Do you have any idea what it is like to have an ongoing battle with your mind? Do you know how it feels for your heart to literally ache with pain? Do you know how it feels to feel completely alone, like you are the only one who feels this way, yet you know there are thousands......millions of other people who really do understand and feel like this everyday.
I was first diagnosed with a mental illness - Depression when I was 17 years old. Depression is one of the most common medical illnesses experienced by Australians. I have been battling severe depression and today I'm speaking out. I hope that I can help one person, one mother feel like they aren't alone, that they have a choice. A chance to do something and act upon their feelings and see a professional who can help them. I have been seeing a psychologist for the past 8 weeks after hitting rock bottom and no longer being able to hold things together and fight my demons alone.
I have been suicidal, I have thought many times about taking my own life, about how to take my own life.
Every year, 21,000 Australians are bereaved by suicide. Everyday Lifeline receives 1,370 calls and tragically 50 of these calls are from people at high risk of suicide (Lifeline).
More than 2,100 Australians commit suicide each year and men are around four times more likely to die by suicide than females. For each person that dies in this way, it's estimated another 30 attempt to end their life (SANE Australia).
7 years ago my family become one of those statistic's after my uncle took his own life. I have experienced grief, the loss of my pop during my teens, the loss of my daughter Yasminah who was born silently into this world after a full term pregnancy, but the loss of my uncle was a grief like no other. Words can't even begin to explain the complete devastation, shock and confusion on how it feels to lose someone to suicide.
Revealing your feelings is the beginning of healing. Silence is the loudest scream. Today is R U OK? Day. R U OK Day is a national day of action which aims to reduce suicide by encouraging people to connect with each other and ask R U OK and take the time to listen. Sometimes all someone needs is a shoulder to lean on, a person to let all their feelings out to. Starting a conversation today could save a life tomorrow. A friend, a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, a work colleague or someone you pass on the street that looks in need of help.
Healing yourself is connected with healing others. Yoko OnoI stopped loving the things I used to love doing, the things that made me passionate about life, gave me a reason to get up out of bed in the morning. I have no drive, no energy, no urgency to do anything. I'm forgetful and absent. I make plans that I can't keep. I don't feel like going out or socialising. Sometimes I can't even be bothered to shower or get dressed out of my PJ's.
After I lost Yasminah people would ask me how I was feeling, how I was coping. I politely smiled and told them I was doing 'OK'. What does that even mean.......OK. I couldn't explain how I was feeling and didn't and still don't understand any of it in my own head. It does help talking to someone, letting it all out. It can help you feel less overwhelmed, and perhaps see things in a different light. I constantly feel as though my heart is broken, shattered into a million pieces that I'm trying to put back together, but the jigsaw puzzle never comes together. There are pieces missing. Yasminah is missing. A part of me is missing. Sometimes it hurts so much that my chest feels like it's going to cave in. I can't do this but I'm doing it anyway.
It's OK to not be OK. If you need some support and aren't sure how to tell someone how you are really feeling R U OK Day has a very helpful list on their website - 'How to say I'm not OK'
WHO will you ask today?
If you need crisis support call 1800 RUOKDAY (1800 7865 329)
If you're feeling suicidal, it's OK to tell someone you trust or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 794 991.
If your need is life threatening call 000.