How are you going? I hope your month is kicking off nicely. I know we are nearly halfway through September! However, it still feels fresh to me.
Last week was a bit of a shocker for me and I just felt down and out. I realise this is because there has been a lot going on. The girls have one more week of school left, so everyone is tired and ready for a break. Also this past winter has just been crazy and filled with all sorts of unexpected and challenging moments. And I have had had far too little sleep for the last few weeks. For some reason the change of weather (which has been very welcome) rather than lifting my spirits made me feel down. I think I felt unprepared and not yet ready for Spring. So last week I lay low, got plenty of sunshine, went for plenty of walks and took the girls to do lots of low key, fun, outdoor activities.
It also coincidentally was R U OK day last Thursday in Australia. It is a day when we stop, take time out to ask people if they are doing okay. R U OK? is a non profit suicide prevention organisation in Australia. Mental illness is something that I believe is extremely common, if not normal. We all get cold and flus and feel no qualms talking about it. However, when it comes to mental health there is still a stigma around it. People don’t really know how to start the conversation and what to say.
I suffered for quite a few years in my late teens and early 20s off and on with depression. If last week had happened to me at 19 I would not have known how to pull myself out of it in a week the way I do now. And that is not to say that it doesn’t affect older Australians too, it does. It affects people across all spectrums, education levels, professions, ages, etc. There are people far more mature, intelligent and put together than myself who battle with it. I feel much better equipped to handle it then I did previously but that also doesn’t mean I am immune.
In one year approximately 65,000 Australians attempt suicide and with an average of 2,340 succeeding (Source). Shocking. With such tragic statistics we need to open up conversations and make it okay to talk about mental illness. And that is why I am being so up front and frank about my struggles. To be honest I don’t enjoy blogging when I am feeling down and out, which is fine. However, I don’t want it to skew anyone’s perception that my life is all rainbows and lollipops. I feel incredibly grateful and satisfied with my life but that has not always been the case. It is normal to struggle with mental health issues and it is healthy to talk about it and get help.
Never be afraid to pick up the phone and call a friend. Check in with your family and friends properly. Make a point this month to really connect with someone and check they are doing okay. And if you are not doing okay know that there are people out there who are with you for the ride. It is easy to feel isolated, overwhelmed and alone. You are not. Let’s be in this together. Call a friend. Call lifeline 13 11 14. Book in with your GP and get a referral to a counsellor. (In Australia your GP can help you go on a plan where you get up to ten sessions at a very reduced rate I believe). There is help out there. And there is always hope.
So I know I missed the actual day but it is always a good time to check in and see how people are doing. I challenge you all this month to do that with at least one person. R U OK? Let me know if you ever want a chat or an ear!