In Australia today, it is ‘R U OK?’ Day. According to it’s website (ruokday.com), R U OK? Day “is a national day of action dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you ok?’”
It’s a great initiative and before I continue, I would like to ask you, Are you ok?
The website also states: “By raising awareness about the importance of connection and providing resources throughout the year, the R U OK? Foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life’s ups and downs”
Again, a wonderful idea. But I have to ask, why does it take awareness campaigns to do the things that ‘should’ be part of everyday life?
And although this day of awareness extends beyond those with a clinically diagnosed illness, I can’t help but especially think of those of us that do suffer with mental illness EVERY DAY!
I will come back to the issue of mental illness though.
On this day, I ask myself, who would this question be applicable to. Who would benefit from the words ‘R U OK?’
Maybe those who are having a tough time at work. Your relationship with your partner is having some difficulties. Perhaps you are struggling as a single parent, or you haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep for weeks, even months.
Again, I ask the question, who would benefit from being asked such a simple question.
The simple answer is: anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what level of difficulty you are experiencing in life, everybody can benefit from this simple and reassuring question.
It’s all well and good to preach the obvious, but I am just as guilty when it comes to being ignorant and lazy. There are at least three people I can think of that I could call and ask this simple question. The fact is though that I haven’t. I remain too caught up in my isolated existence that I don’t think of others the way that I probably should. Depression can be so selfish in that regard.
For those of us living with mental illness, it is highly important to be connected in one way or another. As an example, for me it is writing this blog as a form of therapy. I also make use of an online forum. Others see a therapist etc. In today’s world, there are so many ways for us NOT to be completely isolated and feel like nobody understands.
The sad reality is that despite having ‘links’ to people who can relate, loneliness can still be ever so brutal.
With complete respect to the fact that others do not live a perfect existence and have problems like the rest of us, I am envious of those who have support networks. Friends who are supportive, understand and do not judge. People who have wives and husbands. People who are able to experience the joy of raising a family. People who are connected in the community.
So am I okay? Honestly, not really, however I am surviving and remain grateful for the things that I have.
How about you? Once more, I ask the question: Are you okay?