We are living in an age where we’re ending the stigma about mental health care.
Seriously, what a blessing.
How amazing is it that the phrase “it’s okay not to be okay” is as popular as it is? Kids today are growing up hearing and believing that their thoughts and feelings matter and are real. We’ve come so far from constantly expecting people to stifle their emotions and remain neutral in the face of anything. We acknowledge anxiety and depression and other mental health disorders as real chemical imbalances in our brain and not just excuses for having a bad day.
So, for those of you who haven’t heard it yet today, here is a friendly reminder that it is okay not to be okay. It’s okay if you’re having a hard day. It’s okay if 2020 so far has kinda sucked. It’s okay if you feel sad for no reason. It’s okay if you feel overwhelmed because of many reasons. It’s okay if you need to cry it out and eat a pint of ice cream. It’s okay to take a day off and stay home to binge Netflix. It’s okay to have feelings, in fact it’s encouraged!
And you know what else? It’s okay to feel great. It’s okay to be happy. It’s okay to genuinely feel okay.
How’s that for a weird reminder? But hey, in a world that is fully embracing “it’s okay not to be okay,” being okay can sometimes feel a little radical. And to be honest, I’ve been really confused about genuinely feeling good with life right now.
I’ve been asking questions like: If everyone else is struggling, how is it fair that I’m doing fine? Or, I’ve defined myself by my anxiety for a few years now, so how do I define myself now that my anxiety isn’t as present? Or, if my goal is to constantly be working to be the best version of myself, what happens when I kinda feel like I’m there?
The past few weeks I’ve been going to church, and I’ve felt this weird guilt. Often times the pastor will pray out loud and ask God to bless those struggling with anxiety and depression, or people who are walking through dark valleys in their life, or people dealing with intense grief. Then there’s always that moment of silence for you to go ahead and talk to God on your own.
And in those moments I’ve just been coming up blank. I have friends and family that I pray for their health or their new jobs or their moves. I have tragedies in the world that I pray for God to watch over. And then I get to my own stuff and I realize I don’t really have anything I need to ask God for right now. I’m doing okay, in fact, I’m doing really well. And I almost feel guilty that I don’t have any of these major struggles the pastor keeps preaching about. My life is not necessarily perfect, but right now I’m perfectly content, which is a bizarre feeling.
That’s when I shift from guilt to pure gratitude.
I’m so blessed to be in a good place right now. I don’t need to feel guilty, because I’m not struggling. Life is full of hills and valleys. Right now I’m on a hill, and I can appreciate it, because I’ve been in the valley. But that valley did not and does not define me.
Maybe you’re in the valley right now. Maybe the “it’s okay not to be okay” thing is getting you through your current chapter. That’s okay.
Maybe you’re on a hill right now. Maybe you’re flying high and you couldn’t be happier. That’s okay, too.
In fact, that's great! That should absolutely be celebrated! You take your moment of joy, because you deserve it. You’ve probably worked really hard to be where you are today. You’ve been in the trenches and you’ve seen the valleys, so enjoy the view from up on this hill. You may not be up here forever, but don’t sabotage your joy because you feel guilty or have a desire to be back in the trenches. Own your moment. Own being okay.
I’m going to admit that this post today may not make sense to some people. Because apparently there are people out there who are just content and happy and have never known anxiety or depression. Those people are my heroes. And maybe some of you don’t need permission to just be happy. Again, you’re an incredible superstar in my book. But for those, like me, who do need that permission, I hope this was an encouraging reminder that you deserve happiness. You deserve to live a joy-full life. So remember that while it's okay not to be okay, it's also okay to be okay.
Embrace the greatness in you. You’re doing incredible things, and that is more than okay, it’s truly magical.