This is What Anxiety and Depression Looks Like (Pt. 13)

“I hope you’re taking care of yourself!”

“Are you drinking enough water?”

“Treat yo’self! Have a warm bath later.”

“Practice self care, babe.”

These are all things I hear on a weekly basis. And while the intention is good, and all of these things are great — we need to talk about self care. To put it simply, we can’t make it just about treating ourselves to foods, luxuries or relaxation time. Self care isn’t necessarily about indulgence. That’s not to say that it can’t exist in these ways; Sometimes all you need is a day off, or to spoil yourself. But it’s important to realize that self care needs to encompass more than that.

Self care can also be about addressing self injury, including how to deal with wounds, how to clean them and how to accept scars. It can include coping mechanisms of all forms. Self care can help teach us how to find things that allow us to snap out of attacks.

Self care needs does not necessarily need to equal self love. Self-love and acceptance, as it has been said, is not a one time checklist. It takes some work every single day for the entirety of your life.

And I think we need to treat it the same way as self love. Self care is a hard thing to do, and it has to be acknowledged. It’s very easy to tell others to make sure they’re eating during the day or that they’re getting a few hours of sleep a night, but can be very hard to practice what you preach during an episode. Seeing it in the same light as self love (in that it can take years and years to achieve) is a more practical way of trying to take care of ourselves a majority of the time.

It can be frustrating to spill all of these heavy feelings, only to be countered with “Why don’t you go get some ice cream and have a nap?” THAT SOUNDS DELICIOUS AND WONDERFUL. BUT SELF CARE ISN’T A SOLUTION. But it’s very easy to treat it that way! I’m guilty of it! We want other people to be nice to themselves when we can’t be there to do it for them, but insisting that things like a nice lunch or a new item of clothing can combat the complexity behind these feelings is problematic. Again, there’s nothing wrong with these forms of self care. But there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. And as people who love others with a mental illness, we need to be cognizant of that.

This is what anxiety and depressions looks like.