It today’s digital world, lots of thoughts and feelings can be boiled down to a slogan or a hashtag, something that will grab a person and make them want to learn more or take action. When it comes to mental health there are a lot different ideas and slogans, but one of the most popular is the phrase it’s okay not to be okay. Usually that’s said in a way that is reassuring or a catalyst for change, but today I also want to talk about how this can help pave the way for a new normal surrounding mental health. We’re building a future where it must be okay not to be okay and if I’m being honest, we don’t have any other choice.
If we want to improve the world we live in, it has to be okay to not be okay. Because the truth is, where we acknowledge it or not, life has difficult moments for each of us. We all have times where we struggle, where we feel beat down, or when we feel like we’re just treading water.
But instead of going it alone or figuring it out ourselves, space must be created where people feel comfortable sharing their pain or struggle. And that means changing some things, because the cyclical, reactive way of approaching mental health that we’ve been doing it isn’t working.
The culture we’ve developed around tamping things down or trying to “handle” mental health isn’t only ineffective, but it has long-term negative effects on our wellness. If we want to build healthier generations, it starts with healing, it starts with acknowledging, and it starts unlearning a lot of what we’ve been taught about health and wellness.
So say it with me again, one more time: it’s okay not to be okay. And to improve our world, to help each other, it has to be. We must create this space for people – it shouldn’t be up to a brave individual or someone going against social norms every time we want to talk about health. No one should ever have to feel like they can’t feel their pain because their life looks (or doesn’t look) a certain way.
I’m not really sure what’s stirred up this message today – honestly it might just be me ranting – but I think it’s just wanting to make sure that we continue to make room for mental health in any space it might need to be made. And even when it’s not Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ll continue to hammer this point home, not just because it matters but because we all matter so much too.
What is something about mental health that you wished more people could understand? Let me know in the comments!