Time To Talk: Mental Health Awareness Week

mhaw-2014-summ

Linking up an old post in support of Mental Health Awareness Week

Andy’s recent post over at Taming The Black Dog led me to the Time To Change website, and I’m so pleased it did. These amazing folks are making excellent progress in changing attitudes towards the mental health issues that many of us suffer from. Their #TimeToTalk initiative has seen tens of thousands of people pledging their support. Please take a look at what they’re all about.

I’ve joined forces with the fab team over at Mama Baby Bliss today – check this out for details of what we’ll be doing throughout the day. There is also a blog hop at the end of this post, for anyone wishing to link up stories about their own experiences of mental health problems. I myself am no stranger to depression, and have had to live with it since my teenage years. I would like to share my story with you, and thank you in advance for reading.

I had what you would call ‘a difficult childhood’. My parents came from severely dysfunctional backgrounds and had children far too young without realising the damage that would be inflicted upon us. We moved house over a dozen times, and I went to eight different schools where I often endured bullying for being the new girl. I lived and breathed the poverty line, was lied to about all sorts and suffered abuse in various forms throughout my childhood. When I left home at 15 it was without money or a single qualification.

I lived life in self-destruct mode for many years to numb my pain. I’d go on all-weekend benders, and sleep with people I wouldn’t have even looked at when sober. I woke up to how toxic my family were and cut ties with them when I was 25. Although I now see that it was the best decision I could have made, it sent me to a very dark place. I crossed the line to the wrong side of partying and was completely out of control. When I hit rock bottom at the end of the darkness about two years later, it came with the realisation that I needed to change my ways. I worked hard to become a better person, one I actually liked and could stand looking at in the mirror. A decade later and I am now a happily married mother. I’m considered among my peers to be well rounded and dependable: a good wife, mum and friend.

Speaking purely from the perspective of a mother, I know that I would not have coped well with my children had I not fully dealt with my demons and put the past the rest before having them. I also know that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without the support of my wonderful husband and amazing friends. I still have wobbly moments though, where life feels so over whelming I could suffocate under the weight of responsibility. When I need help nowadays I shout loud and ask for it. I don’t see this as a sign of weakness, quite the opposite.

Although I haven’t had it easy, my path was straight forward. Essentially I knew I had to do everything in my power to become stable before having kids, then ensure I did not repeat history once they were here. I strive each and every day to be the best mum I can possibly be, which makes me happy because it truly is the most I can do.

moving on

It’s not as straight forward a path for everyone though. Life may have thrown up over whelming challenges after becoming a parent – death, illness, infidelity, money troubles. Having a baby may bring all the negatives flooding back, triggering pre or post natal depression, or both. Getting passed those obstacles whilst looking after a baby can seem impossible. But there are a multitude of resources out there willing to help.

I have seen lots of friends go through depression over the years. Sometimes it’s been fixed with taking a step back from life, and toning things down – waiting for the black clouds to pass. Other times counselling has been needed, and in some cases medication. Whenever I spot a friend in trouble I always make it known that my door is open if they want to talk. If asked for my advice, it’s pretty much always the same…

– be honest with yourself, get to the root of your troubles and tackle them head on
– talk about your problems, don’t try and sweep them under the carpet
– reassess your inner circle, do the people you spend your time with have your best interests at heart?
– get professional help in whatever form makes you comfortable
– don’t beat yourself up over the things you have done, you can’t go back in time and change history
– be kind to yourself: eat well, exercise regularly
– visualise the person you want to be, and how you will become that person
– have faith that time will heal all wounds, no matter how raw or painful
– above all else, make peace with your past no matter how dark it is. Otherwise it will haunt you forever

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27 Comments

  1. October 26, 2014 / 6:10 am

    I really hope so my lovely, it’s been too long since we last saw you guys xxx

  2. kristina enticott
    October 24, 2014 / 5:32 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this – it rings so true with me. Will have to have a proper chat sometime – soon I hope xx

  3. August 13, 2014 / 5:52 pm

    You know, this is such a frank and honest post that I’m sure will help others. The advice resonates and the best advice being to be honest to yourself and those around you. The longer you brush it under the carpet and let things stack up,along the comes the ‘cherry in the top’ that topples it all over and the longer it takes to recover…

  4. mummytries
    Author
    April 22, 2014 / 7:59 am

    Thanks so much! I’ve been reading lots on your own blog, you have some wonderful insights…

  5. April 18, 2014 / 8:13 pm

    Really moving – thanks for sharing your story and linking up #samedifference

  6. mummytries
    Author
    April 18, 2014 / 2:23 pm

    Hi Alex, I’ve just realised I never replied to your comment here. We’ll have to swap survival tips at some point! Hope pregnancy is treating you well xx

  7. February 9, 2014 / 1:31 pm

    Reading this sounded like reading about my own life, we seem to have had very similar lives x

  8. mummytries
    Author
    February 9, 2014 / 7:27 am

    Thank you so much Iona, for your lovely thoughtful comment. I know what you mean – sometimes life just gets a bit blue, but as long as you have a good support team around you then riding out the black clouds shouldn’t be a problem. As you said being aware of how you’re feeling, and recognising the signs is really important. I think it’s when there’s a deeper cause to the upset that depression rears it’s head. Totally agree that it’s good to show children how to be emotionally healthy, although this is much trickier than the physical side because you can’t see it xx

  9. mummytries
    Author
    February 9, 2014 / 7:16 am

    Thanks so much, all the very best for you too. So pleased I’ve come across your blog xx

  10. mummytries
    Author
    February 9, 2014 / 7:06 am

    Thanks so much Karen, and for sharing on Twitter xx

  11. mummytries
    Author
    February 9, 2014 / 7:05 am

    Thank you so much for your kind comment. I feel fortunate to have truly come out the other end, at the time it feels like it will go on forever xx

  12. maddy@writingbubble
    February 7, 2014 / 3:50 pm

    This is a very powerful post – you show clearly not only the damaging effects that bad childhood experiences can have, but also that they can be overcome. Your honesty is inspiring. I’m so glad you have made it past the bad times. x

  13. February 7, 2014 / 2:03 pm

    A lovely honest, moving post. It’s good to hear how you have managed to come out the other side of dark times.

  14. February 7, 2014 / 1:04 pm

    Excellent post, I’m sorry you had it so tough but good on you for fighting so hard to get yourself to a good, stable place. I wish you all the luck for the future.

  15. February 7, 2014 / 9:43 am

    Fantastic post, I hope your honesty helps others feel less lonely. I know this sounds silly but I’m not sure if I’ve had depression or just felt very very low, but I have had moments. I’ve been lucky in being able to fix them myself but it’s hard work. I think I’m more aware of the warning signs now and try to work with them rather than denying them if that makes sense? I want more than anything to show my children how to be healthy emotionally as much as physically. Thank you for sharing x

  16. mummytries
    Author
    February 6, 2014 / 7:34 pm

    Thank you Julie, it’s great to have been involved with #TimeToTalk day 🙂

  17. February 6, 2014 / 7:27 pm

    A very honest and moving post, thank you for sharing your story.

  18. mummytries
    Author
    February 6, 2014 / 10:11 am

    Thank you so much, what a lovely comment xx

  19. February 6, 2014 / 10:10 am

    Priviledged to read your story and so glad you managed to work through your pain, love to you x

  20. mummytries
    Author
    February 6, 2014 / 6:32 am

    That’s lovely to hear, so pleased you’re in a better place now. If you’d like to share your story, please add it to the linky xx

  21. February 6, 2014 / 6:21 am

    Morning. We have had quite a lot of depression in my close family and it is something I worry about being inherited by my children. I’m really lucky that having children seemed to have the opposite affect and ‘fix me’ a little bit. Good post xxx

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