Self care is any intentional activity that self-nurtures. Self care is the mental health cure all of today as hempseed, goji berry, and spirulina were of 2010. Self care is often on checklists of health care professionals– “Have you been practicing your self care activities like we had talked about?” Self care is for people who neglect their own needs and desires. Self care is for busy parents and employed people and stressed out people who aren’t depressed or chronically anxious or paranoid or chronically ill– we think about ourselves a lot. It’s for relatively high functioning people who need a little down time. While I know, from personal experience as well, that yoga, bathing, napping, cooking, baking, reading and gardening are all things that contribute to a healthier state of mind, sometimes they just don’t cut it.
When I am anxious, I am focused too much on myself. I’m studying every thought and feeling and sensation in my body and everything else is secondary. I can auto-pilot conversations, all the while thinking and believing I am going to die or pass out or barf or whatever the feelings may be. When I am anxious I don’t know how to relax. Sure I can stop and meditate or jump in a warm bath, but just in doing those actions I can’t promise relaxation or any supposed benefits of self care. And what about after the bath? Shall I spend my whole day hopping from relaxation technique to relaxation technique?While I believe the intention behind self care is good, I think it’s a passive and lazy way to try to engage someone who is experiencing mental illness. What if they say no, no they haven’t been practicing their self care? Do we really believe that taking a bath or lighting some candles or other conventional ideas of relaxation are really going to work on someone who feels utterly distressed, lonely, confused, exhausted, miserable, and/or sad?
I found a pretty interesting blurb that follows in line with this thought.
The following is written by dion-the socialist who can be followed here.
No one here seems interested in the grimy parts of mental health. Everyone wants to talk about mental illness as quiet introverts drinking tea and nervously stuttering over words. No one ever talks about symptoms like paranoia or hallucinations or hypersexuality or compulsions or homelessness or drug addiction or delusions or psychosis or violent urges. Every time a clearly mentally ill person commits a crime, and someone says, “Hey, maybe this is a sign that we need to improve mental health awareness in this country,” everyone goes to screaming: “This isn’t about mental illness! Mentally ill people aren’t violent!”
But yes, sometimes mentally ill people are violent. Sometimes we are bad people. And even those mentally ill people are in need of advocacy, maybe even more so.
When you post “Protect people with mental illnesses at all costs,” do you mean all of us, or just the cute ones?
I get sick of tumblr’s version of self care, which 90% of the time threads into this beautifully: go pet a fuzzy cute animal! pile up your favorite blankets from childhood and watch disney movies! take a nap! play a game from this list of cute soothings games!
More realistically: go take a shower because it’s been three days. Wash the dishes that have been in the sink since last Friday that you can smell as soon as you open your door because rotting food stinks. Pick all your clothes off the floor because that’s where your entire wardrobe is and you’ve already cried today because you tripped over a sweater and realized the cat puked on it. Call someone who can give you enough courage to pay that bill you’ve been ignoring. Put away the crackers because that’s all you’ve eaten for two days straight. Apologize to the friends who are worried sick about you, and if you can’t, at least let them know you are ok and need space.
One of the most empowering types of self-care is responsibility, but tumblr just wants to sit in a closet strung with fairy lights and read their favorite fic.
“Cute” self-care for “cute” mental issues. That’s not reality. 🐱