Self-Care

Those who really know me know that I tend to give of myself, probably too much. If I go to buy something at the store (say, for example, cookies) and my kids are getting things, but if the total is too much, I’ll usually take what I was getting out and leave it at the store. I’ll buy them clothes, but I still wear a lot of the same stuff from years ago. Shit, I still have underwear that I bought like five years ago. That’s not to say I never buy something for myself, but it’s a rare occasion.

I’ll even put off medical or dental care for myself in order to provide for my kids. For example, this week I’m taking my 15-year-old to get a molar pulled. He didn’t take very good care of his teeth previously, and now he’s paying the price. Meanwhile, however, I have a couple of teeth that are breaking little by little, but I can’t afford dental care, nor do I have insurance. It’s a difficult situation to be in: make too much to get Medicaid, but don’t make enough to pay for a decent insurance plan that doesn’t have ridiculously high deductibles.  Yeah, I know that come tax time in 2022, we’re gonna get dinged big time by the feds when Biden reinstates the Obamacare Individual Mandate.

There was a time, roughly seven or eight years ago, when I did try to take care of myself. I went to the gym multiple times a week and completely gave up sodas for over a year. In that time, I drank exclusively water. I did get slimmer in that time, but after certain things happened in my personal life, depression entered my life, and I stopped caring about myself. I went back to sodas (and now 2+ energy drinks a day), and I eat a bunch of crap that’s not healthy, like cookies, donuts, fast food, etc. Yes, my gut has grown. Between that and aging (I’m currently 48), my body is slowly wearing out. I have constant foot pain (mainly due to flat feet), my legs ache frequently, I have restless legs syndrome nearly every night, especially after a long shift, and I take Nexium for my acid reflux.

I think going to the gym may have been the initiator of my arm pain, but I take 8 ibuprofen (1600 mg) every day before work. Sometimes I have to add another 4 later on. Neither Tylenol nor Aleve (acetaminophen/paracetamol and naproxen, respectively) do anything for me—unless the Tylenol is in Percocet form.

I’ve almost perfected the art of self-deprecation. I’ve used it for decades as a sort of defense mechanism. I put myself down so much that whenever someone else tries to insult me, I can be like, “Ha! You can’t say anything worse to me that I haven’t already said about myself.” I’ve always considered myself the absolute worst and a waste of space/oxygen. That is, up until about 15 or 16 months ago, when, after multiple daily thoughts of suicide, I finally saw a psychiatrist and got on some antidepressants. It’s been an enormous help to me, and everyone sees a marked improvement. Though I still put myself down periodically, it’s not the constant, and sometimes I even compliment myself and see some of my accomplishments, instead of trying to negate them all. Granted, I still have a ways to go, but things have definitely improved and are beginning to look up.

I end now with this quote for today:

“You can’t fix yourself out of a mental health issue. You can’t wake up and say, ‘Today I’m not being depressed!’ It’s a process to get well, but there is recovery.”

Margaret Trudeau

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