We live in a society where we often feel pressure on all sides: pressure to be a better parent, pressure to be a better partner, pressure to do a better job at work, pressure to be a better person, pressure to make better choices, pressure to be at a certain place in our recovery. The reality is, however, that the more pressure we put on ourselves to live up to any and all expectations, the more anxiety we feel.
What all of us feel and need to hear and embrace at different times in life is, that sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay that sometimes you feel sad. It’s okay that you are still trying to figure out how to best manage your anger. It’s okay that you and your sponsor just didn’t click and now you have to find a new one. It’s okay that you are still trying to figure out who you really are. It’s okay to not be okay.
Instead of placing pressure on ourselves to live up to a certain ideal, we need to be asking ourselves, am I doing the best that I can do today? Sometimes our best is getting out of bed and taking a shower. Sometimes our best is recognizing that we can’t do it on our own today and reaching out to the person(s) who we know will support us in the way that we need supported.
What is okay, is recognizing that you have needs and identifying what it is that you need in the moment. What healing coping skills/strategies have you identified that work for you? Do you enjoy running, playing a sport, yoga, deep breathing, watching a movie, creating something? Once you find what works for you, even if it is one specific coping skill, utilizing it can help tremendously.
When things are not okay, it is still important to give yourself permission to feel. Often when we feel low, we want to shut off how we are feeling on the inside. Allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings, even when they are uncomfortable, so you can move through them. We all have different feelings at different times and you are not bothering your support person by sharing how you feel. When you are able to share how you are feeling, you relieve some of the pressure and anxiety that you are carrying.
Finally, remember that life itself is filled with ups and downs and it is through these struggles that we find out who we really are. Whether you are okay, or not okay, always remember that there are people who genuinely care about you and the world would not be the same without you in it.
Lisa M. King, MS, NCC, LPC-Intern
Supervised by Sam Slaton, M.ED., LPC-S, MBA, MHSM