I woke up this morning and a bomb exploded in my head causing pink and white confetti to rain down. A confetti of ideas feels wonderful, dizzying, like there is too much to do and not enough life in which to do it. I have been dubbed a ‘butterfly’ as I flit from thing to thing, supping excitement here, making friends there, leaving a puff of colour and activity in my wake.
It occurred to me only a few days ago, that I might have ADHD. My husband looked as me as if to say, “you’ve only just worked that out?” I was an incessant chatterer at school and still cannot sit through a film with commenting, asking questions out loud and answering them myself if I’m on my own. I went to see ‘A Star is Born’ – AMAZING FILM – with my daughter and turned to her to ask her to pause it for a minute as I wanted to say something. I laughed out loud realising we were in the cinema with no pause button, then started fiddling with the reclining seat to get comfortable. With my husband at one of those quiet and reverential guitar gigs, I was overcome with hunger and tried to open the packet of crisps in my bag as quietly as possible. And failed.
I’m a classic bag rummager/make-up in strange places applier/list maker/
It’s either a whisper or a shout. Mental health is like general health – good most of the time with periods where it’s not good at all and others when we feel fine. For some, the bad periods overlap and we need intervention to cope with daily life. For others, the dips and highs are cyclical and need to be ridden or endured until the episode has passed.
The challenge is we don’t always know when we’re going to dip or fly and we don’t always make it obvious to our families and friends. Social media can amplify negative thought patterns, hormone levels, creating sudden shifts into darkness.
On World Mental Health Day, I acknowledge that both of my children have life-long mental health and neurological challenges, but in spite of these challenges they both have the potential to live happy and fulfilling lives. Part of attaining that goal is talking to them, sharing what I’ve learned about their conditions and how best to support them. I’ve also learned how to better manage and self-regulate my own mental health.
The ‘happyinschool’ project encapsulates how passionate I feel about supporting parents of children whose mental health is compromised, whatever the reason. We have been so fortunate as a family to access the kindness of friends as well as expert clinical, psychological and psychiatric support and advice when it was needed.
In either a whisper or a shout, if you need to talk, it’s good to know that someone is listening.
Take care of you and listen with your whole self.