Be Gone, Black Dog.

I am sharing this post in the spirit of my Kindness Manifesto. In doing so I am reminding myself and others that it’s OK not to be OK sometimes. When I wrote the manifesto I emphasised that we need to be true and authentic and not pretend that all is perfect at all times.

Things have been far from perfect for me during the past week, I’m afraid. But I’m slowly feeling better again. I wrote this on Sunday and I think I’m ready to share it now. I am sharing this not for sympathy, but to stay true to what I’m trying to do with this blog. Sorry if it makes for uncomfortable reading. Please remember that anyone you come in to contact with today could well have written it. Let’s all be kind to each other. We’re all fighting our own battles and we can help each other.

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Black Dog Visiting

Looking back I could feel it coming.
Starting with a familiar sinking stomach feeling and slight panic for no apparent reason. Anxious.
Feeling like I want to be on my own. Like I need to escape. Like I just need some quiet. Like I just want to sleep for days until hopefully it passes.
Feeling like crying. But there’s nothing to cry about.
Feeling trapped in my head.
Such disappointment. So very disappointed with myself for finding myself here again.
I’d been doing so well.
Grateful for P keeping the kids busy so I can be by myself, but feeling incredibly guilty that he has to do this.
Feeling like I’m spoiling everyone’s weekend.
Thinking that surely he can’t wait to get to work to get away from me.
Bringing everyone down.
Trying to remind myself that this is an illness. That I can’t help it. That it’s chemical.
Makes no difference whatsoever.
Going to bed. P says the wrong thing.
Crying. So much crying. Can’t stop crying and can’t cry enough.
Can’t breathe.
Want to scream in to a pillow.
Can’t.
Considering going downstairs and literally screaming into a cushion.
Too exhausted to move.
Feeling like a total fraud.
Writing about kindness to ourselves and recovery from depression?
Sharing tips on how to be grateful and overcome negativity?
Bullshit. Hypocrisy.
I don’t want to be here again. I can’t be this person again. This burden.
Can’t stop crying. Trying to calm my breathing. Closing my eyes but the tears keep coming. Trying to sleep but the tears keep streaming.
So very disappointed.
Can’t turn these thoughts off. Where’s the off switch?
Will this ever go away?
Trying to remember: It’s always darkest before dawn.
It’s the cracks that let the light in.
Tomorrow is another day.
This too shall pass.
Sleep.

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*Black Dogs have been used as a symbol for depression since Celtic times. Winston Churchill famously used the metaphor to articulate his own struggles with mental illness. Black Dog image from Living With A Black Dog by Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone

If you need help and support, please click here for a list of support organisations. Please don’t suffer in silence.

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The Mummy Kindness Manifesto

Some tips for practicing Mummy Kindness to ourselves and each other. Can you imagine a world where everyone observed this manifesto?!

The Mummy Kindness Manifesto

1) I will trust my own instincts.

2) I will feed my baby however suits me, my baby and my family. I will never judge another mother for how she chooses to feed her baby.

3) I will always tell pregnant women they look amazing. No other comments on her appearance or size are necessary.

4) I will accept that others will do things differently to me. This doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, I’m wrong, or that they think I’m wrong.

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5) I will only offer advice when it’s asked for. I will do so with love and without judgement.

6) I will remember I’m entitled to be proud of my child. But no-one likes a show-off.

7) I will not be defined by the number on a scale. It is not my worth.

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8) I accept I will make mistakes. I will learn from them and move on.

9) I will be true and authentic and not pretend all is perfect at all times. This helps no one.

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10) I will not compare my insides with everyone else’s outsides.

11) I will remember that my kind words, compliments or smile could make someone’s day.

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12) I will accept compliments gracefully and I will believe them.

13) I will always remember that I am the best mum for MY children, that I know them better than anyone else. I will discount any thoughts or comments that suggest otherwise.

14) I will remember it’s OK not to be OK sometimes.

15) I will be kind to others and kind to myself and in doing so remember that it’s not a competition, all mummies are on the same team.

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I’d love to know your thoughts on this! Please use the box below to leave a comment and add any extra points. You can also use the links to share this page with your friends.

All pictures credited to the incredible Brave Girls Club.