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Mental Health

How To Be Okay with Not Being Okay

There are so many resources on the internet that tell us how to get rid of depression, stress, or anxiety, but not many resources telling us how to deal with it.

The fact of the matter is, emerging from a mental illness is easier said than done and requires consistent action toward a freer mentality. But until that point is reached, we need to know how to be okay with not being okay.

The great thing about learning how to be okay when we’re not is that it takes the pressure off recovery while also leading us closer to a more controllable mental environment.

So how does one, “become okay”?

The most important thing to remember is to be gentle with oneself. The first thing many people do when dealing with mental illness is blame and shame themselves. Mental illness may often get in the way of opportunities or relationships, but you can’t blame yourself because you are not [insert mental illness here], it’s just sharing the same space as you for the time being.

Another way to practice being gentle with yourself is to pretend you’re talking to a friend. How is it that when we’re helping a friend through a difficult time, we can find all the excuses and solutions for them, but seldom for ourselves?

Forgive yourself for battles won by mental illness. Encourage yourself to get back up as if you were your friend. Congratulate yourself for every battle won.


When your mind is working against you, be still. Our lives are comprised of our most frequent thoughts. Keep them in the present, where you have all the control.

Whether it’s anxiety lying to you about how horrifying and/or humiliating a certain event will be, come back to the present moment. We cannot alter the past or predict the future, so the best place to be is in the present.

When depression is lying to you about how much your friends dislike you, come back to the present moment. What are you doing? Observe your environment using your five senses. You are not psychic. The only mind you can read is your own. If you don’t like what your mind says about you or the world, be present so you can correct your own negative thoughts.

When stress tells you that you have 49,687 assignments to complete in 2 hours. Be still, and focus on what you can do in this very moment. Multitasking and dwelling on the sheer size of your workload will only make it larger.


Understand how to use transmutation to your advantage!

I am the queen of calling myself excited when I used to identify it as anxiety. Thrill and anxiety share the same physiological symptoms. The only difference is the thoughts behind the feeling. The best thing we can do is choose our thoughts.

If stress is telling you there is no time, tell yourself you’re in an exciting race so you can utilize your most strategic skills to finish any task with a brighter attitude.

Sadness also has its benefits. Before we can reap those, we must understand that we decide what connotation we put on certain moods, and that’s what determines its significance. We have been socialized to see sadness/depression as bad or scary things. Depression unconsciously breeds deeper analytical skills to solve problems, introspection, acceptance, and grit to deal with problems later in life.  https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-depression-advantage/

This takes a bit more practice, but all you need is the effort. If we’re caught in that state, why not make it bearable?



In conclusion, life doesn’t start after the mental illness has passed. It’s important to know how to be okay even when we don’t feel like we are. As long as we are gentle with ourselves, present, and in control of our perceptions, we can truly be okay with not being okay.



Georgia State University c/o 2021
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