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It’s Ok NOT to be Ok. It’s what you do with it that counts...

This blog post may seem a bit dark, but nothing could be more dark than losing a loved one to suicide, or being in a place where you feel there is nothing to live for.

With the death of Dolly Everett affecting the nation (I know it deeply saddens my husband and I, we have a daughter of our own and can empathize as parents how devastating it must be), and the deaths of far too many people this year from my home town and surrounding area (two were friends of either myself or my brothers); all of which rocked the whole community, I feel we need to empower people to speak up, rather than hide their true feelings.

The “are you OK?” Initiative is fantastic, but i feel like we need to do more. I think it’s important for everyone to know that it’s OK, NOT to be OK. We don’t have to be OK all the time, I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet who hasn’t had a bad day, or been through tough times.

This is an important thing to teach our children in order to change the stigma around mental . Rather than telling them not to cry/act out when they’re upset; encourage them to let it out (safely). Encouraging our children to explore and identify their feelings from a young age, as well as helping them learn how to deal with them, will prove extremely beneficial to them throughout their lives.

As much as we need to check in on people, we generally don’t push the issue if someone seems “Ok”. We all have a responsibility to be open and honest to ourselves, and to others about how we are feeling. The hardest part about suicide is the guilt and regret felt by those left behind.

All the instances of suicide that I know of personally, have come as a complete shock to the persons loved ones and family, because they didn’t reveal what was really going on, or they appeared to be “ok”.

We need to promise ourselves and our loved ones that we will not hide behind a facade of happiness if that is not the case.

Some people might argue that suicide is a cowards way out, but in my opinion, if you have the courage to take your own life, then you have more than enough courage to face whatever has caused you to think that it’s too hard to keep living. However; no one expects you to do it alone, and you shouldn’t place that burden on yourself!

There is nothing weak about telling someone you’re struggling. If you’re fearful of judgement, call a helpline and talk to a stranger, they are trained to help you, and sometimes a fresh set of eyes or ears can make a world of difference. You have nothing to lose, but you have EVERYTHING to gain!

Here are some numbers;

National crisis numbers 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24/7):

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14

  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 for young people 5-25 years

  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

  • MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78 for men of any age These phone lines are available to anyone in Australia 24/7, and are free or provided at the cost of a local call (some charges may apply to mobile users).

State-based mental health crisis numbers (24/7):

  • ACT – 1800 629 354 – Mental Health Triage Service

  • NSW – 1800 011 511 – Mental Health Line

  • NT – 08 8999 4988 – Top End Mental Health Service

  • QLD – 13 43 25 84 – 13 HEALTH

  • SA – 13 14 65 – Mental Health Assessment and Crisis Intervention Service

  • TAS – 1800 332 388 – Mental Health Services Helpline

  • VIC – 1300 651 251 – Suicide Help Line

  • WA – 1800 676 822 – Mental Health Emergency Response Line.

Whilst this will probably sound quite basic, it is quite often the negative internal chatter or feelings of low self esteem that can cause our mental health to take a downward spiral.

Here are Some tips for quietening negative self talk:

- Get out of the house, catch up with a friend, do something you love,

- Join a community/sporting group

- Find a Mother's group, a Men's Shed, any kind of group that will suit your needs.

- Take up a hobby

- Read a book

- Log off from social media: the constant scrolling/liking/posting is not only causing our brains to overload and depriving it of vital rest and downtime, but what we see and read from people we follow can make our lives feel inadequate or unfulfilled. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!!! You only ever see their highlight reel!

- Go for a walk and get some fresh air

- Think of 5 things you’re grateful for; even if it’s as simple as the ability to see, or have full use of your body, find the positives in your day/week/life.

- Do things regularly for self care; treat yourself to whatever makes you feel refreshed or relaxed, or positive!!

- Avoid alcohol or drug dependency as a coping mechanism or a pick me up. The “come down” affects can usually make things worse.

If the negative chatter or feelings continue to get worse, don’t be afraid to seek out some professional help; whether it be a gp, a counsellor, or natural therapies: acupuncture, reiki, kinesiology, even massage or osteo can all be beneficial. It may take some trial and error to find what works for you, so be patient.

And remember this; It doesn’t matter what sort of person you are; you are loved, valued, respected or appreciated by someone, whether it’s your parents, friends, the children in your life (yours or otherwise), your pets, workmates, or the staff at the coffee shop you go to, you will be missed by someone. Even Chopper had a family who loved him dearly, every one of us had the capacity to give and receive love.

If you are ever in need of support, my contact details can be found here.

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