It’s very easy to say you’re going to do self-care. And for a lot of people what that phrase means is face masks, fancy water, maybe some yoga. The reality is that self-care is everything we do to take care of (brace yourselves…) ourselves. It’s basic hygiene. It’s taking your medications on time. It’s drinking a glass or two of water and eating some kind of fruit or vegetable. It’s getting an adequate amount of sleep. So today, decide you will commit to a basic level of self-care this week. Think of it as a challenge. Need a list? Here you go! Let’s pick 3.
drink three glasses of water- set an alarm if you need a reminder
take a quick shower
put on clean clothes
do a small load of laundry
take your medications
eat something with protein and a veggie and/or fruit
go to bed at a reasonable hour for you
put your device down for 1 whole hour, 3 if you like a challenge
Got something you’d like to add to the Basics, leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to next weeks list!
As the song goes, when I first met her she was 17. I was 20. It wasn’t the best idea to be dating someone so young (once you hit 20 it should only be women in their 20s; everyone else is just a teenager) but there was something about her. We had a lot of young, awkward fun together, and for about 2 years thought we were in love. When I met another girl who was even cooler and have even larger breasts (cause that’s very important to guys in their 20s… and 30s, and 40s, and…), I broke up with her.
It broke her heart, but that’s what happens when you’re young and in love. Love at that age isn’t anything close to what it’s like at my current age (44); it can be intense and hyper-sexual and full of drama, and ours was no exception. Once it was over (side note, the girl I broke up with her for actually dumped me 3 weeks later, which broke my heart… karma’s a bitch), it wasn’t like we were done with one another. Over the years we’d hook up and mess around, but it was never a case of wanting to be back together, it was just revisiting that old thrill.
Eventually I moved to another state to be with a girl who would eventually become my wife (and even more eventually my ex-wife…). I would fly back to my home state for holidays back then, and inevitably we would continue to hook up when I was there, something I’m not terribly proud of upon reflection. But the girl I had moved to another state for was still important to me, so it was never because I wasn’t happy with her. It was, I’m ashamed to say, opportunity. It presented itself, we took advantage of it, then we moved on with our lives.
Shortly after our last encounter, she met someone and they fell madly in love, so this thing where we would randomly hook up when we saw one another came to an end. Many years went by and we lost contact with one another, which is just what happens as you grow older and live elsewhere and are no longer interested in occasional hook ups. Flash forward nearly 10 years later; the guy she fell in love with couldn’t stand where his life was going and had to leave her to move to LA to make something of himself. My wife and I were in the beginning stages of a divorce (which i have to say ultimately went surprisingly smooth), and we were both lonely as hell. So I emailed her, ostensibly to catch up with an old friend, and soon it turned into something else.
We both had gaping holes in our lives/hearts, so it was somewhat inevitable we would get back together. That was no easy feat, however, as I live on one side of the country, and she on the other. But we talked a lot (A LOT, thank the GODS long distance calling is a thing of the past…), and found we had stuff in common, aside from just liking how the other looked naked. Enough to build a relationship? Well, I was convinced there was, and even more so that this long-lost love reconnection was obviously fate and something that shouldn’t be ignored. So I went all in.
I went to see her early on, and told her then that I loved her. Did not get the reaction I had hoped for (namely, her saying it back…), and if there was ever a theme of our relationship it was that; it was not what I had hoped for. See, I’m a romantic, wear my heart on my sleeve (which makes trips to the cardiologist a breeze! *rimshot*), and so I was able to look past the many very obvious red flags because I was convinced this was meant to be. I compromised on things I never thought i would both because I thought it was what you were supposed to do when in love, and because I thought she would be willing to do the same for me. Word of advice (also from a song); there ain’t much that’s dumber than pinning your hopes on the change of another.
Eventually my divorce finalized, my house sold, and I had the means and opportunity to move to her side of the country. Things were bad almost from the start, but I remained convinced that if I just kept being patient, kept owning the foolish things I was doing that would piss her off, eventually she would recognize my true worth and finally fall in love with me. Then we’d be happy and have lots of sex and all would be right with the world. I just needed to hang in a little… bit… longer…
The problem was that was my exact mindset for most of my marriage. If I just kept doing this thing, or not doing this other thing, eventually my wife would see my worth and we’d be happy again. Amazing how you can repeat almost the exact same behavior with wildly different people. It’s almost like the problem is me, not them…
So things continued to get worse, but luckily for me I had found a job and my own place and was no longer as reliant on her. Yeah, we would fight or argue almost every time we were together, but I had my own place i could retreat to, we could both cool off and apologize, then start all over again. Also, those fights weren’t anything compared to how my ex-wife and I used to fight, so obviously I had taken a step up. Right?
No, not right. Eventually we had a Final Blowout and I had to tell her that I couldn’t be with her anymore. Which is a messed up thing to happen when you’ve moved across the country to be with someone, but was never entirely unexpected. Things weren’t terribly smooth even when we had a country between us to keep us from getting too mad at one another, but once we were in the same zip code all bets were off. I thought she was supposed to love me just because I treated her well and moved to be closer to her and always told her she was beautiful, but that’s just not how it works. You can’t flatter someone into loving you, not in any kind of real way, it’s just unfortunate I had to go through so much pain to verify that.
DoI regret it? No, not a single second, no. Regret is not something I tend to dwell on for too long if I can avoid it, and I have to look at where my life is now and ask myself if I think I’d still be here if none of it went down like it did. It’s nothing more than a glorified thought experiment because it’s impossible to know, but I’m comfortable that I did everything in my ability to make her & I work, and it ended because it was time for it to end.
I got used to being alone, got okay with who I was and what i had to offer, and eventually knew I was not going to ever compromise myself for the sake of another girl again. I started to realize who I really was and what i had to bring to a relationship, and even started to believe I was a catch. Well, I still do, because I do have a lot going for me and had to suppress a lot once i was in close quarters with her and realized there were aspects of me she absolutely hated. No more!
I vowed not to compromise and not to put up with anyone who made me feel bad about myself. I had spent almost 20 years doing that with my ex-wife, an additional two with my now ex-girlfriend, and I was done. I deserved to be treated better, and she deserved someone she could be genuinely happy with, though i know she has to be better with herself before that’s possible with someone else. But I am better with myself and know I do deserve to be truly, completely and honestly happy, and if I had to stay single, that was fine with me.
Okay, well, I didn’t mean for this to be so long, so to sum up, remember that you are your own worst enemy if you don’t confront and come to terms with the things you hate about yourself. Bad relationships are rarely the cause of just one of the people in it; they both share equal blame for reacting the way they do with their partner, and usually they don’t look internally to examine what needs they have that aren’t being met, then communicate that information, honestly, to their partner.
It’s paid off in spades for me so far, folks, I am very, very happy to say…
My therapist has asked me to write down a list of my emotional traumas.
A list of all the emotionally and physically traumatic experiences that have happened to me in my life, that have contributed to my Bipolar Disorder and PTSD.
Right now, my therapist doesn’t feel as though I’m ready for the therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). As far as I understand, I have to relive physical and emotional traumatic experiences, have the proper emotional response, get over it, then have Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) so I can develop some sort of coping mechanism for the future.
But until my medications are adjusted and I’m in a better place, I have to wait.
As a “gifted child,” I was bullied a lot in primary school and high school. I still carry some of those emotional scars with me.
Funnily enough, my brain is currently trying to stop me from accessing more memories. Suck it, brain; stop being a whiny bitch and let me write this shit out.
When I was 16, my mother – being severely depressed – attempted suicide several times. The last time she tried, she had an argument with my father (now a better man, nothing like his days in my earlier life), and downed a ton of pills. I found her and her suicide note. I actively suppress the things written on that note thanks to the emotional trauma but I know how it began.
That sentence haunts me in my dreams. She is fine now, thankfully, but I refused to talk about it with anyone and pretended it never happened.
I was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder when I had a panic attack at high school so bad my heart rate was 180, and I had to be rushed to hospital for fear of doing damage to my heart.
Since that day, I regularly have heart palpitations.
I had a psychotic episode at 17, when voices told me to stab my mother. I became paralyzed in my own bed while lights shone down from the ceiling, and I was convinced aliens were coming for me, despite my logical brain telling me I was being stupid.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis and told I should probably have children before 25. I’m currently a week away from my 24th birthday. Talk about another emotional trauma.
I dated a Muslim man for eight months. Toward the end of the relationship, I was emotionally abused, when he called me a dog. I went running into the arms of a male friend.
I decided I was the worst person in the world and went off screwing any guy who looked my way, drinking myself into oblivion, and eating pills like candy, just to numb the pain. I wanted to be used. I asked my male friend – now my fuck buddy – if he was using me for sex. He replied yes. I cried and said, “good.
” Turned out he wasn’t using me: he was in love with me; as a result of my promiscuity, and his inability to tell me how he felt, he quit university, broken-hearted.
I started dating my current partner, whom I have been with for five years now. We lived with his sister, her fiancé, and their daughter. His sister is a lazy bully who cannot look after herself, let alone children (currently a total of three). Her fiancé is a violent, alcoholic gambler. After being made a prisoner in my own bedroom, we got our own place.
My diagnosis of fibromyalgia explained my constant pain and tiredness. Yay for inheriting every single shitty illness my parents have.
Recently, I have started to have feelings for a close friend, who also has a partner. While drunk, we have made twice. I have feelings for him, but he is just attracted to me. I have immense guilt over betraying my partner, who is emotionally stunted. I think I’m just attracted to my friend because he has the social and emotional skills my partner lacks.
I was severely bullied at my last job until I began having daily panic attacks and getting into a screaming matches with a higher-up and former friend.
I decided to self-harm and contemplated suicide when the medication I was taking for five years stopped working. Unfortunately, while the medication stopped working, my now non-existant libido did not return.
Have also suffered dermatillomania (chronic skin-picking) for most of my life, particularly my feet. It is disgusting.
Currently, I am plagued by insomnia, headaches, anxiety, shame, severe depression, guilt, and every other horrible feeling imaginable. According to my therapist, I have feelings of low self-worth. According to my friends, I have a much lower opinion of myself than everyone else does of me.
I am both numb and emotionally unstable. I can’t cry, even though I really want to let it out. I think of myself as selfish and horrible, a terrible person who doesn’t deserve what I have. I theorize that I have some subconscious need to sabotage myself. Every time something is going well, just to add some drama in my life. Why I do this, I don’t know. And as I have written this list in such a cold, emotionless manner, I find it odd that I can be so numb and feel so many negative emotions at the same time. I feel like a robot.
I don’t want sympathy. At least, I don’t think I do. I am just tired. Tired of struggling through every day with these issues. I want the problems to just magically disappear because I’m tired of fighting.
I know it’s a long road ahead to my recovery. And as much as I don’t want to relive the aforementioned memories, I am also excited for the first time in ages because maybe, finally, with proper therapy…
I’m not sure if I deserve a pat on the back or a really good nap, but either way I’m proud of me.
Since last Thursday, things seem to have just started to topple over completely within my family, and I’ve managed to keep it together and make sure that not only are those who need to be ok are ok, but that I am, too.
Yes, this is going to take a hot minute or months to take care of, but I didn’t lose it and I didn’t break!
I’m not sure if I deserve a pat on the back or a really good nap, but either way I’m proud of me.
Since last Thursday, things seem to have just started to topple over completely within my family, and I’ve managed to keep it together and make sure that not only are those who need to be okay are okay, but that I am, too.
Yes, this is going to take a hot minute or months to take care of, but I didn’t lose it and I didn’t break! I’m proud of that.
Now if I could only sleep.
I wrote the above about 2.5 weeks ago after my youngest got another medical diagnosis and something major happened that I can’t talk about yet. (Nothing to do with medical diagnosis.)
Then, once I got done what needed to be done, it seemed like the shit show appeared with spring break for the kids. I ended up in the ER for a severe migraine that met my IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, which is high blood pressure on your brain, with brain and spinal fluid).