R U Ok? No, but really…?

As you may be aware, today is R U OK day.
A day to promote the act of simply asking someone you know if they are ok, to help with depression, anxiety, stress and suicide prevention.
It’s such a great initiative and a campaign that has been marketed and promoted really well over the last few years.
It’s a subject and issue close to my heart, for so many different personal reasons.

I have had friends commit suicide, family members suffer depression and severe anxiety and stress, and I myself have suffered on and off since being a teenager with depression and anxiety.

I’ve mentioned it on Facebook once or twice, when promoting R U Ok day in the past, but up until yesterday, I had never really spoken about my own struggle openly and really truthfully.
But yesterday, after a few particularly hard days on myself, and about a year and a halves worth of pretty full on anxiety and bouts of depression on and off and the last few months of some tough and stressful family life situations, I decided to finally say something to my husband.
The poor guy, he is going through a tough time himself as it is, our life, while generally happy and healthy, is pretty stressful right now.
But I knew it had come to breaking point in my mind, and I needed to let some of it out, and I knew he needed to understand the depths of my ‘feeling down’. Sometimes feeling down, really means feeling the furtherest down you can get. And I had.

I’d spent the last few weeks feeling awful, and telling myself I was the reason for our family being in the stressful situation we were in, and telling myself the worst things one can say to themselves. My thoughts had turned sour and rotten towards myself, and I caught myself a number of times thinking ‘they’d be so much better off without me’.
That train of thought would never continue into anything anymore sinister, I never got to thinking of ways to end my life. I would always catch myself by thinking that I couldn’t not have a life without my husband and daughter, and I could never put them and my family and close friends through that ordeal.
I always had just enough logic, self love and care for family to not let my brain go there.
But mostly I thought to myself that I wasn’t worth it. I would go to do some exercise like yoga or an ab workout and I would tell myself ‘don’t bother, your not worth it, what’s the point’.
Or I would have a great day making steps towards getting my little business up and running properly, then the next day I would think about how much more I had to do and instead of wanting to get started I would think ‘don’t bother, it’ll never work, you won’t succeed, you don’t have the skills, your hopeless.’
Or how I’ve taken months to type up my updated résumé to try and get some part time work because every time I would go to type it up that negative voice would say ‘no one will hire you, you are a fraud, you don’t have any skills, and you can’t give them good availability so why would anyone want a daggy Mum, your a has-been’.

It’s exhausting just reading it, isn’t it?
No wonder people with depression often feel tired and lethargic all the time.
Carrying around those negative thoughts is heavy.
And after a while, after you’ve told yourself these negative thoughts for long enough, your brain cells change and the negative thoughts are the quickest and easiest route to take. Your brain becomes conditioned to putting yourself down and it actively finds ways to affirm those negative thoughts.

At times I felt trapped, I knew I couldn’t leave my life, and I didn’t want to, but I knew I didn’t like myself and who I was and how I was thinking and acting.

So, with this being National Suicide Prevention Week and today being R U OK Day, and alot of talk about them both on social media, it gave me the context and platform to speak up.

Even while telling my husband just some of my thoughts and feelings, I was still thinking ‘how selfish, he doesn’t need this extra stress, and your just being dramatic and selfish’.
Yet I knew I had to push past that negative voice in my head and get some of it out.
I was like a pot of water that had been simmering away, the last few weeks I had begun boiling and yesterday I boiled over, and spilled my hot water.

After watching a segment on The Project on Tuesday night about suicide prevention where a young lady had used the Beyond Blue to really gauge what she was feeling and why she was feeling a certain way, the next morning I jumped on the website and did the same thing.
I must admit, still my mind was saying ‘I bet it will come up with nothing, I bet it will tell you there’s nothing wrong with you’.
But it didn’t.
Filling out that checklist was the most honest I’d been with myself in months, years even.
It came back as HIGH.
I registered in the High range. Meaning I really did have depression and really wasn’t well and I wasn’t just being dramatic.
Directly below my HIGH reading were suggestions to call a 000, a doctor or lifeline or someone immediately. As if I was moments away from hurting myself or doing something drastic.
I wasn’t, but It was in that moment, of reading what experts suggested, from my completely honest answers in their checklist, that I realised, it sunk in. I stopped pretending. And let myself be honest with myself.
‘You really do need help, you can’t do this on your own anymore’, I thought.

So later that day I told my Husband. And it felt good to release some of the tension. And I made a vow to myself to be kinder to myself, to be honest with myself and to have the strength I know I have to ask for help.
I have steps and plans to take to move forward, to pull my mind out of the black hole it’s crawled into, and life already seems brighter.
But finally, after at least 10-15 years of dealing with depression and anxiety on my own, I’m giving myself a break and allowing myself help, because I deserve it.
My logical thoughts pushed through the negative and I know I’m worth it, I’m deserving of help.
I’m tired of feeling awful.
I’m ready to feel good again.
I’m ready to help myself get help, and make the changes to become strong again.
I will always have my bad days every now and then, I know that. The difference now is that my will and want for more better days is going to get stronger again.

This has been such a hard post to write.
And even now I’m struggling with wether I should post it.
It is a hard thing to push through your own wall you’ve put up, your own misplaced pride and really tell your true feelings.
But the whole point of R U OK Day is to not only ask someone how they are doing, but answer honestly if someone asks you.

And whilst you will not have asked me, hopefully if you’re reading this, it might make you think about another friend or family member that you think is struggling.
Really ask them, if they say they are fine, which I did all the time, and I pretended so well everything was, ask them again, let them know you’re there to really listen.

ThankYou for taking the time to read this, I know it’s long.
If you have been pretending for too long too, your not alone, and it can and will get better.

Liz xx