MOTHERHOOD:UNEDITED – Mental Health – A Mom’s Perspective

Hey I’m Aoife I’m here today To make a change To advocate

Hey I’m Aoife

I’m here today

To make a change

To advocate

For Mental health

Mental Health? What’s that?

Who does it effect?

You, me everybody, one and all

It’s our thoughts and feelings

Which rise and fall

Without the skills to listen…, to express…. to feel

The cogs spin faster, we fall off the wheel…of life

A quick intro to me, myself and I,

A daughter, a friend, a wife ,

a mother, an educator

Let’s rewind back

My mother and I, a family made of two

In Ireland’s 1980s when that was taboo

She fought she struggled she carried us along

An incredible woman, who was strong.

While she gave me all she could

Mental Health was a term unheard

Sure that’s no surprise, a product of her past she brings

Don’t speak little child, suppress those feelings

And so the cycle

Continued on to me

From the heart she did good but mentally

My generation and I were fed ‘You’re grand’

The invalidating environment –

They DON’T understand

Listen, please listen I need to talk

I need you to hear

The thoughts and anxieties swirling around here

Don’t worry, you’ll be grand – but that’s no help

And so the suppression strangles my breath.

Growing up different

Different? How?

Sure look at the size of me now

Six foot two

Jaysis the height of you

How are you so tall?

Eh I grew!

Standing out when you want to fit in

Not fitting in,

It’s crippling

40 years old now but I’ve broken down

How you say? Anxiety – tick,

Social anxiety tick tick tick

Fear of being judged, fear of failure,

Fear, fear, so much fear

Lungs gasping, heart pounding, palms sweating,

OVER the small things – not coping –

NO resilience

Resilience – what’s that?

The ability to bounce back from adversity

I WAS NOT able, I was drowning…fast.

Falling out with friends, falling out with myself,

Effects on my family – negative effects

Enough’s enough – time for change

But how to reframe?

These thoughts

Ready to learn, ready to update

My mind, My app

Counselling, therapy a good start

But the waiting lists the costs come on!

Thank god for books, podcasts and Brene Brown.

For years I tried mindfulness but for years I failed

The head spun like 90,

Until I learned about CBT

A game changer ….FINALLY


Who knew!

But I thought I could believe my mind

Thoughts are NOT facts

Be the detective,

Search to find

The evidence

The facts will actually set you free.

Today I stand here fit – mentally

It’s a daily grind but I’ve taken the lead

Understanding my emotions, my amygdala,

The messages from the brain

To my body,

Feel it – Name it – Breathe

If only I’d known these simple things

That emotions are normal and important to feel

Expressing them brings us clarity,

Helps us to control

Our tempers, our outbursts

This information I was not taught in school

And so my goal is to make a change

For Generation Z for my children too

To learn how to enjoy this life and not to endure

Struggles and traumas will hit us with force

However when mentally fitter we’re on the right course

Mental health In Ireland

We have GOT to prioritize

This is HAS to come from grassroots

From the ground

To educate… and NOT resuscitate when it’s too late

And so to give the last few words

To a favourite singer

Damien Dempsey and his song ‘ Colony’

“You’ll never kill a will to be free

In our minds we hold the key

In our minds we hold the key.”

by Aoife Hughes (@bewelldowellx) (@familywalksir

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