All in Mental Mutha Meets
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.
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.
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.
My therapist helped me to open up wounds, to pick at the scars, but it was that friend who put the balm on the scabs and helped me to make sense of the revelations I had come across in therapy.
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 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.
I used to hide, I’m trying to talk more now and find writing it all down gets it off my chest.
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.
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.
Nothing is off the menu. When we get together it is a free for all buffet meal deal on oversharing. No judgement, just love and kindness. It has taken effort, but it is well worth it to be at this point - the friendships I have today are strong, empowering and a force for good. Without these women I would be half the MUTHA I am today.
If I am feeling emotional or tired I will tell them. Not to overwhelm them, but to reassure them that it is okay to have an 'off' day, and that we can talk about our feelings. I ask my children how they feel every day, and sometimes use analogies such as asking if they feel light like a butterfly or heavy like an elephant.
I got to this point where I felt like every part of my being was being weighed down by negative matter so one morning I got up out of bed and decided that from now on I would say yes, and I did. I became the ‘yes Mum’. If my son wanted to go to the park, we went to the park, if my friends invited me somewhere I said yes.
I'm a planner, taking control really helps me when I'm feeling overwhelmed so making to-do lists, delegating tasks and even talking them through with my mum/ friends/ instastory family helps things to feel more manageable and less overwhelming. I'm also HUGE on self care so if I can do this while in the bath with a face mask on then I get a small sense of winning at life.
I think we are all suffering on some level and yet most of the world is turning a blind eye and pretending everything is ok. My homeopath said that 25% of the UK (and rising) is suffering from Mental Health issues... that is massive and I think largely down to the way society seem to be going. In such a connected world we are all becoming so disconnected.
I tend to surround myself a lot with people who “get it” and so I rarely find it difficult to discuss, but the main struggle for me is trying to talk to my parents about it. My mum in particular is the kind of person who doesn’t “believe” in depression or anxiety…even though she knows these are things I’ve been in therapy for since I was a teenager. And I find that quite tough.
Currently therapy is helping me get through. I’m currently having weekly sessions plus extra input from the dietician to help me put on weight. My weight got very low just before Christmas and I was on the verge of being admitted as inpatient but the threat of that and being away from my kids gave me a huge kick up the arse and I began to get myself on track.
In recent years I have been very open with my kids about my mental health. When they have seen me have panic attacks or when i cry and I just cant stop, I have spoken to them about why it happens. They lost their school caretaker to suicide and the conversation started at their school, we talk about it much more openly now.
I am so lucky to have really supportive mum mates and family but I find it so much easier to write about it and then its up to them if they want to read it and respond. I try to avoid putting people in the awkward position where they’ve asked you how you are and instead of giving the classic british stock phase of ‘im ok or i'm fine’ start pouring my heart out about my low mood and anxiety!
I am most definitely a Mental Mother - I suffer with Anxiety and depression. I began to notice that it was becoming more apparent after my daughter was born. I was 20 at the time and feeling massively overwhelmed. I didn't tell anyone that I was suffering because I thought it would affect the way people saw me as a mother. I started university a few months after she was born, because as if being a full time mum wasnt enough - sucker for punishment! Plus I felt that people would look down at me if I didnt do anything with my life.
I tend to lose my shit... Yep, I’ll be honest, i’m not the best person to be around when I feel overwhelmed so I tend to vent at those closest to me. However, I’m getting better the older I get at simply talking these feelings through rather than bottling it all up till the pressure cooker explodes.