Do you mind if we have some real talk today? Some ‘what’s going in your head today?’ talk.
Today, September 12, is R U OK? Day. The R U OK? Foundation was established to help encourage real conversations between family and friends about mental health. Countless times per day we answer the question ‘How are you?’, but does anyone really give an authentic answer, and similarly, do any of us asking the question really listen after we have asked the question?
Today I have a question for all of my wonderful readers, but first let me tell you a little story.
I have spoken before about my own struggles with mild depression and anxiety, and how much of this battle of the mind played out in the theatre of my body. I have mistreated myself and eventually found my way back to true nourishment and a healthy relationship between body and mind. I’m not perfect but I’m learning and moving forward every day.
If, today someone asked me R U OK? I would genuinely have to answer ‘Yes’. ‘Yes…but’. Yes, but for some reason I am so happy in my life that I am unhappy. I am happy that after a tumultuous start to the year with so many worries about my job and future my working life seems to be back on track and I am making long term plans for my career and where I want to be in ten years time. I am happy that I have great relationships with my family members and even though I was afraid that I would lose the special connection I have with my sister we seem to have worked out a new more adult relationship and lost none of the closeness.
I am so happy that I am surrounded by passionate amazing men and women that I am fortunate enough to call my friends, and even though sometimes I am not the best person to stay in contact with, when we do spend time together it is diamond-grade quality.
And every single day I am so happy because I get to see the face of the man I love. I am so happy that I have found the one who is twin and mirror of myself. Someone who shares my love of science and satire and mostly melted chocolate ice cream spooned out of the container for a Wednesday midnight snack. Someone who sweetly puts on my favourite shows and tucks me up into bed on the days when I am not feeling quite right. Chris makes me so happy.
And I am so unhappy because I am afraid of the time when I am no longer happy. I am afraid that somehow I am going to upset this beautiful life and the house of cards is going to tumble down, shattering and burning and breaking on the way. I am afraid that I will do something wrong, upset someone, neglect someone, damage someone, and take away their happiness and my own. I just want to create a better corner of the world, make everyday count for the ones I love, and show gratitude for the blessings I have been given.
Have you ever been that happy that you question the infinite nature of our capacity for joy? Can a human heart be this happy forever? Do I deserve to be this happy and let go of the moorings of worry and panic and just float out into the big blue warm sea of happiness and gratitude and a life nourished in so many ways?
On this R U OK? Day I am making a vow to myself, and to all the blessings in my life that give me happiness. I don’t want to be worried about being so happy. I don’t want to be emotionally draining on those around me because I live on a teetering scale of truly happy to worried-about-being-so-happy. So, my vow today is to cast off the lines of worry, and just live in this moment of happiness. My vow is to recapture the joie de vivre of being present in this moment, in this time. I can’t help what may happen tomorrow – good or bad. But I can choose to make this moment, this day, the happiest that I can. I am okay. I am more than okay. I am happy and blessed and ready for this moment and the next.
My question to you readers is R U OK? Really? Have you asked those around you today? Have you truly listened?