Today I’m writing about a mental health day for NABLOPOMO. I started with NABLOPOMO around 8 years ago, I think. It was where I made my first blogging friends, most of whom I still chat with daily on FB. Some write now and again, some not at all. But that original few that I posted with back then has made a big difference in my life even now. I could consider them surrogate moms. I appreciate their wisdom about parenting, life, and new beginnings. If they can make it in this world, maybe I can too.
Mental Health Day
It’s not easy being a mother. It’s not easy being a woman, period, but being a mom just gives it that extra special kick in the guts, especially if you’ve got young kids and just can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I home school, too, so all of my kids are with me all the time they aren’t involved in social/sports events. Although I’ve not made it a huge secret, it’s still hard to admit that the last few years have plagued me with anxiety. Depression has followed me like a soggy dark blanket for most of my life, squeezing the will to live out for a few days at a time. Lifting just when I can’t take another saturated breath. I’ve come to feel that most of it is related to babies, birth, and cycles in general. But anxiety reared it’s ugly head for real after my third child was born. I figured I was just being paranoid during her pregnancy, but it smacked me hard in the face afterward.
It stole 6 weeks of my newborn’s life from me last year. I was drowning in it. I made myself some new years resolutions. Eat better, drink more water, go outside for God’s sake every day. I didn’t get them all done every day. They are posted on my laptop screen. I see them every day, sometimes it’s enough of a reminder, sometimes it’s not. When I can get it together, I try and tick some of them off.
Eat this, it helps, it really helps #potterphile
Music helps a lot. It must trip some dopamine trigger, because that more than anything can usually help me out. If I feel sluggish, I try and take my vitamins, turn on some music and begin to move around. I complete a small task or two, and usually that gets me onto a path where everything trends up, and not down.
Reading helps, too. I’ve been deliberate about getting books for myself, reading other people’s blogs, trying to keep an open mind and think about things outside of my self. I write when I can. I get hurt very easily, even by my children, sometimes self care looks like telling them they need to read or play by themselves so I can read to escape for a while.
Sometimes it means my 8 year old will make food for the 5 year old at lunch time. If we’ve had a rough morning, sometimes a mental health day looks like popping popcorn for lunch and turning a movie on for the kids so I can curl into a ball with the baby and just BE. None of these things hurt my children, most of these things people do NATURALLY, as part of being human, but for me they are really very difficult most days. My type A personality sees every thing I do as a failure. Since I can’t be a perfect mother, I am never satisfied. I feel guilty about most of the things on the list, even just eating my own food and not sharing.
Why moms need mental health days
It’s really hard to remember how to live once you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself. I rarely get time for myself, my daughter followed me to the bathroom to tell me she was done eating today. Her dad was in the same room. It boggles the mind. Nothing is sacred, nothing is private, nothing is just mine. Some days, though, I can make it most of the way through the list, and sometimes I even smile a real smile. I laughed with my husband the other day. The first time in a month, probably. Just getting to talk to him for more than 2 seconds uninterrupted made a difference in my whole existence. He’s what makes me feel the most ME. How I used to be.
What do you do for yourself on a mental health day? Do you do all the things on my list (nearly) every day?
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