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It’s OK to not be OK

| Thursday, September 19, 2019

What would you do if your best friend told you they were having a bad day? Would you tell them to “cheer up?” Would you start talking about how bad your day was too, in an attempt to show them how much you “understand?”

We’re always trying to make ourselves and others “cheer up” and look on the bright side when, in reality, what we should be doing is confronting our emotions. What ends up happening, though, is quite the opposite. We just put our feelings to the side and hope they go away along with the rest of our problems. Instead, these feelings build up and transform into mental health issues like generalized anxiety and depression.

But most of us don’t look for help when it comes to our mental health. Fears of being seen as “crazy” or “weird” plague our minds and stop us from getting help. We’re so used to being “happy” all the time that the thought of being anything else should bring a great deal of worry and bewilderment to us and those around us. 

Walking around and hearing things like “Bro, my girlfriend is being so bipolar right now,” or, “I forgot to study for my calc test, guess I better go kill myself,” don’t help the situation at all either. Yes, we all know you literally don’t want to kill yourself, but how do you think someone who has actually wanted to kill themselves feel when they hear someone say that? It probably hurts, but we dismiss these “what if’s” because nobody is actually struggling with their mental health, right?

Wrong! As a community, we can’t forget that there are some of us — really the majority of us — that suffer from mental illnesses. Whether it’s a mild case of anxiety, or severe depression, there shouldn’t be any stigma around getting help. The next time you think about saying something like “KMS” or “You’re so OCD,” maybe think about how your words affect the broader issue, especially as we come to the end of National Suicide Prevention Month

As someone who’s dealt with mental illnesses, and still is to this day, just remember that you’re not alone, and never forget, it’s always OK to not be OK.

 

If you or anyone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 

Daniel Lau is a freshman currently majoring in political science, and he can be reached at [email protected]

The Diversity Council of Notre Dame advocates for awareness, understanding and acceptance on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and other intersectional identities in the Notre Dame community. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Diversity Council, but are the individual opinions of the author. You can contact Diversity Council at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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