Most of us know how to take care of ourselves; what we need to do to feel good. The most difficult part, for me, is doing it.
It’s World Mental Health Day and it’s gray and rainy outside.
I have been feeling fine lately.
Today I told myself I would go to the gym. Get some exercise, raise my heart rate, get the ol’ blood pumping through the arteries. I would like to take a catnap but I know exercise will give me a boost of energy.
I told myself I would eat healthy today. Instead I ate a bowl of cereal, a cookie, and handfuls of chocolate chips.
I told myself I would make plans with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Branch out and socialize. Challenge myself. It’s so much easier for me to spend time with my boyfriend.
It is comfortable and low-key.
There are certain things I should do, in order to put myself in the best possible mood. And then there are the things I end up doing. In the moment, they are the easier things. I am just so tired. I’m tired of interacting with people and navigating social situations. It’s easier to curl up in bed. Or eat. Or try to sleep a few hours away, even when I don’t really need to.
These are some of the ways in which I engage in self-harm and self-sabotage without blood or bruising. And honestly, it feels worse than the physical pain.
It’s not impossible for me to stand up, change into workout clothes, and drive to the gym. Yet the amount of effort it would require seems overwhelming. I know a quick way to get a rush. I eat sugary foods, lots of carbohydrates. Then I dwell in the guilt of it, hating my body, hating my mind, hating my choices.
One of the most difficult things to hear is that, to improve my depressed moods and low energy levels, I need to get more exercise. This punctures my heart. This greatly appeals to the eating disorder monster still lying deep inside me, semi-dormant and mostly ignored.
You need exercise. You are fat. You are unhealthy. You are disgusting. They’re telling you all of this, right now. You need to work out.
Conflicting thoughts become entangled. I do need to work out, to stay healthy. I need a healthy mindset, but one that does not abuse me for being lazy. I am lazy. I am not being healthy. Is it more important for my mind or body to be healthy?
Am I lazy? This is a question I have asked myself hundreds of times in the past few years. I don’t think I am lazy, though I cannot say this with certainty. I am diligent about my school work and choose challenging courses for myself. I am rarely late or absent to school or work. I enjoy volunteering and being employed. I am conscientious towards others. I try to go out of my way to help people.
Am I lazy? I am only lazy towards my mental health.
I don’t understand why. Or is it truly laziness? Or is it some biological, cultural, or personal inability or unwillingness to help myself? Am I really depressed or is that an excuse? Do I feel I am undeserving of happiness? Of health?
These are questions and issues I grapple with every day, in my quest for better mental health, wellbeing, and a better life. I try to take a holistic approach to my health: intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social. Sometimes it seems like too much to tackle.
I am fairly young still. I’m still discovering who I am and what I want to do.
I expect I will be doing that for the rest of my life.