I'm (NOT) Okay, I Promise
Updated: Sep 23, 2019
It took me forever to be able to speak my mind, but when I finally did, I felt amazing. I love my own personal witty banter that people know me for. I'm thrilled when people hear something and say, "that's something Bre would say," or, "that reminds me of Bre." I laugh when my mom says you never know what's going to come out of my mouth. That's my favorite part about myself. I have Juno and Jennifer's Body to thank for that (shout out to Diablo Cody). It just feels fucking amazing to say the first thing that comes to my mind and it's what I'm proud of most.
For years, I felt like I didn't have a voice. When I was in middle school and high school, I wanted to be a ghost that just faded into the crowd so no one would notice me. At home, my parents will tell you that you would never even know that I was in the house because I stayed so quiet. Even in nursing school, I was pretty much told at one point that no one cares about what comes out of my mouth. Thankfully, I no longer have to deal with that bullshit (a different story for a different time).
Even though my proudest moment in my life is the day I decided to use my voice, sometimes I still choose not to. I always finding myself saying "I'm okay," or "I'm just tired." If you hear me or anyone saying that, don't listen to them. Nine times out of ten, "I'm just tired," has a whole different meaning behind it. It may seem like just three little words, but it's a mask that hides tears, heartache, frustration, anger, and so many other emotions. I'll admit that I got pretty skilled at keeping a straight face when I uttered those words, but thanks to my mom, in more recent years, it's become harder and harder to hide my facial expressions.
Some days, when I'm trying to convince myself that nothing is wrong, I look in the mirror and tell myself that I'm alright. I can see that I'm not. I see eyes that hold an empty stare and I see cheeks that are dying to be stained with tears. I see a heart within my chest that's either breaking over and over again or racing because I can't just lock what I'm feeling in a box anymore. I see a defeated face that thought things were finally getting better for good. But I also see someone that's beaten so many odds that were stacked up against her and in the back of my mind, I'm still fighting to say what's bothering me.
There's an incredible difference between sleepy and tired (and I'm one sleepy bitch). When I look at my residents and see worn bodies riddled with infections, heart diseases, and are on the brink of death, I see people that are tired. They've lived their lives and they have the right to be tired and hopefully when their time comes, they can peacefully depart this life and finally rest.
Staying up all hours of the night or busting through an evening shift med pass is what makes me sleepy. I've learned that at 22 years old, I'm not tired yet. It makes me sad sometimes when I think of the word tired because I've simply said, "I'm tired of living," more times than I can count. "I'm tired," has been my response to everything just because I don't feel like going into detail and I felt like someone didn't care or because I didn't want to hear a lecture about how suicide is ridiculous and cowardly. Trust me, if someone admits to you that they have contemplated suicide, bitching at them isn't going to make it any better. You don't have to understand why they would want to do it and you don't have to say that they'll be condemned to Hell and that it's a sin. You will still never understand how much they are carrying and you will never understand how hard it is to bare. Our demons are as unique as our DNA and there's nothing you can do to change it. Just be there for them and help them make life worth living.
Recently, I've been a lot more mindful with my words. If I'm in a good mood, I just come right out with a delightful response when someone asks how I'm doing. If I'm having a bad day, I just come right out and say what's bothering me and honestly I've never felt better. I try to pay more attention to the vibes that people put off because I know what it's like and it's absolutely terrible to be hurting and someone just rolls with whatever you say instead of realizing that something is off. For years I spent a lot of time begging for someone to notice that something was off when I felt beaten down and broken and it sucks.
I've been so angry at myself for so long because I was never this open. I often think that if I didn't choose to be this way, I would have been dead a long time ago. But, I'll have to take baby steps to forgive myself. I'm an open book now and sometimes I'm a little too open, but it's helped me make my mark for people to know how unique I am and you can either know me and love me for it or you can get lost. I'll never let anyone silence me again and I'm hoping that my automatic response when I'm feeling down will vanish for good.
Keep an eye on your friends/family and become more observant and I promise, you might end up saving a life or two. Some people aren't to that point where they feel strong enough to share what they're feeling and that's okay. But they sure as hell don't need to fear your judgement or hurtful words when they do decide to open up to you. Remember that depression takes many forms and depression and anxiety usually go hand in hand. Don't forget that sometimes a quick, three word response, could possibly be hiding a herd of secrets and repressed feelings.