Sometimes life seriously just throws you everything you can possibly not handle all at once. And it sucks. It’s one of those times where you think, “Really, life? Because I wasn’t stressed enough?” This, mixed with crazy levels of mental and physical anxiety symptoms, and very low and high-energy days, is my current reality. I’ve been hating on it for a while, fighting it, soldiering on if you will, but I’ve come to realize recently (with a little help) that it’s okay to step forward, and just let myself not be okay for a while.
I’m not okay right now, but I will be okay, and whatever I need to do to get there is worth it, not selfish or a failure in any way.
Often, we hold ourselves to too high of a standard – we’re all guilty, and usually we’re not the most compassionate or forgiving of beings when it comes to our own actions or needs. We look at things as taking a step back and not taking a step forward or clearing the air for a change, but that’s what we’re doing when we take a break for our health.
I was really afraid to take a break in recent months and to admit that I needed it, because it felt like a defeat. I felt I was doing well, like I had been managing my symptoms and I’m out advocating for mental health, so I thought, “I have to be fine, I can’t possibly not be okay.” Wrong. I’m a human and we’re all entitled to say, “I will not do this today. I am overwhelmed. I need a break.”
Thankfully, I finally felt like it was enough and I reached out to my online community to share how I was feeling, and a friend reminded me that recognizing that you aren’t okay and taking care of your health is one of the biggest steps forward anyone can make. It takes great strength to do that and to be mindful of your well-being. I hadn’t been looking at it in that way, and it really started to change my perspective on what it meant to take a break for the sake of my health.
I was making steps forward in my work and in school, but in terms of my health, it was deteriorating. I had become so consumed with ensuring I didn’t fall behind or take a step back in my work or school that I just couldn’t see that I already was, but with my health. Again, making the choice to take care of you is not selfish, and I needed a little encouragement and a few reminders to realize that I’m not okay right now, but it’s okay because I will be in time and that isn’t a bad thing, it just is.
I think regardless of whether you’re experiencing an extra hard time with a diagnosed mental health condition, or if you’re just experiencing some general extra stress at work, home or school that’s becoming overwhelming, it’s very important to remember that we are humans and that there is just as much strength in knowing when you need to take a break as there is in taking on the world. You might not be okay today, but tomorrow you might feel a little better, or maybe next week, but if you don’t stop and recognize that you aren’t feeling okay you can never start to feel better, so recognize it and accept it for what it is. Once you do recognize that right now you’re feeling shitty and overwhelmed, be compassionate, remind yourself how you would speak to a friend telling you how they were feeling, remind yourself you are human and remind yourself that it’s okay to not be okay.
About Alyssa Frampton
Alyssa Frampton is a public relations student at Humber College, and a mental health and youth advocate. Alyssa works with ACCESS-Youth Mental Health Canada, is the Co-Chair of a national youth advisory the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health, and as a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada alumni can often be found talking about the importance of removing the stigma around at-risk. As a previously at-risk student who has suffered bouts of depression and manages BPD and anxiety daily, Alyssa is very passionate in working to ensure that other young people feel more supported along their path than she did at the start, and in changing the system to be more inclusive and accessible for all youth. In her free time, she is a serial Netflix watcher, tea drinker, Wonder Woman fanatic and can often be found ranting off about topics from Mental Health – Canadian politics.