Bridging the Divided

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

It’s okay not to be okay. I saw this phrase on a sign in front of a church. I’m guessing it is the name of the Sunday sermon. The phrase also references a hit Korean drama series on Netflix. Who knew? I haven’t tuned in, but apparently, it is about an antisocial writer of children’s books and a caregiver in a psych institution who together embark on a journey of healing. Sounds interesting.

The phrase on the church sign got me thinking, however. I drive by the sign and church frequently. It is okay not to be okay – and further, to admit we are not okay. Sometimes we have a difficult time admitting to ourselves we are not okay, and even more difficult to admit to others. 

As my husband and I were driving home from the mall, we talked about people still wearing masks despite the delusion that life is normal again. I try to avoid the word normal when possible, but that is what we are attempting, right? It feels surreal. After two years of mask mandates and every waking minute being defined by COVID-19, I feel like I am visiting another planet. We are not okay. How could we be? Mental health issues for children and adults skyrocketed, alcoholism and drug abuse increased, we dealt with stress over finances, the loss of jobs, schools, and businesses closing, hospitals being overwhelmed, and hospital staff driven to exhaustion – we faced and survived a lot all at once. We have been through the wringer, folks. People died, many we knew, many we didn’t expect to die. Our lives were turned upside down literally overnight. 

Sure, most of us were vaccinated or vaccinated and boosted. Now, the powers-that-be are advocating for yet another booster for the booster we just had. When does it stop? Are we going to be encouraged to get boosted monthly? Quarterly? Bi-annually? Annually? We don’t know. After two years, we still know very little. Here’s my concern: we have no idea how long the natural and acquired immunity lasts. We don’t know the long-term effects of the vaccines, despite many of us receiving them. Some of us were mandated to receive the vaccination. And, we don’t know the long-term effects of COVID itself. Yet, here we are trying to act as if all is back to normal. Will another surge hit us? When will the next surge occur? Questions like these swirl in my mind every day. I work in the area of infection prevention and control. It is my job to know, but alas we don’t know much. It is not okay, and I am not okay.

It is okay not to be okay. A lot of us were hit with COVID and survived, many did not. It is important for us to acknowledge what was lost and to celebrate surviving another day. Still, fear sits in wait surrounding what we don’t know. It’s natural to fear what we don’t know or understand. It’s okay not to be okay…..

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