I used to be this positive, radiant person, you know? I kept a gratitude journal. I read books on positivity. I wore bright colours and put on makeup even on the bad days. I cheered people up.
I used to be that girl.
And no, I don't think it shows. Because the people around me don't get it. They don't get the subtle changes in my texting style or my talking speed or the watery smile that doesn't quite reach my eyes. And as much as I want someone to notice, as much as I want someone to ask me, "Hey, Swati, are you okay?", I don't want them to. So I look away. I lower my gaze. I cry when I'm alone and put on a brave face when I'm around my friends, family or coworkers, so nobody will notice.
Even when they ask - which is quite rare - I say, "Yeah, of course I'm okay. I just got eyeliner in my stupid contact lenses, that's all."
What's the point, then, of hoping someone will ask, if I don't even tell them the truth? No point. None at all.
Yes, the problem is they don't understand. They talk about how we should spread awareness about depression and mental illness, how therapy is not a bad thing, how they're "always there for you". And yes, they often aren't there for you, because they just don't get it, no matter how hard you try to make them understand.
But if you don't talk about it, if you keep it in, if you wait it out until your next therapy appointment, like I'm doing right now, then how is anyone even going to get the chance to help you?
Trust me, I know it's difficult. I have lost the people I loved because of mental illness, because I told them, "I'm not okay." And I know it feels like shit when people tell you that you shouldn't need anyone because it's important to be self-sufficient. It hurts even more when the ones you love tell you to just snap out of it or "take a walk".
But damn it, it feels so good to say those three words: "I'm not okay." Just saying it, no matter what the response is, makes me feel a hundred times better, because sometimes I can't even admit it to myself, forget anyone else. So when I do say it out loud, it's... such a relief.
In my experience, I've found that people don't understand and can't help you about eighty percent of the time. But there's always that twenty percent. If you don't give them a chance to help you, if you don't let them in, you'll only end up with a hundred percent chance of people not getting it.
It can feel like the most terrifying thing in the world, saying "I'm not okay." Telling people you're fine is like a reflex action. We say it every morning to every person we meet, no matter how shitty we feel. But not all reflex actions are healthy. This one for sure isn't.
So please, if you aren't okay, say it to whoever is closest to you. Say it to your therapist. Say it to people online who're going through the same thing. Say it to yourself. Just... say it.
I'll see you guys soon. Take care, Geeks. :)