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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

It's ok to not be ok...

Before you read this post, I want to lead off with acknowledging that September is National Self-Care Awareness month as well as National Suicide Prevention month. It's also National Potato month, and a whole lot of others, but I want to focus on emotional health. I have struggled with anxiety since I was a teen. Possibly before that, but the first time I can recall feelings of dread, the explosion of emotion that follows, and the deep depression after that goes back to when I was in middle school. In some of those moments of depression mixed with teen angst I considered suicide. I remember it well. I remember asking a friend "If I weren't here tomorrow, would you even miss me?" I never told anyone that I wasn't ok. It never occurred to me to admit that. Later in high school when there were a string of deaths that impacted the student body over the span of a few months, I had another breakdown. I used to joke that every time I ovulated someone would leave …. And it was unfair. Yes, that was ridiculous, and I used humor to hide what was really going on. I began to realize that what happened to other people affected me deeply. Unfairness impacted me in a way that was overwhelming. Like I took on the pain of others as my own. It tested me. Now I bring all of this up, because we are in a world today where we are being tested. Our children of all ages are being tested. We are all experiencing loss like we never have before. Loss of people that we love and loss of a way of life that we knew. And we all need to know that it's ok to admit to one another when we're not ok. So back to my post that I wrote up earlier last week about how I was feeling in the time. As I was writing it, I was considering not even posting it. And instead just using it as a way to journal my thoughts and feelings. But of course, I got back to my mindset of "if this helps just one person, then it was worth putting out there." So here goes…

Y'all, I'm not ok. And I haven't been ok for a while. I haven't been wholly honest about it publicly. Some of my closest friends know what's going on in my head. I haven't been out with it on my social media or here in this blog in the hopes that I could just keep my "brand" positive, somewhat inspiring, and uplifting, but the whole time I've been struggling. Here's why. Every time I leave my house, scroll social media, watch the news, and speak with friends and family I see less love than ever before. Every decision that I make for my health and my families health seems to be under attack. Not directly, but indirectly by different opinions on how to handle the world around us lately. As a mom, I've always struggled with not feeling like I was a great parent, but lately it's been taken to a whole other level. I'd like to say that other people's opinions on how to keep our children safe don't affect me, but they do. It's thoroughly exhausting. Mentally, physically, emotionally exhausting. It makes me wonder if I'm the only one, but I know I'm not. I see it in my dear friends. I see it in my coworkers. I see it in my child. I've literally spent the last few days in and out of tears. I hurt. I hurt because I love. I love people…. All people. And I want the best for them, but I feel helpless to help anyone because I'm so hurt myself. And honestly, if everyone is so hellbent on being right, there's not a way to help. Because at this point, no one knows what is the "true right", but we just make the decisions that we think are the best ones. Like we've always done. Guys!!! We have to acknowledge that as humans we are having to make some major hard choices every day that don't always get us what we want. And we have to acknowledge that life as we knew it two years ago is not the life we have today. And I personally cannot operate the same way that I did back then. It's created grief and hurt in me at a soul level.

I recognize that I hurt. I recognize that it creates anxiety in me. And for those of you who do not understand how anxiety works, let me clue you in. You can't turn it off. And it builds and builds and builds. It affects you physically by making you tired and your brain foggy. It affects how you treat other people because you are oblivious to any other situation but your own. And because of that you tend to retreat to avoid that, but being alone can sometimes make it worse. Your internal dialogue is perverse and negative and at times you can feel hopeless. And let's not forget how it affects the choices you make. Some turn to alcohol, which turns into bad food choices, bad sleep, and you just physically don't feel well. Some just turn to food, or don't eat at all. Some retreat and try to go it alone because they think no one will understand. Or worse, they will judge you or call you crazy. None of this is good for you in the short or long run.

So how do we get through it? Well, I'm no therapist. I'll never claim to be one, so I'm just going to tell you how I cope. First I have to talk to someone. It can be a therapist, psychiatrist, a pastor, family member, or friend. Just talk to someone and express how you feel. Bottling it up only makes me feel more hopeless. Second, put my physical health first. Drink my water, eat the foods that support good health, and don't use food as a hug. Third, move my body. Exercise creates endorphins which lifts the mood, even if only temporary. But it also does something else. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. And if you can get through something hard like a workout, you have hope that you can tackle a to-do list or maybe just make sure your family has what it needs. Lastly, I have to feed my mind with good things. So I read, journal, and seek out learning lessons in all of these obstacles.

I know that this season will come to an end. I've been here before. It doesn't change the fact that I love… genuinely love. And while I may not agree with the next person's choices, I still love them. Because they are human. We have pulled together in times of distress to help our neighbor no matter the differences. We did it because it was the right thing to do. Every time there's a hurricane, earthquake… anything catastrophic, we seek to help other people. But we're not doing that now. Not unless we agree with the same politics and share the same social circles. And because we're not helping, there are individuals who are struggling. Some silently. Some are quite the opposite, but the hurt is the same. They are losing loved ones. Families are splitting apart. The world around us is grieving. And one thing that I learned during my most intense time of grief is that you can't go it alone. It's too much to bear. And it's ok to not be ok. Even further, it's ok to express to another person that you're not ok.

I don't know who this is for, or if it's just for me to finally put out publicly what is going on with me. I miss my fire. I miss my energy. And I'm not going to pretend that everything is ok when it's not. For now, I'm going to keep keeping on. Doing what I do to take care of my family, my employees, and all of the wonderful clients that I coach to better health. And some days I don't want to do anything, but I can't let that mindset rule me. I'm committed to myself. I'm committed to those whom I love. I know this blog is supposed to be about how I got healthy and my journey. And I'm usually not this serious, but I truly believe that on a healthy body rests a healthy mind. They are two parts of the same whole. I'm constantly working on my mindset. And part of that is addressing the anxiety that I've struggled with. I don't struggle as much as I used to because I've sought out the help I needed. I also recognize that I can't fix everything… even though in my heart of hearts I wish that I could. And again, I'm committed to myself… and my health. My whole health.

Commit to yourself. Love one another. Check on a friend.

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