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Author Topic: Are You OK?  (Read 1614 times)

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Offline epitechTopic starter

Are You OK?
« on: May 31, 2016, 06:44:08 AM »
“Are You OK?”  Such a simple question but it’s one I have been struggling with as of late and the more I think about it, the more it becomes a philosophical debate.  From whose perspective are we considering when we answer?  What does it mean to be OK?  What do we use as our metric when answering?  At what point do we become, ‘not OK?’

The most common way we analyse and are analysed as to being, or not being, OK through the perception of others.  This person is fulfilling their societal expectations; they get up in the morning, go to work, they do their job, they go home and then they get up the next day to do it again.  This person is performing the role of what society expects of them, they are functioning. A second component is that the person acts in a socially acceptable manner; they don’t visibly participate in self-destructive activities (alcoholism, drug use, self-harm, etc.) and they don’t act out in socially unacceptable ways (breaking down into tears, emotional outbursts).

I am quickly coming to notice that ‘our’ common metric for being OK is functioning; everything appears normal on the surface, society doesn’t have to witness the ugly reality of what people are going through, it is business as usual.  If we are stoic, we are OK.  Until we become an inconvenience and someone has to pick up the pieces, we are deemed OK.

For me, this definition creates a great deal of internal conflict; I’m not very externally expressive and more or less unable to cry from years of emotional callousing (‘real men don’t cry,’ but that’s a whole other ramble).  In fact I am able to have a panic attack and remain completely normal other than a tremor in my hands.  Because I am so outwardly calm, no-one bats an eyelid.  I feel guilty and an inconvenience to others any time I even contemplate the thought that I am not OK.

And here I am now; I get out of bed every morning, go to work, do my job, come home and sit there, doing next to nothing, having nothing left in the tank and struggling to enjoy things.  Come 8 – 9 pm an emotional nosedive take place; I spend a few hours feeling like shit before going to bed.  And the morning comes and I do it a day, having the same debate in my head, “I can still get up, I’m doing what needs to be done, albeit the bare minimum, Am I OK?”

So now I will put the question to you; Are you OK?  I mean really OK?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 03:44:34 AM by epitech »

Offline GypsyRose

Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2016, 06:50:54 AM »
First, I am sorry that you are struggling, and that things are rough.

In answer to your question, my answer is 'yes, I am okay'.  I give that answer not based on society's expectations, but my own.  I have struggles and challenges on a daily basis, but none of them are more than I can handle.  For that, I am grateful.  That may change today, tomorrow, or next week, but for now, yes, I am okay.

"Are you okay?" is a question that is asked for many different reasons, and some are more sympathetic and empathetic than others.  It can convey impatience, certainly, but it can also be an offer to help.   That help might be as simple as offering an ear, letting the other person know that the asker cares and stands ready to do something, however small, to improve things if help is wanted, needed, or allowed.  It is an invitation to open walls, to let down barriers, or to communicate that space is what is needed.

So while answering simply to dismiss the question, or to turn it aside, is perfectly fine, please keep in mind that some are asking because they would like to help.

At what point do we become 'not okay' is subjective.  How much can we stand on our own?  How much do we want to stand, how much do we want to accept?  Can we still do this on our own, or do we need help?  Ultimately, I think that each of us needs to answer that question for ourselves, and if the answer is 'yes', then keep plugging on.  If it is 'no', or when it becomes 'no' then we need to look inside and figure out what kind of changes we can make to the situation -- either alone, or with help ... of family, friends, professionals, and sometimes even a stranger whose only qualification is being in the right place at the right time and who takes a moment to care.

I hope that things get better, and that you will find something or someone to help you recharge so you no longer feel so drained.  There are good things out there, even if they sometimes are very hard to find. 

Offline AmberStarfire

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Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2016, 09:42:16 PM »
Something that I've noticed is different cultures approach socially-expected behaviours and measures of okay-ness differently. Emotional outbursts in Australia are reasonably common and people generally just ignore them and keep on walking. Every time I go over I seem to see them. By comparison, in Ireland you seldom if ever see them. I'm not sure what the US is like for them (or different places in the US), but I would guess somewhere in the middle.

I'm okay. Really okay. Am I functioning though by society's standards? I'm not sure. I've turned so many things in my life that I'm 'supposed to do or be' on their head that at this point, I don't try and figure out where I stand relative to other people as much anymore. It's other people who are firmly entrenched in their way of doing things that seem to notice I'm not doing things the same way.

I'm okay in almost every way. In some ways I'm extremely okay. In moving away from the more common way of approaching things, I've actually found how I'd like to be and live. It feels like the right path for me. It's as close to perfection as I've found in life, and yet I can still feel the need to return to the more common, stereotypically-functional ways of living.

Offline Oreo

Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 08:32:40 PM »
Am I Okay? The answer is subjective unto the individual. According to some standards I am as far from okay as a person can be. I cannot get up and go to work. On a good day I can 'get up'. On a good day I can walk. On a good day I can manage a few tasks, like cooking, and cleaning up after cooking. Many would say that is not okay.

My answer is; I smiled today. I brought a smile to someone else. I encouraged myself, and did the same for others. Am I okay? My body aches, my mind is often a discordant fugue grasping for the right word, my endurance falls just short of breaking at any moment. Am I okay?

Life is not a series of days we trudge through waiting until our number of days are done. Life is a myriad of moments bound together by what we bring to others. Life is giving back positive energy to the whole of humanity. Have I seized an opportunity to speak kindly when harsh words were justified? Have I left the room better than when I entered? Has one person gone home from work and plopped on the couch thinking of the old woman that made them laugh over a mistake? Have I given this day my all?

Am I okay? Yes.

Offline Giantmutantcrab

Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2016, 09:00:09 PM »
No.

I am not OK.

On the outside, I have recently lost my job and I find myself suddenly searching for work.

On the inside, I find myself slipping back towards the self-destructive, self-loathing attitude I have had for far too long in my life.

I thought about starting drinking again recently. I've been sober for almost a year now.

I am slowly starting to see my life as a series of mistakes, failures and failed ventures. A string of jobs with no future and a long-term relationship with someone that I have repeatedly hurt and dissapointed over the last ten years.

So thank you for asking. But no... No, I am not ok. I have not given this day my all.

I have not given my days my all in a very long time.

Offline AmberStarfire

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Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 02:27:29 PM »
If you focus on the bad, I don't think you're giving yourself credit enough for all the hard work you put in and all the ways you've grown. It won't feel like enough unless you give yourself credit for your constructive efforts. You can't know everything - what way things like jobs will go. A lot of jobs have no future because it's normal for people to stay in jobs for a few years and move on.

If you feel unhappy about how you've done things, why not try different approaches? If you have more time right now, you could use it to prepare or figure things out. If you feel you haven't treated a partner well enough, treat them better.

Offline epitechTopic starter

Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2016, 04:34:09 AM »
Thank you all for your perspectives, your stories and most of all, your honesty :-)

I can honestly admit today, I am not OK.  But I will survive, I always do.

Offline Giantmutantcrab

Re: Are You OK?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2016, 08:48:17 AM »
Thank you all for your perspectives, your stories and most of all, your honesty :-)

I can honestly admit today, I am not OK.  But I will survive, I always do.

The alternative is grim, to be sure.