My Mental Health Awareness for Mental Health May

I struggle with authenticity about showing how I really feel on a day to day basis, in case people don’t like what they see or hear and I guess that I’m frightened of rejection to some extent, that they’ll go elsewhere for a good consultation or advice, even though I’m psychology trained, a teacher, an experienced high profile PR director with years of experience in business and child behaviour and a trained Sling and Child Carrying Consultant.  Imposter Syndrome is a daily struggle that I battle against… 

But as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, I believe that it’s really important that we are all able to talk about how we feel.  Even if we are struggling to talk about our real feelings, thoughts and desires with our loved ones, we should at least be honest with ourselves and say when we are struggling.  Previously I have written about my struggles with post-natal depression but I still struggle with it.  We none of us are given manuals on how to be a good parent, a good wife, whatever that means and run a business I love.  I have to constantly stop myself from beating myself up all the time, which is exacerbated by social media, which is so important for our business.  But, its tiring. 

I guess, I find it hard at times to reach out and ask for help when I need it.  We all do don’t we?  We’re all frightened of asking those around us to help us when we are having a bad day or a bad week.   

A total loss of community surrounding us has eroded any true support we have and as many of us don’t have family close by either to help out, we find ourselves at a near breaking point, with no-one to step in and take an hour out for some self-care, a swim, a bath, or just a walk into town to clear your head. 

We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help though.  We should be asking friends nearby to look after the kids for a couple of hours and maybe, in return, reciprocate on another occasion, thus creating our own ‘community’ around us, as we once a very long time ago, would have had. 

Maybe when we were in our caves, we would have swapped vegetables and fruit, child rearing skills, fire building, tool and dwelling building skills with those families around us.  Surely we would have swapped what we were good at, for something desperately needed in return? 

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all tried swapping and sharing skills and resources and food with those we cared about instead of trying the ‘get rich quickly’ mentality? 

I love the idea of a community garden, we have one close by in Norfolk, run by a friend of mine I dance Tango with.  Maybe I will give my gardening skills and grow even more vegetables for community, than the measly couple of raised beds that my children and I tend each summer, albeit it wonderful for them! 

My good friend is a doula and maternity nurse and she offers her skills to new mums, helping in the home with anything they may need help with, maybe just so mum can get a bit of rest bite, to fill up her cup once more.  If we don’t fill our cups up regularly, then how do we expect to run on empty and be good mothers or fathers or grandparents to our precious little ones? 

Self-care for those of us who suffer from mental illness is absolutely vital!  We can’t expect to give something of ourselves to others day after day, without giving something back to us first.  Looking after us, me, is important in maintaining equilibrium.  If not, something will break. 

And it normally affects the lives of those we care about the most.  It also really is imperative to show our children that self-care is important, so that they grow up believing this too.  We have to be good role models for them as we don’t want them to make the same mistakes that we make. 

Many of us struggling with severe mental health issues have to learn to look after ourselves, partake in things we love to do, ask for help from friends and take a break regularly to top up the love, so that we can give it back, along with our skills, to others.

The sauna is calling me… 

I love helping others to carry their children and I am passionate about spreading the word about how vital carrying your child is for their mental health, going forward.  You can’t ignore a baby who is on you, looking up into your eyes, even on those dark days, that baby learns all your cues and you learn his.  It’s the very best way to be able to respond to his needs quickly so that a strong attachment is made and the baby knows his needs will always be met, no matter what.  The baby’s brain builds synaptic connections and therefore changes permanently as a consequence.

Let’s all help to build more positive connections in our babies’ brains and keep mental illness at bay as a society but also, learn to look after us. 

Written by Victoria Trevor – Owner of Kangaroo Together and Baby Sling Expert -https://kangaroo-together.co.uk

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