MENTAL MUTHA MEETS EMMA WEIR
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS EMMA WEIR
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
I am a bubbly cocktail of both, becoming a Mum to my two boys has probably increased my crazy levels, but I was already a bit mad, and had some depression in my late teens. Becoming an Expat Mum 18 months ago sent my mental wellbeing into hiding.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
In the past I have always talked about it, but when I moved to Sydney I found myself without anyone to talk to. I was in the midst of new relationships with “potential” friends and the last thing I wanted to do was tell them how homesick I was and how lonely I felt. So, I drank a lot and started going to yoga, and pretended everything was fine to everyone, including myself.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
I do now, in fact it was when I finally put it out there that everything began to get better. Showing my vulnerability actually made my new friendships better and deeper, it didn’t scare them off like I thought it would.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
We talk a lot about it being ok to not be ok. “It’s ok to be angry” probably comes out of my mouth 10 times a day at the moment. The boys (6 and 4) are on a constant mission to wind each other up, so there is A LOT of fighting, which in a positive way has led to a lot of discussion and narrative about emotions and feelings. They’ve seen me sad, especially after I’ve ended a phone call with my Mum or a friend back in the UK, which I think they were a bit bewildered by at first, but they seem to understand. I’m raising boys, the responsibility of ensuring that they don’t shy away from feelings (their own and others) is huge.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
My therapist and doctor helped get me out of the dark, they helped me to accept my emotions around moving to Australia. I felt so guilty and pathetic, like an annoying fly buzzing around a perfectly made G&T - I’m living in paradise, what was I complaining about? Normally I would talk to my husband or my Mum, my friends, but I couldn’t – I felt ridiculously disconnected.
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
Medication, yoga, friends, conversation, connection and my husband. Now that I can talk to my husband and my “new” friends, I have so many people that help me. I have also read a lot of self-help books that helped to change my attitude. “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin particularly helped me look at my expectations and myself from a different perspective. I’m also a fan of Sarah Wilson, who has this amazing new book, “But first we make the beast beautiful”, which has given me more of an understanding of anxiety and has helped me to accept it as part of who I am.
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'?)
It was really hard at first, I just didn’t want to spoil everything. I didn’t want to be the bloody party pooper bringing down the party. I also felt a responsibility to not worry my Mum or my friends at home, and I didn’t feel like I knew my new friends well enough to tell them I was going mental. I was in mourning and seemed to have lost everything, even though my husband and boys were right there. I had no idea how big an impact moving to the otherside of the world would have on me, sure it was going to be tough, but I didn’t realise how much of my own identity was tied up with my life in Brighton, my friends and my family. My therapist tells me that it’s a natural process to go through a grieving stage when a big change happens and that, combined with an identity crisis of sorts, led me to severe anxiety beyond anything I’d ever felt before.
Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)
I’m in a happy place right now. I’ve had a few months of feeling really good, and for whatever reason (the meds, the friends, the therapy, time, going home?), I feel more like myself than I have in a long time. We’re about to go back to the UK for two weddings with people that we love dearly. The sun is shining in Brighton and I have very excited friends and family who can’t wait to see us. I also have some brilliant friends here and a great life that I am really looking forward to getting back to. I am anxious about how it will feel to leave and come back to Sydney again, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Knowing I have a group of friends here to come back to will ease the transition no end.
Soft Play or Rehab?
Rehab …. NEVER EVER SOFTPLAY. I have been once in 18mths, God Bless Sydney sunshine.
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
Both, trying to be mindful about how often with the wine, but Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are too good to ignore here!
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Total nut job, allergic to kiwi fruit, not nuts thankfully.
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
Self-care – yoga, writing and making regular time for friends and my husband always make me feel so much better. Dancing around the kitchen with my kids also helps.
Journal or jog?
Insta has been my journal of sorts, but I’m making a pledge to share more of the grey amid those sunshine filled squares of mine. I also want to start writing more for me and for any other anxious, slightly terrified expats out there.
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
I am getting much better at asking for help, but I am a bit of a bumbling English woman about it still. All “terribly sorry to ask” and “you couldn’t possibly”. Hoping the Aussie assertiveness rubs off on me soon.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.