Can I be honest with you?
Most of you know my story of growing up with abuse, neglect/abandonment that preceded my struggle with anorexia and depression. I was fortunate to find a therapist shortly after my now teenager was born to navigate my trauma with me. Like most with trauma, life would deliver me experiences that would trigger my trauma even though I felt “healed” from my experiences and having a therapist to help me navigate the journey has truly been a gift. That’s the trouble with trauma. It’s so intricately wired into your brain that you can’t ever really untangle it all – only manage your response when you experience a trigger.
Part of growing up the way I did (the oldest child in an abusive home) meant that I am a caretaker, nurturer, and I work hard at everything I do because one of my strategies to keep everyone in my childhood home safe was to do all the work to keep the peace. The trouble with this is it also became my downfall as an adult. I never learned how to slow down even though I was “safe” after leaving my family.
I’m the wife of a husband with a career and entrepreneurial mind. I’m the mama of a teen and a toddler and I run my own business from home as a work-at-home mama with said toddler in daycare only a couple of days a week. I’m an active advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in my small conservative town – something so very close to my heart and important to my soul. I’m engaged in many projects and initiatives within my community, personally and through Musclebound Mama, so my calendar is rarely open. (do you see yourself here, too?)
Then I forgot to take a moment – and I paid the price. That brings me to the honesty piece.
We talk a lot about self-care in MBM and about how it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. The outcome of attempting to do so is exactly what happened to me. What was that, exactly?
I crashed. I woke up one morning in a complete funk, unable to open my laptop. I love my job. I love my clients. But, I could not open my laptop to do reviews. My husband wanted to plan a family trip and I wanted nothing to do with it. I was sure I would come around in a couple of days as this has happened in the past but I didn’t come around this time. I also started to experience anxiety attacks which were completely new to me. I am active but developed debilitating sciatica and piriformis syndrome – my body was physically telling me it was finished as well. I needed help.
The trouble is I waited too long and I couldn’t make the appointment. When I finally did, I cancelled it – twice. The day I did go, I considered not getting out of my car and driving away. Want to know what I thought? I thought my doctor would tell me that I was fine, I just needed to practice deep breathing and go to yoga more often, and take a vacation. I was wrong. He put me on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication and told me I was doing a great job in spite of all that is on my plate.
Six weeks later I am so much better. I am not 100% but I am well on my way. That brings me to the main point of my post today. I HAVE COMMITTED TO NEVER LETTING SELF CARE SLIDE AGAIN. I have a monthly membership to yoga, I schedule my me-time on the calendar and add it to the family calendar like my husband does his (in other words, my self-care is intentional and not with left-over time). I make my needs known and trust that my husband is as capable of caring for our family as I am. He can cook or at least order food when I do not feel like it or do not want to. I am not the default everything in my home just because I have been. We can re-define our roles at any time we choose!
So, please, please, please – before you crash – take that time. Think for a moment about what you like to do that is just for you. If you can’t even remember what that is NOW is the time to take time to rediscover it. That was how it started for me. I hadn’t had ME time in so long I forgot what it even looked like. Learn from my mistakes, mama. Self-care is your responsibility! <3