MENTAL MUTHA MEETS CANCER WITH A SMILE
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS CANCER WITH A SMILE
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
I was mental way before I had kids. For years I escaped from the darkness of a difficult childhood by making sure I was so busy that I didn’t have time to think, far less feel sorry for myself. This is a habit that over the years became ingrained, caused a lot of damage and has taken me a long time to shake.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
During my treatment for breast cancer, Yoga saved my mind. It’s one of the great things to come out of a year of hell. I finally began to be able to recognise when I was becoming stressed by taking on too much and find ways to relax. What I love about yoga is that it is good for my body and my mind.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
I have a few close friends who I will regularly confide in but I do find it hard to open up about my feelings and often paste on a smile and some makeup to get through the day.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
I try to encourage my children to talk about how they feel regularly, to give them the words they need to explain what’s going on in their heads. Just last week I was helping my daughter, who is starting to deal with hormones, to see that its ok to be angry and upset for no reason but she needs to take some time out and do something relaxing to help her cope with her emotions instead of screaming at her brother.
My son is a sensitive wee soul and I love that about him. He is kind and thoughtful and I nurture these traits in him instead of pushing a more stereotypical ‘boys don’t cry’ attitude. I hope that this will help him open up and seek help as he gets older and no doubt faces his own stress.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
My husband was amazing when I was in the awful depths of chemotherapy, he listened without trying to be ‘Mr Fix It’ and gave me so much encouragement and motivation to keep going with treatment.
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
I’m a huge people person, I always feel good when I’m around friends but need to be careful I don’t use this is a crutch and a way to escape how I’m really feeling.
I also love to read and listen to audio books, it relaxes me and helps slow down my churning mind.
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'?)
For me, Social Media has been brilliant for raising awareness about mental health. It gets a lot of flack for causing comparisons of the perfect highlight reel feed but I see so much support, motivation and positivity in the little squares. The key is following the right people and using the ‘unfollow’ button when a page is dragging you down. Every day online I see people who never would have met, and may never meet, helping each other feel understood and less alone, which is amazing.
Strangely I sometimes find it easier to talk about my raw emotions on Instagram stories than I do face to face with friends. I think this is because what I fear when I open up is others reactions, I really struggle with that awkward silence when you say something shocking or the look of sorrow on others faces but opening up on Instagram or through my blog, Cancer With a Smile, helps relieve the pressure without the urge to diffuse an uncomfortable conversation.
Where’s your head at?
I’m feeling in a really good place at the moment, I have learned to see the tell-tale signs of stress and build in more ‘me time’ to combat anxiety. A lot of this is also down to reducing my diary load both with fun and work-related things in a bid to bring a little bit more calm in to my life.
Soft Play or Rehab?
Rehab, the idea of some time alone is pretty appealing
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
Jacobs Creek every time
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Nut job, I am way to hyper.
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
Trying hard to be more self care and see it as an investment that benefits my little family.
Journal or jog?
Journal, blogging through my cancer helped me meet so many awesome people.
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
Ask for help, I have got way better at this recently especially when I feel overwhelmed.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.