That quote about the best laid plans of mice and men? Someone definitely had spent time with a toddler that week. I’ve got the Monday blues, looking back at all of the things I had wanted to do last week, to do this week, feeling utterly muddled.
I live with a dictator. Things are rarely on my terms, but on those of the short angry man I live with. His physical force rules the household, a fear of waking up to a variety of MMA moves on my head, the destruction of the living room a daily reality. There are days where I feel in control, but within minutes it can come crumbling down and we are under the thumb again. He practices techniques like water boarding (using a milk bottle, chewed through) and sleep deprivation, makes us ponder escape methods, ways to run away and change our identities.
Monday rolls around again so quickly, and with it, another chapter of the Mental Health Monday’s series rolls with it. I could really empathise with this week’s contributor, Josie, who blogs at Mumpreneur Inspiration. She wrote to ask to share her story of dealing with postnatal depression, something that I myself have dealt with in the last few years, and how this affected her career path. Josie faced another mental battle that most of us face – the guilt and feeling of not wanting to leave your little ones for the workplace – and so has worked hard to make her work life fit around her home life, not the other way around. Today’s piece is definitely inspiring from the point of view of the downs that PND can bring, yet the ways that you can flourish out of it and it can make you so much stronger. It’s all about what you do with it, and Josie is a great example of that.
After a week’s break, Mental Health Monday is back! This week, the lovely Claire of Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist has allowed me to share her story of dealing with anxiety and depression and balancing it with family life. Claire writes about life as a single parent to Chunk, her son, and details her thoughts and ramblings about improving life for her family as well as bits ofÂ wisdom she has learnt along the way.
Things have moved on greatly since my teenage years and since 2010, when I was diagnosed with depression.The world seems to have become a much more open place regarding the topic of mental health.Â Though we have far to go in this country especially, it is good to see that there are so many more resources freely available for people suffering from mental health issues. For this week’s Friday’s Five, I’ve put together a list of a few which really stood out to me at the moment. Most of them focus on young people but are really applicable to all, and as well as offering support they offer information for others interested in the topic.
Happy Monday! To kickstart another week, I’m continuing the series of Mental Health Mondays with a contribution from a very lovely lady, Tracey who writes at Love of Living blog. Tracey is a mama to a gorgeous little boy, who blogs and vlogs all about their daily life and life as a parent in Ireland. She’s also very active on Snapchat, so you get to see all of the lovely unedited bits during the day – a true image of parenting life instead of JUST the shiny instagrammed stuff! She’s written previously about suffering with anxiety, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be part of the series! Here’s her take on her life with anxiety…
This week’s Mental Health Monday post comes from a blogger who I’ve followed for quite a while, the lovely Looking For Blue Sky. She writes about her experiences as a lone parent of three, of which two have special needs, in a very honest and loving way. In this piece, the strong Mama who spends her days making sure everyone else is A-Okay speaks of what happened with her own mental health. Not enough is said about the role of carers, in particular those who are caring for more than one person – it’s such a rewarding yet very stressful role and it’s important for the broader society to appreciate and look after our carers too. This post really does speak to the reality of what happens when the proverbial hits the fan with mental health. Here is what Looking For Blue Sky has to say…
I’m really happy with how this series has been going; the ability to share the stories of others who have experience with mental illness and mental health issues to a broad platform. I’m learning a lot along the way, and I guess that’s the point – for all I can say I think I know about mental health, there are a million stories out there containing things I’d never even imagine. Unlike the image thrown out there in the media, mental health is about more than anxiety and depression, it’s about more than going and getting a full nights sleep, eating right and exercising. The amazing Fiona, who writes at Sunny SpellsÂ and Scattered Showers, wrote a fantastic piece this week about her views on how mental illness is represented in the Irish media, which appeared in the Irish Times. Fiona writes on her blog about her experiences with BPD – borderline personality disorder – and the different therapies which she has encountered, the struggles and the triumphs and how it affects her and her family. I was thrilled when she agreed a few weeks back to join this series as I feel her experience is definitely one which we don’t get to hear much about and is so important to add to our understanding.
Since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for the Mental Health Monday series! It’s been going really well so far, with lots of amazing people sending me their stories and sharing them with the world to (hopefully) make anyone reading it feel less alone and less like they can’t cope. It sums up a broad spectrum of mental health issues; with a number of fantastic pieces lined up about depression, BPD, anxiety, panic attacks, and numerous other issues. The conversation does not, and should not, stop at depression and anxiety, it’s important that all mental health stories are spoken about.
For the second week of this Mental Health Monday series, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard is sharing her tale of suffering from anxiety. This is a subject which can be very difficult to discuss so I’m happy that she wanted to contribute to this series with it, hopefully to make someone else unable to put into words how they feel a little more able to express it. Suzy is a mother of two beautiful children, who uses great wit and humour to document her parenting journey at her blog, The Airing Cupboard.
We recently elected a new government, not that you could tell it in looking at our currently defunct parliament. In the 36 days since our votes were counted and those who were chosen by the people were officially elected, we have sat around watching them squabble like children, unable to pick their teams in a way that made anyone happy. They’ve racked up a whopping 1.75 million (and growing) wages bill – and that’s just the TDs – for their playground politics. Keep that figure in mind when you see the next one I give you – a proposed cut of 12 million from the 35 million budget ring fenced for mental health services. In our already fractured mental health system, the government is prioritising other things and taking funds away from helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I’m angry.
To kick off this blog series all about mental health experiences by parents, I’ve got a blogger whose telling of her experiences was not only inspiring to me during my darker days of PND, but also to many others, resulting in her win of Best Blog Post in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014. Karen, who writes at Beating Myself Into A Dress, describes her experience with depression in such a relatable way, and is a fantastic advocate for mental illness in Ireland today.
I’ve written before a few times on this blog about my struggles with mental health, and in particular with postnatal depression. It’s a topic which is very close to my heart and something which I am passionate about. It’s something I feel is coming a long way in our little country, and in the world as a whole – certainly in contrast with ten years ago it seems that the stigma is certainly decreasing – but there is still a long way to go.
Throughout my time writing this blog, I’ve tried to promote events which were on in Cork for parents (and parents to be), things that would make it easier for those of us with kids to get out of the house and meet other people who are in our shoes. I’ve written about Toddler and Parent Mornings in the Library, Cuidiu Coffee Mornings where sanity is regained over a cup of coffee, and random events in between. This time however, I’ve gotten a little bit more involved.
I was thrilled to be approached a little while ago by the organisers of this new Coffee Morning For Mums event, which is being held in a shopping centre not a million miles away from my regular stomping ground, Douglas Court Shopping Centre. From experience I know that being at home with baby/babies can be quite lonely and isolating, and it can be difficult to meet others who are in your shoes too – so when the idea of a coffee morning which will also have informative talks for Mums was mentioned, I thought it was a great idea.
Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the year. Itâ€™s a time of love and joy and everyone is happy and smiling and nothing could possibly go wrong in this time of magic. Right? Then why are you feeling snowed under, like you want to crawl under the duvet and not return until someone promises to eradicate that Mariah Carey song from the earth? At a time of so much happiness surrounded by family and friends, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking the black dog, depression, the blues, whatever you want to call them, will take holiday leave and allow you to enjoy the tiny bits of sparkle and magic at the end of the year. Unfortunately, heâ€™s not into taking holidays much, and this time of year, he can sometimes pull a lot of overtime. You are not alone.
Last week I spotted a request from a journalist with Independent.ie, asking for bloggers to talk about their “happy place”, as part of their Mind Yourself campaign.
As I’ve written about mental illness and my personal experiences with postnatal depression and the impact it’s had on my life, I thought this might be a good idea – there is so much doom and gloom around it that it is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the happy bits which make life worth living. I had a bit of a think about specific places which fill me with joy (currently a bubble bath with a glass of wine sounds fairly idyllic) and came to the conclusion that it isn’t really a physical place that I can pick. (more…)
Through blogging, I have discovered the power of talking about mental health and how it can not only help me to let it out, but also to read others writing about their experiences – a problem shared is a problem halved, and all that. I am of the belief that mental health is something we need to work to de-stigmatise in this country, the time of our sheltered attitudes towards people “suffering from their nerves” and shunning those who suffer in silence needs to be gone. Thankfully this seems to be a changing attitude in modern Ireland. We are living in a time where mental illness is becoming a public concern – recent reports have shown dramatic increases in the amounts of clinical depression diagnoses, linked to the economic crisis and it’s effect on family life in Ireland, while various charity events are held on a regular basis to raise awareness and funds for groups who provide mental health supports in the community. As a society, we are learning that it is important to talk. (more…)
Almost a year ago, I started writing a piece for this blog that I wasn’t sure about writing but knew it had to come out. It wasn’t something I was ashamed of, as such, or something I thought was wrong. I was perfectly happy with the anonymous people of the Internet knowing it, it was the not so anonymous faces of friends, family and other internet friends who I wasn’t so enamoured with knowing my “secret”. I sent it to my best friend and got the mister to read over it, to check that the wording was okay, that it wasn’t “too honest” and that I wasn’t making an absolute idiot of myself. In a way, I was looking for their seal of approval that it was okay to write this piece, to tell anyone who read my blog that I wasn’t finding life so easy, that I had been diagnosed with postnatal depression. A year on it seems on one hand crazy that I put so much time overthinking it, but on the other it seems completely justifiable and even now like something I should do. (more…)
This week I turned twenty four. An age that I used to think would be one where I’d have my life together, all figured out. It seems like a properly grown up age, doesn’t it? On paper, I guess I do have that life together. I’ve found a very lovely man, with whom I live in a very lovely apartment, with our (not biased at all here) very adorable toddler. I even work for a company who while I won’t go as far as describing them as very lovely, do treat their employees with decent conditions and some rather lovely perks. I’ve been to university, attained my degree and an education on top of it which didn’t happen in the classroom or lecture hall but rather in the rainy cold mornings spent working towards something Student Union related, or the late night “tired and emotional” chats enjoyed with Lennoxes chips. I live in a city which I now consider home (not quite “home home”, but getting there) after six years here, it’s given me my accent, my love of tea and my life as it currently stands. As far as things go, it’s not a half bad way to be at 24.
When my child was five months old, I gave in to common sense and made a visit to my GP where I was diagnosed with postnatal depression, prescribed medication and referred to a consultant psychiatrist for further care. This was not my first foray into the world of mental health issues, but this to me was progress; I was on top of my game and making sure that whatever was going wrong in my head was to be remedied so that I could focus on making life as good as it could be for me and my new little family. Almost a year on, things are better, mostly. They are being reviewed constantly by professionals who know what they’re talking about and I consider myself more educated about different mental health issues and the effects that they have, my triggers and effects of the medication on different parts of my life.
It has been hard work, but I am getting there. (more…)
It is that time of year again. Summer is winking at us around the corner and despite the apocalyptic weather at the weekend, I’m feeling confident in my choice to lay out the sun cream and the sunglasses for tomorrow. It’s Leaving (and Junior) Cert time. The Irish educational system has two set exams each year that each student in 3rd and 6th year must take.
Post Natal Depression is a bitch. There, I said it. I’ve thrown down my gauntlet and I refuse to be nice about her anymore – that black dog is a pain in the behind. I’ve tried numerous approaches: ignoring it, pandering to it, acknowledging its existence yet still ignoring it – and yet the deep seeded horrible feelings that it incites in me still bubble to the surface at any moment, and change my thought pattern to something negative. (more…)
In internet circles, I find myself surrounded by some of the most amazing inspiring people on a day to day basis. I interact with them in Facebook groups, on twitter, people I’ve never met in real life but have spoken to on a regular basis for the best part of a year. They are strong, courageous women (mostly) who have found themselves able to speak out about things that aren’t normally talked about; things considered taboo. Lately I’ve found myself wanting to say things in the same vein but have found myself afraid, not knowing exactly what to say, or how to say it, or whether I should say it at all. From authors who I really admire, the lovely Marian Keyes, to fellow parenting bloggers Karen and Suzy, these women have made me feel as if it is okay, which is exactly why I’m writing this now.