Self Care beyond Bath Bombs.

Hello!

Self care is something that has become far more prominent lately. It’s all over social media, tumblr tells us to buy fancy bath bombs and instagram tells us to share it’s rainbow glitter to the world. But self care can be so much more than running a warm bath at the end of a long day. Sure, painting our nails and taking this quiet time for ourselves can definitely be part of self care, but I’m starting to see that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.


(Image sourced from: Gonzalo Martínez Moreno).

I stumbled upon this quote recently, and it’s wonderful. We are so encouraged and expected to work hard, in a way that is often unhealthy for ourselves. The concept of “working hard” or “doing your best” is often skewed to give the meaning of working until it hurts you. Of working beyond what is healthy for you. Of giving all of yourself to something, until you have nothing left.

“self care is not a reward for being responsible or for working hard. you don’t ‘deserve’ or ‘not deserve’ to be nice to yourself. you are an alive person and rather than thinking of self care as incentives or bonuses you can get by adhering to and succeeding at abled standards (at a detriment to your health), you can think of it as: making deposits of self esteem by caring for yourself and allowing yourself nice things and feelings. you don’t have to deplete yourself to EMPTY before filling yourself back up again. you can do nice things for yourself before you hit the bottom.” (elvendork).


(Image sourced from: carloshache.tumblr.com)

In “doing our best”, I’m starting to understand that we also need to do what’s best for our own well-being. There is the very black-and-white idea of all or nothing, which is perpetuated within so many rivers in society. It could be exercising too much. It could be devoting all your time to work or study, so much so that you don’t have any time for your mind to rest. It could be staying in toxic situations. We shouldn’t have to drain ourselves of all zest and life before we feel that we deserve to refuel.

And deserve, this little word pops up all throughout self care. It’s so hard to believe that by simply being a person, this allows us the right of being kind to ourselves. I find it helpful to try and think of yourself as you would a friend or a child. They deserve to be treated with kindness and care. And they are you too.

Somethings that can really help with this messier, soul related self care are small things that can make a big difference to your mindspace. 

  • Make sure you take your medication
  • Eat all your meals
  • Plan in time to work and therefore too time to rest
  • Talk to those close to you
  • Tell yourself, regardless of how you feel, that you are strong in being able to leave toxic people and situations
  • Open the windows
  • Tidy your room
  • Head outside, even if it’s just on your lunch break
  • Find what makes you excited, and run to it
  • Choose the people who choose you

And absolutely, work hard. Define your dreams and chase them, wildly and freely. But remember first and foremost that you are a person, and just because you are busy and striving, that does not mean you are excused from the basics, from kindness. You need to have enough care from you to you, so you can run towards those dreams.

Take that bath with the beautiful bath bombs and enjoy it. But try and nourish that soul of yours too. Remember that if doing your best involves harming yourself in the process, it really is not your best.

Love & light,

Kaitlyn.

One Year.

It’s hard to know where to begin.

When did everything stop becoming too much, and I not enough?

Is that when it changed?

Or maybe, it’s all still the same, but I am learning how to cope now.

Image result for self harm art hope

(Image sourced from: http://rebloggy.com/post/love-art-quote-life-happy-depression-sad-quotes-beautiful-motivation-words-pain/118689143386).

Today, it’s been one year since I last self harmed.

And, I am so, so happy.

A year ago, I finally asked for help. Seven years too late, but just in time.

I remember trying to talk my way out of having to go. I remember breaking down in the doctor’s office. I remember how much it stung. I remember reading what was happening off my phone, because I couldn’t trust myself to actually say the words instead of just running out of the room.

The first thing she did was make me write down the number for the mental health crisis team. Then we did the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. This became a regular feature over the next few months. I have lost count of the number of times that good old Kessler has calculated just how awful things were.

Then we talked about medication. She gave me drugs to help quieten the thoughts.

Every few days afterwards, my doctor would ring, just to chat. She would send me TED talks to watch. I was told to come back all the time. And I did. The medication was increased to the highest dose.

After my brain, and all the things whirling around inside, began to stabilise, I was referred to the local psychological services clinic. I spent a few months going there.

My psychologist taught me how to breathe again.

She also had some pretty interesting theories about how things got this way.

I’m still trying to work them out today.

I also did an online CBT course. It helped keep me accountable.

After eight months, my husband decided that I was ready for all of our sharp things to return. I remember we would chop up all our apples into little pieces, just because we now could.

I was so proud that day.

All the knives, scissors, keys, nail clippers, staplers, razors and pins were unearthed. They were removed from their secret hiding place. I still don’t know where that was.

And I could be trusted with them.

It was really, really hard at first, having so much temptation around me.

Sometimes it still is hard. But I can never go back to how things were.

I can never let myself cause that sort of pain to the people close to me again.

At least, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

Because the thing is, some days I really can. But I won’t.

I won’t.

I am so thankful, thankful more than words can say, for everything my doctor, husband, family and friends did for me.

I am so thankful that they never gave up on me, especially when I did.

Today, I am free from the pain that self harm has caused.

Free for 365 days, after years of  not being able to go more than a week without. Free from having to self harm multiple times per day, just to get my mind what felt like under control.

Image result for recovery art

(Image sourced from: http://tobereal.org/whatyoufeel/karenjames).

The scars still litter my skin, but they don’t bother me. They probably won’t go anywhere for a while, but that’s okay.

They are neither good nor bad. They are simply etches from the past.

And today, I’m learning to live in the present.

It’s so hard to get through to people for who this is their present, that there is more than this. Something that sticks with me, is that each of us had every chance not to be us. In terms of probability, we shouldn’t be here.

But we are. And we all deserve so much more than a life of pain.

Sometimes, when it’s so painful that you want everything to end, it feels impossible to cope in any way other than old, destructive paths.

But when have these ways ever helped you? When would you ever tell your younger self, or a friend, to do what you do?

They don’t. You wouldn’t.

Because we deserve so much more.

Today, I’m still taking medication. I’m still trying to deal with the diagnoses. I’m still trying to cope with the past.

But today, I have hope. And this hope makes me feel free.

And that life is worth living.

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.