I’m not sure where to start.Perhaps with the text I sent to my husband thursday lunchtime: “I’m feeling like a big fat ball of anxiety and stress”. That’s pretty succinct actually.
But not good. Definitely not good.
And I could blame it on the day; that it was a bad day. But if I’m honest (and I’m trying to be) then I can see that this is a build up, this is me having suppressed my emotions for a while and they are coming back to bite me.
I have not struggled with mental illness. I am not now. What is happening, is that I’m struggling with my mental health. Like if I had a bad back I would be struggling with my physical health. I’ve been neglecting my mind and I think I’ve even kind of known it.
The sensations I have are a mixture. One is a general feeling of rushing. Everything is a rush. I physically rush to get to work in the mornings. I rush around at work. The job I hold has quite frankly gone bananas. No, that’s too light hearted a word. It’s gone to shit. Anyone working in education or social care will relate. I am doing what feels like 3 people’s jobs in the time of 1 with no let up. The emotional weight of what I am dealing with is at an all time high and it shows no let up. I then am always rushing from work to home, whether that’s to collect from nursery, clubs or just get back in time to see my kids and husband. I find that this rushing creates a rushed mind so that even when I’m sitting in my car it is never a space for calm reflection or joyful music listening. I am always on edge trying to get to where I’m going faster. When I’m at home I feel I’m rushing, either to fit all my chidren in, or to fit in their life round me or because 2 days off just isn’t enough time to do it all.
The other sensation I’m working with is more sporadic and is a surge of what I think is anxiety. A fluttering in my chest and moments when I feel that I could just cry. It’s like a wave of life is washing over me and it can feel overbearing.
Ironically, as part of my job I have, over the last week attended various meetings about mental health and emotional wellbeing. Whilst I am there to think about the children & families I work with there is always the message for professionals; look after your own wellbeing. We know this don’t we? We can’t help others if we are not ok ourselves. And what example is it to talk about mental health and break down the stigma but then to ignore our own. This week this message has resonated with me, maybe properly, for the first time.
There is too much plate spinning going on in my life and it’s taking so much concentration that I am missing things both in my personal life and at work. I need to take better care.
I have already made the comparison of our mental health to our physical. Well, I recently started re-taking various supplements. Our house has suffered this winter, like many, with some horrid viruses and we’ve been passing them back and forth. I made a conscious decision to take a stand. So I bought some supplements and have remembered to take them every days for a few weeks. My colds etc. have shifted and haven’t come back.
And so, I face my emotional wellbeing and these feelings and sensations of rushing and worry. What do I plan to do about that? Put my self first for some mind mending? I am attempting to keep up with my personal activities outside of work and home. There is an element of taking this time for myself that is empowering and a good distraction. There is also though, a fair sized pile of guilt each time.
I was speaking at work about making self-care resolutions. I decided I need to say no more often. I think this is a classic when you become a parent. There are so many others needs to consider we can get caught up in this role of sorter/carer.
I’ve also decided to try to be a bit more honest. I will not state the normal ‘oh I’m fine’ when asked how I’m doing. I reckon this may help me to stop ignoring my emotional wellbeing. I had a rare moment in the school playground picking up one of my brood. Another mum asked ‘hi, how’s it going’. And I paused and thought and then replied with ‘ermmmm, yeah’ and a shrug. She nodded and said ‘oh right, not a great day? I get that’. We didn’t need to go into the why’s, we don’t know each other well and that would seem weird but I also didn’t need to switch into ‘cheery-all-is-ok’ mum. I wasn’t expected to chat on about stuff. I was respectfully left to be.
So, here’s to more of being honest. More of listening to these feelings and making sure I don’t bury them. This might be a start.