MENTAL MUTHA MEETS MERCEDES WATSON
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS MERCEDES WATSON
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
I would say the former (intrusive thoughts still affect me), but I think my kids would say the latter (dancing round the kitchen to Simon Mayo is a thing in our house!). Thinking back, I think I struggled with anxiety as a kid, and would massively panic if things changed in my day-to-day life, e.g. when my mum went to back to work when I was about 8. I am still someone who loves a routine, and I put a lot of store by stability, but I don’t have that awful anxiety anymore.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
Talk- always. My husband is simply the best, and even if he feels he hasn’t got the skills to give me the best advice, he listens anyway and is very good at coming up with solutions to problems that I see as insurmountable. I also did a lot of hypnotherapy when I had my second son, and still use the breathing exercises now, particularly in stressful times (e.g. my sister’s funeral last year), and when I can’t sleep.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
Yes and no. I don’t bound up to friends at school pick-up and say, “I’m mental, me!”, but I do talk about things in a very everyday way. My policy has always been that openness is best, so I wouldn’t hide how I am feeling, or the experiences that my family have been through with mental illness.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kids?
That’s a pertinent one. My eldest son was 6 ½ last when my sister took her own life last year. She was someone he saw quite regularly, and she was especially fond of him as she loved kids. When she died by suicide I had to think of a way to express what had happened to her without giving him blunt details. I think me and my husband found the best words possible to reassure him that although Monica died of her mental illness, most people don’t.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
Two people. My mum will ALWAYS be my hero. Those people who have followed my blog and read my article on the Selfish Mother website (https://www.selfishmother.com/my-mother-the-hero/) will know that her strength (in bringing up 6 kids after being widowed at 37) will always be an inspiration. Secondly, my husband who is just the absolute bees-knees. I know that does not capture how great he is, but he is just always there to catch me when I fall, and has literally been there at 3am when I have needed some reassurance and love. And as if that wasn’t enough, he brings me a cup of tea in bed every morning. Who wouldn’t want to be married to that?!
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
Bit of all of the above. Not being in work at the moment has allowed me to have a bit more time to think and breathe. Since having to give up running due to sciatica, yoga has also taught me it’s ok to not speak for an hour. The peace I feel after clearing my mind with an evening at yoga is invaluable. I am also an insufferable people-person, and I love keeping in contact with people through Whatsapp, Facebook, Insta and so on. Keeping involved keeps me happy.
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 becoming easier and easier. Before my latest bereavement I wouldn’t have necessarily felt comfortable banging the drum for mental health, but now I just think it’s so important. Too many people I know have gone through dark periods of mental illness, either through a depression, suffering with anxiety, baby loss, suicide and so on. It’s just so important to keep normalising mental illness in all its forms, and it that means sharing my own experiences, then I am happy to do that.
Where’s your head at?
A good place. It’s Friday as I write this! Also my toddler slept well last night, so I am feeling cockerhoop! On a wider scale, I am doing things that make me happy (writing, swimming) whilst paying the bills (tutoring), so it’s all good.
Soft Play or Rehab?
Please not soft play! Or if is, please let there be real coffee for the ‘rents!
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
More of a real ale lady, but if the ‘Creek do a Sauv Blanc, I’ll give it blast.
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Job, I’m afraid.
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
Care, all the way even if it’s just a quiet bath for 10 minutes.
Journal or jog?
Bit of both. Writing more nowadays thanks to my dodgy back.
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
Hmmm. I don’t mind a good bit of introversion, but asking for help is ALWAYS the answer.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.