I’ve published some posts recently about my struggle with my mental health. These posts were hard to publish for fear of being judged by my readers. I didn’t want to put people off reading my blog by admitting that I suffer from mental health problems.
Today I am going to admit another big scary one, but as I want to be honest and open with my readers, I’m going to own up and hope for the best.
Last week I was admitted to a phyciatric ward. A specialist mother and baby unit. Baby Wonder Girl and I are spending about a week here so I can get support and treatment with my most recent bout of Post Natal Depression.
I have to say that this ward is not at all the image you will have of a phyciatric unit. Because it is designed for mothers and their babies it isnt scared or unpleasant.It is modern and clean and only houses four inpatients and their babies.
The unit is staffed by a team of physiatrists, phyciatric nurses, occupational therapists, nursery nurses and health care assistants. While I am here I get a chance to rest, and talk about how I’m feeling without making anyone feel uncomfortable. It is just the space I need and I’m already feeling more positive.
It has also given me a chance to think about the changes I can make to my day to day life to help my mood. I realise that most of my friends are living in other parts of the city. Now that I am tied to the school run I need more local friends, mum friends.
So when I get out of here this will be my mission. I am going to brave the toddler groups, and small talk (admittedly not my speciality). I think parenting would be much easier with a sense of community, so this is what I’m looking for.
I need help with this mission. I need your top tips for where to find the mummy friends, then once I find them how do I bag them? When I’m depressed the first thing I lose is my confidence so how do I take it from the toddler group to a friendship ?
I think you are very brave to talk a out this so honestly and it won’t put people off! So many people go through differing types of depression alone and talkig about it, not only helps you, it helps others as well! I hope that when you are home, you feel better and that you enjoy the toddler groups!
I’m not sure about enjoying them, I’ve never really been a big fan. Just seems like possibly a route to finding some other mums to be friends with. Thanks for your comment.
No “judge” will ever be as fierce as you will be to yourself Ella – that is what depression does to us. Robs the world of colours and us of confidence.
My only tip? To be yourself. To relax into acquaintance-ships and let them naturally evolve into friendships. Sometimes I have met new friends at the clubs my children attend. Other times its at the school gates. Sometimes neighbours who have same-age children. The thing is – friends and potential friends are everywhere and sometimes all it takes is a smile and a friendly word. And this is something I am absolutely certain you are more than capable of offering!
But please – ease up on yourself – give yourself time and space. Remember that good things take time to build and that if it is worth having, it is worth waiting for. Remember too that you are human – are occasionally frail and vulnerable – but that that is what we are all meant to be. Nobody is perfect. Nobody will get it right all of the time. And that is alright.
Be kind to you, Ella. You deserve it.
What a lovely comment , thanks. Your right and it is a really good point to remember that these things take time.
I could have done with a stay at one of those places 🙂 As for finding local friends, I’m sure you’ll do just fine at baby groups, etc. I like the groups the best that have some sort of an organised activity for part of the session – that way you’ll HAVE TO sit next to someone and it’s easier to start talking that way 🙂 In one of the boroughs that I lived in, there were One O’Clock clubs – I loved them, in my current borough there are Children’s Centres – also good but less sessions… Also, have you investigated whether there are any other blogger moms living near you??
Thanks , I have started meeting a few bloggy mums one of whom lives pretty close.
So glad you are looking after yourself x
As for the groups. I do know what you mean. I braved them religiously with Amy. It takes time that’s for sure and out of thirty mums there might only be one you can click with. I used to refuse to sit alone and go sit next to a mum and chat if she looked like she was my type. This looks a lot less stalker ish. If done the following ways: move around the room to keep a visual on child moving seats as you do so and striking up conversations, anything inane will do. Getting refreshments and getting chatting to someone in line then casually wandering back and sitting near them. Asking are you here next week? Asking if they know of any other good groups. I was open about trying to get out more. In time inviting them for a play date. Often if other mums. See you chatting they will loiter on the fringes of a conversation. Include them and when the time is right invite a group round. Then you can do someone’s place each week. One thing all mums have in common is we need other mums. We need support groups, someone to call to clarify a school detail or to ponder some childcare issue or to have a marital moan 🙂
I am in Witney btw did I see you are in Oxford?
Thanks for the tips will definatly be trying them out when I next make it to a group. I’m in Bristol btw.
While it’s not great that your suffering, it’s good that you are getting such good care, and that you are able to take your baby with you. I am also really crap at turning acquaintances into friends, I have met loads of other mummies at baby and toddler groups but am struggling to turn them into friends. I have had a couple over for cups of tea but I think it takes a long time to form a real friendship and it can be hard to schedule everything in around naps/school runs/work and everything else. It’s almost like dating, you don’t want to keep pestering people and come across as desperate! I think you just have to be patient and try to be relaxed about it.
But first you need to concentrate on getting yourself better, I hope your stay in hospital helps and that you feel ready to come home soon.
Glad I’m not alone in that , your right it takes time to make friends. Thanks for your comment.
Do you know, you’re so brave and so wonderful for writing this and I wish you wouldn’t think people will judge you, they won’t. It takes courage to go through what you’re going through.
I’m glad you’re getting looked after and having some rest, and that you have your little one with you. I think I know the place you’re staying, I was referred there last year (if it’s where I think it is).
It’s so hard to make friends when you feed down, I have the same trouble so don’t really think I can offer any advice. The SWmums meets are a great place to start? I know I haven’t made it to any yet but am hoping to come to the next one, I think some great friendships could be made as they’re lovely ladies.
Hope you feel better soon xx
Thanks , yes probably is the unit your thinking of, there is only one in the South West. I have been to a couple of sw mums meet ups and they are a lovely bunch, hope to see you at one soon.
Silly me. No idea why I thought Ox. You have inspired me to start my own blog so Thank you. Any hints or tips?
Great , blogging is really good fun. Find a host platform you are happy with (I use WordPress) and then go for it. Ask me on twitter if you need more help and let me know when your started so I can take a look.
well done you on ‘coming out’ 🙂 its a huge step you have then and it was so honest and brave of you.
i wish i had some mum friends who i knew here – i mean i have friends but they live in another town or don’t have toddlers or live in twitter and blogging land! I should brave the mum & toddler groups too but i jut cut seem to venture out to them. maybe i should it you are….. i wish i live closer to you and some of the other mums i know through twitter/blogging my SAH life would be so much nicer . good luck xxx
ooops typo jut cut should be ‘ just can’t’ sorry!
Thanks, I know it would be great if we all lived much closer, save the effort of making more friends, and we could natter about kids and blogs over a cuppa.
Thankyou for writing this. I hope that you get the rest and support you need to feel better soon. x
Thanks for your comment.
Why shouldnt you be able to talk about it. It’s alot better than trying to muddle along. Nearly everyone suffers at one point in their lives from mental health problems even if its a small amount of ocd. Having to check windows or doors before going to sleep for instance. I was very nervous going to my first baby/toddler group at surestart at my local childrens centre and at first even though my son made friends i was shy and quiet. As your child/children make friends you start to talk to their parents and it goes from there. I also went and joined the library. They sometimes run different toddler groups and even if they dont, you get out of the house and some quality time away from household chores, tv and boredom hope you find the courage to start and make friends
Thanks for the advice.
I’m so glad that places like this exist. We definitely aren’t meant to parent in isolation. In fact a lot of people reckon that’s one of the reason PND rates are so high now, because we’ve lost our natural parenting community. Hope you get quickly on the mend and looking forward to seeing you soon. x
I agree, it would be so much easier to parent in a community , and that is something I feel I have lacking. I don’t even have a group of friends , more a collection none of whom know each other, hard. Looking forward to seeing you soon.