He’s not much to look at and hes smaller than my tiny finger, but Bob has a big job.
He’s my Bad Thought Gremlin, and Bob has been helping me to realise just how much of a bitch I am… to myself.
I adopted Bob a few days ago at my new support group. Yes people, I have finally found a support group 25 weeks in to my mum funk, and other people even attend!!
Me and 7 other mums meet up each week for a few hours and I am loving it! I’m finally in a support group where I don’t feel like I need to hide my feelings, where I know that I wont be judged and I feel like in the few short weeks I have been there I have made lifelong friends. Each week I get really excited to go, which is a new feeling because I usually dread going anywhere these days, but I feel like such a weight is lifted off me every time I leave the group. I know some people reading this will think,’oh great a bunch of moaning women!’, but I have to say that I have probably had some of the best laughs with these girls. They inspire me and help me feel that little bit stronger and a lot less lonelier.
Not only have I made some great new friends but I’m also learning some new coping strategies too, and that is where Bob comes in.
One of the main problems with my postnatal depression is the negative or bad thoughts that can go through my head:
“I’m a bad mum’
‘No one likes me’
‘I cant do this’
‘My children would be better off without me’
That’s just some of the thoughts that go through my head each day. I call them my bitch thoughts as I know they come from the bitch PND version of me. People who know me tell me how stupid these thoughts are but in my head I don’t label these as stupid, they are very real, and they get bigger and more believable the more I let them.
That’s where Bob comes in.
He reminds me to notice when these thoughts come through so I can label them as my ‘bitch’ thoughts, and then tell them to piss off.
I have only had him for about a week but he has been a useful little gremlin already.
A few days ago when my four month old was crying and I had no energy to put my all into playing with my daughter I realised I told myself ‘your such a shit mother’.
Usually I wouldn’t recognise this as a negative thought from the demon inside me. But with my little gremlin on my shoulder I thought why did I just say that?
I’m a tired mother yes but am I really a shit mother? My kids had been fed, washed and both where happy. Well the little one was moaning but that just teething pains. If I was to look at a friend in this situation would I think the same thought?
No probably not, I’d probably think she was doing a good job. So why was I being so hard on myself?
It was time to say piss of to that thought. So I did, and had a chuckle to myself that I felt that little bit stronger.
Along with Bob came a book by Dr Chris Williams called ‘Why does everything always go wrong?’. In it he states how we need to be kinder to ourselves and its got me thinking, is anyone that kind to themselves? I for one never really have been and just thought it was normal.
Growing up in secondary school, to be kind to yourself was to love yourself. While that might sound very positive, in a dog eat dog all girls school, that got you a wrath of abuse. Even today when I’m with my friends I don’t think any of us are ever very kind about ourselves. We criticize our weight, our features, our work and how we could have done better.
Why is it so much easier to hate ourselves?
Is it really a bad thing to believe your good at something or to accept that your best is just good enough?
I’d thought I would test Dr Williams happiness theory and give self kindness a go. It’s been fucking hard to list my positives and it sounds a bit like a job application but this is my list so far:
I’m a good friend
I love my children endlessly and give them all I have
I’m hard working
I’ve done bloody well raising two children in a country away from my family.
I’m proud of my achievements both academic and in life
I’m proud that I have raised my daughter to be confident, outgoing and a loving little girl.
I hope its not the end of my positives, so from now on me and little Bob are going to try and keep fighting those bitch thoughts and replace them with some kinder ones.
I don’t want to always hate myself, or constantly think that I could be doing better. Hopefully if I can begin to like or love myself one day I’ll get rid of the bitch inside my head and shut her trap once and for all.
So why don’t we all give it a try, lets be that little bit kinder to ourselves.
I’ll let you all know how I get on!