Why You are OK Even When You’re Not

bekah General 15 Comments

Listen up, my friends. You who have experienced depression, situational depression or are moving into a season of growth and change.

Today at the park, while my monkeys roamed God’s green earth, I sat on a blanket with a much needed Americano at my hip and read a life-changing passage from The Road Less Traveled, a book a CA soul sister and I are reading. It’s our virtual book club so to speak.

The first time I experienced depression was a college breakup with someone I thought I was going to marry. When you’re young in love, a broken heart can feel like divorce. And a part of my heart died, only to experience a new, true, constant love, years later with Bryan.

As newlyweds, Bry and I moved to Atascadero, and situational depression hit again. New town, new people, new surroundings and that hollow feeling crept and I said to myself: I’m not okay.

There’s a specific depression memory, though. One that made me feel the most crazy.

We had two little ones and were temporarily living at my parents after short-selling a home in the Central Coast, leaving community we thought we’d stay near for the long haul. Marriage was thready and my husband’s job was unhealthy. Every life aspect felt loomy and out of control. As did I.

I was NOT okay.

And my dad sat me down one night and encouraged me to talk to someone and get on meds to get it all sorted out. And those words left a gaping wound. You see, I was grieving our first home, a town we’d become a family in, friends and familiarity. I was grieving how to navigate life with two- not just one- little munchers. I was trying to make sense of confusing words said from respected leadership. I was navigating all of this while living under my parents’ roof with my own kids. It was pure lovely-ness.

I wasn’t okay. And my not okay- ness was uncomfortable to my dad. Who thought meds were the quick solution.

And sometimes meds are.

As is counseling and being willing to open your story only to have someone further qualified be allowed to ask questions about those dug holes.

I’m a fan of therapy. A believer in talking it out. I’m an active participant in spiritual direction and accountable community.

I’m also noticing there are seasons of death and life and pain and beauty and know first-hand that acknowledging these tender seasons and hurrying a painful season along only to make others comfortable are two different things.

Before we can encourage one toward counseling, we must first sit with them and offer words that breathe initial healing beyond Xanax or a therapist couch.

Words like: Wow. That’s a LOT. That’s a lot of change. No wonder you don’t feel okay. Sounds like a lot of circumstances are shifting and you’re grieving what’s died. Gosh, can I just say you are so freakin’ brave? This is a lot.

I imagine how comforting those words would have been, had they come from my dad’s well-intended lips, rather than the message of go get fixed. We can’t get “fixed” or “OK” if we don’t first acknowledge or are acknowledged for being in the tension that happens between death and growth.

The Road Less Traveled‘s author Dr. Peck speaks into the value of not being OK:

“Frequently, for instance, the acts of deciding to seek psychiatric attention in itself represents a giving up of the self-image ‘I’m OK.’ … the feeling associated with giving up something loved – or at least something that is a part of ourselves and familiar- is depression. Since mentally healthy human beings must grow, and since giving up or loss of the old self is an integral part of the process of mental and spiritual growth, depression is a normal and basically healthy phenomenon. It becomes abnormal or unhealthy only when something interferes with the giving-up process, with the result that the depression is prolonged and cannot be resolved by completion of the process.

Dr. Peck points out how one is already doing the growth process before going to therapy and it’s the “symptoms of this growth process” that urges us to make the actual therapy appointment, where a therapist “helps the patient complete a growth process that he or she has already begun.”

We go to therapy- often running or sheepishly- to make all the icky feelings go away, right? But here’s the beauty:

We can’t “go back to the way things used to be because “the way things used to be is no longer tenable or constructive” toward growth and therefore, we experience depression.

Peck continues:

“Many people are either unwilling or unable to suffer the pain of giving up the outgrown which needs to be forsaken. Consequently they cling, often forever, to their old patterns of thinking and behaving, thus failing to negotiate any crisis, to truly grow up, and to experience the joyful sense of rebirth that companies the successful transition into greater maturity.”

Boom. Depression is a necessary part of the growth process.

And right there, I cried big old’ alligator tears because do you feel the relief and permission like I do? Do you see how necessary depression is when something has died only to make room for growth?

Friend, lean close ‘cuz I don’t want you to miss what I’m finding freedom in a decade later:
Saying you’re not okay is one of the bravest statements you can utter.

Not being okay is the beginning of growth.

Of transformation.

Of releasing comfort and peering into the unknown.

Being not okay will lead to being a different type of okay.

If you’re grieving someone, something, a complacent system, or habit you willingly want to break free of, give yourself grace when depression hits because this means you’re onto something absolutely beautiful.

Something is dying, but something surely is taking root.

Permission, friend. Permission to take notice and celebrate that if it’s depression you’re experiencing, maybe something has died? Where are you growing?

Old isn’t bad and new isn’t better. Old simply represents something you are letting go of in order to take a healthier step forward toward more of who you are created to become.

Take solace.

You aren’t going to stay in this space of depression. You are going to pay attention to it, acknowledge it and tell it, You don’t have power of me. You are just pushing me toward new. And the unknown new is scary. Which is why I’m simultaneously sad and expectant.

We can’t collect abundant blossoms without first digging into the soil of our soul. Flowers always make their way into light after the protection of dark, quiet, rooting.

Join me at the City Farmhouse Meet Up: #realisthenewperfect: “Living Authentically in a Social Media Culture”

Where: City Farmhouse Event Venue
230 Franklin Rd., Ste. 1303
(Factory at Franklin)
Franklin, TN 37064

When: Tuesday Evening, June 20, 2017

Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

*Wine and nibbles will be served.*

*Tickets Limited to 25 Guests*

Purchase tickets HERE.

Comments 15

  1. B, I love this. And I can see why you love this book! before I even finished this post I thought I wanted to say to you, “I won’t try to fix you, and I’m realize you’re facing lots of different things and mourning an old life and it’s a lot and it’s hard and I’m with you.” and then I read that in your post in so many words. This is why we are soul sisters. LOL. and why I adore you, and why I still want you to know it takes a lot of courage to write these words, because then well meaning people will text you or call you and say are you ok? When really you are on the road to healing because as your wise Dr. said, “You’ve begun the process on your own…” so BRAVO. THANK YOU! and PRESS ON. You are doing the hard work of LIVING in the now, and sometimes that requires FEELING what we’re feeling. It’s just that simple.

    {and a side note: this was so helpful as I have an 18 y/o with lots of anxiety about moving to college, finding friends, roommate woes etc. and I NEEDED THIS TODAY!} So thank you. You are precious and loved and chosen.

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      I just adore you Sarah. You get it. You know. You offer permission. We’ll press on together. A bouquet is better than just one bloom. Love you, my friend.

  2. Such beautiful words Bekah! During this first year of marriage I have been struggling with anxiety. There were months where I felt crippled by it and would say “I am not okay. God take this from me!”
    Eventually I came to a point where I realized God was drawing me closer to Him and teaching me to grow. I got so comfortable in my ways as a daughter and girlfriend that I didn’t know how to fit the “wife” mold.
    God has been so faithful and now coming out of that season I am able to see some of what God was doing during that time.
    It felt so freeing to hear you say that when we say we are not okay, that’s bravery. I remember my prayers changing from “God take this from me.” To “God make me a woman of courage and bravery today.”
    Thank you for sharing your words. They are so appreciated!

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      Breezy, thank you for your transparent heart. Transitioning from daughter and girlfriend to wife is such a big deal- one often overlooked in the excitement of wedding planning and honeymooning… and then reality hits. You are so brave to pay attention and listen to what’s going on inside. Singleness has died and a new season is growing. Allow yourself to settle into the growing pains and listen to He who always holds you. You are OK- right where you are. xo

  3. Love this post Bekah. Wow have I been in these places the last few years after surgery and then trying to piece my world back together. Bravery, yes so brave to do the work of process and unclenching the hands so that God can bring his blessings to a heart empty but soon to be spilling over. Praying for you my friend, sorry it has been so long!

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  4. So good!!!! Once again your heart speaks and brings encouragement , hope and truth to those who read. I love you. Love your honest , transparently. Big hugs.

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      Thank you, Pam. I’m so thankful my story resonates with yours. Cheers to transparency and fighting the brave fight!

  5. This is so good. There is always the dying before the regrowth, new growth, or rebirth. Although I would call that grieving because I would not want to confuse this type of grief depression with the mental illness of Depression. Because the mental illness feels neither sad nor expectant…it feels like nothing; a vast emptiness, an inability to care about anything. And meds and therapy are nothing like a quick fix, but more like survival for people suffering mental illness. I hope this doesn’t feel critical, everything you said is so true and so important to remember that these seasons are a normal part of life and growth, but I also want to say it is not the only kind of Depression and it’s ok to not be ok to the point of needing meds and therapy to survive life…. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t without both. Love you and I love seeing your new adventure unfolding. ????

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      Tina, thank you for your vulnerable words of insight. Yes, situational depression and mental illness ARE two different matters. You are so right! And I love watching your journey, watching you become alive. Much love from TN!

  6. I can so relate to this. So well written, as usual, friend! I would come to your event for sure if i was in TN! much love to you! xoxo

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  7. This is the season I am in and it seems I always read your blog/books at just the right time. Thank you for the different perspective! I so wish I was close to attend the Meet Up as I could definitely benefit from that as well. Thank you for being such a blessing!

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      Well permission and prayers for your current season, Tina. You are not alone and I can’t wait to hear how this challenging quiet time ushers you into beauty and fullness. Go brave one!

  8. Once again you’ve spoken the words my heart needed, and at just right time. Thank you for sharing your insights so eloquently. At times it feels as if I take two steps forward and one step back. Yes, I’m making progress, but I’m also frequently reminded that I’m still “not okay.” Thank you for your comforting, wise words that encourage and inspire.

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