TO­DAY’S THE DAY TO ASK

Stanthorpe Border Post - - FRONT PAGE - Matthew Pur­cell Matthew.Pur­cell@bor­der­post.com.au

BE brave and don’t be afraid to share your dark times is the ad­vice of a long-time suf­ferer of de­pres­sion.

To­day marks na­tional R U OK? Day, a day where ev­ery­one is en­cour­aged to check in on friends, fam­ily and strangers to see how they’re trav­el­ling.

Glenda Ri­ley, who has bat­tled de­pres­sion for the bet­ter part of half a cen­tury, said ini­tia­tives like R U OK? Day were a great way to touch base with peo­ple who might be strug­gling.

“There’s no shame in say­ing you’ve got de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety or things like that,” she said.

Don’t be afraid to say to your friends ‘I'm hav­ing a bad day’.

— Glenda Ri­ley

“We live in a re­ally fast, tech­no­log­i­cally driven world and a lot of peo­ple don’t cope with that,” Glenda said.

Di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion at age 14, Glenda said hav­ing to up­root and be sent off to board­ing school was her un­do­ing.

“That’s what trig­gered it for me.

“But I took a very holis­tic ap­proach to my ill­ness. Even as a teenager I re­alised it wasn’t go­ing to go away.

“It was about do­ing the best I could with what I had.”

An “ahead of his time” doc­tor put her on med­i­ta­tion and yoga but she found her own cop­ing mech­a­nisms.

“Over the years I've de­vel­oped a lit­tle prin­ci­ple - my RAR prin­ci­ple which stands for recog­nise, ac­knowl­edge and re­spond.

“Ba­si­cally don’t be hard on your­self. Some­times you wake up and think ‘oh this is not go­ing to be a good day’.

“Don’t push it. So you do some­thing to nur­ture your­self that day. You’ve just got to find those lit­tle mo­ments.”

For Glenda it’s pho­tog­ra­phy, which she said “un­der­pins her san­ity”.

She said she felt the stigma around men­tal health is­sues had cer­tainly dwin­dled and en­cour­aged peo­ple to speak out.

“I’ve got a nurs­ing back­ground so was ex­pected to be okay. Yes it’s af­fected my life, but I deal with it.

“Don’t be afraid to say to your friends ‘I’m hav­ing a bad day’.

“I think if some­one is strug­gling – and we all have our mo­ments, no doubt about that – talk to some­one, be that your neigh­bour, fam­ily or GP.

“Don’t push your­self to a point where you’re go­ing to re­act in a bad way, you’re go­ing to hit the pub and get drunk and stupid or hit drugs and things like that.

“They’re crutches – they’re not go­ing to help you in the end.

“You just have to say ‘this is not a good day’. Don’t let it beat you.”

So to­day, you don’t need to be an ex­pert, just a great mate and good lis­tener. If you no­tice some­one who might be strug­gling, start a con­ver­sa­tion.

If you’re hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time you can phone Life­line on 13 11 14 or Be­yond Blue on 1300 224 636, or go to Life­line’s on­line chat ser­vice at www.life­line.org.au.

PHOTO: MATTHEW PUR­CELL

SPEAK UP: Glenda Ri­ley has had her bat­tles with de­pres­sion and is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to open up on R U OK? Day.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

SPEAK UP TO­DAY: Aus­tralians are more likely to die from sui­cide than skin can­cer.

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