Sometimes It's Okay to Not Be Okay

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Aly Leia Wein

Feature Image by Priscilla Du Preez

Sometimes it's hard to get up in the morning. It's hard to motivate myself to face the world and be strong. It's hard to socialize when sometimes all I want to do is sleep. This is life with anxiety and depression, exacerbated by all of the day-to-day struggles of growing up.

Sometimes I'm at the top of the world, and I feel like I can fly. I love myself and all my quirks, and I am inspired to accomplish my goals and be the best me that I can be.

Sometimes I hate everything and everyone - myself included - and I feel so lost. That nagging voice in my head shuts down all of my hopes and dreams and sends me back to square one. My "monkey mind" - that little nagging voice in my head that tells me that I suck and everyone hates me - runs wild. Soon it becomes indistinguishable from my actual thoughts and feels like the truth, when in actuality it is not. My thoughts become clouded with negativity; I want to scream, cry, and eat a carton of ice cream all at the same time. If I can’t be the best, what's the point of even trying?

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Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I was "normal." If I had those typical high school relationships and experiences, if I looked liked those beautiful models on Instagram, if I met society’s standard of "cool," if I was super talented at something. Sometimes I wish I could be anything but what I am.

Sometimes I want to stop time for just a moment, catch up on all my homework, take a long bubble bath, then resume life refreshed and recharged. Depression and anxiety are two sides of the same coin and feed off of each other, which really doesn’t help the situation. You basically have your self-doubts double-teamed up against you, and it sucks. I'm sure to outsiders I look like a fun, outgoing girl who has lots of friends and is happy all the time and goes on cool adventures - I mean, that's certainly what my Instagram looks like! I once confessed to a teacher that I had depression and she said, "You? Depression? I don't think so! You're too bubbly and happy!" I guess that was a compliment, but she legitimately didn't believe me when I told her I'd struggled with this for years and was on antidepressants. It’s important to remember that there are always two sides to every story and what you see on the outside doesn’t always reflect what’s going on on the inside.

Sometimes I feel like only I ever feel this way, but I know that deep down that's not true. Everyone struggles, but our culture has taught us that we need to suck it up and project this picture-perfect image of ourselves to the world, or at least to social media. I wish we could all just be more open and supportive and realize that it’s okay not to be okay.

I hope at least one person reads this and realizes that they are not alone because although sometimes life stinks, sometimes it's not too bad. Sometimes it works out more perfectly than you could ever imagine, and you feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. I wish that people would understand that happiness and depression are not mutually exclusive. You can be crying all day, but then you FaceTime a friend and laugh for hours; you can get into the college of your dreams, but then you have an anxiety attack about it.

Am I depressed? Yes. But I’m depressed sometimes, not always, and that’s what gets me through.