MENTAL MUTHA MEETS MUMMY IN TRAINING

I am definitely a mental Mum. It is something that has taken me a long time to accept though. I have suffered with anxiety pretty much since I gave birth and for the first couple of years I felt like a full on failure. Now, however I’m okay with it. I’m still a good Mum. Yes, I suffer with my mental health. Yes, things are sometimes harder than I’d like and yes, anxiety is crap.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS EMMA WEIR

My therapist and doctor helped get me out of the dark, they helped me to accept my emotions around moving to Australia. I felt so guilty and pathetic, like an annoying fly buzzing around a perfectly made G&T - I’m living in paradise, what was I complaining about? Normally I would talk to my husband or my Mum, my friends, but I couldn’t – I felt ridiculously disconnected. 

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS HOLLY SUTCLIFFE

I find it pretty easy on instagram but harder in real life; I like the distance writing brings. I can certainly mention things to friends and family in person but I often find conversations about my mental health difficult. Mainly because people will be worried or try and offer solutions or help and- usually- I don’t want or need that.

EVERYTHING IS AMPLIFIED IN MOTHERHOOD

I have always just about managed my mental health, teetering on the edge but never becoming seriously unwell.
Low self-esteem, self doubt, social anxiety, regular worrying and occasional sadness has always affected my life and career, but no way as badly as it does for anyone else. This is what I would say to myself to avoid addressing it anyway.

BEING RICH, FAMOUS AND HAPPY DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN'T BE DEPRESSED

There’s a core assumption in this week’s news that money buys happiness, and let’s go along with that for a moment, there’s also a second statement being made here that I find even more aggravating - that happiness and depression can’t co-exist. The happiness that wealth affords, and even the comfort that a supportive family and friend network can give you is not always enough to combat the all encompassing aspects of depression.

ENDLESS CRAPPY DAYS

I was experiencing fear on an epic scale but had absolutely no explanation for it. There was no danger, no trigger, nothing happening to me at that very moment. It was completely inexplicable and irrational, but very, VERY real. At least it was my life until I started a challenge that was doing the rounds on social media. It was the ‘100 Happy Days’ challenge where you had to take a photo a day of something happy for the full hundred days. I decided to give it a go, and I honestly haven’t looked back since. The endless crappy days became the endless happy days.

I WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED

My second child was born sixteen months later and I pretended that everything was ok. I was just tired physically and mentally, but that’s normal isn’t it!! I told myself it would get better as time went on. But by then the panic attacks had started. The nightmares kept coming and my anxiety was over whelming. I knew I had to speak to someone.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS KATIE PEARSON

I started to have intrusive thoughts about him and myself. Ashamed and disgusted with myself, I wanted to die. I was given the choice of going to an acute mental health ward where my son could visit for 2 hours a day or to go to a mother and baby unit. I didn't have to think about it for a second.

SECONDARY INFERTILITY

The pain of secondary Infertility is something that’s crept up on me. We had years of trying for Finn & I had a few miscarriages so was in a quite dark place and thought that when I had Finn it was all behind me. Without sounding flippant I was in a newborn bubble so it’s just not something I thought about until he was a few years old.

WHEN THE MENTAL COMES FIRST

Unfortunately as antenatal depression isn’t really acknowledged and certainly wasn’t five years ago everybody just thought I was being a pain, people started to distance themselves and make comments like ‘she’s not the first pregnant person’ - one even said to my husband, if I carried on ‘acting up’ they were done with me! I don’t blame anybody for their reactions, I had no idea what was happening so there was no hope for anybody else!

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS VICTORIA BAYNTON - WILLIAMS

Most people might think that having a child with Down’s syndrome would be a challenge mentally, but after the initial surprise, she’s been an absolute joy and definitely a boost for my wellbeing (she tells me she loves me every day and she makes me so proud with everything she achieves). Whereas the second experience was a more traumatic labour and a child born with no known condition other than the inability to f**king sleep for about 7 months.

STORIES I DON'T WRITE DOWN

I've been lucky in that my intrusive thoughts are never about harming the children. Instead, I'll be walking along the river and suddenly start imagining a mugging, and they push the buggy in, and I bravely fight them off with my Buffy-esque moves. I consider the angles and space left if the buggy was upside down and if the gap between child and water would be big enough.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS TRACY BULLOCK

As a chronic over-thinker, I've been battling with my mind for all of my adult life. It's okay, it's who I am. I previously have had an eating disorder and struggled with post-natal depression with my first-born. Although being that crumpled, crying heap on the floor, who is literally pulling her hair out, is by no means a snap-shot of me at my best, knowing I've been able to move past these dark days has definitely made me into stronger person and a more empowered mother too.

POST BABY ANXIETY

I didn't let many people know how I was actually feeling, most people saw that "I was fine". That's what I would tell people so why wouldn't they take me at face value? I would post lovely pictures of the boys so of course everything was 'fine'. I made it look 'fine' because I so wanted to feel 'fine'.

PND : THE WAY OUT

What happens when you are locked inside a house with a newborn? Your life turns into a single day. That day lasted 6 months for me. The longest day of my life I’d say. They say time goes by so quickly, that sounded like a complete lie. And I am so sorry if you are here now in this never ending day.