Trusting talk

By | 2011/09/16

Last night I went to the VicBears Open Community Forum for R U OK Day. Going into it, I wasn’t 100% sure what I’d make of it, and true to my introvert tendencies I sat, wallflower like, most of the evening, and absorbed what was being said for later processing. The three speakers – Christopher Banks, George Forgan-Smith and Ryan Teuma, all imparted their own wisdom and take on mental health issues, particularly within the gay community, and the number of people who showed up (40+, it seems) showed that a lot of people were keen to hear what they had to say.

As someone prone to quite a bit of introspection, I know I actually got a lot out of the event – but that processing time means that it’ll be percolating in my subconscious for quite a few days, regardless of whether I’m actively thinking about it.

I thought, going into the event, that I’d probably have the rather cathartic points I raised in this blog article echoing around in my head. Funnily enough though, I didn’t – and given one of the key messages was about finding a way to talk and open up, perhaps that’s why – even blogging about it, in a limited way, has been beneficial.

Interestingly though, what was going through my head, almost like a bit of theme music to the event, was The Day you Went Away, by Wendy Matthews. Much as that’s a song about loss and departure, the opening lines seemed highly apropos to the evening:

Hey, does it ever make you wonder
What’s on my mind?
Hey, I was only ever running back to your side
I never cried, I just watched my life go by
It’s just a pack of lies.

(Side note: I did find it ironic that even though I can’t speak French, it was the French version of the song that kept on running through my head. Yes, I’m odd.)

Based on last night, I think the song was relevant for two key reasons:

  1. When we’re in a “bad place” (for want of a better term) I think most of us want and wish that someone would wonder what we’re thinking.
  2. It’s easy, when you’re in that place, to look at the rest of life through a filter that makes it seem surreal, or even unreal.

Much as the song is about traditional loss, it could almost be a paean for the loss of equilibrium.

The old saying is “talk is cheap”, but last night particularly highlighted for me that talk may in fact be the richest tool we have available to us.

[Edit – 20110919]

A decision is made – take a crazy ride with me.

2 thoughts on “Trusting talk

  1. Craig Ingrey

    I have learnt during my journey with what they now call ‘mood disorders’, that talk is indeed the richest tool available to us. I wonder if as a society we are gradually loosing the ability to connect with each other on a personal level. Loosing the ability to hold a conversation other than through the internet on social media platforms. How often do we here at the pub, ‘oh yeah, we’re friends on facebook, but I’ve never spoken to him’.

    I left last night angry and dripping wet in depression. Then sitting up until 3.30 wondering what’s happening. After 15 years with Doctors and medications and yoga and meditations, I took the step to see a Psychiatrist this year. It was life changing. I think all gay men should see a shrink at least once, and earlier than I did.

    I left my job 3 months ago to go on sabbatical, and work with my Borderline Personality Disorder with a Psychologist and undergoing talk therapy and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment). I have been taking advantage of the Government rebate George (my GP) talked about. Into the 12th week and things are becoming clearer. Although not a day goes by where I don’t make a plan to kill myself and lie under a blanket of fear, it’s getting better.

    Something that resonated with me last night was the talk of babies seeking signals from their Mother during infancy, with smiles and goos and gaas and all that jazz. This is something my Psychologist talks with me about often, and we talk, and we talk, and we talk and we talk …

  2. George

    Hey there Preston and Craig.
    I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive when it came to presenting last night. It’s funny how talking to people that I don’t know it so much easier then talking to a group of people that I know to varying degrees and yet feel a great connection and care for, well that is a big difference.
    I was very fortunate to have Chris to talk with after the event and I think everyone really did get something from the event and I imagine for each person this will be different.
    Tonight I am looking forward to a night vegging out, a home cooked meal and a big sleep in tomorrow.
    For me I was thrilled to see a group of people come together who have an understanding that we all can struggle at times. It was fantastic to see connections made that in some degree will enable each of us to have a sense of support, knowing that we may not be the only “‘mental’ in the villiage”.
    It’s windows of opportunity like this that no matter now minor the crack may be, let the light shine in.
    Hugs.

    G

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