Encouragement to be More Than “OK”

How easy it is to deceive others with a fake smile and an off-hand laugh. How easy it is to make people believe what they want to believe- that you are alright and your world is stable and good and everything is ok. How simple a task to throw others off our game; to cover up depression and anxiety by just acting like we are alright.

Although it does look simple, it is exhausting. Covering up your real-life issues is hard. Masking the emotion and weariness even harder. Taking the time to ensure everything appears wonderful, especially during this time of year is too much. Why do we keep doing it?

It seems to me if people wanted to know how you are, they would stop when they ask. You’ve seen it, probably done it. You pass someone in the hall and they say, “how are you?”, yet they never stop for an actual answer, so you reply “I’m alright”.  Except you aren’t alright. You are drowning.

You are drowning in sorrow, debt, depression, and loss. You are barely keeping afloat at work, at home and personally. You dread social functions. You sleep a lot. You avoid eye contact with others. You skate through the day dodging and avoiding real human contact. The reason for the facade? What if they find out you are not fine?

What if important (?) people find out you have been faking it for a long time? What if “they” know you struggle with being alone, and with being around people? What if “they” see the real you, broken and bruised? What if you let down your walls and allow others to see the mess you have in your head, the mess which is a true reflection of all your disorder?

So what if you let them?

So What.

The reaction when I came out of my abyss has been mixed. It has defined friendships. It has been a revelation. Some people, as feared, avoid me altogether. It’s ok. I have lived all my life with the notion that I am too much for some to handle. It’s a badge I wear and its part of who I am. Some have drawn closer to me, accepting my dirt and crazy as their own. It’s amazing to find how many are just like I was- afraid.

Fearful of the “truth” coming out, fearful of the repercussions of living their actual life as they see necessary. Fearing the reaction of family and friends when the secrets of not being ok come to the forefront. But the fear is irrelevant if your life is brought into the light, out of the shadows of worry.

If you are concerned your life is too much for others to handle, you are normal. If you are afraid your issues are more than those who love you can deal with, you are wrong. If you decide to answer the question truthfully you will be liberated!

Working toward “ok” is the first step. Recognizing there is a lot more to spend your energy on than hiding is a gift. You can be “ok” because you are accepting yourself right where you are. Your circumstances do not define you. Your grief, loss, worry, and fear, do not define you.

Your willingness to turn it over to Jesus, reach out for help when he sends it and grow through the depression and anxiety of your life? That can define you. Let yourself be the first one among your tribe to say, “Hey, I am not ok, but I will be.”

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