i have a belief that self care, or lack there of, ends up in every recipe for depression. i also believe that if there were a group of depressed people around, a fight might break out surrounding whose struggles with self care contributes most to their depression. here, you will find one of my arguments why my struggles with self care weighs me down.
Mary and i had planned to go to a dinner this saturday. the dinner is a group, come as you are, low pressure affair. the more each of us thought about it, we separately made a decision that going to the dinner didn’t rank high on our priorities.
the separate thoughts came together in a conversation. “i’ll go if you want to go.”‘ echoed back and forth. okay, then our saturday night is free, no obligations.
a day or so went by and I remembered about a certain part of the saturday evening that excited me. a conversation ensued. “you know, i thought about saturday evening and I changed my mind; I really want to go.”‘ i said. Mary replied,”okay, then we will go.”
end of story, right? if it where only that easy.
i had only asked for a change in plans and met absolutely no resistance, but an ashen color washed over my now long face. it felt like i had just fought a long, hard battle. the fight made me feel exhausted.
Mary noted my change in color and shift in energy. really, at this point, i had barely noticed it myself. she asked me what happened. after a brief moment of thought, i realized that my attempt, an uncontested attempt, at self care, going to the dinner, had resulted in great wounds or more likely the opening of old wounds.
you see, self care didn’t really show up on the curriculum in my household. formal training on self care didn’t exist. I guess we, the children, learned what we learned through osmosis. we were just let to absorb it from else where. many times when we practiced self care at home, the results often ended up getting rebuffed.
i find it funny, in a sad way, that there exists underlying jokes on sex education with kids and the affects it has on adult lives. those jokes for self care don’t appear to exist but the results can be far more damaging.
a seemingly harmless and successful conversation about the saturday dinner caused painful flashbacks to my childhood years. there, untaught attempts at self care, only those learned on the proverbial streets and in the imaginary back alleys, those childhood defeats, more often than not, today, still echo in my mind.
today, those childhood failures at self care, these learned patterns, continue to haunt me and trip me up. seemingly successful exchanges end up in a ball of flame. no wonder self care ends up as an ingredient in my depression recipe; even successful attempts at it, can result in serious setbacks.