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

Don’t we all have to be a bit mental for our children? I’m both a mental mum and one that has mental health struggles.  Bipolar was the diagnosis’ I received in 2014, yes it does confirm that I have mental health struggles daily but it doesn’t always define me as a person or a mum. Of course, my son will remember the days I’ve been riddled will depression and laid in bed all day long and Daddy has had to take over with the normal day to day routine. However my son will also remember the mental mum I am, that sings songs in silly voices, speaking to him in different accents, gives him tickly cuddles, being loud at ice hockey and dancing in the kitchen. Both having mental health and being mental is part of me but I’d always define myself as a completely mental mother regards of my diagnosis.

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

The overwhelming feeling is one I dread, I’ll often hide by which I mean sleep. That way my mind switches off, it’s no longer active in my sleep – I know this isn’t healthy for me, the moment I wake it starts again or just remains the same as before I slept.  I know I have people around me to talk too and sometimes I do but the honest truth (which is hard to admit sometimes!) is that I hide in my sleep.

Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?

Now I do with a few of them, in fact all the mum mates I do talk to have mental health struggles themselves and we share and support one another. What is really nice is we can sense when things are too much and when as a friend you need to step back for a while with the odd supportive text or card because even when someone understands and accepts you, things can still get too much and  provide another stressful pressure. That feels pretty unique to have that in a friendship.  Sometimes though it still isn’t easy to talk to friends, sometimes things are too big to share or at least feel that way anyway – understanding is one thing but accepting is a whole different thing.

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

We do, we talk about emotions a lot in our household to help our son have a good understanding for his own feelings and others for now and in his future, emotions aren’t always easy to understand. We also have had conversations surrounding Bipolar, I try to explain to him when I’m not well obviously adapting it to his understanding and age. Bipolar isn’t a word he is familiar with as we try to explain it much simpler for him, he has his understanding of it in his own way. But most importantly we want to give him the tools to be able to talk about himself and his feelings comfortably and openly. 

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

My husband, he really is my rock! He doesn’t always understand it but my god he accepts me for me and gives me the opportunities to open up and talk when I feel ready too. Rob also knows when I need to ask for extra help before I even do and that’s really amazing, he can help me help myself before I have really sank! I have wonderful parents, all four of them – each one provides me with different levels of support and advice to always keep moving forward, to look into my future and not on the past. My sister, she knows when I need some time alone and when I need some time to talk and well just cry!

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

I think I’m still learning this, sometimes its surrounding myself with family other times its completely isolating myself within my family of three, it can be a simple cross stitch or being loud and proud at an ice hockey game. For me it is listening to myself and accepting that it is OK to be a bit ‘selfish’ to make sure you are keeping yourself well. Sometimes, many times saying YES to yourself and saying NO to everyone else.

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'?)

The word Bipolar held such shame for me for a while but slowly I am getting more and more comfortable saying it. Talking about my mental health can be tricking, I feel the stigma is lifting and people have more understanding however people accepting mental health can still be tricky – I want people to understand me and accept me for who I am! But I think this will only happen the more I talk about mental health and open up. Overall I think the stigma is lifting, but please I am NOT Stacey or her mum from Eastenders!!

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

Right now, I am feeling more positive about my future but know the importance of taking a day at a time and having the confidence to say YES to myself!

Soft Play or Rehab?

Soft play!

Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?

Jacobs Cracker, chive flavour with a good slice of strong cheddar – delicious!

Nut Job or Nut Allergy?

Nut job always!

Self Care or Self Sabotage?

Self Care in all the different forms in comes in for me.

Journal or jog?

A journal to help keep track. Jogging is really not me how have I tried but not me at all!!

Ask for help or happy to hermit?

ALWAYS ASK FOR HELP! Help is there for me to source, in all the different places form my husband to my GP to the local mental health team. 

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

Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit