It's OK to not be OK.

Have you ever felt less than great? What about hopeless? Do you ever feel like no one cares about what you're feeling or going through? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then we have something in common. Mental health is something that many people choose not to talk about. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to avoid the topic. Some of them are probably very valid reasons. However, there are also a lot of stigma-related reasons people will keep their issues to themselves. Those are what I'd like to address with this little post. It is perfectly acceptable to have a bad day, week, month, or even year. Your feelings are yours alone, and they are valid. Whether you are coping with an ongoing mental illness, or you're dealing with situational stress/depression/anxiety, no one has the right to make you feel ashamed of what you're going through. Sure, that doesn't always stop us from wanting to hide how we feel, but it's worth noting. I frequently get asked why I post about my mental health, especially when it isn't doing so great. Well, contrary to what many would assume, I'm not posting about it for pity or sympathy. The notion of being pitied is far from something that I'd usually welcome. The reason I share my experiences with my mental health, especially regarding my mental illness, is because I want to help others feel less alone. In my experience, being reminded that I am not alone in my struggles is comforting. It is so easy to convince ourselves that no one could understand what we're going through or relate to our situation. Indeed, no one will ever exactly know what you're feeling, because every human responds to different things in different ways. Every person's lived experience is going to be different. However, humans are often more capable of empathy than we give them credit for. So, even if someone can't relate in a literal sense, they will often attempt to understand at the very least. By talking about my struggles, or when I'm feeling down, I'm helping to normalize those conversations. That is the biggest part of removing the stigma. The goal is just to make so that people can talk about it more freely. The next time you're not feeling so great, don't feel like you have to keep it to yourself. It is ok to not be ok.

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