Despite What I May Say, Sometimes I’m Not Okay
Someone once told me that the biggest lie we tell is when people ask how we’re doing. Whether we are keeping our heads above water or being pulled under, more times than not, we’ll respond with “I’m fine.” Today’s rant is one I’ve been a little apprehensive about posting. While I’m always honest with my readers and try my hardest to be as transparent as I’m comfortable with being, this topic is one I’ve only ever disclosed to a very select group of people. I’ve found that when trying to share my thoughts, I’m often dismissed and told things like “it’ll pass,” “pray about it,” “you shouldn’t feel that way,” and the list goes on. But what happens when it doesn’t pass, and prayer isn’t working, and you do feel this way? Then what?I read a quote somewhere that said something like “by owning your truth, you help others in accepting and owning theirs.” So I hope that’s what happens for someone after reading this rant. For the past few years, I’ve noticed a change in myself. I’ve always had moments where I liked to be alone and away from everyone. But back in 2011, something changed. My Grandfather passed away during final exam week my freshman year of college. Anyone who follows any of my personal social media accounts knows that I’ll often post a picture of my Grandpa and I and talk about how much I miss him. Anyway, that same year, I started to feel a dark energy around me. Sometimes I could see a dark shadow out the corner of my eye and suddenly the room would feel heavy. Call me crazy all you want, but I know what I saw and what I felt. Toward the closing of that year, I experienced a lot dark moments as a result of personal matters I will refrain from discussing. These feelings carried over until sometime in 2013. I can’t exactly remember when they started to “go away” but I do know that I had been seeing a counselor, at that point, once a week, EVERY WEEK, for over two years.
Fast forward to 2014, I had lost an Uncle, had been on rocky terms with some friends I had at the time, but not everything was going wrong. I graduated college, started working a real job, and felt that things were turning around. On February 12, 2015 a little after 9pm, I had gotten a call that one of my closest friends, my sister, had passed away. I remember the room began to spin as I rushed to where my mother had been before throwing the phone in her hands. As I relive this moment right now, I can’t do so without tears falling from my eyes and feeling the things I had that day. It became harder and harder to breath as I tried to make sense of what my brother had just told me over the phone. It was so unreal. It is still very unreal. And at that point, the dark cloud had returned.
Leading up to her funeral, and thereafter, I set my focus on assuring my brothers (one being her boyfriend) were as alright as they could have been at that time. I went about my daily life forcing the reality to the back of my mind any time it started to surface. I did this… I do this… to avoid dealing with it. If I could convince myself that I just hadn’t seen her, that we just haven’t spoken, then somehow, it wouldn’t be real. But at the most random times, driving from class on a beautiful day, in bed drifting off to sleep at 2am, listening to an old song, it hit me. And when it hits, it hits hard. Yet, I go along pretending to be okay and pretending to have coped with her death. “How are you holding up?” People would ask. “I’m fine,” I would respond. I lied. Fine was a far reach from anything that I was feeling. But to admit that I wasn’t alright would be to admit what everyone was already beginning to accept… that my sister, Amirah, was really gone.
Here we are in 2017, six years since my grandfather has passed and almost two years since my sister’s sudden passing. Every so often, more often that I usually reveal, that dark cloud consumes me. It starts with waking up not being in the mood to go to work. I’m never really in the mood to go, but its different these days. It’s like I’m frozen in the moment and someone is controlling my movements, placing me here or there. As the week progresses, I’m less and less enthused, have no interest in conversing with anyone, and will burst into tears at any given moment. All for reasons I can’t explain. As I mentioned earlier, there’s about three friends I’ve ever really discussed this with. And while I appreciate all of their efforts, be it going out for drinks or trying to figure out why I’m feeling how I am, nothing seems to work. Often times people will ask, “Well what triggered it, why are you feeling this way?” But I never really have an answer. What I do know for certain is that I can’t fix, let alone explain, what I myself don’t know is broken.
I know this rant is extremely long, but for a while, it had been weighing on my heart to reveal a part of myself that’s unknown to most of the world. I also know that I can’t be the only person in the world lying about being okay when deep down inside, are feeling as if you are going to break. While I don’t have the “cure”, I think what helps is owning your truth. I’m not always okay, but I’ve learned that its okay to not be okay. Its alright to be uncomfortable at times, to experience doubt and fear and sadness. But its also alright to wake up one day and decide to not let it consume you. To take a moment of reflection and “give thanks” as my sis Rah would say. To stand in out in the sun when the darkness starts tugging at you. Despite what you say, sometimes you’re just not okay. And when you find that you aren’t, own your truth and put your best effort into making “I’m fine” a true statement.
– Yolanda Danae’