When I woke up this morning I had no idea I would be writing this post, actually I am a little apprehensive about it. Talk about bearing one of your inner most darkest secrets.
If you weren’t aware today is R U OK day. A great concept, it starts conversation about depression. Social media has been overrun today with people shouting out R U OK? It is raising awareness and people are talking about depression. This is fantastic in my eyes as 15 years ago nobody talked about it. It was taboo, shoved under the carpet and most definitely not understood by the majority.
Depression has been a very close friend of mine, from about the age of 13. So you could say we have been best buddies for about 30 years now. I think most people that have a close and personal relationship with depression will agree with me, only those that have been there truly understand what you go through on a daily basis. Yes those closest to you, that are passengers on your journey can relate, but they never truly understand.
So for me there is one little flaw in R U OK day. If you were to turn around right now and ask a person who suffers depression if they were okay, I can guarantee you the response will most probably be “I’m fine”.
This morning I noticed a few shout outs on Facebook, letting friends know that if they weren’t okay to give them a ring etc. Sorry to say this guys, but it doesn’t work like that, somebody that may be having a dark day is not going to give you a call and have a chat about it. For most it isn’t that easy to talk about, you have to be in the right frame of mind to do so. So when that friend is ready to talk, please be there to listen.
I know myself it took me many years to seek help. My push to go and do something about my depression 16 years ago was my beautiful then three year old son. He needed his mother around, alive and functional, Josh was my trigger for seeking help. I sought help, my family and Macs’ family supported me 100% and were there for me in any capacity that could help me. When I reached out to friends it was a bit of a different situation and I didn’t find the support I needed there.
From that experience until now I don’t talk about my depression with people outside of my family. Actually I don’t really talk about it, I just deal with it on a day to day basis. Even when I am having a terrible week I rarely reach out to Mac or my closest confident Ms Lily and say, “I am having a bad week”, I should. I think the reason for this is I want to pretend I am fine, give the image I am a confident strong business woman/mother/friend.
I know that most of you that know me personally would have had no idea of my depression. Well, I have put it out there now and basically the world knows. I thought today was a good day to share with you guys. Most of you know me as bright and bubbly with a smile on my face, you wouldn’t have had a clue. I think this alone is a very important point, you never know who is a sufferer.
I haven’t really gone in to how depression affects me, I didn’t want to go in to too much detail. To be honest this has been interesting to write, a little hard, a little emotional, but I wanted to share that depression is more common than thought and it affects all sorts of people from all walks of life.
My advice, parents, know your children, talk to them, spend quality time with them even if they want to retreat to their bedrooms, watch for any signs. They will most probably not come forward, they probably don’t even understand what they are feeling themselves. For partners and friends, arm yourself with information, take the time to talk, understand, support and basically just be there.
For more information on R U OK day and to make a donation www.ruokday.com.au
Another fantastic annual awareness event is the Black Dog Ride www.blackdogride.com.au or follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/BlackDogRide
If you need help or want more information about depression Beyond Blue is a long running supportive organisation www.beyondblue.org.au
Promise next post we will be back to the subject of food.