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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Leahy

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

When asked to share a little insight/story for ReelChat, I kept on typing out small paragraphs that I would quickly delete. I got a little nervous sharing my story and providing advice. I am 23 after all, what do I know? But as I sat listening to, “Everybody’s Gotta Live” by Love (I suggest giving it a listen, it is too happy to not tap your feet or smile to), I realized honesty is always best and everybody has something to tell. I wanted to share a quote I heard the other day. “You love someone because you know their story.” How true is that. I know how easy it can be at times to judge, be jealous, and pass blame on someone but what if we knew about that person’s day, their life, their worries and dreams? Wouldn’t we get a better understanding and care for them? Look at the people in your life whom you love. You love them because you know them. Loving others and strangers is something I have always worked towards. Only recently am I trying to truly love myself. Loving myself is something I have always struggled with but the past two years I have made great strides. I am being patient and proud of myself throughout the process. I am ready to share part of my story with you. I hope you all feel confident enough in yourself to share yours as well and have the courage to love yourself and the others around you!!

I have always been quick to be there for friends and family, whether that be advice or a good laugh. What makes me happy is seeing others happy. Sure, that is wonderful but many times I would put my own life, my own worries/mental health to the side. I used to think that it was selfish to be in a funk. I sometimes still do. I often felt that others looked to me to bring the energy and laughs. How could I possibly be a party pooper and say no to plans? For the longest time I felt like I could not truthfully say how I felt or really take a day for me.

About a year and a half ago, my anxiety and depression was at a peak and my friends encouraged me to go to therapy. It took me a few years to go previously because I used to think to myself, “I have so many things to be thankful for. Sometimes I have really great days! Why do I need to talk about the ones that are dark and cloudy, when I know eventually the sun will come out again?” Thank goodness for the encouragement of my friends. There is NOTHING wrong with sharing how you feel. There is NOTHING wrong with not being okay. It is okay to not be okay! The therapy came at a good time because I was about to go through my first real breakup. My anxiety and depression was taking a toll on my relationship and created fights, tears, and many anxiety attacks. He told me he couldn’t love someone who didn’t love herself. He gave up on me and at the time I gave up on myself as well. Then came quarantine. This would be one of the most transformative times of my life.

My whole life, my anxiety came from the fear of being alone and now here I was...alone. Little did I know that taking time for myself and being back home surrounded by love and family was the perfect recipe for healing. Quarantining with my oldest sister and her husband during those months helped me take time to reflect on myself and where I was at mentally. Rach, I know you are reading this. Please know that you made me genuinely happy and I felt so loved. Myself and countless others are lucky to have you!

During those months I knew that anxiety and depression had been a part of me for awhile. I understood it does not go away over night if at all. I had to be okay with not always being okay. I am happy to say that a year later, I am accepting more and more of myself and I am eager to be completely in love with who I am. It is hard but I am proud of where I am, and you should be too, no matter where you are at in the process of self-love. Also, if I knew your story, I am sure I would love you :)

So this next part I am writing down for all of you readers and as a reminder for myself. What I strive for now is embracing the moment. Whether that be joy, fear, love, tiredness. Remind yourself that every feeling is valid! Do not be too hard on yourself, you are trying your best. Do you treat loved ones the way you treat yourself? Would you talk to loves ones the way you talk to yourself? Be kind to yourself and accept where you are at. I encourage all of you to be a little goofy. No one is looking if you sing along to a song while walking with headphones in. They may notice but then they go along with their day. So why hesitate what brings you joy? Dance in the kitchen while cooking. Kiss and hug people you love. Go for a drive to watch the sunset. Think of three things you're grateful for. Wear that funky outfit. BE BOLD! Do what makes you feel alive; do not just exist. Feel all your feelings, not just the happy ones. Feel the hard ones too. Pain does not mean you are less of yourself. Pain does not mean you are weak and need to suck it up. Allow yourself to be fully human. Allow yourself to feel all feelings. Love yourself and others. Share your story and be open to listening to other’s. Be okay with not being okay.

Cue “Everybody’s Gotta Live”

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