“The promise of Springs arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitterness of winter”
One morning a few weeks ago the sun was shining, it was vaguely warm and I was certain that spring had arrived. The long cold grey days of winter were finally over and we had warmer, brighter times ahead. A sense of anticipation and hope filled me as I went about my usual daily routine. Today was going to be a good day. It was only 8:30 but I just had the feeling I was going to be on top of things today….
As the children played in the lounge I cleared up the breakfast dishes and started to sweep the kitchen floor. I could just about here the birds singing above the noise of the washing machine. I took a few minutes to look out of the window and into the garden. The few hours I’d spent tidying had paid off and the garden was emerging from its wintery sleep. As I casually continued sweeping the floor I suddenly remembered I had a friend popping round to visit that morning.
I had been so busy over the last few days clearing and tidying the kitchen cupboards that the rest of the place looked a right mess. As I hastily finished sweeping the floor I couldn’t find the dustpan and brush so I lifted the corner of the mat and swept all the mess underneath it…. I know, Shocking!!!!!
This is when I suddenly thought, why should spring cleaning be just about the house and garden?? We should give ourselves a spring clean, physically and mentally.
I don’t mean finally shaving off the acres of leg hair that has amassed over the winter months or giving the toe nails a long over-due trim and paint. I mean a real deep clean. Think about your physical and mental health. Spring after all is the beginning of a new year, a new start. A fresh start and a chance to change yourself…..
If you’re anything like me I like to try and keep the house and garden up together but since having PND I’ve realise that somethings are more important than having a spic and span house or a well-groomed garden.
I’m fairly certain that when friends and family drop by they have come to see me and the children, not to inspect the crunchiness of my carpet or how many inches of dust are on my book shelves.
When they arrive I hope they see past the outwardly mess that is my un-brushed hair and instead see that my children are happy and healthy.
As you approach my front door you will notice that I have replanted the tubs to include some lovely brightly coloured flowers. This is to give the garden a lift and hopefully give anyone passing a glimpse of spring and the hope that the year ahead holds. You may also notice that there are sticky little handprints and face marks all over the window. In the correct light it can look like a very intricate frosted glass produced by two pairs of lovely little hands.
These handprints tell a story. One of a tired mum who’s priority I not to have pristine clean windows, because let’s be honest they will only be clean for a few minutes at most. They also tell the tale of two children who have been lucky enough to stand in the window and watch the world go by, watch friends and family arrive. The window is also one of their favourite places to stand and watch the birds fly by. Every piece of ‘mess’ tells a story.
So the friends came and went that day. We drank coffee, laughed, and cuddled our children and each other’s. We exchanged tips on mother hood and discussed the state of the roads.
But still lingering in the kitchen the whole time was the mess I had swept under the kitchen mat. I think with mental health a lot of us are guilty of sweeping our feelings under the mat. It’s a sense of keeping up appearances and not letting the outside world see the mess we are in.
But why are we so ashamed to talk about our mental health? We all have one, as we all have a state of physical health. Is it because physical health is easier to see, easier to diagnose and more easily understood by the masses….. How many people would hobble around on a broken leg, struggling to walk for the fear of any stigma attached to their injury?!?!?
I think we need to be more aware of mental health and of those around us. How long until we sweep so much mess under our mat that the door can no longer be opened from the outside? A barrier of mess that if ignored makes it incredibly hard to access from the outside or for you to climb out over.
So this is where the friends and family come in. They will try the door and if it won’t open they will try another way in. Whether it’s another door or banging on that dirty window from the outside.
Let them in. Let them help you clear up your mess. It’s what they want to do. They don’t necessarily have all the answers to help you eliminate all of the clutter but they are a great support in a network of others. The mess may never completely disappear. As one area becomes organised and tidy this may unearth other parts that need some attention.
This, in my experience is an on-going tidying process. There may be some things you stumble across that have no place. No compartment or specific place to be filed away. They just are what they are. It is perfectly ok to leave these little bits just lying around until they will naturally find their own space.
Your friends and family may not understand how you got into such a mess. The truth is that sometimes the muddle of your mental health can accumulate so slowly that you don’t really notice it until it seems like a task too big to cope with. Just break it down into small sections, deal with one little section at a time and eventually you will chip away at it and start to see results.
Now I bet you’re all wondering how long that pile of mess stayed underneath my kitchen mat for…….Only a few days!!!!