It’s OK not to be OK.

The storms, they will knock you down. They will send you into a whirlwind of confusion and anger. They will test you in ways you would have never imagined before. They will make it hard for you to see through the blurred tears and all of the sadness and frustration. So much so that you can’t for the life of you remember how you got here in the first place.

You were following all of the rules and being the best person you know how to be. You thought you were in a comfortable spot in life when all of a sudden, you were knocked out of your comfortable bubble. You fall to the ground, bruised and broken. You know that you’ll look back later and wonder where all of your injuries came from, but for now, when you look in the mirror, you see someone you don’t know. You see more grey hairs forming in your head even though you’re relatively young. You see the wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes, and you realize you haven’t slept peacefully in months.

In an attempt to make yourself feel better, you go to the store and select several of your favorite candies and savory snacks. Suddenly, once you return home, you find yourself perched in front of the TV, mindlessly following the minimal story line of your favorite show while indulging in your snacks. You realize you are stress eating, but at the moment, you’re not in the head space to make it stop and become a normal part of your routine. When you get tired of watching TV, you decide it is time to go to bed. Before you close your eyes, you pray for God to lift you out of this mindless fog.

You know this is not normally how you would live.

You will look back and realize that this is what depression and darkness feel like. It shows you your dark side and forces you to face it head-on. It’s ugly and terrifying. It can suffocate you and swallow you up if you’re not mindful and careful. You know deep down that it’s not your fault. It’s a mental illness, and no matter how hard you fight it, once you’re a victim to it, you’ll remain one. It’s inevitable.

Sometimes, it will come back for no reason at all, just to completely rip your happiness to shreds. You seem ashamed of it because that’s what the societal stigma has taught us. It has taught us to basically grab life by the horns and if we can’t do that, then we are presumed as weak. We are presumed as negative and ungrateful. I am here to tell you that that’s not the truth.

We are all human.

Yes, we were all created in our own unique light, and we are taught as we grow older how to evenly distribute that light among those who may need it. While that is a great attribute, sometimes our lights need to dim so that we can learn how to cope. We were all created with an immense amount of strength, and we are blessed that that strength will undoubtedly anchor us, even through the darkest times, but even the strongest people fall sometimes.

No one is perfect and struggle is universal. We all struggle with something.

For me, it happens to be physical and medical more than anything else. Both my disability and medical problems are a rather heavy burden. In fact, all of my present doctors have praised me for carrying that heavy load, day in and day out. I sometimes don’t handle it well, but my mental breakdowns are usually only my knowledge and my therapists if I happen to be going to one at the time of an incident. You may not struggle in the same ways that I do, but I promise you that your struggles matter. They should be regarded with the same importance as your successes and happiness.

I understand the need and want to keep it buried because of the potential of being tagged as weak and vulnerable, but please know it’s just as important IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT to express your troubles. Keeping them bottled up will only lead to more explosive and possibly harmful feelings towards yourself during a time period where life becomes too heavy and too much to bear. Even though the evil spirits in your head may convince you at times that no one cares how you’re doing, I can promise you they do.

We need people in our lives. We need people that are going to be there to support our sadness and our successes. We need people to remind us of our purpose and our special light. We need people there to love us no matter what, even if we disappoint them multiple times. Even when our mental state wants us to pull away from everything and everyone, we need those people to remind us that the world needs us. If you have a person like this in your life, count your blessings and never let them go; They’re your soulmate, and you will likely never find another person on this Earth like them.

Just like expressing our sadness and darkness, it is just as important to express your successes. If someone tags it as annoying and over the top, they’re not worth it. We are all hard workers in our own right, no matter what our careers and goals are. Every milestone should be celebrated and welcomed with love. Always remember that even though the clouds and storms seem to linger sometimes, the sun will always shine again!

It’s a process, and it doesn’t happen over night, but know that you’re worth it and important!

Karla Culbertson

Karla is a 33 year old independent writer. She is wheelchair dependent due to Cerebral Palsy, chronic pain, and hip dysplasia, but she does not let that stop her from enjoying life. It is Karla's goal in life to inspire and uplift others. She loves writing positive blog posts that may have the potential of inspiring others and bettering their lives.

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