I Finally Feel Free – A Nanny’s Mental Health Story

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For Mental Health Day 2020 we are sharing Nannies’ personal stories of how they manage their mental health.
Timothy L Brock

Content Warning: self harm / attempted suicide 

In July 2016 I suffered a mental breakdown with direct links to a narcissistic mother and abusive childhood.  I self-harmed and attempted suicide several times. This led to a diagnosis of anxiety, depression and Borderline Personality disorder with Psychosis and mild OCD.

At my absolute lowest points, I hear voices and see things known as Auditory and Visual Hallucinations. This is managed daily now with a cocktail of medication but is generally only an issue if I am super stressed or low. This is when the OCD kicks in too, I don’t suffer like others do but I wash my hands continuously to the point of them cracking and bleeding and I bleach every surface several times a day.

 Alongside this the generalised anxiety and BPD make day to day living quite hard. BPD and anxiety make me a worrier, I overthink everything, I am clingy and I crave validation from other people. On bad days my anxiety levels cause me to vomit in the mornings even when there is not really anything to be anxious about.

Generally, I only have the emotional capacity to have one close friend at a time but I put everything into the friendship and get very jealous when they have others. I struggle with romantic relationships as I close down, I’m not emotional and I find it hard to be my true self. I trust too easily and more often than not end up in toxic situations. I am dependent on other people constantly. I feel like I need protecting from myself. 

In the workplace I am usually walked all over and taken advantage of. I absolutely never say no to a request as I worry the opinion of me will change. I will work myself into exhaustion in a bid to make people like me. In a retail role previously, I worked 27 days in a row with 21 of those days being 15 hour shifts because they were short staffed. It’s one of the reasons I love nannying and working with children. The parental relationships are hard but the actual working with children is such a relief. There is no ulterior motive or fake friendliness, no levels to unpick, you know exactly where you stand with children and without the worry of their opinion or making them like you, it’s easier to just do your job and do your best to love, protect and help raise the child. The biggest issue is the parents. When I am working for open and honest parents it’s great and I love my job but those sorts of parents seem to be rare. 

Over the years of therapy, medication and life experience I have learnt to manage my mental health. I draw, paint (badly), write poetry, write stories, practice breathing exercises and one of the biggest factors in my recovery is my dog. Animals are an amazing help when I am low. This year is the first year I finally feel confident to follow my dreams so a week ago I upped sticks and moved to Portugal. So far, the effect on my mental health has been incredible. There is no pressure, people don’t know me. I finally feel free. 

Written by a nanny, 30, Portugal. 

If you are struggling with your mental health, there is help available.Take a look at Hub of Hope to find your nearest services. 

Join us in The Nanny Lounge for Tea and Talk Sunday 11th October 2020. 

About Nalo

Nalo is an online community created to support nannies in the UK. We offer advice, resources, campaigns and meet ups to build a foundation for the nanny community. 

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