“R U OK?” Day.

It’s Thursday the thirteenth of September and here, in Australia, it’s ‘R U OK” Day. It’s all about encouraging honest conversation about the hard stuff. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to talk about it.

As a bit of background – the movement was started in 2009 and is run by “R U OK?”, an independent, not-for-profit organisation who are committed to preventing suicide through increasing connectedness and communication (About R U OK?).

Personally, I’ve had times where it doesn’t feel okay to tell anyone how I really am. I haven’t been able to say that my death would feel like a blessing. I’ve been in horrible, horrible mindsets. I’ve believed that suicide is the only answer. Now, I  know that’s not the reality, but once I slip into a depressive state, all rational thinking disappears.

Supporting someone who is struggling with depression, with self-harm, with suicidal ideation, anything can be very hard work. No amount of love for a person makes caring for them any easier. I’ve been there too.

I’ve been on the other side of the phone – sitting with someone who is intensely suicidal, has self-harmed or is having a really difficult time. It takes a lot of skill, a lot of patience, and a lot of love to sit with someone who is struggling so much. I do think it needs to be said that those who find themselves in a carer/helper/supporter role do need to remember to take care of themselves too. Have firm boundaries in place and stick to them. Know when to seek professional help for your friend, family member or loved one.

No words can adequately describe how hard it is to support someone who is unwell…. but on the other hand no words can describe the gratitude I have for the people who have supported me through the tough times.

So, to all my readers – Are you okay? If you are – awesome. If not, speak up. Tell someone. Get it out there and let others share the burden with you. No one has to struggle alone.

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