Mental health and me
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve done battle with mental health. But basically, anxiety & OCD are my demons. And I’m not talking cleaning door handles & alphabetical CD organisation when I say OCD. I mean the debilitating, frustratingly physically painful & life-controlling OCD.
Medication & CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) is a short term fix, and if you work at it, frees you of the compulsions and gets you your life back. However, once back in the real world where stress and upset is reality, the anxiety and OCD will likely rear its ugly head again. OCD is a bully, it’s habitual, addictive and makes you think you can’t cope unless you follow it. (It’s such a knob).
So what is going to help someone with OCD?
Happy as a Ma in muck
Go and get covered in animal 💩💩 of course!
Or at least this is after recovering from 3 weeks of gastroenteritis (the type that causes temporary liver damage) with going from having a sterile immune system from all the OCD cleaning to starting to eat cow muck in a milking parlour anyway 😋 (it’s soooo worth it though – I totally recommend it).
In all seriousness, getting back to being outdoors, fresh air, being completely worn out from physical work and doing something for myself has been so empowering and given me a sense of worth again. Not to mention, making friends and learning. I needed the CBT to get back on track. However, it’s been the farm and its way of life that has done the long-lasting healing.
I’ve no intention to be ‘farmer of the year’ or anything; I don’t have the agricultural knowledge or experience to be anything remotely like it. Plus, I have a somewhat repetitive habit of making and busting out babies that takes up quite a bit of my time too!!
For me, it is about simplifying life again. Take the pressure off. Work out what is important. Family and my children: yes. A clean car and holidays: no. Get back to nature, being outdoors, growing and rearing our own food, living and eating with the seasons, reconnecting with nature, taking time to watch the clouds and hugging calves.
Roll the dice
After some ridiculous financial gambles (that still aren’t completely sorted out yet), plus the ongoing search for viable land now for us as a family this is the lifestyle we are working towards. This is how we wish to raise our children and the priorities like caring for our animals and working together we want to pass onto them. The children can do whatever they like when they are grown – as long as they are happy. Yes in our wildest dreams we would love to have viable farm business to pass down to them, but on an achievable and realistic level as that of a first-generation (skint) wannabe farmer, to give them this childhood as a foundation block to grow from is the goal.
As a girl, I was happy having the freedom to ride my bike through the fields of cows. Life didn’t need to be as complicated as we had made it. Walking away from a career, throwing away a half-completed social work degree in the process, still feels right. I had spent years working in child protection was it was hard; it played a big part in my mental health problems.
Anyway, there’s no room for mind bullies now thanks. I like smelling like a farmyard & having no holidays or a clean house. We all do. I used to care and worry about what people thought of me. I really haven’t the time to be bothered anymore.
We get lots of lovely comments and encouragement from social media – as well as abuse and negativity because we rear and eat our own meat. Meat from animals raised well, under my own nose, having consumed a healthy diet free from GM feeds. Not shipped from overseas countries and produced in mass numbers out of season. (Sorry just don’t get the comments about shearing sheep being abusive or eploiting hens by eating eggs?!!)
Please seek help if any of my story has rung true. Honestly, I never thought OCD could be beaten. I liked it, it was funny once upon a time, and I thought it was part of my identity. (If you require advice about abuse from online trolls – sorry I have none other than delete and block !!)
There’s always a root cause with OCD – please don’t think you can’t be free if it. I’m proof you can. I was told when I went for CBT that I was beyond community mental health support. However, the waiting times for higher services was months. I agreed to do battle & so did the therapist & between us I was discharged and on my farm journey a few months later.
It turns out OCD was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
Ma @ Bernard’s Farm.
As always, thanks to Pa who is just my best friend and works his stinky socks off for our ever-expanding family.