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It’s OK Not to Be OK

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaMay 4, 2020View more posts from Jennifer Anand

It’s OK to struggle. This quarantine time is so hard. I find each day a battle to get out of bed, and lack motivation to start my day, especially when I don’t even know what day it is! It’s OK Not to Be OK!

It’s OK to take time for yourself. I want to be a good worker. I want to be a good friend. I want to do good things for others, but sometimes I don’t have the energy or strength, and I need to focus on taking care of myself. Allowing myself to sit wrapped in blankets for a little bit. Or to wallow with that dish of ice cream. Or even just to mindlessly watch TV instead of doing something productive.

It’s OK to need help.  People reach out to me with “I’ve been thinking of you” and “How is quarantine going” and “I’m going shopping, do you need any food”. My first response is to be “good, how about you, and no I don’t.” But that’s not true. These people have contacted me specifically because they actually care. And the least I can do is reply honestly. So I’ve started telling them. It’s not going well. I think I’m going to go crazy. I could use a pick-me up. I’m sad. It’s hard.

It’s OK to be sad. My brother graduated college, and while it should have been a happy occasion, I cried on the couch for most of it. He’s coming back today with my sister but I won’t get to see them for two weeks. I’m sad. I wish I were there with them. I’m sad to be missing out on the big things like weddings and birthdays, but also the smaller things like bonfires with friends or dinner together.

It’s OK to feel hopeless. This feels like it will never end, but it will. It has too. I see cancer muggles chomping at the bit to be allowed back to their “normal” lives. But even, and especially, once they start congregating en mass again, I can’t. This time will be longer and harder and stricter for me than most of the others in my life. And I wish cancer muggles would understand that their freedom does not mean freedom for all of us.  And this quarantine has already felt like an eternity.

One day, someday, hopefully soon- it will be OK again. But for now, it’s OK to not be OK.

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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