EVERYTHING IS AMPLIFIED IN MOTHERHOOD

EVERYTHING IS AMPLIFIED IN MOTHERHOOD

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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.
I actually work in mental health which should have made me more self aware, but for some strange reason I’ve always preferred to listen to the needs of others.

This all changed after my first pregnancy. Everything was amplified. Regular worrying became persistent, social anxiety turned into social isolation, self doubt became regular negative thoughts and occasional sadness became a daily occurrence. Worst of all was the disconnect that I felt from life and loved ones around me. I felt that I was watching myself try to be a mother/wife/friend from a distance and not meaningfully participating.
Ultimately I felt like a failure. If I had every reason to be happy and still wasn’t, then clearly I was simply a terrible person.

It took me a long time to realise the depth of my problems, but realising was half the battle. After that, a course of anti-depressants and counselling helped me reconnect with my life and realise that contrary to what I had believed, I had been present. I began to see that negative thinking had distorted and suppressed memories of so many wonderful moments.

I still struggle now, especially after the birth of my second son. Having a toddler and a newborn is a new type of torture that I did not anticipate! I also still have stuff to work on, such as fear of socialising with other mums (something to do with being judged perhaps). The difference this time is that I have made a conscious effort to be more open about my difficulties and accept support.

If I have a bad day and the negative thoughts begin to creep in, I try to remember that dark thoughts have less power in the light.

WRITTEN BY NAOMI JACKSON

FOLLOW NAOMI

@naomiljay


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