Discover more from Deep Sea
It's okay not to be okay
And it's okay to go home
As much as I enjoy them, fall and winter are mentally and emotionally difficult for me. Social demands seem to double, while longer stretches of darkness press in, heavy and deflating. Staying in contact with people, exercising, eating, and maintaining a regular schedule—the things which are usually my bare minimum—become my daily mountain to climb.
When I experienced these low moods as a child, my mom would tell me to snap out of it, to stop being selfish, or that this wasn’t me. No matter what, we were going to that get-together, so I needed to get it together. I learned that bright, sunny, funny Mai was acceptable, and lethargic, moody, hermit Mai was a problem to fix.
Years later, my boyfriend and I were driving an hour north to visit one of his best friends. They hadn’t seen each other in about a year, and this would be my first time meeting him. It was wintertime, and that dreadful, heavy haze had returned for me with a vengeance. On top of having a low social battery, I was also feeling incredibly anxious. But I told myself I had to push through.
My boyfriend noticed my unusual silence, though. And when we were literally feet away from his best friend’s house, he pulled the car over to ask if I was okay. I burst into tears.
I felt ridiculous as I blubbered about how insurmountable a few hours of socializing felt. I prepared for him to tell me I was being selfish and to snap out of it. But he only waited for me to finish before gently saying he would take us home. No accusations, no questions, no anger. Only my own anxiety tapping out as guilt tapped in. I offered to take a rideshare home, but he was already texting his best friend that I wasn’t feeling well.
His friend hoped I felt better and that we could hang out soon. And just like that, we were heading home. The weight I’d been carrying lifted as I sat there, surprised. I could truly sense no bitterness from anyone involved in that moment. And it’s a moment in my life that I’ll always be grateful panned out the way it did.
Sometimes it feels like we have to push through when we’re not feeling our best, because to do anything otherwise is a problem for everyone else. The mountain must be climbed, and the consequences privately dealt with later. But perhaps in those moments, whatever the stakes, the kindest thing we can do for ourselves and others is to offer a ride home.