IT'S OKAY TO SAY "YOU'RE NOT OKAY".
It's okay to say you're not okay.
The past year has been a challenging one for the world. First, the pandemic came when no one expected and disrupted virtually everything the world was used to.
People were forced to stay indoors, causing them to lose touch with everyday life; the warmth of the sun, the coolness of fresh, natural air, the beauty of the glowing moon on a dark sky, and nature in its entirety.
Also, social distancing was enforced, meaning that social interaction was restricted. For example, family and friends could no longer hug each other to feel comfort and warmth when celebrating, looking for succor, or for just for the sake of doing it.
The general mood of the world became cold and gloomy. Fear for life was on an all-time high. The news of death and mourning was everywhere on the streets and media.
People's progress, plans, and aspirations experienced an abrupt stop. Jobs were lost as companies downsized, schools were suspended, and the doors of churches and recreational centers were shut down. Loneliness and solitude became the order of the day.
All these and many more led to a great depression everywhere in old and young people's lives. The devil seized this opportunity to attack people's minds, causing them to lose their faith in God and hope in life.
However, with God's help, people learned to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on. People tried to shake off the dust from a crumbled life, adjust to the new normal, appreciate the blessings in it, and press the restart button.
But even as the world is still adjusting to the new normal, there is the need to be careful and cautious of an age-long problem that has been bedeviling people's minds and mental health.
This problem is called the holiday blues, the holiday stress or holiday depression. You must have heard a lot about this or experienced it, but you need to pay more attention to this now than ever before.
It is important to note that there is a spike in depression and suicide rates. Although this might sound like old news, it is a different case this time around because the dark cloud of depression in people's minds is now thicker than ever, and the feeling to end it all is skyrocketing.
This is so because many people are yet to recover fully from the stress and mental health issues caused by the pandemic and global shutdown. So, the holiday stress and depression is an added weight that can break any form of a pillar of strength that is managing to hold people's life together.
It is no longer news that stress level increases during the holidays. Firstly, people are pressured to put things in place and end the year on a high note.
Most people feel financially stressed by holiday spending as they try to buy gifts, prepare good meals and give something worthy to people around.
Other people are emotionally drained because they feel they have not achieved their set goals for the year. So, the feeling of unfulfillment and inadequacy overwhelms them.
Also, the feeling of loneliness, especially when you cannot spend the holidays with your loved ones because of distance and other reasons, can affect a person's mental health.
These are some reasons why depression and suicides peak during the holidays.
You are not alone
This is to tell you that you are not alone, and whatever emotional or mental stress you're feeling now is valid.
It might be difficult for you to express precisely how you are feeling right now, maybe because you are a source of inspiration or encouragement to people around you and you don’t want to let them down or show weakness.
You might also feel that it's shameful to admit that you are emotionally stressed and you are losing your strength as days go by because you are seen as strong and happy.
This is the lie the devil desperately wants you to believe. He wants you to bottle up all your emotions until you reach your breaking point. So do not give him room.
The good news is that you are not alone, and It's okay to say you're not okay.
One of the greatest prophets in the Bible, Elijah, also had his fair share of depression. It was so intense that he wanted to commit suicide and end it all before he finally got help.
If you are at this point of your life today, and it feels like you are drained of the last single drop of energy, here are some ways you can regain your mind, joy, and peace of mind.
It is okay to tell God you are not okay, and you can do this through prayer. The path of depression is always cold, empty, and lonely. But the truth is that you are not alone. God is with you, and He is willing to help you through your trying times (Deuteronomy 31:8).
He needs you to pour out your heart to him like Elijah did when he was about to give up and he got help (1 Kings 19:4-14).
One way to do this is in the place of prayer. Prayer is therapeutic because the peace of the Lord, which passes all understanding, will fill your heart when you go down on your knees to talk to your heavenly Father (Philippians 4:7).
Speak to a Friend
The Bible in Proverbs 18:24 talks about a friend who sticks closer than a brother. This is the kind of friend God has prepared for you for such a trying time as this.
A friend like this does not make fun of you or brush aside your feelings. So, when you are hurting emotionally and your mind is drowning in the issues of life, reach out to a friend or group of friends and open your hearts to them.
Let your emotions flow: cry if you must but make sure you do not hold back anything from them. You might be surprised at the level of help they will render to you.
Even if they do not have the best advice for you, a listening ear and a warm hug can ease you of any burden you carry. Trust me I know!
Don't feel ashamed or less of a believer for reaching out for professional help.
James 1:17 says, "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." In other words, the wisdom and skills mental health practitioners have were given to them by God to help us.
God does not want us to be healthy spiritually alone. He also wants us to be physically and mentally healthy (3 John 1:2). Therefore, get the help you need so far it is godly and legal.
If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, please contact 911 immediately. There are also resources that can help you through tough times.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours. 800-273-8255.
If Coach Kurt and I can be of aid, please reach out to us via email or phone at email@example.com Toll-Free: 800-874-5114.
You are not alone.
I am your Coach