The Art of Pretending to be Okay
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Health and Wellness

The Art of Pretending to be Okay

Maria Swiatkowski

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The Art of Pretending to be Okay

"Are you okay?" is the number one question somebody will ask you when you're clearly not okay. The typical response isn't to pour your heart out to them and release all your emotions upon them. The realistic response is to just say "I'm fine" with a small smile, hiding the pain. So what's the point of asking the question? We do it to be polite. Negative emotions confuse us, because when someone actually does let their guard down and tell you their suffering in great detail we have nothing to say. The reason we have nothing to say is because you don't know how they feel and what it's like to be in their position. So we just say "I love you" or "Think positive!", but hearing that when you're the one who's not okay it almost feels rude or careless. We want to know why someone is crying or why your best friend has been acting weird. But nobody wants to admit their struggle. It's seen as a sign of weakness, and nobody wants to be painted as weak. We bottle up all our pain and all of our suffering, and fake happiness to please others.

When you're at your lowest point, and you feel nothing can fix this deep hole you feel inside yourself, the only person who knows this pain is you. You cry in your bedroom for hours, playing that one song that makes it worse on repeat. When someone knocks on the door, asking you to do something or to come eat dinner with your family, you wipe away your tears and pretend absolutely nothing is wrong. You could wish you were dead in the ground for months on end and nobody will know because you're embarrassed of these emotions. You're embarrassed to ask for help you know you need but you're in denial. So you throw pity parties every night, but you're the only one invited so b.y.o.t. (bring your own tissues). Going to school or work, hanging out with your closest friends and family feels like an endless loop of hell. Nothing fills the hole. So you turn to drugs or alcohol to make you feel better, just for a moment in time. The high feels better than anything you've ever felt, and it's sure as hell better than the pain you experience on the daily.

How does someone do it? How do they act like they're the most joyful ray of sunshine you've ever met when they're constantly writing a suicide note in their head. You put on a mask. This "mask" only comes off when you're with the only person you fully trust, yourself. Smile at things that don't make you happy, laugh at things you don't find funny, have a big personality. You constantly crack jokes, immerse yourself in conversation constantly. You watch people who are genuinely happy with anger and jealousy, and you mimic the way they behave around others. When you're depressed or struggling the last thing you want is a pep talk about positivity and meditation and how "eating healthy saved my life". When you try to explain it to those who haven't lived through the pain they're baffled at why you aren't okay. I once told a boy I liked I was feeling extremely anxious and he asked "do you drink water" and I said "yes" and he said "Oh that's weird then". As if a glass of water will stop my racing heart beat, thoughts uncontrollably running through my mind, my shaky hands, and that feeling in the pit of my stomach like I'm about to die. People can try to help, but sometimes they don't understand. So what can you do? Hide behind the idea of being happy until you actually are? No. Trust yourself and give yourself that dumb little pep talk about positive thinking. The beautiful thing about the future is that you have no idea what it holds. Have hope.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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