A LETTER TO A PARENT WHO’S STRUGGLING by Jodi Bickley

We have partnered with Mind, the mental health charity, to encourage you to ‘Write it Down’ for better mental health. Author of ‘A Million Lovely Letters’ and ‘Write a Letter’ Jodi Bickley’s inspiring story is a true testament of how important it is to take some time out from your mind and write it down. Read Jodi’s inspiring open letter below. 

 

 

Sharing experiences

 

“I’m not sure about you, but I’m ever so good at beating myself up. I mean, monumentally beating myself up – the tone and language my inner narrator uses isn’t one that I would ever use to describe anyone or anything in my everyday life but it’s the voice I’ve become accustomed to. That voice is devious, manipulative, it knows your darkest corners and will throw spotlights on to them, go into the filing cabinet of your life and pull references to every other time you’ve worried about something ever and create a looping powerpoint presentation of it. And, it thrives on silence, not being challenged and creates the narrative that our darkest corners are exclusive to us and that’s incredibly dangerous. I say dangerous because it’s an immense untruth and a hugely damaging one that can make us feel incredibly isolated. The moment we throw light on that voice, on the monster as such – it becomes a whole lot less scary than it is in the pitch black. The moment we say out loud, I’ve experienced this and this is how I feel about it – we realise quite quickly that we aren’t on our own at all. As it’s our vulnerabilities and experiences that connect us, unite us and in the process of saying our truths out loud helps us feel seen. My most recent experience of this is within the last few weeks. After having my second daughter Dotty who is now nine months old. I’ve felt different to how I’ve told myself I’m supposed to feel. I’ve really struggled at times and felt extremely responsible for every cry (which there has been many!) and felt very much like she would be better off with anybody else as a mum because I simply wasn’t good enough for her. I hadn’t really spoken to anybody about how bad it had got, not even to my husband or mum because there was a degree of shame to it and that mischievous inner narrator had me believing these thoughts were very much something that couldn’t be said out loud. So, I wrote it down. I wrote a letter to a mum that was feeling how I was feeling and hope that some of it may sink in -:

 

Dear you,

 

They do not hate you. I know you have convinced yourself through various cries, tantrums and endless attempts to rock to sleep that you are doing something wrong, something must be wrong with how you’re doing it and they would be so much better off with somebody else. It’s all your fault. Enough. You have scorned yourself too many times now, you need to be more patient, you need to be more flexible, you need to be less panicked, you need to be more understanding of their needs, you need to be better – you have to be better. Enough. All that you are is enough for that child. However much you are struggling, however much you don’t feel like you are loving them right, holding them right, speaking to them right – their only understanding is that you are everything and that is all. Look at yourself, you are their galaxies and guiding lights – that is you and you need to be incredibly proud of that. I know with that comes immense responsibility, fear and exhaustion but for a second be in awe of all that you are and all that you have achieved. You are everything. That doesn’t change whether you are exhausted, frustrated, needing five minutes in the other room for a little cry (because honestly we all need a little/ absolutely massive cry). Just know that all that ‘crazy’ you feel you have in your head will feel so much better once it’s out, all of the fears and the worries and things that you’re terrified to say out loud in fear of judgement. Say them. Those thoughts will only grow with silence, so whether it’s a mighty roar or a gentle whisper, get them out. Maybe someone will judge you, but people can be cruel and no-one can be crueler to us that ourselves at times so road, whisper or type. The right ones will be there to hug, to comfort, to understand and to raise a cold cup of tea in solidarity because your ‘crazy’ isn’t yours. It’s outs and this is really, really hard sometimes and it’s completely okay to admit that. You are not on your own and you are loved beyond anything you could possibly fathom.

Love,

Jodi.

 

And, I posted it on Instagram with a little note about the way I had been feeling and suddenly people started putting up their hand. I had message after message from people sharing their own experiences and holding their cup of cold tea up in solidarity. I felt seen, I felt that I wasn’t on my own and that what I was feeling wasn’t so exclusive to me. This was something that was shared amongst people around the world and instead of feeling like I was in the tunnel alone, I was surrounded with people with torches and stories and we were doing this together. I’m not saying everybody needs to post their stories on the internet, it’s not for everybody and that’s completely understandable – but as I said in my letter, it doesn’t have to be a roar, it can be a whisper. Sharing our experiences, whether we’ve felt at our darkest or brightest, can illuminate someone’s tunnel. It can help give us courage, realise our own strengths and supply us with reassurance and it all starts with one raised hand.”

 

Jodi’s newest book, Write A Letter, is out on Friday 25th October 2018 and available for pre-order now.

We have partnered with Mind, the mental health charity, and between 16th – 31st October, £1 from every purchase of an Agenzio notebook will go to support the amazing work they do.

 

 

 

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