I wanted to take some time to talk about not being okay. People ask us multiple times a day “Hey! How are you?” and for the most part we answer “Good” or “Fine.” But what if we’re not good? What if we’re really struggling with something and we are trying to put on a front for everyone around us?
With classes starting last week among a number of other things, I didn’t have the greatest of weeks. Well, it was mainly just the middle of the week that wasn’t good, but either way I was in a funk. I think the main reason why I was feeling this way was because I felt extremely unprepared for classes to start. My school got a new online tool to view your classes and the night before classes were supposed to start, only one of the syllabi were up. I am a very organized person so I have to have everything that is due written in my planner on the due date or else my brain will be scrambled.
So I went to classes without any preparation and I quickly became overwhelmed at the amount of things that were due by the next class period (only because I didn’t know about it ahead of time.) To make matters worse, I thought I had completely forgot to order half of my textbooks. I had reading due by the next class so I scrambled to buy them on Amazon. A few days later I got an email for the campus bookstore saying I had books to pick up. So I just paid twice for the same books!! I really need a better memory.
And for the cherry on top, I got a cold because Indiana weather is fickle and it was 50 degrees at the beginning of September!
I know for many of you, this doesn’t even seem like that big of a deal, but for whatever reason, it was for me. I was not myself. I couldn’t find anything to make me happy. I skipped dinner several times (not because I was upset, because I literally didn’t have time, but it didn’t even phase me. I love to eat, so this was weird for me.) I even broke down and cried at football practice. I wasn’t even crying because I was upset. I was talking about how precious this kid who has a learning disability on the team is and then I started crying because I was emotional. I just needed to hug someone and let out everything that I had been bottling up inside of me. I was a mess.
After that day, I was completely fine. I got my syllabi, I got my textbooks, I still had my cold, but I just told myself everything was going to be okay. When people asked “How are you?” I was honest with them. “Better than yesterday.” Some would ask why and I explained it to them and you know what? Some of them felt the same way. My wonderful friend, Andi, went through a similar experience last week that she will be talking about a little later. However, our experiences are nothing compared to our friend, Kayleigh, who will also be sharing later in this post.
After going through this funk, so to speak, I can tell you that whatever struggles you go through in life, going through it by yourself is one of the worst things you can do. Chances are there are people around you who are going through very similar struggles as well. Even if they aren’t, there is one person you can always go to—God. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We are called to come to Him when we are in times of need. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” No matter what, you are never alone.
Now Andi will share her thoughts:
Hello readers! First of all I need to give Lyss a shout out for letting me co-write this blog post with her! We had been discussing our crazy beginning to the semester the other day, and Alyssa mentioned to me that she was thinking of writing a blog post about the whole concept of “it’s ok to not be ok.” She so sweetly asked if I’d contribute my thoughts and I was thrilled to join in!
I, like so many of us, am a creature of habit. I find myself getting into routines, most of which are beneficial, but some of which I could probably do without (like getting on my phone before bed…we all do it.) When those routines get disrupted it’s pretty normal to feel as if everything is a little out of wack. These little changes build up until you are just a big ball of frustration and emotion. I tend to bottle my emotions up, much like Alyssa, and with the right combination of events this can turn into a full blown breakdown in no time! I fondly refer to this particular event as spilling pink lemonade out of my cup (my weird code for built up emotions spilling over.) Luckily, I did not quite hit that point last week, but I certainly did feel out of sorts for a day or two. What can I say, I hate it when things don’t go my way. Anyone with me?
It’s these moments when I’m reminded that I serve a God that is WAY bigger than me, and my problems. In those moments when you feel like you just can’t pull it together, run to God. We’re talking full out sprint! He is always waiting with open arms, I just have to swallow my pride and admit that I can’t do everything on my own. Thankfully that big God I serve takes care of all the planning. I just get to sit back and enjoy the ride (even when that’s the last thing I THINK I want.) Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” AMEN! What a comfort to know that it’s not our job to have it all figured out!
One other thing I think is important in combatting these kinds of days is surrounding ourselves with the right people. As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, it is SO important to talk about things with trusted friends and family! We weren’t made to live in solitude, we were meant to love on each other. These are the times we should reach for a friend to get that much needed hug or just a listening ear. More often than not, they might be going through the exact same thing! That’s what Alyssa and I discovered, and what a comfort it was to know we weren’t in this alone. Amen for friends like Alyssa! (so you all should keep reading her blog 😉)
Now Kayleigh will share her heartbreaking experience:
A few weeks ago I got a phone call that forever changed my life. As my little brother explained to me that a very close family member of mine had just committed suicide, I went into shock. Fears and doubts rushed to my mind. I felt the most alone that I have ever felt as those that didn’t understand sent me text after text apologizing for what wasn’t their fault.
While I should have been enjoying pre-season football practices, I found myself crying myself to sleep only to cry more once morning came. In my experience, death alone is hard enough to rationalize, but losing someone to suicide hurts so much more because not a thing about it makes sense.
I forced myself to think about how things could have been. Would that family member of mine still be here if I had had one more conversation with him? If I had prayed for him one more time or given him one more hug?
Someone once told me that God never gives a person more than they can handle. I disagree completely. Losing a loved one to suicide was more than I could handle. I promise you that. I was forced to rely on the people closest to me to listen to me and love me despite of the constant grief, sadness, and depressed mood I was experiencing. I had to trust that God had something worthwhile to bring out of this devastating chaotic mess.
The truth is that I would do anything in the world to have my cousin back. And I mean anything. My only hope in all of this is that if there is one person out there who may be experiencing the same kinds of thoughts that raced though my cousin’s mind, they may hear and know that they don’t have to fight alone.
God gives us more than we can handle sometimes. And that’s ok. It’s ok to not be ok, because God didn’t create us to be in isolation from one another and fight our battles on our own. He created us for community. To be there for each other through the worst times and the best.
My hope in sharing part of my story is not for anyone to feel bad for me or compare their story with mine, but rather to remind everyone reading this that it’s important to be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. These battles may seem minuscule or massive, but a battle is a still a battle. Be a friend and appreciate those you love as long as you have them. Love intentionally and often, because it’s ok to not be ok as long as we are not ok together.
I’ll leave you with this quote by Daniell Koepke:
“If you’re struggling, you deserve to make self-care a priority. Whether that means lying in bed all day, eating comfort food, putting off homework, crying, sleeping, rescheduling plans, finding an escape through a good book, watching your favorite tv show, or doing nothing at all – give yourself permission to put your healing first. Quiet the voice telling you to do more and be more, and today, whatever you do, let it be enough. Feel your feelings, breathe, and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you’re doing the best you can to cope and survive. And trust that during this time of struggle, it’s enough.”