“There is no event in life where self-destructive behavior is justifiable.”Dr. Younan Nowzaradan
So far, I’ve spent most of my year just focusing on myself. Why? Well, last year, I slipped back into depression after graduating from college. I felt very lost and unsure of myself and my future ahead. I stopped taking care of myself, I neglected my relationships, I started living on social media instead of being present in my own life, and I ate my feelings so that I could avoid the mental and emotional discomfort I felt. It was 6-7 months of living this way when I finally had enough and decided to get professional help. My mother helped me find a wonderful therapist, and I’ve been working with her since.
The changes have been slow, but they have been consistent, and I am extremely proud of how much progress I’ve made since then. Along with therapy, I’ve been taking medication and vitamins daily, gradually improving my diet, regularly exercising, meditating, and doing yoga, teaching myself healthy coping mechanisms, and nurturing my relationships. I’ve just been focusing on loving myself and taking care of my mind, my body, and my spirit. I’ve even gotten to a point where I’ve found a new purpose for my life and created a major life goal to work towards. I feel amazing. I feel like… me.
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this though. In late 2017, I felt like my life was in shambles, and then in 2018, I did pretty much all of the above to try to make things better. And I did! Once I started taking care of myself, my life really turned around. I remember how great I felt and how happy I became. However, I also remember that with all this newly found happiness, I subconsciously felt that since my life was good now, I didn’t really need to do all those things as often anymore. The very things that helped me get to that positive state in the first place. I became pretty lenient with my self-care routines. Then, my senior year of college started, and the stress slowly began to pile on. I remember thinking at one point, “I should start seeing a counselor before things get too big for me to handle,” but instead of doing so, I chose to try to ignore the stress and push through. The months went on, and the stress gradually increased. Life became completely overwhelming for me, and I shut down. I just stopped taking care of myself and picked up unhealthy coping mechanisms, which then added even more stress.
In 2019, I went through the same cycle again after graduation. Self-care -> life is great -> become lenient with my routines -> life stress -> neglect self-care completely -> more stress -> hit rock bottom. Wash, rinse, repeat. This year, I’ve finally had enough of going through this cycle over and over again. All the therapy, meditation, and yoga I’ve been doing has led me to reflect and become aware of this unhealthy pattern in my life. I have chosen not to let this cycle continue. Yes, my life is better now, but that is all more of a reason to maintain all the work and investment I’ve put into myself. When life throws me curve balls again, I will remember how I feel in this moment and the words I have written on this page. I am now committing to myself. No matter what.
I know that when life gets hard, it’s very challenging to do self-care, and it can be very tempting to use easy (but unhealthy and ineffective) coping mechanisms to receive immediate relief from the discomfort. But no matter what happens in life, self-neglect or even self-destruction should never be an option. If life isn’t going too well at the moment, hang in there. You can’t control everything that happens to you, nor can you control how you feel about them, but you can always control how you react when difficult circumstances and emotions arise. Push yourself to do self care, and don’t be afraid to seek help and rely on your loved ones. Even if your life is going well, continue your self-care routine. You will be significantly better equipped mentally, emotionally, and physically to handle any future stresses that may come. Make that commitment to yourself. No matter what.
I like to think of life as a vase. Sometimes it gets knocked over, dirty, and damaged. Do all you can to make sure it stays in good condition and prevent accidents, but sometimes s**t just happens. You get a crack or two (or three) in your vase. Don’t break it even further. Don’t throw it away. Don’t ignore the cracks. That is the time to fix your vase. Would you rather have to repair just a few cracks, or would you rather wait until your vase completely shatters and there’s no option but to stop everything and try to put all the pieces together again?
I know what I’d pick.
Mend the cracks. Before you shatter.
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Thank you again,