R U Ok? – should be everyday

My eyes snapped open, checked my phone. 2 hours till I need to get up. My mind is racing. What is this is wrong, will that work. Will the client be happy? Is everything as the client requested? My paranoia steps up to the plate. These thoughts circle through my mind continuously. Just as I think I have gone through permutations, they start again. We try and relax our mind, count sheep but my mind keeps on with circling dark thoughts. Will it pan out. I feel like I am in over my depth, yet I have the skills and have done it all before. Is my mind crashing? I lay there feigning sleep until the alarm sounds. How many of us go through this in our life.

The R U Ok day has rolled around again, and it should be making all think. There are numerous posts on Facebook etc. I think in our industry we are often faced with issues that affect our health, mental and otherwise. We often shrug off the problems and get on with the show. Should we dismiss these feelings? Never.

In the entertainment industry we are faced with a variety of issues that can play with our minds. A large percentage of us are employed casually or freelance and therefore the prospect of no income often preys on our minds. I know first hand how that feels, will I be able to pay that bill or get groceries to feed myself and my family. We get ill and therefore cannot take on work, or we suffer an injury and cannot work for a few weeks. These all can stress us out. From personal experience if I get ill or have a slight injury I will continue to work, to the detriment of my health. The main concern is the show must go on and I need to eat. Should we have stresses like this in our life, should we just be working to survive? Do we need to have a good quality of life? We struggle with the mental angst everyday. We started out young and full of promise to work in the field that we loved. We want to make magic happen for the audience, no matter what field we were in. We loved the challenges and the chances to be creative. We soared with the success productions we worked on and ignored the slim wallet and empty bank accounts. The aches and pains we ignored or used buckets of over the counter pain killers. If we found we could not cope we turned to alcohol or drugs for some. We soldiered on from venue to venue.
We aged and then suddenly one morning we awoke and realised that we were no longer young and our bodies refused to move they way it use to. Some of use could not cope with the shock that we were getting on and the mental strain was too much. We lost several to their own hands, people that had given so much and had more to give. Others have given up the industry and some of us have now realised that we have to think about our future. We have to look after ourselves, we need to be open and ask for help. We need to look after each other and help them cope with the changing landscape of this industry. We need not live to work but work to live. We need to enjoy the work but not to the detriment of our health.
More and more employers are beginning to recognise that their employees need to be looked after and not treated as a commodity. We need to be valued and our thoughts and opinions at least listened to. We seem to have more access to services in regards to our mental health, but do we recognise that we have a problem ourselves. How can we tell if we have a problem? This is why this R U Ok day is important, but remember to ask someone if they are okay at any time. It may make a difference, I don’t know as I have never been asked by others in the industry yet, but I have asked myself. So don’t be afraid to ask yourself if you are okay. If you do have any doubts about your ability to handle these sorts of problems, talk to someone, seek help.
I know I am starting to suffer anxiety attacks at least once a week, now this could be work related or caused by the medications I take. Only recently have I decided that maybe I should ask my GP about it and maybe get to the root cause of this problem.
We need to speak and ask for help, there are many around us that will support and look after our needs.

We give others enjoyment let’s make sure we get some back.

So are you okay?

Where to go for help?

Your local GP

Entertainment Assist

Beyond Blue

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