It’s okay to not be okay

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by Alexis Simmerman, Reporter

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/v15aj

Mental health= a smile on your face, a sunny attitude, and everything under control.

NOPE. 

Mental health isn’t about being free of all stress and problems, but it’s about learning how to deal with those problems in a healthy way.

Society usually divides mental health into three areas of wellness: happiness, fulfillment, and acceptance. 

They sound pretty simple on paper, but each of these terms can be applied in different ways for different people because no one experiences life in the same way.

Happiness

Happiness is probably the term that most people would probably think of when they think of mental wellness. This is the term one would probably think of when they think about what they consider to be traditionally mentally healthy, always smiling and with few  problems in the world.

However, this may be more harmful than good. Everyone has bad days. Everyone feels sad or angry sometimes, and that’s perfectly fine. Happiness means acknowledging that there are bad days and maturely experiencing and handling them just as much as any other emotion.

According to Happiness International, we often mistake happiness for pleasure. pleasure is a fleeting emotion of contentedness which it must be in order to truly experience it or else the pleasure will negate to have the same effect. Happiness is about feeling fulfilled with your life and your needs. This can come in many forms, and not all happiness is the same, but t that’s okay.

Of course, happiness isn’t the only emotion, and negative emotions do exist. According to Better Health, negative emotions are how our minds react to certain events in our life. While they can seem bad and dampen our enthusiasm for the world, these emotions are completely natural, and they can only hurt us if we truly allow them to go on for a long period of time or we express them in harmful ways.

Bottling up emotions never ends well. It may work in the short term, but all you’re really doing is creating a storm in a bottle that once it’s released can do more harm than good. It’s okay to feel bad sometimes, healthy even. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to not hide that you’re not okay.

Do you bottle up your emotions and think they are contained?

 I’d honestly rather have periods of being mad or sad rather than being happy all the time, because then at least I know that those emotions are my own, and I can deal with them.

Honestly, anger and sadness are just like any other emotion–it’s not about having them.

It’s what you do with them.

The key to mental wellness is being able to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. When you’re angry, take a moment to collect your thoughts, cool down for a little bit. When you’re sad, maybe take a moment to cry. 

As long as the way that you handle your emotions doesn’t hurt others or yourself.

 Sometimes your emotions may become too overwhelming for you to properly manage. This can form in mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or violent behavior. At that point, it’s important to ask for help.  Accepting help from others isn’t a sign of weakness. If anything, the strongest are the ones who allow their burden to be carried together rather than the ones who get crushed by the weight of the world.

Fulfillment

Fulfillment is often defined as making it big time, having everything that a person could ever want in life.

That’s not how it works. As much as we hate to admit it, no one is ever going to have it all. Even the richest people in the world have something they want but have never been able to have. Fulfillment is more about being happy where you are, even if you still strive for something.

Having dreams, hopes, and wishes, that’s normal. However, it’s important to be content with the now in order to look towards where you’re heading. Having a stable lifestyle and relationships, it’s all a part of being content with who you are now. 

It’s like in the Great Gatsby. Gatsby had great ambitions for wealth and love and, while he was wealthy, he never really got the love he had desired for so long. He tried to chase after that dream, but in the end he couldn’t accept change.

If life was perfect, then what point would we have to live it? All we can really do is strive for our best, and when we feel that we’re happy where we are, even if it isn’t perfect, take a break and enjoy the view. 

Perfection is an illusion, but moderation can often be better than what you make it out to be. It’s better than spending your entire life chasing after a finish line that will never come and destroying everything around you in the process until there is nothing left.

“At first I didn’t realize I needed all this stuff, I had a little cottage, And that cottage was enough A place where I could sit and knit, A place where I could sell my Thneeds, But now I’ve had a little time To re-assess my needs And I need a bigger office, I need a bigger chair. A bigger desk, a bigger staff, A bigger hat to wear,” 

“Greed… ya see, it’s like a little pet, alright? And the more and more and more that you go and feed it, The more hungry it’ll get! But… you know, you really can’t blame greed No, that’s stupid. You see, it’s gotta worm inside. Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s one that always needs to feed, And it is never satisfied. You get it? But the more you try to find it, The more it likes to hide.  Now listen–that is NASTY little worm. And I like to call it “pride.”  the Lorax Illumination Biggering demo song

Acceptance

We talk a lot about accepting people of different races, sexualities, and religions. Sometimes we forget to accept the person.

We should also look at different interests, mindsets, mental conditions, and the person in general. We should learn to be inclusive towards everyone, and not leave anyone behind because of a trait that they have no control over. After all, acceptance is accepting someone for all of their qualities, including their flaws and imperfections.

No one trait makes your story any less worth being told. However, many people have experienced isolation and being labelled as outcasts all for a trait they can’t control, and I’m one of them.

We as people have an innate desire to be loved and appreciated by someone at least. We want to have someone who we can connect with. We want to have a social life. To deny anyone a chance to fulfill that desire, it hurts more than anything in the world.

No matter who you are or where you come from, everyone has the right to be accepted for just being themselves. It seems like such a novel concept, so how is it that we have yet to grasp it?

Society has been pushing for equality and acceptance, but there are still many problems such as bullying and racism. People are shunned for opinions and many factors that they just can’t help. Some are even actively excluded from society, which has led to suicide. According to the Megan Meier Foundation a total of 18% of students commit self harm over bullying every day and are two times  more likely to commit suicide. It can also lead to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, academic difficulties, familial difficulties, and violence as well as self harm.

Does someone having a hobby that you don’t find interesting entitle you to shove them down every chance you get? Does anyone deserve to feel alone simply because someone decided they didn’t belong?

You are not alone.

That’s what the theme for mental health awareness is this year. No matter how alone you may feel, there is always someone who cares about you, even if it might not seem like it at times. It’s okay to share how you’re feeling, to tell others about the pains and struggles you’ve had to go through, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you. You might just find that a lot more people understand and listen than you ever thought.

Often we’re so caught up in our own lives that we fail to take in the most basic information. We ignore others, and that can often hurt just as much. We need to listen to people’s stories, and try our best to understand what they’re going through. We need to support them as much as we can, and we need to fight back against bullying and other forms of disrespect. We need to actively promote a positive environment/ Doing nothing or pretending the problem doesn’t exist doesn’t solve the problem. After all, silence is still taking sides.

You can still love yourself, even if you feel that no one loves you. In fact that’s a huge part of acceptance as a whole. However, it’s harder to love yourself when you feel unloved.