This week we finally released one of the most raw and compelling podcast episodes yet. We sat down with the Hocking sisters, the founders of the brilliant charity foundation ‘It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’.

The sisters shared their emotional story of the shock loss of their brother to suicide. No one saw it coming, no one expected it, no one realised he wasn’t okay. This tragic event was the catalyst for the birth of the ‘It’s Okay’ movement.

This message resonates with everyone. We all struggle from time to time. But our tough “she’ll be right” Aussie culture has caused our nation to hide weakness, hide pain, tough it out alone. Yes we need to be tough and resilient, life can be tough and a thick skin is certainly required at times. But somewhere along the timeline we forgot that courage, resilience and determination can’t exist without vulnerability.

As a nation, we are actually pretty damn good and navigating our way through trauma. We get through it, we still manage to operate at a level that our needs are met, and then some. We are fed, we get paid, our kids grow up with bikes and bunnies and camping trips over Easter, we survive. But what we aren’t good at though, is healing ourselves following the trauma. Our demons sit there at the back of our mind, when our son gets off training wheels for the first time, on pay day, on Christmas Day and late at night before bed. The trauma haunts us, and we sit there in fear, silently, keeping it to ourself.

The ‘It’s Okay’ movement helps remind us all that it is okay. Your pain is normal. Your struggles are real and you’re not alone.

At the very end of the episode we asked the girls what this message to the world really means to them. They replied by simply reciting the slogan, but with one small caveat.

“It’s okay, not to be okay… as long as you’re in some sort of process to help yourself to get better.”

If you’re not taking any steps to help yourself heal, nothing is going to change, and therefore maybe it is not okay to be not okay?

It sounds very harsh to read the last sentence out doesn’t it? Let me elaborate.

It absolutely doesn’t matter what process it is that you are taking to help yourself, it doesn’t matter how big the steps are, it doesn’t matter if they are teeny tiny fairy sized steps, it doesn’t matter if you slip up or go backwards from time to time, all that matters is, is that you are trying your best. Your best being whatever that is you can give at that time.

Having open conversations.

Seeing a therapist.

Sitting in stillness and pondering (a more accessible term for meditating).

Going to the gym.

Working on establishing good healthy habitual routines.

But, if you are someone that is often not okay, but you love the message the Hocking’s have spread to the world, you love to talk about how it is okay, you even love to repost it (and other health related quotes for that matter) on instagram, but in truth, that is where it ends. If you’re always talking this message when you know you are overdue to see your therapist. If your reposting for likes and sympathy when you know social media is a toxic environment for you. If you’ve made ‘It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’ one of your life motto’s when you’re down, but allowing yourself to stay down with no other plan on how to help get yourself back up… then maybe it isn’t okay. Are you using it to hel, or are you using it to cover, for attention, to pretend? Using messages of positivity as a barrier to taking actual action is not going to move you forwards.

It is 100% totally okay to sit in your pit of sadness. I’ll be the first one to go and sit there with you. We’ll both just be there, together, no sympathy hug (although I am a hugger), just a mate to go “yep, this is shit”. It may be exactly what you need at that time. But when the shit pit moment has passed, what should we do next? What are we going to do so the next shit pit isn’t so deep and dark? What steps can we take so that one day, that shit pit can be filled in and a sunflower can be sowed in the soil?

It is okay, not to be okay. But be aware that just saying the line just to shield your ego, earn some short term gratification, and avoid facing true action, is not it’s intention.
It is a message of reassurance and a call to action.
It is okay to feel down, out, blue, hopeless. You are not alone here, every single one of us will go through periods of not being okay. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be seen, we are all here for you and we are all in it together. But we can get out of this, this is not permanent, hope is never lost. Here, come with me and let me show you, this is how I did it, this is how we start to feel okay again. Let’s take this journey to feeling okay again together.


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