As a 22-year-old woman living in the year 2020, I’ve had quite a lot of time to contemplate relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but Continue reading “What I’ve Learned From Relationships: The Anxious Nat Edition”
Welcome back to another blog post of my blathering! I am so grateful to everyone who continues to read even when Continue reading “The Power of Teaching Your Kids about Emotions”
Let’s Stop Referring to Self-Care as a “Fad”
Hello my lovely readers! I find myself with a lot of time to write lately, so I hope you don’t mind me shoving myself into your Internet spaces! While everyone has been occupied with COVID-19, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection, which has, unfortunately, caused a long thought spiral of ever-present despair. One thing that’s come to light is how we treat self-care.
Since most of you who read my blog know, I have anxiety. I must take meds to control my anxious brain, and sometimes not even that is enough. What has also greatly helped is exploring new hobbies, taking time to myself, sleep, among other things. I am a firm believer in self-care and truly do think it’s wonderful to be selfish, (within reason), in order to give yourself time to just breathe and be you.
Some may treat self-care seriously as I do; taking time to relax, find their happy center, talk about it on social media, anything. Others treat self-care as a fad, something that will pass and to some, that is eye roll worthy. As a master of rolling my eyes at ridiculous things, I implore the latter group to stop referring self-care and self-expression as a such. Fad insinuates that whatever trendy is a nuisance, something that shouldn’t be taken seriously and isn’t worth your time. During these times, I find it helpful to celebrate self-care. It promotes physical, as well as mental well-being. Healthy conversations about every one’s happies is, in my opinion, essential to having healthy discussions and raising children to believe that mental health is indeed, health.
Personally, I’ve found that practicing self-care, as well as talking about it, makes me happier. I love sharing the small things that make me smile with the people who care to know. I love that I get to openly talk about how today, I felt less anxious because I did this. To the people who find it silly, don’t. If self-care is in fact a trend, then be part of the movement that keeps the trend going. Many people are benefitting from practicing open expression and acceptance.
For myself, I’ve really delved into my love for reading. I am the type of person who will go on a long reading stint, only to switch to podcasts, then movies, and back to books. I’ve always felt like I didn’t really belong anywhere because everyone around me seemed fixed in their hobbies and things they enjoyed at any given moment. It’s only recently that I’ve found someone who is like me and knowing that fact has brought great comfort in my quirky self. Practicing self-care through self-acceptance and love is essential to daily life, I’ve found. Something I’ve picked up recently, for example, is yoga. Not only is it low-impact exercise that is less likely to have me spraining an ankle or messing up my shoulder, but it’s relaxing, focusing on what you can do instead of what you can’t physically do. If I’m not reading or indulging in one of my hobbies with Dan Gibson’s “Solitudes” playing quietly in the background, I’m doing yoga. And it, is, delightful.
So instead of posting about the negatives on social medias, I try to focus on the good things that make me happy. Reading, shows, being introverted, yoga, coffee, and my dog. It’s not an end all solution to keep all the negativity out, but it helps me be able to discuss what makes me smile as opposed to letting anxious brain take over. Trust me, there’s plenty to be upset about, but also a lot to be immensely happy about.
So, let’s do that. Let’s cultivate a world of positivity that don’t treat fads as something to be scoffed at or dismissed. Some one else’s happies are not always going to be your happies, and that’s perfectly okay and acceptable. I know I say it a lot, but the more we positively focus on ourselves, the better we will be able to help those around us. Practice in moderation can make a happier environment, and as some one whose mood is greatly influenced by her environment, that’s important. Self-care, and by an extension, mental health, is not a fad. Accept, adapt, grow. Be better, do better, and teach the younger generations that mental health is part of well-being. We all know that we want our little ones to grow up to be something great, but they won’t do that if you set your expectations and their expectations of themselves don’t exactly line up. Life is a cruel device which we must learn to cope with, and letting younger kids explore the range of their happies is important and therefore lead to happier adults.
As always, I do hope everyone stays safe during this trying time. If you are quarantined, practice self-care. Remember, it’s not always going to be conventional, and that’s totally fine. As for me, I’m off to go do some yoga, and most likely remove Dodson from my yoga mat. (He considers himself a sleeping yoga master.) Talk at you guys soon!
It’s Been Almost a Year, and Guess What? I’m Still Anxious
Hey there everyone. Today’s post comes from a place of frustration, exasperation, and a severe lack of energy to explain that I am not ‘cured’ of my anxiety.
It’s almost been a full year of my taking my medication to help with my anxiety, and a lot of things I’ve heard over the past 12 months have been akin to, “Are you cured from this horrific disease plaguing your psyche yet?” The answer, my friends, is a resounding no. While acknowledging that I am an anxious individual, I do not hope for the gods of medicine to completely cure all my problems. It’s not feasible and believe me, as a person who is well traveled in her multitudes of doctor visits, that’s all I expect at the moment. And that’s okay.
While everyone seems concerned that I should overcome my anxiety in some superhero moment of total awesomeness, the fact of the matter is that my medicine is not meant to cure me. It’s to help me gain a handle on my anxiety, to play down the effects of everyday life being too much for me. In taking this medicine, it’s sincerely changed me for the better. I face everyday issues and feel sure in myself; I don’t dread every day and what it’ll bring, and most importantly, I can sleep and hold normal conversations without worrying that I’m wasting someone’s time. And when I don’t take these meds, the difference is noticeable and terrible.
At the writing of this post, I will say that I had a horrible, terrible, very bad no good day. It was filled, from start to mid finish, with issues and circumstances that almost made me cry at every turn. From disorganization at my school that required me to step in the extra self-advocacy role, (which is both freeing but extremely exhausting), to accidentally double ordering everything from Postmates when I realized I needed comfort, it was all around terrible. On any other day, I could shrug this off, problem solve, move on and have a great day. Today… not the case. I cried. A lot. It was frustrating, and when I don’t have my meds, every small problem, is a HUGE PROBLEM. I struggle to communicate my needs, to remind myself that people want to talk to me and not to be nervous and to pick up the phone and make those important phone calls I’ve yet to make. It’s these moments when I appreciate the people around me the most.
I will admit, when I do not have my meds, I become withdrawn, frustrated and grumpy; interacting with me is like poking a really pissed off tiger. I don’t like this version of myself, but again, not being able to communicate effectively leaves me stuck in my head yelling at myself not to say it like that while it comes out that way. These times are the times where kindness and understanding really come in. A close friend texted me, unbeknownst to them, after I cried myself to sleep out of sheer frustration over not feeling like myself. That text simply said, “You’re on my mind.” And again… I cried. Not out of frustration, but because they knew I was having a bad day and they knew they couldn’t do much but reassure me in those words that I mattered to them and they’d hug me if they could.
Another friend responded to my text of, “call me on your break” by doing exactly what I needed, no questions asked. As soon as I answered, I got a ,”what’s up, Nat-Nat?” And I just unloaded my frustrations while she listened sympathetically, occasionally butting in with affirmations only a fellow struggler of mental health could. She was okay when I realized talking was too much and hung up. Another friend endured me mindlessly watching YouTube videos endlessly laughing and cringing at the less-than stellar content, all the while joining in with my groans and eye rolls in only the way he could, which made everything that much funnier.
Everything these three have done for me makes my anxiety better. From kindness, understanding, and patience to sympathy to agreement that yes, Chaka Khan really did sound terrible singing the national anthem. These are all small gestures that makes life bearable as an anxious person who may not always have her meds at hand, but these steadfast anchors remind me that it’s okay to fall apart sometimes. I am endlessly grateful to have these people because while we wish family, medicine, or doctors had all the answers, sometimes the answer is in a little laughter, and in my case, the addition of a little tablet. Life is hard, but my medicine has made it manageable. Has it cured me? No. Has it made life enjoyable again? Most definitely. And while you all are busy wishing these meds worked like secret cures for everyone struggling with mental health, the most important thing that we should focus on is that it’s helping manage the issue. Trust me, I’d love to never feel anxious, to never overthink, to never get my moments of OCD where I had to reorganize things a certain way, but the fact that not only do I have people who sit back and smile as they watch my organizational chaos, but that they accept I just need to do this for me… that makes the difference. If you can let me explore the methods to my madness with a smile while I explain how something MUST make sense, you are being not only kind, but accepting that I am quirky, slightly unhinged, but that you love me anyways.
It’s almost been a year, and I’m not cured, but I’m doing better. I’m happier, I’m more myself. I still worry that I waste people’s time, but that’s just another thing to work on, I guess. For now, I’m enjoying my methodical madness and I love the people who support me, no questions asked. Enjoy the journey, everyone. A cure sometimes just isn’t the answer, and that’s more than okay.