The best advice I will ever give my kids

Hi kids,

How much do I love you?  Words  can’t actually describe how much.  There are moments I shout and feel totally overwhelmed with stress.  There are far more moments when I look at you both and feel nothing but pure love and pride.  I can’t even begin to explain the feeling I get when I watch you both peacefully sleeping at night.  Your Dad and I often talk about it before we go to bed.  It’s hard to find the words sometimes but we both know just how strong that feeling is. It will never leave us nor will our desire to keep you both happy and safe.  We would do anything for you.  We will never stop loving you.  Even when you are at your very worst.  As you grow and get even more independent you will more than likely call us names, slam doors and refuse to take our advice. Despite this we will still love you more than we love ourselves.  It’s called unconditional love.

Your Dad and I have had to watch people we love suffer a mental illness.  It is heart-breaking to see and at the same time it can make you appreciate a smile or a laugh all the more.  The thought of it happening to either of us scares me.  When your granddad was diagnosed with a mental illness in 2014 I was 31 years old.  Although a couple of years on he is thankfully a lot better, our relationship has changed.  There are good days and bad days.  We used to sit and talk for hours about all sorts of stuff.  I miss it so much but at the same time I now understand that it isn’t my fault and that mental illnesses are sadly a part of life.  They think 1 in 4 of us will experience one.  This means that there are a lot of people in the world grieving the loss of a loved one.  The difference is that the person is still alive on this earth but they are no longer the person they were.  There are varying degree’s of how people are affected.  Sometimes a person will lose their confidence or their passion for life.  Sometimes a person will forget their life completely, they may not even remember their family.  Every story is unique and can be heartbreakingly painful.  There are highs and there are lows.  Some people thankfully get a lot better and sadly some get worse.

 

I am working in support of The Mental Health Foundation. They do so much including offering advice with regards to how we can keep our minds healthy.  I will continue to write about this because my desire to raise awareness and help others will never leave me.  I will share my passion about keeping active, talking about our feelings, eating healthy meals, getting a rest and living a life doing things we enjoy.  These things all help us. Finding balance in everything we do helps us to live a happier life.  This also involves finding balance with alcohol, sugar and caffeine.

Hopefully you will never have to use this advice but I am putting it out there anyway.  I am writing it for others who are currently coping with the grief a mental illness can cause.  Please never do what I did initially and blame yourself.  Never ever doubt how much a person with a mental illness loves you.  The mind is so complicated and sometimes it changes.  I want to be there for you for as long as I can.  I want to watch you grow, I want to watch your children grow.  I want to be fit and mentally well for all the big things.  If there ever comes a time when I am not I am so sorry.  I want you to always be happy.  There may be nothing you can say to a person with a mental illness.  The best thing you can do is hold their hand and never stop loving them.  Nobody choses to get depression, dementia or  Alzheimer’s.  People don’t sign up for ADHD, PTSD, Schizophrenia or Anxiety.  There are so many types of mental illnesses that people have to learn to live with.  That is life and I really hope that by the time you are old enough to read this and take in it that things have changed.  I hope that as the years go by people keep talking, sharing and supporting.  There is nothing taboo about our minds and it is one of the most valuable things we have.

As you grow you will be bombarded by the media and sadly there will always be pressure.  Pressure to be the perfect weight, pressure to botox the lines on your face.  There will be pressure to wear nice clothes, pressure to buy a nice house or a flash car.  If I have one wish it is this – above anything else you focus on being happy.  You nurture your mind because it is the most valuable thing you have.  Your mind and attitude will see you through life.  Looks will fade and material possessions will go out of fashion.  Live a life that makes you happy for as long as you can.  Think about other people and their feelings.  Care for others.  Embrace music.  Dance like nobody is watching and sing like nobody can hear you.  Enjoy alcohol if you want to, it’s a good laugh but find a healthy balance with it.  Never let it control you.  It can make you do stupid things and say silly things you regret so be careful with it.  Enjoy your food, never fear food. Treat yourself but eat healthy things too that are good for your body and your mind.  Healthy doesn’t have to be boring.  Don’t go on diets. Don’t  OD on coffee or sugar, it can make you feel rubbish.  Enjoy it in moderation.  Keep active, time on the sofa is great but get out there, meet people and enjoy the world.  Have respect for yourself and remember it is ok to say no if you don’t want to do something or if you feel uncomfortable.   Never keep your feelings bottled up, talk about them.  Remember to take a break when you need it.  Make time to keep in touch with your family and friends because relationships are important.  Be proud of who you are.  You are not perfect, nobody is.  You will have strengths and weaknesses and you will find out about them as you grow.  Do something that you are good at and work hard at it.  With passion and determination you can use your talents to do amazing things.  Things that make a difference to peoples lives and make you proud.  Always remember that you are so loved.  Mummy Jojo xxx

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