Mind and Mother

There are three parts to this post. HONESTY.CLARITY.WOMENS HEALTH

There have been days when I definitely haven’t wanted to train . There are days where doing anything feels challenging. I’m an open book when it comes to emotions and experiences, because it’s important to talk  and as I know there are many women like myself who suffer/ have suffered from anxiety / depression / post natal depression and other mental health issues. In this world of achieving perfection, talking about falling apart isn’t pretty or perfect. If it wasn’t for fitbump I think I would find it much more difficult to function in a work place when I am not well, the anxiety I feel is just as much physical as emotional; I appreciate that I am fortunate to have so many amazing women around me , that I can be myself and that for them I can still muster my best smile and be who they need me to be and that if I need time out I can take it.
I feel it’s really important that the stigma around mental health changes, that there is more information available ; for instance on both pre and post natal depression; which can strike up to 4 years (sometimes more if it goes unchecked) post birth and it doesn’t always manifest in the way that’s typically expected. We should all feel that we can talk openly about our experiences, get the support we need and that we won’t be viewed differently or seen to be weak. What ever you’re going through, you’re not alone.

I wrote the first part of this post earlier this year,  not that long before I had what I could only describe as a complete mental break down – I hit  rock bottom and knew I had to do something . The warning signs had been there, but for the longest time I’ve not been 100% comfortable with truly accepting that I have this ‘illness’ – but it is life threatening – feeling depressed and anxious affects everything – it threatens your ability to live the life you deserve – coming out the other side, I’ve accepted that the depression and anxiety is a part of me, that’s it ok, that I don’t need to fight it – I need to work with it. Mental health is absolutely paramount to physical health . I’m on the road building myself back up and it’s only now that I really see how unwell I have been , and scarily for a really long time; I had started to believe that how I was feeling was normal, and that the way I feel now was never going to be attainable. No one should have to feel the way I did  and if you can relate to this, what ever you’re going through, you’re not alone. Even in your darkest moments.

 

Sadly, 1 in 4 women suffer from mental health problems ; in my eyes this is an epidemic. I know these figures to be true because in the course of my week I come into contact with A LOT of women (mainly mothers) and over 80% of these women suffer / have suffered with anxiety , chronic stress, depression, post natal depression, eating disorders and more. What is going on ? How can we combat this ?
A few months ago I sat around a table with a collaboration of women’s health professionals, and the one thing that struck me coming away from the meeting is that the social pressures of being a mother (or parent in general) and the age of perfection is fast becoming our un- doing. that when it comes to being a mother it’s expected that you have to make certain sacrifices – ‘you wanted this’ so there fore you will suffer from a range of health issues from the physical to the mental; but don’t complain because it’s what you wanted right ?
My thoughts on this are, having children is wonderful, I love my son with all my heart and soul but being unhappy, being physically unhappy and not making time for myself is not something that should be left in the past; how can I expect to show him the joys of life if I’m crying into the fridge all the time. So women, mother or not, I urge you to fight, fight for yourself, your whole self. Fight for the the woman you were before and the woman you’ll be long after the children leave the nest. If there are issues you are carrying with you, physical or mental, don’t bury them, share them and set yourself free.

If you think you have or are suffering from post natal depression you can visit the PANDAS foundation www.pandasfoundation.org.uk for more information.

Samala x