R U OK? It’s Only Human That We Should Care

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The blogosphere has been flooded with posts about R U OK? Day which is this Thursday 15th September. That’s a good thing.

I had a post that didn’t start off as an R U OK? post. Then it evolved and I thought it was ‘The One’. Then I read more and more of the other R U OK? posts and started to question whether my post was worthy enough. Yes, that’s right – “worthy enough”.

You see, I don’t suffer from depression. I’ve never contemplated suicide. I don’t have a mental illness. I’ve never had a breakdown. I’ve never had an eating disorder. I haven’t been abused, been homeless, or really down and out. I did not suffer PND (though I was starting to worry I was – that’s a post for another day). I’ve never needed medication nor hospitalisation.

I started to feel I didn’t really have a story to tell, that I didn’t “qualify”. I started to feel that I didn’t have the permission to be someone who legitimately deserved an “R U OK?”

But then it suddenly dawned on me that I shouldn’t need to be in the depths of despair to warrant someone’s concern. No one should need to have fallen that far down a slope before someone shows they care. No one should feel they have to say, “I’m ok” when they’re not; just because they feel unworthy; just because they feel that someone else’s problems are bigger and more significant than theirs.

One of the key aims of R U OK? Day is to “help stop little problems turning into big ones”. A person could just be having a really bad day; crashed the car, got some bad news, come down with a really bad case of the flu, got a parking fine or some other “down-on-your-luck” thing. A simple demonstration of concern, asking, “R U OK?”, could be all that is needed to lift their spirits and help them forward towards a better day.

Anyone can have the human decency to show they care. And, as a human being, you are worthy of receiving the care of another. There is power in the caring words or the kind touch of another person. Knowing that you’ve been heard is a powerful thing. And you never know when demonstrating that concern could really help someone who might be feeling pummelled one too many times and is teetering on the edge. That conversation might save a life.

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RUOK? 15 September 2011

Thursday the 15th of September 2011 is R U OK? Day. It is a national day of action that aims to encourage Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turn into big one’s. All it takes to start a conversation is a simple question – “R U OK?”

If you really aren’t okay and need help right NOW, please contact one of the services HERE. Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Get help TODAY.

You are worth the care of another human being.

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I’d like to applaud and give a shout out to the following bloggers who have gone the extra mile in raising the profile of R U OK? Day. Please read their posts and know that if you are struggling, you are not alone; there is no shame in not being OK.

♦ Gemma from My Big Nutshell

♦ Lori from Random Ramblings of a SAHM (R U OK? posts Part One and Part Two)

♦ Lisa from Madam Bipolar

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The Bloggers Collective

Please click on the link below to find below a collection of the all the works of my blogging friends. We have united today to share our stories to give hope to those feeling isolated and also to inspire participation in R U OK? Day 2011.


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28 thoughts on “R U OK? It’s Only Human That We Should Care

    • Thanks Lee. You were up pretty late yourself! I actually could’ve gone to sleep 3 hours earlier by my body but, alas, had things to do! I found the image ages ago then RUOK came up and it seemed so apt.

    • Hi Erin. I think sometimes people hang onto difficult emotions too long for so many reasons, fear of letting go, fear of judgement, a sense of insignificance. If we’re not ok, regardless of the cause, we are not ok, and worthy of concern. Thanks for dropping in.

  1. This is honestly one of the best ruok posts I have read.

    You are 100% right; we don’t need to have a ‘problem’ to be worthy of another’s concern. We are all human, and deserving in our own right.

    And it’s hard reading everyone else’s. I havent done mine yet, because I have no idea what angle to take. And what I’m thinking is completely different to everyone else’s, but not necessarily in a good way.

    But I love this!

    • Aw, thanks, Jess! Sometimes we get inspired to see things a bit differently. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. I was supposed to be asleep when I typed the first draft of this post. Sadly for me, sometimes my brain only kicks in after midnight. Adds to ongoing sleep-deprivation!

      • I absolutely agree. Stopping small problems becoming big problems is the key for a lot of people, and sometimes it takes a simple: are you ok? wanna go for a coffee? To make things better.

      • Thanks for dropping by, Daisy. Sometimes it’s ourselves who allow them to snowball by brushing them aside or negating the impact of them on our daily lives. Cut them off at the pass, but that’s easier said than done at times. That’s why we need good friends, and people who care, to look us in the face and make us take stock.

  2. This is great, and I totally relate. I’ve never had to go through any of those heartbreaking things either. I am so sorry that so many people *have* been to such horrible places and been through such terrible things in their lives. That doesn’t mean that everyone else is always okay. It doesn’t mean that we all don’t need a shoulder to cry on sometimes, or a warm hug, or someone to talk it out with. Thanks for presenting this perspective.

    • Hi Julie. Thanks for your thoughts. I definitely don’t want to negate the needs of people facing serious life challenges. But I sure think a little care and concern towards the little things can help ease or even prevent the emotional challenges that come with little problems that snowball into more serious ones. And who can’t do with a hug or kind word, now and then!

    • Hi Maria. RUOK? Day started in 2009 to help prevent suicide. It’s about “Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feeling isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression and other mental illnesses, which can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love.” The founder, Gavin Larkin, lost his father through suicide in 1995. He’s only in his 40s but is now battling terminal brain cancer yet still campaigning to make a difference. I think it’s a great reminder about connecting with people. The blogosphere is a great place to spread that message.

  3. I too thought my story wasn’t worthy enough to promote RUOK, but then I realised that mine was a good story. My little problems didn’t turn into really big ones. If more people (and specifically mums) shared their stories rather than fear the stigma of not coping, then I believe more big problems can be avoided. I’ve invited my readers to share their own stories for R U OK?Day on my “Hitting the Wall” page. Everyone’s story counts.

    • Hi Laney. I agree about mums. We can be a greatly supportive, and sometimes, a greatly critical lot. Too many of us struggle with little things but fear being judged if we admit them (I know I did). Throw in sleep deprivation and these difficulties can snowball and tip some over into PND or other issues. Like your idea of “Hitting the Wall”. More honest and open sharing will help dispel the myths around motherhood.

  4. Very well said!!! This part “knowing you’ve been heard is a powerful thing” i think you summed up a big part of the solution right there! Everyone needs to be heard. I think just feeling that you wern’t sure if you were “worthy enough” is even more reason that your post is awesome. Even more reason that everyone needs to be asked if there ok regardless. Suicide does not discriminate unlike us. and if i had to rewrite my post now ive read all these awesome blogs im sure i would stew over mine even more than i did when only a few had been posted.

    • Thanks Jocelyn. I really feel we are all made to connect with people regardless of who/what/where we are and who/what/where they are, so I guess that’s where that’s the seed from which the post grew. It can be easier said than done, and that’s why we can all do with reminders such as RUOK? Day.

  5. Oh totally! It’s not a competition of the most down and out! I definitely think that sometimes the little problem are allowed to snowball into big problems because people feel they can’t ask for help unless they’ve just been through a traumatic event or have 25 children to care for, all under the age of 5, or are holding down three jobs while still going in for kidney dialysis three times a week. Most big problems don’t lump on your door step overnight. They start with something like a head cold that leads to deprived sleep for a week, and then a deadline or a teething baby compounds the problem, then you best mate refuses to talk to you because you forgot to visit them on Thursday afternoon, and you have a fight with your partner over the lack of food in the fridge… Little things that somehow grow as if on steroids and before you know it, they’re bigger than you and you can’t breathe anymore… Great post!

    • Thanks Sif. Of course, some people have more challenges than others, but you are right, it isn’t a competition; nor should ever it be. No one is more worthy or less worthy of care.

  6. I love this. It encapsulates exactly what RUOK? Day is trying to achieve – stopping the little problems from growing into big ones.

    We are so programmed to respond automatically to ‘how are you?’ with ‘fine thanks’ when in reality, what we’d like to do is tell it like it really is and have someone listen and care about the answer, without offering a solution or judgement.

    What may seem small to one, may be the unravelling of another.

    If we care enough to ask, listen, we can intervene.

    • Thanks Jayne. Sometimes it’s hard with those we aren’t close to to get below the surface but if we see a worrying sign, we should try, if we can. With those closer, we should be more free to push. And sometimes we’ll get push back, but other times, we will be welcomed. I agree with you. We are also often programmed to try and fix and offer solutions when sometimes we really need to listen. Something I know I need to remember more often too.

  7. You make such an excellent point! YOU are worth asking that question to. It’s all about nourishing each other so that we don’t get to the point we have problems. Love your perspective, Veronica! And I absolutely love the image and caption. Brilliant!

  8. It is hard for me, I do not text… I wonder what I am okay how about you would look like in text? I love the idea that folks learn to put others first… I agree someone should not have to be so bad that you then notice that something is not right. Thank you for posting this, maybe for those that seem to ‘not notice’ soon enough it will bring it to the forefront….RaeDi

  9. Thanks Veronica for your post. Everyone’s posts matter, each person has brought something different to the table, to demonstrate that as a community we are all similar yet different and the thing that binds us is the humanity. We shouldn’t have to be down and out to warrant a thought or care. if more people cared enough to connect there may be less of a stigma about mental illness and more opportunities for people to truly have meaningful conversations. We shouldn’t forget we are human.

    Thanks so much for your support and interest for this initiative and for championing it so beautifully. I am so sorry to have missed you at the media event (typical). gemma xx

    • Thanks, Gemma. You did good with the event. You really helped raise awareness. It doesn’t always take a lot to make a difference, does it. Cumulative little efforts can go a long way. Hopefully that’s the legacy with R U OK? Day and people just start caring as second nature every day. Hopefully there’ll be another chance to meet one day.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

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