Saturday, August 8, 2015
When we are presented with moments and events of extreme emotional distress and overwhelming stress, we place ourselves and others around us in danger. Perhaps it is not a life threatening or immediate danger but the stress carries over from ourselves to others as it able to affect those we encounter. Stress quickly and easily will take its toll on our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. It becomes a poison seeping through ourselves into the air, tainting every aspect of our lives. Daily functioning is sacrificed, relationships are strained, and physical symptoms begin to appear.
Last week was a particularly difficult time for me as my mind was unable to control my emotional distress, no longer could I hold back tears and anger, the depression pushing for a release. I had difficulty focusing on my tasks and responsibilities at hand. I feared my emotions and the sense of losing control. My mind and body were becoming exhausted from the burden. My mind began to create minor issues for me to fixate on rather than the source of distress. My mind was frantically trying to protect itself from danger and no longer would I be able to forgo intense self care.
Self care is not always an easy task to submit ourselves to as we tend to make excuses and feel guilt or shame for requiring self care. Self care is necessary for every individual. It doesn't matter how we choose to provide ourselves the gift and necessity of self care as long as we provide ourselves with it. If we fail to do so, we risk greater damage to ourselves and those around us. Our minds cannot continue without self care, it will lead to a worsened state of mental and physical health.
My self care rituals vary depending on resources, the source of emotional distress, and options available. At times socialization is most valuable and others solitude is preferable. I reached out to friends for support and activity, which helped distract and process feelings but as the pressure continued to mount I knew I required solitude and peace to allow for self reflection and serenity.
I feel most serene when I am within nature, isolated from the busyness and distraction of others. I located a secluded rental within the countryside and planned out my weekend of solitude. As I entered the property my stress and outside concerns began to fade. I let the stillness of the land enter my spirit and draw out the heartache and depression through tears and reflection. I tended to my psyche as I socialized with the farm animals on the property, engaged my creative side with skull painting, and pampered myself with my own in home spa. I was saddened as I said goodbye to the horse I connected with so much during my stay and watched the land disappear in my rear view mirror as I left the gate and turned the corner down the country road. I didn't want to leave my oasis away from the world, away from reality. But my time away provided enhanced clarity and recovery of my soul, allowing me to re-enter the world with the ability to resume daily functioning without fear.
Self care needs vary among individuals and situations but finding what makes you happy, what distracts you and helps you gain closure or take steps closer to a resolution, is key. We can all spend time watching television and vegging out but this isn't truly self care. Self care is more than escaping the world. Self care is loving yourself and loving yourself enough to do what you need for your well being. Self care is a preventative measure against harm from the effects of stress and emotional upheaval. It is holistic in its approach encompassing the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social realms. You can find a list of ideas for replenishing your body, mind, and soul here. You deserve time to love and care for yourself. Never forget this.
This is my life with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Short Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with FAP as a child, underwent total colectomy at age 9. I experienced life threatening complications resulting in 4 more surgeries that year and developing medical PTSD. I had an ileostomy for 6 years before having it reversed into a straight pull-thru that also resulted in life threatening complications requiring an additional surgery the following year. In 2021, I required my 8th surgery to remove my gall bladder due to gall stones and FAP. This surgery exacerbated my, at the time undiagnosed, Abdominal Migraine which is now being treated.