It feels just like yesterday when I sat crying on a park bench. Tears were streaming down my face; I felt like I was alone. I felt far from OK.
But little did I know, I wasn’t alone. Far from it.
I was one of billions of people in the world, going through the same ups and downs of life. I wasn’t alone at all, there were people out there that felt just like me. There were people out there who wanted to help, who wanted me to be OK.
Every second Thursday in September, Australians have a national day of action – the ‘R U OK? DAY’. A day where everyone, regardless of age, sex, culture or religion; opens their hearts to others and asks such an important question, ‘R U OK?’.
Asking your family members, friends, or colleagues how they are, is so important because it shows that you care about them and their life. Sometimes, it’s not easy to admit that we need a little guidance. Sometimes, we need others to ask if we are OK before we can have the courage to speak up.
On ‘R U OK? DAY’, we, as a nation, want to help others feel less alone in their feelings. We want them to know that suicide isn’t the only option. That we can all get through this together.
For me, the transition from tears to smiles was a long journey I had to take. I struggled for such a long time, believing that things wouldn’t get better. But when I was 17 years old, my life reached a turning point.
When I was at my lowest, I realised my passion for helping other people. I liked hearing about their lives, listening to their problems, and encouraging them to move forward. It was then I realised that I wanted to be a Psychologist.
For a year, I immersed myself in my studies. I felt happy knowing that I was making a difference in the world. But as positive as my life was becoming, the journey for me wasn’t yet over. I was still struggling to come to terms with my past, I needed more guidance in my life. I needed someone to ask me if I was OK.
Then I met my husband. He knew exactly what I was going through; he felt alone as well. But together, we gave each other support. Together, we changed each other’s lives.
And through my husband, I made a new friend who I will never forget.
I remember looking at the expression on his friend’s face and asking him if he was OK. Without saying a word, I knew he wasn’t.
I spent 2 hours with him; listening to him talk about how he felt alone, how he thought everything was his fault. I was his shoulder to cry on, I told him it’d be OK. I gave him compassion and understanding.
He then said to me:
“I was going to end my life tonight.. But you stopped me.. I didn’t do it, all because of you…”
That’s when I knew my sadness was over. That’s when I knew my life was worth living.
It was through helping my now-husband, my friend, and many other people I’ve come across; that I managed to help myself. I now write about personal development because I love helping others lead happier lives.
Just like me, you all have a purpose. You all have have something that you can bring to this world.
By asking others, ‘R U OK?’, we are recognising that we can all help each other.
If you are going through a difficult time at the moment, please know that you are not alone. Please don’t feel ashamed to admit that you need help; feel proud that you have the courage to speak up and say, “No, I am not OK…”
So on Thursday, 13 September, ask those in your life, ‘R U OK?’. It could end up saving someone else’s life. Just like my question saved my friend’s life…
If you believe you are not OK and need a little guidance (as we all do, sometimes), then…
Please contact the RUOKAY number (which connects you to five of Australia’s crisis and information lines):
1800 RUOKDAY (7865 329)
Or call one of the following 24/7 National Crisis Lines:
13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467
Kids Helpline (for young people 5-25 years)
1800 55 1800
National Hope Line (Salvation Army)
1300 467 354
1300 22 4636
No matter what you do, whether it be tell a friend, call a helpline or speak to a GP; please remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together. You will be OK.