“I’m fine.” Isn’t that just the biggest lie we could tell?
Why do we keep saying we are doing okay in moments when we are so damn far from being okay?
Many of us have developed the coping mechanism of pretending we have it all figured out, while, in reality, we are on the verge of a massive nervous breakdown. We go through various traumatic experiences that interfere with our mental health. After a chain of unfortunate events, we inevitably feel helpless and paralyzed, as if we have lost control over our own lives.
At such moments, everything seems to fall apart. Your pulse quickens. Your heart pounds as if it’s a second away from exploding. Your mind overfloods with negative thoughts. Eventually, you find yourself desperately trying to catch a breath.
But the moment someone asks you, “How are you? Are you doing okay?” you reply with a simple “I’m fine.”
Are you really fine?
You could be hurting on the inside and still claim you are doing perfectly fine and you don’t need anyone’s help. You could be shivering, drowning in tears, feeling on the edge, and still trying to convince others and yourself that you can handle the situation.
No, you are not fine. You are just afraid that if you let it all out, others would think you are too much. You fear that they will think less of you if they know what’s really going on inside your mind.
So instead of being truthful, you choose to lie. You choose to tell them you have your life together, instead of confessing that you have no idea how to get back up on your feet. You choose to act tough and sane, while you are actually hurt and broken on the inside.
In the back of your head, you repeat to yourself that you cannot afford to fall apart. But does that attitude ever help you overcome the adversity you are experiencing? Does it help you heal? Of course, it doesn’t. How could denial lead to progress?
Acknowledging and accepting the pain is the most significant step towards healing.
Telling yourself “I’m not okay” and accepting it instead of despising yourself for it is what you need to grow from the hardship. It won’t be easy. You will be struggling with coming to terms with the reality of your feelings. You will have an incredibly hard time understanding your emotions and allowing them to flow through you. You will most probably cry. But you will be a step closer to finding a solution to your problems. Recognizing the origin of your pain is crucial for overcoming it.
And if you have someone to confide to – a loved one, a friend, a parent, or even a professional who can help you with dealing with your struggles, you will feel liberated once you tell them how you really feel. No matter how hard it is to turn the mess inside of your mind into words, one thing remains true – a problem shared is a problem halved.
Dr. Christina McDowell, a certified therapist, writes:
“Holding presence for another is one of the holiest things we can do… To see another and be seen is an incredible, intimate act of unconditional tenderness and love.”
Indeed, when you have someone there for you in times of distress, the hardships seem a little less impossible to handle.
Being able to share your thoughts with someone who offers no judgment can be a truly cathartic experience. It gives you clarity and makes you feel understood, which is a sense we all so desperately need while battling our demons.
While there are many who believe that healing must happen independently, it is actually a process in which you need support. No matter how strong you believe you are, you can never be prepared for every single challenge life throws at you. So, remind yourself that reaching out for help is not going to add up to your weakness or vulnerability. Instead, it will reveal that you have the courage to admit that you are only human and it’s okay not to be okay.
“I am NOT fine.” It may be hard to say out loud, but you will feel less burdened once you do.
The next time you are hurting and someone asks you how are you feeling, don’t be afraid to admit you are struggling. You don’t have to wipe your tears away every single time. Sometimes it’s okay to let them pour.