It’s OK not to feel OK – but don’t let it stop you

The pandemic has made us more isolated, insecure and self-critical. You’re not alone, writes Birmingham medical student Maiar Elhariry

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 10 May 2021

It’s okay not to feel okay. It’s okay to feel like you don’t fit in. It’s okay to feel like others are better than you. But it’s important to remember that these are feelings, and cannot be proven. Often feelings are just a by-product of an overthinking or self-undervaluing brain.

As one of the regional representatives on the BMA, I have heard many colleagues and friends voice such feelings. It’s completely normal to feel that way at times – you are not the only one. As bad as they might make you feel, the consequent guilt and helplessness for having them only make things worse.

Such feelings might have been aggravated by COVID as people were isolated from others and overthinking took over. The pandemic also increased the reliance on social media, where opportunities for support might not have been advertised evenly, leading to them only being taken up by some and not others. And the ‘public image’ that social media allows people to present further fuels the problem. Seeing that daily serves as a false reminder that others are living a perfect life. But the reality behind the screen that we often don’t see or acknowledge is that their lives aren’t as perfect as they may seem.

I have learned from my experiences and those of others that you are the biggest critic of yourself. It always easier for you to see yourself as ‘unworthy’ or ‘less than’ but others are likely to have a much higher perception of you. It is these false assumptions that deter many from running for positions and putting themselves forward. If you don’t try, you can’t learn. Going for something you want – even if the chances are 0.00001%, is still higher than a chance of 0%. Enjoy the process regardless of the outcome.

You do not know what other great things might be out there for you, and you won’t unless you search for them.

Take a deep breath and relax. We all grow in our own ways and at our own rates. It’s completely understandable to compare yourself to others and wonder why you seem to be ‘behind’. But, trust that they might be feeling – or have felt – the same way you do.

As an MSC representative for Birmingham, I am on my personal Zoom ID from 6.30 to 7.30pm every day to support anyone who might need it. Please feel free to join – even if from outside Birmingham, I am happy to discuss anything.

Join me on Zoom (meeting ID: 649 838 4617, passcode: mayojoin)