It takes courage to admit you are not okay.
Let me start by saying that today, I am okay.
But I wasn’t always. And I know there are days to come when I won’t be. And that is okay.
A year ago today, I was really not okay. I was overwhelmed with things happening in my life. I was struggling to carry the trauma I was working through while also holding space to hold the pain of others who shared so bravely with me. I wanted to believe I could do all of it. But I couldn’t. And I was too afraid to tell anyone. I was afraid I would look incompetent to lead and do the work I love. I was afraid that admitting I was not okay would be a burden to those I love and would hurt my wife and kids. I was afraid that admitting I was not okay would be seen as weakness. So I kept all of the pain and the fear and the anxiety that was lying to me about who I am, and it built and grew until it all came to a head a year ago. And it literally nearly killed me.
Thankfully, something pulled me out of that tunnel and not only did I find the courage to walk away from the path I was on, but I found the courage to admit I was not okay and I needed help.
Asking for help is not easy for me. It never has been. I have always felt ashamed to ask for help because I believed it meant I was not capable or enough. That is wrong. I am capable. I am enough. I just needed help. And even though my first attempt at asking for help that day left me feeling more ashamed and dismissed and judged, something I am still trying to work through today, I kept asking. And it got easier to admit I was not okay. And eventually I found the help I so desperately needed.
In my work I see so many young people who are on that same path. They are desperate to find connection, for someone to see them and tell them we see them and that it is okay to not be okay. It is brave to admit you need help. Sadly, some don’t ever find that courage to admit they aren’t okay.
When I talk to my children I hear the same resistance to admit they aren’t okay and I realize I have modelled for them that saying “I’m fine” in the face of overwhelming pain is not only acceptable but expected. And I need to change that.
To you who saw beyond my “I’m fine”, thank you. I am learning to admit when I am not okay.
To you, who may be reading today, feeling overwhelmed and desperate, be brave today. Tell someone. Tell anyone who will listen. If you don’t know where to turn, ask someone. Ask me. I will help. I will never dismiss you or not believe you when you say you need help.
You are brave. Lets take a step of courage together today.