Lots of people are posting today about R U OK day, but I thought I might take a slightly different tack.
As I’ve mentioned in some other posts, I’ve spent years not being all that impressed with myself. The move to Melbourne has been, in so many ways, cathartic, because it’s pulled me out of all those ruts and comfort zones, and made me spend some serious time in self contemplation. It’s like deciding that you’re going to visit every area in a fun park – sooner or later you end up in the house of mirrors, and you have no choice but to look at yourself from every angle.
A lot of the talk about R U OK day is the basics – taking time to ask a friend if they’re OK. The implicit notion is that you ask someone who looks like they’re struggling, or someone who is alone.
I want to spend just a paragraph or two suggesting that there’s also merit in asking someone if they’re OK, even if they’re in a relationship, or even if they’re showing no signs of struggling.
You see, sometimes when you’re in a relationship and you’re struggling, your partner can’t always help you break out of the cycle, because – well, they’re too close to you. Sometimes you need that objectivity of a third person, or third party, to help you start to open up. You can accept all the love, logic and determination to help that your partner provides, but because they’re in that closed loop with you, you may not be able to make that little leap that’s required to process what they’re saying and doing for you.
And sometimes, the people who are struggling the most are the ones that are most adept at hiding it from others. I can’t immediately find it, but I read something recently that suggested a significant portion of people who commit suicide are those who don’t talk about being upset in advance, who don’t open up, who don’t show any signs at all that they’re suffering.
I’ve never contemplated suicide – I doubt I ever would – but I have, at times, contemplated completely shutting myself off from the world; no social interaction, no going out, just being a complete hermit. Why? Because when you’re stuck in the loop, the weirdest things seem logical to you.
So today, on R U OK day, take a few minutes to ask someone who is in a relationship, or someone who appears fine, all the time, if they’re OK. The answer may in fact surprise you.
Am I OK? Well, I’m definitely getting better.