It’s OK not to be OK

There shouldn’t be a stigma around mental health and therapy

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I have never been afraid to talk about mental health and the issues surrounding it. In fact, recently I have been very in touch with my own mental health. This year has by far been the most difficult year of my life. 

Despite the world being in the midst of a global pandemic, I learned to cope and work through a very life-changing and emotional thing that happened to me. To be more specific, it was a break-up, which is never easy. It’s a new way of living, and filled with various difficult adjustments, but I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. I still do. 

Throughout this experience, I have been healing and working through many emotions, and one thing that truly helped me was therapy. People seem so quick to judge others who go to therapy, but I don’t know where I would be in my journey without it. I strongly believe that the stigma around mental health should go away because being judged for something that can’t be controlled is not OK.

One thing I have learned in these past few months is that it’s OK not to be OK. That sounds really cliché, but it’s true. Getting help and opening up about certain emotions is not wrong, and no one should feel bad for working through those feelings in any way necessary. Some days are better than others, and the hard days make the good days worth living. 

 It’s not always easy to open up when things are tough, but sometimes that’s all someone needs. I am so grateful I got help when I did. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I also prayed for things to get better, and they slowly are. Bad days will happen no matter what, but that doesn’t mean people should be any less proud of themselves. I truly believe that if people were more accepting then there wouldn’t be such a negative feeling when talking about mental health. I know so many people who struggle with their mental health and I personally believe it should be normalized.

One out of every six people from the ages of 6 to 17 suffer from a mental health disorder every year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Health. It breaks my heart to think that kids who aren’t even adults can struggle so much every day and most are probably too young to know how to get help or who to talk to. In 2019, there were around 51.5 million people, 18 or older in the U.S. who struggled with a mental illness. If so many people go through it, there shouldn’t be any stigma whatsoever, instead people should be encouraged to get help.

Depending on the situation, sometimes it’s not easy talking to friends or family, and this is where therapy is life changing. Talking to a stranger can be scary, especially being vulnerable with them. However, I slowly realized they only want to help, and they are most definitely not judging. It helps when someone can give  answers and be completely unbiased when it comes to questions or advice that is needed. Even some of my friends have been to or are currently in therapy and have gained so much from their experiences.

It is especially important to get help because being in a dark mental state can have  negative effects on all aspects of life and make it difficult to stay motivated. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, mental health problems can affect a multitude of things such as energy level, concentration and optimism. In my experience, getting out of bed felt like the most challenging part of my day, and the smallest tasks were so overwhelming. This is why it’s so important to speak up and never make someone feel less than they are for going through difficult times. The ability to open up to something that is hard to talk about is never easy, but the impact it can have on your life is worth it. 

No matter how difficult mental health is to talk about, I will never stop talking about it. Being in a bad mental state that remains untreated can be detrimental and can possibly end in someone losing their life.  Please never feel like a waste of space. No matter what someone is dealing with, everyone deserves to get better and to get the help that is necessary. It is so crucial to take care of the mind and body in every way possible. Listen when I say that talking to a therapist, counselor, loved one or a trusted person is a good idea. Do not hesitate if help is needed. It’s OK to struggle and getting help is normal.

The Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255 (Please call if you or someone you know needs help).