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  • Writer's pictureHey Black Girl

It’s okay to not be okay

Anab Mohamud | anab1498

Yes, you heard me. And I know you see this title.

It's an expression a lot of people throw out into the open. A phrase that’s meant to bring comfort, but is accompanied with fear and anxiety about the future. I can go on and on about why mental health is important, and the benefits in taking care of our mental health in hopes of creating a healthier us, but that first comes with acknowledging those moments when we are not okay.

Time and time again, as black women, we carry so much weight on our shoulders. We put 110% effort into everything we do just to get half or zero recognition for the effort we put in. There’s barely any days to rest when you're putting in 10x of the work day in and day out, with merely a handful of people truly acknowledging the blood, sweat and tears that goes into the entire process. And it's during those times, when we’re putting in the work tirelessly to make our dreams come true and be in a better position in the next five years, we tend to neglect our mental health.

It’s easy to diagnose a physical ailment or take medication when you're sick at home with the cold/flu, but our mental health that’s often left to the sidelines. We continuously push the envelope of what we can handle and take on, so we tell ourselves "I'll deal with it later. I’ll shelve my emotions for now, but right now in this moment I have to power through and finish this project".

And, so what happens? Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, and sadly months into years until you can no longer shelve your problems. You're forced to confront them.

"Time and time again, as black women, we carry so much weight on our shoulders"

You reach the breaking point, where everything just seems to be crashing down all at once. Your mental health that seemed manageable at the time is now too heavy of a load to carry alone. But before you seek help you start to question your strength and then the "why me’s” start rolling in until you are left with the aftermath of neglected emotions that have now manifested into an abundance of mental health issues and illnesses.

There’s this image that we feel like we have to uphold as black women. This image of pure strength and power. Nothing can break us. We’ve endured so much so it can’t be that bad.

When I tell you the amount of times I tell myself "It’s not that bad", you’ll be surprised. It took everything in me to finally say that, you know what, I’m not okay.

And it was really at that moment where I admitted to myself that I’m not okay, that I finally addressed the elephant in the room and confronted the very thing I pushed to the side, because the load was too much to bear. Unfortunately, this is the case for so many black women living in the 21st century.

You don’t know how many times back then I wish I can tell myself that I’m not okay instead of convincing myself and those around me that I was. But listen to me when I tell you this. Don’t wait to reach your breaking point to admit you're

not okay. Don’t let capitalism and society trick you into shelving your mental health issues for a later date.

Know your limits. Know when the load is too heavy to bear and don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not okay,” because I can then tell you myself, first hand, that, it’s absolutely okay to not be okay!


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