I put off for days writing this post. How can I write about a problem that I haven’t solved? My DH pointed out yesterday how painful it is for him to watch me self abuse my body by not eating healthy foods, staying up extremely late, and generallly doing this that are harmful for my body. I suck at self-care.
Challenge #13 Convincing myself to do the work of self care especially in those moments that it is indeed work.
Judy shared her point of view here: https://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/self-care-13-of-25/
I could not stick with any plan for taking care of myself until I finally accepted I was worth taking care of. Believing this is a daily and sometimes constant battle. ~Judy on the The Project by Judy
Convincing myself to self-care is a multifaceted challenge.
Issue number one, ‘Energy levels.’
I’ve shared the Spoon theory here before. https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2014/09/20/the-spoon-theory/
Basically I only have some much energy a day, when it is gone it is gone. A few months ago DH came home from a 14 hour work day. He reasonably asked what was for dinner as I sat on the couch flipping through TV channels. I calmly replied, “Any thing you want to get.” He’s smart and married to me for a long time. He asked, “What are you going to eat?” My reply, “Anything you are willing to get me.” He observed, “You can’t move can you?” Nope, my body was done, I collapsed on the couch unable to move to the kitchen to get something to eat. If he didn’t come home to feed me, I would lay there until I could move which could be the next morning. I was out of spoons. Nothing left in me to get up and go. I joke that sometimes my get up and go, got up and went, without me.
This is a challenge of having enough energy to take care of myself. Which has another facet of my challenge I only have so much energy in a day so how do I prioritize what I do? I usually put work first. If I don’t go to work I don’t get paid. Fairly simple. Unfortunately, some work days leave me so exhausted I have nothing left for anything else. However, this isn’t every day. On a good day, I do have energy to do what needs to be done but I still don’t.
I am scrounging through the refrigerator looking for something to eat, I move the vegetables aside to find the chocolate I put behind them. Or I am amused by the look of shock on my daughter’s face when she asked me a question about diets and nutrition, my answer showed how much I actually knew but I don’t do it. I justify my thinking by saying I am doing better than when I was a teenager and I ate 10 candy bars a week and twinkies with a chocolate shake for lunch. Dieting was shoved down my throat as long as I can remember. I watched my mother’s weight yo-yo up and down. If she lost a quarter of a pound she was happy. If she gained a quarter of a pound she was miserable. I didn’t want any little dial on a square box dictating my happiness. I struggle separating emotional reactions from sound healthy eating. https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2018/01/17/eat-your-vegetables/
Exercise again the spoon issue sometimes I choose do I exercise or cook dinner. I rarely get to do both. If I have plans to do other things in the evening I don’t exercise. If I exercise, I don’t plan to do anything else that evening. I have other times when I just don’t want to do it. I am working on getting past my attitude as a stumbling block. I actually have some exercise tapes that I like doing. I am fairly good at doing them when I do them on a regular basis.
Issue number two ‘Why should I bother caring for myself? Am I worth the time, energy and money to do so?’
My attitude about myself sucks. I put myself way down the list of priorities to take care of me. Or I get discouraged when I exercise, eat right, sleep well and my body slams me to the ground out for the count in a shivering jellyfish mass that can’t move. This is an ongoing problem since I was 15 years old. Why bother working hard to self care if my body betrays me anyway? Don’t tell me to see a doctor. I lost count of the number of doctors I saw and ended up with brain scans, MRIs, CAT scans, blood tests, I’ve been injected, detected and put through the mill and all the doctor say, “Well your test results fall in the normal range.” Then why doesn’t my body work? Then I get sulky and do dumb stuff like 6 desserts in one day. If my darn body won’t work any way I might as well do what I want, RIGHT? No wrong….so you see my attitude sucks. This is one of my ongoing, how can I change, goals. I think David Goggins might me the inspiration I need. Fair warning, do not listen to his speeches if you are offended by strong language. However, his attitude and his speeches are on my list of things to study this year. He talks about hating exercise and doing it anyway, hating diets but eating what he should any way and basically a kicka** attitude about challenging himself. He knows he is worth it. This year I am deciding am I worth fighting for? I believe the answer should be yes. Now I need to go from I think it should be yes to internalizing a resounding yes, I’m worth taking care of me.
Issue number three ‘Stop lying, especially to myself.’ It is a lie to say that only 3 desserts a day are OK just because I used to do 6. No, it is still not OK. Progress yes but I haven’t reached my goal yet. Keep going. It is not that bad to skip my regular checkups at the dentist, doctor or other appointments for my care. Yes it is. I have several conditions and prescriptions that need to be monitored. No matter how hard it is for me to set up and keep these appointments, it is important to do. It is a lie when I say going to bed earlier and don’t do the things I need to do to get there before midnight. I can make all the excuses in the World, only I know which are real and which is lies to make myself feel less guilty about not caring about myself. Why I do this? I don’t know.
Self care touches every part of my life, so does PTSD. Sometimes I wonder why bother? I try to sleep I have more nightmares. I exercise more and my body collapses. I try to lose weight, it finds me again in no time. I just feel too tired to care sometimes. Then I remember I am worth it. I have value. I deserve to be cared for by me. I don’t have the answers on this one. I do know that the more I love myself the easier it is to care for myself. My project this year is to love myself, all of myself including this body that doesn’t work to well but belongs to me and it is the only one I get.