Last week, on Thursday, 8th September, it was RUOK day in Australia. It is run by an Aussie suicide prevention charity inspiring people to meaningfully connect and support those struggling with life.
This is a cause very close to my heart, and it got me thinking. Many years ago, I suffered from horrendous panic attacks and I hid my feelings about it and never gave a glimpse to anyone that anything was wrong. So no one knew that they needed to ask if I was ok. Every day, I put on a mask and pretended that everything was fine. But I was far from fine.
I was experiencing anywhere up to 15 panic attacks within a 24-hour period, my anxiety levels were at an all-time high, my mind raced constantly, I had a permanent lump in my throat and heaviness in my chest that felt like someone was bench pressing on me constantly. I cried all the time and the littlest things would trigger me. And I became a master of disguise.
It was awful.
I bottled everything up so much that I need to get counselling help for a long time to address not only the issues I was facing, but also the fact that I had let it go for so long. It has had lasting effects. When I started talking, the weight finally started to lift and I slowly began the journey of rebuilding my fragile state.
These days you can’t shut me up – ha ha! I talk about everything and anything and try my hardest not to bottle anything up at all and encourage others to do the same, as I have realised the importance of it. I feel free and liberated and openly share my experiences with family, friends and anyone who will listen. I’ve noticed that by sharing, you realise you not alone, but also it makes the other person feel safe that they can share, too. And everyone has their story. Someone just needs to listen to it. So I try my best to always ask those close to me or not, RUOK?
Sometimes the clouds are grey and sometimes the sun is shining in someone’s world. You won’t know unless you ask. 😘