Mental Health and Motherhood - your kids WILL be ok.

Trigger warning – this article talks about suicide and child sexual abuse xx

Christie-Lee is someone I have always admired from a distance on her various social media platforms so I was thrilled when she agreed to feature as a guest first on Mummy Matcher and now on She Can Thrive. Christie-Lee is raw, honest and makes no apologies for who she is or what she believes in. She has overcome such adversity, trauma and quite frankly, tragedy to get where she is today. This article will be a breath of fresh air for the Mum reading it that also struggles with her own mental health challenges and we are so proud to bring it to you all.

Who was Christie-Lee before she had kids?

She was a lost and scared teenager who had survived childhood trauma, sexual abuse, alcoholism and drug addiction. She was a reckless risk taker who hated herself and only started loving herself when her daughter Tigah Rose was conceived and saved her life.

You're a Mum of 4 girls; what is something you love about each of them?

They all have such different personalities and talents, each one has her own unique little quirks and are such loving girls.

Tigah Rose is such a helpful and willing teen and her art is incredible, Aiva- Leilani is full of sass and is a budding photographer, Layla-Malanna is hilarious without meaning to be and then most loving of all the girls and Amarlie Briallen who is funny and smart and my little besty.

They’re all amazing kids!

What is something about being a Mum that drives you bonkers?

The fighting!

The never ending, can’t even walk past you in the hallway, you looked at me funny, I’ve never used that but now you have it I want it, sibling rivalry!

What is the biggest misconception made by society about single mums?

That we are lazy, don’t want to work and we are looking for a baby daddy. I work twice as hard as most parents who have help, I work my ass off and the last thing I want is a man in my house no matter how shocking that may be.

You live with bipolar and are very open about your struggles, for our readers who have never experienced bipolar, can you try and explain what it feels like?

It is very hard to explain how it feels.

It’s like an ocean, the waves of depression just keep crashing down on you and dragging you under, then the water recedes and you feel amazing because you can breathe again for a few days or months.

You are manic and feel invincible surviving that wave and then another wave comes and pulls you right back under. It’s not an easy way to live for me or my girls.

What is it actually like living and trying to parent with mental health struggles? Has anyone ever asked you that?

I have been asked that and the weird part is it’s all I’ve ever known so I’m not sure what it’s like not too. I see my girls suffer more than most when I can’t get myself out of bed for months on end. I live in constant fear that they’ll get sick too as mental health is so common now and is hereditary.

Some days it feels like I’m not even a parent because the girls do so much for me when I am so lethargic and exhausted, other days when I’m manic I do everything for everyone and once again end up exhausted but in a different way.

It can be draining and extremely rewarding knowing that each day we get through is another day I survived and the girls were loved.

To the Mum reading this who is at the start of her mental health journey, what are 3 pieces of advice you would give her now that you’re on “the other side?”

1. That you’re allowed to check out. As a parent it’s ok to say ‘nope, fuck it I’m out today’ your children WILL survive. Take a day to look after you.

2. There is ‘the other side’ to look forward to, no matter how bad the days are or how long the nights are; tomorrow is another day.

3. Be kind to yourself, society is already mean enough. Our families and friends are trying their best to understand but sometimes they’re going to fail to see why you’re reacting or behaving in a certain way but just know you don’t need to punish yourself for how your mind works.

On top of your challenges with mental health, you have also lost two significant men in your life to suicide; your youngest daughter's father and also your best friend who you describe as your soul mate. It's one thing to have someone you love die but how do you cope/explain/deal with the fact that both these men ended their own lives?

A lot of counselling and therapy has been needed. I understand why both of them suicided to an extent, they both had their demons and felt they couldn’t go on but the damage that is left behind is incredibly hard to deal with on your own so I have no shame in getting help from professionals.

Explaining it to others has never been hard but telling my children was extremely difficult and my youngest doesn’t know h