Thursday, 15 September 2011

I did not plan to write an RU OK Post...

What is R U OK? Day

Firstly, I am not a person prone to depression, but we have had a fairly bumpy ride in the House of O just lately so I am a little more mentally fragile than my normal baseline. Secondly, even without the other dramas, we have just moved house and it has been exhausting, especially as our bedroom windows face east. Finally, I have a parent who suffers depression, the Workaholic has anxiety related issues and I have two cousins who suicided. So please bare these things in mind while you ponder my reaction to R U OK? day.

I have been reading lots of blog posts about R U OK? Day over the last week and have found myself getting rather down about them.  This made me wonder, not about the concept of asking the question but about intensity of a particular day dedicated to this cause.  I know it has made me feel more introspective and I have just realised made me isolate myself today.

I am totally behind the concept.  I am a natural talker (yeah, I talk waaaay too much) and am not particularly private.  I tend to chat about the stuff in my life and it helps me make sense of it all and even though I am a big talker, I can listen too.  People have always come to me to talk about their stuff.  When I was a teenager I used to flounder around thinking if they came to me, they must think I have the answer and then freak out a bit because I realised I did not.  As I matured I realised people probably came to me because they knew that I was comfortable talking about pretty much anything and I learned to just listen and summarise what I heard to help clarify that they were getting their point across.  I think this is the core of U OK?  It is good.  No doubt about that.

My personal experience this year with R U OK day however, has not been great.  I have read and digested the personal stories people have posted online and I have found that my mood has suffered dramatically.  I have not left the house today.  I didn't even let the kids play outside.  I didn't make a conscious decision to hide away, it was just the way I was.  It has made me wonder how many other people have been adversely affected by today?  I'm sure it is a lower number than the number of people it has helped, but I wonder if such an intense focus for one day is the best thing.

To make matters worse for me today, my mobile phone is receiving texts but not sending them (every time it downloads a software upgrade there is some glitch that takes me a few days to work out).  This sounds pretty minor, but I usually send texts all day, a lot of texts (The Workaholic calls me and my network of texters, The Text Mafia).  I am on a plan that is pretty much Facebook and Texts only.  Even if I had not isolated myself, my phone did it for me.  About 15 minutes ago I realised it had not gone unnoticed.   I picked up my phone to put it on the charger and since 6pm when I last checked my phone I had 16 texts, all genuinely concerned RU OK? enquiries.  I jumped on Facebook  to let people know that, Yes, I am OK, I just have a stupid phone.

The couple of people I phoned back told me they had had a similar feeling today about the intensity of the Day.  I believe in the cause, I am just feeling ambivalent about today.  I am not even sure I have managed to actually explain myself here...

So, my question is, has this intense focus on asking and sharing on R U OK? Day had a negative or positive effect on you?


  1. I can relate, after a few posts I decided not to read any more. We all have down times, due to whatever reasons, and some of us have diagnosable mental illness on top of that. This might sound callous and I don't mean it to, but I think perhaps putting the onus on loved ones to notice with the unsaid implication that this can fix it is a bit loaded. So you ask, and you find out that something is amiss. It is still the person's responsibility to accept appropriate help and this is where things fall apart often. Just this last weekend I had a friend unload to me regarding another friend's significant issues, ones I know professionals struggle treating. Coupled with concern for her friend is concern for her own well-being getting tangled up in it all. If the friend of the friend commits suicide, it is not for the want of someone noticing and enquiring about her mental state, and even offering support and some non-judgemental advice. It is because she has an untreated mental health issue or one resistant to treatment.

    Anyway, it is an interesting campaign and hopefully someone benefits from it.

  2. Oh yes. I have wept at some (quite a few if I am truthful) of the posts. However, it takes courage to put these posts up in the first place so I am continuing to read them, and commenting where I have been particularly touched. If it hurts me to read it - how much more must it hurt the people who have been experiencing it. That said, I am having plenty of tea breaks and have decided that my own next post will be full of colour and probably frivolity.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read them all and try very hard to reply.