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WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY // 2017

“Celebrating” my 30th birthday at Duck & Waffle, last year.

I’m full of all the “World Day’s” this week – apologies for that. But hey, I have a lot of causes that are very close to my heart right now – so I’m more than enthusiastic to support and raise awareness where possible.

Today is WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, 2017. So here are a few words from my heart – to yours.

A picture tells a thousand words, doesn’t it? What you’ll “see” here (above) are two people who look (and practically were!) on top of the world ❤️ That day I got up at the crack of dawn – knots in my stomach. I felt so sick, so dizzy and was sweating from head to toe with worry. I was all-consumed with complete irrational fear and worry. I forced the smiles and the champagne and watched my watch till it was bedtime.

Anxiety and depression don’t know that today is your 30th birthday. Anxiety and depression don’t know it’s a sunny day. Anxiety and depression don’t know it’s a wedding day. Anxiety and depression don’t you’ve just had a child or lost one. Anxiety and depression don’t know you’re a comedian or an actress. Anxiety and depression do not know if you’re rich or poor.

Anxiety and depression do not discriminate.

Anxiety and depression puts lipstick on, whacks on a freshly ironed shirt, makes the breakfast and forces a smile on its face. Anxiety and depression sits in a room full of friends and loved ones, has the world at its feet and yet, feels like the loneliest person on Earth.  Anxiety and depression has a ridiculously social job – but is crippled with social angst. Anxiety and depression wants to do it all – and nothing at all, all at the same time. Anxiety and depression knocks back the medication and heads to the office for a day of high-flying meetings. Anxiety and depression heads to the umpteenth CBT session with a pram in tow. Anxiety and depression is a sensitive and soft soul who is strong as an ox. Whatever guise it comes in – just know Anxiety, Depression, OCD and allllllll the many, many other Mental Health disorders that there are out there, are not uncommon – in fact, 1 in 4 of us will be affected by at least one mental health issue. Know that in the majority of cases, mental health problems are indeed chemical imbalances – yep, just like diabetes and other well known ‘medical’ issues. So why the stigma?

Back in May this year, I put some words together for #MaternalMentalHealthWeek.  So here is a little bit more about me.

I’m a born worrier. Even from mega young, I worried the worst was about to happen. The worst case scenario of all situations. The made-up scenario’s in my minds-eye (don’t even get me started about how I am when James goes away with work/on a night out). Worry about not having something to worry about. This was to my own detriment and forced me into being an AWFUL teenager.

There was a time when I couldn’t understand my own sensitivity. There was a time when I was ridiculed for that sensitivity. The sensitivity that made me who I am. It was a running joke. It made me look weak. Fear not though, that ridicule has made me a better person. A stronger person 👊🏻💪🏽And most importantly, a better parent ❤️

It’s a sodding difficult job – this parenting lark. Daily life with a newborn is filled to the brim with anxiety. The sleep deprivation. The lack of knowing. The learning on the job. Inevitably, my anxiety was heightened just before I became a Mother. I had a dreadful pregnancy – followed by a horrendous birth. The first few months after Eli came Earthside, though a blur, were the hardest of times we’ve ever experienced.

It was our move to Berlin that connected the dots for me. Made me talk about our experiences prior to and into Parenthood. My anxiety was always prevalent. But its the talking that is so important. The understanding yourself and how YOU actually work.

Life as a new or experienced parent is SO TOUGH. The hardest and most relentless, but most rewarding, job in the world. Its an honour to be that boy’s Mama! ❤️It’s a daily joy and wonder! But for a person with a perinatal mental health condition the hard times are even harder, impossible even. The simple tasks are the most difficult. Everyday is a struggle to survive.

Your Mental Health is just as important as your Physical Health.

Don’t put it to one side.

Don’t brush it under the carpet.

Don’t shut yourself off or bury your head in the sand.

Don’t do what I did and convince yourself “I’m just a born worrier”.

Mental Health disorders can affect everyone. It’s ok to not be ok!

Share your problems.

Share your feelings with friends.

Share your thoughts with professionals.

Share with ANYONE you can. Sometimes talking to complete strangers is the easiest.

Start with YOU. Put YOU first – it’s not selfish. It’s necessary. And SO important.

Mental Health really does matter, but the only one who can make the change, is you✌🏻 Please, just don’t stay silent.

Likewise, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Stay soft in this hard world. Have empathy for yourself and others. STAY SENSITIVE. And be kind. Always 💘 Sometimes all someone needs is reassurance. And a really bloody big hug 🖤

C
✖️✖️✖️

PS – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be CONCISE 😂

PPS – I miss my white hair 👎🏻