Don’t swing too far in the ‘silent’ direction

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The Mail is teaming with Mindful Margaret River to share guidance and support from local members of the Mindful Margaret River alliance.

‘No worries!’ It’s the Australian thing to say to people when they thank us. ‘

‘Thanks for bring in my bin.’ ‘-No worries!’

It’s interesting that the phrase is designed to reassure a person that we have not been put out – that our act has caused us no anxiety. Most of the time we say it without thinking of it that way.

Some of us take the same approach in everyday life. We make an effort appearing to have no troubles. ‘How are you?’ ‘-Very well thanks.’

That approach makes social good sense of course. Most people don’t like to mix with individuals who continually grumble.

The trick is to get the balance right. There’s risk to our health and wellbeing if we swing too far in the silent direction.

Bottling things up. Not being honest enough about our feelings. Not sharing with friends or family. Not talking to with someone who might be able to help when we feel anxious, depressed, lonely, when something is eating at us.

There can be many reasons to cause us not to talk about real worries when maybe we should.

Stuart Hicks Selfie 2020
Stuart Hicks – Chairman, Mindful Margaret River says we have been taught to reassure others that there are ‘no worries’, even when we’re struggling.

Pride or embarrassment, for example. It can be difficult to find the right time or place to do it. Some men are particularly vulnerable because some of us don’t have much experience with heart-to-heart chats.

We may be worried we will be misunderstood, even shamed.

Fear can be another reason we don’t speak up. Some women who are in abusive relationships, for example. We can be frightened we will make things worse if we put our feelings in the open, that people will think worse of us, will punish or blame us.

For some of us the words don’t come easily. ‘I don’t like how I feel, but I can’t put it in words. I’m mixed up.’

We can sometimes make progress by talking with a trusted friend. And sometimes we can be a good friend when we detect somebody might be carrying a private load. ‘Are you okay, mate…?’

On other occasions, though, the best thing is to involve somebody who’s professionally trained to help us handle what’s in our head, how we feel.

The decision to seek help is no different to what we do when we have a broken ankle, a blocked drain, an electrical fault or a sick dog. Some things you can’t fix by yourself.

Who to see? In Augusta-Margaret River we have a range of well-qualified counsellors, clinical psychologists and other wellbeing professionals to support us-members of our community who live and work here, understand what it’s like.

If you are uncertain where to turn, a visit to your GP can be a good place to start.

There’s a helpful list of contacts on the Mindful Margaret River website, and in the front of the 2020 Rotary Directory (pages 2-3). Some services are free while others involve a charge.

Not every professional is exactly right for every situation. It’s reasonable to look around a bit, to quiz a professional about what they do, how they can help.

Mindful Margaret River will shortly launch an innovative new program-we call it the ‘Friendly Doors’-designed to help you find your way to the best help. Watch out for it.

Mindful Margaret River is an alliance of mental wellbeing professionals, government agencies, community members and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to promote health and wellbeing in the

First published in the Augusta Margaret River Mail 29 July 2020

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