RUOK Day- Going unnoticed
I know I've been having a hard time as of late. A few people have been kind enough to ask me if I'm ok, and it's been really helpful. It's been really an example of how helpful RUOK Day can be, even though it's not quite RUOK Day yet.
Before I get too far, I want to thank the people who have been asking me how things are going. You never know how far just a small conversation can go, or how much of a difference it can make. I just wanted to interject that, before I go any further.
You see, I don't have many people to talk to. I don't know if many of you have noticed, but there are some days where I post several times, and there are some days where I don't post at all. There are some days where I'm more OK than others. I think this is true for all of us. We all have our up and down days, some more than others, and if some of you have read some of my posts, you'll know what I'm talking about when I say I have a lot of down days, especially recently.
The thing is, RUOK Day only covers one calendar day out of the year. What if we were all to ask "Are you OK?" every once in a while, or even just sit down and have lunch with someone sitting alone, not even asking if they're ok, and strike a conversation? What if we were to make this more than an initiative, but a habit? You see, people don't just have a bad day on September 15th. People don't just think of suicide, the targeted initiative of RUOK day, one day out of the year.
Yes, it's good to target an initiative, but it's also nice to realize that there are a lot of people who need friends and company, and perhaps just an "are you okay?" more than one day out of the year. Don't get me wrong, I love the initiative, and I'd love to keep the initiative and spread it to the US. There aren't enough people aware of the rising problems in the states or elsewhere in the world. I think it should be more than Australian- I think the WHO (World Health Organization) should take note!
But when you see or notice someone that has begun posting less than usual, someone whose Twitter account hasn't been posted on for two days when they usually post every day, someone sitting alone at a table, someone with a solemn or lonely look, I think it would be a grand idea to at least approach them and say hello. My Twitter account has gone unposted for days when I'm feeling down and unwanted- not because I'm busy, but because I'm down. All too often I'm alone all day, and a simple hello would be a spark for me. I'd feel appreciated. I'd feel noticed. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Sure, sometimes people take breaks, and that's ok, but sometimes, people don't take breaks just because they need one. Check in on your friends, see if they're doing ok.
Sometimes, people do feel unnoticed. Sometimes, that's all it takes, feeling unnoticed and unwanted. It's very easy to be pushed over the edge when you feel like nobody wants you around. The world is empty, and nobody wants you there. Nobody cares to say hi, or ask if you're okay. The idea of RUOK Day is not just to raise awareness that suicide and mental illness exists, but to help prevent it, and I have hopes that the actions taken on RUOK day will extend beyond that day.
After all, it's not just one day a year that these things touch the lives of people in Australia (or the US, or any other part of the world). Some days, whether it's September, November, February, May, or July, I just wish someone would tell me hello, or ask how my day is going, without having a global initiative telling them to do so. We're humans, and we're made to be social creatures. We should be aware of this on more than one day out of the year. We're humans, and we should be communicating with each other as much as we can, especially when we see that someone is down and needs a lift.
So if you see someone whose account has been abandoned without explanation for a few days, or whose blog is a bit more sparse than usual, if you see someone standing alone looking lonely, or sitting alone at a table, perhaps ask how they're doing or just say hello. It doesn't have to be a conversation even- after all, they may just be waiting- but if they need someone, you may be the person that comes along and makes a change in their day. That's what this initiative is all about. We can change, and save, lives.