Thursday, September 15, 2011

R U OK? R U On Time?

This morning I was meant to attend the Perth R U OK? Day event at Gloria Jeans and live blog it, but there was a slight problem (other than me not prepared to share the ins and outs of my own story)...

According to the event invite I was sent, the whole thing was starting at 6:30am and there was buckley's chance I was going to get there that early so I checked if it would be OK if I could get there around 8:30-9:00am. Yes that's fine, they said, but could you please be available til it ends? No problems. Let's rock and roll.

It took me a whole hour to get there so I was ten minutes later than I expected. Being late is one of my major fears. I pride myself on being reliable and on time, so if I'm late for anything (including flights) I freak out. I walked in to find the dregs of a crowd milling round and having a chat. It was all over. Panic stations.

I walked up to the roped off area and was looked up and down by the manager. I smiled nervously. She completely ignored me and continued talking to who ever it was that was standing next to her. I asked if I could please get through and she looked at me like I was just there to try and score a free coffee, and took a half step to the side so I could squeeze through.

The few people left were chatting in their own little groups so I stood there alone feeling like a third wheel. I started having a bit of a panic attack. People with R U OK? Day shirts looked at me and with my body language and face saying "help me", they quickly looked away. Did I have something on my face? Was there spinach in my teeth or something?

Standing there, very obviously not OK at an R U OK? Day event and no one gave a shit, too consumed in their own conversations. The irony is not lost on me.

Only one person came up to me - Will, a Gloria Jeans employee. He asked if he could help me and after telling him I was late and I'd missed it he asked if I'd like a drink. I considered asking for vodka but settled on a hot chocolate which he went and got for me. One bloody person spoke to me because they were being paid to.

I was really aware that I'd said I would be there and blog it and that I was letting people down. So I sat down, drank my hot chocolate while blinking away my tears (sending texts to Map Guy telling him what was happening) and calmed myself down before asking a volunteer why it was over so early. She said that it was always going to be 8:00-9:00am. Right.

So why was I told turning up at 9:00-11:00am would be fine? I was no longer sad... I was angry. I organized a babysitter and drove for an hour to do this. All for nothing.

I decided to get proof that I'd at least gone so I had a paparazzi moment and a quick chat with Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch who was lovely and not only knew what a blog was but has one herself and asked what I blogged about.

Rachael Lynch looking gorgeous and me with puffy eyes from nearly crying
I looked around and everyone was packing up so I saw no point in staying around any longer so I left. I'd been there fifteen minutes. So much for an 11:00am finish.

Overall, I was really disappointed. If you want someone to live blog your event an accurate time would be helpful. And if you see someone trying not to cry at your event about depression, maybe you could start practicing what you preach.

My bad experience aside, I still believe whole heartedly in the concept and the meaning behind the day, even if it is somewhat lacking in tangible ways to finish or continue the conversation they're asking us to start. So ask someone. Start that conversation. Do it today and keep doing it.

EDIT: I'm thinking that they never received my email checking that I could come at 8:30-9:00am and only the original one when I was talking about arriving at 8:00am. I have to believe that. Otherwise I feel too let down. Still would have been nice to know that an event with a four hour time span according to the invite was actually only one hour.

48 comments:

  1. Totally get what your saying and I can see why you'd be pissed off. I would be too.

    I'm so disappointed for you....and no-one even bothered to help you? (Except for Will, bless you mate).

    Poor form indeed :(.

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  2. Devastated by the lack of care for you, especially after you were asked to be there! What a joke. I hope they take note of what you have to say, because it is exactly right. Go Glow, you had the right to be better treated, and they were certainly not helping the cause >:( 

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  3. That's really bad form.

    I must admit, seeing all these posts about RUOK meet ups happening at Gloria Jeans made me a little queasy, they don't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to these matters.
    http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/hillsong-church-linked-to-abuse-claims/story-e6frfkp9-1111115815321

    I hope you are feeling better this afternoon. If you need to chat, I'm here :)

    xx

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  4. Oh Glowy what a horrible experience for you :( I'd have been crying in my coffee for sure.

    And honestly, very poor form when at an event for RUOK day no one bothered asking if you were OK :(

    *hugs*

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  5. The lady that so Ridley stood in your way way, was she an organiser? Was there anyone actually leading the event? It seems pretty bad that you didn't get any support on such a day but sadly this goes on every day.
    Wish I was there to have hugged you.
    Good on you for supporting the day xx I don't know if these people who set up these blogging events realised that some of the bloggers they invited would have had to almost move heaven and earth to get there. Okay not heaven and earth but organising a babysitter, driving an hour and actually giving a stuff to attend is getting pretty close! Xx

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  6. wow that is quite unbelievable! i'm sorry that happened to you glowless especially at an event where everyone should have been completely in tune to the needs of others. I can just imagine how awkward you would have felt with no one even bothering to throw you a second glance.
    Glad you haven't lost your enthusiasm for an otherwise awesome concept. i guess there are still many teething problems to be sorted out before it becomes any bigger.
    I'm wondering about the point of having ONE awareness day anyway - its been great to promote awareness of depression and suicide but what happens tomorrow when the hype dies down? will people still be on the look out and asking R U OK???

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  7. Make sure you email the person who organised this with you & explain what happened & how disappointed you are. How silly of them not to have thought this through & mess with a Mum who can't just up & leave but has to organise a babysitter etc. Please do stand up for yourself. Think of all of us standing behind you going "Yeah! don't mess with Glowless!"

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  8. Oh sweetheart how awful!!! Tis indeed hypocritical to be at an event preaching compassion and conversation and then to be treated with such coldness... 

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  9. Brilliant post.  Appreciate your honesty about the event, as I would hope the organisers will.  I know exactly how you must've felt.  I've been there at a function or event, on the verge of tears because you feel so completely left out and out of place.  Nothing worse than that.  How disappointing that the event organisers / staff in attendance weren't representing their cause very well.  Perhaps you should've worn a T Shirt that said NO! in capital letters - in amongst their sea of RU OK? T shirts...  Much respect for the great post in the scheme of your experience.

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  10. Oh Glow that sucks :( I'm so sorry you had to go in all that way for nothing.
    And pretty slack that nobody asked if you were OK. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of the day.
    Big hug to you x

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  11. What a horrible morning for you! And yes, particularly crappy at an event that should have been more in tune with making people feel accepted and welcome. Good on you for writing about it!

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  12. If I did not live 2 hours from civilization then I so would have been there with you girlfriend. Obviously there wasn't an event coordinator? Terrible.
    One good thing about living in the country is that we all trip over ourselves to make sure everyone feels welcomed/included/OK - mainly because new people stick out like sore thumbs...but it's just what you do.
    Sorry you had this experience and good on the employee who did his job.

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  13. What a waste of your time!  I would be bloody annoyed too and I would have told them about it... I hope you get back to whoever you were talking to earlier and let them know what happened....    So sorry you have such an awful morning...  

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  14. OMG that is so rude of them. I would have had the same reaction as you. I hope that someone who ignored you reads your blog and realises that a little compassion goes a long way especially because they were there for R U OK? day - sheesh. Even though Will was getting paid it was nice of him to approach you and get you a drink. I'm sure your anxiety levels dropped a little bit after that.

    Bad organisers!

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  15. *big hugs* glow.  You went along and that is more than most of us.  Im sorry you went through that and I am doubly sorry that I didn't cancel my crappy 15 minute appointment and go along to support you and the event.  though turns out I could have been home in time for 11am anyway! shitters.  next year will be better.  Well done for taking the online world offline and don't let it stop you doing this in the future - its so important.

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  16. Fuckers making you feel bad and not asking if you were ok.

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  17. crap!
    Yet another reason why i travel less and less for blogging things. If it is an hours drive it needs to be very very worth my two hour round trip.

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  18. I agree that it is hypocritical for people to NOT ask you if you were okay at the event grrrrr

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  19. Crap. I bow down to you. I wouldn't drive for an hour unless it's a family emergency. They should give you heaps of choc for this!

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  20. Friggin heck G! A shit of a morning on too many levels. I just hope the day went upwards from there!

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  21. oh no that is like my worsed fear.  glad you decided to leave not too long after arriving.  I love people to hold my hand and completely freak out the whole time when I push myself to go alone. thank god for technology so at least you had a mild distraction.

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  22. well done you on telling it how it was!

    all day there has been this niggling feeling inside my head at the R U Ok? statuses, twits, etc... I did it, put it on my facebook. As someone else said - its a question that should be asked at any time. If the premise behind R U Ok? is to get people to start asking that question then the discussion shouldn't start and stop on one day...

    I hope that you are feeling heard hun. I hear you. and I hope Map guy comes home and gives you a big squishy cuddle 'cause you deserve it. x

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  23. Oh Glow!!!!! I'm so sorry! How awful!!! I wish I'd been at the Perth event with my Aunty Libby.  She so would have been all: "Oh Daisy, that girl is going to cry! Quick!" and rescued you! She rescued me today in Sydney a little bit too.  Much love xx

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  24. well that sucks.... how disappointing all round.

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  25. Firstly, who the f*ck has a promotiomal thing for a day like this at 6.30 am?!
    And who in their right mind expects people to show up at that time?

    Ive decided against doing a post today on it. I dont want to over crowd the blogosphere. Maybe next week.

    But still.... YOU WERE INVITED TO LIVE BLOG the friggin thing and everybody ignored you. Thats a complete write off in my opinion of the organizers. I wouldnt be doing anything for them in a great hurry. Or ever again for that matter.

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  26. That is all forms of not cool.  I am so very sad that you felt that way.. so alone in a crowded room.  Given the context of the meet up.. I am lost for words :(

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  27. Dreadful experience.

    I have learnt something from it.  Thanks xxx

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  28. Cannot believe this! so sad these ambassadors didn't live up to their hype! Sorry for your hassles & tears ... but well handled and GO Will for giving a hoot! :D xo 

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  29. Well that just plain sucks. I would have cried like a baby, but you know that. Good on you for sticking it out regardless.

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  30. what a shame on a variety of different points. A real shame when you are trying to support something but then don't get the response you hope for. I hope the organisers can take this on board for next year. I would definitely pass on your experience and thoughts !

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  31. Wow, that's entirely shit. I would have had a meltdown in the middle of GJs, right there, into the hot chocolate
    xxx

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  32. Poor you. Not only does that suck because nobody practiced what they were on about that day, but just the fact that you'd gone so out of your way to be sure you could do it at a later time, organised babysitters, travelled ONE hour to get there.

    And then that?

    Shameful. I'm SO sorry. xx

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  33. I am so sorry that this was your day. I just wanted to hug you when you turned up and I was pretty mad that people were treating you that way.
    I feel a bit the same about today. I've bitten my tongue so far, but I was flooded with "R U OK?" as facebook statuses and general "R U OK's" that it felt like why fucking bother? Do you think someone will really speak up to something like that? Do you think someone who is in a world of hurt feels like you really care when you are generalising it to another 100+ people? Nope.
    Also I worry how many people are going to take this concept and keep using it beyond today, or the rest of this week? I hope a lot. It's a great concept, but it needs to be something people are always thinking about, and it needs to be more of a one on one thing not a half arsed "look at me i'm supporting this thing but I don't really want to hear your problems or help"

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  34. I can hardly believe this. How extremely rude of them. That manager looked you up and down and didn't even ask who you were or RUOK?

    Very very rude.
    I'm glad you wrote about this.

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  35. I'm so sorry - what an awful experience! You know there are like heaps of people who would love, no, buy tickets to talk to you face to face, they just happened to not be there. And if it didn't come across on my comment on your RU OK? post - I thought it was amazing, and feel privileged to have read it. 
    Nic x

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  36. That sounds terrible Glow! So sorry that this happened! xx

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  37. I can completely understand that horrible feeling and am upset for you that no one asked if you were alright. 

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  38. Ah lady, kisses to you. hope you picked up a large, expensive coffee on your way home and continued spoiling yourself all day long. a friendly cyber-friend is always here for you lady! xx

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  39. Ah, that just plain sucks!  I am with you in that I hate being late for anything so I have a habit of being a wee bit too early and then have to wait around . . . which may make my anxiety rise.

    It is truly a shame that no one took the spirit of the event to heart and asked if You were Okay! 

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  40. Paula @skinnyflatwhiteSeptember 15, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    That is CRAP.
    Sorry I couldn't come along today - I would have at least talked to you! (And quickly suggested we move on for a decent coffee elsewhere!!! )

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  41. Unbelievably crap form on the behalf of GJ. I wish I hadn't had to work - would've liked to support you.

    And I'm sorry, but 6.30 am? Really? *gulp* Way to exclude most mums outside the metro area.

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  42. I'm actually really kind of mad about this. I feel sad for you and defensive and protective. And I think that Gavin, and the other founders of RUOK would be horrified to hear of this.

    Am so sorry about your experience. And I don't care if he was being paid, I kind of want to give Will a big hug.

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  43. Far out I feel responsible for this. So sorry. Will DM you.

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  44. That is a good point.

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  45. OMG I feel responsible for this. I am so sorry. Will DM you. xxx

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  46. Gemma_My_Big_NutshellSeptember 16, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Me also, I will take responsibility for your treatment. I am so incredibly sorry you were treated so disrespectfully. I am also pleased that 'Will' noticed you and listened. What a good role model for 'others' showing empathy and compassion, in a situation that was so obvious. 

    Like you, I am unsure how this happened and what an incredible shame it did. Although I am so pleased that you wanted to do this and helped when it was such an effort. This shows your incredible spirit in a situation that is also difficult for you. Thank you. I will be in touch to discuss this further.

    I am truly sorry for your treatment.

    Gemma

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  47. Well that well and truly sucks butt! I hope it hasn't put you off any further RUOK? Day activities in the future though! I am so thankful for tha point that has been made and that everyone is becoming more aware of mental health issues. It gave me the courage to speak out about my own experience. http://lifebehindthelines.blogspot.com/2011/09/4-weeks-ago.html

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