So this week is Maternal Mental Health awareness week. So I think it’s about time I opened up again about how I’m feeling.
My mental health has been something I’ve struggled with since my teenage years. Back then (I say that as thought I was hundreds of years ago) there was a massive stigma around having mental health issues and often people could be very ignorant of it. I definitely suffered in silence and allowed my parents to think I was being a handful rather than admit how I really felt underneath.
I had watched my mum struggle a lot with her mental health and really didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. I had no idea back then that it wasn’t something I could control not something I definitely couldn’t suppress forever.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that the wheels fell off. It hit me like a tonne of bricks and I remember when the doctor signed me off work I felt like a failure. Failing had been my biggest enemy for a very long time and to this day it still is. Fear of failure has stopped me from doing so much. In many ways it probably controls my life.
I’ve written about how I don’t choose to feel mum guilt especially about time for me. It’s mainly because I know in order to stay as healthy mentally I need to give myself time to breath. I am a control freak by nature but by choosing to let go and not give myself a hard time about parenting, I’m actually choosing to not add to my already full plate of mental health concerns.
So my maternal mental health has been a battle. It always will be. I classically like to put myself down at every opportunity. I come across to those who know me as confident and occasionally a little bit extra but this is all one big cover up. Inside I’m a bloody mess.
The best me is the healthy eating, gym going, on the go all the time me. When she hits a road block she inverts. She sits in the house dwelling on the could be’s. She struggles to participate. She chooses not to be active. She stuffs her face with convenience food. She actively puts herself down and tells herself she isn’t good enough. She’s a right laugh a minute – not.
What motherhood has added to this is a drive to be stronger. A drive to want to be a better me for my daughter. But with wanting to be the best version of myself has become a barrage of self doubt. Motherhood (parenthood) can be a very lonely place and with time to consider yourself too closely it’s easy to pick yourself apart. Not only has there been massive changes that you may not have been totally prepared for, you also have a new dynamic in your relationships.
It’s easy to suddenly wake up one day and realise that your not ok. I did. I have. And I’m sure I will continue to have days where the whole world feels like a battlefield. It’s ok not to be ok. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t feel guilty. And do talk about it. After all we are all human.
From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags