It's okay to not be okay

Nov 2, 2021 • Avik Das

What I’m about to say applies to everybody, but with Movember and my own experience as a man in mind, I hope my words will at least be useful to the men who read this. It’s okay to not be okay.

The last year and a half have been damaging to all of us. Losing a job makes us feel like less of a provider, and the pandemic has been profoundly isolating. Worse still, for some of us, this isolation has not even been anomalous. Exaggerated maybe, but not anomalous. And I’m sure for many of us, there has been a time in our lives where we latched onto ideologies that ultimately hurt us as we looked for connection. The polarization and echo chambers enabled by social media have made this self-destructive behavior easier than ever.

I’m here to say from personal experience, it’s okay to not be okay. Your need for meaningful connection and personal autonomy is valid. Feeling overwhelmed is valid. Feeling like you’re drowning in the expectations of others is valid. Feeling like things are not going your way is valid. Feeling like no one gives you the attention you need is valid. We don’t have to tough it out. Asking for help and being vulnerable won’t make you less of a man.

That’s it. No solutions right now, no advice on what to do next. Just acknowledgement that your feelings are valid.

I raise awareness for Movember because mental health is really important to me, and men experience mental health struggles in a specific way that’s deep rooted in our culture of tough masculinity. If you want to help, reach out to a friend, participate in a Movember event to keep the conversations going, or donate to Movember. Let’s save some lives!