The Power in the way we Think

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Secret Kids’ Business

Sunday mornings like today are commonly reserved for rest and relaxation. But as people wake up this morning they know that for most of the week they are probably pretty exhausted. We all have plenty of demands on our time and energy. And our kids are no different. A lot of the time they finish the week just as exhausted as we do and therefore need down-time also as much as we do. I wrote this post to help kids to recognise when they need to take some time away from “their rat race” and to give them a strategy they can use to take care of themselves. The language is aimed at kids between about 8 and 13, but anyone can use the tips it includes. I’d love it if you’d share it with your kids. If you’d like to share it with younger kids, try simply doing the activity with them. As for the teens, just make a suggestion that they ignore the younger language and take what they need out of it. Hope all your kids get something out of it. I’d love to hear how it goes for them!  🙂 


What kinds of things do you do during your day? When I was at school I remember getting up early to make my bed (well, sometimes I did. Most of the time I tried to get away without doing it). I got dressed, had breakfast, did some jobs and then went to school. I did all my work at school, and I concentrated pretty hard to get things right. When I went outside at lunch times I sometimes played games with other kids. I had 2 friends who used to fight a lot and I helped them be friends again. I spent most of the time alone and I got teased and bullied too. After school I went home and did my homework and then did more jobs. Some days I watched my brothers play sports. I read books a lot. It was my way of getting away from all the bullying. I rode my bike sometimes. And I worried a lot. I worried about my friends and about how much people didn’t like me.

sad sun face

What do you do? Do you do sports? Practice a musical instrument maybe? Or do you get tutoring to help with school work? Do you dance or go to gymnastics classes? Do you visit family or friends?

I bet doing all that stuff would make you pretty busy! I wonder whether you get tired by the time you get home?

How does it feel inside your body when you’re tired? Do you feel sleepy? I bet that sometimes you can feel tired but not want to sleep. For me my arms and legs feel pretty heavy, like they don’t want to follow my instructions to move them. Sometimes my tummy feels a bit funny too. Almost like I’m hungry but also like I have snakes slithering around in there. Sometimes I feel really cranky like I want to yell and other times I feel like I want to hide from everyone. Do you feel any of these? Or maybe for you it’s a bit different?

body scan pose

If we listen closely to our body sometimes it’s kind of like it’s talking to us and we can figure out what it wants. It can take a bit of practice, but trying different things sometimes helps discover what makes us feel calmer and happier. Those things will be different for us on different days because we feel different too.

Sometimes we really don’t know what to do when we feel funny and we can end up being cranky with the people we love the most. That can be our mums and dads, our brothers and sisters, or even our best friends. And that’s not always the nicest thing to do. We can feel pretty horrible when we do stuff like that.

It can help to try other things instead. I often suggest that kids make a box especially for themselves. You could call it whatever you want to. Maybe Alice’s box, or Jack’s box if your name is Alice or Jack. Or you could have a little fun with it and name it after your favourite movie character or even make up your own name for it. You could decorate it however you want too.

self care box

Inside the box put lots of different things you could do to help you feel better after a tiring day. Try putting in some of your favourite activities, like a bouncy ball, dancing, reading, listening to music, colouring, riding your bike or playing with your dog. Some things will be too big for the box so you could just write them on some paper instead. If you have trouble thinking of things to put in, you could ask someone in your family for help. And when you try new activities that really help you to feel good, you could put those in the box too!

When the box is ready, on the days you feel a bit funny inside, you could tell mum or dad that you need your box and then choose something that you want to try. If one thing doesn’t work, just put it back in and choose something else.

We’d love to know what’s inside your special box so if you’d like to share with us, maybe mum can help you type them in the comments below. And you may be giving other kids some great ideas for things they can put in their box too!


Living with Depression

I would like to introduce you all to Debbie. She lives with Depression on a daily basis and battles it and other mental health conditions. She is a mother doing her best to parent. And because of her mental health, she advocates for others who live with similar conditions. She has a great blog filled with informative information, so please head on over and have a look around. Details can be found below. I hope you all get something out of reading her story here.


“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she can see the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.” – Unknown 

There was an end to the childhood/teenage years spent in a household that was unloving and at times abusive at the hands of my Mother whose only way of expression was through her hand and use of a dressage whip. There was an end to the marriage that involved cheating, prostitutes who were more important than me, physical abuse, mental abuse, controlling, and constant hurt. There was an end to the years with the fireman who could not commit and had to keep me as his secret second life. There was an end to the jobs that involved colleagues that chose to bully, discriminate, and use my depression against me because it was easier to mistreat me than ask if I was ok and help.

There were ends to these parts of my life.

What hasn’t ended after decades of severe depression, bipolar disorder, and general anxiety despite various treatments, medications, appointments, and counselling this insidious illness has not shown any end in sight, light at the end of a very dark tunnel, and is a battle that just keeps going and going.

Not a day goes by that the cage that surrounds me, depression, doesn’t have an impact upon my day. After many years with depression, anxiety, and mania have come to terms with the fact that I will always be burdened on a daily basis by this illness. The following will detail how depression, bipolar and anxiety impact upon me.

Depression – the theory, if you can call it that, is once you take medication prescribed for depression your mood should lift or at least improve. When you undergo electro convulsive therapy (ECT) which involves electrodes put on the right side of your brain that pulse an electric current through the brain stimulating the brain to increase neurotransmitters and therefore chemicals in the brain to improve your mood. Despite these measures, trial and error with medications not a day goes by that the feelings of depression don’t haunt me, shroud my day, take my smile, or leave me house bound with a deep sadness that doesn’t lift and takes from me my ability to go about my day.

depression lost yourself

Mania – Mania is the other end of the spectrum from depression.  It is a feeling of elation, high energy, the feeling you can absolutely do anything, and the ability to do anything.  My manic episodes are not so frequent but when I do have them they last days sometimes weeks and because of how mania makes you feel I go like a mad women the whole time, do a million things at once, and feel like I am superwoman.  While some would say this would be a good thing because at least I am not depressed, it is only a matter of time before I come crashing down, and when I do crash it is with a big bang.  The end of a manic episode is complete and utter exhaustion, at times making me physically sick, and on top of that depression hits me like a tsunami bringing me down in a big way, to the extent that I can’t work, can’t get out of bed, just don’t want to do anything because it is just incredibly hard.

bipolar manic

 Moodiness – Everyone is moody at some point in their day and week. It can be caused by tiredness, stress, relationships, work stuff, a whole range of things but when you suffer depression, bipolar and anxiety you are constantly on the moodiness rollercoaster.  My day can involve a range of different moods from being manic, depressed, angry, irritated, upset, and stressed, you name it and my day involves that kind of mood.  Along with dealing with this rollercoaster it is incredibly hard to manage and adds to the stressors of trying to get through the day, getting your job done, dealing with people, and just enjoying the day.

Anxiety – My anxiety involves racing heart, tightness of the chest and throat, the feeling you are being strangled, sweating profusely, shortness of breath, a feeling that you are out of control and something bad is going to happen.  It is neither easy to deal with or easy to get rid of.  While medication can assist in controlling the symptoms of anxiety they still occur in response to your natural flight or fight response, your response to fear or threat, and the circumstances around you.  There have been occasions when my anxiety has turned into a full on panic attack, and it hasn’t been pretty, and has ended with me in hospital until it can be brought under control.  Panic attacks or more precisely the fear of having a panic attack is also a contributing factor to anxiety and can literally cripple people into not being able to leave their home, drive a car, go to a shopping centre, a range of other things, usually linked back to the original source and environment of the panic attack.  I have been one of these people who hasn’t been able to leave the house for periods of time, can’t go to shopping centres, can’t go to social gatherings, and struggles at work.  Anxiety also affects thought patterns and self talk, leaving you with doubts about your ability to do things in your day.

Exhaustion – Nobody can operate when exhausted and when we do it is not at full capacity and our daily tasks are twice as hard exhausted trying to feelas what they should be.  For most people, exhaustion comes, they sleep and then it is gone but for me and many others who live with depression it is not this simple.  I believe my exhaustion is a combination of depression, lifestyle, and my medications.  Whatever the reason the effect of exhaustion upon me is huge, it makes my depression ten times worse, it increases my rollercoaster of moods, it leads to physical sickness, it incapacitates me for long periods of time.  I can sleep for 24 hours straight, sleep on and off all weekend, sleeping is all I want to do and it’s what I try to do any time I get the chance.  The problem is despite how much sleep I get I wake never feeling like I have slept, never feeling rested, and never feeling renewed to start again.  Exhaustion never leaves me, making my days extremely hard and long, affecting my productivity, my ability to look after myself, and sending me deeper and deeper into depression.

 Little to no concentration – Depression affects your ability to concentrate and for me it can become a huge issue, especially if I am at work.  When I have little or no concentration I find my mind wandering off with all its self-talk, finding myself with little motivation to carry on with my day, and struggling to get through what I need to do.  On one hand I want to get things done on the other hand it is like a force is pulling in me in the opposite direction so that I feel vague, disinterested, not motivated, and tired.  Sometimes the feelings that come from not being able to concentrate affect my level of depression, my mood, and how I interact with those around me because it leaves me irritated and frustrated with myself because I want to get things done but can’t.

In a nutshell these are the aspects of my life that depression has dealt me, this is the rollercoaster of most of my days, it is my constant battle, and how I end up having a major depressive episode because like a volcano there is only so much pressure from these that I can handle before I collapse in a heap. The Black Dog is invading my personal space, and I can not function mentally.  I would like to think that there is a cure for these, more importantly for depression, but unfortunately in most cases there is not.  We can take medications, we can see a therapist, a psychiatrist, a doctor or someone else, but we can only ease the symptoms, and hope for a reprieve from depression.  Every day I hope that my day will be easier that I will feel great and that everything will be a breeze but this is very rare.  Some day I have hope that it will get easier.


About Sad Mum Happy Mum

 sad mum happy mum depressionDebbie is the author of Sad Mum Happy Mum, which is the story of a Mum living with depression, and her journey to recovery and happiness.  Debbie is a single Mum of a 13-year-old son, a keen photographer, reader, camper and academic, and has lived with depression since her early teenage years.  Debbie’s experience with depression has inspired her to write a blog about her experiences and learnings in the hope of helping others with depression, as well as increasing the awareness of depression and mental illness, and breaking down the stigma attached to depression.  A strong advocate, mentor, and living example, Debbie is determined to provide a safe environment for other Mum’s to talk about their experiences with depression, and is working towards establishing a support group that assists Mum’s living with depression.

To read more from Sad Mum Happy Mum click here.

To visit and become a fan of Sad Mum Happy Mum visit the Facebook page here

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