For so long I convinced myself that I was fine, that being 40 pounds underweight and spending every waking moment unable to think straight was totally acceptable. Because I was making straight A’s, working a part-time job and volunteering at a few nonprofits, I was fine.
“Everything is fine,” I kept telling myself as my social life crumbled around me.
“I’m fine,” I convinced myself even though I knew I shouldn’t be skipping breakfast for the third time in one week.
Well, being fine only got me so far, and before I knew it, my life was beginning to spiral downwards. Even though I was still managing to make straight A’s and knock the socks off my professors, that’s about the only thing I could do. I had to leave my part-time job, stop volunteering and ultimately fell into a life of isolation for three months; with the exception of seeing my boyfriend, a few friends and family a couple times a week. Meanwhile, I still thought I was fine. It wasn’t until I decided that I want to be more than fine that I realized I was never fine, to begin with!
For a long time I didn’t admit to myself how much I really put myself through; that if I would have swallowed my pride and admitted to someone earlier that I wasn’t indeed fine, I probably wouldn’t be in this horrific state. I was so caught up in being the strong one. I was convinced that crying or showing any negative emotion was a sign of weakness. I didn’t want to fall into society’s view of women. I wanted to be perceived as unstoppable, remarkable, untouched, tough and tenacious, not weak, moody and emotional. But by neglecting my mental health and repressing my emotions, that is exactly what I became.
Ironically, as soon as I accepted that I was not indeed “fine” (shocker) and started reaching out to others for help, my mental and physical health began to improve. My face began to glow, my eyes sparkled, there was a pep in my step, and a smile on my face and in my heart more often than not. I felt like a new person, and not being fine did not make me weak. In fact, it made me stronger.
The point is, we, as a society, need to stop associating vulnerability with weakness.
Opening up and telling someone you need help does not mean you are weak. Telling someone you are not fine because you are suicidal is an act of courage. Telling your best friend that you need help on your history paper does not mean you are incompetent. Telling your parents that you didn’t pass your calculus final will not make them love you any less. Stop saying you’re fine when there is so much pain and emotion hidden beneath the surface. We deserve to be more than fine. We deserve to be extraordinary.
“What you perceive as destiny may be the one thing that is holding you back.” – Unknown
Featured image via elliottsdunning.