I watched the story behind RU OK day last week and cried my eyes out. It all originated from an incredibly inspiring man who wanted to make his fathers suicide mean something. Since loosing my Dad the same way I have gone to volunteer to help people in similar positions so many times, and am just not ready and not knowing where to go or what to do. It’s all too much still. So people who are proactive in sharing their story, and making a difference in changing the outcome for others in need, truly impress me.
I thought 18 months down the track I would be sweet as and moving on with things, but it seems as though it’s just shaken my core and now I am needing to re lay the foundations of my very being. I have grieved for Dad and feel I am slowly coming to terms with his loss, but now I look within myself and don’t know where I am meant to be to be happy. I am tired often. Suffering from on and off ailments constantly, and simply feeling like I want to curl up in a little ball for a while and rest. But then I get up early every day, and meditate, and walk, and do Yoga, and take care of my little Lotus, and teach, and be a wife, and cook and clean….and I feel ok. I feel ok just putting one foot in front of the other and allowing myself the space to feel shitty. I cry often, over the most ridiculous things, like Tara being kicked off the Bachelor. I get moody with my nearest and dearest and then come back and apologise. I say I’m going to stop working, but then I don’t because what would I do with myself? I say let’s move to Byron, but then I think about it and don’t want to leave all I know and love on the Goldie. I say let’s sell our house, and look around at all the memories we have created here. Basically I’m a mess of spontaneous thoughts followed by inaction and seeking, but never finding, resolution. So while I am ok, I’m sort of not.
But that’s ok. It’s ok to not be ok. I tell myself this daily. I repeat the mantra “I accept myself unconditionally, right NOW.” And this is the difference between me and Dad. Because anyone who has ever lost a family member to suicide will tell you that there is a hidden fear, larger in some than others, that you too will go down this path. That this thing is in you, and one day you might just give in to it. But the fact is that my Father was not ok with not being ok. He hid it from everyone other than the very very closest family, just me, Pat, my brother and my Mum knew. I was the one who knew exactly how not ok he was, and I tried talking to him, telling him it would pass. I tried giving him information on anxiety, panic and depression and saying that these were common problems that we could fix. I tried getting him in to see Dr’s and psychiatrists. But I couldn’t make it all go away for him, and I couldn’t fix it for him, and I couldn’t make him see that he was still normal despite his stuff in that moment. My Dad was not ok, and even though I asked him, we still couldn’t make it ok.
The beautiful thing about RU OK day is that it makes us better, as a society, at being vulnerable. It helps us to be better at admitting that our mental health isn’t doing so well, and society in general is getting better at dealing with this admission. By having this day it will not save every life, we will still loose loved ones to mental illness, but it sparks a national conversation that reminds those of us who listen that not everyone is ok, so if you are not, you are normal. Speak up is what it reminds us of. Don’t hide your shit, because everyone has theirs so let’s all put it out in the open and connect, rather than alienate ourselves. RU OK day is not about just casually asking someone how they are, it is about those of us who are not doing so well to share, an enforced therapy between friends, family or in my case the cyber world, and through this sharing hopefully make someone else feel a little less alone.