My most annoying habit is neglecting the self and the self-image. That's right, a two-in-one post. I neglect basic self-care needs I know I should pay attention to, and I neglect to keep my self-image at peek level. We'll just tackle each piece one at a time.
Neglecting the Self
Self-care is so important for everyone, but it's especially vital for social workers and for people with chronic pain. In reality, I struggle to do anything to care for myself. Sure, I stay clean, eat stuff and wear clothes. I even work hard to comply with the mandates of my doctors. That is, I find it easy to take
three times daily, and change my pain patches every three days as the doctor says (no, that's not all of
but it works as an example. My problem is I don't like to do the extra things.
For example, it's taken me years to get desparate enough to accept as needed medications. I struggled and struggled against those ideas. Who me? Take pain and sleep meds? You've got to be kidding. So I suffer because I didn't know how to take care of myself in that vital way. I do better with the medications, but there are other examples.
Here is a list of other things I should be doing, but don't to deal with my pain
- Relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day. I'm lucky to get it in once a day, and now that I'm stressing over school, and obviously need relaxation the most, I don't get the basics in.
- Healthy eating/water stuff I said I was gonna do. I'm still not up to geting those things in on a daily basis. And when I stress, I feel even worse, and I eat even worse. Honestly, drinking a bunch of water and eating healthy is the last thing I care about when I can barely get my meds and foods into and staying in my stomach at all.
- Taking time out for myself. I get so caught up in school, internship, stress, friends, Julio's needs and just staying afloat and trying to respond effectively to the pain that I honestly don't spend that time to just be still, take a bubble bath, rest, do deep breathing... all of that. There is no Nickie, by herself time. There's just go, go, go, work, study, go, return phone messages, try not to scream or whimper.
- Setting boundaries and figuring out accommodations for my pain. I don't do very well at knowing when enough is enough and when to seek help, whether it be in the form of suggestions, medications, blocks or even a friend to distract me while I try to get my food down my stomach.
In my defense, I'm doing some things better. Writing that this is what's going on, and setting that big
set of new year's goals
is a giant leap forward for me. But I'm still struggling with figuring out how to balance my life so I can do self-care more.</li>
There are also some social work related self-care issues:
- One is simply taking care of me at the internship. I haven't figured out how to control the pain; keep myself physically healthy, fed and happy; take care of my emotional needs surrounding social work and somehow learn what I'm supposed to learn. That is a similar issue to those I've described in the pain section, but still, it's something I have to be aware of. I am tired of having to use the weekend to recover from pain levels still being at a 9.
- It's hard to balance class with physical needs, too. I am not sure exactly how I can improve things, but am hopeful I can. But I don't like that part of this equation, either.
I've already written about how I struggle with
CRPS and Self-Image
but in general, I struggle with self-image. Who am I? How do others see me? I tend to think very negatively about myself. I struggle to paint a positive self-portrait. I hate that I hate that part of me, because in a way, I suspect accepting that part of me, the part that doesn't think good thoughts about myself, is a big part of that. I can not like that aspect about myself. I can realize that they are unhealthy thought patterns, but at some point, I'm going to have to like myself, horrible self-image and all.
I wish, like anything, that I could easily write positive things about myself. It needs some
Re-framing or Restorying
I have chosen to keep this journal/blog as much away from self-hatred, for I dislike the darkness within me surrounding this topic. But maybe, in the future, I could write the thoughts down and come up with a new story, or a new image for each and every negative image or story I have for my image. Then I could try to come up with good things about me. It would be an exercise in identifying and recognizing thought patterns, then comming up with thoughts to help repattern the way I think about this one issue.
Okay, now back to answering the original question. I think these two weaknesses are so troubling because the neglect is so personal. You could argue that neglect of the self-image, not spending time working on feeling good about myself physically, emotionally, as a person and spiritually is simply another form of self-care deficiency. And the more I write about them, the more these topics become intertwined. Self-care and self-image. Both need attention, and both could help me to pay attention to the other. Time will tell as to how these things will change.