Some days I am a ragdoll and the smallest bump pulls at my loose threads. I feel limp, far too soft to exist in this world.
But I am not a ragdoll. I am made of much stronger stuff than that. I am fortified by a man who loves me and three kids who need me. I am reinforced by family and friends, by community. I am part of something so much bigger than my own sadness and it keeps me afloat. Some days, only just, but floating is not sinking and floating is not drowning and so I float and I'm grateful that I can.
I have had days when the weight upon my chest is suffocating. It is the first thing I feel when I open my eyes in the morning and it is the loneliest feeling. I turn on all the lights and then the radio, and it helps. In those moments, silence is the enemy, because silence is never silence but a megaphone for all the worries in my head. I drown them out with music and I chase out the darkness with any light source I can find. They are simple strategies but they work.
I don't want to die but there have been days when I don't want to 'be'. In those moments, it is too hard and I am too worn out. I want to turn everything off and crawl into a warm space where nothing can get to me. And sometimes, I have done just that. But I always come out again. I come out again because I can see that there are still things worth coming out for.
And people are calling me out. My first instinct is to retreat, sadness is a solitary endeavour, but isolation is dangerous and so it's not too big a claim to say that having people who love you and who reach out to tell you that they love you can keep a vulnerable person alive.
Reach out to the people you love, today and often. Society teaches us that we must 'fix' people or solve their problems and if we can't do that, we simply pull away because we don't know what else we can do. I can't fix anyone else's mental illness and they can't fix mine, but a sense of belonging, of mattering to someone in this vast and frightening world is CRUCIAL. To all of us. We matter.
So I am asking you R U OK?
Today I am okay. Good even. I have a shitty cold, my house is a mess and I was meant to send out my wedding invites on Monday, but Harlow just crawled into my lap and fell asleep so I'm holding tight to this little girl and just surrendering myself to healing. Funny how we'll stop and rest when physical illness demands our attention, but if our mind is the thing that ails us, we downplay or deny.
You don't have to downplay or deny. You are not alone. What you feel is real. And if the people you rely on in your life don't acknowledge what you are feeling, find someone who will. A GP is a good place to start.
Until then, I see you.
To learn more about R U OK Day, click here.
If you are struggling, help is available here.