This week was a really stressful week. It was like everything culminated all in the same week and the reality that we are at the end of the semester began to sink in. A variety of things happened: my windshield got another chip in it when a stone flew up on the freeway and hit it (my car is “fine” ie drivable and I wasn’t hurt anything, it was just annoying more than anything), I had an exam Friday, I have 1 paper and 1 project I need to complete rather soon for one class, I have another exam Monday and a psych drug quiz for the another class on Monday, we have a skills test in a couple of weeks, and that just school – then I have something every weekend whether it’s wedding, baby shower, retreat, or bridal shower, then I wasn’t sleeping because I was having nightmares every night this week – and really bad nightmares. It was awful! So it all came to a head Wednesday night when I woke up with essentially the same nightmare for the 4th night in a row. And I ended up calling off for clinical – which in nursing school is like a big deal, really big deal.. but I just, I couldn’t do it. I was starting to sense my early migraine symptoms too and I just needed a day to take care of myself.
Thursday I had made lunch plans with some friends so that was the first time I left all day, but it was good to be with them and then I had planned to go for a run after lunch. Now, usually when I run I put headphones in and just block out the world. I block out my thoughts my feelings, and I just let myself go numb. I just feel my feet hitting the trail, my heart pounding, and the music beating in my ears. And just breathe. It’s just what I do and need to do.
Now, in the fall, I was training for a half marathon so it was really easy to get a long run each week because that’s just what I had to do. But it was also the healthiest I’ve ever been/felt maybe in my life. But it wasn’t entirely just because I was exercising or eating super great. Running was… is my therapy. It’s what allows me to breathe each week, to get my grip on life and keep treading water.
Thursday on my run I decided I was going to do no headphones and pray a rosary while I ran instead of my usual numbing runs. I needed to feel and to think and to pray. And that’s exactly what I did.
I went to a local place called Wildflower Cafe with my friends, and when we got there we ran into two of our other friends, and all of them asked me how I was doing. One girl, who knows me pretty well, looks at me and goes “hanging there?” It was like she just knew it was a hard week. But some of the other girls reactions were a little different, they showed concern for me – in a good way, but it was one of those things where you could tell they wanted to make me feel better. Which I get – I do that.. that’s my normal reaction when someone tells me they’re having a bad day.
As I was thinking about these interactions I was struck with this profound realization that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s actually a good thing. It shows we’re human. It shows we have emotion. Days when I feel like I did on Thursday are days that remind me I’m human, as I like to say.
So next time you’re having a bad day, it’s okay. Don’t get stuck in it, but don’t neglect it. Look for the good things in the day, but allow your emotions to be what they are. God gave us emotions for a reason (that I still don’t understand why, but that’s okay). Most importantly, when you have those bad days, do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Reach out to a friend, and get support. Even if they just say okay, I’m praying for you or give you a hug, or offer you food, whatever it is. Or if you’re like me and just need to run, or create (write, draw, paint, etc). Whatever it is you need to do – do that. Allow yourself to not be okay and to admit that life is hard right now. Often times the hard times are periods of great growth.
And if a friend tells you that they’re having a bad day, don’t try to fix it. Just be there. Ask them if they can do anything to help, and if they say no, just tell them you’re there in whatever capacity you need to be.
It’s okay to not be okay.