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Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?

On the outside I seem like a mum who has totally got her shit together but on the inside I'm definitely mental. 

On the outside I seem like a mum who has totally got her shit together but on the inside I’m definitely mental. 
— Bonnie Doman

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?

There are a few things I do actually and it was CBT that helped me find them. My therapist talked about soothing the senses, smell, touch, taste etc. Not all together, just pick one or two and spend 10 minutes a day focusing on an activity around them, calming your adrenal glands. I often don't have time for the nicer ones like having a long bath or a massage but I have a lavender aromatherapy roller ball that I use every night before I go to sleep to help my mind switch off. I also find walking my dog hugely beneficial and if I'm on a big job I often get up early to walk her first to help calm me down before I start.

Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?

Yes I do. I've even started talking to mums on the school run about it not just close friends.If someone asks if I'm ok I tend to go into a monologue about how crap my night sleep was and how depressed I feel that day, I'm sure most of them are horrified and wish I'd just say I was good and smile and walk off.  I seem to have a sixth sense for when I think someone else is struggling too though so I try and reach out and ask if they are ok and want to chat.

How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid/s?

My eldest daughter is very similar to me. She's often anxious and finds falling asleep on her own impossible. Part of me feels responsible for this as I was carted off in the middle of the night to The Priory when she was 3 years old and although she didn't understand what happened she certainly remembers the feelings surrounding that time. She still has a fear that I'm not in the house when she goes to sleep so we've had to work on that. 

I was carted off in the middle of the night to The Priory when she was 3 years old and although she didn’t understand what happened she certainly remembers the feelings surrounding that time.
— Bonnie Doman @bon_ldn

Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)

Well at 3am it's my husband who I wake up by gripping his arm and say I'm freaking out! The poor bugger doesn't get much sleep between me, the kids and the dog all needing his attention through the night. My girlfriends, twin sister and mum are also vital in keeping me sane. I sometimes think I over load them with all my worries but they know I'm also here for them in their darker moments too. 

What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)

I'd say it was my Sausage Dog Winnie. She is like my own little stress ball to squeeze. She is also like my therapist as I talk shit to her all day long as I work from home and the loneliness is something that really messes with my mind. She also gets me out of the house for walks which have dramatically changed how I feel for the better every day. 

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 think it's getting more and more acceptable to talk about it. One of my husband's friends just posted on Facebook that he has been suffering with severe depression for years but no one knew not even his closest friends. I do worry that I over share sometimes ( and I know my husband rolls his eyes at some of the things I post on IG) But I wont stop doing it as not only does it make me feel better but also i get so many messages from other people going through similar things. Once you open up it's like you switch a light on and that dark place doesn't seem so scary anymore. 

Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)

Right now I'm in sick bug hell with my daughter. My anxiety is in overdrive as I have a big fear of being sick plus whenever my kids get ill I get really depressed.  

Soft Play or Rehab?

I refuse to go to Soft Play because of the germs (see previous answer) so I'd say Rehab as that's what saved me I guess. Being in Rehab was the lowest point in my life and I have a fear that I will end up back there but it also gave me a lot of tools with which to handle my issues and also strength to know that I came through it and survived. 

Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker? (Not sponsored)

For me it's all about the booze. I know I drink too much and should really cut down but it's my only vice so I let it go. However I also know there is a link between how much I drink and my anxiety, so if I drink at lunchtime for example I know that I will start to feel jittery by about 4pm. Happens every time but I still don't learn. Not that I sit at home drinking at lunchtime, although I do have my first drink while making kids tea, too early for some but it prepares me for the hell that is dinner, bath and bed.

Nut Job or Nut Allergy?

I have a severe nut allergy actually. My twin and I discovered this aged 2 when my mum fed us a peanut in the pub ( I think she needed that drink at lunchtime having toddler twins!) Anyway we blew up like little red puffer fish and she ran all the way to hospital with us tucked under each arm. 

Self Care or Self Sabotage?

I'm trying to help myself more, but often sabotage things like through booze for example. I often think about the feelings of anxiety and depression and how they have been part of my life for so long now that they have become the new 'norm' for me. Sometimes it feels safe being immersed in that world because it feels so familiar even though it also feels utterly horrific and terrifying at the same time, if that makes sense? So I know I need to try and re programme my mind to a better normality so I'm working on that through CBT courses and also learning to say 'NO' to things that I know switch a lot of my issues on like with work for example. 

Journal or jog?

If you saw me run you would laugh, my husband says I look like Bambi on Ice. I also get asthma when I run outside so I just don't do it. I'd love to keep a journal but my fear is my kids would find it and start using it as a sketch book or something and then take it to show and tell. I'm having a panic attack at that thought right now, ha! 

Ask for help or happy to hermit?

Always ask for help. I didn't before and thats why I ended up in The Priory because it all got too much and no one really knew just how bad it was because I didn't tell them. Now I'm all over asking for help, and I've also got an au pair to help me. Looking after 2 kids, a dog, a house and working freelance and a husband who goes away a lot for work, all got too much to juggle on my own. My CBT therapist once drew a venn diagram of my life after I said I felt like a failure as I wasn't doing anything to the level I thought I should. She drew this huge complex chart showing just how much I do every single day and it made me realise just how awesome mothers are. The multitasking is insane. 

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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.