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Self-Care, Part 3

Lately I’ve been reading old blog posts in an effort to reconnect with myself. I have gotten better at practicing self-care. I am better able to recognize when I’m hungry, when I’m anxious, and when I have to pee. Those 3 used to feel really similar for some reason. Now I feed myself. Last week I cooked 3 meals, and I hate cooking. I just came back from the grocery store, which I also hate. My sleep cycle is more similar to the average person, although still night owlish. I don’t go to bed past 1 am, and I don’t sleep past 10 am anymore. I even do chores on the weekend, rather than lie around because I’m too exhausted to do anything. I don’t overstimulate my brain with games in an effort to prepare for some kind of mental apocalypse.

I’m working on taking care of my health. I just went to an orthopedic appointment last week because my shoulder hurts so much that I can’t even swing a racket. When the woman took me back for an x-ray she asked me how long it has been hurting, and I said since January. She was like, that long? What, did you think it was just going to get better on its own? It made me realize that I don’t take my pain seriously. I wanted to get my hip checked out, too, but I have to schedule a separate appointment. It’s been hurting for several years so I wonder what she’s going to say about that.

I also realized that I don’t get to decide what is strenuous enough to require an inhaler. My body decides. I may think it’s pathetic to need to take a few puffs to bring my trash can up and down the hill, which only takes about a minute. Or that cleaning doesn’t count as exercise. But if it makes me throw up, then I have to accept that my asthma is that bad and just take the darn thing.

I’ve gotten better at solitude. In one of my first posts, I talk about my newly single status and how challenging it is to live and be alone. At that time, I had never been without a romantic relationship because I thought being alone was worse than being miserable. I was terrified of something happening to me and no one knowing about it so I played tennis every night just so that people would worry if I didn’t show up.

At the time I figured out that feeling bad about yourself for being in a sucky relationship was not better than being alone. But I had no clue the extent to which boundaries were an issue for me. Now I do, and I feel fiercely protective of my boundaries. My home has become my safe space, and I am happy to have it all to myself. I am happy that everything in it, including the color of the paint on the walls and the art work that I created, is a projection of myself. I am not ready to have anyone in my space. If someone else is in it, then I feel them instead of me, and I need to know what’s me. I need to know what it is that I want. Even if the other person doesn’t ask, I intuit what they want and give it to them anyway without asking myself how I feel.

I try not to beat myself up for my codependency. It’s not my fault that I had to develop this skill. I’ve always told my therapist that I feel like I have a crack in my foundation. That something was broken from the very beginning, although I didn’t know what it was at the time. Recently she told me that those cracks can be repaired. That a house is a metaphor for our personality, and the first floor is our relationship to ourselves. Only after we’ve spent time on the first floor can we move to the second floor.

I do have some advantages this time around that I didn’t have last time. One is that my family lives nearby, so if I’m too tired to eat I don’t have to lie on my couch and starve to death. I can just go over there and let them feed me, which I do with some regularity.

The other advantage is my Apple Watch. Before I used to obsess about throwing out my back and not being able to crawl to my phone to call for help. Because one time my back was in spasm and I couldn’t move for a few minutes. I used to try to remember to keep a device in every room and to tell my friends that if they received a text or saw a Facebook post saying Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! to take it seriously. They suggested getting one of those Life Alert buttons to wear around my neck, but that seemed extreme. But now that I have my Apple Watch, I will be able to call for help in any room of my house even if I can’t move thanks to Siri.

So thank you, Apple, for making solitude a little less scary.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

One response »

  1. I love my apple watch! Its awesome! I’m glad you don’t mind being alone. I live alone too. I really don’t mind it. Xx

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