It’s been a week since it ended, but I still can’t believe it’s over.
I also can’t believe I’m writing this review. It’s Okay Not To Be Okay really did bring me healing too – in more ways than one.
“People stick together because they are weak. We lean on each other. That’s what makes us humans.”
The story is about three people who experienced a rough and traumatic childhood. Later in life, as grown-ups, they have learned how to heal by facing their demons, leaning on to each other for strength, and being their own person all the same.
Moon Gang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun)
Gang Tae is a health worker in a psychiatric ward. Contrary to his job of trying to help others heal, he couldn’t heal himself. He bottles everything in: faking a smile and always saying he is okay even when he is not. It has to do with his brother, Sang Tae. Sang Tae spends his life studying Gangtae’s face and his expressions, so Gang Tae always keeps his guard in check. He always wears a mask that he forgot how he looks like without it.
Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se)
Sang Tae is Gang Tae’s older brother who has autism. He saw their mother got killed, which caused him trauma. Because of this, he and Gang Tae always have to move out from one place to another. They are going places, but not really going anywhere. Sangtae loves dinosaurs, pizza, camping van, and money. He loves to draw and want to be an illustrator; he found himself in his arts. He hates butterflies, which is related to his trauma too.
Ko Mun Yeong (Seo Ye Ji)
Mun Yeong is an author of children’s books, though her style is not the usual fairytale we are all familiar with. She is a sociopath. She has her way of getting what she wants and explodes whenever things do not go her way. Her mother was a psycho, so she grew up being afraid that she might end up like her mother. Like Sangtae, she saw how her mother died too, but Munyeong’s fears did not die with her. It still haunts and traps her, making her think that she doesn’t deserve anyone and that she’s not allowed to be happy.
My Thoughts About the Story in General
💭 It’s Okay Not To Be Okay is indeed a healing drama. It showed us how trauma works. A friend told me once that we should not casually call some incidents as trauma just because they are ‘bad experiences’. It is more than that.
“It incapacitates you,” he said.
And you will see here how these traumas incapacitated the characters. There is this chapter where they talked about not being able to get out if you’re trapped in the past because there is no door to open. You have to find it, that’s why it is harder to get out. That makes sense, right? Opening it is one thing, but looking for it first is a completely different story. As they said here, I hope we all find that door.
💭 I love the animation!
💭 Everyone has a story to tell, and It’s Okay Not To Be Okay narrates each tale so well. I love how they give depth to the characters who are admitted to OK Psychiatric Hospital by incorporating their stories in the episodes. I think this made the plot even more interesting – like finding the mother, we all got intrigued while forming our own theories. Every character will surely leave its mark, especially the ending episode, they made sure you won’t forget each and every one of them.
💭 It’s Okay Not To Be Okay opens a world for us to see some parts of the human psyche by educating us about different mental disorders.
💭 The sensory experience we all have to go through in this drama is surreal. The visual they presented to us – some are gross, morbid, haunting. The way they depict sleep paralysis is just so real. I remember all the nights I have it too. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. The sound effects and the soundtracks make all the visions look and feel even more real. I have to note that the intro gives me a creepy vibe but still also soothing somehow – as if something forbidding awaits but just like how they said here, “the one that torments you can also be the one that saves you.”
💭 Both the cinematography and the transitions are so on point. The way the camera pans from one clip to the other really leaves me in awe most of the time. My favourite frames, I would say, are those scenes where they show the kid version of the characters in it. I have always believed that some of the deepest traumas we have come from our childhood. It’s Okay Not To Be Okay showed us that no matter how hard it is to reach that inner child once we grow up, we still can. And sometimes, that’s the only way to heal. I really love how the kid versions are being consoled. It made me want to reach out to my inner child too and tell her “it’s all going to be okay.”
💭 I love how each episode correlates with a fairytale. I think it is very creative how these fairytales are weaved into one full drama without compromising the essence of its stories. You can check all the books here.
💭 We are introduced to three kinds of mothers here and I guess it also showed us the different kinds of love. I have thought so hard about Munyeong’s mother (and father) and if we can call it love. I guess for her (them), it is.. in a way. We all view love differently so we show it in different ways too.
💭 Some of the lines are somewhat reassuring, comforting even. One of my favourites would be:
“We all have a set amount of happiness and misfortune assigned to us. If their lives have been filled with misfortune until now, it means only happiness awaits them.”
You have no idea how much I wanted to believe that.
💭 It’s Okay Not To Be Okay made me realise that it is not the “I love yous” that I want to hear from my parents. It is “I’m sorry.”
💭 “I don’t want to forget. I want to be okay remembering.” I always say this because I’m tired of trying to forget things just because I don’t like it or it’s unpleasant. Why would you want to remember fucked up things, right? But I realized that the more I try to bury things in an attempt to forget them, they just resurface like an avalanche that it’s even harder to control. One of the lessons here aligns with this mental practice that I’m doing, so it made me feel less alone (because everyone around me wants to forget). It goes like this:
“So don’t forget any of it. Remember it all and overcome it. If you don’t overcome it, you’ll always be a kid whose soul never grows.”
💭 I don’t know how many times I have said this already, but I still believe that you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I love how It’s Okay Not To Be Okay showed us that while we can’t save someone completely because my battle is not your battle and vice versa, we can still help each other.
💭 I am my own person and you are yours; I love how this is highlighted in this drama. I am an individualist so I really love its ending. They didn’t let go of each other, they kept loving each other, but they did not lose themselves in the process. I think that’s the healthiest relationship we can have, and also says so much about our healing journey. Do not lose yourself for others.
I don’t know if this gives justice to the masterpiece that is It’s Okay Not To Be Okay. Nonetheless, I am glad that I have finally written my thoughts about it. It’s been so long since I wrote my last KDrama review, so I hope you enjoy this one. Here’s to healing. <33
Thank you for being here. I hope you can support me and leave a tip here.🤎
I hope my words reach you,
[Featured Image: Courtesy of TVN]