With national ‘#ruok?’ day approaching on 10th September, this year I am setting aside time to take stock of my own mental health, check in, reflect, and talk about it. Most businesses will support and post about R U OK day but this year I want to share what it means to me.
Life is tough. Life can be a struggle. Life throws curve balls that we don’t wish for, or dream will ever happen to us or our loved ones. I am stubborn. I am fiercely independent. I am private. I love to celebrate and share the good times but I tend to face life’s ‘battles’ on my own. However, when the going gets really tough we can’t always go it alone. It’s often not until help and support is forced upon me that I realise just how much I desperately depend upon it.
We all need friends, family, neighbours, or even the local barista to look us in the eye and ask, ‘R U OK’? Take notice, check in, and look (whether it be online or face to face) ‘your people’ in the eye and ask them if they are OK. And if you are desperate for someone to ask you, but no one has, please take a really deep breath of courage and tell just one person you’re not ok. No one is ever too busy to offer care and support to someone they love.
The COVID-19 health crisis has led us to a mental health crisis, and from recent statistics more Australians than ever are struggling to cope with day to day life. Confinement, loneliness and lack of support are all situations impacting people’s mental health. Anxiety, depression and suicide do not discriminate from race, culture, wealth, status, or family background . Mental illness is a disease threatening our youth, middle-aged and elderly. . Due to the current nature of the world we reside in, it is present and unpredictable in nature. And just like Coronavirus, just because someone is not displaying symptoms does not mean the condition is not present.
So if you are currently struggling or feeling like life is all too much, I want you to know you are loved and there is care and support to help you through the dark times. Please speak to your partner. Talk to your GP. Call your best mate. If privacy is paramount find a quiet place and call Beyond Blue or Lifeline. You will never be judged for asking for support. It’s okay to not be okay.
Thanks to the generosity of kind souls, and other ‘special moments’ we are reminded of the amount of joy that there is in our world, but there are undoubtedly some days you just may have to look a little closer and dig a little deeper.
Importantly, asking the question and simply offering an ear or having a meaningful conversation can really make the difference in someone’s life. You don’t need to be an expert to reach out – just a kind friend and a good listener. A simple conversation could change – or save – a life.
This September Bindle will be donating 3% of all online sales to Beyond Blue. Beyond Blue is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by anxiety, depression and suicide – and creating change to protect everyone’s mental health.
Upon reflection I acknowledge and accept that some days I am not ok, yet I still struggle to reach out. But I am grateful for those who reach out to me and I will make a heightened effort to reach out to others. It’s like a circle of kindness.
The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warming and blossom is appearing on the trees. No matter how long or cold your Winter feels, Spring will always bloom. As we put the dark days of Winter behind us let’s check in on our loved ones and spread the hope and optimism of better days ahead.