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. 

Round One

IMG_0202.JPGTwo weeks ago I started writing a post about how my positive parenting was going down hill as Charlotte has decided to not go to sleep till 10pm at the latest. But since then, even with sleep deprivation taking its toll, I managed to fill in an application form which involved 7×250 words giving examples of when I could ‘Deliver at Pace’, when I have ‘Collaborated and Partnered’ and all the other hoops you have to jump through to complete the civil service competency application. I managed to complete a 30 minute, 14 question ‘situation’ test whilst Charlotte was wide awake and more interested on playing on her princess games on the iPad than mummy completing a “very important test”. I managed to get these in both on time and even managed to complete the test better than 82% of people who had taken it before. Not bad!

Yesterday I heard I got an interview. I was ecstatic! This is amazing as I have never managed to get this far in the joyful civil service process. Getting through the sift was proving a massive issue for me. This means I can do it and it is a job that would be a promotion in a field I’m interested in and, dare I say…good at? It would be a lot more money which I/we desperately need to stay afloat so why do I also feel a knot in my chest?

…because it would involve relocating.

It is based in Bristol. That is about 90 miles from me or roughly 1.5hours. Not far but definitely not commutable on a daily basis when you add in nursery pick ups and drop offs in anyway.

Whilst applying I justified it by saying lots of my family live down there (true) and it’d be nice to be near them (also true) but as time has gone on I am realising that, although it would mean being closer to my family and my oldest and best friend, it would mean being away from my day to day, ‘on the frontline’ friends. My friends who, over the past couple of years, have kept me going in so many ways. They have been there exactly when and how I have needed them. They have supported me and Charlotte emotionally and physically and I think (and hope) in turn I have supported them through good and bad times. I am not saying I’m the best friend, I forget to reply to text messages, I never invite friends over because my house is always such a mess, I sometimes forget birthdays but I hope, when it comes to the crunch and the hard talks, they know that I am there for them. But if I move to Bristol I won’t be and that leaves a huge lump in my throat.

Yes, I desperately need the money. Yes, sometimes I think a ‘new start’ is exactly what I want to get out of the rut I feel I’m in but…am I bold and brave enough and do I want to leave that massive support system and drive 90 miles away from it? Being a single mum is hard, being a working mum is hard and at the end of the week I live for time with my daughter and time with my friends who empathise, make me laugh hysterically, hug, pour tea (or G&Ts) and cut cake. Although I love my family dearly they can’t or don’t do that.

The interview is Wednesday and so is Charlottes nursery nativity. I hope to be able to do both but if the interview goes well I may be in floods of tears for a different reason when she’s singing away in the manger with her best friend and with her amazing key worker. Could I bring myself to pull her away from somewhere she loves so much and somewhere that helped me through my period of PND by looking after her so well? Who knows…I’m guessing I’ll just have to see what happens. I’ll keep you posted but in the mean time I’ll bear this in mind…