Sometimes we're not okay. Sometimes we're so far from okay, it's almost impossible to imagine being okay ever again. Sometimes "fine" is just a weather forecast.
In the last few days, I've not been okay. First I was ill physically, thanks to a sickness bug. Then I was emotionally unwell, too. The bug is gone, but the grey clouds haven't quite lifted, yet.
And that - weirdly - is okay. I've spent most of my adulthood hating depression and wishing it wasn't ever a part of my life. But sometimes, to quote Jesse J, it really is "okay not to be okay." Because sometimes I'm not depressed because of nothing. It's not just a weird blip that I can't put my finger on. Sometimes it's caused by something that makes me sad. And feeling that sadness shouldn't be denied. When something happens to us to cause us to cry or feel pain, we should let those tears and that pain out. Holding it in is unhealthy physically and emotionally.
I've always been a crier. I cry at pretty much anything remotely sentimental. I cry at "sappy old movies (I've) seen thousands of times," to quote Boyzone. And speaking of Boyzone; after writing my blog about the 90s, I've been listening to them a lot (I'm seeing them live on Sunday) and the heartbreak I felt at the tragic death of Stephen Gately in 2009 has returned with a bigger vengeance than before and I have sobbed over him on several occasions. And that's alright. I'm feeling an emotional response to something very sad. I'm letting it out and, in a way, beginning to let it go in doing so.
Medicinal Disney is medicinal.
Sadness is horrible. But we can try to learn from it and we must try not to hide it, or feel some kind of shame attached to feeling it.
There's no shame in a natural, human response. Things have happened in the last 2-3 days that have made me incredibly sad, disappointed, confused and hurt. I'm not okay. And that's okay.
The squeezing in my chest, the feeling that I can't quite catch my breath and the hot, prickling sensation behind my eyes are just physical signs that I'm sad about things. I'm not going to sit here and advocate wallowing, but I am going to suggest that when something makes you sad, it's much better to feel those sensations and allow yourself to respond to them, than it is to try to keep it all in and never let anyone know you're hurting.
No matter what (wow, I'm really going for the Boyzone quotes in this blog...) is causing you any amount of emotional pain, it's relevant. It's important, because it's causing a reaction. It doesn't matter whether it's a sudden realisation that a popstar you once adored is gone forever, or whether it's something that's affecting your life on a much deeper, personal level. If something makes you want to cry, then there's no shame whatsoever in letting those tears fall.
We're used to being told about the British "stiff upper lip" and of hearing the celebrity mantra of "the show must go on" and sure, there's a time and a place for weeping and wailing. I can't go back to work and break down in the classroom, showering the kids I teach in tears and snot, after all. But I can allow myself to cry when I need to, when I am able to. Too often, we stop short of showing our true emotions. Well, I say enough of that. By all means, hold it together when you have to. By all means, try to throw yourself into something positive to ease the sadness (I'd say that's what I'm doing by seeing Boyzone, but I think it's a given that I'm just going to lose my body weight in delayed-grief tears). But don't deny your feelings. There's no shame in being hurt or upset at the shitty hand life can sometimes deal. There's nothing wrong with needing support.
It's okay not to be okay.