Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Well, I'm all good. How are you?

Today is R U OK day, an initiative set up in 2009 to create national awareness for mental health; in particular depression and suicide. This year it is touching very close to home after the recent suicide death of a good friend's young husband. He didn't have the conversation that could've saved his life. 

Depression and suicide are unfortunately well known in my family. I remember vividly the afternoon that I found out my mum's eldest brother had taken his life; I was eight years old and chucked the shits when my brother came to my friend's house down the road to tell me to go home. I was meant to be having a sleep over and was not happy. I ran into the kitchen to start complaining to my mother but stopped in my tracks when I saw her face. She did not have an easy upbringing and her brother stepped in as parent when my grandmother wasn't there. Seeing how his death had shattered my mother has had a deep and lasting effect on me. Earlier that same year my parents' house burnt to the ground leaving us with nothing. It was a difficult time and my mum had to shoulder the burden of depression on her own for many years.

When my son was born I found myself battling with a little more that 'the baby blues'. I went to a very dark place before my husband finally tweaked and took me to a good doctor. I went on antidepressants for a little while, and wrote about that unpleasant experience here. Now I have this lovely little bottle to keep me level, and I could not be happier with it. I realize it might not be the answer for everyone who has battled depression, but I am so thankful that I gave it a try. A huge bonus is the fact that at $12 for a bottle of 60, it is a fraction of the cost of Cymbalta (which used to cos me around $50 a month), but the best part is it's all natural and isn't messing around with my body.

Bad shit happens, I know my tale isn't extraordinary. But that's the scary part; we all go through trials in our lives and this year 65,000 Australians will contemplate or attempt to take their life as a way out. It's a big number, and while I sit in my home today I find myself feeling overwhelmed. When my friend's husband took his life she put his picture onto a facebook page called Putting A Face On Suicide. I thought it was a worthwhile sentiment and liked the page, but had to hide that sucker after many teary visits to my news feed. 

This is a big issue, and more needs to be done. Mental illness is stigmatized in this country when it should be viewed the same as a physical illness. We need to treat our mental health with the same level of importance as we do our bodies; we put time in at the gym to look good so why can't we put the same effort into our mental well being? I feel very small with this issue, but today I will do what I can and open my eyes to the people around me. You should too.

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