again given myself too much to do and not enough time to take breaks. And this doesn't just go for things related to advancing in my career. I was extremely socially exhausted in this case. By my third day of socialization, I had just wanted to go to my room, curl up under the covers, and escape into the world of Hulu, Youtube or Netflix.

That was the only activity I had the energy for... until I fell asleep by force of my body's exhaustion. I think that's what a lot of us in this generation tend to do as well. We think if we are tired beyond belief or have only gotten to eat one meal a day, then we're working hard, giving 110% and we're gonna get ahead of the game. But really all we're doing is setting ourselves up for a huge collapse that may set us even further back than we think. It's time to stop wearing exhaustion as a badge of honor. Instead, we need to use it as an indicator of when to pause, take a breath and live instead of merely exist in the busy world around us.

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