Every morning, I get up. I shower, brush my teeth, prepare lunch boxes and school uniforms. Then I take my medication. It’s an ingrained routine that I could do in my sleep – a streamlined process that ensures everyone’s out the door on time and my sanity is in check, my bipolar disorder held at bay.

However, the other day there was a slight interruption to my normal activities.

I’d forgotten to swallow those magic pills, so rushed back into the bedroom to take them. My six-year-old son was hot on my heels. After asking if he could have a third breakfast, he watched as I swallowed down the tablets with a slug of tea.

“Why do you take those, Mummy? he asked, his face inquisitive. I paused, before replying, “They’re just for my head.” I ushered him out and no more was said.

Later on that day, I thought about how I’d responded. In some respects, I hadn’t lied – after all the tablets were for my head. But, I hadn’t been completely honest either. I was unsure how much you explain to a six-year-old. Plus, the timing was hardly perfect for such a discussion.

But with mental health issues on the rise, it’s a discussion we do need to have. According to beyondblue, approximately 3 million Australians currently suffer with anxiety and depression alone. In addition to this, there are the countless people suffering with issues such as bipolar, OCD and schizophrenia, to name a few.

– Jo Hartley

Read more: ‘Why do you take those pills, Mummy?’ Explaining mental illness to my six-year-old

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