I’m Not OK


What do you say when someone asks “How are you?”

Almost everyone replies ‘good’, or maybe ‘fine’ and then asks the same question in return as though it were a solemn obligation. This is the social protocol we all play a role in. It is a greeting that puts everyone at the same point in the conversation, and lets both parties ease into what they really want to talk about.

What’s interesting is that we are rarely honest when answering this question. When someone asks how we are, we usually don’t jump up and say that we are: hungry, horny, heartbroken, haggard, heavy, holy, hunted, hated, hateful, hurt, or hopeful. We say that we are fine because this is the expected response, and we wouldn’t want to be THAT PERSON that breaks social protocol and makes everyone feel uncomfortable right?


Well, hopefully we do have people in our lives that we can be totally honest with and answer that question with truth, even if all we can say or understand is that ‘I’m not OK’

I’ve asked the people closest to me to not ask me ‘How are you?’ because I will almost always say fine (though I have said hungry a number of times). I’ve told them that is they want an honest answer, they need to ask me something that begs a detailed response. They can ask something like: Where is your energy at today? How is your mood today? (Can you think of better questions?)


My Chemical Romance – I’m Not Okay (I Promise) Official Music Video

The point I’m meandering toward is that you don’t have to be ‘OK’ or ‘fine’ – yes, yes, we all play the game and usually answer the greeting question the same way. But being honest to yourself, it is enough to know that you don’t have to beat yourself up for not being OK or fine – no need to kick yourself while you are down.

I like this quote from Frank Warren (of Post Secret)

You deserve to be happy – but you don’t have to be happy right now or all the time.

It is okay to be sad, it’s okay to not be ready to be happy yet. One day you will be ready to recover – that day doesn’t have to be today or even tomorrow, as long as you know and trust me that it will come.

It’s okay not to be okay.

So, it’s OK not to be OK . . . but know that you will be. Keep reaching for it

RUOKday.com – A great cause and effort to open communication and get past politeness, and get honest about our feelings. From their page, they state that “More 15-35 year olds die through suicide than any other cause.” !!! Clearly we need to open up . . . maybe some of the recent tragedies (and many others) could have been prevented by getting to people and giving them the help they need and a safe place to open up? I think we can all agree with that. The opening statement from RUOK is a good one:

R U OK?Day is a national day of action on the second Thursday of September (12 September 2013), dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you ok?’

By raising awareness about the importance of connection and providing resources throughout the year, the R U OK? Foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life’s ups and downs.


It’s true that access to counselling and mental health care is  atrocious, but we, each of us, can be a part of the solution just by asking for an honest answer when we ask someone “Are you OK?”


On a personal note, during my 4th year at University, I was buried in school work, studies, working at my job all the time, and helping my family. I was swimming in very deep waters and I couldn’t even see how bad I was. I was too busy! Does that make sense? Anyone else been too busy to notice they are drowning?! So, a good friend of mine asked me how I was doing and I just said I was fine, and before I could move on to another topic, she stopped me and said “You don’t have to lie to me. How are you really feeling?”. I broke! I didn’t see the tears and sobs coming – she pulled them out of me and I went weak at the knees. I stood outside one of the biggest buildings on campus and cried in her arms. I will always remember that moment. She wasn’t rough. She was wise enough to see the weariness in me, and I was very thankful for the break that I clearly wasn’t let myself have. I wasn’t being honest to her, and I wasn’t being honest with myself.

Honesty is not just something you hold with others. It is something that flows first from you, and your truth in yourself.

This is a good place to meditate from. What do you think?

A little laugh?

A little laugh?

One Response to “I’m Not OK”

  1. 1 redmermaid

    Very interesting and something I have thought about many a time. I’m a very open person at times when I don’t have the mental energy to hold back my overwhelming emotions (though often I swing the other way) so have experienced people not being interested in how I really feel when it’s all poured out. I am so lucky there are a couple of people in my world I can be completely honest with and I work very hard on honesty with those people so I never lose that trust.

    The RUOK? Day sounds like a good idea. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

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