I have had a mental illness – I know the stigma, the funny looks, the discrimination that comes from having an illness no one can see.
I was poorly – really poorly and although I tried to sort myself out I continued to decline. I broke – I couldn’t get out of bed. My body hurt and I felt – well nothing – empty and hollow. I could only put it into words and describe it after watching Harry Potter believe it or not, until then the feeling was too hard to explain. My depression felt like the demeantors had sucked every piece of happiness out of me and I was just a shell. It was a physical pain as well as a mental emptiness.
I was taken to the doctors by my husband who was amazingly understanding – I am very lucky. I know a lot of people who have been through something similar and weren’t fortunate to have partners who could appreciate how debilitating it can be.
I was prescribed anti depressants as well as CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
I don’t really talk about this time in my life but I’m sharing it because it’s important that you know that I get it. I am not embarrassed about it but its hard to think about, as the thoughts were, at times so dark they were scary. I knew I wanted to live – I love my family too much to leave them without a mum and a wife but I also knew I didn’t want to feel the way I did anymore.
I waited 2 months for CBT and had a weekly session with a lovely lady who helped me think about my life and how I could think and do things differently in the future so I never felt that poorly again. She also introduced me to self care which changed my life.
Self care is exactly what it says it is – caring for yourself. We are all busy, we all have other priorities in life and sometimes we forget ourselves. I have heard so many times ‘I just carry on’ or ‘I don’t have time for me’ or ‘I have too much to do to think about myself.’
Why do we feel we have to carry on until breaking point until we administer care to ourselves? We either get ill physically or mentally because our bodies and minds simply say ‘enough.’
How often you self care is personal and individual- no one can tell you how often you pencil in time for yourself – it’s all about how you feel. All I know for sure is you shouldn’t wait until you are broken to do it!!
When I was at my lowest I needed daily self care for hours on end – I needed to be treated gently by my family, I needed support for everyday tasks that I just couldn’t manage, I needed my friends to just come and watch tv with me as I couldn’t chat, I needed to sit in the sun, feeling the warmth on my face, I needed to say no to meeting up with people or going into public places. And it went on. This was more important than anything and I wish my doctor would have prescribed all these things as well as the tablets. If he had prescribed self care I wouldn’t have felt guilty.
Guilt is one of the main reasons I think we don’t practise self care enough and why it should be prescribed.
We often see taking time out for ourselves as indulgent – something that we should ‘treat’ ourselves to. No..simply no.
Self care should be practised all of the time – if you are well then maybe you just need to take time out once a month. You may need it once a week – you may need it every day. Whatever you need – do it – don’t make excuses don’t say ‘well it’s not that easy.’ It is easy you just have to know how important it is.
I am not a doctor but if I were I would prescribe it to you. A prescription to care for you, however that looks – to take time out to do what you need to do to be whole, to feel amazing.
I self care regularly. I fit it in around working and looking after 4 kids and a house full of pets. I take time for me because I NEVER EVER want to feel like the demeantors have sucked my happiness away again.
Look after yourself – Care for yourself – Love yourself