Today I stood next to a mother who lost her son, a sister who lost her brother and a 25 year old woman who lost her boyfriend, all to suicide. Three different women who all lost someone important to them to a battle that potentially could have been won by a conversation.
We create a world where we feel obligated to put on a smile, where we tell ourselves just to push through, to go about our daily routine with no worries then go home to cry ourselves to sleep at night. We tell everyone we’re doing well, we Instagram pictures of our lives to prove that we’re living the dream, we do everything to show the world we’re doing just fine, even when we’re not.
There’s been days where I’ve said I was fine, days I’ve pretended everything was okay until someone asked me if I was okay and that question unleashed the tears I tried so hard to hold back.
Today is R U OK? day in Australia. A day dedicated to raising mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
All it takes is a simple question to open the doors to potentially saving someone’s life. Asking someone who seems a little bit off lately if they are okay is the gateway to a conversation someone close to you might be begging to be asked, but too nervous to bring up on their own.
It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to feel down and sad, but it’s also okay to talk about it.
It’s okay to feel your emotions because every emotion is valid.
You’re allowed to have bad days. You’re allowed to have lonely days. You’re allowed to be sad after a breakup. You’re allowed to cry. You’re allowed to not be okay, as long as you don’t stop along the way and decide getting back up isn’t worth it.
Sometimes we don’t realize that we’re only allowing ourselves a little time to rest, when in all actuality we need to give ourselves a proper break to heal.
We’re programed to respond to “how are you?” with “I’m good.”
People ask because it’s polite, not because they care most of the time. But sitting down with someone you might be worried about and asking them if they are okay could make all the difference.
To take a few minutes out of your life to reach out to someone could be the reason they are still alive.
“Are you okay?” Is both a question most people dread, but also are waiting to hear. You want to keep it bottled up because you don’t want to be a burden to others, but you’re also crying for help on the inside.
Sometimes it feels like the world is crashing down on you. Maybe you just had broke up with the love of your life, maybe you just lost someone close to you, maybe you’re suffering a losing battle with drugs and alcohol or maybe you just feel like things will never get better.
But they will.
Things will get better when you talk about them, when you acknowledge the fact that you’re not okay and decide it’s time to seek help or guidance. It’s a conversation that can change your life.
It’s okay to reach out to people, to tell them you need their help.
It’s okay to tell them you’ve hit a rough patch and you need someone to talk to because a good friend will be there.
If someone you know is weighing on your mind that you think needs someone to talk to, please reach out. What you say may seem so small to you, but they might be glad you called.
We are stronger together, so use today as an opportunity to ask if someone close to you if they are okay. Don’t ask out of politeness, but out of concern. Suicide is not a joke, mental health is not a joke, it is important and it needs to be talked about.
Suicide is preventable; sometimes all it takes is a conversation.
You have the power to save a life.
Don’t hesitate, reach out and ask “R U OK?”
** If you ever need someone to talk to, my inbox is always open – firstname.lastname@example.org **