So it says above, today is R U OK? Day...where indeed a conversation could not only change a life, but save a life!
While today might be the actual day to remind you all to ask yourself and your friends & family, are you okay....it should be something you can ask ANY DAY!
Mental health is often seen as a "hidden" and "black dog" of issues, but it needs to be brought out and supported more - which is why the initiation of R U OK Day etc has come to light.
Today, I started my day, at Chronic Pain Clinic, with an appointment with the Psychologist. Chronic Pain is a serious issue and it affects you in so many different ways, including your mental health. How one person copes with continuous extreme pain, exhaustion, loss of lifestyle and many more negative things is a huge continuous battle, so it is very important to accept help, especially those whom are trained in helping you to help yourself.
When the pain becomes all too much, after continued hours of extreme paid radiating through your whole body, when you're too exhausted to even think....you just start to give in. Start to give in to those negative thoughts no one ever dreams of thinking. You just want that pain to end, sometimes it doesn't matter how. I cannot explain to anyone how and why these thoughts go through my head - it's not something I would ever even imagine...but when you are in that extreme pain for days on end, you end up in a deep, dark place of exhaustion...you are not you anymore.
Frustration has been my biggest struggle. I cannot begin to even explain my frustrations - they are just too overwhelming some days. I cannot play the sports I love, I cannot get out and shoot as much as I want...or get to locations I want too; I have to pace myself, I cant just go and do the things I want to; I cant travel like I would want to; I cant be like most other 23yo's; I cant stop the pain, I cant, I cant, I cant...it repeats over and over. I cannot do normal things like I used to and I get so frustrated that so much in my life had to change - the many things that used to be my stress relievers...I cannot do anymore. How to deal with those frustrations? Well I learnt that throwing my crutches is a pretty good stress reliever hahahaha :P But I also learnt the great value of talking to friends, having a vent or three and just talking through my frustrations - learning to control my anger and frustration and just cope with it - not get over it - but just learn to cope with it as I go through the harder times. No one is invincible, we all struggle - just in different ways.
Talking with my Psychologist this morning, I was relieved to hear and know this was not just me going crazy, nor was I alone. It was great to talk to someone about it all in general, as well as discussing techniques to identify during flareups the moments where I need to implicate strategies to help myself cope. It is OKAY to talk to someone about this and get help, because even if you've got a chronic pain problem or even just struggling with family or work, it is normal to feel like you cannot cope in situations. You need to find someone who you feel comfortable with, this is extremely important, because if you dont, you wont be able to reveal what you need help with...to get the help!
If not a medical professional, why not talk to a friend, family member or someone you can trust. My friends within greater circles, have been a huge influence on how I have dealt with the last 17months. Firstly when I broke my leg, going from a busy sporting and working photography week...to absolutely nothing - it was heartbreaking. Whether it was coming around to see me, dragging me out for fun adventures - crutches/wheelchair in tow; late night conversations usually about anything and everything and even just a good laugh or two while catching up with team mates. I've certainly collected a strong group of friends from all different walks of life, all around the country, whom check on me weekly, if not daily. Who continue to drag me out on adventures, out for photo fun (carting my gear for me), for fun, laughs and a great distraction. To what some might even call - mental health days...to just get out, be free and have fun!! To those wonderful people in my life, thank you!
I guess I haven't really gone into too much detail, but you can all get the gist. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, everyone struggles at one point. So make sure, if you can see anyone in need, just reach out to them, talk to them, even if its about the bloody weather - it might just be the breaking point to something more bigger as they search for help!
My meds are slowly kicking in, while I deal with an aching body and type this left handed (ohhh not so easy!!) so I will leave you all tonight, but please share on with friends and reach out and help!!
PS...below is the numbers for helplines, I'm doing the normal spread out of information as all posts like these day, because I still feel like it's important too...as much as a friend is to talk to! Sometimes you dont know how to say to a friend that you need help, so dont be afraid to reach out for help :)
And just sharing on a photo of my "peaceful place" - which I can access even on my crutches, it is where I feel so calm and at peace :)