It had been like any other hectic weekend visiting my parents. Exhausting road trips, lack of sleep due to unfamiliar surroundings, the craziness and chaos of mandatory family get-togethers.
But something wasn’t right.
By Monday, having returned home I still wasn’t myself.
I was tired beyond comprehension. I was shaky. My stomach felt like it was in endless knots and twists.
Driving to the mall to try and divert my attention, I stopped at the traffic lights and right there my entire world crumbled.
The tears were inconsolable. Nothing could stop me. I was lucky I didn’t have an accident.
Luckily, my GP was available later that afternoon and I booked an appointment in haste.
Within seconds of me walking through the door, she knew.
“How can I help you today, Grace?” she asked
I hadn’t thought about how I was going to tell her what I was feeling; how I was sure I’d lost the plot; that all this tension and angst seemed to come out of nowhere yet it actually was surfacing from the childhood past; that stripping it down to the core, I needed help.
“Um, I seem to have this pain in my tummy and I’m not sure if it’s just indigestion or…” my voice started to fade as I realized how unconvincing my lie was.
“Okay, we can take a look at that,” my GP played along with my little act.
Then, she cleverly caught me:
“But how are you? Are you okay?”
I’ve never cried in front of a doctor. Not when I was told having children was going to be difficult for me and not even when the boys were born.
I take a “Suck it up, Princess” in all matters medical.
But those three poignant yet simple words asked by my GP were like an emotional net ready to catch my vulnerable, completely mentally mixed up self.
Everything about life can be stressful. And sometimes it’s not enough to go solo to survive it.
It’s not about being ungrateful or whinging about what we’re thrown with or complaining about what we’re lacking.
It’s a simple acceptance that we’re all human. We’re not robots. We all need help.
That afternoon was the start of being completely honest with my mental health. That impromptu appointment with the GP, led me to seeking support.
It’s almost been a year since I first cried in front of a medical professional. From then, it opened floodgates.
And that has proven to only be a positive thing.
Today – 12th September – is RU OK Day. It’s a time for us all to remember the power in asking our loved ones, friends and colleagues a simple question that can lead to the prevention of something far more formidable.
The world is filled with a sense of busyness and buzz; we never know what else is brewing deep within ourselves or those around us.
Pause for a moment today and ask someone: “R U OK?”
For that person, it might be life altering, even life saving.