Let’s #GetReal

“I’m fine.”

“Good, thanks.”

“Busy.

“Tired.”

*shrug* “You know.”

These are all examples of what I’ve said in response to “How are you?” when I’ve been struggling. 

In those times, if you’d asked me if I was ok, I would have probably said “yeah” or “sure.”

Once or twice, when I was feeling brave, I said “I’m not ok, but I will be.”

I don’t know about you, but I find it really hard to honestly say when I’m having a hard time. 

I find it hard to #GetReal. 

I find it really hard to ask for support. 

Or to let down my guard long enough to have someone else see how I’m doing.

Part of that is stigma. 

While we #GetReal, let’s also get real about the stigma that people continue to face when they’re struggling with their mental health, or when they’re going through a tough period. 

A lot of people are doing really great work to fight stigma through awareness campaigns, including Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until May 10 this year. 

Each time that one of us shares our personal story, or supports someone else when they share their story, we’re fighting stigma. 

Stigma still gets in the way of us being honest about how we’re doing.

It’s also that we don’t know if the person really wants to hear the truth. 

We don’t know if they’re a safe person to talk to, or how they’ll respond if we open up. 

We are scared to be honest in case they reject us or use our truth against us. 

We keep our vulnerability in so that we don’t risk getting hurt. 

Plus, our minds can be tricky, and convince us that, even if it’s one of our closest friends or someone who cares about us, that they wouldn’t want to know or that we’re a burden if we share how we’re really doing. 

Or it might not be a safe situation or a safe person to disclose to. 

I get all the reasons why we say “I’m ok” or “I’m fine” when that’s not the truth. There’s nothing wrong with making that choice. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. You’ll get no judgment from me. 

At the same time, if you can, and if it feels right, I recommend giving it a try, to #GetReal. 

In many ways, this current situation with coronavirus and physical distancing, has created an opportunity for us to speak more honestly about how we’re doing – if only because we are all facing more stress and more pressures. 

I’ll start. 

I’ve been through a whirlwind of emotions since mid-March. 

I have felt grief. I have felt anxiety. I have felt so much stress and overwhelm. I’ve felt joy. I’ve felt contentment. I’ve felt energized. I’ve felt drained. I’ve felt anger, and exasperation. 

I’ve felt like I wanted to get away from my house or to just be left alone for 20 minutes already. I’ve also felt like I’ve wanted to gather my family up in my arms and never let go. 

Honestly, I’ve also felt all of those things this week.

Right now, as I write this, I feel hopeful. 

I feel hopeful that by getting real about how we’re doing, and by beginning to move past the token answers to “how are you,” we can make it easier for others to do the same. 

I feel hopeful that when we ask the question, we can be ready for the answer, no matter what it is.

I feel hopeful that, during Mental Health Awareness Week, and throughout the year, we can keep taking those steps to #GetReal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each time that one of us shares our personal story, or supports someone else when they share their story, we’re fighting stigma.

 

 

 

I get all the reasons why we say “I’m ok” or “I’m fine” when that’s not the truth.

There’s nothing wrong with making that choice.

I’ve been there.

I’ve done it.

You’ll get no judgment from me.

 

 

 

 

I feel hopeful that by getting real about how we’re doing, and by beginning to move past the token answers to “how are you,” we can make it easier for others to do the same.

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