I’ve battled with my mental health since I was 14 years old. I’ve had better periods where it didn’t really cause any issues, but it always seems to pop its head back up. My son was born just before my 23rd birthday. He was so beautiful. So perfect. He was everything my partner, Karl and I had dreamed of and I was the one who brought him into the world.
My depression popped its head back up into my life after my son was born. My life changed dramatically and I was now responsible for this tiny, beautiful baby. On one hand, it was the most exciting and beautiful time of my life, but on the other hand, I was in an incredibly dark place.
I wasn’t showering. I wasn’t eating or drinking water (unless Karl physically gave it to me). I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends. I cried a lot. I got angry, frustrated and overwhelmed by every single thing of my life.
My depression was back and it was in full force. I knew it was going to be around for a while so I had to figure out how to live with it. I had to find ways to be a good Mum, partner, daughter, friend and human being with depression.
My son is now two and things have improved overall but I still have days where I struggle and that’s okay. It’s okay to have bad days and to not feel quite right but I did want to talk about the things that helped me get out of that dark place and the things that help me be the best Mum I can while also having depression.
I wanted to share the biggest things that helped (and still help) me parent daily.
♡ Seek professional help
The first thing anybody should do when they believe they’re suffering from depression is to seek professional advice. I have a wonderful family doctor so when I realised I was dropping back into that dark place, I went to see him. I explained what I was thinking and feeling and he was able to provide the reassurance and help I needed. I also contacted my counsellor and booked regular sessions again.
I found that to be the best Mum I could be, I needed to have that professional support and, in the end, speaking and seeing my doctor and counsellor made a huge difference to my life.
I still see my counsellor regularly now and I don’t think it’s something I will stop.
♡ Take care of your physical body
As a parent, you spend every single day ensuring your child is drinking enough water, sleeping enough, eating enough and is bathed, loved and happy. I want to know; do you take care of yourself the same way? If you don’t, why?
You are just as important as your children, you matter too.
Take the time each day to eat nourishing food that fuels your body. Drink lots of water. Get sunshine and fresh air. Get enough sleep. Shower. Brush your teeth. You should do the things that your physical body needs.
♡ Find the time for the things you love
I believe all parents go through stages of life where they struggle with time. I know I definitely did (and still do sometimes) but I think one of the most important things for parents who suffer from mental illness to do is find the time for the things they love.
I know that if I want to be the best Mum I can be then I need to find the time. Whether that means Karl takes over for a night or I call in reinforcement from my Mum or friends.
I make sure that I have time every single day to meditate, journal, moisturise after my shower and stretch alone. There are several things I do through the day that I love doing with my son such as colouring-in or playing outside but I do need to do some things alone to keep my mindset the healthiest it can be.
Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself because you were a person before you were a parent and you deserve to care for that person too.
If you’re new to my blog, I think you should know that I love routines (and to-do lists!). I talk about routines quite a lot but it’s for a good reason!
In particular, I want to talk about morning routines here. When you wake up in the morning, do you have a similar set of things you do? Or do you just ‘wing it’?
Since implementing a solid morning routine, I’ve found my days are less chaotic, a lot calmer, I am patient, happier and productive. My morning routine involves waking up an hour before my son, meditating, journaling, stretching, eating breakfast, having a big glass of water, brushing my hair & teeth and getting dressed. It’s simple but it is SO effective. By the time my son wakes up, I’m ready for the day and ready to start being the parent that not only he deserves but that I know I can be.
Try and include something that makes you feel good and that you enjoy in your morning routine and then do it every single day.
♡ Connect with other people
Being a parent can be quite lonely. I know that and if you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate to that too.
That’s exactly why connecting with other people is so important for parents with depression.
I try and meet with a friend at least once a week and I talk to a friend at least once a day. It doesn’t take very much time but it helps me to remember that there are other people out there who love me and are there to support me too. I’m a Mum but I’m also a friend, daughter, sister, partner. I'm a human being too.
Look, I know it’s hard. There are going to be days where we struggle with depression but that’s okay. The sun is always going to rise tomorrow, so let’s just agree to do our best. Let’s do our best for today and then we will do our best tomorrow.
It’s okay to struggle and it’s okay if we aren’t okay. You’re an incredible parent and no matter what happens, that beautiful little face you brought into the world will love you.
I hope this has given you a new idea or two and if you feel like you need extra support, please reach out and book some sessions to work with me! You don't need to do it alone.
Certified Counsellor & Mental Health Coach