Taking Care Of Yourself Isn’t Selfish- It’s Vital To Your Mental Health

Yesterday was a tough day.  I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in years.  My husband & I went to a home show in town.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  I had visions of a quiet place where we could look at various home improvements.  I was wrong.  Instead, we were bombarded by pushy salespeople amid a crowd- basically an agoraphobic nightmare.  After only a short time, I practically ran out, & had a panic attack.  It was scary for the first time in years, I couldn’t regulate my breathing at all.  It lasted a good 10 minutes, leaving me drained for the rest of the day & today.
It took a while, but I finally (grudgingly) finished everything I needed to do today, which wasn’t much.  Now, I plan to rest & recover.  I would have felt guilty about this even as recently as a few months ago, but I refuse to do so now.  After almost two years of having full blown C-PTSD, it is finally sinking in just how serious this disorder really is.  I see how badly damaged my brain is often, like when I can’t find the word or name I need, or when my mood goes from happy to angry to sad with virtually no warning.  C-PTSD is a frustrating disorder even on my best days. 
Beyond the frustration however, lies danger.  Many people with either C-PTSD or PTSD battle suicidal thoughts due to the severe depression that accompanies both disorders.  I’ve been there many times, & do whatever I can not to re-experience that pain.  Self care always has been a somewhat foreign concept to me, like it is to most survivors of child abuse, especially at the hand of a narcissistic parent, so I am continually learning ways to take care of myself, especially when the C-PTSD flares up.
Not knowing myself well, thanks to always putting others first, learning self care has been a challenge.  However, I’ve made progress, & I’m hoping what I learn will help you, too.
I find pampering thing to be especially helpful during bad days.  A manicure/pedicure, snuggling up in bed in cozy jammies with tea & a good book (preferably a classic) or good movie, or even a warm shower followed by my favorite lotion make me feel good.  I think pampering helps because it communicates the message that you’re special. 
Sometimes, when things are somewhat overwhelming,  I find TV a good distraction.  It let’s me zone out & escape for a while.  I’ve also found too much TV can make me depressed- I feel lazy for just staring at it rather than being productive.  I know that stems from my mother calling me lazy when I was younger, but that is something I still battle with anyway.
Hobbies are helpful, too.  I love reading & knitting in particular.  Focusing on them can help me relax when anxiety levels are high.
My most recent coping mechanism is more about helping me in my daily life.  I got a new app for my tablet a to do list app.  I can add things to it, & set alarms to help me remember things, since my short term memory is so bad.  It’s so frustrating forgetting things, so I’m hoping this app will help me.
I know many of you who read my writing also suffer with C-PTSD.  Please think about what I’ve written here today, & be gentle with yourself.  Practice self care daily, but especially on the bad days.  And, don’t be afraid to do little things to make your life easier- God gave us helpful things like my to do list app to be used!

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1 Comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

One response to “Taking Care Of Yourself Isn’t Selfish- It’s Vital To Your Mental Health

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