Are you okay? It’s three little words with so much meaning. Once upon a time, I really wasn’t okay. The kind of okay where I was questioning if I wanted to be here anymore. Even just typing that brings up so many raw emotions. It’s still hard to believe that thought passed through my mind, especially with two little people in my life that depend so much on their mummy to look after them. But it’s normal to have feelings of utter despair when your whole world is turned upside down. Too often the subject of mental health is pushed aside. It’s not weak to struggle. It’s not a bad thing to say you aren’t okay. Yet it’s seen as such a taboo topic.
While I certainly have moments where I don’t feel like talking, other times you can’t shut me up. My poor family, right?! Haha! I understand it’s not easy for everyone, but I have no shame in admitting my struggle.
Anxiety is a big part of my life. Those of you who know me well are probably thinking, no way not the always confident, friendly and chatty Sheree. But yep, believe it not I experience excessive worry over sometimes nothing, tiredness for no reason, nausea, a deep horrible feeling in my belly that just won’t go away no matter what I do and I can get cranky for no reason at all. These are just some of the things that I can go through. Even now, just a tense feeling hits me while I talk about anxiety. It’s likely something I’ve had for a big chunk of – if not all of – my life, but it was a few life changing events that brought it to the forefront. There are days that it does consume me a little and as hard as I try not to let it, it doesn’t always work. But other days I manage to live with it. I know there are people out there who are far worse than me!
I’ve also gone through depression. This was something I ignored for a very long time after my babies were born. I was fine, nothing was wrong. Of course I put on a front, a smile was on my face but it didn’t go much further. The feeling of being useless and unwanted was just how I felt. I didn’t want to admit I was failing, that I felt like a bad mum. I know now it really wasn’t the case. I was asked if I was okay and I did say yes but looking back I know it wasn’t true. But maybe it helped just a little bit, to keep me going, and I didn’t realise it at the time. It wasn’t easy. There are things I can’t even remember, sadly even some moments with my girls I can’t recall. But I think part of my solace is knowing they were too young to remember “sad mummy”, although it’s something I will always live with and try to better myself from.
I also have no shame in admitting I did seek help from a psychologist. It took 3 years to get a big part of “me” back again and to be honest I really enjoyed talking to someone who didn’t know anyone I was talking about, it felt amazing. But I did learn a lot about myself and how to not let certain aspects of my anxiety and depression rule my life and be my life. Now I’m not saying it’s easy or anyone can just do that, everyone’s story is different. This is me and how I managed through my struggle. How I still manage my struggle to this day. Do I still have crap days now? Of course I do, who doesn’t? It’s normal, it’s not weird and that’s a big part of living life.
Today (September 10) is R U OK? Day. It’s a day to remind us to start a conversation with someone and check in to see if they are okay. So even if you aren’t sure, ask someone are you okay? While you might ask the wrong person who tells you to mind your own business (it happens), you may also change someone’s entire day! Let’s keep the conversation going and hopefully make a difference to someone who may be struggling. I’m always here if anyone wants to chat!