It’s okay to not be okay
It’s okay to not be okay. The world is on fire, almost literally, people are having rights stripped away before our eyes, the environment is a disaster, global warming is going to kill everyone in probably very horrible ways and no one cares, and the pandemic is being ignored, much like everything else on this very long list. In the face of all of this and far more than I can list, I will let you in on a secret. It’s normal to not be okay right now.
As the pandemic rages on and is somehow being ignored, if you’re still actively concerned you may feel a touch crazy right now. I know that feeling. In most parts of the world we’re treating the pandemic like a house guest that overstayed their welcome. We’re ignoring it hoping it leaves, but that’s not how any of this works. Same thing with global warming, the destruction of the environment in general, the stripping away of abortion access for anyone who gets pregnant, it’s a lot and there is a large segment of the population who feels it would be better to ignore these things than to do something actively about it.
For those of us who care about these sorts of issues, it feels weird watching people pretend like everything is fine. After all, if a room was on fire and everyone ignored it, wouldn’t you be incredibly confused? So, for students in particular, who are expected to perform regardless of the situation, right now is probably not a good time for us. I can only really speak for myself, but I struggle daily with the onslaught of news and the seemingly endless apathy the general public has towards these issues.
I wouldn’t blame you if you thought something was wrong with you. But rest assured that if you feel the endless weight of these burdens you are not alone. Hence, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not be able to perform at your best, it’s okay to need more time for something. It’s okay to not be able to accomplish things you would normally be able to do. It’s okay because things are most certainly not okay and no amount of effort spent ignoring the issues can change that.
Again, I can only speak for myself when I say that I struggle on a regular basis just to survive. Even if the world was a perfect utopia, I firmly believe I would still be dealing with my mental health issues. I can also acknowledge that current events do have an impact on my mental health and that watching others suffer is not something I can passively do like my counterparts on the ignore the problem side. I can’t pretend that the death count doesn’t bother me, or that the constant barrage of warnings from scientists regarding everything from COVID to global warming doesn’t hurt.
To be clear it isn’t the news itself that really hurts, in my opinion anyway. It’s the reaction of the general public that is the problem. Not even the majority of the public, but the minority of the public who just doesn’t seem to care. The number of people in that group is larger than it should be and as the pandemic wears on and more and more misinformation is spread, that number seems to be growing.
If you’re the type of person who hates seeing others hurt or needless suffering, you take stuff like this personally. I know I do, because the system isn’t helping the people it needs to be helping. It’s actively harming the majority of people in an attempt to make it nearly impossible for anyone to do anything about it. After all, if the general population is living paycheck to paycheck, is forced to work horrible conditions, and is constantly afraid of being homeless, sick, or without work, how are they going to have the energy to do something to fix it?
Put simply, things are not okay, so it’s okay to not be okay. Maybe the reminder isn’t needed, but here it is, just in case.