All in Mental Mutha Health
If you have been triggered by the sexual assault news coverage this week, last week, month or year here are a few ways you can help yourself and reduce your anxiety, irritability, sadness or flashbacks by making yourself, your wellbeing and your mental health a priority.
Basically, I don't remember a time when I wasn't keeping some kind of feeling or thought hidden away, or conditioning myself to hide my feelings and put on my game face. I used to blame my love of alcohol on the lack of stable, responsible and healthy father figures, and the normalization of booze and drugs from an early age. And sometimes I would even let myself believe that I was somehow predestined to be an alcoholic because that's just “what we did”.
“I bet she could have breastfed through if she tried harder”. Urghhhh. There aren’t even enough swear words to deal with this one to be frank.
Ever heard the phrase “I’m a little OCD”? I have, more times than I care to count. I daren’t count just incase it’s an odd number (a little OCD joke for you there).
For me, anxiety started as that feeling of rocking on your chair a little too hard and tipping over the point of balance. If you manage to catch yourself before it’s too late the relief is almost euphoric, if you don’t, you end up in a heap on the floor, aching.
"Mum's really poorly at the moment. It’s not an illness you can see. What she needs from us is lots of love and patience." Looking back, I think this was a beautiful response at the height of a crisis.
“Blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his s**t together is a very major problem” - Ariana Grande
There is no one thing you can do to cure your anxious mind, but you have options and there are baby steps you can take right now which will help you feel present, encourage mindfulness and create calm.
I was starting to get scared, scared of my inability to have fun with my kid anymore. How was I supposed to fill his day? I am not a Butlins red coat! I'm depressed. I can 'extrovert' when I need to, but 6 weeks is a long time for me to wear the mask without a slip.
Something I have struggled with is how I choose to share my mental ill health and when Demi's recent relapse and hospitalisation was reported it made me realise that even though I choose to share my depression, self harm and anxiety, I have started to find it difficult when my personal decline becomes relatable.
It's really hard to explain to someone who doesn't suffer with depression or anxiety that just because the sun is out doesn’t mean that you will be… and it definitely doesn't mean you’re suddenly “cured” and will now proceed feeling 'happy'.
Every day I watch myself, a part of me worried that I will raise my voice too much, that I would be too hard in my discipline, too demanding of my sweet children. Discipline is very hard for me. I try to be firm without being intimidating, but even that is a very fine line.
So as if EDS and emetophobia weren’t hard enough, especially the fact that they are both invisible illnesses, you throw in being a Mum of two just to make life a thousand times harder. I adore my kids and honestly they are really good kids, but I’ve never found motherhood easy.
Life after loss, pregnancy after loss, love after loss… I still struggle with these daily but I also conquer them too. I still have panic attacks, I still struggle without my Heaven Husband and My Heaven Son, I still carry that hurt and pain in my heart, so heavy, but I also live my life to the fullest for them.
I blanked out that I had just given birth and this was my third child. In my mind I had two children and this baby was a doll that I had been given as an experiment. I thought that our road had been cordoned off by police because I was a massive risk. I was in denial.
Apparently we have between 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day, which I think I just condensed into an hour. Why is it that when your body feels limp and lifeless that your brain starts running a marathon without any of the necessary training?
I did not want to take them. I wanted to be ‘strong’. Now I think of how utterly idiotic that sentence is. ‘Strong’ does not mean ‘deal with it on your own.’
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.
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.
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.