"U OK hun" - It's All About The Timing

When times are dark, the chips are down and life seems bleak many people (but not enough) reach out to friends and family, especially via 'social media' and mostly via Facebook. This is a good thing.

There are also random posts from people that (probably) have had something happen in their lives, mostly to someone else, that prompts them to send out a message.

The message that is most common is:
Reach out, you're never alone, I'm here for you
... or any combination of the above with the same sentiment.

Now, there's three things I'd like to talk about this response:
  1. Timing
  2. The sender
  3. The receiver
For anyone that has read my On Contemplating Suicide post you may have picked up that the timeline, for me, means that timing to receive this message is problematic. If the world is all hunky-dory then it washes over like all Facebook "makes you feel good to send but what's that got to do with me" messages. If The Queen has arrived, then good luck trying to be heard over the sheer volume of her voice
All other voices are drowned out. All other thoughts are lost in the din. They try, at first, to battle her, to reason with her, to even side with her and trick her into going away. They rarely succeed in those first hours, and never in the first minutes. There is only her, and I love her. I am energised by her, she is all powerful, I can do anything I want (well, only one thing, but fuck it, I could do that, take my own lifer, how powerful and incredible is that). I am swept along by the sheer awesomeness of her power, she is here to end it, to save me, to take me away, to look after.
And then, when 'normal service' is resumed we can, quite quickly get back to life is all hunky-dory. However, it is during this time that the message, "U OK hun?" really means a lot
Once that is done and I have the internal fortitude again I reach out to my wife. Always Liz is the first to know, in fact she knows once the first fury is over, but I am (currently, time to grow a little eh) unable to connect with her - I feel the Queen might get her, and that is NOT acceptable. I also tell people I've been a bit down lately, that black dog has visited. I get hugs, I meet mates and have a cry.
But then, it feels to me like, "Well, um, er why bother because we're out the other side". This is my challenge though, and one I have to manage far better than I have in the past. It's also at this time that I remember those messages, I remember who sent them and I reach out ... so maybe it's not all a waste eh.

But the timing, it seems lopsided - when I could do with it I am in no state to receive or act upon it. Ah, the dilemma.

So what to do if you're a sender of such messages ... fucked if I know.
Actually, what really works is the, "On a scale of 1 to 10, where are you right now?", "What can I do to help you move to n+1?"*. This is something that works on a regular basis, every time you meet someone, it moves the ambulance from the top / bottom of the cliff and into the countryside far away from such emergency hotspots.

As I say I will blog more about this next.

Now, something for us receivers out there. The 10 Ways To ‘Reach Out’ When You're Struggling With Your Mental Health post by Sam Dylan Finch prompted me to add this in - how do people struggling reach out, what are good ways. I would recommend you read the full article ... I'll wait ... go on ... 

The tip that resonated with me and I will definitely be doing is reaching out to loved ones and saying
You do not have to talk about what’s bothering you if you’re not ready. 
Opening up a whole can of worms might not be the safest or best thing for you in that particular moment. And guess what? You can still reach out for help. 
Sometimes we just need someone to shoot the shit with, so we aren’t stuck in our heads, making ourselves a little crazy. This is a valid and healthy thing to ask for! And it’s a subtle way of making folks aware that you’re having a rough time, without needing to go into detail.
I will leave you fine people for now, thanks for taking the time to cast your eyes over this. Here, for those that like me get stuck with The Queen is a glorious poem - I dedicate it to you.

* this technique was showcased in Jane McGonigal's amazing book Super Better - I highly recommend it for everyone to read.


New Zealand

  • 1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.
  • Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.
  • thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626
  • Anxiety New Zealand - 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
If it is an emergency or you, or someone you know, is at risk call 111.

UK (via the BBC)


Popular articles

Make Your Public Event Calendar Usable To All

The Difference Between One Million And One Billion

W. C. Fields quotes

Pubs of 2024 Monmouth