One of the things I learned over the past year or two is that the more you open yourself up and share the secrets inside of you, the ones that your ego tells you to keep tucked away, the less scary those secrets become.
I have done it, I trusted my friends and family and all of my online friends - you guys, with a massive secret I kept under wraps for so long, my own battle with Depression. And in every case as soon as those words left my lips or were published on my blog, I felt lighter, relieved and and less scared. I am no longer afraid to speak up when I feel the shadow return and I am no longer afraid to say when I'm NOT OK.
I still live with Depression and an Anxiety Disorder but with the help of professional support, support from my family and friends, medication and taking care of myself, I'm doing fine and I am happy .... more days than not, genuinely happy, something I once thought I would never be again.
Sadly someone can be struggling and though they would give anything to ask for help, they just don't know how to bring it up themselves.
That's where you come in, where I come in and where we can all make a difference to someone who needs help but can't find the words or strength to ask.
Today is National R U OK? Day in Australia and it is a day that we are all called upon to support each other and ask the question - Are you OK?
Too many of us feel as though we need to suffer in silence. Some just quietly withdraw whilst others like me, tend to hide their pain behind a big smile or a loud laugh. Some of us even go out of our way to control everything around us, make it all seem perfect, whilst inside it is all one big shattered mess. I know this because this was me and I know there are many of us that deal with things the same way.
R U OK? Day is not about reaching out to those around us on just this one day every year. It is about creating an awareness, a community who regularly reach out to our family, our friends, our neighbours and our work mates and genuinely asking the question - Are You OK?
Sometimes you may need to ask more than once before you get the real answer, but in doing so you may help someone that felt beyond help. You may just save a life.
If you need help, if you are not feeling OK, please please please take that hand that is offered. You do not need to do this alone.
You can find out more information on R U OK? Day here at the official website. They have a great list of resources to help you ask the question that can make a difference and just importantly, advice on how to tell someone that you are not OK.
A very special friend of mine, Gemma from My Big Nutshell is hosting
"The Australian blogosphere has united to inspire all Australians to take responsibility for the people in their lives who may be struggling and need an opportunity to say 'I am not OK' to a friend or family member. May our words and experience give hope and call everyone to action to help stop little problems becoming big ones."