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Parenting Mental Health / Gratitudes  / Daily Gratitude with Suzanne

Daily Gratitude with Suzanne

Another beautiful day outside for me. How’s your view today? Is it sunny and bright? Does the feeling extend into your heart and mind too, or is Sunday a bit heavy?
Either way, come on in. Share what’s going on – this is your space to offload and if you’re ready to, to begin to heal the hurt with a little Gratitude.
I know it feels counterintuitive, but it’s scientifically proven to rewire our neural pathways so we can overcome the negativity we feel. It’s also a way for us begin to heal the trauma of what we’ve been through.
When I use the word trauma what do you immediately think of?
Oh, I’ve not been through trauma…
Was that experience that changed me trauma?
I’ve not been through anything significant enough to call it trauma.
I saw someone’s post about their experiences with their child the other day and thought that if we transplanted the word ‘child’ for anyone else, we would begin to see the impact that parenting them through a mental health issue has.
Why is it hard to recognise the trauma we go through as a parent?
Well, we signed up for this, didn’t we? We signed up for sleepless nights with a newborn, tricky times with a toddler and tween, and difficult days and disconnection with a teenager. And they happen to pretty much every parent, but add in mental health issues and the behaviours and reactions that our child and we display lead us to be living in a traumatic moment, not just tough times as a parent.
We didn’t sign up for worrying about our child’s very existence; losing our belief in the future; hiding knives and pills and anything they may use to free themselves of their pain. We didn’t sign up for this lack of control, for this uncertainty, for this deep and visceral pain – of loss of them, of ourselves, of our future.
I’m not writing this to worry you or make you feel bad if you don’t. I’m writing it to anyone who judges themselves against the typical parenting or ‘life’ metrics. I’m writing this so you see that the reason you can’t stick to a diet, or have a tidy house, or get that promotion that everyone knows is yours is because your brain is on constant alert, trying to solve an unsolvable problem, trying to calm a fire that quietly rages while you try and maintain ‘normality.’ You’re dealing with trauma and that impacts on the way you think and feel and respond and react.
And I could go into the science behind it ( Google polyvagal theory and trauma for more) but this isn’t about fixing you. It’s about acknowledging that what you’re going through is traumatic and it is trauma. It might be big trauma, life defining, that needs therapy and meds to help you through it; it might be smaller trauma that can be helped with meditation, mindfulness, and a healthy physical and emotional approach to life. More of that in a mo.
What I wanted you to take away today was a sense that the experiences that brought you here to PMH could be the reason why you react the way you do, feel the way you do or maybe can’t do the things you feel you should or want to. You’re in a cycle of trauma that can negate your right to feel all you do. It can lead to you feeling you’re not doing enough and you’re not worthy of the allowances you’d give anyone in your situation.
If you judge yourself harshly, hold high standards, or feel that you should be able to go through the experience of parenting your child through mental illness without any impact, I want to hug you today and tell you that you have every right to feel torn up and spun around. Acknowledging the impact on you doesn’t make you a victim. Quite the reverse, oh strong one. It gives you a golden ticket to grace and acceptance and self love.
Experiencing trauma doesn’t mean you’re weak. And you don’t have to carry on being strong, because you’re Mum or Dad. You can meet your needs and continue to support your child and your family and the world and his dog.
I mentioned above some ways of doing this. There are lots of ways to reconnect and discover a newer you that has battled so hard and seen things none of us should.
Journalling
Drawing
Meditation
Mindfulness
Hobbies that take us into a state of Flow
Laughing
Movement
Gratitude ( you knew it was coming!)
And giving yourself a kinder perspective on what and why you do what you do.
Today, I’d love you to put down the judgement on why you’re slower than usual at task that you could do with ease before; or that you are becoming obsessed with hygiene; or you feel tired and your muscles ache but you feel you should push through; or you just want to hide under the duvet and sleep the day away.
When you find yourself judging today, pause and know that behind that judgement you may find fear. Fear of facing the extraordinary challenges you do; fear of not being capable ( when you absolutely are!); fear of opening Pandora’s box if you decide to acknowledge and embrace your emotions.
But you can fill it with love – do something for you today; speak kindly to yourself; ask us here how strong you are and you will be blown away with your power!
And start a little practice to Gratitude – it rewires the neural pathways so you can begin to create a new way of thinking and in time, feeling.
Look forward to reading your gratitudes later today.
This is my last Gratitude post for a while – I’m off next week to do something very exciting which I’ll share tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to keep our Shallonge going. 
Happy Sunday, loves.
Oh and if today is heavy, send us a 🌻 and we’ll hug you even harder.

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