By Yakira Giger
R U OK? My automatic reply is always “Yes, I’m fine.” *Smile and wave, smile and wave…* But why? Why do we feel so CONCERNED about voicing the way we REALLY feel? When in fact, what we really want to say is: “Actually, no – I’m not. I had a really sh*tty morning and would rather run away right now, but instead I’m trying my best to smile and move on with my day – want to have a coffee and distract my mind?”
Is it because we feel like admitting our struggles is a sign of failure? Is it because we’re worried to place our issues on someone else? Or is it just because we know that in this day and age, everyone is SO busy they likely can’t help anyway so there really isn’t much point in opening up…
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
My husband will walk through the door and instantly ask me how my day was – now somedays I can honestly respond with “It was great, the girls and I had a fantastic morning out in the sunshine, they played beautifully while I got a few jobs done; Now let me pull out my freshly baked (organic, of course!) banana muffins for you to sit down and eat after your long day at work – put your feet up babe!”
But other days, I’d prefer him to never even ask the question.
I’d much rather answer with “It was a hard day, I’m exhausted. I’m going for a walk because I just don’t want to be around anyone for a little bit…” *Cue worried husband and an abundance of “why, what happened”.*
The thing is some days nothing happened. There is no real reason and no specific thing I can pinpoint as to why the day literally had me shuddering and rocking in a corner every time someone spoke. So instead of saying this I break down into an emotional ball of tears – and I feel like a failure.
My husband has just come home from a physically and mentally demanding job, is exhausted, to an exhausted mama not coping with the day, meanwhile the perception is I’ve done nothing all day – so why am I so overwhelmed?! I can do all the same things, run through the same motions and practise the same positive, mindfulness techniques – but sometimes that happy-think-rationally-switch just doesn’t seem able to flick on.
I tried for so long to brush off and ignore my anxiety and PND. And some days I could carry on and pretend I didn’t have a nasty little voice taunting me. But other days it made me feel like it was something I was going to be stuck hiding for the rest of my life. I would be impatient and snappy at my kids and a downright b*tch to my husband. And they’d have no idea why.
It’s only since learning to OPEN UP, to BE REAL and HONEST with those around me that I’ve been able to come to terms with that silly little voice. And coming to terms with it doesn’t mean I’m accepting it as it is. It doesn’t mean I’m allowing the anxiety to control me. But it means I’m now STRONG enough to talk about it. BRAVE enough to accept help. And bloody AWESOME enough to acknowledge the way I feel and move forward with learning to control the anxiety.
So next time someone asks “How are you?”, “How was your day?” don’t be afraid to say “Well, actually pretty sh*t!” If nothing else I’m sure it’ll be a great reason for a coffee date!