Trigger Warning: Discussion of mental health, medical diagnosis, symptoms of trauma
(Disclaimer: Everything we discuss is our personal opinion. We are not medical professionals.)
If you would like to read more on this topic check out this Very Well Minded article on 5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life.
Self-care is a term that we did not learn until we were in our late 20s. Living with trauma and growing up in a self-deprecating environment created an atmosphere of complete chaos. It is considered selfish to take care of yourself before others. Even now, taking time off is a struggle. We always feel the need to do more, work more, be more productive. However, self-care is part of being productive and it is important to mental wellbeing.
Dissociative Identity Disorder puts barriers in life when it comes to employment, social interactions, and daily function. As a trauma disorder, it riddles our day with dissociation, flashbacks, and coupled with our cognitive delay, it can really make our world stop.
Imagine waking up and not knowing who you are or even throughout the day being ungrounded and confused.
Always being told, “Take care of others before yourself because that is the right thing to do.” This idea permeated our minds and shaped the way we took care of our mental health. Living with trauma and inner dissociation can be unbearable. We spent years assisting living facilities which was not only physically isolating, but emotionally as well. In healthcare facilities, you need assistance with daily living tasks. You depend on others and part of that dependence allows others to define your worth. You look to the healthcare providers for validation. You depend on the daily routine of meals and medications to make it through the day. Feeling disempowered makes it a long journey to empowerment.
Learn Who You Are
It took years of therapy and self-reflection to learn: I matter. There is a large veil of stigma around any type of mental health diagnosis. Society has a preconceived notion that when you struggle with mental health, you are less than or unworthy. This seeps into your mind and festers, leaving you wanting. However, I learned that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter what toxic comments or negative emotions are projected on you, there is a way to practice self-love, self-care, and self-acceptance.
On this tiring journey for self-love and peace, I picked up some tips I want to share with you. The first step I took was self-discovery. Taking the time to understand your habits and your thinking. Learning that negative self-talk and feelings are not always fact, but a symptom of your mind's trauma. Reinventing the way you see the world is key to successfully learning yourself. I went through various forms of counseling, but CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) was the most beneficial. Practicing mindfulness and grounding techniques was essential in gaining independence in a dependent life.
Make a Habit
Developing habits is hard. However, when you live in a proverbial bubble imposed on you by your health conditions, it is even more difficult. At times, waking up in the morning is a struggle let alone thinking about what you need to accomplish that day. Gratitude and dwelling on the positive things throughout the day really helps change your mindset. This also helps you start habits and stick to them. Whether it is an app or a daily written planner, make time to set your habit goals.
Let us know what you think, how do you practice self-care?