Experiencing stressful or traumatic times can cause heaviness during our journey. What makes the heaviness unrelenting is when we have to continue on with our day wearing the mask of “everything’s fine,” or the game face that projects, “I got this!”
Couple that with the pressures of family, friends and acquaintances thinking you have it together and nothing gets you down. They think you have it “so together” that they increase their requests for help, guidance, your time and expertise, and pretty much everything but the kitchen sink!
That’s before the physical manifestation of your heaviness kicks in. What starts out as simply fatigue and irritability quickly becomes anger and crazy emotions.
Then all of the pressure, heaviness, emotions, demands comes to a head, usually in the form of an unusual outburst, isolation, panic, or physical and mental collapse.
Then, finally, the admission:
“I am not okay.”
This statement is powerful and scary at the same time. Powerful in that we realize that the steady feelings in our lives are in jeopardy and we are making an honest stance as to how things have gone awry. It is also scary because the flood of questions/negative talk (remember Negative Norman/Nancy from my last blog post?) come soon after the admission:
- “How did I get here?”
- “Where did I go wrong?”
- “I can’t be like this. I’m supposed to have it together!”
- I can’t let anybody see me like this!”
It is in this state where you have two options: (1) confront the issues of overwhelm and (2) work strategically to mitigate (and hopefully eliminate) the rising buildup.
As I discussed in my previous blog post, YOU are the captain of your ship. You are responsible and accountable for what does and doesn’t work in your life. Here are some helpful tips to help you lighten your obvious overload.
- Be honest and clear.: Say loudly, “I am not okay.” Verbally expressing your truth is always a great thing, even when the it stinks a little.
- Forgive yourself.: So many people make the admission, then pack their bags for unnecessary guilt trips that take them absolutely NOWHERE. Extend forgiveness to yourself. It is an act of love.
- Say NO!: No is a loving way to protect your energies, space, and well-being. It is a complete sentence and needs no justification whatsoever. Saying no can free your mind, body, and schedule. Remember we are designing the life that we love, not one that others love which leaves you miserable.
- Therapy, therapy, therapy!: If that “not okay” feeling persists, consider seeking a mental health clinician that can objectively help guide you through. Saying you’re not okay doesn’t mean you’re a candidate for a straitjacket or the padded cell
This is where the journey can be rough. I speak from experience where in doing my inner work to become my best self was not all a field of flowers. Join me on my next podcast where I discuss the beauty of the word, “no,” the respite in therapy, and other tips that I used to change my feelings about being “not okay.” See you soon!