MENTAL MUTHA MEETS TRACY BULLOCK
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS TRACY BULLOCK
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
A mental mum! As a chronic over-thinker, I've been battling with my mind for all of my adult life. It's okay, it's who I am. I previously have had an eating disorder and struggled with post-natal depression with my first-born. Although being that crumpled, crying heap on the floor, who is literally pulling her hair out, is by no means a snap-shot of me at my best, knowing I've been able to move past these dark days has definitely made me into stronger person and a more empowered mother too.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
Dance - but it depends on what the day will allow. I love going to classes, but it's not always possible to go, so I can often be found having a full-on boogie in my kitchen. My dance moves may be a little crazy, but it's so liberating - perhaps it has something to do with the endorphins that are released. I also find clearing away the general clutter that goes hand-in-hand with family life quite cathartic - until everything gets messy again. If I have the boys with me, then getting outside and walking in the woods or just running around in the garden really helps; or, if I'm on my own (and don't have the enthusiasm to dance or the motivation to clean) then a good writing rant helps me to release some of the tension.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
Sometimes... but this tends to happen when I've gone beyond breaking point and have become that snotty, spluttering mess that I mentioned earlier. I guess the talking should happen sooner really. It's difficult. However, I'm sure my friends would agree that I'm always up for a good rant about daily life! [Cue nervous laughter.]
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
My boys are still very little, so they are still in the very early stages of understanding their own feelings, let alone mine. They have both seen me cry though - I'm not yet sure if that's a good thing or bad thing - but after the crying I do try to explain in as child-friendly way as possible what's gone on. I don't want my children to think that they mustn't cry or be scared about having, what I've seen called, 'big feelings'; I'd like them to understand that all of their feelings are valid, it's how they work through them that matters.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
My husband, my children, or myself. I love cuddles - just to be held by someone you love can go a long way. I also give myself little pep-talks... Recently, I've found myself saying, "You're stronger than this," to no one other than myself. Talking out loud helps me to believe it - I told you I was a loon!
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
My writing. It gives me a focus and I also love being around my friends. They make me smile and stop me from overthinking things too much. Life's too short - I want to enjoy it.
Is it hard to talk about your mental health? (Doesn't mean on Instagram necessarily, but do you feel the stigma is lifting and do you feel safe to speak your mind, even if it is possibly 'mental'?)
I definitely find it easier to talk about my mental health online than face-to-face. When I'm physically with someone, I have a tendency to smile and say that everything's okay, when perhaps that's not exactly true. I don't want to be 'that girl' or the one who's always struggling or negative about life - I like to be seen as upbeat and optimistic, because I am those things too. When you share a detail about yourself online, so many more people come out of the woodwork and either empathise because they are going through something similar or offer support... That can be uplifting and I definitely think the stigma over mental health issues is lifting, even if we still have a long way to go to help resolve them.
Where’s your head at?
I am feeling good. I am sitting in my sunny spot, writing, listening to some chilled jazz vibes on Spotify. The baby is sleeping, my 3 year old is at school and I have a proper dinner cooking in the oven. I feel lucky and very contented right now.
Soft Play or Rehab?
You really have to ask??? Rehab definitely! Soft-play is my nightmare... I dared to venture there on a wet Easter Monday this year... never, ever again! (Well, until the next time it rains and the boys are running round me like wild animals anyway!)
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
Oooh, tough question... I have always loved both cheese and wine, but since I've been breastfeeding my son, who has dairy and soy allergies, cheese has been strictly off the menu. (I hope he one day grows up to appreciate how hard this has been for me... not likely though!) So... wine wins out. Jacobs Creek it is. Cheers!
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Can I say both? - I'm like a squirrel for a pistachio, but walnuts turn me into the elephant man.
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
Self-care. It is not selfish to look after yourself, it is essential. I go to a weekly dance lesson and from time to time even book a night away for just myself - to be just myself without anyone hollering, "Mummy!" every 5 minutes. I always miss my husband and the boys, and I hate the process of actually leaving them - but I know that I can be a much better mother and wife if I've had some time alone to rest and recuperate... and sleep! ZZzzzz...
Journal or jog?
Journal. I actually had to be 'taught' how to run by my friend, Isabel, when I was 6. True fact. I'm not a natural athlete - though perhaps I would have fared better at school sports' days, if I could have danced the 100m sprints?
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
Happy to hermit... though I don't necessarily think that's a good thing and I am trying to ask for help more. I guess I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.