Are you ok? Are we ok? Am I ok?
It’s been a long time since I last made an entry to this blog and that all comes down to me waiting until I have something that triggers a feeling or emotion that I feel I can authentically share a story about. Now RUOK Day is something that always triggers those feelings and the cause behind it is something so close to home for me that I wanted to talk today about the how proud I am of our society and how far it has come to releasing some of the stigma around depression and mental illness.
I won’t go too much into where it all starts for me, but very quickly I would love to make a special mention without using names to all the people who played a role in supporting me and caring for me right back when I first opened up about my depression and my attempted suicide. The reason I’d like to acknowledge you is firstly because without you there is no guarantee that I wouldn’t even still be here today and secondly is because in my opinion that small group of young men and women in that small regional town who were brave and open enough to allow a conversation about depression to happen when society was still very afraid to has had such a profound impact on the course of my life and I’m sure it has done the same for many other people in that town who are still there and those who have left. Because we were able to talk so openly about something like that, I believe that a lot of other people young and old realised that they could also talk about it and that they should in fact talk about it more. When something so positive and powerful like that begins there is nothing that can stop it and whilst we have still lost friends and loved ones over the years to depression and suicide I think it’s safe to say we have been able to save a lot of lives too.
I’d also like to mention the hundreds if not thousands of people who have continued to support me and my journey the last 5 years. Whether I met you 5 years ago or yesterday I am so grateful for all the people who I am fortunate enough to meet and learn from through their stories, their support and their friendships. I have come across so many people who like me have seen some dark times and it’s been incredibly humbling to see so many of these people who at some point in their life almost ended it are now doing their part to help create awareness and empower other people to overcome their own demons.
So thank you to everyone who does their part to continue to raise awareness and help other to find the help they need.
Basically today is just an opportunity for me to brag about “YOU”.
Every single one of you that has done any small thing to help someone else, every one of you who has lended a shoulder for someone to cry on, every one of you that has been brave enough to tell someone it’s ok to be broken, every one of you that has seen those tough times and is now using your story and your survival as a means of helping those around you. I am here to brag about you!
RUOK Day in my opinion is less about making a day for us to ask our friends if they need help and more about celebrating the fact that as a society we are making a difference every single day by being there for one another. Asking if someone is ok is something that should be happening every single day so keep doing it, but take today as an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate how far we have come as a society because without the continuous actions of everyday people just like you we would still be shrugging our shoulders at the thought of our neighbour being in pain, and we would be wiping our hands at the thought of reaching out to those in need. It’s scary to think of what could have happened to this generation if people didn’t open up, but thankfully we have decided to venture down the right path and together we will beat depression and suicide.
On a serious note now there are lots of people who will read this and either are struggling themselves or know someone who might be, if that is you then please borrow some of my strength and have the courage to either ask for help or reach out to someone, because it’s a well known fact that just one conversation could save a life.
Today I leave you with a video of a situation that directly relates to our obligation in society to go first and be the first one to talk about something especially in the case of mental health and depression because when one person does it and they stay on that path knowing that it is going to be good for the people around them then more people will follow suit and join them in their mission to make the world a better place.
Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.
If you or someone you know is suffering then please seek help.
For professional assistance please call
Australia: Lifeline – 13 11 14
New Zealand: Lifeline – 0800 543 354
USA/Canada: Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1800 273 8255
UK: HopeLineUK – 0800 068 41 41
In emergency situations please call your local emergency services.