This post appeared in my Facebook Memories this week. I felt it timely, given I’m away, raising awareness of SANE Australia and mental illness. It has been one of my most popular posts over the years, so I share it again with you … read, comment, whatever …
I write this post not only from (or for??) me, but on behalf of many, many others. Some I know really well, some I know just a little and some I have never ever met before and probably never will. But I’m sure most of them well understand (and hopefully appreciate or respect) my writing on their behalf.
Today is R U O K? Day, a brilliant initiative not only aimed at reducing the stigma around suicide, but to get society active and asking those they care about – friends, family, colleagues etc – if they’re ok or not. Because the rates of suicide in this country are appalling; 2000 suicide deaths per year in Australia.
I was nearly one of them. I have three boys, and given males between ages 20 and 34 .. I’m kinda of a little angsty about it. I’ve experienced depression, from mild to severe (to suicidal) and I understand and appreciate the stigma and ignorance and total disrepect for the illness.
This is why I (and many others) say “yeah, I’m ok” when you ask me “Are you ok?)
- I love you and I don’t want to hurt you
- I respect you and I don’t want to disappoint you
- Because I don’t want you to think it’s your fault, to feel responsible or blame yourself … none of it is you
- I want you to continue to see me as you always have … maybe one day I can be that person, and maybe that person is already inside me, buried deep and wanting to get out
- I don’t want you to think any less of me
- Because you say “me too”
- Beacuse your “me too” is always worse than mine
- There are children starving in Africa, people dying of cancer and wars going on
- Because you tell me I’m being silly, irrational and illogical
- You tell me to stop being so silly, irrational and illogical
- You tell me I’m selfish
- You tell me others who have commit suicide are selfish and stupid – why would I confide in you?
- I hear that depression isn’t a real disease from you
- You say to just snap out of it, get on with it, get over it
- You say “awww hugs”
- I’m only asked if I’m ok when its RUOK? Day … where are you the other days?
- You tell me you’ll be there, but when I’m not OK, where did you go?
- You send messages of support … can you please pick up the phone and talk to me?
- I need you all the time, not just when I’m at my worst … and most dramatic …
- I love you and I don’t want to disappoint you …
For all these reasons (and probably more) I tell you I’m OK. Sometimes I really am OK, and sometimes I’m not.
I love the RUOK? Day initiative. I love the RUOK? concept.
(Even if it still has a few flaws, mostly generated by the larger society who still have yet to accept the message … but that’s ok)
Today, when you ask someone if they are OK, please don’t do it just because it is RUOK? Day. Please do it because you genuinely care. Because you care about them.
Please keep in mind the reasons (as above) they may say “Yup, I’m doing OK” when, inside, they are dying. Please check out this fabulous resource from the RUOK website – How to start an RUOK conversation before you ask.
And if you need help, because someone you love is not OK and you’re really not sure how to deal with it, or you’re feeling crap yourself there are a list of resources you can find on the RUOK website – I need help now – and on the Critical Mass pages over at Real Mums.
For more info on RUOK? Day visit their website at www.ruokday.com.au