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

I’ve often pondered this question since following Mental Mutha but I would have to say both! In equal measures at times and others not so much!!  I would suspect my husband would recognise both of these people in me.

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

I tend to lose my shit... Yep, I’ll be honest, i’m not the best person to be around when I feel overwhelmed so I tend to vent at those closest to me.  However, I’m getting better the older I get at simply talking these feelings through rather than bottling it all up till the pressure cooker explodes.  Back in 2007 a lot of unresolved childhood trauma resurfaced and came to a very ugly head resulting in some very damaging self harming behaviour.  I was not too proud to ask for help though and so my adult journey into formal mental health services began.  I’d had therapeutic support as a child but back then I was too locked in my own feelings of self blame and non acceptance of the shit storm my life had become that I didn’t really engage.  So i’d been very used to talking as a meaningful response to difficult times.

Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?

Not really is the simple answer.  I’m not originally from the area that we now live in and so my mum friends I’ve only known for a couple of years at most.  We are very much at that stage of keeping things light and carefree when me meet up.  I’ve also sadly had many experiences in the past where I have shared and immediately felt the distance begin to open up.  I’ve learnt to be very selective with who I share.  Sad but true.  

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

My daughter is 6 in August and so these kind of chats are still in their infancy, however I’m very passionate about raising her with a healthy sense of self and awareness of her own feelings and those of others.  I don’t shy away from her seeing me cry but I always explain why so she doesn’t feel any responsibility for my feelings.  I grew up in a household with a mum who had unmanaged depression and I always felt I needed to make her better.  I don’t want that for my daughter. All around our house I have positive quotes for her to read and even in a subliminal way I hope they filter in to her gorgeous mind.  

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

My best friend Karen who lives in Canada is my guiding light, my voice of reason, by go-to reset button when things get out of perspective.  She may be way too far away but thank god for Whatsapp! 

My husband Paul is also a daily stabilising factor in my life.  He’s never judgemental, always ready to listen and supportive beyond belief.  We couldn’t be more opposite but he’s never run away from my crazy :)

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

Alone time is a fantastic healer for me.  I’m an introvert by nature so my jug is filled up from spending time alone and yet i’ve only just learnt to accept and embrace this!!  I spent 40 years feeling this was a fault in me and I needed to change it!  Not anymore, now I recognise it and feed it as much as I can.  Instagram has fast become a massive support too - I’m a big fan of researching information and so discovering pages like Mental Mutha has been a huge support and change in direction for me.  Feeling part of a movement is where my passion lies.

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'?)

Massively so.  Even at times with my husband who has heard the worst things I could possibly tell him.  There are times I have felt so ‘broken’ that simply by voicing this to him it would be too much for him to hear.  But I am also massively passionate about raising awareness and lifting that stigma so if that means sticking my head above the parapet and telling my story then this is what I will do.  For all the children coming behind us so that they too may feel it’s as important to look after their mental health as their physical health.

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

Today I’m good :) Today is our 7th wedding anniversary and i’m filled with love and special memories of the happiest day of my life.  Meeting my husband literally saved me in ever single way.  With him by my side I can achieve anything.

Soft Play or Rehab?

These days it’s always soft play but at times that’s almost the same as rehab! Women together can be the best tonic!

Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker? 

Being one of those strange non drinkers (I know, I just got even more weird eh) it would have to be crackers and having grown up a stones throw from the factory in Liverpool, the smell still gets me every time :)

Nut Job or Nut Allergy?

Definitely a nut job!!! I would be devastated to have a nut allergy, peanut butter is life itself.

Self Care or Self Sabotage?

I’ve definitely dabbled in both, more so the latter however i’m getting much better at the former these days.  Taking the joy from the smallest of things :)

Journal or jog?

With mammaries the size of mine, there is no way in hell i’m doing the jogging!  

Ask for help or happy to hermit?

I’ll usually hide away and stew for a bit and then when i’m ready if I need to i’ll wave the white flag and ask for help.



If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.

Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit