having more rambly thoughts about self care stuff. like how a lot of popular discourse surrounding “self care” is so rooted in privilege, and nobody really talks about how inaccessible a lot of it is. how do you relax when you are facing possible eviction? how do you self soothe when you’re living with abuse?
i mean. nobody ever taught me how to heal from trauma or take care of myself when i couldn’t afford to take time off work or miss class. professionals aren’t trained to identify how depression or bipolar disorder can manifest in someone who’s working 40 hour weeks and balancing a 4 or 5 class load at school simultaneously… i went undiagnosed for years. i was “functional” therefore i couldn’t be sick, even though i was on autopilot. and so i deteriorated to the point where my brain and body almost completely shut down and, prior to entering the psych ward, i lost my job (twice), was unable to work, had ruined friendships, was intoxicated most of the time, & really, unable to do anything but cry for 10 hours a day. i’m extremely lucky that i was able to keep my apartment, that someone helped me get to a hospital, and that i survived at all.
and before it got that bad, i tried, so many times, to get help. when seeking resources on how to learn urgently needed distress management techniques in an abusive environment, all i was told was to leave that abusive environment, as if that was an option. i was told my PTSD couldn’t be that bad, because i could take a 10 hour bus trip by myself to visit my boyfriend, even though i was dissociating and having flashbacks constantly at the time and my relationship was the only thing keeping me together.
eventually i gave up on reaching out and i had to rely on myself and myself alone (in a seriously fucked up state of mind) for coming up with ways to cope and survive and “take care of myself”, because what i was finding as “self care” was so hugely irrelevant to my life (and a lot of it still is). hell, i still can’t find a therapist who is actually useful to me, most of the healing i’ve done has been on my own after trial & error…
this is from psychology today (utter crap, i know, but popular, & this is exactly what i’m talking about):
Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy.
like, shit. i’m a lot better now than i ever have been but all that stuff? it’s still so out of reach for me. the author talks at length about how self indulgence CAN’T be self care, without going into the fact that all the things listed above are unavailable to A LOT of people, for reasons economical, psychological, and otherwise; that sometimes buying a fucking box of chocolates is all we’ve got. sometimes self indulgence is MASSIVELY important to a person who has been called “selfish” by abusers for their entire lives, and internalized shame and guilt to the point where they can NEVER prioritize their own needs.
so much talk about self care revolves around the individual needing to address everything by themselves… it’s victim blaming. if you fail, it’s all on you. there’s no talk about building a support network, or addressing structural problems that make “taking care of oneself” inaccessible to large numbers of people. you can’t *do that* if you aren’t even safe.