Jenna Brown

Jenna Brown

Our circle of women

On Friday I decided to set up a mental health group on FB. I tossed and turned about making it female only, or not, but settled on female only. I had no idea it would be so useful to people. Within 2 days there were over 150 members, sharing intimate details of their lives and illness with other women in the group.

It got me thinking, about how lacking this type of community is in society. If this group was snapped up that quickly, by so many, it’s safe to say there are many more out there who are struggling. If I’m honest I felt a bit overwhelmed by day 2 but a wonderful friend messaged me and said “don’t feel like you need to advise everyone or you’ll burn out, leave it to the group to answer one another” I was super grateful to receive this message and it lifted a bit of pressure off me.

It’s kind of consumed the past few days because I’ve been letting people in and welcoming them. Just last night I had 199 member requests! Not all of which could be approved, because they hadn’t answered the questions, but it was a lot to wake up to. I’m going to have to manage it so it doesn’t overwhelm me.

It’s coming up 3 weeks booze free tomorrow. I haven’t really been bothered about missing out on anything, though I did feel like a glass of Pinot on Friday night. My mood has been a lot more stable and I’ve woken up every day with a clear head and a lot more energy. In the evenings I have been sipping on herbal tea instead.

My sleep has been so much better, that’s the most noticeable thing for me about not drinking, my sleep is unbroken and a lot more restful. I don’t wake up with anxiety, guilt feelings or regret. No hang-xiety for me - it’s so nice.

I’m not sure how long I’ll abstain from alcohol, I have no desire to drink any at this stage so I guess for the foreseeable. It’s funny, I often take a month or more off from alcohol at a time and I say to Chris “it’s so weird how good I feel at the moment” he laughs, because it’s really not a mystery that I feel this clarity and improvement in life, it happens every-time, I just seem to forget.

I’ve been using my evenings to colour in with my fancy new fine liners and a new book which my neighbour kindly gave to me. I find it so relaxing. Even more relaxing than reading. I think it’s the colour that gives me all the joy, matching them up, deciding what goes where (though 9/10 it’s green leaves and purple flowers) sometimes I think to myself “stop with those colours and change it up” then I think “nah”. Is it ok to have thought conversations with yourself? lol

We are already through to the second week of the school holidays. It’s nice now, the school holidays, I don’t think I would’ve coped well having all this covid “at home” time with a younger child, but 13 is kind of a perfect age. We have a lot of fun together and enjoy each other’s company. I haven’t got a lot of work done but I’m not really bothered about that. Life is short and right now the world is all topsy turvy so I’m taking all the good feels i can get.

Chris and I watched a new series on Netflix this week called the Squid Games, it was quite good, not as good as Bates Motel (my fave series of all time) but it was up there. Interesting seeing all these dystopian shows, handmaids tale and the like, makes me wonder if the world will ever go that way. Seems like nothing is certain anymore.

I’m getting more and more excited for my mental health and addictions course at Massey to start, wish I didn’t have to wait until next year because I really want to get going. I’m wondering how I can make a career out of helping people with their mental health, without entering the hospital system or becoming a life coach. I’m all ears to any ideas!


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Disclaimer: The J Word NZ and its media content are created based on my own experiences and opinions, as well as those individuals who share their stories with me. I do not have any formal medical or mental health qualifications. If you are experiencing any issues with mental health, please consult your doctor or a medical health professional for advice.

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