It's Okay to not be Okay Right NowBy Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Data indicates that anxiety and depression, among other mental health problems, have surged to historic levels in recent months. Generally, our culture values positivity, and I’ve always been a very positive person. “It’s an attractive behavior in people that makes them seem more well adapted and more popular with their peers, so there are a lot of reasons people want to seem or be positive.”

But lately I’m telling myself it’s okay not to be okay.

A friend posted a sweet birthday message for me: “Happy Birthday to a woman who appears to be the essence of resiliency.” I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of being so resilient.

We all have so many negative emotions stemming from the current state of the country and the isolation we are experiencing. Denying or minimizing those feelings can be harmful with the dire situations we are dealing with: illness, homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment or racial injustice.

It is a privilege for us to “look on the bright side” when so many are suffering.

It is important for people to recognize how they are feeling and remove any expectations or goals that they should feel better than they do.

Disasters — personal, national, international — are horrible of course, but they also have value. They give you perspective amid all the chaos and pain.

Reading Before Sleep

My cousin Cam recommended Edmund Wilson to relax. Wilson was a problematic person and an absurdly prolific writer. He found reading before sleep calmed his mind. Europe Without Baedeker, is an account of his visits to Europe shortly after the devastation of World War Two. On one trip Wilson visited a former professor of his.

“One day I remarked that the immediate future seemed to me extremely depressing, and he vigorously took me up, declaring that he thought it looked hopeful.

When I asked him how he could possibly think so, he replied: ‘People’s complacency shaken.’ A lot of ground had been cleared, he felt; we knew what elements we had to deal with and we should have to come to grips with our problems. A constructive age might well ensue.”

This perfectly reflects how many of us are feeling at the end of 2020 – the sadness and struggle, mixed with hope and resilience.

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