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...

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...

It is New Year's Day.We are in Auckland, New Zealand and have stumbled across an international tennis tournament. The tournament is not under the radar, but we do not follow the annual tennis schedule so, to us, it feels like a gift. The luxury of no other plans allows us to stroll down, wait in line, buy tickets and take our seats to watch some of the world's best female tennis players. Such joy.As we wait for play to begin my mind wanders through the possibilities the coming year holds. I am relaxed, happy, looking forward. It occurs to me;...

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....

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...

Recently I asked my email list* what they were struggling with.I don't have all the answers but I want to know my readers better and write about the things that are on their hearts.I was overwhelmed by the response and felt so privileged that so many took the time to share their stories with me.There were a few themes that emerged, common threads between the responses. So often we think the things that make us feel ashamed or scared separate us from everyone else, when actually it is these struggles that unite us. If only we knew how like each other...

Self care is not just for stressed-out grown ups. Self care is an important life skill we can and should be teaching to our children. And just in case you think I am going to be instructing you to spoil your child, to give them whatever they most desire all in the name of mental health, let me reassure you. My favourite definition of self-care (which makes it obvious it is a skill we all need is) - self care: proactively creating a life you don't need to regularly escape from*. Self-Care is about making sure we are able to enjoy our...

I prefix this post by saying: The church is made up of humans who are flawed and messed up, and get lots of things wrong. And despite everything, on Sundays you will find me in church. Because even though this family is dysfunctional, it is home.Like everyone else, we Christians love success.We love the sheen of it and the triumphant music. We love the way it smells and makes us feel. We love to wave our golden ticket, while we are GETTING IT RIGHT AND TELLING YOU ABOUT IT. We want to be heroes in our neighbourhood; helping the sick and...

When things are taking their ordinary course, it is hard to remember what matters. There are so many things you would never think to tell anyone.  And I believe they may be the things that mean most to you...