It’s RU Ok Day. I feel a bit at odds with this campaign. Mainly because I feel it over simplifies the deeply complex issue of brain malfunction (my preferred term for mental illness) and skips over the fact that what is needed more than anything to lower the suicide rate in Australia is more Government funding. So hospitals and professionals can provide mental health services and to enable people to access the professional help they need, both during crisis and ongoing. Funding will save lives.
BUT one of the messages of the campaign that does resonate is that of making connection. Anyone who has ever suffered depression, or even felt the burden of an overwhelming sadness will know of the deep feelings of isolation that are intricately linked to brain malfunction. Having a meaningful connection with another can sometimes help to provide the motivation needed to seek professional help. Or the support network to take the first steps of seeing your GP.
It is our interactions with others that impact so much how we feel. My friends cannot cure my anxiety. Science, and my team of professional medical providers can help me manage it. But my friends and family provide me the motivation to keep fighting it and the distractions to reset on bad days.
In my strata world, the connections I have with people in the sector are the reason I feel confident enough to write these blogs. To tell you the stories of my life. To work in a business committed to change and innovation. To advocate for women. To put myself out there. Without them, without my tribe, I’d be sitting at my desk thinking but not sharing. Wanting to reach out but not feeling like I was good enough to.
Give yourself permission today, and then for more days, to reach out to your connections, meaningfully. If you can, if you have the emotional resources. Ask your people, are they ok? If they are not support them to seek professional help.
And if you want to reply to R U OK? with a;
‘well actually, no I’m not. I am not ok and I need you’ PLEASE DO. Don’t feel shame. Trust your tribe. Let them catch you.
Hug a friend (if you like hugs). Pat a puppy or kitten (if you are not allergic). Tell a fart joke (because who doesn’t love a fart joke) and see your Doctor. Telling someone you are not ok is not an admission of failure. Ever. It is the first step to feeling better.