IT IS OKAY IF YOU'RE NOT OKAY.
Feeling like you're just not coping the way that you're 'supposed to' because of lockdown? Don't worry, you're not alone. Our girl Han chats to us about her own mental health struggles during lockdown ...
IT IS OKAY IF YOU'RE NOT OKAY.
So I’ll start this how I mean to go on, with blistering honesty - I’ve been struggling with the best way to start this blog post for quite a while. Well to be real with you, I’ve just been struggling full stop.
That in no way was an easy sentence for me to write, knowing that you would read it. Some things to note about me: I am a control freak. I am a stereotypical eldest child. I am the listener, the friend you go to for the soundest of advice. I’m the calm, cool, collected one. I very rarely lose my temper. I examine all decisions at a microscopic level and from every possible angle. I am pragmatic. I overthink. Traditionally I help, I am not the one who is helped. I’m sure some of you can relate to some (if not all) of these.
I used to believe vulnerability meant weakness. Throughout my life, I’ve firmly maintained the belief that nobody actually wants to know how I’m feeling when they ask me “Are you alright?” or “How are you doing?” and at 30 years old - I’ve finally hit my limit. I’m exhausted pretending I’m fine all the time. And now, I actually think the opposite about vulnerability and I associate it with strength. Being able to be vulnerable is actually really brave. Even on the easiest of days, it takes a lot of courage to be unapologetically you; (especially as a young woman, even in 2020) and to feel your feelings - never mind during a global pandemic!
As we ease out of complete lockdown and into a new way of life, the times we currently live in are uncertain and daunting, and that is putting it very mildly. We’ve never experienced this before in our lifetime. With the onset of Covid-19, as individuals and as a collective, we all went through a period of loss and grief. Every single one of us has lost something thanks to lockdown, whether it be great or small - and we’re all stuck in a state of limbo, until a vaccine becomes available. That is undeniably unsettling and anxiety-inducing. What I’m getting at is: overall this situation is resoundingly, undeniably, most definitely NOT okay. It probably seems fairly obvious to some of you reading this, but we don’t have to pretend, (like I have for years even before this happened) - that you are okay 100% of the time. No human being is, and that’s a fact.
So I’ve tried something new. I’m accepting how I feel, and I’m not trying to implement logic to talk my way out of it. I sit with my feelings, however uncomfortable they may be. I know however unpleasant they are in the moment, they will pass. I’ve also embraced being more honest and open. And you know what? Even those within my inner circle have managed to surprise me with the level of understanding, kindness and empathy they’ve shown me. Of course, there’s a chance you may not always get the answer or reaction you want - but I want to reassure you that people out there do care, and they’re trying every day just like you are. It is okay if you’re not okay.
Giving yourself the care you need is vital when you feel like this. I, like many others, struggle with anticipatory anxiety and strive to solve all my problems immediately even if I’m not yet equipped with the answers. So if you’re feeling anxious, lost, frustrated or perhaps simply fed up of it all - I urge you to ask yourself “What would make me feel better at this very moment?”
Give yourself permission to dedicate self-care time to feeling even just that teeny tiny bit better. It’s these small acts of kindness that on paper may sound minimal, but will make huge differences in the long run to your wellbeing. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and your feelings are completely valid.