This Mummy Can… Deal with her Mental Health

By Kate

I have struggled with my mental health for a long time. Something bad happened to me when I was young (sorry, no details this time!) and I have been dealing with the fall out from it for a long time now. I started going to therapy about seven years ago and despite my best efforts I still need to go twice a week to keep my head straight and to keep me from doing damaging things. I also take a low dose of anti-anxiety medication every day to keep me on a level too. For a while now I’ve been managing well, but the last week things have suddenly got a lot worse.

I don’t know what’s happened but my anxiety has really peaked. I started to feel a bit wobbly from the middle of last week and each day things have got slightly worse. I can’t really describe how I’m feeling… it’s quite on and off, but the worst is when it feels as if my heart is beating out of my chest. Sometimes it feels so bad that I wonder if I’m having a heart attack and just calling it anxiety! Then I’m also having a really hard time concentrating on anything and my focus is way off. When I’m around Holly and Scout it feels a little easier but still pretty bad, but when I’m not around them it is way worse. 

I’ve looked at lots of articles about how other people manage their anxiety and one of the biggest things soooo many people talk about doing is exercise. They go for a run, they go to the gym, they lift weights, they box, they do yoga… the list goes on. So what do you do when you have a disability and can’t do these things? Well this is what I’m struggling with at the moment. I mean, physically I could go to the gym, or I could go for an evening dancing with my friends. But then the next two or three days would be wiped out with serious pain and me having to stay in bed to recover – and this just isn’t an option anymore with a very active ten month old around!

Last year my anxiety was bad before Scout was born (I convinced myself that both she and Holly would die during childbirth – spoiler alert, they didn’t) and at that point I decided to give up caffeine which has really helped but now that I’m already off that, giving it up isn’t an option and clearly it isn’t a trigger this time. I wonder if the fact that I’m about to be really busy at work is contributing to my anxiety? I do feel a bit like this week is my last week being ‘relaxed’ about work before I dive into a six week edit – but I have a week in the middle there where I’m on holiday with my beautiful family, so I wonder can that really be what’s bothering me? And does there need to be a trigger or is it just ‘one of those things’? Perhaps it’s just my Complex PTSD rearing it’s ugly head and this time it’s happened, being a mum has meant that it has made itself even more known to me than it has before.

So when you’re a disabled person who sometimes struggles to get out to enjoy the fresh air even, what do you do to help yourself? Well, some friends have been helpful and suggested things that I am going to try – the first is the Headspace App. I really find it hard to switch off my thoughts and be in silence (bad thoughts always come creeping in so I’m too scared to) so I’m hoping that this will be an easier way to get into that whole mindfulness thing. Another friend has suggested that I try and focus on small, manageable tasks like tidying a room or sorting out a drawer, so that is going to be one of my jobs this evening. Someone else has suggested a ‘breathing app’ which may  sound weird because, you know, we all know how to breathe. But as I’ve said, I’m willing to try anything at this stage.

If anything is helpful I will be sure to let you know. And if you have any other top tips for managing anxiety I’d love to hear from you – feel free to comment below or hit me on twitter (@katiekatetweets) or insta (@katemonaghan).

4 thoughts on “This Mummy Can… Deal with her Mental Health

  1. I was taught a great breathing technique by a Buddhist nun years ago… bear with me, I think it works. Every time you breathe in imagine your inhaling lovely pure white positive light and every time you breathe out you’re exhaling dark black smoke and all the bad negative stuff goes with it. Really focus on it for a few minutes (get someone else to talk you through it if needed) and it helps to let go of the negative thoughts/feelings. Good luck lovely! X


  2. Thanks for sharing this honest account of how you’re feeling Kate. I completely sympathise with the heart pounding out of your chest feeling, and also the visualising bad things happening (ALL. THE. TIME!)

    I mentioned a couple of things that have really helped me to be mindful in a recent blog post – hope these help you too.

    Another few to consider – reading an easygoing novel, soaking your feet before bed, relaxing in a bath or writing a gratitude journal.

    Anyway, stay strong – you got this😊 xxx


  3. Great article, Kate. I wank on a *lot* about physical exercise being great for mental health, and every single time I do it, I’m aware that it’s something that’s just not an option for a lot of folk. So, more helpfully – Headspace is good, though I only got so far with it before I felt like it maybe wasn’t for me (not sure why, some of the techniques worked better than others, and the ones that didn’t kept cropping up again and again in the different courses). Loads of people find it great but I guess I just mean if it doesn’t feel right for you, that doesn’t mean mindfulness isn’t for you, it might just be that particular set of courses. There’s another app called Calm that I’m trying right now which I like, and has a huge range of meditations in it.
    But more than that, I *really* recommend going and doing an 8 week mindfullness course if you can find one. (That is, one evening session a week for 8 weeks, not 8 weeks full time!). I did it a couple of years ago, and even though my practice is sporadic, I think it did fundamentally change the way I relate to my mental health. It doesn’t necessarily stop the bad shit happening, but it does make me more able to go “OK. Bad shit. It’ll pass. This is not who you are, it’s just a thing.” rather than “Waaaaaaah! Alert! Alert! Bad shit! Panic! I’m terrible! Everthing will definitely be bad forever!”
    The course I did was 2.5 hours a week, ideally with practice at home in between (which, er, I did occasionally…) but that meant the classes had enough time not only to do the practice (in a place where you weren’t constantly thinking ‘I should really go and do something else on my to do list’), but to talk about the ideas behind it, which made it much more powerful.


    1. I joined a book club so I have a focus each month which isn’t linked to my stressful job. It gives me something else to think about and unwind to. Helps me enter another world for a while 👍🏻


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