“It’s OK not to be OK.”
I have a real problem with this sentence. I get what it’s trying to say, but every time I hear it, I get all riled up. Not being OK is NOT OK.
Struggling to feel, experiencing pain, finding it difficult to get through each day is normal, but it’s not OK. We all go through difficult periods in life, some more than others, and that’s normal and to be expected.
But, to have a mental illness is not OK. Mental illnesses, chronic or acute, are awful conditions which can severely impact quality of life, mentally and physically.
It’s not OK to tell a teenage girl and her mum that her severe depression and refusal to eat is something that girls just go through. Girls just being girls.
It’s not OK to refuse people admission to inpatient units because their BMI isn’t low enough to qualify for treatment.
It’s not OK that due to lack of funding, and services bursting at the seams, doctors have to withhold help from those that need it, because they’re not sick enough yet. You’re only depressed, come back when you’re suicidal yeah?
It’s not OK for young people to be sent to inpatient units hundreds of miles from home, away for essential support networks of friends and family, because there are no beds available closer to home.
It’s not OK for year-long waiting lists to be the norm.
It’s not OK to build up the courage to ask for help, only to be told that due to funding cuts, help is not available.
It’s not OK for mental illness to be trivialised by individuals, society or government. At best, mental illnesses temporarily ruin lives. At worst, they end them.
Globally, suicide ranks among the top three causes of death amongst those aged 15-44, and for every completed suicide, another 25 attempts occur.
So don’t tell me that it’s OK not to be OK. Because not being OK nearly destroyed my life, and there are countless others for whom the same is true.
Not being OK means hundreds of thousands of people are choking, drowning under the weight of their mind. Not being OK means they don’t know where to turn. Not being OK means they’re not getting the help they deserve. And this needs to change.