Most of the time I’m hoping my blog will be light hearted however I’ve seen lots of posts about Mental Health Awareness Week and felt it was time to be open about my own experiences.
On reflection now looking back there was definitely a period of time after Mini was born that I wasn’t in a healthy place. It wasn’t straight away as I was in the mum bubble and loving being a new mummy. For me my issues hit when she was around a year old. I felt so much pressure to be an amazing mum, to spring back into my pre baby shape and to carry on building my career and it’s so silly looking back as the only one that put that pressure on myself was me.
At times I felt lost in my new life and came to resent Mr Mack as I felt liked he had easily clicked into place of being super dad. I realise now I never really opened up to him or asked him how about he was feeling at the time, I just assumed as on the outside he was fine that he was coping well but then again that’s probably what people thought about me.
Eventually our relationship fell apart, and we spent time apart from each other as a family. Instead of feeling free as I thought may happen I felt even more lost and alone. I felt I was being judged and talked about for the choices I had made and the impacts they were having on my daughter.
Things got so bad that on one occasion I opened the medicine cupboard and swallowed a handful of painkillers and ended up spending the night at A&E. I didn’t want to end my life but at that moment I wanted an end to how low I was feeling. It was like i was in one of those mirror mazes and couldn’t find the way out and my actions were similar to wanting to find the emergency exit. I felt trapped in my own house and as though I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anybody, family or friends. There were so many times when I would wake up in the middle of the night and find myself crying my eyes out.
I took a brave choice to visit my GP to ask for help to be told that I could receive a referral for counselling, the appointment took 4 months to come through. How can that be acceptable that someone asking for help and support is left alone for that time, it made me very sad at the state of the mental health support available in my local area. I was fortunate to have access to counselling support through work, I’m not 100% convinced it was right for me but it got me talking and provided the right level of challenge for me to start seeing and thinking about things differently.
There was also one special friend who happened to fall into my life at the right time and to whom I will be eternally grateful for their support throughout this time of my life. They just let me know they were there and helped me to take a step at a time and checked in on me regularly and made sure I was ok. That little contact each day meant the world to me that somebody cared enough to reach out to me.
My journey has taken a while to recover from and there were blips and anxiety attacks along the way but I am pleased to say they are much fewer and far between now. I have been able to build my life and my relationship back together and I honestly believe that we are a stronger couple and a family unit for the difficult times that we have been through. I’m still not great at talking about my feelings but I’m aware of this and try to start conversations when I recognise that I’m not feeling my best mentally.
I have recently started a 100 happy days challenge where I take time to think about one single things that I’m grateful for each day, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. I’m currently on day 45 and have found it to be such a therapeutic experience to focus on things that we all too often take for granted in our lives and pause to be thankful and to see the beauty in each and every day.
My key plea to you all, especially those fellow moms is to be kind, be open and remember that when we look at those so called super moms that look pristine on the outside that they may be having their own insecurities and worries too. Take the time to ask how people are and spare a few moments to listen to the response given instead of rushing off so quickly, give compliments freely and mean them and take time to reconnect with friends and family.
Never underestimate the importance of small acts of thought and kindness and remember that nobody is ever truly too busy to respond to a message, we choose how we divide our time and energy; choose wisely. My door is always open and my kettle is always on for any one that should need it.
For those that need help, that’s ok, have courage to seek it and I hope that it shall be given to you. I shall be thinking of you not only on mental health awareness week but all the time.
Love and best wishes