Why it’s OK to not be OK all the time

Mental Health

I know I might be a little late to the scene but I’ve recently got into podcasts. I know. Where have I been?! But as a fan of Bryony Gordon and her fab Mad World series, not to mention hilarious Instagram stories. I was pretty excited to hear she’s launched a podcast series about mental health. And even more excited when I realised the first guest was none other than Prince Harry talking about mental health. I mean, it’s Prince Harry! Talking about mental health and how it’s OK to not be fine. How it’s OK to ask for help. And to talk to people about how you feel.

And it really struck a nerve with me. Because it should be normal to talk about you feel right? I mean we constantly ask each other ‘how are you’? And all too often we reply with a standard ‘I’m fine’. Because that’s easier than speaking the truth. It’s easier to say I’m fine then have to explain why you’re not fine. How you’re not feeling yourself. How you find yourself feeling down and constantly on the verge of tears. For what feels like no apparent reason.

And if someone as high profile and as likable as Prince Harry can talk about his emotions. And his mental health. Then I think the rest of us can. Can’t we? I haven’t really shared this before. But once of the reasons I’m so passionate about mental health is because of my own experiences. My experience of suddenly going through something that triggered a period where I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t necessarily feel constantly sad. But I didn’t feel happy either. In fact I just felt numb. As if someone had turned the dimmer down on me. I didn’t care about a lot of things. I didn’t have the passion or motivation to do half the things I would normally do.

And I stopped taking care of my appearance. Stopped going to the gym. Stopped seeing people. In fact, given the chance I would have stayed in bed all day if I could. And I didn’t tell anyone. I was too ashamed of how I felt to confide in anyone around me with what was happening to me. Maybe it’s because I felt like a failure. Or maybe I thought I would get through it on my own. But one thing I do know is that not talking about how you feel. Doesn’t make you feel better. No one will feel better by not talking about their feelings.

And all it took was for me to be fed up of having to pretend to be OK. And the next time someone asked how I was. I replied honestly. I told them I wasn’t OK. That there was so many things going on my life that were causing me to not feel like myself. I felt anxious. Overwhelmed. Useless. So many different emotions. But none of them felt like me. And it’s amazing how much better I felt by telling someone this. How letting them in on the thoughts in my head suddenly made the weight I was carrying around lighter.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt like that. And there have been a bunch of techniques I’ve picked up since to help me cope. I now exercise more than I used to. Exercise for me is as much of a mental workout as it is a physical one. It’s a form of escapism that pushes my body to the limits. And it makes me feel so much better. But none of this would have been possible unless I spoke out. It was only by speaking out that I realised I wasn’t alone in feeling like this. And with 1 in 4 people suffering with mental health issues. Chances are if you don’t suffer yourself. You’ll know someone who does.

Which is why I love what Bryony Gordon is doing with her Mad World series and what Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are doing with Heads Together. By normalising the conversation about mental health. We’re removing the stigma, the shame and helping people cope with their emotions. It would just produce a healthier and happier country. And isn’t that what we want?

What do you think about mental health and the work people are doing to normalise the conversation?

As always thank you to Kaye for taking these pictures!

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14 Comments

  1. April 20, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    I’m a huge fan of all the hype around mental illness right now! I can’t believe that the royals have stood up to be counted, it’s going to make a huge difference! xx

  2. April 20, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    I love that more and more people are feeling more open with their mental health issues, especially as it should never be a stigma. Like you said it is okay to not be okay. I am sorry to hear about your own experiences but I am thankful that by acknowledging it you are being honest with yourself and that is something I only learned to do lately xx

  3. April 20, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    I will always agree that it is okay to not be okay. I’m thrilled to see people finally speaking out about mental health and their own experiences and I can only hope that it continues to normalize these conversations so that people feel like they don’t have to feel like they have to hide how they are really feeling behind “I fine” when they are not. Hopefully, Prince Harry speaking out about his experiences will bring even more light to the issues and cause even more discussions to bring about more change.

  4. April 21, 2017 / 6:17 am

    Mental health is so important and I love how you took charge of yours. You are so right – it’s ok to not feel ok. It’s also amazing to recognize when you don’t feel ok and take the steps to make you feel better.

  5. April 21, 2017 / 9:36 am

    Totally agree its ok to not feel ok, mental health is very important and is a subject that needs to be talked about more

  6. April 21, 2017 / 11:59 am

    I think it’s great that there are people working hard to normalise the conversation about mental health, it’s so important. Great post.

  7. April 21, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    I think that these are tiny steps, but at least something is going on and there is a need for a chance. Mental illnesses don’t mean that you are “crazy”, it just means that you don’t feel yourself. It means the composition of your body has an anomalie and, same as in any other illness, it needs to be fixed. But because it is not visible, people do tend to be afraid in asking for help because of the stigma it puts on you. Hopefully this will change soon!

  8. April 22, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    Good to know more people are open to discussing their mental health. It needs to be talked about a lot more.

  9. April 23, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    I’m really glad more people in the public are talking about mental health more. I think as a nation we need to be more open about it

  10. April 23, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    I think it’s great that we can talk so much more openly about mental health issues now. I think we all suffer with things like anxiety and depression at some point in our lives, and it really helps if we can talk it through with someone without feeling like they’re being judgmental and stuff. I was feeling really down and, if I’m honest, suicidal, towards the end of last year and getting into exercise around that time really helped. Great post 🙂

    Louise x

  11. francesca
    April 23, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    Its amazing that so many people are being honest and open about their struggles now! I think its so important so that we don’t all feel alone! I was the same I had a long period of time where I let myself go, I wanted to stay in bed I wouldn’t go out and I lost a bunch of friends. I now feel not so alone in my struggle and have learnt great coping techniques!

  12. April 24, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I really really love the work that the Princes are doing on Heads Together. You are so right when you say that most of us say we are fine when asked instead of being completely honest.

  13. April 24, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    I think this is such an important thing to discuss! I had never really struggled with anxiety or depression throughout my life until I lost a very close loved one. I have since developed coping mechanisms, but it is definitely something that I know many people suffer from!

  14. April 25, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    love this post to make everyone aware it is okay to not be 100% xo

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