When it's not just ups and downs
FEELINGS

When it’s not just ups and downs

Irish mammy and blogger, the owner of Mammy’s bright side, shares her thoughts on motherhood, mental health and keeping the bright side out.

“Mindsets.  How powerful they are.

They can affect us in even the simplest of ways without us even knowing it. They can trick us into thinking we are indestructible and they can just as quickly knock the shit out of us.

Adjusting your mindset to be an optimist rather than a pessimist might be the thing that saves you from yourself it’s not the easiest thing to do but like everything it is most definitely possible.

I talked a lot about my mindset with my councellor, and over time I realised that with all the issues I was going through, each one had a trigger – an exact moment in time where that negative thought entered my brain, buried itself deep until it started to fester, unravelling and entertwining itself around my train of thought. And well, as you can imagine, over time those thoughts grow and grow, allowing negativity to take up permanant residence within you navigating your brain and before you know it, you become negative nancy.

Negative nancy likes nothing, she has no interest in anything, she thinks nothing is real or genuine, she trusts no one and well she’s basically a miserable cow through no fault of her own, she knows no different, that’s just how her brain works.

So when life is disappointing, people let you down, things happen and boom! negative nancy is there in her element, gloating about how she told you so. It’s all very doom and gloom, you’re almost afraid to be happy because there’s nothing as crushing as when it all gets swept away from you in one big gush. It rips you from your most inner core and takes your breath away for all the wrong reasons.

I had to start from scratch, I had to retrain my mind to see the good, to believe in positivity, coming out of it I remember feeling so angry. Angry that I’d allowed myself to be taken in so far, so deep. I was in a way fascinated at how my mind was instinctively negative, at how easily and naturally thinking the worst came to me. I worked hard to turn myself around, I put the hard graft in and I came out the other side.

However a little while ago I was oblivious to the blows that were coming. I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t prepared, I was convinced those days were well behind me. I was naive, and when it hit me I was almost winded by its force. Strong as ever, the clouds set in, the darkness enclosed its arms around my neck and I struggled, I wobbled and eventually I succumbed into its fold.

I had previously been doing so well, day to day, practising my mindfulness and breathing, postivity at the forefront of all my endeavors. Yes I have bad days, but you learn very rapidly the difference between a bad day and a bad week here and there. It’s normal, it’s life and you get on with it. The blows came swiftly one after the other (by blows I mean bad news, the worst news, it came in three’s just like they say it does). I tried all of my techniques to try to get through it, but by fuck I had forgotten how powerful it is to shake. I just couldn’t. It had me. Once again I was a victim to my own mind, paralysed by its strength.

I recognised the feeling, even after being free for so long. Being back in its clutches felt so familiar to me, I started to doubt everything. I felt helpless, I gave into it and had a pretty tough few days. But then enough was enough.

I didn’t push myself, I did very very little, the essentials happened and I felt good that I had at least managed that much. I let it happen, and I did something that I never would have done in the past, I told people. Very simple. Very effective.

I shared how I was feeling, I shared it on my social media pages, but most importantly I shared it with my husband, and my best friend, who understands first hand exactly what its like, I was in the midst of it and I just thought why not? It can’t hurt I mean I’m always preaching about it in my blogs so I took my own advice and I immediately felt better – it was out there, suddenly it didn’t seen so powerful. I had taken back the power and I felt elated.

Yes life will constantly throw us curveballs, it will test us and try to break us, we will fall, but we will also get back up. The blows, will continue to test me, I think I will always struggle with the tough ones to stay on the bright side. I think my brain will always subconsciously opt for the darkness when it comes, I don’t think its something I will ever be able to say I’m completely free of. But I also think I’m doing a pretty incredible job day in day out. I choose to be happy, I choose to fight it, I choose to keep talking, and I choose to not be too hard on myself.

When it does come I’ll let it happen, but I will always choose the bright side, I will never again allow myself to become so blinded by it that I can’t see the good, because no matter how dark it may get, there is always good, always.”

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ASK JESSICA

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….