I miss my mom every second of every day.

I feel it most at night, when I’m laying awake by myself. There are only so many things that can distract your mind when you’re left in the silence of a darkened room.

It happens with long car rides too. Car rides can actually be the worst. I have an hour and a half drive from my university to my hometown, and doing it alone is enough to drive me mad some days. Podcasts aren’t so effective if your brain chooses to ignore them, no matter how hard you try to listen.

I’ll admit, I have been trying really, really hard to push these late-night, car ride thoughts away recently. I don’t like feeling sad, as I’m sure most do not. Most nights when I lay in bed, I find myself spending hours mindlessly pushing my Instagram feed upwards with my thumb just to avoid my feelings. To an extent, this method does seem to work.

Of course, then there come the days when my mental capacity has had enough. I simply am unable to hold anything in anymore. Those are the days that I cry at almost anything; yesterday was one of them.

For whatever reason, I keep staining all of my favorite pieces of clothing. Maybe I’m becoming a bigger slob, or maybe I’m just noticing it more, but either way it has gotten to be a slight problem. That being said, finding yet another shirt with a giant smudge on it pushed me over the edge. I almost burst into tears just looking at it.

Although this may seem like a silly, first-world problem, I definitely know where the frustration comes from. My mother was always the person I would go to for issues like this; she was good at everything. So, no, I’m not upset over having spots and smears on my clothes. Rather, it is the fact that I keep coming across things that I am now am forced to do alone, without her, that is hurting my heart.

Hence the sporadic tears over a chocolate stain.

Now, this is the perfect example for why we shouldn’t allow ourselves to keep our feelings bottled up inside. It’s much more beneficial to do a mental check-in every once in a while than to suppress any and all emotions. However, I completely understand that actually going through with this is a different story.

It most definitely is easier said than done to acknowledge your feelings. Admitting to being in a not-so-great mental space can make you feel extremely vulnerable (even if you’re only admitting it to yourself). Regardless, it is this vulnerability that lets you evaluate your emotions to see how you are truly doing.

Whether you’ve recently gone through hard times or not, these mental check-ins are still an essential aspect of self-care. Sometimes, they can lead you to recognize that you might need to ask for a little extra help. Other times, they merely can confirm that you’re doing the best that you can.

All in all, don’t run away from your feelings. When sadness comes, embrace it with full arms. If I have learned anything about the healing process, it’s that you cannot cope if you refuse to recognize that something is wrong. You simply have to let yourself feel in order to get yourself to heal.