If you’re not okay, stop saying you’re okay.

Your workload is overbearing. But it’s okay.

You missed a deadline. But you’ll make up for it.

You’re late for work again. But you aren’t really late for anything.

You are checking your phone on the highway because that’s the only time you really have to do it. But the cop didn’t see you.

Your mindfulness app keeps telling you ‘It’s time to get some Headspace’. But you’ll try to make time for it tomorrow instead.

The pot is boiling over.

You’ve bit off way more than you can chew.

The candle is burning at every end, every side, every corner.

And then… you crash.

And that crash may set you back.

And you might cry harder than you’ve ever cried in your entire life.

But it’s okay.

The important thing is to stop.

Stop saying you’re okay.

As much as we encourage talking about it, mental health is a fragile topic. And something that everyone experiences differently — but each and every one of our experiences is just as important as the other.

In honour of #BellLetsTalk day, being open and honest about the way you’re feeling, regardless of whether you think “it’s severe enough to discuss”, is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

In the last month I have had countless conversations about the importance of mental health because it just recently became incredibly apparent in my life. I caught myself consistently playing the role of The Hero — taking on a workload that was entirely exhausting and unmanageable — and feeling like I didn’t need to ask for help.

And that’s when I had a mental breakdown.

Sometimes I think stress is like an addiction. Some of us have learned to run away from it, some of us have a tolerance to it, and others allow it to consume them. For me, stress has always been a judgement of how much I could handle; thinking that “if I take on more, once I’m over this hurdle, it will get easier the next time around”. But like any addiction, it eventually gets the best of us.

I realized pushing myself beyond my own limit wasn’t helping anyone. And I definitely wasn’t helping myself.

After taking a much needed break, having an honest talk with myself, and being supported by a great friend every step of the way, I got back on my feet and was ready to take on this thing we call life again. But I’ve tread lightly. I wasn’t about to jump right back in to my old ways.

Instead, I set out a plan for myself. I started 2017 with a fresh mind and a dedicated commitment to Me Time.

In a world filled with other things always needing your attention, it’s important to step away, focus on yourself, and take a break. This is what I was continually putting off, and naturally other things came crumbling down with it.

Set time for yourself like it’s the only thing you have to do in this world, because at the end of the day, you are the most important — and, frankly, the only — person that matters.

Don’t let you get away from you.

- C