How To Be Okay With Not Being Okay

Nine Köpfer

The mind is a funny thing. You could be sitting on a North Carolina beach with a piña colada in your hands and still not be okay. And I know, you’re not supposed to worry when you’re lounging by the ocean. You’re not supposed to worry when your skin has been kissed by the sun and you’re looking out onto the cotton candy sunset with your parents. You aren’t supposed to have a care in the world.

But you can’t re-wire your brain. You can’t take 100 mg of an anti-anxiety med and expect it to cure you. You can’t stop your wheels from turning or stop your heart from racing.

You can’t just always calm down or chill or relax. At least I can’t.

I don’t know how to fully let go of anything. Of people. Of relationships. Of my past. And in that same way, I can’t let go of my worry and endless thoughts that tumble and turn and crash onto me. I don’t know how to just be empty. To just be free of this.

I’m still learning to accept that my brain is different. I’m different. I run from people that aren’t even dangerous. I run from good. From the yellow and the sky blues. I see the worst in every situation, even if it’s a healthy one. I see the death and the decay and the hurt.

I’m still learning to accept that sometimes, even when life is good and beautiful, I will still have something to worry about. Even if it’s something small and mundane. Even if it’s nothing.

I’m here on vacation in a beautiful beach house with beautiful people. I’m here and I’m not supposed to feel like I can’t breathe. I’m not supposed to feel like I’m losing control in my life and my work and myself.

But that’s the thing about anxiety. You can’t wish it away or pray it away or drink it away. You can’t disconnect. You can’t just. Stop.

I worry when I drive my parent’s car in fear of a crash. I worry when I send someone a text and never get a reply. I worry on the beach about work and how I feel like I’m behind. I worry I’m not working enough. I worry about how much I worry and I hold it all in my lungs wondering if I will ever be able to exhale again.

My skin is tan and my smile is bright. But inside, my chest is heavy and it feels like a whale is sitting on top of my heart. I want to scream and shout and have someone to tell me I’m okay. To just say I’ll be okay.

I don’t know how to accept this. That this is my life. That even in the sunshine, my mind is full of thunder. I don’t know how to be okay with not being okay. So I guess for now, I will breathe. I guess for now, I’ll take a moment just to be alive. Just to be. And keep on walking even when my mind turns into a hurricane. TC mark

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson

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You look back and you just feel stupid.
You can’t forgive yourself for falling
or believing all the lies.
You reread every text.
You relive every memory.
And it all starts making sense —
he never wanted love.
He only wanted attention.
He only wanted validation.

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