This might be a bit of a heavy post but this is something we need to talk more about. Mental Health.
It’s no secret that 2020 was awful for the majority of us. Key workers struggling to spend time with their families, hospital staff seeing things they never thought they would, children unable to see their friends, celebrations cancelled…the list goes on. What people rarely spoke about though pre-covid was mental health. If you were sick, you saw a doctor. In pain? Go to A&E. Overweight? Exercise and eat less.
What about the mental pain and torture people were going through?
In the past I have heard “You’re just a little sad”, “You couldn’t be bothered going to work”, “Just smile” and There’s others in a worse off situation”. This isn’t half of what I have had people say to me. I wasn’t a little sad though. I had severe depression. What I really needed was someone just to listen to me. I wasn’t looking for answers to questions. I wanted to talk and get it out there. My mental health has been a long battle. It started off as post natal depression after having my first child and then when I thought I was fixed another wave would hit me. I continued to battle with my mental health for many years. I still do but now I know how to control it.
IT. DOESN’T. CONTROL. ME.
It stemmed from lots of different situations. Money worries? Yep! Not spending enough time with my children? Yep! Trying to please other people? Yep!
Everybody has that something that hurts them mentally but for some of us it is difficult to find out how to control it. It’s no secret that when I first got together with my husband, we were both struggling internally. However, we became each others go to. If we felt we were not coping then we spoke about it. Sometimes I couldn’t even talk but I could cry and he wouldn’t pressure me in to explaining myself or tell me that I needed to sort myself out. He would just hold me and let me cry. In that moment that is what I needed. I can’t tell his story because it isn’t mines to tell but this is wasn’t one sided. I was always there for him too and still am.
What I am trying to say is that it is ok to cry, it is ok to feel like you aren’t coping wether it’s money, studying, work, parenting or just trying to get through the day. Don’t bottle it up. Don’t ever feel like there isn’t a way out. Almost everything can be fixed. It wont be easy and it wont be immediate but there will always be someone to support you wether it’s a work colleague, a family member or an organisation who have people there to help you out. I’ll pop a list of places you can get help down below.
Me, now. I still have those days where I think I wont get through them but I do. I still cry. I still shout. I don’t get parenting right every time. I amn’t a model student. I’m not always the best friend or family member but I try.
2020 was the year where we decided as a family to spend more time together. Say no to work more often and say yes to more of what the children wanted us to do. We haven’t failed at work or uni. The house didn’t burst in to flames because we played a board game rather than taking a mop to the floors. We actually enjoyed 2020. We enjoyed being in our own company and we learned to talk.
Recently, an incident happened where i started to think about others mental health rather than my own. My eldest is at an age where social media meant everything to her. What her friends were doing, wearing, bought…that became more important than herself. It wasn’t until Christmas time that it came to a head. Somebody online, who she didn’t know told her to kill herself. She is 10. This was all because she had a social media fan page for a tiktok “star” and this other person didn’t like her. I kept thinking…
“I shouldn’t have to have a conversation with my daughter on Christmas day about her mental health.”
Then it struck me. Why haven’t I had more conversations with her about her feelings. Why haven’t I taught her self-worth? She was upset that somebody had said that to her but she could not see the difference behind them saying it to the tik tok star fan page and to her personally. The person who sent that message was hiding behind a fake profile. That person is somebody who probably struggles with their own mental health and I wish I could reach out to them and find out how they are. My daughter is fine. The fan page has been deleted and she now knows her self-worth, It’s ok to feel upset, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be angry and most of all she knows that social media is mostly a bunch of people hiding behind the truth.
We’re all guilty of it. Take a photo and hide the pile of dirty washing. Post about what a great time you had when really you spent half the day fighting with a toddler who didn’t want to wear wellies. There are very few people that will openly post when they aren’t feeling great because what they then get is others talking about them behind their back. Theyr’e attention seekers…
Social Media is about seeking attention! It may have started off about sending cute photos to granny and grandad. Now, people get paid to post photos of themselves on Instagram! It’s a job, being an influencer! What?! That is what our children aspire to be! A youtube star, insta famous with 100k followers.
Those people will still struggle with their mental health. They just don’t talk about it! Please talk to someone if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, scared…anything. It is good to talk!
I will never be fixed! I will never not have depression. However, I can identify when I am feeling unwell and I know how to control it now. How does all of this tie in with money and saving? Money was the last big thing that continually got me down. Wishing I was in bed, under the duvet, in the dark. I was sick of feeling like that. It was fixable. It wouldn’t be instant but I needed a goal and I needed my husband and kids to be all in with me.
To my surprise they were totally up for the no spend 18 months. They might be regretting that now but if they are then they haven’t said anything 🤣 For the first time in many years we got to pay day with money still left. Not just 20p either but real adult money. We had plenty food, the bills were all paid. I no longer receive letters and texts daily reminding me to pay something. My mental health has improved massively just from small changes. It genuinely has been small changes. No takeaways. No purchasing unnecessary things. I realised that I was making it worse. I feel rubbish so lets go and buy some new stuff for the kids even though they don’t need it. I have no energy to cook so lets just have a takeaway. It would have taken the same amount of time and effort to pop something in the oven as it would to figure out what takeaway we all actually wanted and it would have cost £50 less!
It is difficult to admit to others when you aren’t feeling yourself because you think something is wrong with you. What covid has shown is that there isn’t anything wrong with you. Most people struggle with their mental health in one way or another but it is how different people tackle it that makes the difference.
If you ever need to talk then i’m all ears but I am not a professional so here are some places you can get help from a professional too:
The Spark – 0808 802 2088
SAMH – https://www.samh.org.uk/
Breathing space – breathingspace.scot
Samaritans – 116 123
Mind – 0300 123 3393 or text 86463
Shout – 85258
Side by Side – sidebyside.mind.org.uk/about
The Mix (Young people aged 13-25) – 0808 808 4994 or text THEMIX to 85258
You can also find out how to support someone in a crisis by accessing the time to change website at time-to-change.org.uk
I know this has been a really long post and thank you if you’ve managed to get to the bottom. The whole point in it was do not believe everything you see and hear on social media. You do not have to look, think or act like any influencer or sally down the road who seems to always be well put together (she’s probably struggling too). It is ok to be selfish occasionally and say no to other people. Most importantly, find someone to talk to because it is good to talk!