I’M NOT OKAY…BUT IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
I’ve been told many times before and I’ve also echoed the same sentiment many times before to others that it’s okay to not be okay when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or vulnerable. Being “okay” for some people may mean that they are somewhere in the middle of feeling fantastic and just trying to function. I use the word “okay” often to describe how I am feeling if asked because, let’s face it, it’s simply easier sometimes to casually answer “okay” rather than to be honest when you are feeling less than “okay”. This of course comes from the stigma surrounding mental illness which makes many of us feel that showing our vulnerable side is a sign of great weakness, and let’s not forget that sometimes we believe (often through the actions and words of others) that maybe they really don’t want to hear that you are doing less than “okay”.
When I tell you that it’s okay to not be okay, I’m letting you know that it is more than okay to be honest about how you are really feeling without the shame and guilt that comes along with a person facing an overwhelming, stressful day or situation. It’s okay to not always feel fantastic and it’s also more than okay if today and maybe tomorrow (or maybe even the day after that) you are unable to function or even pull yourself together enough for that day because today you feel tremendously helpless or even hopeless.
The last couple of weeks I have been trying to hold on tight to the phrase “it’s okay to not be okay” because I have been struggling way below the “okay” line. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted and it’s causing me to have very vivid and unwanted thoughts, it’s causing my panic attacks to become more and more frequent and it’s causing an overwhelming sense of worthlessness and to be perfectly honest it is making me feel like a complete fraud.
I know “it’s okay to not be okay” because that’s what I would tell someone else when they come to me emotionally or mentally exhausted, panicked or feeling defeated. I would tell them their feelings are valid, that it’s okay to cry, that it’s okay to feel angry, that it’s okay to get frustrated and that it’s okay to feel confused. All of these emotions are normal but for me they just stir up more feelings of guilt and more feelings of shame that I begin to feel that it’s NOT okay to not be okay, after all it’s been well over 4 years now that I have not been “okay”.
I feel like I no longer have the power or control over any part of my life and that doesn’t feel okay. I feel like I can no longer justify my anger and I feel more frustrated and confused than ever and that doesn’t feel okay. I know in my heart that my feelings and emotions are valid and that it’s best to be honest with myself and others in order to work through them because if I’m not able to be honest the consequences will become much worse.
If I’m not completely honest with myself and others then how will I ever work through the tears, the anger, the frustration and the confusion? How will I ever be able to rid my mind of the guilt and the shame? How will I ever understand the depths of what it truly means when I say “it’s okay to not be okay”. How can I believe right now that “it’s okay to not be okay”?