It is a little known fact that on 21 May 1936, Sada Abe was arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover’s severed genitals in her handbag.
Aren’t you glad that you know that now?
I’m guessing that chances are that 21 May 2014 is probably going to be a better day for you than it was for Sada Abe in 1936!
Was Sada Abe OK? Probably not. Did she tell anyone that she wasn’t OK? Probably not!
She had a difficult life and suffered much abuse.
There are many, many people who have difficult lives, or more frequently, have difficult moments – periods of extreme stress and burn out.
And a lot of these people get diagnosed with Depression or Bipolar or anxiety disorder.
And most people don’t talk about it.
Every day I deal with people who feel that they are too embarrassed to tell others that they are not OK. They worry about stigma and how others will judge them so the fact that they are not coping becomes a “dirty secret”.
I understand that it is difficult and I know that stigma exists. You don’t have to hire a plane to fly a banner across the sky shouting “I am not OK!” but you certainly have the right to say it out loud.
“I am not OK!”
It is time to be honest about how you feel.
You don’t have to share all of your personal stories about why you are not OK but you do have the right to say that you are not coping.
“I am not OK, thanks for asking”
Part of the exhaustion that comes with stress is always keeping up the pretense that things are fine and that you are managing. It is so, so difficult to smile when you feel like crying or screaming.
“I am not OK, I am having a rough time but I appreciate you caring”
Nobody is perfect and whether you are just going through situational problems, or you feel that your life is coming apart at the seams, or you have been battling depression your whole life, it doesn’t mean that you are worth less than anybody else.
Always remember that some people wear better masks than others – you could be keeping up a pretense of happiness to be like other happy people around you who are also not actually happy.
Maybe by talking about it, you will allow others to be honest about themselves too.
“I am not OK but I am working on getting better!”
And you will get better, and this will pass.
That is the one thing that is guaranteed – that life is going to change. And it is going to keep on changing!
One day you will look back at this difficult time and recognise the survivor that you really are:
“I am OK!”