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Learning the World.

Musings on relocation, exploration and other general oddities.

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mental health

Holding together while staying apart

Today was not a good day for me and my brain. I don’t really have a bad brain days anymore, not the way that I used to. But a global pandemic and an anxious mind just aren’t a great mix. I didn’t want to do anything today. But I had to. So I did.

It is not easy keeping it together through all of this. We aren’t meant to be alone. I want to write more about it all, about how privileged I feel to have a back garden, about the impact this is going to have on a generation of kids, about how my heart aches for everyone going through the wonderful and terrible milestones of life with this as their unwanted backdrop. About how fearful I am for the vulnerable people I know and love, and for those who must stay in a home that isn’t safe for them, or who have no home at all. About how we’re not meant to raise children like this, in little pockets with screens between them and the rest of the world. About how hopefully this will all make us realise how fucking terribly society treats so many essential workers, and how completely fucking immoral billionaires are. About how I almost wish I wasn’t a parent right now, so I could sleep in and play video games all day. About how I can’t get this songout of my head. And about how even when I have days like today when I don’t want to do anything, my daughter gives me such joy that I can’t imagine being without her. And how grateful I am for the sound of her laughter and her squashy little hugs.

But I can’t right now. Those few sentences are pretty much all my brain can string together. So I hope you’re okay. And I hope you and I and everyone can keep holding it together, for just a little while longer. Until we can be together again.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important announcement….

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.

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