When You're Not OK
I dug up this post from my drafts folder all the way from 2016. Took me 2 years to feel confident enough to publish it but here goes nothing. May it benefit those that are struggling with something inshaAllah.
3rd May, 2016.
Different people have different views on vulnerability. To some it could be seen as a pathetic cry for attention while others may see it as an act of courage. Personally, I respect those who are honest with their struggles and are sincere in getting help.
While on holiday last year, I had a thought-provoking conversation with a tourist who said he doesn't understand why people feel obliged to put on a happy front all the time. "What's wrong with admitting once in a while that you're not ok?"
We are often conditioned to 'be strong' in the face of hardship and while most of us definitely intend to brave the storm, telling someone to be strong when they're in fragile state, inadvertently tells them it's not OK to have a weak moment. Being strong isn't about keeping it together all the time, that's just not possible. To me, being strong is about having the will to keep going even when you really want to give up.
Most people prolong their problems because they fear to admit they've issues in the first place. Acknowledging your struggles can be really scary because not only can it bruise one's ego, you now have no excuse to not address your issues once they've been pulled out of the dark. Worse yet, once they’re out in the open, they become very real. That’s why most people choose to stay in denial—they don’t want to admit their problems are real.
I too, use the 'suck it up' approach to many of my problems. I hate complaining but if I do, it's only because I've exhausted all other methods. From my experience, being honest about your problems with the right people will help you find the support that you need. So many people suffer in silence—why deny yourself the opportunity to receive help and change your life for the better?
When my cousin passed away, I was in such a fragile state that I genuinely felt like I could be pushed to the brink of insanity at any given time. I was exhausted from having to allocate enough energy for work and grief. I knew what I had to do so I sought professional help from a therapist for my grief.
Seeing her has helped me to understand why I feel the way I do and how I need to treat myself during the grieving process in order to heal. Slowly but surely, I'm rebuilding myself again. I didn't just stop at therapy—last month, I signed up for a 30-Day writing course conducted by a grief expert and it was a remarkable experience being able to use my flare for writing to soothe the pain of loss.
Both grief and therapy have taught me just how important it is to feel comfortable with being vulnerable. More people should learn how to be vulnerable so that they may get the help that they need. Don’t be vulnerable for the sake of complaining; do it to reach out for help.
Being vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do because we've been taught since young to always show a brave face and not make others feel uncomfortable with our emotions. No wonder people have unrealistic and distorted ideas of 'being ok'! Being ok is different for everyone and it's completely ok to NOT feel ok all the time.
I've a confession: I had second thoughts about writing this post because truth be told, I start to feel icky inside when I'm vulnerable. That, and I don't like being pitied because it makes me feel inferior. Yup, that's my massive ego talking.
Fast forward to today: 7 Nov, 2018.
I still struggle with being vulnerable at times but hey, it’s a journey. I’m definitely far better than I was 2 years ago. What I know for sure is: I’ve witnessed so many people suffer in silence and delay the healing process far longer than necessary just because they don’t want to be vulnerable.
Getting your life together may not always be straight forward but it begins with the realisation that you HAVE a problem that needs fixing. In order to fix that problem, some changes have to be made to the way you’re currently dealing with your struggles because clearly something isn’t working. And sometimes, you need someone to guide you during that process.
If you’re going through more than 2 of the problems below, then you may want to start seeking help.
Loss of sleep
Always tired (even with enough sleep)
Always sad and stressed out
Loss of interest in things that you enjoy: hobbies, socialising, etc.
Loss of appetite
Constant tension headaches
If you’re going through something really troubling and it’s affecting your well-being, you don’t have to suffer alone. You can lean on somebody as you get through it. You don’t have to seek professional help if the idea doesn’t sit well with you, you could start small by telling someone you trust or someone you know who’s been through something similar and overcame it.
Do this for you. The future you will thank you.