There is a lot of misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental health and mental illnesses. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses in Britain (mentalhealth.org.uk) and over 16 million people here in the U.S., have had at least one episode of major depression in the past year (NIMH). In my attempt to help break this stigma all over the world, get people to comfortably talk about mental health openly, and unite for mental health awareness, I am having real conversations with prominent influencers in today’s society, about the issue at hand.
It was an honor to begin this discussion with Anna Whitehouse, formally known as Mother Pukka in the realm of social media. As a journalist, editor, wife, and mom, turned entrepreneur, making her love of work and parenting coexist harmoniously, Mother Pukka has graciously and hilariously opens up her world to us, and talking about mental health is no exception. From self care tips to crying in the fruit aisle of Tesco, Mother Pukka keeps it real about how important it is to care for your mental health.
Dominique: Mother Pukka! I am so honored to have you be apart of my new ‘break the stigma’ initiative: a conversation series. Thank you for taking the time to do this:)
Mother Pukka (MP): Of course! Sorry I’ve been a bit all over the place and not got it over sooner. My organizational skills are a concern on many levels.
Dominique: Taking care of your mental health is so important. How does Mother Pukka make time for herself with such a busy schedule?
MP: I do two things every day: have an apple and a black filter coffee at 9am and a bath with some kind of posh foam at 10pm. I book-end the day with these small things so there’s some order in the chaos. And it is chaos – I don’t trust myself crossing the road at times. Like, basic stuff.
Dominique: What does that alone time mean to you, and how does it affect your day or days?
MP: Alone time is stuff like this. Writing words to or for people I like – people who have got in touch because there’s a thread of unity somewhere. I can’t explain it but I like meeting people through the pixels. The Internet/ social media doesn’t scare me like it does some; I think it’s a great place to connect (and, perhaps, to cry together through the madness.)
Dominique: There is a lot of misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental illnesses. What advice would you give parents who are leary of seeking help, because of this stigma?
MP: Just do it. It’s done well for Nike. I’m a believer in stepping into things and working it out afterwards – that includes seeking help. What is there to lose?
Dominique: Can we get really real for a second, Mother Pukka:)?
MP: Sure, go ahead.
Dominique: After giving birth to your beautiful Mae, did you have any experience with the baby blues or postpartum depression? How did you overcome it?
MP: I don’t think I realized it at the time but yes, definitely looking back. There was a point where I was stood in Tesco holding a pineapple with one solitary tear running down my cheek. Yeah, I wasn’t in great shape. But I hauled my ass out of the building and went and did things that brought me together with other people feeling weird in the fruit aisle of Tesco.
Dominique: Mother Pukka, again, thank you so much for taking this time to help spread awareness about how important it is to care for your mental health and breaking the stigma of having a mental illness!
MP: OF course, I’ve loved being in touch. Such a great thing to highlight.
For more information about Mother Pukka and to keep abreast on how she is tackling parenthood, as well as ‘finding order through the chaos’, visit her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook!
(photo courtesy of Anna Whitehouse)
*To inquire about how to get involved in the ‘break the stigma’ initiative: a conversation series, please contact me.