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It's Ok to Cry


I am committed to always being real in my writing, even when my life is messy. I wanted to write this blog post for World Mental Health Day, but the ironic truth is, I was so deep in the throes of depression that I couldn’t find the words. Social media and everyday life only show the highlights of our days, yet everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. Life hurts sometimes, and it's ok to cry.


The vast majority of us have suffered from depression, at least once in our lives. Sometimes the episodes come out of nowhere, without warning or obvious cause.


Other times, they're the result of too many heartbreaks in too short a time, finally (ALMOST) breaking us.


This summer, I suddenly lost my dear stepfather. While staying with my mom in Indiana to care for her during that time, I was greeted each morning with a sweet smile and the innocent, heartbreaking question, “Who are you?”


Coming face to face with, not only the crushing realization that Alzheimer’s Disease had finally stolen my mother from me, but also the dreaded realization that I might someday face the same fate, all while mourning my stepdad, which brought up so many feelings from the loss of my father two years ago… It was all. too. much.

Anyone who has suffered from depression knows that feeling when you see yourself slipping, almost as if an out of body experience…

You claw at everything around you to try to stop your descent into the darkness.

Running is usually my safety net, keeping me from hitting bottom, but a knee injury has kept me from being able to pour myself into my usual remedy with enough intensity to burn through the heartbreak. But, with the help of friends and a lot of praying, I was able to steady myself…


And then the final blow.


Unexpectedly, one of my dearest friendships fell apart. A friendship that spanned four decades of my life, dating back to elementary school. A friendship that helped to define who I am in so many ways. One of the people I loved most in the world and considered family. Gone. Without warning or explanation. And at a time when I needed that friendship more than anything.

And yet so many people are dealing with so much worse than I am.

A beautiful friend of mine has been by her husband’s side for months as he has fought for his life after a terrible car accident. People are struggling to put food on their tables, losing friends to illness, and even facing daily violence and war.


I think the world has endured a collective bout of depression this year. Knowing we are all hurting in our own ways is sad, yes. But it is also deeply comforting to know we are not alone in our humanity. We can be real. We can cry. Taking a step back from life, curling up with a blanket and bawling our eyes out is not a sign of weakness, it’s the way our hearts process pain when it’s all too much.


We’ve all had to dig so deep this year to stay the course when everything around us has felt so isolated and unfamiliar. And I think we’ve done a pretty damn good job. We’ve adapted and supported each other and we’ve put on our bravest faces for those who depend on us.

But it’s also ok to cry. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to seek help. It’s all part of the human experience.

The dark times hurt so deeply, but they can also be a signal to slow down, to breathe, to love more deeply and appreciate the blessings we see when the dust of loss settles.

You see, this is where the “ALMOST” breaking us comes into play. We are not broken. We are simply in a season of loss. And if we look back on our lives, and on history in general, seasons of loss are always followed by seasons of growth. The strength we come to know in our darkest times allows us to bloom into even more powerful, loving versions of ourselves when the sun finally comes out again.


And it will. It always does.


And I will be here with you to dance in the sunlight and celebrate all we have to be grateful for. And until the sunshine returns, we’ll dance our butts off in the rain. Together.


Xx Jen

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