R U OK?

R U OK?

I was “diagnosed” with depression 18 months ago. I use the term loosely as this diagnosis was the result of a 10 minute conversation with my GP after the completion of a screening survey, which I suspect any but the most perkiest of mothers with young children would have failed miserably. I said thanks but no thanks to the antidepressants and psychologist’s referral and went on my way certain I could beat this on my own.

Heck, I work in mental health. I know about depression. I know what it looks like. How to seek help if things get bad. I wasn’t that bad. I’m also acutely aware of the stigma around mental health issues and in hindsight I wonder if this knowledge clouded my judgment and insight at the time (duh).

Besides all that, I had gotten this far hadn’t I?

No, I’m not in complete denial. I acknowledge I have had some clearly discernible depressive episodes in my time – 2 of which were after the birth of each child. These days are mostly a confusing blur of tumultuous emotions punctuated by periods of numbness.

Sadly, my story is not unique. When my first born was diagnosed with reflux after 3 months of screaming and no sleep, the paediatrician gave me a PND screen. I made a joke and faffed my answers on his questionnaire. He commented how I must be coping if I still had my sense of humour. He obviously overlooked the fact that humour is a powerful defense mechanism.

In any case, I was not going to correct him. I was coping. Wasn’t I? I knew I was feeling more than the overwhelming emotions of new motherhood but I stopped just short of seriously contemplating driving into a tree. That was something.

It wasn’t until 3yrs later that I was given my “diagnosis”. At this point I felt I was on the slightly lighter side of those very dark days. It’s ironic then, that it wasn’t until after a number of friends and family knew that I had been labelled with depression that anyone really asked me if I was ok.

Not surprisingly, of the few people who had actually asked, most had experienced depression to some degree themselves. A couple had unknowingly been my lighthouses from the very beginning. I can tell you under no uncertain terms that the love and support of these people still gets me through a lot of rough days. I cannot thank them enough.

There are still people very close to me who I suspect are more in denial than I am about the whole shebang (I may or may not be married to one of them). So many people struggle to talk about feelings, whether it be their’s or other’s.

Today, Thursday 15th September, is R U Ok? Day. I say: Man-up people and ask. It’s one simple question that can make all the difference in the world to someone who is on the brink.

Check out the website for more info about R U OK? Day and ways to open communication with someone you suspect isn’t OK. There are lots of support organisations out there as well. Beyond Blue has some wonderful resources on depression, including great info for friends & family (perhaps I should leave a few lying around).

My Big Nutshell has also pulled together a Bloggers Collective in an amazing show of support for R U OK? Day. Please go check out all of the wonderfully brave bloggers who have contributed their stories

So, please, tell me, R U OK?

Advertisements

Comments

  1. Yes those bl**dy PND questionaires – probably wouln’t really need them if we were asked R U OK? in a few different ways by a true friend.
    I too have my Lighthouses and found a wonderful lady with bright red lipstick to listen to my new mummy woes.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I like what and how you say – I’ll be your newest follower.
    (Thanks for commenting on my poem too x)

  2. That we see our own inability to cope as failure or weakness is sad and frightening. I hope this day achieves what it sets out to do, and helps stop someone’s small problem becoming a big one, and with time contributes to a lessening of the stigma attached to depression.

    Man up and ask. I like that.

  3. It is strange that we have no problems talking about physical illness, but that admitting to a mental illness is somehow shameful. An illness is an illness is an illness. And yes, I have always been grateful for my black sense of humour and you are right it is a very, very good screen.

    • It’s such an intangible thing isn’t it? And so subjective. Some days I can say “yes this (me) is what depression looks/feels like” other days I think maybe I’m just being melodramatic and need to get on with it. So I guess people around me have an even bigger hurdle – if I don’t know where Im at how will they? Thanks for commenting x

  4. Talking about depression is one way to reduce its stigma. They say most people will experience depression sometime in their life. We need to do alot of education on what people need to do if they are worried about someone – and asking the question “r u ok” is a great start. Thanks for your post. You are a brave person. x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: