World Mental Health Day
Parenting with poor Mental Health.
Every Thursday is Mental Health day in the Empowered Parents community, but today it’s World Mental Health Day too!!
We often look at ways you can support your child to have positive mental health, but today in recognition of World Mental Health Day, we’re going to change things slightly today, and talk about parent mental health.
I myself have a long history of varying degrees of mental ill health – from antenatal depression, through trauma related anxiety and breakdown. Through these challenges I have continued to raise children, and know first hand how challenging that can be.
When a parent is struggling with mental health, there are some additional issues which can add pressure and make healing more difficult.
Here we look at some of those issues, and how parents can find balance between meeting their own, and their child’s needs.
1) Parents can’t just stop.
When raising a child, particularly one under the age of being safely independent without supervision, there are often no opportunities for parents to focus on self needs.
We know that exercise is important, as is rest – but how to make opportunities for these when you have a small child.
What’s more – how to find opportunities for these when you have a small child, AND every action requires immense effort and searching for elusive motivation.
Some parents report that having the responsibility of a child to get up for helped them to manage a period of poor mental health, while others find it extremely obstructive to healing.
Whichever is true for you – the trick is to play to your strengths.
If you need rest – invest in some films, games and activities which can be done from your sofa or bed, and keep these for ‘bad days’.
When you feel you cannot manage your day, explain to your child that you need rest and retrieve your ‘bad day box’.
The invitation of new activity is quite often enough to quell a child’s disappointment at having a home day.
2) Feeling Guilty
Dealing with poor mental health can be hugely challenging for a parent, and this can result in them acting in ways they would not normally consider.
Other parents report feeling disinterested in their child’s attention needs, or lacking the motivation to put a decent meal on the table.
Whatever your symptoms are, you can bet you’ll get a good dose of guilt with them.
It’s important to ask yourself some kind questions:
– if you could have done better would you?
– in the scale of a whole life, how much will today have impact?
– have you done everything you can to ‘fix’ any situations which were less than perfect?
It might mean making sure they have an apple to make up for the chip sandwich dinner.
Or taking a moment to apologise and explain why you are not patient today.
Most of all be kind to yourself! We are all doing the best we can ☺️
3 – Getting Support
Getting support sounds simple, but if you’ve ever had mental health challenges you will know that it is actually incredibly difficult.
You are battling with your own mind, and that makes talking to others about your problems challenging at times.
Often people around you want to help, but they don’t actually understand what you’re feeling, or more importantly – what you need!
Write a list of things which actually help you when you are having a bad patch, and then share that list with those closest to you.
Humans in general have a tendency to give people the support they would need if it were them – trouble is, that may not actually be what you need or want.
Some people may want a short break from the kids
Others want the kids close to them
Some want chocolate
Others want sleep
Some want to talk
Others want distraction
Have a think about what helps you – you’ll be surprised how much more helpful people will be when they know what you need!
If you need professional support don’t wait until you reach crisis point to get it. Waiting lists are long and it is too easy to have a good day and decide you don’t need the help anymore, only to have a worse day tomorrow!
If you qualify for funded help – get yourself on the list. You can always cancel if you don’t need it by the time your name gets to the top!
If you need to go private, seek the right person for you whilst you’re in a good patch and have their details ready for when you need to book in with them.
🧡🧡🧡If you are suffering with poor Mental Health, and you want to either reach out, or just let others know they are not alone, pop a comment on this blog 🧡🧡🧡
More support and help can be found at Mind