Walking on the tight rope.

Walking the tight rope

Mental health is a bitch. It is a reactive, sensitive balancing act that, for some, seems like no problem at all and for others can be a precarious tight rope walk, just waiting to fall and hoping there is a net somewhere deep below. 

I was on that tight rope for a long time. I suffered with depression for many months, if not years and I suffered from post natal depression (PND) and anxiety with maybe a bit of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) thrown in there after having my daughter. Every now and again I feel like I’m back on it, wobbling. Not very often thankfully but every now and again. Today is not one of those days but I can completely understand how someone feels up there. 

My blog name is theperfectjuggler, which, for the most part is a ‘tongue in cheek’ name but, sometimes that extra ball can be the difference between having good mental health and it all going down the pan very quickly. 

The government have, this week, said that they will be putting more funding into mental health care. Perfect timing as Monday 16 January is known as ‘Blue Monday’. The most depressing day of the year. 

They want to make workplaces more able to help and support those with mental health issues, they want schools to teach about how to maintain good mental health and for teachers to know how to be aware of children who may be developing mental health issues and how to deal with those who already have them. They are also upping the funding into mental health services for pregnant women and new mothers. All of which have been seriously lacking. I agree with this focus and hope that they actually see this initiative through. 

Ironically I have just had to tell the department I work for that I will no longer be able to lead their Wellbeing group as my own mental health was suffering. This one added responsibility which I was passionate about and enjoyed, was the ball I could no longer juggle, and before I dropped it I had to put it down voluntarily.

I know lots of people that are suffering with ‘bad’ mental health, 1 in 4 of us will suffer with a mental health issue in our life time and I just want to say, I get it. I get feeling so low that you want to hide. I get that you don’t want to talk about it. I get that sometimes, it seems like the best way for everyone would be if you weren’t around anymore. I get that you didn’t think you could cry anymore but you do and I get that some people don’t get it. 

I also get that it can get better by focusing on the good things in your life and removing some of the bad ones, by not letting yourself become insular and selfish, by helping yourself climb back up the ladder to the tightrope, even if it’s just one tiny step at a time. It can get better by seeking help, and support from professionals, from family and from friends. By developing resilience techniques like mindfulness, meditation and exercise, to use when you next have a wobble. And lastly to realise that you can’t necessarily change what happens to you but only you can change how you deal with it when it does. 

Things will get better, I promise, I’m proof that they do. 

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Dropping the ball.

Today I did not go the extra mile. I was on the way, literally, but my brain kicked in and told me not to. It wasn’t because I’m a bitch, it wasn’t because I was lazy, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to do it; it was because I actually couldn’t do it. Or, I could have but it would have cost me. Not money or time (although it actually would have) but it would have caused me to put that one extra thing on my plate that would have caused the plate to break or drop the ball using my very own juggling analogy. 

Roughly how I’m feeling – although i wish i looked this good in a sequined basque!
 
It wasn’t even a big thing but it was something that would have made a difference to an event I’m running. It would be a nice to have definitely, but after leaving work late after yet another busy day, picking up a tired daughter from nursery (last mum there again) and then picking up a crazy dog desperate for a walk I thought “what on earth am I doing”?  

I am in the middle of a really busy and high profile piece of work at the moment with tight deadlines and a lot of reputation all risk. This doesn’t all fall on me but I obviously don’t want to drop a ball there.  
I am trying to decorate and renovate a house (luckily with help from family and friends) in time to move in by the end of September and also trying to sell a shared ownership flat which seems to be a process not unlike wading through treacle.  

I’m trying to coordinate an exciting event that the Wellbeing Group, of which I am the main driver, has organised which is tomorrow.

I’m trying to be a good mum to Charlotte which involves not being the last mum to pick up their child every day and having time, and the energy to spend quality time with her when we get home.

I’m trying to be a good friend, especially to my best friend who is getting married in a week and a half!  I am trying to keep on top of the housework and I am trying to take some time for myself.

But trying isn’t good enough for these.  I want to be actually able to succeed in all of these but something had to give this evening so I didn’t do something.  The world won’t fall apart from it.  The event will still run tomorrow.  My colleagues won’t know what I haven’t done but my daughter has had time with me and I have had time to decompress a little from an, already, very busy week. 

Sometimes we have to put things in perspective and driving out of my drive this evening was a ‘click’ moment.  I drove up the road, turned around at the roundabout and came home again.  Doing this extra thing would be good for the wellbeing event but not for my wellbeing and I suppose I should lead by example.  

It’s not selfishness to put yourself as number one sometimes – it’s essential and I’m glad I remembered that this evening – just in time! I urge everyone to take at least 30 mins to prioritise yourself this evening, it can make such a difference! Happy hump day xx