25 Aug 22

By Dominic Byrne

Single Parent Getting After It

It’s very true, a conversation can change a life. I love that there’s modern-day awareness of this simple but indispensable need and a national day to support it. We can never do enough to inspire meaningful connections with people who are struggling.

Anyone can reach out and ask “Are You Ok?.” I encourage you all to do so and there are nill prerequisites needed of any kind to ask the question.

The issue for me personally has always been my response when people ask ”Are You Ok?”:

“I’m good.” “Things are great, how about you?” “Yeah, good mate, you well? “All good what have you been up to?”

An instant deflecting auto-response perfected over time to dodge having to talk about my feelings in any way whatsoever.

I recently stopped doing this and it’s been life-changing.

Leading up to this point, I kept telling myself, “chin up”, “I’ll be better tomorrow”, “the knot in the tummy will disappear”, “hang in there”, “run it off”, “it’ll pass”.

It didn’t pass. Not this time.

Days turned into weeks and then I stopped sleeping and eating properly and my brain turned to mud. At this point nothing makes sense.

At the same time I decided to see a psychologist, I also set some self-help goals and one of those goals was to contact my close friends and tell them, “I’m not ok.” In each conversation, I downloaded how I was feeling and why.

Not one of those conversations was a waste of time.

Another big change I made was if someone asked how I was, an individual that I considered to be sincere, receptive and have time to listen. I let them know that I wasn’t ok and that I’d had a real shit couple of months. I did this with people that I may not have been close with but are connected to my life on a regular basis through some sort of association.

What you get back from people is genuine concern, sympathy, empathy, compassion, understanding, relatable experiences, advice, and support.

You then have the option to accept none, some or all of what is being offered. The conversation on its own will make you lighter and happier. It has each time for me.

Starting a new conversation about your mental health will likely be the inception of open-ended dialogue with that person centred around healing and support.

“No I am not ok right now”

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