I’m a day late, but I think that’s OK since this is an issue that can be brought up all year round. Yesterday was R U OK? Day in Australia, a day where it is encouraged for people to ask those around them how they are feeling, are they OK, in recognition of mental health and starting a conversation with someone who may not be feeling well mentally, and giving them that push to recognise this and speak out before something tragic can occur.

Mental health and mental illness appears to be on the rise around the world, however I’m not completely convinced it is. I believe that more is being done to help people open up and say when they are struggling, because there has always been this ridiculous stigma around admitting what appears to be a “weakness” and more people are saying how they really feel instead of pushing it down deep, which is fantastic, but there is always more to be done.

Today I had lunch with a workmate and said that I was going to be writing this blog, and we had a really good, open conversation about what mental health was to us and how we deal with our down days, and yes we were late back to work and yes we got in trouble for it, but I’m so glad that we did it, because I felt so good opening up about issues I have and talking openly about it.

I am OK. I wouldn’t say I am battling a mental illness because I have people close to me that fight this disease every single day, and they are amazing. But I have a run of days every so often, and I’m sure that others feel this too, where the demons in my head rear their ugly faces for no apparent reason,  and there’s not much I can do except stay afloat until they go away again.

Only the other week, with no warning, I could feel them surfacing, and unfortunately the person who bears the brunt of it is Mitch. I retreat, I cry for no reason, and I stop talking. It reached a point by about the third day when I felt like I was suffocating and I had to escape, so I went to my relaxing place, the beach, and just sat and listened to the waves for 2 hours in the dark and I cried. I don’t know why I was crying and I will admit that there were some pretty dark thoughts going through my head at this time. This is a regular thing for me, but it is getting better, the period of time between these episodes are getting further and further apart. But no matter how dark these times get, I know I can pull through.

I am one of the lucky ones, because I know there is a light at the end of these tunnels. There are plenty of others who can’t see this light and don’t want to burden anyone with what they’re going through. These are the people we are doing this for.

I want to stress – it is OK to not be OK.

Especially males. You don’t need to be this tough, strong person all the time. You don’t need to just harden the fuck up. Women love it when you talk feelings. It does not make you weak in any way at all.

I have come so close to losing people close to me, people I couldn’t imagine living without. Male, female, black, white, Christian, Muslim, dog or cat, have these conversations with those around you, especially if you notice a change in their behaviour. It may be awkward to start, but you have no idea what the impact could be on someone else, it can ultimately be that step to save someone’s life.

Please, if you are not feeling completely alright, and feel like you are struggling, there is always someone that will listen, you always mean more to someone than you realise. And if someone came to you and said they weren’t feeling OK you would listen wouldn’t you? Ruby Jones, Triple J news presenter said something that really hit home “you wouldn’t judge someone else harshly, so why do you do it to yourself?”. Zan Rowe also said something really great about it all being relative to you and I really regret not writing it down (just off topic, but can we take a Zan Rowe appreciation moment? She is the epitome of everything I want to be, so cool, so smart, so beautiful! I love you Zan).And if you feel you’ve got no one to talk to at all, then come talk to me. I’m free to talk all the time and I’m short so you can cry on my shoulder if that’s what you need.

I’m not in the mind of someone battling a mental illness but I will do everything I can. And to those doing it every single goddamn day, keep soldiering on because you are incredible. Your story isn’t over yet.

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Lots of love,

Eloise

SONG RECOMMENDATION – It’s Nice To Be Alive – Ball Park Music

The other week at the tail end of my dark days, this is the first song I blasted on the way home from the beach. The lyrics are simple and to the point, and it’s a great song to play loud. I am ridiculously excited to see them live in October in Cairns.

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