Many of you may know (and many may not) that all throughout my teen years I struggled with depression and anxiety. Like, it was bad. Especially in those brutal high school years where I spent my darkest moments crying for hours and cutting myself to mask the pain that I felt. I had always been an extremely sensitive kid. I can recall crying way too much in elementary school. Mix that with hormones, no boundaries in the home, and cruel teen drama and it was a recipe for disaster for me. On the outside I seemed like I had it all together. Had a lot of friends, had a lot of fun. But we all know that the outside is not always a reflection of what’s going on within.
Even as I got older, if one little thing went wrong I found myself falling apart, crying and constantly walking around with a lump in my throat.
But its real and it would be ignorant not to acknowledge it.
When I became a Christian in 2012 I had a new hope. A new life. And I started to think very differently about temporary things. I remember when I first noticed that I didn’t cry and panic and have an anxiety attack when things went wrong anymore. I felt a sense of freedom that I thought would last forever.
I got comfortable.
It wasn’t until 3 years later that I was facing a difficult time dealing with the repercussions of a decision that I knew was the right choice for my husband and I. Although we were certain that we were making the right, God-led decision, others were not. We went through a lot of isolation and hurt and that was my last brief stint of depression.
I didn’t want to be around anyone. I cried a lot. I didn’t trust people anymore. I just wanted to stay to myself in the house.
Then something happened. We found a community of people and I started sharing why I was hurting with others. At first I cried every single time I bought it up. But after a while, I realized that I was healing from it by opening up rather than closing off.
I am sharing this because I realized that anxiety and depression have the ability to sneak back in at any moment.
Last year, my job was causing me A LOT of stress and I had to tell my management that it was really bad for my health. I was crying, frustrated and felt like there was a brick on my chest at any given time. I was not willing to feel that way anymore. I have a daughter looking up to me for her every need and thankfully I was able to find a different position where I am able to come home and give her the best of me. I had to make changes and take care of myself, because if I won’t, who else will?
We hear the term self-care so often now that it sounds kind of cliché but it’s not. Its super important. Here’s what I am going to do this year to actively keep anxiety and depression at bay:
I have always wanted to be someone who journals, and I do to some extent. But I am never consistent with it and I have a bad habit of buying a journal and then switching to another soon after. As a writer, journaling or writing in general is a great form of prayer to me. I best communicate with God in written form. But even for those who aren’t journaling with that intent, it is a proven tool to help people express themselves more clearly. I am hoping to start making this a habit this year.
If you know anything about me, its probably that I love Zumba. Yet, I find myself skipping class more times than not. I mean, I could argue that there is good reason. I am a full-time working mom. That’s a loaded job and I am tired a lot. But I also know that Zumba makes me h a p p y. it makes me feel good. I have also wanted to have a consistent yoga practice for a while. It’s time that I stop letting anything get in the way of taking care of myself.
I feel my best when my hair is done and I am taking care of my skin and have polished nails. I don’t get a lot of time to do those things but it’s time I start making the time.
And all the mamas said Amen! Listen, my daughter does not like sleep. On the weekends, I need to get those extra naps in when I can, the dishes can wait, okkkk???
Ask for Help
I can’t do it all myself. Even though I’d like to think I am super mom and my husband would probably agree. We all need help sometimes and I have to get better at asking for it (because I do not like to) and being willing to take it when it’s offered.
So there you have it. I am going to try to start implementing these things now.
What does self-care look like for you in 2018?