Is it really okay, not to be okay?

Last week, many people around the world celebrated International Mental Health Day.

I saw many people – from celebrities to social media influencers saying – “It’s okay, not to be okay.”

But is it? Can you really look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that when YOU are not okay?

Let me clarify myself.

I’m grateful that there is a push for change.

Push for change to break the stigma of mental health. Not pretending like everything is okay when you’re not.

But what does it really mean to be “not to be okay?”

I go back to the time when I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. When someone would ask me how would I describe the feeling of “not being okay” is, I would say this one phrase.

Feeling utterly alone.

I’m not really sure if I can tell someone that it is truly okay not to be okay – if someone were to describe their state of “not being okay” like that.

Take a look around you. Make today the day that you can notice someone that is “not okay.” Text or call them, and let them know how they are not alone, and that it is really okay for them to feel this way.

This is not a cry for pity, but it IS a cry for authentic care for one and another as a community.

What are YOU doing to fight for this ugly stigma?

33 Replies to “Is it really okay, not to be okay?”

  1. When I see the phrase “okay to not be okay” I see it as not being ashamed for my mental illness. Like, I’m not okay, and I’m acknowledging that. But for me it also means recognizing I need help and not being ashamed of that either. Obviously, that doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. I understand what you’re saying and I definitely think it’s something to take into consideration when telling someone that phrase. It could go either way, and that’s something to be cautious of.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Gabi, yes I agree. I personally don’t take it with an offense, but definitely seen some people that does. But you’re right. Definitely something that I should be cautious of since it can go either way. Thanks for your feedback!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think it’s not ok that so many of us feel that kind of despair. That emotional pain. What I get though is that people are finally acknowledging that it is an illness not just a disposition. So yeah it’s okay not to be okay in the sense that we can finally speak our truth. The pain though that’s not ok because it’s chaotic. Anyways, thanks for keeping the conversation going. 💙

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I agree! The pain is not okay, but it’s amazing that people can speak freely without having to be “okay”. Thanks for your encouragement!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. It is human to feel despair and desperation, and also to be too depressed to feel much of anything. And in that sense, it is “okay to be not okay,” because it is okay to be a human being and struggle with the things that humans struggle with. We don’t need to be happy or all right or strong or energetic all the time, and we don’t need to pretend that we are happy and strong when we aren’t. It is acceptable to be vulnerable and tired and weak. We can accept it in others and in ourselves, without judgment or disdain, but with compassion and caring. At least that is how I understand “okay to be not okay.”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I definitely agree. Sorry if my words weren’t cautious enough in my post. But I do agree that it is totally human to feel these negative emotions. I guess this was more directed towards a group of people that say “it’s okay not to be okay” without fully understanding the weight of these emotions. Sorry if my words weren’t worded the right way! I should’ve been more cautious about what I was writing. I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My comment wasn’t meant as a criticism at all! I knew what you meant. I think your post just made me want to write something about how I think about “not okay to be okay.” I do know exactly what you meant by it, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never thought about it that way. I get where you’re coming from though. I almost feel guilty about saying that it’s okay not to be okay. But, I can also add here that personally I think it’s more directed as a positive thing and to encourage others to open up and seek out help if needed…. Hopefully that makes sense. Unfortunately, some mental illnesses never go away and we live in remission for a bit before it strikes again. I know many would say it is something that can be “cured” or “fixed” but when you’ve lived with it for almost eleven years…. I guess what I’m trying to say is I can agree with you but also not in a way. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
    – Arionna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Arionna, It makes perfect sense. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! I’m sorry if my words weren’t considerate to ones that suffered from mental illness for a prolonged time if it came across that way. I personally struggle with depression and anxiety, and it’s something that I do think that doesn’t have a “quick fix” but definitely a longer impact on my life. Hope things are looking bright in your days to come. – Haelim

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a worthy topic and I thank you for starting the conversation. Before I got help I had bad days and I thought there was something wrong with me, something no one else had. I thought it was my fault. As I learned to understand my depression I learned that it is okay to feel that way, it is not shameful. It means that normal for me is different than normal for someone who doesn’t have this illness. And that is fine. Hopefully people speaking up more and more will end this stigma.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Juan! As much as I don’t want to admit myself, I find it extremely hard to “accept” the symptoms that the disorders give me. But like you mentioned, it is OKAY, and it is nothing to be shameful of. Thank you for your encouraging words. It means a lot!


  6. I agree with you Haelim, the pain, emotional pain is the worst feeling in the world. While it is okay to not be okay it does not end there, as you said we need to be receptive of that and find out what is going on with people we love. Not okay is never good. Thank you for sharing as always.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thanks for this post. It can be easier to say than to believe “it’s okay not to be okay”… often I felt alone every time I tried to be honest with how I was feeling. I realised, I needed to talk to people who could respond in a way that was encouraging! Now, I feel more empowered in acknowledging my mental health struggles instead of silenced by them. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your encouragement! It definitely is easier being said then done, but I’m glad there IS a shift that is happening around the country to fight for the stigma 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such an important conversation. I think the “ok not being ok” thing has a lot of layers to it. For me, when I’m about to go down the ‘not ok’ road, I’m often able to catch myself if I don’t fret about it and freak myself out. The more I scramble at the start of the fall, the further I’m likely to fall and the harder it is to get back to equilibrium. Then there’s the layer you describe, that utter aloneness, even in the presence of others. That’s a hard one to open up about unless you’re surrounded by others who are ‘ok with you not being ok’ and can hold steady in the face of it. Then there’s the other person’s ‘ok’. They have to be ok with feeling helpless and knowing the only thing they can do is stand by you while you go through it but that’s difficult for a lot of people and it raises their own ‘not ok’ feelings. Great post, thanks for writing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely. It really does have a lot of layers to it. I’m slowly but steadily learning how it looks and what it means for me to surround myself with people that will be okay with my “not okay-ness” in my times of utter loneliness. Thank you for sharing your insight! Honestly made me think a lot deeper about this as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s really complex, isn’t it? I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been thinking about your blog ever since reading it and wrote something this morning, including a link to it. If you’d prefer that I remove the link, let me know and I’ll delete it.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for posting this! It’s a really important discussion to have. I feel like it’s perhaps acceptable now to tell others if I’m not feeling ok, but it’s admitting it to myself that’s the problem. Not being ok brings about a world of fears for me! I hate that feeling when a wobble’s coming and I have to deal with the stigma I’ve created for myself vs the outside world!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Nikki, I agree! Not being okay has so many layers, but just the fact that you’re not okay just makes yourself so emotionally vulnerable, which I hate about. Sometimes I really do wonder if it really is the stigma the outside world created, or it’s just ME that I created for myself (like you mentioned)!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Because we were socialized as children, that our negative emotions weren’t as “welcomed” as our positive ones, that is why we grow up, believing, that it isn’t okay for us to feel bad, when the truth is, feelings have NO right or wrong, they just, are!!! And you should allow yourself to feel awful, if the bad mood comes to you, allow yourself to experience it fully, of course, that is when you don’t hurt yourself, or others…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I love this because I just had a conversation with a coworker the other day about how when we ask each other how we are, we always default to “I’m good.” When in most cases that is not the truth at all, I think we need to do better at recognizing when someone is not okay at all and do something to help them instead of acting like its okay to not be okay sometimes. A single day of “not being okay” could be the last time someone is anything at all. Great message.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your last sentence – how it could be the last time someone is anything at all struck me in such powerful way. It’s so true how our defaults are always “I’m good” when many of us are actually not. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well said, Haelim! Being not okay can be terrifying and isolation can be the first response. We’re afraid to bother others, we’re afraid to reveal what’s really going on or just afraid to reach out. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your statement to seek out those who need help. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh. My. God. I love this SO much. Preach! Preach! Preach!

    It’s okay to have flaws.
    It’s okay to need help.
    It’s okay to ask for that help.

    It’s not okay to not be okay in silence.

    Liked by 1 person

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