Today is RUOK Day in Australia.
R U OK? Day is an annual day in September (the second Thursday) dedicated to remind people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, "R U OK?", in a meaningful way, because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who might be struggling with depression.
When I was 15 I struggled through clinical depression and was eventually hospitalised doing something silly.
I was the small Asian kid that was ganged up on and bulled by the kids from my year group at Barker College. I hated school life every single day and was a living hell till I reached the point of breaking.
By the end of year 11 I had enough. I tried to escape from the pit of despair and all the darkness that had overwhelmed me. Barker College was an endless nightmare of torment and despair and I will hate the bullies and that school to the day that I die.
But today isn't about that. I survived the darkness because there are people that noticed my struggles. There were adults that cared or have been through similar circumstances. I would be dead or in prison if those adults didn't take note and tried to assist. There is a way out of the darkness and sometimes all it takes is someone to shine a light for you.
PS: Several thousand hours or so in a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game unleashing your anger, rage, despair and hate on virtual monsters also helped (and far cheaper than therapy).
RUOK Day is a token event for those struggling through depression but a good reminder for people that care. The people closest around you putting on that cheerful mask each day could be struggling on the inside. The darkness festers internally like an insidious curse, then unleashes havoc when they least expect it.