Hello beautiful people! My name is Elly and I am the Social Media & Office Coordinator at Happy Way and I’ve been a part of this amazing team for just over 2 years now.
I am here today to share my story on mental health and how three simple yet powerful words changed my life more than I could have hoped.
Mental health hasn’t always been an openly discussed topic in my life (and I’m sure this is similar for a lot of people), but I’m so proud of how much that’s changed for me over the years and how I can now be more open about it. In the past, I was not ok. There are times even now where I am still not ok and I’m sure there’s many of you out there who can relate to this ‘up and down’ feeling. What I’ve come to realise and accept though, is that it is ok to not be ok.
A couple of years ago, this short yet powerful question was asked of me by my biggest role model and best friend—my big brother. He knew I wasn’t ok. He knew that I would let him in and he knew that he could help—and I’m so damn proud to say that he helped me immensely! His simple question got me the help that I needed, the guidance I was searching for and the smile back on my face. In all honesty, reaching out for that help was the hardest thing I have done to date—I was scared, I felt alone and I was riddled with anxiety.
After booking my first psychologist appointment I called my brother. I was so scared. I didn’t understand how it was going to be ok. He told me that if I would like him to, he would fly over from Melbourne just to hold my hand in the waiting room before my appointment. To have that unwavering support and love helped me realise that I wasn’t alone in this. That it would all be ok and most importantly, that it's actually ok and even natural to be scared. By simply letting someone know that they’re not alone and that you’re there for them is so, so powerful.
I’m not going to lie, that first appointment was hard. It felt like it broke me even more—crying to a stranger! Putting everything out to this woman I’d only just met! It was the most vulnerable yet the strongest I had ever been in my life. I may not have realised it at the time, but this was a milestone in my life. This was me being there for me and choosing to finally put myself and my feelings first. It was also a time where I had to try my hardest to understand and believe that it would (eventually) all work out ok.
I still need to be asked this question but along the way I’ve learnt a skill that I’m most proud of—I’m able to check in with myself and actually acknowledge when I’m not ok. I know when I need to reach out for that help. I realise when it’s time for me to open up and take the steps towards getting that smile back. It was only recently that I’ve done this again. I saw the signs of my mental health declining and I knew that I needed to reach out to my support network for help. It was just as hard the second time around as it was the first, but I know that it’s the strongest thing I can do for myself and my well-being.
That simple question didn’t just change my life once, it continues to change my life, time and time again.
Life gets tough, it gets hard and it can throw us around when we least expect it. I know the feeling of being lost can seem as though it lingers for longer than it needs to, but I promise you that this life is also so damn beautiful.
I’ve learnt that there is nothing wrong with not being ok, there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help and most of all there is nothing wrong with letting people know that they are not alone. The simple question “are you ok?” can change someone's life—just like it did mine.
If I can encourage one thing, not only today but everyday—ask your friends, ask your family, even ask your barista—share the love and remember that it’s ok to not be ok. xx
R U OK? Is an Australian suicide prevention charity. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling with life.
Find out more: ruok.org.au
Need help? Find help at ruok.org.au/findhelp
And don’t forget to use their hashtag where you can: #RUOKDay
Some of our lovely Happy Way Ambassadors shared with us what mental health means to them, be sure to check it out & always be sure to check on your friends 💛