Are you actually OK?

We are a nation of non burdeners. We don’t like to put people out. What risk is this to our mental health?

Answer this question. How are you?

I recently asked this of a friend who had just gone through a relationship break up. He said ok. And I probed: ‘are you actually ok or are you just used to answering ok?’ He admitted he was not ok. He was angry and hurt. We talked. I didn’t fix his problem but he felt better after.

“OK” is the thing we often say when things are epically shitty, but we just don’t want to be a burden, even though things are epically shitty. Things are epically shitty for a lot of people, a lot of the time. What makes any epic shit pile more notable than any other?
Sometimes ok is an acceptable answer. Like if the cashier is asking you as she’s packing your shopping and there’s a queue three miles long behind you. But when your partner, family, friends and work colleagues ask you, they are asking for a reason. They care.

Think about it. You only ask people you care about. So just accept that people care about you. So next time someone asks remember it’s ok to be happy or sad or angry or tired or excited. Ok is an agreement not an emotion.

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I’m on a diet. I’ll have the hot chocolate with all the marshmallows. 

When I was younger my weight was never an issue. I knew I was biggish. But I never really cared. Not until I was in my early twenties and I started trying to lose weight. I joined a fat club. I didn’t intend to I wandered in one day and got caught up in the promises. 

Over the last 6 years I have been on a diet, not on a diet, half on a diet. Sometimes really well sometimes not. The temptation to scoff sweets is always there. January 2016 I had a gastric band. 

Fabulous. I lost 3 stone so far. Started going to the gym dropped dress sizes and I genuinely feel good. But the last few months I’ve started eating cakes and sweets and shit again. The weights started to creep back on. And I kind of don’t care. Should I lose weight just cause I feel I should. Or should I just enjoy what I want as I want. 

I went on a date. It sucked. But that’s okay. 

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a proper relationship. For the majority of that time I have had quite a low expectation of myself. I have always had a low sense of self worth. 

Even when I have been in a relationship. I have always doubted its authenticity. Do they actually really like me? Am I just the easy option? Will they leave when something better comes along? I have needed constant reassurance. And ironically it’s this need for reassurance that can put the most pressure onto a relationship. The last thing my last long term partner said tonne is: “do you know how emasculating it is to not be able to convince you that I do love you?”

That was a slap in the face to me. I had no idea how in my neediness I was hurting him. It made me want to realise that I should believe people when they say nice things. Maybe I do deserve positive things. 

It’s easier said than done. I know I have some redeeming qualities. But I also couldn’t name them. I worry I’m too boring. I don’t have anything interesting. I’m too fat. I’m not pretty enough. I have mental health issues. The list goes on with all the bad points. 

I had a mental break down last year. I couldn’t leave the house. I couldn’t even talk to people I knew. I was suicidal. All of these negative points were so resounding in my mind. They were factual. It took me nearly six months to go to my gp and ask for help. The help I received was amazing. There was some medicated help but most importantly I went to counselling sessions. 

I’m not going to go through the ins and outs. All you need to know is I found it a very hard but very interesting experience. We explored why I have such low worth and how to overcome that. I know feel changed and different. It’s not an overnight change. There’s a lot of practice and a lot of learning. I see myself and I react to situations in a very different way now. 

I have started dating again. Last year I would have rather of died than spoke to some one. Six months I would have arranged to meet up with some one and then become so anxious and panicked I would probably cancel. But this time I went. 

We’d spoken a while about all sorts. So we met up for a few drinks and it was nice. Drinks were nice and the conversation was pleasant. But there was no real connection there was no spark or anything. 

And instead of worrying and over analysing everything and being convinced it was because I was boring or too fat or too full on. I realised that sometimes it’s just not meant to be. And that is perfectly ok.