The makings of a positive friendship


‘I’m Fine’……But are you really?

‘I’m fine
“I’m OK”
“Yeah, I’m all good”

I can guarantee that you have said one of the above or something similar when in actual fact you have not been “fine” “OK” or “all good” at the time. I know I have!

Life is busy and we often have what feels like a million things going on at once: work, taking care of children, keeping the house clean, making time for socialisation and self-care, and in more recent times Covid-19, bushfires, and floods.

When life is constantly throwing stuff at us it often feels like we do not have the time to not be fine. As human beings we also have a tendency to worry about others’ perceptions of ourselves (e.g. “What will they think of me if I tell them I am not doing ok?”) and we compare ourselves to others (e.g. “They seem to be coping fine so I should be too”).

Common responses I get from clients when asked the question, “Do your family or friends know of your current struggles?” include:
“No, I don’t want to be a burden”
“No, I should just be coping on my own”
“No, they don’t need to worry about me”

We have a week dedicated to mental health, a World Mental Health Day, an R U OK day and fundraising activities throughout the year held by various mental health organisations to raise money and awareness for mental health, and in the process make mental health less taboo. Yet, individuals still hold a lot of shame and guilt around not being fine and so try to mask it.

The problem with masking your struggles and not letting others in is much greater than the problem of speaking up. The more we mask our feelings or push our feelings aside the more intense those feelings become and the more we struggle in the long-term. That is, the longer we avoid speaking up and asking for help, the more likely it is that the severity of the stress, anxiety, grief, or depression we are experiencing will intensify.

Statistics provided by the Black Dog Institute state that “every year over 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt” and that “suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age.”

Admitting that you are not fine DOES NOT make you:
A burden
Unable to cope

Admitting that you are not fine DOES make you:
Motivated to make changes for the better
A role model for others who may be feeling the same way yet have been feeling they were “the only one”

It is important to remember that there is never a bad time to ask for help. Speak with your family, your friends, your GP, and your Psychologist. Building a support network is very beneficial. Our connection with others gives us meaning and purpose and have a huge influence on our wellbeing and positive outcomes. If you or someone you know is struggling one of our experienced psychologists can provide support in a safe environment to feel heard.

If in need of urgent support, please contact a crisis or emergency service who provides 24/7 counselling services:
• Lifeline – 13 11 14
• Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
• Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
• MensLine 1300 78 99 78
• Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
• Emergency services – 000

So, the next time you are asked “how are you going?” or “are you ok?” what are you going to say?

Kaelan Jones



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