Managing Mental Illness as a Parent – Brain Fog, Confusion & Memory Problems.

Planning to help mental illness

I have never hidden the truth from my readers that I suffer with mental illness, in fact it was my story about Postpartum Psychosis that started Welsh Mummy Blogs.

That one post catapulted me into a world of mental health awareness and it gave me opportunities to train, understand and eventually have the tools available to help me manage my condition and share that advice with other parents.

I am not saying I can always manage my illness, i’m not saying that by following my advice or tips you will become the perfect parent. Really no one is!

What I am trying to achieve by sharing my tips is that by adding certain coping mechanisms into our daily life, we can live a somewhat ‘organised’ life with our children whilst our mental illness is playing up.

After talking to parents who suffer from numerous mental health conditions, all reported that the most bothersome symptom and usually one of the first symptoms of declining mental health is brain fog.

Brain fog symptoms are – confusion, frustration, disorientation, memory problems, you may feel like nothing sinks in. You may feel like things are muddled or impaired.

Everything seems to woosh around in your brain and hours turn into days. Everything is an effort. It can become frustrating when you forget important appointments and you may feel guilty when you forget to meet up with friends or family.

When feeling like this as a busy parent it can interfere with daily activities such as, being on time for school, packing a lunch box and remembering when homework is due.

You may forget about after school clubs, to wash a school uniform midweek or forget to pay for school trips. You may even turn up late for a school concert – I wont lie the above has happened to me.

I have felt like a failing parent, I have been questioned by teachers at times and confronted over my lateness picking up my children. It makes me feel awful and I have even broken down in tears when questioned. But how do you explain your reasons to a school without them worrying.

Brain fog affects us all at some point in our lives, however, it really can be the start of something more. If you are reading this and it’s happening to you regularly, please do make an appointment with your GP. (I am not a mental health professional – This is advice)

So you have read what I can be like when brain fog is about, now let me tell you how I try my best to avoid interference’s at home.

    • Get organised – I find it easier to manage things if I write them down. I don’t use technology or the calendar in my mobile phone. I don’t use any planning online apps as a weekly planner. I find phones can be distracting and I usually browse Facebook or Instagram instead of checking my diary.

 

    • Buy an old school kitchen calendar – I find I have more control with a paper calendar. I can easily add things to it and its a useful tool for all family members as they can add to it. Its also placed in the kitchen where everyone can access it.

 

    • Buy a cork board. – Cork boards are great for pinning things to. Important letters, bills, hospital appointment’s, repeat scripts for medication and school letters.

 

    • Try using a weekly planner – I use a weekly planner and blue tack it to my fridge. I update my planner every Sunday. The planner is used to plan out our weekly meals, after school activities and shopping list.

 

    • Make a shopping list – When I have brain fog I find it really hard to remember what I need when I walk into a shop! It used to really upset and anger me. Since writing down meals on my weekly planner I can make a list of food to buy for the week – Writing a list of what you need (not want) can also save you money!
      If you are not feeling up to going out, you could always do an online shop. Online shopping has been my saving grace over the years.

 

    • Make family and friends aware – Don’t struggle with this on your own. If those around you are not aware that you are struggling they wont understand why you are acting a certain way. Let them know you have brain fog, make them aware that it is making you forgetful.

 

    • Ask family to help, let them know that you are needing help with certain things like making a meal plan or writing a list. Inform your partner/spouse that you have an important appointment or other important duties, they may be able to remind you.

 

A diary to help Mental Illness

Not only do I use the above methods to try and keep my family life running smooth, I also try my best to keep a diary.

Each evening I write my diary. When I am feeling well I could write in it forever but when brain fog attacks I find I cant be bothered.

Its important though. Just writing a brief account of your day is a good way to help your brain process what you have been doing.

I really hope these tips help you get more organised when mental illness strikes. I for one know that if I didn’t have the above in place, I would feel as though my mental illness is spiraling out of control and taking over my life.

More mental health tips coming soon.

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