Today is R U OK? Day - and already on social media this morning I have seen criticism of the day, ranging from 'people should be asking others if they're alright every day' to 'at least use proper letters - dumb name'.
Yes, it would be amazing if people asked others if they were alright every day. But let's face facts. We are selfish, greedy beasts, we humans - and if a day such as R U OK? Day can get us to stop and think about others - for even a moment - then it's alright in my book. As for the name - we live in the Age of Textarius. Much to my secret sorrow, what grabs the attention more - Are You Okay or R U OK? And anything that can bring attention to suicide prevention - well, that gets a free pass from the Grammar Goddess.
The number of people who struggle with depression in Australia is growing. People are scared to talk about how they feel - we are expected to achieve so much, to keep achieving, to keep up the pace, to go the distance, to succeed, to provide, to be happy, to race for the finish line. And all whilst pegging back the darker emotions or feeling tired, or sick, or drained of energy.
Or perhaps coping with grief and sorrow - and finding it all too hard, and just quietly slipping away because nobody has noticed the stress-lines beneath the surface.
We are all guilty of two things - and often it's not out of any lack of care or compassion. One, we DON'T ask our loved ones often enough if they are OK; and two - we don't ask ourselves.
So today, don't only check on those you care about.
Do a self-check too.
Make sure you are, if not happy, then at least in a mental place where you feel you are capable of reaching out for help. Look inside. Say to yourself 'Am I coping? Am I waking up of a morning wishing it would all just go away?'
Sometimes it is harder to ask yourself that question and give an honest answer that it is to look someone else in the eye and say 'no, I am not OK'.
But if you expect that honesty from them - give it to yourself too.
And yes, it would be great if every day we asked 'are you OK?' of friends, family and co-workers. Maybe start with today - and a simple text, or message, or phone call. I will even be relaxing my rules.
R U OK?