It's okay to not be okay (or so they say)
Don't let the headline fool you. It most certainly is okay to not be okay. It would be rare to find someone who was 'okay' all the time. But when it comes down to the moment where you are not okay. Are the people who are saying this supportive phrase really showing it?
In my experience, people mean well and genuinely want to support their friends or love ones who are struggle with Mental Health and other challenges. But saying it "It's okay" and living those words to the truest form can be vastly different for some people. I'll be the first one to say how grateful I am for the support system I have around me. But it took a lot of time for me to be comfortable not being okay around people who want to support me.
I've been through countless of times where someone wants to help, but maybe what they are saying and doing has made my situation a lot worse. Or let's say, I am struggling with my mental health and I share that, I am met with concern first. This is the point right here where you think... "alright, some people say that it's okay to not be okay, but I am getting a reaction or response that's not making me feel any better or that it's okay to share how I am really feeling". This is a product of the stigma around mental health that every one grew up with and how people really just started talk about this aspects of mental health.
Why should we aspect our support system to be experts on our mental health without our help? The answer is we shouldn't I look at this like a double edged sword. Yes, friends, family and loved ones should be aware of when their reactions are doing more harm than good. But on the other side of it, People dealing with mental health issues or illnesses, need to be prepared to know who they can go for support and how they can communicate.
Being vulnerable and patience has been the key for me. The first step is each person Struggling with their Mental Health needs to embrace the saying "it's okay to not be okay" is yourself. Don't hold it in. Real strength is having the vulnerability to accept love, help and faith from others and knowing you are lucky to have it. You begin to realize that the vulnerability with act as your own super power and give you the ability to be patient with others as they try to help you. This patience will help you gain a perspective of how you can utilize this support system that you have.
It's said that football games are won in the trenches with the offensive and defensive tackles even though all you hear about sometimes are these Super Star quarterbacks. Ask anyone who knows the sport, lineman and quarterbacks have two very different roles and the communication they are getting from the coaching staff is different. Not everyone on your support team needs to be your Quarterback and it is up to the
person dealing with their mental health to have the patience to find how to communicate to your team based off of everyone's role in your life.
Those of you who "it's okay not to be okay", mean it in every sense of the way. Mental Health Awareness is not just acknowledging that there are 1/5 people directly impacting by a mental illness. It's knowing that 5/5 people have their own journey with mental health. Accept there is no quick fix for the person you are support. Be aware of your actions/words if there are doing more damage than good and don't stop being curious of how to support.
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