Updated: Jun 17, 2021
I'm going to just come right out and say it – I don’t have a diagnosed mental health condition. Sure, I’ve been depressed at times but I’ve never experienced what some of my loved ones have been through with depression and tried to describe to me the best they can about their experience. It's indescribable. So although I could easily say I’m out of my league on this one, as a person that had to overcome a really intense chronic health condition, as well as a lifelong student of self-care & preventative health, there’s a message I’d like to share with people that live with mental health challenges and I think it’s worth the read.
My personal health crisis entails an undiagnosed physical condition rather than a mental condition. I dealt with CFIDS (or chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome) in my mid 20’s into my early 30’s for 7 years. Trying to navigate the complexities of this condition led me to go to school for acupuncture where I received numerous treatments that eventually led me out of my crisis. The kindness of my parents and the space they provided allowed me to be able to give fully to my recovery. Trying anything & everything I thought would give me relief, I was able to give myself a lot of self-care. However, I still struggled to give myself permission to completely indulge in self-care, as it often felt overly self-involved.
The landscape of self-care was different during this time period (in the 80's) and I often felt alone and misunderstood. The steps I was taking to heal my body seemed over the top to many. Now, through social media, I watch others celebrate their journeys to recovery using similar techniques and I am thankful for the evolution our society is experiencing in this vein. I absolutely love the focus so many have on their self care. I felt I had to ask people for permission for my self care, rather than just being able to get lost in it and practice it unrelentlessly in front of others. There would be eye-rolling or teasing when I needed to make myself meals or take my daily dose of vitamins or read and practice my spiritual techniques. Even to this day, I find i have to tune the nay-sayers out around my eating habits. Often self-doubt would set in.
People don’t grow up being shown what really deep self-care looks like, and most don’t even know it exists. If it helps you to ask for permission or have a discussion around your healing process, whatever your healing process is, then consider doing that. My hope for all those wanting or needing to indulge in more self-care is that more people will break through this stigma if it’s talked about more from the people going through it. It’s quite obvious that not everyone is going to understand it, I don’t need to tell you that. There are a lot of people that take self-care in various, unrecognizable ways and there are a lot of people that have no clue what self-care looks like. Let them know what you are doing and WHY and that you’d appreciate their support and that more importantly, you NEED their support. My hope for you is you get the permission and the love and the support you are looking for.
There is no greater or better way to get through a physical or mental health condition than self-care, a heaping helping ton of self-care. Simply, there are very few ways around that, with or without medication. If it helps to hear it from me, then here it is. You’ve got MY permission to take all the care of yourself you need. Be as self-involved as you need to be your best self. Set boundaries! Be careful of the energy you take in from others. Take great care of yourself, whatever that looks like for you. To me it's inspiring and inspires and I celebrate your healing journey.