mental health, personal

The self care game (an ode to poor mental health)

I’m not so sure that if the fire alarm in my block of flats had gone off at 11am this morning, I’d have ever got up. Even when the alarm bells rung (it was bloody loud and annoying, and not good for a PTSD sufferer negatively influenced by loud noises on the daily), it took me a solid 5 minutes to move. Part of me didn’t want to move because I couldn’t care what happens to me anymore, I have no business in looking after myself, and the other half was mere depression ensuring I could barely move an inch.

Nevertheless, I eventually got up (to be honest, it was mostly to escape the anxiety-provoking noise) and went downstairs, to find out, then, it was an irrelevant alarm strangely (in London?) caused by the remenants of Hurricane Ophelia. Don’t ask me how an ex-hurricane throwing a strong breeze at the UK sets off a fire alarm because I don’t have a clue, all I know is that’s what I’d been told.

By the time I walked up to my flat again (situated on the 5th floor, which is a pain when the lift is out of access for a disabled kid), I pretty much collapsed on the sofa. First from pain re: walking up multiple flights of steep stairs, but secondly because my brain couldn’t convince my body to function in any mode other than ‘sleepmode’. Just as I managed to lie down (uncomfortably, unhealthily) the door went. It was a grand delivery of post (my dad’s magazines, a book I ordered, a letter from the hospital…) which I dumped on the sofa. I began to recklessly tear my letters and parcels open and proceeded to sit on the floor. The floor? I was not comfortable. But I did it. That was it, really. I planned to sit on the floor, in my PJs and a jumper I chucked on for the sake of the fire alarm to cover up the fact I wasn’t wearing a bra and felt very exposed in a building which is primarily businessmen. Though knowing the weather was weird and I was overheating in the jumper, I still sat there for a few minutes before considering taking it off. Why? I don’t know. Think I just didn’t care.

From then it took me over an hour to take my medication; the daily ‘do I deserve them?’ Game held me back and the sheer lack of motivation bogged me down, and it was really only because my dad rang me 3 times in 5 minutes to come and meet him on his lunch break that I even moved an inch.

I popped on my new favourite trousers and a fluffy jumper and went to met him. The trousers would make it seem like I’d made one kind of effort, right? It was only when I was walking back to my flat I realised how physically uncomfortable a lack of self care is. When you don’t care for yourself, or you can’t, even, you know it’s not great but other things get in the way of it really impacting you. I was physically uncomfortable.

What I had planned for self care was to wander down to pret, and, well, do something: I didn’t have the energy to blog and wasn’t sure if I was going to air a post today, and reading is strangely a distressing task at the moment. I just needed to get out. But I knew it wasn’t proper self care. I felt disgusting, I still felt incredibly depressed and unable to move 20ft, so I decided to climb the five flights of stairs and practice some basic self care to get myself into a routine first.

Having a nice, warm shower this morning (afternoon) was the best decision I think I’ve ever made. Brushing all the tugs out of my hair and conditioning it properly, too. Using ‘Happy for SAD’ shower gel (packed with neroli, a natural serotonin stimulant in the brain) is the best decision I’ve ever made.

Now I’m sitting in pret, actually enjoying my filter coffee. I’m sitting writing this, which without the kick-up-the-arse shower, I think I would have been unable to do. Granted, I planned on typing up a pre-written travel post (watch this space) and did not quite have the motivation or energy,but I’m still writing this and I’m proud.

Sometimes, it’s the little victories.

Sometimes, we can’t do this. Some days it’s not as easy as getting out of bed, having a shower and pushing yourself. Sometimes that’ll only make things worse (there is a stark difference between depression days- days where things are impossible- and mental health days- choice rest days (possibly influenced by the previous) or whatever you yourself call them), but I promise you little self care is worth it.

I’m still feeling like life is impossible. I’m tired of life and I’m aching inside, but I’ve got up and done what I can.My day is going much better for it.

Lauren 1, Depression 0.

I’m now going to pop downstairs and grab myself another filter coffee and if my brain is kind enough to me re: concentration and allowing me general enjoyment, I’ll be starting the earlier mentioned book; ‘Tipping the velvet’ by Sarah Waters.

I hope that you are all having good days, or at least, practicing basic self care:

  • Take your meds
  • Eat something
  • Stay hydrated
  • Have a shower
  • Change your underwear
  • Reply to a text or two, if you can
  • Reach out for help if you need it

Love always,

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