Hey, guys. As I’m sitting here, I’m feeling the need to be completely honest. This time is really difficult. You may not be able to explain why – or maybe you have all of the words to explain – but there is something underlying and heavy that I believe so many of us are feeling.
I am battling some depression right now. The last time I dealt with clinical depression was 24 years ago in college when I was first dealing with some medical issues. I remember it vividly and can feel myself slipping back. I find myself crying every few days while carrying an invisible load on my back. If you are or have ever been in the same boat, I get it.
I think it is important to try to look at crying as healthy in this particular circumstance. There are real issues going on and there are valid reasons for much of the world to be experiencing some depression. While crying may not feel good in the moment, it is a healthy activity for getting your feelings out of your body. When you leave them in, they can fester, so allow those tears to fall when you need to – give yourself the permission. Find a quiet place away from your spouse or children and give in to the sadness for a few minutes.
If you turn to social media for a bit of a break from reality (like I do), you likely see political discussions, data about COVID-19, and perfect pictures of families with perfect makeup, perfect bodies, and happy children. While I am very hopeful that those families are really happy – particularly the children – it is important to realize that you are seeing a slice of life. This is the one photo of 35 that was posted because it was the best. It best hid the flaws, the 3 year old hadn’t climbed under the table yet and the baby hadn’t started crying. It was real for a second.
Your happiness and my happiness is also real, but it is human and sometimes fleeting – particularly right now. Remember that when you see those perfect family moments that you feel so far removed from. Those people don’t have perfect lives either. That mother hasn’t yet excused herself to the bathroom so that she can cry today. Those children were fighting before the photo and will start again in a few minutes. And while the photo was being taken, the dog was pooping in the basement.
This is hard, you guys. Whether you are with the same wonderful people every day or by yourself, nothing about this time is easy. And if you feel differently, I am so very happy for you. Truly. But it’s okay to not be okay right now. Lean on people when you need to. Be by yourself if you can. Do what you need to do to get through. My kids and I no longer seem to have the focus for things like jigsaw puzzles, so Candy Crush has become a friend. Find what works, if even for only a few minutes.
This time is not about living our full lives. It is about doing our best to exist so that we can eventually live again. So, speaking as someone who has made a career of writing about empowerment, strength and finding joy, sometimes you’re just not okay. And that’s okay.