My motto of 2021: It's okay not to be okay

One of my favorite sayings is, "It's okay not to be okay." 

This also happens to be a South Korean television show and the title of Demi Lovato and Marshmello's new song. I know I'll sound hipster when I say this, but, I liked the saying before it was "mainstream." 

When you're feeling anxious or depressed and then you beat yourself up for feeling anxious or depressed, the result is that —well — you feel more anxious or depressed than you did in the first place! 

So, for me, I'm working on repeating "It's okay not to be okay" like a mantra.

If I'm feeling anxious and my anxiety is making me feel exhausted, I'll take a nap. I'll stay in bed until noon (if it's not a work day, of course). And, instead of berating myself, thinking, "I'm wasting so much time!" I'll think to myself, "If you had a cold, you wouldn't feel guilty for staying in bed! So get those few extra hours of sleep to try to heal your mentally exhausted brain!"

If I'm having a day where I feel particularly sad, instead of thinking, "What's your problem! You have a good life! How dare you be depressed!" I need to start telling myself, "It's okay to have sad days!"

Being human is hard for everybody, especially when you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. And accepting that it's okay for you to feel that way, that's half the battle. It's not a cure; you'll still feel sad. But honestly it does feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders when you start thinking, "It's okay that I feel like this."

I almost didn't write this blog post because I've been struggling with my own mental health. I haven't written in a couple months, and my inner self sabotaging voice said, "It's been too long. You should just give up. You don't have anything important to say. Nobody cares." 

But then I told myself my new motto, "It's okay not to be okay!" It's okay if I don't feel up to writing for days or weeks or even months. It's okay if my anxiety is making me feel unmotivated. But just because I have felt like that, that doesn't mean everyday will be like that. And it doesn't mean I should give up. 

We need to stop being our own worst enemy. Stop feeling guilty if you have to cancel plans because you're having a bad mental health day. Use a sick day at work if you're having a panic attack or you're so depressed you can't get out of bed. Let yourself sit on the couch all day wearing your PJs and watching Netflix when you're feeling sad. Tell your partner or roommate, "I'm having a hard day and need some time alone," or "I'm feeling depressed. Can you clean the dishes/watch the kids/order pizza today?" 

And, of course, remind yourself: IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY!

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