This post was originally featured on www.meetothermums.com during Mental Health awareness week. There is however never a bad time to get open and frank about the mental health, so here it is again, hoping to reach a virtual hand out to any Mum having a bad day.
For the record, I’m having a much better day today.
Earlier this week I saw a celebrity on TV chatting about Mental Health Awareness week. As the interviewer probed her about her ‘Struggles with her mental health’ she replied so openly and candidly; “We all struggle with our mental health sometimes don’t we? I think talking about it openly just normalises it”.
Hat off to her. She’s right isn’t she?
I have never been diagnosed with depression, but I, like anyone, certainly have bad days. In fact I have bad bits in good days too. I love my life wholeheartedly but some days I just can’t help but feel on a bit of a downer, and caught up in the grind, no matter how hard I try and fight it. Being a Mum just feels so relentlessly exhausting; both physically and emotionally. The planning, the doing, the worrying, the guilt and the pressure to have it all covered. I would, and I do, do everything for my family…I guess sometimes I just forget to leave much for myself.
Transitioning to a stay at home Mum means that the portion of my mind dedicated to work commitments and intelligent conversation has now become polluted by things such as which baby groups are on which days, and needing to buy more fabric conditioner. It can be quite consuming and leave you feeling a bit, one dimensional. BUT, I stand by the decision that for now this is what I want to do for my children, for the record.
I have never been labelled as having Anxiety, but I know all too well the feelings of stress and panic rising up in me about the most ridiculous and irrational things which even I cannot explain. Driving somewhere new. Feeling overwhelmed by the never ending to do list in my head. Rushing to cook dinner before swimming.Worrying about something happenning to my children.
I don’t think I have obsessive compulsive disorder, but I do wonder sometimes why I cannot fail to walk past anything out of place without picking it up, popping it shut, tidying it up. Yes my house is tidy, but it leaves me tired and physically exhausted as a result and sometimes I know I should be able to switch off from it and chill the hell out. When does being super efficient creep into the zone of being unhealthy?
I didn’t ever think I had post natal depression, but I found the shock of being a new Mum indescribable. I felt exhausted, lost and unrecognisable from my former self. Nothing prepared me for it, and looking back, I wonder if how I felt was baby blues, or more.
I wasn’t given a title of Post Traumatic Stress, but the trauma of losing my second daughter changed me forever. Lifes thrown it’s fair share of stuff my way, but I’ve always soldiered on and managed to keep my head above water. I think.
In my 36 years I’ve never particularly suffered with PMT, but this month I predicted my monthly visitor by my mood alone – because I noticed a pattern repeating from last month; an inability to tolerate loud noise, a noticeable lack of patience and an emotional response to mildly stressful day to day activities like the school run.
And I’m tired. Physically I ache from pushing my body by running a 10K at the weekend; which for the record gave me an enormous sense of achievement and pride too. But, when my body craved a spa day to recover, instead I carried two scooters and two year old a mile or so home from school. Now I ache even more. I haven’t particularly rested and our nights continue to be very hit and miss as they have for a few years now. I admit, I’ve been rushing the children to bed so I can keep up with blogging commitments when I should be stopping for a bit of me time. But it’s hard to know what that is any more.
Although I haven’t been diagnosed as anaemic, I feel so washed out – as I have for ages, and have put it down to the trials and tribulations of sleepless nights and ‘never sitting down’. In fact, this week I had my third failed attempt to give blood due to low Hb so maybe there is something more to it.
I’m running on empty, and today, I feel a bit rubbish.
No one likes a moaner, and I know not everyone appreciates a transparent approach to how we feel sometimes. Yes we should be grateful for what we have, relish in the wonder of our children’s childhood, thank our lucky stars and soak it all up.
If no one speaks about the hard parts, the bits that make us feel like curling into a ball and hiding sometimes, then how do we know what we are feeling is normal? I know that what helps me overcoming all of the tough bits of motherhood, and life, is knowing that what I feel is okay, and other people feel like it too.
Bad days are real – for some of us there are more bad days than good, and for others it might just be a blip here and there.
You don’t always need a label to know you’re having a bit of a low point, but sometimes just talking about it to each other is a start to putting things right.
I will always answer honestly when someone asks me how I am. Let’s all do the same; keep asking each other, and please, answer honestly and openly if you’re having a bad day, because maybe someone else needs to hear it, because maybe they are too.