From what I’ve gathered from social media posts, today is World mental health day. So a good opportunity to land my post on the subject, and also offer an alternative solution to anyone who may be suffering.
As a parent, and someone who has been through some quite serious mental health problems, I have a huge responsibility to my family to be consistent. In my behaviours, my actions and my presence. I can not afford to be emotionally battered by the negative effects of stress day in day out, and still maintain an authoritative loving position in my home. My family count on me.
Children especially pick up on stress, It is an unseen force with horrible effects on the mind and the body. I have seen how unsettled my babies Become with any unbalance in our home. Even the health visitor is aware of the problems that stress can cause to unborn babies aswell as Mum’s and Dad’s. It is why It was so important to stay out of anger and arguments with my wife during the pregnancy. It’s one of the reasons she is still able to produce milk for them all. And one of the reasons they survived the pregnancy to arrive healthy.
being a parent is full of stressful moments, they are inescapable which is why these moments must be met with grace.
Not all of the suggestions I’ve read would be all that helpful as a busy parent. For example,
I get home from work tired, as it’s a physical job, I also work alone so need to be switched on throughout the day. As I walk through the door I am handed a baby and told with a loving grin good luck as my wife heads upstairs for a much-needed break. I walk into the front room and the other two are at a healthy volume.
As I sit with all three babies, Ava crying because she has a little bellyache, Lacey is just grumpy and getting louder, and Blakely is fine and not sure why she’s screaming but doesn’t want to feel left out.
in that moment I feel a little heat rise to my head, Just from the sheer volume and pitch of the noise, and I have also misplaced my earplugs.
closing my eyes and imagining myself on a sandy beach, with cool waves lapping at the white shoreline is just plain silly, completely impractical and lets face it, nonsense as a real solution to rising stress. This is no time for fantasy away from the reality of the moment.
Nor do I have time to start chanting and pinging Tibetan singing bowls. My little chickens simply would not put up with it, besides –
A, they need a cuddle with Daddy, right now
B, I don’t have any Tibetan singing bowls
I need to remain calm for the sake of my little ones. so what do I do?
A few years ago a good friend offered me a way to live in the stream of life and sharpen from stress by way of meditation, rather than becoming continually overwhelmed by it. This is the most important practice I can ever do as a recovered alcoholic, more importantly, as a husband and a father.
It is not your usual self-help, self empowerment exercise. Far from it. But it is a way to become still, pull back from the stream of thought (we all have problems over thinking), and be able to observe our thoughts without being overwhelmed by them. The good and bad.
There are many situations and times throughout the day that the opportunity to react to stressful situations arise. If I am conscious from meditation in the morning, I am able to observe that temptation, rather than struggling, and getting taken over by it. I deal with life very differently now, instead of stress chipping away at me as it used to, I strengthen from those encounters. I react differently.
Its how i dealt with the stress of the pregnancy, it’s how I deal with my home and work life. Its how I overcame ongoing anxiety and depression. Amongst other things.
I pass this on, as it’s complimentary. There is nothing to learn or buy, no teachers or gurus or classes to sign up for. It is non religious. It is however spiritual in nature, and is not a toy. It can be a little uncomfortable the first few days as you begin to awaken, if you decide to commit to it.
If you are suffering from internal conflicts like depression, anxiety, over thinking, obsessive behaviours of all kinds,and these cause ongoing problems in your life this is a simple solution to that.
(first thing in the morning, last thing at night)
As I said before this may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for a way to live differently, free from medication, free from the effects of anxiety/depression and stress, for the future sake of your family and your own mental health, you won’t regret it.