Supporting someone atop an Issue Iceberg

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Despite my openness and frankness in the online world, I am a really private person, particularly when I’m facing a personal challenge. I’m terrible at asking for help, I just stuff whatever it is that’s going on way down deep and get on with things.

So whenever anyone would ask me ‘R U OK?’ I’d provide a socially acceptable banal answer and move on with my day. Even the leaders I reported to would get the shrug off when they made enquiries.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Lots of us face things we don’t want to talk about. Embarrassing things, upsetting things, shameful things.


The issue is that by clamming up, loads of people (myself included) don’t get access the support we need to stay emotionally and physically well.

In my case it was infertility. I was so ashamed of what I was going through and consequently found it almost impossible to talk about with anyone. So I just didn’t. For about 3 years.

I think I did a pretty good job of covering the cracks, and a few fortuitous situations like my change in role helped, but I have no doubt the people I’d worked with for many years noticed something was up.

Reflecting back, it was a hugely isolating and difficult time made more difficult by my inability to share the load. And while hindsight is great, I’m not convinced I’d do much differently if I faced a similar challenge now. Some things are just too hard to share out loud.


So while the ‘R U OK?’ message is a REALLY important one, I wanted to use this blog post to talk about the ‘Issue Icebergs’ like me who hide the majority of their shit bits und