When Saying 'I'm OK' Gets to Be Too Much


I find myself heading to the bathroom for much needed silence and privacy. I lock the door behind me and lean against it, as my body hits the floor along with my tears. I massage my chest in the hopes of making the awful pain go away. I tell myself the same thing over and over again.

It’s OK. You’re OK.

All this is happening, and just behind the door in another room, is my special someone — my friend, my mom, dad or any member of my family. Just behind the bathroom door is someone oblivious to the fact that I am frantically pulling myself together to make it seem like I’m OK. Having physical and emotional pain in the process.

Why? Why do I do it?

Maybe it’s because I’ve argued about something repeatedly, and the other party just does not understand me just wanting to stop talking about it. So, I have to make it seem like I’m OK.

Maybe it’s because I don’t want to offend the other person because they know I’m going through a rough time and they’re trying their best. Maybe I’m scared they might take my depression personally, or feel bad about not being able to help me.

Maybe I’ve opened up to someone before, and they didn’t take it seriously so I’ve been scarred ever since.

Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be viewed as a “weak” person for feeling things that to them, I shouldn’t be feeling.

Whatever the reason is, I know I’m not alone.

I can’t even count the number of times I had to give myself a pep talk to remind myself it’s going to be OK, because I felt like nobody was going to do it for me. I remember being in a place where I was so alone and lonely, but at the same time, felt that I needed to be independent. I needed to be OK. And I had to do it by myself.

It’s horrible. The nasty ache in my chest when people ask if I’m OK, and I smile and nod. It’s me who is assuring them, and not them assuring me that I’m going to be OK.

Twisted, isn’t it?

We’ve all been there, some more frequent than others. We’ve all faked smiles and said we were OK, when we knew we weren’t. For some of us, we have this programmed into our minds that we must be OK at all times, for various reasons.

Sometimes we get so used to this kind of attitude that when it gets to be too much, it just blows over. We keep in so much pain, anger, sadness and sorrow, that sometimes even the slightest thing could tip us off.

I’m here to tell you it’s OK not to be OK. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be sad, angry, confused.

It’s OK to feel.

You are only human and you are allowed to feel.

It’s OK to want to think of yourself first sometimes. It’s OK to want to show people you’re mad, sad or depressed. Just be sure it’s the right person.

Be sad.
Be angry.
Be depressed.

Take all the time in the world to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling. Cry. Scream. Do it for yourself. When you’ve let everything out, you’ll be ready to conquer the world again.

Because I believe things don’t get easier, you just get stronger.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Unsplash photo via Larm Rmah.


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