Hello, We’re Not Okay
I’m not okay. And I’m guessing you aren’t okay, either. The times we are in are very much not okay. It’s understandable that we aren’t okay along with them.
It’s a complicated trick to find ways to be somewhat okay during a period that is very much not okay, and balance it with accepting whatever degree of not okay we might be feeling on any given day.
Those of us who are natural caregivers struggle with allowing not okay to be visible at all. Our instinct is to be there for those around us. We want to appear somewhat cheerful and encouraging to others, to be sympathetic while also projecting an attitude of, “It’s going to be okay, it could be worse, this is just what we have to deal with right now.”
We hide when we’re not okay because we know everyone else isn’t okay either, and we think if we aren’t okay it will add to the level of not okay experienced by others.
Unfortunately, this often leads to us keeping our pain to ourselves and not reaching out to others when we know we aren’t okay. We’re isolating, we’re lonely, and we’re suffering, but we don’t want anyone to know how bad off we are.
The not okay is kept under wraps, often even to ourselves, while we try our best to focus on things we are grateful for and encourage others to do the same.
“Things could be worse,” we tell others and ourselves. We have a roof, heat, food, clothing. We are healthy. Things could be worse.
People we know are getting sick, some of them will be left with health problems for the rest of their lives, some of them are dying, and the contagion continues to spread. But things could be worse.
We’re not okay. We’re frustrated, we’re sad, we’re lonely, we’re angry, we’re scared. Things could be worse, but things could also be so much better than they are. They’re not better. They’re not better, and it’s not okay that they’re not better.
Our social media feeds show people we know flouting CDC recommendations, engaging in completely unnecessary risky behavior, and excusing their actions with some variation of, “But I really wanted to.” It’s not okay, and there isn’t anything we can do about it.
All we can do is try to be okay with the fact that we aren’t okay. We aren’t doing well, and that has to be okay right now. We need to stop pretending to ourselves that we’re okay when we’re not, and allow ourselves to admit we’re not okay.
We who usually hide the not okay need, for our own sake, to allow people to see the not okay. We were okay for a long time. We then pretended to be okay for a while. And now we’re not okay.