Today is R U OK? day. If you haven't heard of it before, it's fairly simple. It's about asking people you know, "Are you okay?" It's about starting a conversation, making it okay to say that you're not okay. Because things like depression, anxiety, and other mental issues are not just issues for some people here and there - they're front and centre as issues that the vast majority of people will have to deal with at some point in their lives.
For me, depression has been on the table for a while now, in one way or another. There's a bit here and there in the family, so I'm probably predisposed towards it. I'm also a 4, and that's their classic struggle. But while there's always been some sort of undertone of sadness (as I talked about in this post quite a while back), I've never really thought that I had depression proper. For two main reasons; firstly, it never lasted long. It might be a day or two, on and off. Never for, say, a week at a time, or more. And secondly, I could always quite clearly communicate what it was that was making me feel down. And that seemed to me to be quite different from my understanding of proper "depression" per say.
Last year, and this year in particular, though, I think there's been more of this creeping in. Particularly recently, and in ways that I can't really explain or put a finger on. When day after day, I'm feeling sluggish, have no motivation, feel quite tired, sad, and down. Of course, it may well be partly due to not getting outside enough, and not really having work for ages. I do tend to perk up when I'm actually outside, or doing something, rather than just sitting at home by myself. Strange, that....
But whether it's caused by stuff that's going on or if it's more ingrained, there's something somewhat dangerous about it that I'm aware of. People will never notice it. Because when I'm around people, I feel good! I enjoy being around other people. (Unless I'm just in the midst of a massive crowd with no-one to connect to, or when it's just random people. Then not as much.) And so, when I'm around others, I feel a lot better than I otherwise might. But when I'm by myself, or at home, I tend to feel a lot more negative, and a lot more down.
Which makes this "Are you okay?" stuff really difficult! Because most of the time, if someone is there to ask me that - then I will be at the time, because I'm around people! But I might not be generally going okay, looking at the bigger picture. And I'm guessing that's not just a me thing - though with others, masking may be more of the problem. Either way, though, that bypasses the power of this question.
And so I guess I want to encourage people to dig a bit deeper. Don't assume that every time a person says they're okay that they are. At the moment, for myself, I think I am - but life is a bit crazy at the moment, so my emotions can be the same. They tend to get rather blown about by whatever's happening, which isn't great....
But yeah. That's enough from me for now. Are you okay? :)