I'm Not Okay
I'm not okay.
The audacity of me to admit that out loud. We're not supposed to say that. Much like we're taught to say please and thank you, we're also taught to say “I'm fine, thank you.” Or “I'm okay, thanks” when asked how we are.
I'll say it again, I'm not okay. And that's okay. Yep, I said it. It's okay not to be okay. I'm sure you've seen that hashtagged during those rare mental health campaigns that only last for a day, or week, or (if we're lucky) a month of the year. Maybe you've seen it written across a mildly depressing tee shirt somewhere. We've all heard it. But let's discuss how truly powerful this revelation can be. Because though it never feels like it in the moment, there's an incredible amount of courage, and strength, and power that lies in the admission of “I'm not okay.”
When we fail to acknowledge that we're not okay, it's like placing a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches. We may be able to avoid it for a while, we may not have to address the pain right away, but eventually it will resurface. Like water bubbles always rise to the surface, so too does our pain.
When we fail to acknowledge that we're not okay, the idea of ever feeling okay again drifts further and further away, until it no longer seems like a future possibility, but more like a destination that we'll never reach because we can no longer see the shoreline.
When we fail to acknowledge that we're not okay, we do ourselves a major disservice. And while we think that claiming we're okay when we're not is an indication of strength, our strength actually appears in the moment when we wholeheartedly admit that we're not okay.
I'm not okay right now. And while only a few years ago I would have felt shame and embarrassment for announcing that, I now know that it takes immense strength to not only recognize that I'm not okay, but to admit to it. There's a self-awareness that lies in this admission, and it's in that self-awareness that we begin to reclaim our power.
When we acknowledge that we're not okay, we can begin the long, tiring journey towards being okay again. It's not pretty, in fact it usually looks pretty damn ugly. And most of the time, we can't do it alone. And while it's not easy to admit when we need a little (or a lot) of help – be it from a loved one, a therapist, or a professional of some sort – it's one of the first steps we must take along the way.
It's not easy to sit ourselves down and acknowledge that we're not okay. Quite frankly, it sucks. But there's also strength, and power to be found and reclaimed in the process. I don't believe in bending but not breaking. I break. I've broken many times. But every time, I've put the pieces back together.
You see, this incredible thing happens when we're forced to stare at those broken pieces that once seemed to fit together as a whole. We have the opportunity to sort through those pieces, and in doing so, we often realize that a lot of those pieces were never ours to begin with. They never belonged to us, they were never ours to carry. Those emotions, and fears, and limiting beliefs never belonged to us, we picked them up along the way. The pain, and trauma, and heartache that we've carried around for so long was never meant to stay.
And it's when we sort through those pieces that we're given the chance to decide which pieces should come with us, and which should be left behind. There's a lightness that occurs when we leave some of that extra weight behind. And those cracks and spaces where those pieces used to be? Well, that's where the light pours in.