Hi, I’m a special needs mum. Oh you are too? Great, let’s talk about our health! In fact let’s talk about our MENTAL health. No? Look, I know it’s not easy, I know you don’t want to but we NEED to! 

Did you know about 25% of the UK population will experience some kind of mental health problem this year – it most likely to be a combination of anxiety or depression.

Statistics also tell us that more women than men are treated for a mental health problem each year.

Does this sound familiar? Yeah I bet it does.

I’d say our chances of falling into that 25% are a good bit higher than the average mum – wouldn’t you?

I want to talk about this because I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did.

Shortly after finding out that our much wanted first born son had special needs and would need life-long care, I began to experience mental health problems.

I know what they are now, at the time I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me.

I HAD to be the strong one, I had to answer everyone’s questions, reassure everyone that it would be OK, that we would cope – so outwardly I think I put on a pretty good front.

No one ever asked if I was OK, so I’m assuming I did a good job at pretending. Inside, I wasn’t doing just as well.

I felt like a horrendous weight was dragging me down, I was constantly fighting through a thick cloud of fog – even the simplest of tasks felt like I was climbing mountain.

I think I spent more time crying than not.

I stopped going out, I stopped seeing friends and I stopped doing the things I enjoyed.

But I absolutely did not need any help. Asking for help would be a sign of weakness, taking medication would be a sign that I was not coping, I was sure no one would want to listen to how I was feeling.

In hindsight, now I’m in a brighter and better place, I wish I could give my old self a good shake.

I recently hurt my back, I immediately went to my GP, started a course of anti-inflammatory medication and spent a small fortune on physiotherapy treatment.

However, when it came to my mental health why did I think seeking the same help would be a sign of weakness?

Please don’t make the same mistake I did.

I managed to climb out of a deep dark hole very slowly, but it took far longer than it should have.

How much time did I waste by not asking for help?

I’ll never know now, but what I do know is that if I should ever feel myself sinking into that place again, I will most definitely be asking for help.

Time to Talk is urging us all to Take 5. http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday

Take 5 with a friend to find out how they’re doing, watch and share their film or have a conversation online – these are all small things you can do to make a big difference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5EvbjiaCcw&feature=youtu.be

Why not introduce yourself in the Firefly Garden, you’ll find a supportive group of parents, therapists and carers. It could be the start of a better and brighter future for you too. http://community.fireflyfriends.com/community/viewthread/122/

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