R U OK? Am I OK?

My heart falls into the pit of my stomach.
Electric pins and needles radiate through my chest.  My hearts pounds, racing, trying to catch up with my thoughts which have already consumed me.
My hands shake. Spasms shoot over my back, freezing the muscles in intense pain. The doom has come upon me.

My head spins. An eyelid droops. The migraine follows.

I fight to achieve even the smallest thing. I reach for my writing in an effort to calm the voices. Words float elusively through my brain, refusing to be wrangled. I reach to my artwork. My hand refuses to obey and betrays me, dropping the pencil. My muse is trapped.

This week has been a difficult one for me.


Last week was Mental Health Week. It’s aim is to raise awareness, discussion and educate and raise awareness of mental health.  Good ol’ Aunty ABC marked with their Mental as… series of programmes; this week’s Gardening Australia highlighted the benefits of garden/ outdoors on our mental health.

The stats on mental health are alarming:

  • 17% (one stat claimed 25%) (1) of our children now have mental health issues.
  • 3 million Austalians are living with depression or anxiety
  • suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians.
  • In 2007, 45% of Australians (16-85 years of age) met the criteria for diagnosis of a mental disorder (at some point in their life).  20% had experienced symptoms within twelve months of this survey.

Anxiety and depression aren’t just moods that we can flick away with a smile and ‘she’ll be right mate’. Anxiety  can rear when you least expect it (and most inconvenient). The feelings of worry and stress don’t always fade away once the trigger has gone. They can continue. Likewise, depression is not just feeling sad. A well meant ‘just cheer up and think happy thoughts’ won’t cure depression. Symptoms can last a long time and affect health.

The best thing is to listen, support and try to understand it can be a long road for some of us. Start by asking ‘R U OK?” And listen.

Beyond Blue has more information on symptoms, treatment and support and assistance

Am I OK?
I’m getting there.


  1. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Mental%20health%20(
  2. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4330.0
  3. https://mhaustralia.org/sites/default/files/imported/component/rsfiles/factsheets/statistics_on_mental_health.pdf
  4. https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/footer/stats-and-facts
  5. Mental Health Australia
  6. SA Health
  7. Beyond Blue
  8. Headspace – (for youth)


R U OK? Am I OK? was originally published on karen j carlisle

About karen j carlisle

writer artist gardener chocoholic tea lover
This entry was posted in health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s