MENTAL MUTHA MEETS THE COMEBACK MUM
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS THE COMEBACK MUM
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
I’m pretty mental actually, not in the fun way. It’s a pain in the arse but my mental is health is something I constantly have to keep on top of. Feed daughter, clean teeth, how do I feel today? When I stop taking notice, it slowly creeps up on me. But I know the warning signs – if I’m repeatedly performing the soundtrack to Miss Saigon alone in my living room at 3am after a bottle of wine then it’s time to book an appointment with my GP. That’s how it usually spirals anyway…
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
There’s a lot of hiding. Feeling fearful when the doorbell rings, letting calls go to voicemail – that kind of thing. That goes on for about a week. And then I feel a massive need to connect – I love people, I need people. Social media gets a bad rap but having a good old rant on Insta Stories has saved me a lot of money on therapy!
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
Yeah, we chat about mental health a lot. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by depression or addiction. My mum friends both online and IRL are an emotionally intelligent bunch and we constantly reach out to each other, how lucky is that?
I think you can tell when someone is going through a bad time and just letting them know that you are there, even if they are not ready to talk right now can provide a great deal of comfort.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
Just say it as it is. Raising Biddy to have healthy self-esteem is one of the most important things to me and I think you only achieve that through respect and honesty. Last summer we found ourselves homeless and I was in a such bad place mentally that I was admitted into hospital.
It’s just me and her so she quite literally saw me break to pieces. I felt like I’d failed her. I didn’t want her to know she had a mental mum but being honest with her opened a thoughtful dialogue about emotions and the importance of sharing your feelings. And I had to let her know that she wasn’t in any way responsible for my depression – I think there is a risk that when children witness sadness or pain they somehow think it is their fault.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
Biddy is my hero. But the truth is when things turn to shit I need to see a doctor.
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
Anything that nourishes and stimulates. I work from home and it can get lonely so I find that keeping to a routine really helps. Going for a jog every morning, that really sets me up for the day. Brian Gittins. The Guilty Feminist. Listening to music - anything but the Miss Saigon soundtrack.
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'?)
Not so much. I accept it as part of me and ultimately, I truly love who I am. But there is still a huge stigma attached to mental illness. Due to the topics I write about I have been subjected to insults that target my mental health -during the 2015 election someone created the hashtag MadCash in response to an article I had written about my battle with depression, the suggestion being that if you struggle with mental illness then your political opinion cannot be trusted. It’s a very dangerous and outdated stance to take. I mean, if I wrote about diabetes would I get an influx of message calling my pancreas a prick? Nope.
Owning your mental health is a very powerful thing. I no longer feel shame around it.
The fact is that sometimes I get depressed. I’ve been suicidal in the past. Sometimes I need treatment. What’s the issue?
Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)
Not bad. Plodding along. Keeping busy, staying connected. My one-woman show is going on tour later this year and it’s very easy to get caught up in the fear of failure or ridicule. Life is better when I step away from self-obsession and try to live in the moment. It’s all good, it’s alright.
Soft Play or Rehab?
I have experience of both environments – kids running wild in a ball pit and addicts in recovery are scarily similar!
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker? (Not sponsored)
Crackers, a huge slab of Manchego and 2 litres of diet coke. Total beast.
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Being a nut job is alright.
Self-Care or Self Sabotage?
Self-care. Fresh air, fresh food and surrounding myself with funny and kind people takes the desire for sabotage away.
Journal or jog?
A daily jog on Hampstead Heath. I hate writing.
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
Hermit, alone time is healthy but when it turns to loneliness? Beg for help!
Follow The Comeback Mum aka Cash Carraway
Cash's one woman show 'The Refuge Woman' is touring the U.K. from May 2018. Keep an eye on her social media for more details.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.