It's OK To Not Be OK
"Think about it, if you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special." -Jim 'Jimmy V.' Valvano
We sometimes walk around with a smile as a mask for the inner conflict instead of facing the world head on. We're not wrong for having said conflict, we're wrong for feeling like we shouldn't feel. It's ok to feel sad, angry, even depressed. They're all emotions, and we're all humans who breathe and bleed.
Back in 2005 I lost my hero, my big brother Dre. I still remember hearing my mom and seeing the look on her face as she got the news. Even more I remember looking at his sons, who just so happen to be at the house because their father wanted to see them all together as always, thinking, "damn, how am I going to tell them this?". I was 17 years old and I felt hollow for the first time. I say that to say...that was the first time someone, a good friend of his, asked me "are you alright?" and I replied No. I shook my head to signal it because I couldn't even speak.
Had I been in a less than stellar mood before and told someone "I'm good" with a smile? Absolutely. It wasn't because I was uncomfortable talking about it when they asked; it was because I felt like I was strong enough to handle whatever my problem was and I didn't need to talk about it. It was then that I realized, the load gets heavier the more you appear strong enough to bear it; you gain true strength in embracing help.
Athletes play through injuries all the time, and when they worsen the injury on a play; as fans you go "he shouldn't have been out there". Prior to it, you probably cheered him on and applauded his decision to fight through it. Same difference with mental health. Don't blame someone for 'being in their feelings' publicly when it probably took them a lot to even figuratively "suit up for that game" and even face the day.
You probably laugh and joke with someone daily who's crying out for help on the inside but is too afraid of being judged to speak out; you might even be the person. Never judge yourself for being human and housing imperfections, embrace it all and start the healing.
It's OK to laugh, cry, smile, and be angry all in the same day. You're alive and so are your feelings. You matter. You don't have to be what society tells you is "successful" to be happy. Always aspire for more, but don't lose track of what you have and take it for granted.
Once you become comfortable with talking to yourself, understanding who you really are, allowing yourself to ignore the judgments you'll start to see things differently.
It's ok to not be ok; you'll be better.