29 Apr Tell me how you really feel…
How are you doing, really?
To say that this past year has been hard would be a monumental understatement. We, as people, have had to dramatically reorient how we do life. From working at home to endless video calls to cancelled plans and frustrated ambitions, we have all had a rough go of it. And that’s not even mentioning those who have had to deal with tragedy, loss, grief, and other similar events on top of the rest of this mess.
It’s ok not to be ok
So many of us have been told, either implicitly or explicitly, that we have to be strong for everyone in our life. Maybe we learned this at a young age when we started to believe that we were responsible for keeping the calm in our home. Perhaps you fear that if you aren’t strong and calm then everything will fall apart because no one else will be able to manage. You might even have had someone tell you that they “can’t do it without you” or something similar. The truth I want you to know is that it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to have struggles and to have fears and to wonder what to do next. I would like us to stop thinking about “being ok” as right or wrong and instead talk about it as “helpful or unhelpful” towards our goals.
When is this sadness/frustration/etc. a “big deal” and when is it not?
This is a tricky question. The way that mental health professionals like myself typically make this determination is to start with a simple question; how much are these feelings interfering with your everyday life? The specific term that rises to the surface is “clinically significant distress.” While this is definitely flexible enough to cover a variety of situations, the important aspect is that these feelings are distressing, and significantly so. If you are sad, but it doesn’t significantly impact your daily life, then we may not need to place a label on it. But just because it doesn’t garner a label doesn’t mean that it’s unimportant. If you are having a hard time, sad feelings or depressed moods, then I always recommend reaching out to trusted person or a professional to get some support.
What do I do now?
If you find yourself in one of these spots, having hard times with life in general or something specific, please reach out. Sometimes that will mean we try and connect you with a person or a couple that can walk with you through this season of your life. Other times finding a community that you can get plugged into is the next meaningful step. And always an option is to begin professional counseling to have a trained person guide you through some ways to address the challenges you are facing. It’s ok not to be ok – and if that’s where you are, then let’s connect and find a way to move you more towards health and where you want to be.