Are you okay?
It's a very simple question, and one that we don't ask enough.
Too often we are so wrapped up in our own lives and our own problems, that we forget to ask the people around us so many tiny little things.
How was your day?
What has been going on?
Are you okay?
Sometimes people struggle with things that are bigger than what we can understand.
And a lot of people do it with a perpetual smile on their face. No fuss, no drama.
They just get on with life and a lot of the time we just assume that these people are always smiling, so they must have everything in place, they must be okay.
A lot of people keep their small problems to themselves, for any number of different reasons. They just deal with things on their own. For some people it's the only way that they know how to cope.
I don't know if any of you really know how utterly soul destroying it is, to go through life every day without anybody asking you how your day was, or to be spoken over every time that you try to talk, to be ignored or dismissed.
They seem like such small and petty things, but they make a person feel invisible, they make a person feel isolated, unimportant, and most of all alone.
It's really hard to go through life feeling like you're second best.
And that just because you don't scream, throw a tantrum, or make a fuss.
So many people suffer from depression.
The kind of depression that nobody notices, because people keep it so well hidden.
That's the kind of depression that is the most dangerous, it's the kind where people don't ask for help. Because, who would care? If someone can't even take the time to hear about how your day was, then why would they want to listen to you talk about how you feel?
It's much easier to keep it locked away inside, put on a brave face, and face the world.
After awhile, those small problems that you've kept to yourself seem to turn into huge problems, that seem to suffocate you. It seems impossible to cope, impossible to deal with. A lot of people turn to alternative ways to try and cope with the pain that they feel.
They harm themselves, they numb the pain, or at worst, they choose to commit suicide.
And the scariest part is that, they won't cause a scene, they won't draw attention to the fact that they want to die.
They will just do it. Quietly. Without a fuss.
Much like how their life was lived.
Some people manage to get through it. They find an inner strength, they find a way to go on despite the fact that they don't feel supported in areas of their life.
All that it takes is for somebody, one person to notice their pain, for one person to ask them if they are okay. Sometimes that's just enough.
Thursday, September 15th is 'R U OK day?'
This is a day for action, aimed at preventing suicide and encouraging Australians to connect with someone that they care about, to start a conversation. R U OK?
Feeling lonely, isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression, and ultimately to suicide.
It only takes one minute, to reach out to someone.
To ask 'Are you okay?'
I really urge everyone to participate in this day, to really try and connect with someone whether it is someone that you love, someone that you work with, or someone that you might just say hello to in passing.
Just by asking that single question.
You could be changing someone's life.
Are you okay?