In many places, restrictions on our lives and movements are being lifted. Many of us who were out of work for months are returning to it. Many of those who worked from home are starting to be phased back into office life. We can go get a haircut, or a massage, or go eat in a restaurant.
Now, I’d never go so far as to say that life is returning to normal. It may never go entirely back to what we used to consider normal, but it is changing.
And hey, maybe we accepted, back in April, that it was okay not to be okay. It was alright if we felt overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, inexplicably cranky or depressed.
But surely, now that things are easing in some areas, we should also be feeling better, right? Wrong.
I’m here to tell you something. Yes, you. You reading this with your very own personal eyeballs. Or your own personal ears, or your own personal fingertips.
It is still okay not to be okay.
If logic helps, then here is some logic: you’ve just been through something you likely weren’t prepared for. Something that impacted your life in extremely personal ways. Perhaps you lost someone, or are friends with someone who has. Perhaps you lost your job. You definitely lost the sort of freedom you took for granted. You can’t just wave away the mental and emotional effects of that.
Also, though restrictions are easing, the grim truth is that this isn’t over. In some places, things aren’t even actually improving even if restrictions are lifting. We might be better prepared for it now than we were in March, and that is a very good thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.
So of course you’re not okay. Of course you feel anxiety and sadness.
Less logically… we’re humans. Our response to grief and stress is not a rational thing, so trying to force yourself to be entirely rational in your emotional reaction is so far from unfair to yourself that it might as well be one of those carnival games that hardly anyone wins.
This obviously doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for emotional stability. Of course we should. We should make full use of every tool in our toolbox to try to cope, as best as we can, and be on the lookout for some new, shiny tools to tuck away in there. We just shouldn’t kick ourselves for not being entirely okay.
I’m not entirely okay. I’m crankier a lot of the time. I get scared. I get depressed. I have far less patience than I should. I’m doing my best not to let that negatively impact anything else, but I still feel those things, and that’s okay.
If you’re still feeling those things, it’s okay. If you’re not, then hey, please feel free to drop me a message and tell me the ways of your people.
In the meantime, and as always, for god’s sake be kind to yourself. And to others.