We often say that it’s okay not to be okay. But what does that really mean?
Some people might think that that’s a defeatist statement or that we mean it’s okay to give up. It could be open to interpretation, but in our case, we want people to know that it’s okay to admit you have problems and to get help. Here’s how we see it.
Good Health Is More Than Physical
There’s no denying that taking care of your physical health is essential. You need to eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep, among many other things. Most of us are pretty good at doing those things, or at the very least, we know that they’re important and that we should be taking care of ourselves.
But good health is more than just physical. Feeling depressed or anxious can make it a lot harder to make healthy choices. Not only that, but it often leads people to make bad choices, in the form of self-medicating with substances or something else.
You cannot have a healthy lifestyle if you ignore your mental health.
There’s Still Too Much Stigma
One of the biggest reasons many people don’t seek help when they are struggling with mental health is that there is still a tremendous amount of stigma attached to admitting that you are struggling.
If you broke a limb, had an autoimmune disease or even needed help losing weight, you would not hesitate to go to your doctor and ask for help.
You’d be quite happy to take medication and make lifestyle changes to cope with those kinds of physical problems, and no one would think any worse of you for doing it. But if you were to do the same with a mental health problem, you’d probably still have to deal with ignorance and disapproval from some people.
Unfortunately, for the longest time, many people have felt that you can ‘tough it out’. None of those things are true, though. When you need help, you need help – whether it’s a fever or depression.
Why Do We Say It’s Okay Not to Be Okay?
When we say it’s okay not to be okay, we’re not advocating that people keep hiding or ignoring their mental health and emotional struggles.
We’re saying that it’s okay to admit you’re struggling, and it’s perfectly okay to seek help for them.
It’s okay not to be strong, and to tell someone you trust that you’re not doing well. It’s okay to get a prescription for medications that will help you to cope, and it’s okay to speak to a therapist or counsellor if you need to.
No one should feel like they have to hide their pain or struggles, or pretend they don’t exist, simply because they’re afraid of what people think. It’s okay to need some help from time to time, and it’s more than okay to get it when you do.
We Need to Normalise Mental Health Support
The truth is most people will struggle with their mental or emotional health at some point. Sometimes it’s a big life change like having a baby or going through a divorce. Sometimes, it’s just your brain chemistry that’s a little different.
Whatever it is, there’s absolutely no shame in admitting there’s a problem and that you’re not okay.
In fact, it takes a lot more courage to admit you are not okay and seek help for the problem than it does to hide it and pretend it’s not happening.
Sometimes, You Can’t Do It Alone
Many people believe that they should be able to handle their own mental health and emotions. That they should be able to talk themselves into being okay and that they can just keep doing what they have always done, no matter what.
However, the truth is that mental and emotional health is just like physical health. In most cases, pretending there is no problem won’t make it go away. It will only compound it until it starts to affect your relationships, work and more.
When you are trapped in a spiral of poor mental and emotional health, it’s hard to see a way out on your own; This is why so many people need help from professionals.
So, when we say it’s okay not to be okay, we’re not saying you have to keep living with not being okay. We’re saying that there is help available and that it’s okay to admit you need it. No one will judge you for needing help, and if they do, they’re not the kind of people you need around you right now anyway.
So reach out. Talk to someone. Tell them how you’re feeling and start working towards better mental and emotional health.
If you or a loved one are struggling and looking for help, there are many resources available. Head to our Resources page for helplines to call and tools you can use to take care of your mental health.