Yes you can look like you're okay and still be struggling.
“You talk about struggling, but you seem to be doing okay.”
“What do you have to be depressed about? You have a good life!”
These are real quote that have been said to me.
I grew up in what I’ve come to call the “walk it off” generation. If we got hurt, we were told to walk it off. (I never really got how walking was supposed to make things feel better.) But the worst thing you could do was show a weakness. If you showed that you were struggling in an area, you didn’t get help. You got left behind.
This transitioned to an adult life where it was more of the same. Those who showed any sign of needing help were viewed as weak while those who we championed were the ones who pulled themselves up “by their bootstraps” and “made it work.” It took me a long time to realize an important truth. These people were struggling too. We all are. None of us have life figured out, and while we may joke about it, we still cling to the antiquated belief that asking for help (or even acknowledging our struggles) somehow makes us weak.
This can lead to the mistaken thought that because someone looks like they’ve got it all figured out, they’re not struggling. And that leads to the two quotes at the beginning. Both of those have literally been said to me since publishing Finding Your Personal Mission.
One person I looked up to as a friend said accused me of “faking” being depressed. Another said that I didn’t know how it really meant to struggle because I had things so good.
Isn’t it amazing how we tear each other down so much? Is it really that difficult to build each other up? That is the reason I wrote Finding Your Personal Mission; to empower people dealing with suicidal thoughts and ideations. But it also empowers their friends and families to help them overcome those thoughts and ideations.
We will never have a stronger support system than each other, but we have to move past the notion that just because a person doesn’t look like they’re struggling they’re somehow not. We’re all still human after all.