May is mental health awareness month. A time to share experiences and challenge stigma.And one thing you are sure to hear is someone to say: it is time to talk.Being vulnerable about your mental health can be beneficial and aid recovery, but to be brave and start a conversation often feels impossible.It did for me.My diagnosis with post-natal depression and anxiety took me by surprise. I didn't know what it meant. I felt ashamed and afraid of how others would react.Better to deal with this in private and keep my friends, than be honest and risk losing them, I thought.But...

An unexpected diagnosis. During my third session with my therapist she told me she thought I was suffering with Post-Natal Depression. Aside from the shock, the shame and the fear of what this might mean, I was also confused. I thought women with post-natal depression struggled to bond with or feel love for their baby. This was not the case for me.Also this was my third child, I loved him as I loved my daughters - unequivocally and from the get-go - if I was depressed now, was I depressed then?(me and my gorgeous boy. 2010)The answer to this un-asked question...

Two weeks ago I sprained my ankle. I was exercising at home and for no obvious reason, maybe I wasn't fully paying attention, maybe I was being a little gung-ho, I went over on my ankle and fell to the ground. As I fell I heard a loud snapping sound, turning my stomach and convincing me it was broken. I shouted, a lot and loudly. Then I tentatively undid my trainer, eased my foot out and removed my sock. I watched, with fascination as my ankle doubled in size before my eyes.I was in pain and I was angry. This was...

Before you can love anyone else. Before you can care for anyone else. In fact if you want to be any use to anyone long term:You have to love you first.I used to think loving myself was selfish. I thought prioritising my needs was self-indulgent. Surely it was better to sacrifice what I wanted to make others happy?I was a classic people pleaser, believing I would be loved and accepted only if I behaved and performed as others' wanted me to. So I morphed and changed according to who I was with. I tried to keep a lid on any...

Last week I was tired. A combination of over-work, broken nights and an increase in the emotional needs of the kids had worn me out.I was physically tired, but more than that I was emotionally and mentally tired. My body and brain had been operating at more than full capacity for a while and I needed a break.There are times we have to over-exert ourselves; a busy patch at work, a friend or loved one falls ill and needs caring for, a house move or other circumstantial change. There are seasons when we all have to dig deep and work...

I was out and about somewhere this week, I forget where, and I could hear a toddler whining.The child wasn't very upset, but were obviously struggling to get their point across, to let the parent who was with them know exactly what they wanted. I then heard the Mum who was with this little boy, who must have been about two and a half, say a phrase I have said myself many times. She said,"Use your words."She wanted her son to stop his whining and tell her what it was that was upsetting him, or what it was he wanted....

In the morning when you wake the dread is already on your shoulder. You feel the panic rising and swallow hard to stop it. It all feels too much.  You pull up your big girl pants and give yourself the pep-talk you have well-rehearsed about just getting on, just doing it, not quitting, not stopping.Throughout the day you struggle to make decisions. You find yourself rushing from one thing to another, worrying about what won't get done. Your breath catches in your chest. You feel you are always dropping the ball. The other shoe is about to fall. You are...

For World Mental Health Day some truth from my head and my heart.This much I know:Mental illness does not and should not disqualify you. Do not disqualify yourself because of it. What you perceive as weakness might be the truth someone else needs to hear, or give you the perception to understand how someone else is feeling. You are not disqualified. For more: read this. You are allowed to do what you need or want to do. This is true always but especially when it comes to managing and protecting you mental health. You need to cancel an appointment,...

You have permission to make a changeI am giving it to you.Not that you need me to.You were already allowed.If something is not how you want it to be, if you are not getting what you need, if something else would make you happier, you are allowed to change it. You are allowed to try something else. You are allowed to quit, or have a go, or say no this time even though you have always said yes.You have permission to make a change.Life is big and busy and full and it can feel easier to stick with the status...