First of all, if you’re struggling with mental health and it’s becoming more than you can handle this is what you must do: get your phone and call this number if you’re Canadian: 1-833-456-4566, and this number if you’re American: 1-800-273-8255. Those are crisis lines. If you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope you MUST get yourself some help. If you feel you are a danger to yourself or others please call 9-1-1. Don’t take chances, Mom. You’re worth getting yourself the help you need. Stop reading this and call right now. Please.
I see you there.
You’ve got a smile forced upon your face. It’s beautiful, but it’s not real.
You dragged yourself out of bed this morning, acknowledging the fact that life still has to go on despite your pain. There are children to feed, jobs to go to, commitments to keep. It’s so incredibly daunting and you’re exhausted, but you troop on because that’s what you do. You don’t skip a beat, and you never complain.
You’re trying to uphold the facade that everything is okay, even though you know it’s not. You don’t want to inflict your hardship on your children or worry your significant other. The idea that you can do it all is not something you can let go of. You want to keep all outsiders under the impression that you have everything under control, and that everything is just fine.
It’s not fine. You’re struggling with mental health.
At a certain point, you’re likely going to find that pushing it all aside becomes impossible. You may not realize that your actions are on account of how you’re struggling with mental health and your actions may become unpredictable. It will likely catch you off guard and start in subtle ways. Maybe you start yelling at the kids more or find it more difficult to get your daily tasks accomplished. Perhaps you begin to pick fights with your significant other over little things. It’s possible that you begin to feel yourself become unable to find joy in the things you once did. Feelings of low self-worth and inadequacy start to creep in. You may start to feel pain physically and general unwellness. Your friends may notice you aren’t socializing as often as you used to. You may indulge in self-destructive behaviors like drinking or eating too much, drugs or using other methods to mask the pain.
The shifts might be small or they may be significant, but they’ll be enough that you won’t be yourself.
It’s possible you’ve dealt with struggling with mental health before. It’s possible you’re struggling with a form of mental illness (Depression, Anxiety, Bipolorism, Schizophrenia, S.A.D., etc.).
Perhaps something has recently rocked your personal life. Maybe you just overcame the latest virus going around. Or, maybe nothing serious has happened and this is just a natural declination for you.
Whatever the cause is, you’re struggling with mental health.
A plea to the Mom struggling with mental health.
Motherhood is by far the most confusing thing you’ll ever experience in your life. It is incredibly draining and challenging while being the most rewarding thing you could possibly imagine. We give our entire selves to the raising of our children and so often forget to take care of who we are. There is still a very active entity of yourself inside of you, Mom, and it needs to be nurtured.
Allow yourself some time to do the things that YOU love. Ignite your passion. Choose yourself whenever you can. If you don’t do this for yourself then do it for your children. They need to see their mother involving herself in personal development. They need to see her pursuing her dreams. If they see you loving yourself they will grow up doing the same for themselves.
Find your village. When you’re struggling with mental health it can be very challenging to surround yourself with people. Try to remember that these are people that you love AND who love you back. Choose to spend time with positive people who will lift you and keep your headspace positive and clear. You are the average of the group you spend time with- that means that how you would react to a friend who’s struggling is how the rest of your group will react. This is what friends are for. You would help do the same for them.
Research some coping strategies. Exercise and nutrition are paramount. Self-care will make all the difference. Try a dance class. Color. Do yoga. Find something that brings you calm and peace, and consistently involve yourself in it.
Finally, seek help. It could be as simple as asking a friend to meet for coffee or a walk so you can get out of the house. Ask a grandparent to take the kids so you can have some rest. Approach your doctor and explain that you’re having difficulty coping; they may discuss trying medication or recommend you go to counseling. Choose what’s in your comfort zone and give it a try.
You are not alone.
There is no shame in what you’re experiencing, Mom. In fact, that’s why we must be so kind to one another because inevitably you’re not the only one silently suffering.
You’re doing an amazing job as a mom. I know this because you’re reading this. You want better for yourself so that you can give more of you to your wonderful children.
You got this, Mom.
A fellow Mom struggling with mental health.