It's OK Not To Be OK And That's More Than A Cliché

It's OK Not To Be OK And That's More Than A Cliché

Stop saying "I'm fine" for the sake of passing conversation and let's start having a conversation.

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I already knew that not being okay was fine. I just wanted to spare others from worrying about me. Accepting that I wasn't where I wanted to be in life was and still is one of the hardest struggles I deal with. Coping and being open about it is even harder.

It seems that every time I try to open up about situations. I am bombarded with cliche answers that make me what to close back up again.

Of course, I never mean to be ungrateful either. I am blessed that I could have been in worse situations, thank you for that. Yes, I do keep the faith, whether it be in prayer or dutifully carrying on. Keep my head up? I'm trying. I really am. Stay strong? Refer to the answer to the previous question. Do we have the same 24 hours? I don't know about that one. And sorry if I seem off-putting, a Debbie downer, selfish and sorry for feeling this way and being an inconvenient burden.

Just rinsing and repeating this cycle every time I feel down.

Times like this, I feel like all the doors have been slammed in my face by life's various inconveniences and although my loving family, friends, and everyone that I genuinely care about offers support and kindness, I feel too overwhelmed to genuinely let it resonate.

Currently, I'm sitting here with exhausted eyes cooling down after erupting in hot tears sitting in this library with people scattered as I pathetically attempt to hide my emotions by covering my eyes with the sleeves of my jacket. I'm constantly checking my phone mirror and the bathroom mirror to see if my eyes are still red so I won't give off an unlawful impression. Reflecting on my breakdown, I realize that I shouldn't have to wait until I'm alone and bottled up letting stress and the should've could've and would've untwisted the cap and pour everything out. No one deserves to have this outcome.

As much as I didn't want to keep hearing the cliches, I felt it wasn't fair to them to keep my loved ones out the dark. Many of them even saw past my dark times and kept asking while I kept pushing past it, which can be toxic.

Recently, I started getting the courage to open up to my parents. My providers were the hardest people to open up to because I wanted to make them proud and still do. I didn't want to be seen as the child with all the problems or the one your mom gossips about to her friends/older family members and disappoints your dad and is further denounced as the black sheep. All my expectations were diminished when I found I got acceptance. Rather than being bombarded with cliches, they helped me to think rational and find solutions to situations I wouldn't think to be relatable because of the generation gap.

Opening up to my friends was not as hard, but still difficult. How can I discuss this with them without being a Debbie Downer? My friends are the life of the party: beautiful, admirable, and caring. How fair was it to them letting them into my world of doubt and depression and having them look at me differently?

Sometimes, they realize they know about you before you even tell them. When I do tell them, I get cliches at times and even more bombarded with the "Why didn't you tell me's ?!" Beyond the risk of cliches and whatnot, I wonder, why didn't I tell them?

I realize that sometimes we refuse to accept unconditional caring. Being put in positions having to tailor yourself to meet these qualifications or act a certain way can resonate in the external realm and greatly affect your mental health. Having been through trauma made me have a diminished sense of trust. Sometimes opening up doesn't have to be all the way. It can be gradual. Most importantly, It can be at your own pace.

Opening up doesn't have to entail your life story, unless you want it to. The most important thing is that although the other person can't relate, that doesn't mean they aren't open to listen. I relished in an unrelatable struggle for the longest and felt like I couldn't tell anyone because they couldn't relate. No one should feel obligated to show that they relate to develop a relationship to you. It's fine not to!

Crying in public places may be socially unacceptable, but it was a great relief to me. I'm not condemning it all the way but suggesting that talking things out before they escalate helps. Feeling those bouts of anxiety and overwhelming feelings should not be undermined and brushed off for the sake of time. Paying attention and become self-aware of them can help greatly. Reflecting on moments leading up to day have revealed to me that there were so many occasions that I felt off and didn't feel like directly dealing with them.

Excuse yourself.

It's okay to take time to yourself. Reflect. Become self-aware while the moment presents itself. Becoming aware of surroundings while emotions are at its peak helps calm yourself too to help develop a sense of control. Regaining control is major when dealing with stressful situations. When interacting with others, it is also helpful too. Realizing their tone, their body language and attentiveness makes the situation more bearable and comfortable.

My eyes are no longer bloodshot as I am still learning. I am not okay and that's okay.

I am not okay and that's okay.

Everything is a learning process. About control, about others, about yourself.

Take time with yourself.

Take time with me.

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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.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. 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 there are some stuck in the gray area of 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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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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