‘You do so well, your kids are wonderful and you are always laughing’
Said to me just last week by an acquaintance… I was flattered by that comment, overwhelmed even, I try so hard to be a good mum despite my struggles, to hear that other’s think of my children that way is lovely.
But when it came to replying, I had no idea what to say. All I could muster was a simple thank you. Hours later I sat thinking about those few moments, that comment, how it made me feel, and it made me wonder…
Should I have told her quite how much her words meant? Maybe I should have asked whether she had any idea what it takes for me to even leave the house some mornings?
I should have stepped out of the shadow that is mental health and admitted that her words reduced me to tears, my anxiety means that I constantly think I’m getting it all wrong.
I think if more of us admitted our struggles, we’d all appreciate each other a little more. We’d all give more time, more help, and a little less judgement.
Mental health difficulties often affect behavior – on a crowded bus I can struggle with being surrounded by such a large amount of people within such a close proximity. When I’m with my children I am entirely different, we sing, we laugh, we have fun.
My barriers are down.
Each situation affects us in different ways, it’s only natural, but why don’t we admit what we can cope with and what we can’t?
So I’m putting it out there, I’m stepping out of the shadows.
I can be irrational, I snap at people without meaning to. There are days I can laugh until my sides hurt, there are also days spent in tears.
I may look at you with a stern expression one day, I may hug you the next…
I’m a talker, but sometimes I just can’t talk. Burning the toast can leave me irate for the rest of the day. I hold those I care about so very close, because I’m petrified of losing who and what makes me, me.
I can’t help it, and I’m sorry.
We all need to talk about our mental health more. We need to accept the things we cannot change and embrace the power to change perceptions. Not only of ourselves, but all those who suffer with mental health difficulties.
We’re all human, struggling doesn’t make you less of a person. Don’t be afraid to admit who you are, discuss your mental health. I think you’ll be surprised at just how many people know only too well what you are going through.
#MHAW17, 8-14th May 2017. Find out more here.