MENTAL MUTHA MEETS NICOLA GIBB
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS NICOLA GIBB
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
Shit, I am stuck on the first question. I don’t like to badge myself. I am a woman who has throughout her life suffered with problems with her mental health, my mood. Many times, in fact most times, it has been circumstantial – that is when I have had the biggest episodes and thankfully I haven’t had one of those since I have been a mum. Becoming a mother has both helped my mental health and made me much more aware of it. I have more purpose than ever before but the overwhelm can sometimes lead to me thinking I am going fucking crazy and sticking a label on myself that doesn’t actually apply. I am a mother feeling overwhelm. That is it. But I am not scared anymore, I know how to deal and that makes things so much easier. I see us all on a spectrum – we all have mental health to consider and I therefore don’t believe anyone is totally immune from having mental health issues (people don’t go through their whole lives never getting so much as a sniffle, so why should mental health be any different?). I think some people have bad minutes, some bad hours, days and some bad weeks, months even years. I feel extremely grateful I fall towards the former and also grateful for the awareness that means I can empathise with those who fall towards the latter.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
Shout! And say I can’t do this. I am much more vocal than I used to be. I was definitely a hider, and I can still lean towards this. My friends know when I am having a hard time as I am not on WhatsApp – that’s the signal – if I am not Miss Chatty, I am repairing. And that is what I do: I repair - I go inwards, I drink water, eat what my body asks for and get some sleep. And then I ask for help when I am ready. Those things alone are thankfully enough to help me get back on track. But talking is what I am learning to be the quickest door out. I deeply need connection and if I am not getting it, that can be a trigger for me, and of course is therefore also a quick way out.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
Yes, thank the lord - one of my best friends is a clinical psychologist, another a trained Samaritan, and a couple of others have their own battles – both circumstantial and long-term. It’s a common agenda point of any meet-up and we can thankfully all share how we’re feeling digitally as well.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
I describe how I am feeling as best I can. We have a lot of books about feelings, and affirmations cards, so we’ll refer to language in those ‘my bucket isn’t feeling very full today’, or describe a colour we’re feeling. And I encourage them to do it too. It’s important to model self-awareness so that they can learn how to talk that language. It’s ok to say out loud how you are feeling and ask for and get what you need.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
Myself. My resilience. My deep belief all will be ok. I don’t like to be pulled out. I like to climb out when I am good and ready, and thankfully I am getting to better at doing so. Also a disco helps. In the kitchen. S Club 7 and the flashy lights.
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
Nature, exercise, fresh air. And remembering how much purpose I have. The feelings that I feel, and boy do I feel them, are all a gift. That’s what really helps me. Sweating also benefits me hugely and I am currently re-examining my sweat-ercise of choice.
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 was worried when in employment and especially in employment where that employer played a role in my mental health suffering. And now I really do worry about it as a coach. I worry about the perception of not always claiming to have a life that is full of roses. When I am being really honest with myself, I know that’s a critic at play, making me doubt myself. What I really know to be true is that women want to be helped by people who get it. And I get it. One of my coaches said to me that I am living what I need to empathise with and share, and that is so true. It’s also been the driver behind my journey and why I continue to learn and share. Without being on the ‘spectrum’ I wouldn’t be who I am now.
Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)
Today I am on day three of my cycle (cycle awareness has been huge for me), which tends to be a very good time for me and yes, today feels good. I am writing and creating and having a sharpies and big sheets of paper kind of day. I feel full of potential.
Soft Play or Rehab?
Both – as and when required.
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
I think we’re all guilty of self sabotage at times but it’s got to be self care. Such a cliché and I wish I could come up with a better term for it as I still don’t feel it completely says it.
Journal or jog?
Both depending on the time of the month and time of the year.
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.