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It’s okay not to be okay

Hannah Irwin, 06/01/21

Students are facing a mental health epidemic. Hannah Irwin, a Staff Worker in Cork, shares what she has learned as she helps CU students live and speak for Jesus on campus.

It’s okay not to be okay

“It’s ok to not be ok.”

Those words ring through our ears and stare at us from posters in the midst of ‘Mental Health Awareness Weeks’ and advertising campaigns on the TV.

Why? Because we are an island that struggles considerably with our mental health, especially amongst students. In the midst of lockdown, many of us have been experiencing lows in our mental wellbeing like never before. What have I found has helped me, then, to keep my mind in perfect peace?

Firstly, God has been reminding me of the life that is to be found in his written word. In making certain that the first thing I reach for in the morning is my Bible, not my phone, I am being pointed out of my self, out of the physical realm, and towards a greater reality.

In my current reading in 1 Kings, I’m reminded that these small circumstances of 2020 are not all there is. I’m pointed to the arc of history, where God is writing his story around the acts of men. If ever I need a reminder of the deeper, more hopeful realities at play in the world – the Bible is where I find them.

God has also been kind in reminding me of what I am so prone to forget: my worth. If it is true (and it is) that human beings are made in God’s image, each worthy of dignity and respect, then that includes me, and it isn’t a waste of time to do things that are simply good for me. Eating well, exercising, taking half an hour to go for a walk instead of staying at my desk with my mind racing – these are all good things to do.

God cares about me, and about my mental well–being. He has given me the resources and the wisdom from various sources to know what looking after myself means. I matter enough for me to go to the effort of doing them, and so do you.