Excitement comes when we feel we are making progress, building something better, having a target and feeling it’s happening. We feel pride, satisfaction and happiness about life. We enjoy social engagement and talk about all the great things in our lives. We motivate everyone around us. Look, it’s possible! Joy is contagious. But, sometimes life can be much less enjoyable. When things are not working the way we want—health, work, social life, love life or family— it’s much more difficult to do something about it.
We, first, try to stay positive believing that it’s going to be fine. We refuse to admit that things could go wrong. We are the ones who usually motivate everyone. We are the living example of energy and positivity and we never give up. How can we feel this way? And, how can we share those feelings with everyone? If we can’t stay on top of everything, then who can? What are people going to think about us? Is this the image they will have of us in the future if we share that we are not able to keep everything together? Isn’t that seen as a failure in today’s society? So we keep going, showing the same smiling face around and keeping our head high. We cannot talk about it. We cannot share it. So we decide to go through it alone.
We are very good at pretending; it’s easy to isolate oneself and avoid people, much easier than reaching out and asking for help. We just say we are busy. We avoid friends and start keeping everything inside, thinking over and over about the issues and not being able to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
And that’s when fear, stress and anxiety take over and, now, we fear that everything is falling apart. Free fall. Negative thoughts. Sleepless nights. Blurry mind. Physical exhaustion. More fear. Socially excluded. What to do? And, one day, you open up to someone and realize that just talking about it, makes you feel like you admitted it. You are not lying to yourself anymore. Words are expressing the issue and your feelings…and it feels good. You realize that the other person has issues too, and also decides to open up and let it out.
If only society would allow failure to be accepted and a part of life. If only talking about our issues would be as welcome and highly regarded as sharing success. Social media has also created a wall. Not a wall of memories, but a wall to hide behind—where only the perfect picture, the fun stories and the success stories of people who had issues but miraculously became these famous people we see on TV now. Who would tell a story about someone who had issues and still has them years later? There’s nothing special about that.
We are human. We live a life where ups and downs make our moments and experiences and make us see the contrasts. Sorrow, joy. Hate, love. Cry, laugh. Disappointment, hopefulness. Loneliness, friendship. So, why don’t we talk about the downs, too?
How many people are down and don’t talk about it for fear of rejection? Depression is not always a chemical reaction. It can be triggered by isolation and social withdrawal. The problems will still exist, but the attitude on how we solve them and help each other through them can immensely impact the intensity of it. The feeling of not being alone and facing our issues can relieve stress and anxiety tremendously.
So, open yourself up and it will allow others to trust and open up too. Make a list of your friends. If you have not seen them for a while and they have been too busy to talk, or you sense they have been unusually absent, reach out and try to feel what is going on with them. And most of all, if you have a problem or worries, please, please, please don’t wait. Call a friend and share, and be true and open. Make a point to find someone you can talk to every day until you feel better and not continue going down a spiral.
Together, we can create a much more realistic world where people can be true to themselves without fear and guilt about opening up. Start the chain. Be the link.