If you have any kind of mood disorder, you’ve heard the phrase before. It’s a key component of living…
It is how you “deal” with life.
What happens when you decide to throw all of your coping mechanism out the window? What happens when you don’t take the time to do the things you absolutely need to do to be a contributing member of society?
Life and living goes out the window.
The past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten a front row seat to the destruction I cause when I neglect myself.
Here’s what’s going on in my life in case you don’t know.
I’m preparing for grad school.
I’m getting married.
Just one of these things is stressful enough to send me into a tailspin. Just one of these things should cause me to increase the time I spend practicing self care.
Let me take a minute to note that this is not a “why me” or “feel sorry for me” post.
This is a “learn from me and my mistakes” post.
I have completely neglected doing everything I can to make sure that my mental health stays on the positive side of things.
I haven’t spent any time with my journal.
I haven’t spent any time with my books.
I haven’t spent any time with my yarn.
I haven’t spent any time doing the things I know I need to do to in order to be a functioning human being.
What has it led to?
Arguments. Lots of them.
I love William. I do. So much. More than I ever thought I could possibly love someone. I could go on and on about how much he means to me, how much he’s caused me to heal, and how much the prospect of having to share him with someone has caused me to reevaluate just how many children I want to have. It doesn’t matter how much I say I love him if I don’t show it. The past couple of weeks I have been terrible at doing just that.
Neglecting my self care caused me to neglect our relationship.
Never in my life have I realized just how much someone else’s happiness can be so influenced by my own. I’m not saying that I hold all the power or that we are completely dependent upon each other. I’m saying that I am so loved that my “off days” (or in this case weeks) influence him as deeply as they do me. Me not practicing self care is as debilitating to him as it is to me. By not doing those things and taking the time I need, I caused myself to become so anxious that little things bothered me. The things that I love most about him became the things I hated. All of my problems were bigger than his. I wanted all of his time, his attention, and his focus. When he tried to give it to me, it still wasn’t enough.
Neglecting self care is selfish.
This past week I sent William a couple of different text messages that said I need to stop packing and crochet for a little bit. His response was always, then do it. Did I? No. I decided to continue doing something I knew was causing me to be more anxious. While it may seem selfish to stop what I’m doing and focus on myself, it is more selfish to not do it. Now that I have realized just how negatively it can impact our relationship, it is even more selfish to not do it.
Start practicing self care.
I have a tendency to share articles on Facebook about anxiety. While they may have some truth and be good information, most of the time they focus on what the world can do for people with anxiety instead of causing the person with the illness to be responsible for their behavior.
Stop focusing on what the world can do for you and start focusing on what you can do for yourself. I’m not saying to develop a narcissistic world view. I’m saying start taking responsibility for making your illness manageable. I had a panic attack yesterday that would have been entirely preventable if I would have just told William what was going on instead of playing a martyr and pretending like everything was okay.
You have the ability to make your life better.
You have the ability to make your illness manageable.
You have the ability to make the choice to be bigger than the problem you are facing.
You have the ability to put your trust in something bigger than yourself.
It comes down to you.
You have to make the choice.