What no one talks about: admitting you’re not okay
It is extremely hard to admit you’re not okay, I know. Especially in this day and age where showing you are successful and rich (online) is the norm. However, this is often not the reality, sometimes you’re just not okay. By sharing my own experience I hope to encourage being your true selves, even online.
My experience started a couple of months ago. I began to prioritizing work over friends, my diet and workouts gradually declined, and most days I just did not feel okay. My positive energy and motivation would just completely leave me on most days, which resulted in me just struggling through the day.
How it all started
In June I got my wake-up call: I passed out at work. Out of the blue, I felt lightheaded and sick after which I soon fainted. Not the most pleasant experience I can tell you. However, looking back on the experience it was a much-needed one. The way I was treating myself, or rather neglecting myself, was leading me down the wrong path.
I have to admit, in the beginning, I had trouble accepting what happened. Seeing passing out as a sign of weakness. Not wanting to back down from work. Not knowing why I didn’t feel this coming or did something earlier. I was clearly in denial and did not want to admit I truly wasn’t feeling okay. Fortunately, I soon realized that this way of thinking was not going to help me grow from this experience.
Now, about 3 months later, I can safely say I am back on the right track. After realizing that feeling sad for myself wasn’t going to help me I started thinking about what would make me feel better. Not only short-term but also long-term. Writing these plans and taking action started to make me feel a lot better and, after a few weeks, a began to love the recovery process which is partly due to my wonderful coach.
In the short term (the first couple of weeks) I completely focused on how I felt on a day-to-day basis. I started to pick up some small things to see if I could handle them. The goal was to get from not feeling okay to feeling happier and not getting lightheaded all the time. Some of the things I did in this period:
- Taking some much-needed rest. This means truly listening to my own body and mind and following what it needs. Part of this was taking a break from work for a few weeks after which I could slowly build up my workdays again.
- Going on walks in nature. For me getting out of the house and into nature was really what I needed, even though in the beginning even this took a lot of effort. Getting out of the house, walking a few kilometers sitting on a bench listening, and viewing nature was one of the things that helped me build up my energy levels again. I looked into this and there is evidence behind this as well. A Stanford study found that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits.
- After the second week, I tried to see some friends again. Spending some time with them made me feel great but it was also a lot at that time. So I spread out my visits and tried to enjoy every second of them.
“Every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow”
After I felt better and did not faint for weeks I decided it was time to form a long-term plan. What do I need to do to learn and grow from this particular experience? I knew it had to do with my patterns, my intrinsic motivation, and my values. But what exactly? I had no clue. This is what I did/am currently doing to figure this out:
- Knowing that it was hard to figure out how I could best handle my recovery as well as my growth I knew I had to get help. So I got in contact with a coach. Now, 4 sessions later, I can tell you that this was the best decision I have ever made. She is extremely skilled and knowledgeable and I truly feel I have learned more about myself in 4 sessions than I have the past few years. So, I highly recommend talking to a coach if you feel like it could benefit you.
- Start writing again. I forgot the feeling I get when I am writing and how much it helps me to clear my head and get excited by learning new things. So I will try to get back into the habit of regularly writing and posting on The Learning Me.
- Looking at different job vacancies. Not necessarily because I want to leave my job, but to see what is out there and to see if something better aligns with the person I am. Getting to know more about myself and how I can add value is important, not only for my performance but for my happiness as well. With this, I could implement changes in my current job or maybe try something new.
What did the experience bring me?
For me, the moral of the story is that every experience good or bad can bring growth and a new perspective. It all depends on how you respond to it. So truly lean into the experience, feel the emotions whilst also thinking about what you can learn from the experience.
Since what you take from the experience often has to do with how you respond, ask yourself: was my response to the experience the response I want to have? If the answer is no then think about how you would like to respond next time. What do you need to learn to grow to the person who responds this desired way? Reflecting like this will help you learn from the experiences you have and in turn, you will grow as a person.
If you are dealing with something that feels difficult or too big to handle yourself don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ideally, consult a professional but starting with a trusted friend or family member can be a great start too.
If I can be of help in your journey please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind, I am not a professional but am always open to listen and discuss.