Through My Eyes – Jess B.

Through My Eyes – Jess B.

What mental health concerns have you come up against? Are they yours or a family members?

I have lived with depression since I was about 13 and anxiety since childhood. I have also experienced PND after the birth of my first child.

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No beauty, just beast

No beauty, just beast

There is a huge pit in in my stomach where a beast is sitting inside of me, gnawing everything in sight and not caring about any damage it does.

It must have long tentacles because it has taken ahold of my brain and whisked it up like it is considering scrambled brains for lunch. I don’t even care. I forfeit, he can have them.

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It’s okay to have a say

It’s okay to have a say

When I was a young girl -I honestly couldn’t tell you how young- I remember hearing something come out of my mums mouth that would stay with me forever.

Mum and dad were having what they called ‘a disagreement’ – one of those stupid little arguments couples have over nothing. It was so insignificant that I don’t have the foggiest clue what it was about, but mum felt the need to turn on the sass and educate my dear father on something important.

She said “My father taught me a long time ago that every person in this world is entitled to an opinion. I am allowed to have my own opinion and you might not agree with it, but that’s too damn bad“.  My mum is kind of a badass #sorrynotsorry

She was right. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts, their own feelings, their own opinions. If we all sing the same note in the choir then we will never have harmony.

Sitting here in the debris of the ‘Mummy Blogger War’ as it was so called, it’s quite clear to me that the simple act of sharing an opinion is not actually so simple.

What wrong turn have we made to end up here? Are we all so concerned about showing loyalty that we’ve sacrificed our ability to show individuality? Are we too afraid of sharing our opinions for fear of backlash? Sadly, this is understandable. People are very quick to mistake differing opinions for a call to arms.

I watched as a woman got devoured by blind hate and ignorant attacks. And why did this happen? She shared her opinion. On her very own blog. She didn’t play an away game. No, she was home. And in they swarmed, stinking up the place with hypocrisy, and causing possible brain damage from reactive hard-handed face palms, with comments along the lines of  ‘I don’t actually know what’s going on but I’ve got your back anyway’ . 

It was like High-school. All the cool kids ganging up and beating on the slightly goofy kid that didn’t conform to the social norms. The one that dressed how they wanted to dress, the one that was proud of being smart, the one that the cool kids were secretly afraid of, because they knew that one day they’d be refilling the hotdogs at the local 7/11 while the ‘loser’ was wildly successful in life and love.

In fact it might have been worse. Grown women are brutal. They have no one to answer to but themselves. But just like a three year old who thinks he rules the roost -we need limits. 

The key is respect. Every person in this world is entitled to an opinion. You don’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to like it. Hell, you don’t even have to take it in, but you do have to respect it as a basic human right. 

One day I will tell my boys what my mother said, because I think it’s important. We cannot lose this. We cannot lose our diversity. We need to fight for our right to an opinion, and we need to support those who are being stifled.

I don’t need to think the same as everyone else. I don’t need to conform, and I’d rather not try.

I’d rather not be an unopinionated drone. 


Life in the fog

Life in the fog

When you’re looking at the world with postnatal depression glasses on, everything looks slightly darker.

Things that would normally make you smile can bring tears. Things that you would normally look forward to can bring panic attacks. Things that should be celebrated as personal achievements can instead make you see all the ways in which you need to improve.

I love my children. There is absolutely no part of me that doesn’t, I love them right down to my core. But they are a trigger, which makes every day a constant internal struggle to stay sane.

See the difference with a PND brain is fog. And this fog envelops all your happiness and leaves nothing but dark, horrifying emptiness.

Sometimes the fog will thin in places, allowing you a little taste of what life could be like if you weren’t battling this terror. Unfortunately sometimes this just makes you think ‘why can’t I have that? Why am I such a mess? Why am I failing myself and my family?’.

The thing is, you can have that. You may be a bit of a mess – what parent isn’t? And you are not failing anyone. The fog is just in control at the moment.

Say it with me ‘Postnatal depression is not a weakness’. It’s just another obstacle some mother’s have to overcome. It’s really ok. It’s ok to admit it. It’s ok to talk about it openly. It’s ok to spend the occasional day in your pyjamas, doing no housework and getting cookie crumbs in your hair.

But we need to pick ourselves up. We do it for our children, our family, ourselves. I don’t want to live in the fog. I want to bask in the glorious sunshine. I’ve beaten this beast twice before, and while I know I personally will have a lifetime battle against anxiety ahead, I know postnatal depression is only temporary and I will beat it again.

And even just by writing this, the fog has started lifting, just that little bit more.