If we were having coffee or slushies because it’s a beautiful day in Wales today, I’d tell you how much I enjoy sharing coffee with you fellow bloggers and I hope you don’t mind this chat I really need to have today.
Coffee share posts are sometimes difficult for me to write because my weeks tend to be very similar to each other, especially when I’m not doing well either physically or mentally. The truth is, when I feel ill physically or mentally, everything is such a chore, the fact I have managed to do simple tasks like go grocery shopping in spite of that is awesome (Which I totally managed to do yesterday and rewarded myself with “The Force Awakens” BluRay), however, that’s not very exciting to blog about despite how positive I feel having managed to do that. Other people can do that stuff without thinking about it too much.
When I started this blog I decided I’d put a positive spin on everything. My old blog, the blog that really helped me get better from my eating disorder, I wrote about everything, even if I was really depressed, I’d blog about it because it helped me immensely and felt like free therapy. It was completely anonymous, and I wouldn’t share it anywhere so I felt completely safe talking about whatever I wanted. When I started this blog, I wanted people to know it was me. I wanted my art and comics to have my name on them because they feel like my babies, that’s primarily why everyone knows who I am, and why I publicise my posts and share them on my personal Facebook profile. There’s a problem though, I always feel that if people knew how I really felt about things they’d be mad at me, or leave, or take it the wrong way and use it against me because that has happened before. Even for the stuff I can’t help. I have been labelled as a negative person a lot, but I’m really not. I’m positive about everything, until I get unwell, and then I’m still not negative, I am just unwell. Some people don’t see it that way though and this has been keeping me from having the blog I want to have.
When I’m struggling, my blog therefore only consists of coffee share posts because I feel like I have red tape across my mouth to keep the truth confined but really want to blog and take part in the community at the same time. I shouldn’t care what people think, I know that, I like myself now, even with my illnesses and that’s all that should matter. The only way I can help break the stigma of mental illnesses, is by talking about them, and being who I am in spite of what people who will never understand might think. It’s just that it has been used against me as a mother. I can’t tell you the amount of people who have automatically assumed I am a bad mother because I have mental illnesses (And I am not talking about anyone in particular in this post, it’s the way society and media has made them), I have lost count. I have had to prove myself to them, and then to the authorities a few times now. Doesn’t matter how many times I prove myself to them, or how awesome my daughter is, or how obviously looked after she is, or how child services said that they wished every mother was like me, they always automatically assume that my daughter is in some dire situation that she isn’t even in. As if everything the Daily Mail says is true, that guns don’t kill people, mentally ill people do. I understand why people want to err on the side of caution, of course I do, especially where children are concerned, but they need not be concerned about my daughter and I’ve proven that to them several times.
It’s really very hard when people automatically assume I’m a bad mum when I’m not well, because I often feel like maybe they are right. Maybe my daughter deserves better than me. Again, this is a part of being depressed and not what I really think, pretty much everyone that has had depression feels as though they are worthless as a human being and that you’d be doing people a favour by leaving them. I never ever want to leave my daughter but when I’m ill, the intrusive thoughts that she’d be better off without me never leave me alone until I get better.
What helps me the most during this time, is when my nurse tells me I am a good mum, and she’ll provide me with evidence for her statement. I also know she knows what she’s on about because she sees me every week and knows me more than anyone else does. What doesn’t help is “Oh you’re ill? Poor daughter of yours having to deal with all that” followed by some judgemental comment about my parenting. I know it affects her, and I hate that it has to affect her because there’s no cure for what I have and it doesn’t matter how hard I work, sometimes I am just ill, but to say I cannot look after my daughter or even that anything is different because I am ill is rubbish, you can even ask her yourself. The only thing that is different between my daughter and I when I have an episode is that my daughter worries about me and I call the people I need to call, like my daughters support worker who will take her out for a one to one, my daughter always has someone to talk to.
I’ve only been on medication for 4 years. My daughter is 11, I managed all that time being a good mum without treatment, and now I have treatment and take my medication, people seem more worried, because I have admitted that I have mental illnesses. The point is, they would have never have known before and would never have questioned my parenting because they have never had reason to until the day I “came out” to people and said I have mental illnesses openly, and honestly and I really didn’t think that this would be one of the consequences of that.
So there’s a me trying to protect my daughter from discrimination by proxy, and then another me wanting to be honest on my blog, and it feels like I can’t do both. Well, I could do both but it might cause a bit of unwanted, unneeded stress, and me having to poker face it all and pretend that none of this affects me, that peoples judgements don’t hurt me or make me flinch, when actually it really hurts when people judge my parenting because that’s the thing that makes me, me. I work so hard at being a good parent, more than anything else I do, and for some people, that’ll never be enough because of my mental health diagnosis.
I really do want to post more on my blog though. One of the main purposes of this blog was for my daughter to read when she’s older. I guess I am going to have to get some courage from somewhere and just do it, and I know when I do, the WordPress community will be supportive, because you all have been, if it wasn’t for the community on my old blog, and the lifelong friends I made from it, well, recovery from my ED would have been 100 times more difficult. I have a lot to thank WordPress for, my Facebook friends list also thanks WordPress on a daily basis.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you that it’s Depression Awareness week and this post is pretty much the reality of having a mental illness and being a mum who is honest about having mental illness.
And to end this pretty serious post, here’s some more Lego, because one of my self care methods is playing with Lego and taking cool Lego photos, and it makes me super happy.
Thank you so much for listening. How was your week? Hopefully better than mine.