R U OK?

Tomorrow, the 15th of September, is R U OK? Day, a national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones.

We are encouraged to ask our loved ones “Are you ok?” and they are asked to really, truly answer the question.

I’ve not been sure how to address this day, though I knew I wanted to post something.

While acknowledging the importance and need for a day such as this, it doesn’t make it any less confronting. I have talked about my struggle with Post Natal Depression here and found support from all corners of Australia, yet I still find it hard to discuss. There’s that part of me that just wants to pretend that things are, well, ok.

My most recent med change was a real bitch to go through, but on a whole I have felt so much more alive, present and positive since the initial effects wore off. So, mostly I am feeling better but there’s a part of me which is nervous about tomorrow. What if someone asks me and I have put out there that I believe we should answer with honestly? Because right now, I am not so sure what my answer would be, depending on the moment I was caught in would make the difference between a yes or a flood of tears. And the extreme difference between my possible answers doesn’t mean my yes would be a lie; this is simply a reflection of where I am at.

We have had an emotional year or so from the birth of a new child to my severe PND to uprooting my family to move 5 hours away from where we made our home to selling said home. Since moving we’ve all been sick time and again and living on top of each other given that we’re staying with my mum and brothers in a three bedroom house, it’s been full on, challenging and exhausting and now things are all in upheaval again. Now that I have dragged James here to be near my family, they’re leaving. Dad is off to be married and live in the mountains and Mum is off to the city as Caleb has been accepted into a sport’s school. I am happy for them, however, I am emotional for myself and there is that evil, depression led part of me which is gnawing at me with thoughts of being abandoned, of not being important enough. And, unfortunately, this is not the only complication in life right now.

So, honestly, tomorrow I kind of hope no one asks me if I am okay, because who knows what I will say.

Then there’s the other side of this day. I think we have been conditioned to expect a response of “I’m fine” when we ask others if they’re doing ok and it’s a shame, but there’s a scary aspect to getting an honest answer. What will they say? What might come out? What might we need to face?

Having lived not only with my own mental illness, but with other family members suffering, too can be a heavy weight to bear. Knowing and watching someone you love suffer hurts and there’s not always something to talk about and when there is it can be a volatile mix; sufferer and sufferer burdening each other in a haze of tears and misery.

So, yes, I think R U OK? Day is important and there needs to be more conversations surrounding how people are really doing and feeling. Absolutely, take the time to sit down with a friend over coffee and ask how they’re doing and if you’re on the receiving end answer with honesty. Sometimes all you need is to talk and having someone care enough to care, sit and listen without judgement could be the difference between feeling like you’re drowning and seeing that speck of light showing you where you will find air.

If you’re talking to a friend who isn’t okay, please listen without judgement.

For more posts go here.

And if you or a friend needs help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and know it’s ok to ask for help if you need it.

So, what about you – R U OK?

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Good work Becky with spreading the word on depression, it can be so debilitating, I have battled since I was 13 although not diagnosed until I had the twins 15 yrs ago, had my ups and down with meds but changed a few months ago to Lovan and all is smooth at the moment. Its only been the last few years that I feel like I have been “allowed” to say I have depression, as a teenager I was just “moody” and “difficult”.
    My scary thing is my son who is 15 this week, he came to me tonight and said he feels sad and thinks he has some OCD tendancies, have been watching him closely for the last few years, he knows I take my “happy pills”. Mmm its tough, but we just have to keep asking R U OK. Cheers Jen

  2. Goodness Becky, it has been a busy and emotional period in your life and I understand what it’s like to experience the full swing of emotions all in one day. But you have been and are such an advocate for the truth and encouragement in shining a light on depression and mental illness. You do so much to help others in this situation. I hope in return others reach out to you and you let them in. I’ll be hitting you up tomorrow Becky… we’ll have to have an RUOK coffee on twitter or something! LOL
    Hope things work out for you in your new home. Think of you lots. xxxx

  3. I’m so glad you were honest in this post. Life has been really rocky for you over the past year, and I can feel it written here.

    I think this is SUCH a great initiative, because it’s so Australian to say, “how are you?” as part of our usual greeting. I don’t think we really stop to see how the person REALLY is.

    So thank you. And if you want to talk, I’m only an email away.

    Are YOU okay?

    xx

  4. You guys have been through so much of late and your bravery and honesty is so amazing and encouraging. Thinking of you and sending love. x

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