Stop gaslighting everyone Jessie J! This song and this sentiment (that it’s “ok not to be ok”) seem to be very popular amongst the very young and “neuroatypical” Tumblr crowd suffering from, among other things, anxiety and depression. Reading the comments under the YouTube video reveals a lot, well, it reveals a lot of the same thing: young people feeling “not ok” and suffering through dark times only to reemerge triumphant in the end, and probably on addictive and expensive psych meds that will likely cause serious and even permanent side effects like involuntary muscle movements (and death). That counts as “ok” apparently, and the “not ok” is “ok” if and only if it doesn’t go on too long and as long as you “get help.”
Of course, the
side effects iatrogenic illness and injury from the psych meds themselves, including permanent neurological disability and death — and the “not ok” those cause — are worth it as long as the person is made ok now, for the time being. Whatever “ok” means in this context because I sure as hell can’t figure it out other than that “ok” seems to mean “compliance” and specifically, willingness to engage with and submit to capitalistic patriarchal medicine. Compliance and submission = ok. Does this sound like it’s actually ok to not be ok? Or does it sound like a bunch of shit?
And what happens when people are “not ok” for a long time, or forever? Just ask someone who is chronically ill how friends and family perceive their illness once it’s gone on for months, years, or a lifetime. In my own case, when I lost my apartment in a hurricane, had to move in with my ex-partner’s mother and was getting sicker by the day, my friends and family harassed me constantly for “updates” about the hurricane damage, my housing situation and the status of my health but I soon realized they weren’t looking for truthful reports so much as they were demanding constant assurances that I was Ok and that everything was fine. When the truth was I had never been so not-ok in my life and considering the nature of my incurable, progressive disease I was unlikely to be “fine” ever again. No one wants to hear that! Hearing that makes them feel not ok! And healthy people have to feel ok all the time no matter what, even at the expense of sick people and sick people’s ok. So is it really ok to not be ok? No. Sick people have to learn to fake it if they want (or have no choice but) to maintain these relationships. But there’s more.