Making Peace With Self-Care (Again)

Last night, someone was mean to me on the internet.

And when I say someone was mean to me, what I really mean is:  I got my feelings hurt.  In a big way.  Because they were not “mean.”  Incredibly condescending, but not mean.    I’ve (mostly) learned to deal with it when people actually are mean.  When they swear at me, I can laugh it off.   Tell me I should I die?  Cool.  Tell me that my kids are going to grow up to be ax murderers and drunk drivers and rapists because I don’t spank them?  Whatever.

But admonish me, however politely, for not being a good enough human?  To use patronizing language to call my character into question?  To tell me, as a stranger, that I need to do better, to be better, no matter how well intentioned… holy hell.  HOLY HELL, does that cut deep.  I’m pretty sure that I have the years of damage from my fundamental Christian upbringing to thank for that.  The great irony (because my life is one big example of irony) is that I was being chastised for not having enough grace for people.  That I never knew what someone else was going through – which, of course, is absolutely 100% true – so I shouldn’t judge them based on one unkind and nasty snippet on the internet.  What I wonder is if this person would have shown me more grace if they knew more of my story?  Because yeah, I overreacted.  But there was a reason.  It doesn’t excuse it … but there was a reason.

I haven’t been sleeping lately.

It’s only been 3, 4 weeks now I think.  Usually it takes a couple of months before it causes a complete mental break, which means if I can get on top of things, there’s still time to catch it before I end up where I was in July: suicidal and threatened with involuntary hospitalization.

Anyway, I haven’t been sleeping.  First because of mania, then because of anxiety, then … I don’t know.  And I’ve learned that nothing, nothing, unravels me faster than lack of sleep.  I could eat nothing but junk food for months on end, sit on my couch like a sloth, ignore everyone and everything and still manage to function (relatively) normally.  But take away my sleep?  I start to slip.  Like rapidly, rapidly, down-the-rabbit-hole free-fall.  If I’ve learned nothing in this past year and half, it’s that I need to watch my sleep.  You’d think that I would have learned that sooner, having been a chronic insomniac on and off since my early twenties, but… sometimes I’m a slow learner.

So I haven’t been sleeping, and I got my feelings hurt on the internet, and last night I found myself rather violently cleaning the kitchen at 9:00 PM, just to give myself something to do with my angst.  It was the second night in a row that I’d gotten swept up (Swept up.  Ha.  See what I did there?) swept up in the act of rage-cleaning before bed.   Second night in a row that I’d gotten into bed depressed, and anxious, and jumping out of my skin.  I’d deleted the offending post and all its comments on my Facebook page, but I still felt gross about it.  And I realized as I was slamming the sixth plate into the dishwasher that it was at least the fourth time this week that I’d deleted something because I’d gotten my feelings hurt.  Or felt shamed, or embarrassed, or angry.  Which made major alarm bells go off, because I only start doing that when I Am Not Okay.  Or at a very minimum, on the verge of Not Okay.

And rather than trying to push through – which never works.  Which never, ever works – today I’m sitting with my not-okay-ness.  I’m admitting it; I’m saying it out loud.  And I’m breathing, and I’m being gentle with myself, and I’m working out what has to change in order for me to start sleeping again, in order for me to start interacting like a reasonable human again.  Letting go of my own self-care, letting myself get swallowed by the Big Black Hole, and then couching it in, “It’s not my fault; it’s the bipolar!” helps no one, least of all myself.  Or my kids.  Or my husband.  Or anyone who has the (mis)fortune of being within a 50 foot radius when I am as jacked-up as I am right now.   Whenever I feel myself starting to slip, self-care is the very first thing to go…. and the very first thing that I should turn to.  I know this.  I know this.  And yet, here I am, once again.

It’s time to make peace with self-care.  If I can’t do it for myself, I can at least do it for my kids.

And so, to the person who (rightly) reminded me of the importance of giving people grace last night:  Thank you.  You were right.  I absolutely do need to give people more grace.

But today I have to start with myself.

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Filed under about me, anxiety, depression, mania, mental health, self care

4 Responses to Making Peace With Self-Care (Again)

  1. Rachael Thorpe

    I don’t know what the post was, I only saw your comments after you deleted it. I have posted things before that I realized were not me, just anger taking over in the past that I then deleted. Idk if that’s what this is. But if it were my daughter or best friend saying what you are saying, I’d tell them to stop. Stop letting yourself be concerned with what strangers think. Be yourself, be human. Someone will always have a problem with what you say no matter what the topic is so don’t worry. This is a platform for you to make what you want. Its YOURS. YOu can talk about parenting or education or politics, religion, ponys….If people don’t like it they can go elsewhere.

    Take care of yourself!! I haven’t met you personally but you’ve helped me in the past with advice through email. You seem like an amazing loving person, wonderful mother and someone with more patience and grace than most. These people don’t know you. They don’t know your story. They don’t know what you’re dealing with or maybe what it’s even like. You can’t be everything to everyone and why would anyone want to anyway? ♡♡♡♡♡ Sending love and whatever positive vibes one can through the internet. Take a bath. Take a nap. Take your time and breathe. You’re an amazing person and I’m sure your babies think so to. Try not to let strangers get to you. They’re making their comments and then moving on with their lives with not another thought about it. Try not to give them any of your time or energy unless they’re a positive, good thing for you!! ♡ I know easier said than done but just start with one step and keep it going.

  2. Lisa from Iroquois

    It is hard to make yourself come first. Please try. *hug*

  3. Rebekah

    It’s great that you had so much self-awareness to catch yourself when you did. I can relate to a lot of the psychological turbulence you’ve written about in the past. A couple tools that have been so so so helpful for me, in case you haven’t found these yet: Super (amazing! has interrupted multiple suicidal episodes for me by focusing on self-care) and The latter can be especially helpful in moments of distress if you search for “recovery” or “healing”. I dunno. Check them out and see if they’re your cup of tea. Lots of love and appreciation to you.

    • jen

      Thank you so much! I have tried Superbetter (though it’s been a good long while), but I haven’t heard of the other. I will check it out! xo