By Nicolas Brown
I’ve always felt like there is something about swimming for me that refreshes my mind. Especially when it is in the ocean. I think nature can do that to you. That is, until you get stung by a bastard jellyfish! This happened to me recently and it bloody hurt. Afterwards I thought it’s just a jellyfish, I don’t need to see a doctor, but the pain kept getting worse over a few days and after being encouraged to get it checked out I eventually did, from there, things looked up. When we are faced with a physical problem, the best thing to do is deal with it, not pretend it doesn’t exist. Why is it different when we are dealing with emotions or mental health?
You may think your problem isn’t considered ‘big enough’ but if it’s having a negative impact on you then it is big enough. If it is making life hard for you personally to do your every day tasks, or to enjoy them, then it’s worth chatting about. It’s often so easy to assume our troubles aren’t as big as someone else’s, that there are so many bigger problems out there, but that’s not the best thing to focus on, when we are talking about mental health every trouble or difficulty is worth a chat with someone. Don’t diminish what you are going through by saying ‘I don’t want to be a burden’. You may find you are the opposite to a burden, you being vulnerable may just allow someone else to feel comfortable enough to open up and reach out for support just like you did.
In fact that is what the research tells us. Hearing someone else’s story helps reduce the stigma around mental health and encourages others to reach out also. The ripple effect of having people in our communities willing to openly say when asked how they are doing is pretty powerful. Instead of responding with the all too common ‘good’, there is power in saying ‘to be honest I am feeling pretty crappy and I don’t even really know why’.
Don’t bury your worries. Follow one of batyr’s 5 tips and ‘Get Talking’, chatting to a friend, colleague or family member can be crucial. If needed, you can access resources or support from professionals online, over the phone, or face to face. Check out Reachout.com to see the importance of having a chat, http://au.reachout.com/the-benefits-of-talking.
Reaching out for support doesn’t have to be complicated. The important thing is that first step to Reach Out and to understand what is out there so you can direct friends if needed or utilise those networks yourself. Don’t let the jellyfish sting get any worse, trust me it’s worth it!
batyr creates this environment of feeling comfortable to reach out for support in schools and uni’s through programs that involve the sharing of lived experiences by young people.