Just a quick note on this ‘R U OK?’ Day: when I first heard of this initiative it annoyed me – it seemed fake, another opportunity for everyone to post a new hashtag; “Caring for people is popular today #ruok?” People who usually seem to not give a crap about others suddenly asking if everyone was ok…
yeah wasn’t a fan…
But at the end of the day, this day IS important.
RUOK? Day is there to remind people to reach out to others who may need help, to create awareness of mental illness and suicide, to bring to the forefront of our minds the fact that mental illness affects more people than we realise, and that suicide is one of the leading causes of death for those between the ages of 15-44.
Personally, I’ve been through some pretty rough periods of depression, and some pretty awesome times as well so I do consider myself lucky. But during those periods of depression I have not been immune to suicidal thoughts.
The scariest thing about them is how easily they can pop up; ‘I could just step in front of this train.’, ‘What if I drove my car into this wall?’, ‘I could just jump off this bridge.’ They can come into your mind so easily and so frequently.
Every time there have always been multiple reasons why I shouldn’t, my sense of rationality and my desire to live have been too strong, my concern for the feelings of others so correct in realising how my death would hurt them.
But the more pain you’re in the less logical living becomes, the more reasonable these suggestions seem. You get used to seeming ‘ok’ while on the inside you’re suffering extreme mental anguish and exhausted by the constant battle against the darkness of your own mind.
During those times it feels impossible to imagine a better future – all you can see in the pain of now, and now stretches on for eternity. Nothing will ever change, nothing will ever get better, there is no hope, there is no point in hoping. All there is is disappointment, and disappointment hurts. Why try something that will only result in more pain for a mind already in anguish.
At these times it is so very crucial to reach out to people.
But it’s also incredibly hard – because you don’t want to be dismissed, rejected, thought of as crazy or attention-seeking, or you don’t want to scare people.
Sometimes it’s too hard to reach out, but you do desperately want to tell someone, to have someone help you get through this, to have someone ask if you’re ok and to actually want a real answer.
At that point you do need someone to reach out to you, to take the first step and help pull you out of the darkness. To ask if you’re ok and to really mean it.
One of my best friends was helping me through a pretty dark patch recently. We caught up and he got me to talk about how I’ve been feeling. I was full of anger, bitterness, hopelessness and I vented this at him. I thanked him later.
“I’m useless,’ he said, ‘but I’m always here.’
Listening to someone in pain, someone who feels that talking to other will only result in rejection or criticism, listening and actually caring is not useless. It is helping to break the lies that depression tells to those who suffer from it.
Asking if they’re ok and really caring and really wanting to listening can help pull a person away from despair and into hope.
Be that someone who cares.
Asking someone if they’re ok and really want the answer may not solve everyone’s problems, it won’t stop every suicide, but it could be the question that saves a life.
And that’s definitely worth the effort.