This weekend, I saw a musical called Next to Normal (the Mixed Blood Theater version was AMAZING). It is a musical primarily about bipolar depressive disorder and its effects on one family, but it also explores a lot of ways people can be hurting.
One of the songs involves lyrics repeated over and over-
"Catch me I'm falling"
"Catch me before it's too late."
I want to talk about this because I think a lot of people are falling right now. My school has a lot of demands and a lot of pressures, not to mention that everyone here has lives outside of that. Macalester is a great school, but sophomore year is undeniably difficult, and I can see in some, in too many, the stress just below the smile. And I know that so many people are lying when I ask them how they are.
Here's the thing- no one is going to tell you they are falling. But no one wants to hit the ground. If you notice the things that I do, please check in with people. Please don't assume they will feel uncomfortable if you address it.
I have spent weeks, weeks of my life just waiting for someone to give me the slightest opening to tell them that I am not okay. And I am a person who is OPEN about their feelings. In those times, I would love nothing more for someone to see me struggling and to take that first step of asking me how I am and wanting to truly know the answer.
I want to be one of those people, and I want you to as well.
If someone does let you in, even the slightest bit, take them seriously. People spend a lot of time not understanding that what their loved ones are going through is serious. When I tell someone I am not okay, sometimes they don't know what that means. And they don't even have to if they affirm what I am feeling and give me love. Just know, if someone says they are falling, they are very likely awfully close to the ground.
If you are falling- I want you to know this: It is okay to be falling. It is okay not to be okay. It is okay not to do/ be able to do "all the things your peers can do." It is okay to spend a day in your pajamas doing things that make you happy. It is okay to ask for help. It is all okay. It won't be like this forever. And you do not need a diagnosed mental illness to be falling. Everyone falls sometime. Do not feel alone. If you can, find the people who will catch you and let them know you need to be caught- because the scary part is, even I, someone who knows the lie behind the smile, can't always see it.
But if you ever need an ally, I'll be by your side.
I won't let you fall.