If you’re reading this post on my actual blog (and I know mostly we all use blog reader aggregation or other networked links instead these days) you’ll see a new button over on the sidebar. It looks like this:
I’ve linked to it because I think it’s a good initiative, and maybe someone will find it helpful. Gawd knows if you’ve read more than one post on this poor blog, (or any of my previous livejournal posts or blogs that have vanished into the internet ether) you know that I struggle with mental illness Every.Single.Day. I’m very open about it, not least because I live in Australia where our universal health care system means I can get treatment even though I have a very limited income. Talking about it could eventually bite me on the bum, I guess – but so far, so good.
I don’t talk about my battles with bipolar disorder and anxiety just to whinge about them – (although sometimes it might seem my blogs are one long whine!). The reason I talk about mental illness ALL THE TIME is that I think talking about it helps de-stigmatise it. And despite greater education and lots of well meaning campaigns, there is still a stigma. I think a lot of people are scared of mental illness – scared of not knowing what to do to help, sacred of what might happen … perhaps even scared that it could happen to them. (And statistics show that this last is more likely than you think.)
And you know what? Sometimes the abso-bloody-lutely simplest thing is the best thing you can do. Just ask someone “Are you okay?” – and LISTEN, really listen, to the answer. If you feel you can do more than that, at work, at sport, at school or uni – then please, go and sign up to get more info. Costs you nothing – could save a life.
It should be every day. But of course, compassion fatigue overwhelms us all – so many causes, so many worthy ideas. If ONE person who reads my blog would just ask someone who needs it RUOK? – I will be grateful.