Mark Thompson

It’s OK to not be OK


Despite today being R U OK? Day, for me, it’s Thursday. I don’t feel ok, but that’s perfectly fine.



For a solitary day in the calendar, the attention turns to me, and people just like me. It doesn’t, but I feel it does, as we’re suddenly pushed by words of empathetic PR yellow, prodding us to ask strangers, friends and co-workers alike if they’re OK.

R U OK? No.

And that’s ok.

There’s a strange alienation felt after today after the hashtags are packed up and mothballed for next year. Many of us live with my condition or something similar. I know today is about the removal of stigmatism, but circling one day on the calendar seems to be a trifle condescending.

Depression is much like the weather. It rolls in and stays for an indeterminable time. It batters the windows, it scatters your washing and it permeates the self. You look out the window and wonder how it’s still rainingMuch like the weather, it is subject to change. One morning, clear skies, the next, gloom. Sometimes is Melbourne of the soul, as it all happens at once.

Depression is part of the experience of living here. You can’t change it, it’s just a thing.

Recently, I felt I was doing ok. The weeks preceding this one were fine. But the smell of it, like rain, comes fast.

Suddenly, I found myself wandering picturesque northern suburbs in slippers, marvelling at the girth of commercial Sydney. Progress was being made, empires were being solidified, while all I felt was decay. The bridge was within grasp, and quietly whispered promises of release. Surely such a busy place wouldn’t notice my exit.

I felt anger. I was here again. I had to have done something wrong. I had to have deviated from the routines that had been working for me. I got lazy with my health. If I could just figure out what it was, I could fix it. No, the truth is that there is no one solution. It’s not a clever puzzle we’re all one flick of the wrist away from saving. It’s just how we’re wired. It’s not faulty, it’s just different.

Today, my mind is on the same old loop: I’m a failure, my compass is skewed. It’ll forever point me toward the wrong destination. I loathe the happiness of those I love, ergo I’m a piece of shit. I’m the problem. Every good thing I’ve ever had I’ve ruined.

All those things may seem true, but I know they’re not. They’re not fact, they’re feelings. The more I feel them, the more they feel true. But that’s false.

What I do know, is that I don’t feel ok, but that’s fine.

I don’t really have solid advice, we birds of my feather, but know that a lot of us don’t feel ok. Today or otherwise.

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