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

Probably a bit of both. I have an eating disorder and a diagnosis of post natal depression.

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

I always try to breathe. I’ve just learnt seven eleven breathing. It really does work to calm the nervous system when its in an anxious state. But sometimes I do just lose it and panic and I can’t calm myself. I will try and talk to someone if they’re there but sometimes I do just try and avoid my feelings which usually end up in me pressing myself destruct buttons. I have to be so careful.   In these situations I usually end up in floods of tears. Through my therapy I’m trying to learn to be more compassionate towards myself and let feelings sit with me telling myself its ok to have moments of panic and fear.

Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?

I have an eating disorder and I have started to try and open up about it a lot more but I find it really hard. I’ve been more confident in talking about it but find that people struggle to understand what its like so I’m very careful about who I do talk about it too.

How do you tackle mental health chats with your kids?

My son is 4 and he’s a lot more aware now if mummy is having a bad day. My little girl is  and has no idea. He knows mummy goes to appointments and sometimes mummy doesn’t feel very well but its that really. My mental health has been really bad in the past year. I’ve also just found a new show on cbeebies called feeling better which teaches kids about their feelings.

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

My husband is and always has been there even though sometimes he doesn’t get it. My mum and dad have always been there for me too in my worst days and kept me going. I think my kids are my heroes when I’m struggling with my recovery and mental health they keep me going and keep getting me out of bed.

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

Currently therapy is helping me get through. I’m currently having weekly sessions plus extra input from the dietician to help me put on weight. My weight got very low just before Christmas and I was on the verge of being admitted as inpatient but the threat of that and being away from my kids gave me a huge kick up the arse and I began to get myself on track.

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 feel that the stigma around mental health is improving but I’ll admit I find it very hard sometimes to talk about my mental health. It depends who I’m talking with. I’ve had to be very open about my mental health in the past year because I got to such a bad place and I’ve been so much more open about how I’m feeling. I still don’t discuss it with everyone though. I’m very careful about who I do speak to about to it. I worry a lot about people judging me because of my mental health and because I struggle with and eating disorder I don’t want everyone scrutinising every little thing I eat.

When you struggle with your mental health I find getting an unhelpful reaction from people when you do talk about it can really impact you and this is probably why I’m so careful about who I do talk to about my mental health.

Sometimes I get through talking about my mental health by making a joke out of it. On new years eve when everyone was sending pictures of glasses of wine on snapchat I sent them back a snapchat of me with my ensure supplement drinks. Its not really that funny but sometimes making light of it just helps me normalise it.

Where’s your head at?

Today my head is a bit rubbish and I’m struggling. In my eating disorder recovery I describe each day as a mountain I have to climb. Every day I have to get through a meal plan and stick to it in order to keep gaining weight. I have to keep pushing myself to keep going. Sometimes I want to give up. Recovery is tough, its not linear, it’s a process but I’m getting there. My kids are my main source of inspiration to keep going. I hope that one day I’ll be able to go to the park and eat ice cream with them and eat birthday cake with them. I hope that me and my husband will be able to go for a date night and do the normal things other couples do like get a take away when you really can’t be arsed cooking.

Soft play or rehab?

Soft play

Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker

Jacobs cracker, something I can actually eat haha.

Nut job or nut allergy?

Nut job

Self care of self sabotage?

I’m getting better at self care after self sabotaging for so long.

Journal or jog?

I aspire to be able to jog again. I completed a marathon once.

Ask for help or happy to hermit?

Ask for help, trying to hide doesn’t help me one bit it makes things worse.

Written by Anna Williams

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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.