Tag Archives: mental health

How to prepare for life as new parent with a Disability.

Parenting is never easy, but having long term illness or disabilty can make it even more challenging. This inspirational couple have used their own experiences to help others in their position.

Ashley Taylor is a disabled mother of two wonderful, amazing, energetic children. She met her husband, Tom, while doing physical therapy. Tom had suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Ashley and Tom knew they wanted children and knew they would have to adapt their lives and home in order to make this dream come true. Ashley is happy to say that they are the proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children and their disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities.

Having a disability doesn’t mean you need to live your life with limitations — that includes the desire to have children. Rather, it’s about making the necessary modifications to your home and lifestyle in order to create a safe and stress-free environment for you and your family. With careful planning and being aware of available resources, raising a child while taking care of your health doesn’t have to feel like an overwhelming experience.

Make Home Modifications

Modifying your home to meet the needs of an ability as well as a child can be expensive, but there are plenty of grants available that can help fund crucial changes. Many resources specialize in everything from vertical stair lifts and wheelchair ramps to bed and bathroom safety bars to speciality doorknobs and handles. These modifications are crucial for the safety and mental health of the disabled parent, as well as any children living under the same roof. Note that if you rent versus own, it’s the responsibility of the landlord (by law) to make the necessary modifications to your residence.

Eliminate Clutter

Clutter equates to stress and confusion, neither of which you need as a new parent with a disability. Make it a point to do inventory and organize your home before the child comes into the equation — instituting help if need be. There are specialists that can assist in areas of sorting, organization and personal planning.

Get Help

Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Look into personal assistance services (PAS), a support group for more than 13.2 million people with disabilities. PAS supporters help with everything from eating and bathing to shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Family, friends, and neighbors likely fall into an unpaid category, while formal services are typically handled by public funding, private insurance, or out-of pocket-costs. Again, utilizing free resources (outside of family and friends) should not be overlooked; it’s your right by law to receive assistance.

Self-Care To Manage Stress And Depression

Having a disability comes with its share of stress — as does being a new parent figuring out the ropes. Combine the two and you have the potential for an overwhelming situation that can lead to depression. Despite the laundry list of responsibilities you have on your plate, self-care should be a priority to cope with stress. This includes maintaining hobbies, interests, and friendships; delegating tasks; maintaining physical fitness; and acceptance — nobody is perfect. source

There are also several free resources available to parents with disabilities that offer a comprehensive overview of qualified community organizations, social service agencies, and healthcare providers.

Keep Emergency Numbers On Hand

You shouldn’t have to wait for a crisis before figuring out where you can obtain aid. Every parent should keep a list of go-to numbers to deal with situations such as accidental poisoning, childcare advice, depression, medical assistance, natural disasters, and more.

Utilize Available Resources

From transportation and employment assistance to educational and recreational opportunities, there are many resources available if you have a disability. It’s your right to receive such assistance, so don’t be afraid to utilize it. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your doctor or other medical advisor for credible resources in your area. source

Perhaps the most important message to understand as a parent with a disability is that there are several resources available to help you out that don’t include friends and family — thought it’s great if you have that network, too. Living your best personal life while being a parent and role model at the same time is a true reality. Remember that being a parent is among one of the best gifts in life, so practice acts of gratitude when you’re feeling overwhelmed. source

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Languages can help improve your mental health

Language Show Live

Language Show LiveIn case you have missed it (ie you live in a cave and have no access to any form of media at all, in which case, how are you reading this) It is mental health awareness week.
As a languages blogger I thought I could go one better and show how languages can help your Mental Health, so using helpful subheadings, here we go.

Languages are a great way to make friends.

I would even say, langauges are thebest way to make friends. In learning someone’s language you show your commitment to them which is a massive thing. I wrote a blog about it a while back.

I believe friendships are so fundamentally important. They can encourage you to come out of your shell in ways you could never have dreamed of before. They can help you to not only brave but embrace the world. It helps us to reconnect with a world we perhaps were at a disconnect from with a void of despondency. Friendships are so eminent to our well-being, and we need to constantly remind our friends of how much we love them (because I know I love mine).

source themighty.com why-friendships-are-fundamentally-important-to-mental-health-recovery/

Want to be a good friend to someone with mental illness?


Music is the best way to learn a language.

My favourite way to learn a language is though singing along to songs in another language.

I sing ALL the time (and sometimes drive my family mad doing so) I know that the singing has positive benefits to me. I found this actual research on it saying “After reviewing 25 trials, the researchers concluded

that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life.”

source www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-listening-to-music-lifts-or-reinforces-mood-051713

Creativity helps language learning
You can learn languages whilst colouring with these gorgeous books. My hubby brought me them back from the Polyglot conference in Iceland.
Creativity is also good for your mental health.
I find that colouring is a great way to relax and unwind, to destress. If I feel a bit anxious it gives me something to focus on. Research has been done on this too.

“Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring about more mindfulness,

Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. Simply doodling, though, had no effect in reducing the other subjects’ stress levels.
Just like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety. It can be particularly effective for people who aren’t comfortable with more creatively expressive forms of art, says Berberian, “My experience has been that those participants who are more guarded find a lot of tranquility in coloring an image. It feels safer and it creates containment around their process,” source https://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/06/health/adult-coloring-books-popularity-mental-health/index.html

Netflix and chill
Language learning can happen anywhere. Watching your favourite film or relaxing with friends.

Chilling with a film and spending time with friends are great ways to unwind
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3daqaj/is-watching-tv-actually-a-good-way-to-rest-your-brain
To some extent, escapism is just human nature, and TV offers it up on a silver platter.

a bit of distraction can be rejuvenating, and that anything that lowers stress can be a good thing. “Television provides an escape, since we travel into a new world, we have the sense of being present in the imaginary world

source https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3daqaj/is-watching-tv-actually-a-good-way-to-rest-your-brain


The code switching of changing languages can be used to manage emotions.

Personally, I have a very busy mind and concentrating on other languages keep my mind occupied and from overthinking. I can also find if I switch languages I can be calmer. Bilinguals often have different personalities in different languages. In bilingual families some feel that one language is more comfortable in a certain setting. Some feel more able to express certain emotions better in their second language.source
www.languageonthemove.com/do-bilinguals-express-different-emotions-in-different-languages/ In our family we always talk of Nikolaustag even in an English sentence as it is a German festival for us.


Discovering your real authentic self.

Languages help you to be you. I went along to the polyglot gathering in May last year. It was such a diverse, geeky and accepting community of people but our love of languages brought us together, meeting some of the people there from different countries, backgrounds and holding such different values made me think about my own values and what actually is important.

We tend to stifle our authentic selves to fit in without even realising it. And doing so suppresses our creativity, ingenuity, and self-awareness.

We’re all raised with a core set of beliefs, and many of those might conflict with what you believe today. These may deal with important issues like race, religion, sexuality, and more. Taking time to think about about these longstanding habits and worldviews to see if they’ve changed can be really helpful
According to some psychologists, authenticity can also lead to better coping strategies, a stronger sense of self-worth, more confidence, and a higher likelihood to follow through on goals. source https://lifehacker.com/how-to-discover-your-authentic-self-and-live-the-life-1698115144

Natural help for depression

We were asked by Focus Supplements to review their product. I think mental health is SO important to talk about, so we jumped at the chance. Maik reviewed the product and wrote this review.

Depression is a disease of modern life, and the solopreneur lifestyle perhaps carries a higher than average risk of developing depression. According to statistics for mental health charity Mind, one in 10 people will develop depression at some point in their lives. Recently the situation has become bad enough for national press to take notice, with headlines such as “Antidepressant descriptions in England double in a Decade” in the Guardian in July 2016.

Without going into too much detail, I can say that as a family we have had quite a difficult year, both in terms of work and on a personal level. Never having been a fan of antidepressants, and coming from Germany where doctors are as likely to prescribe natural and herbal supplements as they are pharmaceutics, I was very pleased when we were approached by Focus Supplements to review their 5-HTP.

5-Hydroxytryptophan, to give it its full name, is produced from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia Simplicifolia. It works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin, which is why it is used to treat diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.

First impressions? Having received a tub of 180x 200mg capsules, I was immediately impressed at the potent dosage being offered. A lot of other 5-HTP, sold both online and in leading health food stores, is offered in 100 mg or even just 50 mg capsules. So my initial expectation was that this had to be a pricier supplement compared to the ones I had previously seen. Having purchased 5-HTP before, I was used to paying upwards of £15 for a pack of 60x 100mg tablets. But I was in for a surprise when browsing Focus Supplements’ (very nicely laid out) website: for the same price I could have three times as many capsules at twice the strength, in other words a full 6 months worth. Very impressive indeed, especially when first class delivery is also free. Hardly surprising then, that Focus Supplements went from its humble beginnings as a simple eBay store to selling internationally through they own website and Amazon within a few years.

So what about the effects of taking 5-HTP? I took these capsules daily together with St. John’s Wort, another natural antidepressant supplement, as many people have found that the two enhance each other’s effects. A word of warning though, as there is a small risk of a condition called serotonin syndrome which may result from combining the two, with symptoms including confusion and hallucination, so do be careful and seek medical advice when experiencing any adverse reactions! Thankfully, I did not experience any of these effects, but found a significant improvement to my quality of sleep, as well as my mood and general wellbeing.

Conclusion? This is a good quality, high strength supplement at a very, very reasonable price, which I would not hesitate to recommend if you are looking for a natural mood enhancer. We were sent the product free of charge in return for our review, but I can honestly say that I know where I will go when my six month supply runs out, and I suggest you do the same: focussupplements.co.uk

Mental health is just as important a physical health. It makes such a difference when people start to talk about it more openly to each other. My challenge for you this week is to start a converation with another about mental health, whatever the language!Let me know how you get on! Sarah x

Disclaimer:
We were given this product in exchange for a review. These are our own thoughts on the product.

Inspirational mum Sally from Mum’s back

If you read our blog regularly you will know we have a monthly Inspirational Mum slot. May’s Inspirational mum is Sally Bunkham, the founder of mumsback.com, a company that provides hamper gifts for new mums; full of the things they’ve not been allowed whilst pregnant (wine, pâté, cheese, etc.). £1 from every hamper sold goes to PANDAS Foundation to help with their amazing work supporting families going through perinatal mental health issues. 

 

Can you tell us little about yourself.

I grew up in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and moved to Brighton when I became a university student, back in 1999. I loved it there and pretty much never left (until 2015). I worked at the University of Sussex for nearly 10 years. My job involved providing events for students to get them interested in entrepreneurship. A lot of it rubbed off on me! I met my lovely husband, Paul, in 2007 at Bestival and we got married in 2013. Our daughter Daisy was born in 2014. When Daisy was just over 2 months old we discovered I was pregnant again. Oops! So in 2015 we had 2 babies under the age of 2. That was hard work! Before our second daughter, Ruby, was born, we temporarily relocated to my home town of Stamford in order to get some extra childcare support from my parents. As it turned out, that was a really good idea, as it was not an easy ride! Things are slowly getting easier now and we are heading back to our home in Brighton in September.

How did you come up with the idea for your current business? 

I didn’t quite realise how much I’d miss things like wine, pâté, cheese, beer etc. etc., until I was pregnant and wasn’t allowed it! My other pregnant pals and I used to joke about how we’d do anything for a rare steak or a brie sandwich or similar. When my first daughter was born I got some really beautiful gifts, but it dawned on me that they were all focussed on the baby. It was then I realised there was a gap in the market for something purely for Mum. After all, she is the one that has just grown a tiny human being and gone through childbirth! My second pregnancy, so soon after my first, really magnified the absence of all the things I wasn’t allowed once more, and helped solidify the concept for Mum’s Back!

Sadly I suffered from a bad bout of postnatal depression after Ruby was born. She developed an undiagnosed medical condition (we are still not sure what it was) which meant that from around 4 months to 16 months old she would be incredibly unsettled, day and (especially) night. We tried cutting out various foods, had allergy testing, tried different drugs for silent reflux, and had specialist paediatric care, but nobody could get to the bottom of it. We were getting by on scraps of sleep and the strain of the acute sleep deprivation mixed with the stress of trying to care for 2 babies under 2 became too much for me. I developed unhealthy coping mechanisms (sadly involving self harm) and became quite unwell. I was diagnosed with PND. Thankfully, my daughter started to grow out of the undiagnosed condition and her sleep improved. Once she was on the road to recovery, so was I (this is cutting a long story short!). The experience gave me a deep empathy with anybody going through any kind of mental health issue, especially perinatal conditions. That helped me to realise that my business could actually help make a difference. I decided to try and raise awareness about these conditions by blogging and I also donate £1 from every hamper sold to PANDAS Foundation, who help support families going through perinatal mental health issues.    

 

 

How do you manage to balance your work around your family?

This is definitely the hardest thing about running a business! My two girls are now coming up to 3 and 2 years old and are still very dependent on me. I have to be incredibly focused when I work. I have a lot of prioritised to-do lists. I work in fits and starts when I can, which I actually find is quite good for concentration. I get 2 mornings a week when I am child-free, so I work then, and most evenings and weekends. Both my children still have a midday nap which is handy, but I know that won’t last forever! I find that actually working on my business is good for my mental health. It gives me a really good balance and helps me feel really productive, so that’s a real benefit. My business has to be agile enough that it can still keep ticking over if I have to down tools and do nothing for a few days, though. If my children are poorly, for example, I have to be able to look after them. In that instance, I can function. As long as the orders go out, that is fine. In times like that, I tend to focus on all the things I AM doing (like keeping my children comfortable and loved!) and not on the things I’m NOT doing. Mind-set is really important during those periods, or else it’s quite easy to get lost in a sea of negativity.  

 

Do you have any words of wisdom for other mums starting in business?

I do love the variety running my own business brings, although it can be a bit of a rollercoaster! I find one day I can be questioning if it was all a good idea at all, and then suddenly something great will happen and it will all be positive again. I think resilience is really important. You’ve got to be able to get back up and shake yourself off if you get knocked down, and keep on trucking. I’d definitely say it’s really important to find something you are passionate about. I hadn’t quite appreciated how fabulous the social enterprise element of my business would be when I decided to do it. It was just something I thought would be nice to do but, actually, it gives me such fire in my belly to know that the more I succeed in my business, the more I can help others. So, if you can find an angle like that for yourself, then go for it! It’s also very empowering to turn such a negative thing in my life into something positive. It’s great that I now own that part of my life, it doesn’t own me! 

 

Anything else you would like to tell our readers?

I love connecting with people, so please do come and say hi on my facebook page or on Twitter. 

And watch this space! We had the fabulous news recently that notonthehighstreet.com would like us to be a partner for them, so you should also see us appearing on there, soon. 

Finally, we have 2 cool offers on at the moment. There’s our launch offer, where you can get 20% off a classic Mum’s Back hamper. If you are getting a hamper for somebody but do not want it to be delivered until later, that is fine. You can buy now for delivery at a later date. 

We are also running a competition at the moment (last day to enter is 24th May), where you have the chance to win a hamper! All you have to do is answer the (pretty damn easy!) question.

Sally’s story really inspired me. Let us know what you think in the comments below.