Parental Mental Health Is A Thing And Needs Addressing
I’ve written extensively about my own mental health struggles and as we are coming up to the one year anniversary of Hot For Mental Health, I realised that my mental health was something I hadn’t written about for a little while. For the last year, I’ve been fairly ‘stable’ (I’m not sure my husband would agree, but what does he know?) Sure there have been peaks and troughs but essentially I’ve felt balanced, able to cope and overall in charge of my mind (rather than have my mind in charge of me). Recently though, that has started to change and it made me realise something. When I’m ok, balanced, happy, and in control, I almost take it for granted. I don’t write about it because I almost don’t notice it. Now though, I’m making a pledge to appreciate my good days, my good periods because focussing only on the bad stuff doesn’t help anything.
Over the years, I’ve figured out ways to manage my mental health. I know that sleep is key. If I get tired, I find it harder to manage my anxiety. If I start to feel high levels of anxiety for an extended period of time, I know that a depressive episode isn’t far away. If that happens, I am very comfortable with going to the doctors and asking for meds. There is no shame here. I know I need to exercise and I need to get myself out into the fresh air whenever possible. I need to manage my addiction to shitty TV (everything in moderations, including Lisa van der Pump) and I need to be conscious of balancing what I feel I ‘have’ to do with what I ‘want’ to do because often the things I feel I HAVE to do are based on some weird and deeply ingrained fantasy of having to be everything to everybody. Daily, I have to remind myself that isn’t true.
Recently though, I’ve found it harder and harder to believe this. Things in my personal life have been difficult for the last three months, and money has been tight. It’s also been winter and I know my mental health is affected negatively by the long, cold, dark months. Other than that, I can only imagine that I took my eye off the ball when it came to looking after myself because, like I said before, I’ve taken the ‘good times’ for granted. I’ve let things like exercise and sleep become irregular and slowly but surely it’s impacted on my brain.
I’m working on it. Sleeping more, exercising more and hoping to catch it before I have to go down the ‘meds’ route. I have a list of things I need to stay focussed on and a list of things that I know I can put down for a minute while I give myself room to breathe. I know that with two kids, two businesses and a husband that’s about to go on tour, there is nothing more important than making sure I’m mentally prepared to manage it. If that means having to give up some nights out and having to learn to say no to the extraneous things that aren’t essential then so be it.
It also means I’m not going to be taking the good days for granted anymore.