Let’s Be Honest For A Second. It Really Isn’t OK To Not Be OK

Hello again dear reader, I hope this post finds you well, or if not well, getting by as best you can.

In today’s post I am going to try and explain why I feel the way I do about a popular mental health narrative. This one has been adopted by a tremendous amount of people, and charity organisations. There is even a song about it. This mantra is of course,

“It’s ok not to be ok”

Let’s think about that for a moment. On the one hand this appears to be an attempt to de-stigmatise mental health conditions. “Of course it’s not a problem if you are unwell and are behaving in a way that goes against societies pre-conditioned norm”. Or “Of course you aren’t alone in your struggle, these things can happen to anyone”.

When you look at it that way I guess it can be viewed as a positive message for anyone who is experiencing the ravages of mental ill health. But as always I like to poke my nose in to these things, and I believe whole-heartedly that the mantra above is total bollocks, and here’s why.

I’ve always had problems with so-called inspirational quotes. I find it strange that so many people just love to reduce everything into a series of soundbites. Well they may look good emblazoned on a T.shirt or plastered all over Twitter when someone passes away because of mental illness; but the reality is that “It’s ok not to be ok” is bullshit.

Of course it isn’t ok to be not ok! It is massively shit. At no time, ever in my mental head have those words brought me an ounce of comfort. Not only that but if anything the whole thing seems to feel trivialised. I view it in a similar way to being told to eat all of your dinner because there are starving children in Africa. It’s not helpful in the least, and makes us feel guilty for living.

Nowhere in that message does it say that “If you feel rubbish mentally, that’s NOT ok, and you should give your doctor a call to see if they can make life a bit better for you”.

It should! If there truly is no shame in speaking out, that there is no reason to feel embarrassed by the way you feel, then why reduce it to a tacky mantra that makes no reasonable sense?.

What we as a society really need to do, is be honest. It seems that is something that is hard to grasp. We are living in a time where our collective mental health has been impacted by the events of the last few years, and sadly for some of us a long time before that. Surely now is as good a time as any to just admit that life is a bit sucky at times, and although that is not ok, we can at least be helped to have a few more of the good days, and if we’re really lucky some brilliant ones.

Love to you all

Steph

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