By ALLAN JUDD
Do you have support? This is a big question that everybody should ask themselves.
Well, what is your support network, do you have friends you can ring and talk to at any time of the day or night? Would you be somebody’s support person? As we are plunged back into a Covid-19 lockdown around the country, people are forced to relive difficult situations endured under Covid-19 restrictions last year, where some people became fragile.
Families are forced to all live together at the same time under the same roof, all wanting to do their own thing in their own way.
“No problem” I hear a lot of you say. Okay, for some it’s not too bad, but for others, it can be enough to tip them over the edge. It’s important to take time to look after each other, it’s even more important to look after yourself during these situations. What are you doing to keep fit, are you doing some form of exercise?
Last year when we were in lock-down, I was set a challenge to do 25 press-ups every day for 25 days. So, this time round, I’m setting the challenge of doing 30 sit-ups every day for 30 days. It’s about giving yourself a challenge each day and a reason to get out of bed every morning.
One of the easiest things that can happen as we start to feel hemmed in around our own home is to hide inside ourselves. So, it’s important that we exercise and communicate with those sitting next to us on the couch.
One of the hardest things to grasp is sometimes that support person will not be the person you are living with. That person who you love and care for may not see the support that is needed by you.
It is important to know who you can rely on to help when you are feeling a bit down, anxious, depressed or just need some time out to recharge the batteries.
I hope just one person takes the time to read this and turns to the person next to them and asks those two simple questions: Are you alright? And, are you coping with life?
This is not the case in every scenario, sometimes that support person will be your nearest and dearest, but you need to know that before you start to fall off the rails.
In most cases you won’t need to worry if you have that constant line of communication open. There have been numerous struggles and sometimes the support you crave is just not there.
I’m starting to see how broken and under-resourced the Mental Health system in this country has become.
The struggle to get support and help in this country has become too great for some people.
I can see why mental health educator Mike King has thrown his arms in the air and said enough is enough. We need to be aware of people around us who are not coping as well as they should.
Suicide in this country is out of control, not just our young but the farmers, the shop owners – depression doesn’t care who it comes and gets and if you don’t have the support you need, you can spiral out of control and stop communicating with people.
I have seen this first hand when the support you so desperately want deserts you.
I know I struggle with mental health and do all I can to ensure I stay in the right frame of mind.
It’s important to have a plan of how to cope when things start to get a bit tough or you are feeling anxious about some silly little thing.
There are some wonderful books and support networks out there. I can recommend former All Black and mental health advocate John Kirwan’s first book Why I Am, a book full of wonderful quotes he used in times of struggle. One of my favourites is: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”.
So, I challenge you to get off the couch, do some exercise, talk kindly to those around you and pick up the phone and ring somebody you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Be kind to yourself and be kind to others, you’ll find it goes a long way.
WHERE TO GET HELP
- Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki: Hinengaro (mental health), Ph 0508 111 555, 8:30am to 4:30pm weekdays.
- 1737, Need to talk? – Free call or text 1737
- Depression.org.nz – 0800 111 757 or text 4202
- Lifeline – 0800 543 354
- Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 for people up to 18 years, 24/7.
- Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254