MENTAL MUTHA MEETS HOLLY SUTCLIFFE
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS HOLLY SUTCLIFFE
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
A mum that happens to be mental: all of this anxiety, depression, PTSD and whirry-brain emotional stuff was going on LONG before I had a child.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
Get REALLY stressed out, freak out about all the cluttered surfaces in my home, cry, ask for a hug and then try and do as much yoga as I possibly can.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
A little, I can definitely be honest about when I am having a tough day (or week) and the ups and downs of my experience. We are all in the first two years and- honestly- I think mostly we are each trying to survive in our own way: running businesses, freelancing, going back to work, partners working away or full-time mumming. I think we are all honest with each other but overall like to be positive. I feel very lucky and quite well supported; I do like to keep people a little bit at arm’s length sometimes, it generally works for me. But I would feel comfortable reaching out and asking for help or support if I needed it. I hope they feel the same.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
I haven’t really had to yet, as Romilly is only 15 months. She’s seen me cry a fair amount and there have been a couple of times I’ve had a difficult moment and had to retreat to my bed, handing her over to my partner. I guess that will continue and I plan to be as honest about it as it feels appropriate to be for her age so it will change as she grows. I definitely don’t want to overload her with my ’shit'- I’m the parent- but I do want her to understand that a full range of emotions and experiences are a totally normal part of life and I don’t want to hide my mental health difficulties from her because it’s nothing to be ashamed of and important to understand.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
Honestly? I am the only person who can really help myself. I am lucky to have a supportive partner, great family and good friends who offer practical help and support and are always there for me. I need their understanding and compassion a lot. But when I am struggling I either need to do loads of yoga, meditation, stop drinking and be by myself a lot. Or- if it’s more serious- I need to get the professionals in to talk things through (sometimes with medication) and find my way back to the light.
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
Intuitively following my instincts: mainly yoga. But also walking, journalling, watching TV, reading, anything that brings me joy and self-directed quiet time. But I also need social interaction: I am best when I spend a good mixture of time alone and with others.
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 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. I want good times from others- to laugh, dance, eat or hang out- I prefer to be alone when I am suffering and then tell my friends or family afterwards. There is a danger of me isolating myself in that way- it definitely wouldn’t work for everyone- but as someone who is naturally introverted, it seems to work for me. I do think the stigma is definitely lifting on instagram from those accounts I follow but I think we have quite a long way to go in day-to-day conversation. It’s- understandably- awkward for people sometimes, including me. I think we are gradually chipping away at it so it will be different for our children. From my experience working with young people, it’s already changed a lot since I was a teenager.
Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)
Today I am feeling stressed and angsty about a lot of logistics I have to figure out over the next few weeks as I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone. But I also feel good because I was able to say to my partner ‘I need your help’ this morning and he gave me a hug, listened to my concerns and helped me work out a solution. That’s massive progress for me- and for us- from where we began at the start of our relationship. That’s one of my greatest challenges: how to deal with my mental health within a relationship. I am also very excited and afraid about the next month as I’m going to train to be a teenage yoga teacher and am going to be doing some one-to-one writing coaching with Laura Jane Williams for the next three months, so I have a lot going on, which is amazing but a little overwhelming.
Soft Play or Rehab?
Rehab, every time.
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
Can I have both, please?
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
My thirties have been mainly about self care but my teens and twenties featured a shedload of self sabotage.
Journal or jog?
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
I’m like a crab.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.