Today is R U OK Day. A suicide prevention charity in Australia, reminding people that having meaningful conversations with loves ones, friends and strangers can save a life.
You don’t have to be an expert in this field, it’s just an initiative to encourage people to ask the question, it is also a reminder to those who may be struggling that it is OK TO NOT BE OK. Speak up, ask someone for help.
One of their slogans is “A conversation could change a life”. I really, truly believe this and believe it is super important to reach out - but it doesn’t just stop there. It’s not just about jumping on board, adding something cute or catchy to your social media feed/s and leaving it that. It’s about following up. It’s about genuinely reaching out and it’s about doing so with the right intent.
If you are going to reach out to someone, anyone - make sure you are ready and willing to listen. You may not be faced with an easy answer.
The person you ask may not be ok. They may need someone to help them or at least point them in the right direction to seek help.
R U OK day is quite timely for me (and I am guessing many others) at the moment. Why? Because I have NOT been ok. For the last 6 months there has been many days in each week which I am really struggling. And the hard thing is, somedays I can’t even pin point what it is. I can’t put my finger on what is making me feel this way.
Sure, I, and my family have faced a lot in 2020 (but so have so many others. And a lot have faced more than I) but that isn’t the point. I have been struggling and I need to acknowledge that. Yes, I may have my health, I may have a roof over my head, food on my table, a loving family etc - but my mental health is not ok and that is something that needs to be addressed.
Some may know that I have on and off been seeing a Psychologist over the last 12 or so years. I, like many others suffer from mental ill health. I suffer with mild depression and have also suffered from mild anxiety. I have never taken medication for this because I am a big believer that talking and working through my mental ill health through words (whether that be spoken or written) is my best source of medicine.
I am also lucky because I am not afraid to talk about my triggers. And although I definitely do not have this under control, I do know what helps. (But this doesn’t mean I am good at helping myself, in fact of late, I have been very shit at it.)
For me (as stated above) I need to talk, I need to write, to get those feelings and thoughts out of my head. I need to do something that is meaningful to me and helpful to others in some way. Helping people gives me purpose. It makes my heart happy. I also need to exercise and sunshine helps me immensely.
But sometimes, even when I have been talking, even if I am busy and the sun is shining - it sneaks up on me and I am flattened. That’s when I need to reach out for help. I need to dig deep and have some self reflection. Sometimes, I just need to be by myself - be with my thoughts and emotions. Oh and I forgot, cleaning - oh man. Some days I could clean for hours and then I am back!
Anyway, this past 6 months has been a real MOFO and I have been lucky to have the support and care of my wonderful husband. This man truly deserves a medal, because he puts up with my 18 personalities daily - and every day he is always there. Without fail, he is there with open arms, and ears at the ready. I also have a small bubble of people whom I am comfortable unloading to and this is more helpful than I think they would ever know. One person in particular, whom I have only been friends with for the last 3 or so years has been a real saviour to me - to her I will be eternally grateful. She checks in on me almost daily (especially when things have been really dark) but she doesn’t just check in, she is there to listen. She is there to offer an ear, to offer support and to help me talk through whatever it may be. She also (something that is very important) gives me permission to NOT be ok. She listens without judgement.
(So, this has become much bigger than I originally intended, but those who know me well, know that I do this often. I am not a girl of few words. Let’s get back to it.)
My point is - It really is ok to NOT be ok!
It’s really is ok to need to take some time out.
It’s really is ok to reach out and ask for help.
What you’re going through doesn’t have to be the worst thing in the world, the mere fact that it matters to you and it affecting you is enough. Be kind to yourself and to others. And when you do offer help - “saddle up” to be there for that person, cause it could be much more than just one conversation.
But also, if you are not in the position to offer help and assistance, that’s ok too. It’s important to protect and look after yourself first.
Stay safe my dears - Thanks for reading.