Hey, friend. Do you have a minute to chat? Do you mind if I ask you a question?

Has depression swallowed you alive? You smile on the outside, but feel dead on the inside? Life, and everything in it, has lost its meaning?

It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to stay there.

Is anxiety running the show lately? You can’t sleep because you can’t stop worrying? You know your concerns aren’t logical, but that doesn’t stop them from consuming your every waking moment?

It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to stay there.

Are you staggering from loss? Your job, your health, or someone you loved very much has been ripped from your hands? Has your heart been shredded into so many pieces, that you can no longer function? No longer live?

It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to stay there.

These situations make you feel helpless, hopeless. And it’s tempting to believe the lie that this is your life now, torn up into pieces and thrown in the gutter. But the problem with believing lies, is that your belief gives them life.

Because if you believe that nothing and no one can help you get your anxiety under control, you won’t seek help. What’s the point, right? And if you allow loss to permanently paralyze you, you’ll never be able to walk into the future. And your lack of action will help to ensure that you don’t ever leave that place.

But taking action is easier said than done, isn’t it? When you’re already feeling overwhelmed by life, who wants to add another box to check? Who wants to squeeze in a doctor’s visit or counseling session or weekly support group? You may fear that talking about your anxiety with a professional will only increase your anxiety, that going to another doctor, a different specialist, may result in the diagnosis you were most dreading.

But I’m telling you this: this addition to your schedule is the most important thing right now. Because until something changes, nothing changes. Depression and anxiety don’t normally disappear on their own. And grief can hold onto you for years, haunting you with what ifs and whys until it’s taken not only the future you hoped for, but any future at all.

It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to stay there.

We cannot expect things to change without doing something differently. We must take that first step, even if it’s the smallest budge, even if all you can do is crawl. It’s not your pace that matters, it’s the direction you’re moving.

Start with your primary care doctor, or a counselor, and allow them to suggest your next step. If that feels too overwhelming, start by sharing with a friend, asking them for support and encouragement to help you take action.

It hurts, I know. Your pain already hurts and talking about it, bringing it to the surface, usually deepens it at first. It’s like you’re breaking open your wounds all over again. 

But you have to get it out. And until you do, it will continue to torment you and call all of your shots. And you deserve better than that. You deserve to call your own shots, to determine your own future.

You may not be able to change the past, but you can certainly change your future. And you can start doing it today. 

This is not how your story ends. It’s not over yet. But in order to leave this place, you have to start walking.

Because it’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to stay there.

You may also like:

I Take This Little White Pill

To the New Mom Hiding Her Anxiety: You Don’t Have to Circle “A”

My Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like I Fail Over and Over Again

Deb Preston

Deb Preston lives just outside of San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and 2-year-old daughter. She launched her blog, DebTakesHerLifeBack.com, to document her journey from surviving life as a new mom battling depression and identity loss, to truly living it again. Her goal is to provide honest, practical guidance to help encourage and make the journey easier for others. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.