R U OK?
What is R U OK? day all about?
R U OK? day is on September 13th and it’s all about having a conversation. By asking someone in your life – R U OK? starts to break down the barrier and builds a connection to answer the question honestly. Sometimes we like to hold it all together as proof we are coping OK with life’s ups and downs. But sometimes holding it all together on the outside causes stress and anxiety on the inside and life starts to spiral in a direction we have tried to avoid.
So my friends, R U OK?
I spent nearly 20 years hiding behind a facade of being OK!! I was constantly trying to prove my worth to the world and also to myself. I didn’t know that I was already worthy and I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was waiting for someone to read my negative thoughts and reach out to help me become OK I was constantly trying to prove my worth to the world and also to myself. I didn’t know that I was already worthy and I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was waiting for someone to read my negative thoughts and reach out to help me become OK!
The concept is very simple and that’s why I really like it. We may celebrate R U OK? day in September but it is just a way of reminding everyone to open up your hearts & minds to see what may be standing right in front of you.
I am a speaker for Beyondblue and I love being able to share my story, knowing that I am helping others with the stigma of mental illness. The last speaking engagement I covered was with young VCAL students. This age group can be difficult to read as often you get nothing… zip… crickets… just a group of faces staring back at you – expressionless. I know to never take other people’s responses personally.
After the session, two girls came up to me and asked a few questions – honest, raw and heartbreaking questions. I never claim to know to answer but I can listen, ask if they are OK and help guide them in the right direction. I found out later that I was the only speaker for the day where the room was in complete silence. Not one child left to visit the toilet. Not one child spoke. Not one child fidgeted. They listened. They understood pain. They were empathising. This group of students will forever remember to look for signs of distress and not to be afraid to ask – R U OK?
So how do you ask someone if they are OK?
#1 – Ask – R U OK?
If you are concerned about someone, find the words that you are most comfortable with and simply ask about how they are going. Never assume you know the answer or what is happening in their life. If the other person doesn’t want to talk – that’s OK. Tell them you are available to talk if and when they may need your help. Just letting someone know you are there is the best first step.
#2 – Listen without judgment.
Everyone experiences life in a different way. Everyone has a different lens to see the world and this can ultimately cause internal pain. Listening to someone open up and share their fears is an honour so take the opportunity to really empathise with their pain.
#3 – Encourage Action
You don’t need to have all the answers or any answer at all. Ask them if they have been through this situation before and how they handled it. Ask how they would like you to support them. If the situation requires it, suggest other support groups or professionals who may be able to help like Beyondblue or Lifeline. Many support groups can start online by simply heading to the websites for information.
#4 – Check back in
It’s important to check in with the person at a later date, maybe in a few days or a week. We can get very busy in our daily lives but if someone has had the courage to open up to you, please have the courage to check back and make sure they are doing OK.
Watch this quick video which shows you these steps in such an easy format.
Lots of love
Linking up with Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit