I’m not okay

“How are you? Are you okay?”

A friend of mine sent a text message along such lines, and I wanted to answer, “I’m not okay” or “not good at all”.

To be polite, I still responded, “I’m okay. It’s not bad, and I’m fine.”

Usually this can save the dilemma of being questioned further. Can I be not okay? Speaking about something bad is often so difficult. I remembered my mother when she was sick, I left my job to become her caregiver. Friends I hadn’t seen in a long time would send me messages like “How are you?”

I had a lot of apprehension in my heart, thinking, “How can I be okay at this time?”

It felt like every query was like an irony, like a needle sticking in my heart.

I’m not okay. I’m here because I’m not okay; because something bad happened at home – mom got sick – so I’m not okay. I’m not okay because I quit my job and stayed at home full-time to take care of my sick mother. I’m not okay because I don’t have a regular income, and yet the medical bills are so expensive. I’m not okay because I have to rely on my other siblings to sustain me so that I don’t have to worry about finances and focus on care.

I’m really not okay.

What about you? What do you do when you are not okay? We are surrounded by viral infections and you have to be careful when going out. Now even if one has to dine in and continue to work out of convenience, I run the risk of being reprimanded. In the midst of the pandemic, it makes people feel uneasy to open their doors to conduct business because every action carries the risk of infection. In such a climate, how are you doing?

I’m not okay, what can I do?

  1. Do whatever you can at the moment

For example, eat well, sleep well and keep your diet as normal as possible. This may seem easy, but not in this time of pandemic. For some, their income might be affected, and it is not uncommon for them to be unable to eat or sleep. Do whatever you can at the moment, meaning measure what you can do at the present and do what you are capable of doing. In our caring society, there was a white flag campaign not long ago, which was also a way to help ourselves. When there is a need, speak up and let others help. One day when we are able to stand on our own, we can be the one to lend a helping hand. In this way, take one step at a time, support yourself till a time when your ship comes in.

2. Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself, the same way you would treat a good friend or family member. When a friend or family member you care about suffers a misfortune, how would you treat them? Treat yourself that way. For example, treat that person to an ice cream, or pour him or her a glass of warm water. At this time, treat yourself the same way; pour yourself a glass of warm water, hold the glass to feel the temperature, and feel the care you give yourself. Be your own best friend, be that compassionate and empathetic friend and ask yourself if it is annoying to be in this situation. Think about how you would respond.

3.Be in the present

What is the present? Am I not in the present? In view of this, you may be confused. However, how many people are truly living in the present? Our minds are constantly wandering between the past and the future. If the current pandemic is making us so uncomfortable now, we will long for the good times of the past. At the same time, we worry about how to move forward. When will times get better? What we are seeing now is that the number of confirmed cases is increasing each day. Many people believe that they are the only ones staying at home and tune out their loneliness. However you should always remind yourself to return to the present and even if you are lonely, it is the safest protection guarantee for you.

I’m not okay because I’m not good so I want to take care of myself. Not okay, like a fully charged battery that suddenly leaks. Many external encouragement or positive information are completely not absorbed, and you feel completely powerless everyday. Have you ever been in such a state? If so, how did you recharge yourself at that time? If this is a new experience, what is different about this experience? If you can’t find a way, ask a friend!

If you can’t find a friend, please call 010-9896954 or write to [email protected]. Grief Care provides hospice, bereavement and loss care counseling and guidance services. For individual grief counseling, group support and life education outreach, please contact us during office hours. Our case studies have shown us how comforting it can be to talk to strangers. If you’d like to, we’re here.

Nirvana Care Grief Care Department

Nirvana Care – Grief Care department, cares for your grieving journey. We provide individual counselling, group support and life education awareness. Contact us at [email protected] or 010-9896954 (Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for appointment or phone and email enquiry

Nai Seow Hong, graduated from Taiwan University in Master of Thanatology and Health Counselling, major in death and life, volunteer in Academic of Silent Mentor as Pastoral Care, she is now works as a grief care officer.

I work in a funeral home

I work in a funeral home

At present, I have sent off more than 3,000 friends, although I cannot remember their names. However, I occasionally think about it in a frivolous way; when I’m dead, there are more friends in that so-called afterlife than the ones I have known in my lifetime!

Ancestral Tablet

Ancestral Tablet

The ancestral tablet is also called “soul tablet”, “spirit tablet”, “soul seat” and others. In Buddhism, it is called “lotus dais” or “lotus seat”. It is generally used as a temporary seat for the soul of the departed to reside, and convenience for the family members, relatives and friends to pay their respects.



Shuukatsu / Translated by Colin Kuan   The term “shuukatsu” has become a popular buzzword in recent years. What then is “shuukatsu”? Shuukatsu...