There’s nothing harder to admit than the fact you know there’s something wrong. It’s not just the admitting that makes it difficult. It’s that often once there is something up, your body takes over. Such an incredible thing! Your body just goes into survival mode and your days continue on. It buys you time but can’t last forever. It seems I’d forgotten how to be more than a mum and it was making me ill.
Auto-pilot ensures bums get changed, mouths are fed, the dog is allowed out to poop and somehow the World keeps turning.
If it goes on for too long though, you body too will give up if it doesn’t have the mind engaged. I guess that’s why I can only shrug when people are now asking me why I didn’t say anything when they hear I’m unwell. The practicalities of my day as a mum didn’t feel like a struggle as my body plodded on through the long days alone parenting two under two whilst my husband worked away.
Asking for help isn’t easy either.
Whether it is knowing what help to ask for or whom to ask for it from. Nothing about getting help for anything seems easy. With a history of anxiety, I knew this felt different to that. Then the endless tears came and it dawned on me what this really was. After that, I couldn’t stop the tears in public either. It wasn’t a panic attack, it was just an overwhelming sense of being lost.
I felt like the victim of identity theft.
I’ve now essentially been on maternity leave for almost two years and whilst there have been some brilliant times, so much has changed for me. Not working my full time job with an organisation I have been with for ten years. Starting my blog. Having my children. Experiencing my mum tribe go back to work after their first lots of maternity leave. I’d started a voluntary job with the mental health sector. Had surgery and yet again found myself in a body I’m unfamiliar with. As if my post-partum body wasn’t enough to wrap my head around!
Having a chat with someone independent was my turning point.
I met with a counsellor at the weekend and began some sessions to work through my thoughts and sense of being lost. I haven’t enjoyed thinking about walking away from everyone and everything. It didn’t excite me because these are my loved ones which wanted everything from me and I was happy to help. But it wasn’t helping me, so we’ve had to draw a line in the sand and look for a way to move forward together.
It’s time to find myself.
There won’t be any solo travelling to India or living with monks in Tibet for a season. There’s no plans to go off the rails in Vegas or hitchhike around Europe with only the essentials in a back pack. Is 32 too early to have a mid-life crisis? I know this isn’t my usual type of post but there’s something cathartic in writing to yourself. Maybe it will help someone else at the same time?
Finding my new tribe is helping.
I am part of some wonderful online groups that cover various topics. Some related to mental illness, some to Lipoedema, others for blogging support and they all help me with finding my own identity whilst my “real life” alters so much. However, I have now realised how unhealthy it is to neglect my real world identity. I think I was neglecting it because I didn’t know what to do with it so I’ve asked some of my bloggers friends to share what they suggest can help maintain a sense of self and be more than a mum.
Ways You Can Be More Than A Mum
Grow your own fruit and veg on an allotment by Katy from katykicker.com
Join the WI and make a mixture of new friends by Nicola from allthingsspliced.co.uk
Have a night out or weekend away with the girls by Kerry at www.kerryshawmummyoffour.com
Go out drinking – “Bad Moms” style by Katie at www.livinglifeourway.com
Treat yourself to a salon manicure by Nicole at nicoleroder.com
Start a journal/blog by Erica at www.theincidentalparent.com
Have a glass of wine by Georgina at www.geegardner.co.uk
Find a course to study by Hannah at www.planestrainsandmeltdowns.com
Read and relax in a coffee shop by Laura at edinburghwithkids.com
Take a bubble bath by Vicki at Www.tippytupps.com
Get your roots coloured by Clare at www.mumsymidwife.com
Get a job which you love by Victoria at parentingpeaceandquiet.com
Book a date night with your partner by Nadia at apparentlythisisnormal.wordpress.com
Paint your nails by Beth at Twinderelmo.co.uk
Have a gym work out by Emma at emmareed.net, Lynne atWww.adayinthelifeofamumof6.com, Cheryl at www.mummyof5miracles.com, Raimy at www.readaraptor.co.uk, Anna at www.squatssassandsaggyskin.co.uk and Leyla at Www.thisdayilove.co.uk
Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain so its interesting that so many of the other mum bloggers mentioned exercise as this is bound to go towards helping my physical, mental and emotional state.
Taking their advice, I have rejoined a local gym as they have a summer discount on! My first class is this week and they have a creche so no excuses for not going! I’m giving myself three months to get into ship shape and if that doesn’t work, only then will I go down the medication route.
I feel like I can conquer this, so at least that’s a start!