Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Mental Health Week is always a big week in the calendar every year for charities – but equally a chance for the everyday public to discuss a topic that many find difficult to discuss. Today, for the first time speaking publicly I would like to discuss mine.

I am Dagenham and Rainham CLP’s Women’s Officer. I am also a mother to two children, aged eight and eight months old. I am a partner, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a colleague and – a full time carer to my disabled son. I am an autism campaigner, an activist (one of my favourite things to be) and I am an employee of a Member of Parliament.

I live on 4-5 hours sleep a night if I’m lucky, my life is 24/7. My health isn’t in great condition due to scoliosis of the spine as well as spinal stenosis and two slipped discs. I suffer with psoriasis due to stress and anxiety and I wouldn’t call myself a ‘confident mum’. I second guess myself on everything, and I am very, very hard on myself.

But 70% of me doesn’t show all the above. I speak about it; I am a very vocal person in terms of what I do and what I am passionate about. But I don’t speak about how it effects my mental health.

Over the past two years my anxiety has built and built. I am lucky because I have learned to control this anxiety – not an easy thing to do at all. But it’s always there at the pit of my stomach and at the back of my head. Raising a child with special needs is the cause of most of my anxiety because I strive to always get things right in order to give my son the chance to live, learn and evolve into whoever he wants to be despite his disability. So, I am extremely harsh on myself in that department.

I cry probably 2-3 times a week, more if it’s a bad week. I hug my kids tighter on days I find extremely tough. I keep myself busy to stop my thoughts flooding my brain. I love to help others as it distracts me from my own personal issues. I’m 32 and I’ve made it this far in life with no major meltdown apart from a bout of post-natal depression after my first born. But, in a world where it is more common to now speak about mental health, I feel more confident in doing so.

For that reason – I nominate you. Whoever is reading this, to speak out about your mental health if you are struggling. Or, if like me you act like you’re not struggling but deep down you are. The more we talk, the better we feel, and the less alone we are more likely to be.

“This year is more important than ever to discuss mental health. As we face the COVID-19 crisis together, every act of kindness, big or small works to raise our spirits.” – Jon Cruddas MP.

Fay HoughWomen’s Officer | Dagenham and Rainham Labour Party

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