This has been the strangest St Patricks Day. I know you don’t need me to tell you why. My anxiety wouldn’t let me type it out anyway (although it has supplied me with some great pitches for post apocalyptic fiction).
Today is also my daughter’s first St Patricks Day. And I’m thinking about what this all means for her – not the impact of the virus, but the impact of my mental health.
Me and my brain are not always the best of friends. I am so much better at balancing my mental health than I used to be. But it’s not great. And this whole thing isn’t helping.
I don’t want to hide my bad days from her. But I don’t want to scare her with them either. I want her to know that it’s alright not to feel okay. I want her to know that this too will pass. I want her to know that her feelings are valid and always allowed in this house, even when her feelings scare her or feel out of control. And I worry that I’m not the best person to teach her that, even though I’m doing my best to keep myself going, even though I can put words on my own experiences, even though I have taught children to feel and name their feelings for years.
I couldn’t be the person – or the parent – I am today without the person I married. A few weeks ago, the two of them went out to the library, and came back with “Happy Hippo, Angry Duck” by Sandra Boynton. It’s everything I needed. To quote “I hope you are happy, but if you are not, you have friends who will help you – we like you a lot. And a difficult mood is not here to stay, everyone’s moods will change day to day”.
I know that my moods will not always be easy. I know that we’re all facing something incredibly stressful. I believe we will get through all of this. I hope we can raise our daughter to understand that difficult days don’t last forever and that even when I’m sad, angry and anxious, I still love her. And that her emotional outbursts, however strong, will never stop me loving her.