As Mental Health Month winds to a close, I wanted to share some musings from a psychologist I know named Kylie Maddox-Pidgeon. Her thoughts and advice impacted me. Worth a read.
1. Panic attacks are treatable. You don’t have to put up with them.
2. Parenting young kids can be more than any person can handle. You’re not deficient. Call in every bit of support you can. Drop the guilt. No-one’s got it all together (whatever that means). Just love your kids and feed them and play with them and do the best you can. ‘Good enough’ parenting is actually better for them than ‘perfect’ parenting.
3. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication usually work pretty well. Drop the stigma. If you had diabetes, you’d take your insulin. If you have depression, or anxiety, or any other mental health condition, take your meds. It helps.
4. Self-care isn’t selfish, especially if you’re a parent or carer. Pouring out all of yourself for others isn’t good for anyone. Have you seen that demo on a plane where they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help your children? Apply the same principle to health. Look after yourself so you can keep yourself, and those you care for, healthy.
5. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) (including exposure to domestic violence, emotional abuse and neglect, physical abuse and neglect, and sexual abuse) are highly correlated with poorer lifelong health and opportunity. So when you know of a child who has been ‘doing it tough’ make time to give them extra measures of care, safety, reliability and stability. Kids are resilient, but they need a community of safe adults around them.
6. Mothers are usually the emotional thermostat of the home. Whatever ‘emotional temperature’ mum is set to, everyone else tends to move towards that temperature too. If you want a well-functioning home, look after mum.
7. Relationships are more stable and satisfying when the housework is shared fairly. And having said that, men tend to overestimate how much housework they do, and women underestimate it. Do your own cleaning, take turns cooking, and share the load at home. Mental load included.
8. A decent litmus test for someone you’re emotionally and relationally safe with is if they approach your challenges via “What happened to you?” rather than “What’s wrong with you?”
9. Violent relationships aren’t signaled by punches. They’re signaled by entitlement and disrespect. Healthy relationships have non-negotiable equality, partnership, mutuality and respect.
10. Climate change is real, deadly, caused by people, and the human race isn’t doing enough about it. If you feel sad and worried, and distressed and angry, I’d say that’s just about right.