I Just Want You To Know, It’s Gonna Be Okay


I may not know you, but I know where you are.

I’ve been in that place, the place where you’re standing this very second, or the one you may not have the strength to even stand in anymore.

It’s that spot that we all get stuck in if we live and love long enough; that suffocating, hopeless, heavy place called Not Okay.

Sometimes we see it all coming from a long way off. Sometimes the ominous clouds gather far in the distance, and as much as we try to look away or run away or pray it away, it hits us anyway; cruel and relentless in its fury.

Sometimes it sneaks up on us in the soft brightness of simple joy; jumping out from behind the bushes, and in a vicious second a phone call, an impact, a decision—we’re there.

The worst part about not being Okay, is that once you are there you lose your vision.

You become profoundly nearsighted.

You lose the ability to see any further than that horrible not-okayness in front of you; to believe that outside of all of it, just beyond the fear and the sadness and the failure, there’s another place.

At that lightless moment, it’s nearly impossible to see that if you can endure a little longer, if you can withstand it all just a bit more, if you can weather the winds and the wounds and the worry, you’ll end-up stepping into that other place, softly and securely—and you’ll feel the weightless lift of hope again.

I know that from where you stand this may sound trivial, even insulting to your ears. 

It may seem like a cheap, hollow platitude right now, but it’s the truest truth I can give you to sustain you:

It’s gonna be Okay.


One day the tempest in your head will be stilled to quiet waters.
You’ll breathe deeply and slowly again.
Laughter will come easily.
Peace will visit and linger.
Joy will have a homecoming.

You’ll see colors and hear songs and see faces, and they’ll all seem like effusive love letters; words of truth spoken directly to your heart, telling you that life is indeed a good and worthwhile endeavor—and you’ll eat-up every delicious word.

I promise you.

But in the meantime, before you get there, I want to tell you one more important thing about where you are right now: It’s Okay to not be Okay.

It’s alright to admit it to yourself, and to say it to someone else. In fact, doing so isn’t admitting defeat at all. It isn’t giving-up. It’s simply consenting, to fully feeling the reality of the despair and the pain of the moment.

As you do, just remember that you won’t feel like that forever.

This may be the only interaction you and I ever have.

These may be the only words of mine you ever read, and that’s alright, because if you really believe them right now, then I’ll  be forever grateful.

One day, you’ll feel well enough to speak them to someone else who is not so well, and you’ll perpetuate the hope I want for you.

So today, friend, for what it’s worth and for what you’re worth (which is immeasurable), know this:

As dark as it seems, as difficult as it is, as much as it hurts—it’s gonna be Okay.


54 thoughts on “I Just Want You To Know, It’s Gonna Be Okay

  1. I wish I could explain how much I needed to hear exactly this this morning. The last 2 weeks have had me in panic mode due to situations that have come about and I honestly feel like I’m drowning. I am trying to stay strong for my daughters and it’s probably the only reason I haven’t given up. The logical side of my brain is telling that each baby step is progress forward but the emotional side is screaming louder. But, thank you for posting this today. I gave me the encouragement I needed today.

  2. Thank you for this John. I suffer from depression and although I’m currently taking medication for it, sometimes I can’t find my way out of the fog and I think it’s never going to lift.

    It feels me with joy to have someone say “It’s OK to not be OK” and I’ve learned to start admitting when I’m not OK to others. I used to always say “I’m fine” when anybody asked but that gets tiring very quickly and I was sick of lying to myself as well as to my friends.

    Depression can be such a difficult thing because for me, it makes it very hard to articulate how I’m feeling or why I might feel a certain way at any given time. It also puts undue pressure on my relationships.

    I know you’re not specifically aiming at those with depression but that helps so thank you once again John.

    Suzannein Glasgow, Scotland

  3. Thank you….You have no idea how much this touches my soul today… It has been 4 years of not OK and no end in sight, but to hope for a moment that someday it will be, is such a gift. Breathing deeply, knowing it’s OK to not be OK in MN…

  4. As tears roll down, I say thanks to you for writing encouragement and hope. From the tunnel the light is shining, dimly but it’s there. thanks. Keep writing!

  5. What a gift to have this arrive today of all days. Husband going in for open heart surgery ,mother diagnosed with breast cancer, son facing foreclosure , feeling hopeless and helpless and then read your message which seemed to written just to me . Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  6. I wonder if you have a hidden camera in my brain because your posts seem to speak directly to me, at just the right time. Like now, when I’m feeling very not-OK.
    Thank you.

    • It actually had nothing to do with politics, dover, but if in your shoes it resonates that way, that’s fine. I just felt like writing something to encourage anyone anywhere who needs it.

      • Thank you John. And thank you for this article…you’ve obviously touched so many that needed it..including me. I have been so close to losing complete hope and it’s only for the wise and compassionate people like you that keep me putting one foot in front of the other and deciding to stick around in the world for a bit longer to see if I can truly depend on hope. I’m really not ok right now but thank you for giving me the permission to just be there while I work through this hell that I have been dealt. Thank you friend.

    • Wow…how insensitive can you be to hurting people. Your sarcasm isn’t cute or funny and insensitive assholes like you are the very root of the problem with our ever-increasing evil uncompassionate world. I doubt this author would want to have anything in common with you at all.

  7. I cannot tell you how perfect your words are. This is AMAZING! Thank you for exactly each and every single word you wrote in this post. I’m sharing this with as many as I can (giving you the credit.) You will never know how many people you will have helped through this single post. You are an incredible writer. I want to read these words everyday. Thank you. Thank you! Perfectly written!!!!!

  8. I have no words to express how this spoke to me. I just told a friend that I am so tired that I don’t think I can go on. My entire life is chaos and I cannot fix one broken part of it. So…I am not ok but I am reassured that it is ok to not be ok! Thank you!

  9. You are a much-needed balm to this world. God bless you and keep you, John, and may He do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine for your good. For all of the hearts He has you heal, I pray you are surrounded proportionately by His protection against the fire that tries to thwart and wound you. Thank you for your good, good heart.

  10. The timing of this couldn’t possibly be better. I have just come through a horrendous depression during which I almost took my own life last Wednesday. I’ve just spent a full week in a psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation and Bipolar I disorder, and I came home to read this blog post. Every word resonates with me and gives structure to what I’m feeling. What a blessing! Thank you!

  11. I agree with so many others who say that your message came at just the right time. This is exactly what I need to hear today. Thank you so much.

  12. Joining the ranks of those thanking you for posting this, John. As I lie awake at 2:30AM in the middle of an extremely painful separation and divorce not of my choosing, this reminds me that – as Gungor sings – this is not the end.

  13. Não entendo perfeitamente o inglês e leio seus textos no google tradutor. Incrível, mas, eu precisava ouvir essas palavras hoje. Obrigada, Deus abençõe você. It’s gonna be ok!

    Translated: Not completely understand English and read their texts in google translator . Incredible, but I needed to hear those words today. Thank you, God bless you . It’s gonna be ok !

    Thank you very much! I’m so glad the writing encouraged you.

  14. thank you, for writing this. It has been a very sad and difficult time for me and my children. We lost my beloved husband and their Dad suddenly and very unexpectedly…and our world changed. It has not been easy in so many ways that people do not even know about…for us. Emotionally, financially, etc. All they say is get over it. move on. They do not understand , that I am not only dealing and suffering with my hurt, grief and fear, but also my children’s. Every single day, since He passed on. Someday’s it is all I can do to get out of bed but I do, because I am doing my best to move on…but that doesn’t make the hurt sadness grief fear and missing our old life go away. It aches. It is every where. They have no idea what this feels like, but today after reading your words I know that there are some people who do, and understand.

    • John, what do we do about feeling ok about climate change destruction? How can I be ok with everything that is going on and wait it out, Trumpwise, if we are doomed anyway?

      • Accepting that what is is okay and that the state of not okay is okay does not mean wait it out. Accepting releases energy being used up in the resistance to what is. Acceptance means acknowledging what is. Accepting it’s not okayness, feeling the hope hidden in that acceptance and then stepping up to do what needs to be done, stepping up to do the leg work, to move the situation towards okay.

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  16. To all of those who are NOT feeling okay today … Please accept this loving hug from your friend near Kansas City.

    And John — This is yet another of your beautiful essays that I am sharing with everyone.

  17. While what you say is correct, the sad reality is that just as there will again be moments of peace/joy, the sadness always returns. So it doesn’t ever truely go away. You just live the best you can.

  18. I realize this was posted last year but just ran across on Facebook, needed this right now. Mom has lung cancer, marriage on the rocks and my two senior doggies on decline. Overwhelmed care giver and just so so sad. Thank you John!

  19. I’m in a mixed state, which means I never know when I wake up whether or not I’ll be “okay” or “not okay”. And unfortunately the light at the end of the tunnel is the blazing hell of mania. But I still tell my daughter, when she is in the dark place, that even though it sounds impossible it will get better. I believe this with all my heart; how can I exist not believing that?

    Yesterday I saw a couple walking out of the grocery store, laughing. I remember laughing, but depression eats away at good memories, of feeling joy, until they seem unreal, diminished, or even painful.

    Still, the light at the end of the tunnel is all we got. Thanks, John, for saying it again. This thread may be past it’s sell-by date but it sure felt good to write.

  20. This piece is extremely timely and I thank you for the thoughts you have laid out here.

    Between the election and my mental health issues, I’ve really been having a tough time. But, you’re right. It will get better. Maybe my fears won’t come true. Or maybe some of them won’t come true. But, I know that I will start to feel better at some point.

  21. Thanks. You have no idea how much I needed to read this. I’m on the precipice of total professional and financial ruin. I HAVE to keep this message before me.

  22. I am not okay. I saw it coming just as you said. There is no joy. There is only this minute and the next. I started therapy. Things I used to enjoy don’t seem to matter. The people I trusted I no longer recognize. The country I trusted I no longer recognize. The darkness has no end. I hope your words are true. I’d like to believe them. I’m tired and don’t really know if I have it in me this time.

  23. I just shared this with my family, who are trying their best to support me as I lose my health and ability to walk, my job, my independence, my home, having to part with my best friend who has been my roommate for almost 20 years, breaking up our home where I have lived for 30 years since I can’t afford to keep it any longer, having to watch him part with our dogs as I move in with my daughter and her family. I am luckier than most, since my daughter and I are both selling our houses to get something larger, and will have family to take care of me as my MS continues to take away so much from me. I almost feel selfish since there are so many so much worse off than I am, but it still hurts like hell. Thank you for giving me permission to feel the pain. I will slowly let go of what I am losing and grieve for it, and look forward to getting to the Place Of OK. After I get there, I will try to pay it forward to others who are still in the Place Of Not OK. Thank you, words can be powerful.

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