- Christy Alfaro
What Self Care Actually Looks Like
Updated: Jan 19
So, this wasn’t the blog post I was planning on writing. I have a handful of blog post ideas and titles sitting in my docket. I was full on planning on having a blog post every week last month, the content was there. But, none of that happened. Instead, here I am, writing this post. What Self Care Actually Looks Like. There’s some things that I’ll need to get off my chest / preface for you all before I get to that.
I’ve always been very honest about my depression, or at least I have tried to be. In case you’re new here or don’t know; I’ve had depression since I was 15. It’s been on and off through the years, more off than on over the last couple years. Depression is something I’m generally comfortable with, I’ve always said it’s like coming home to an old friend. It’s comfortable, I know what it’s like to live with this feeling because I had done it for years. I want to be honest in saying that those statements aren’t true anymore, or at least they’re not true right now.
This past month I’ve dealt with a depression that I haven’t experienced since I was 16, it was a depression that I wasn't comfortable with all the time. Honestly, there were periods during this last month that I was a little afraid of myself. However, I am very thankful for the time and investment I’ve taken over the last few years with therapy, it undeniably gave me the skills I needed to get through this period. So, this past month. I can’t say what it was caused by, all I can say is that it was pretty bad. Not a lot of people know how bad it was. I fought the urge to cut myself every day, I would lay in bed for days without any desire to get up. I hated myself, like genuine, could not stand who I was.
I don't think I realized how bad it had gotten until I was on the phone with a friend. I broke down in tears, opening up about this self hatred that I've been dealing with and she asked me what I wanted to do now, how could I make this better. In that moment all I could think, and what I said was, "I just want to go to sleep for a while and not wake up." The words left my mouth and I realized how they sounded, I was quick to clarify that I didn't want to die - I just wanted to exist without the pain for a little while. That moment was kind of my wake up call, something needed to change. When I got my tattoo Vive Ut Vivas or Live So That You May Live, I promised myself that I would do exactly that. That I wouldn't waste a day, I'd live everyday being truly alive and I wasn't doing that. So now I'm fixing myself, I've set up appointments with therapist, I'm making an active effort to live everyday and with that has come the journey of actual self care. Which, leads me to this weeks blog post.
I also want to take this time to say, if you’ve read this far, that I’m fine. I appreciate the messages I get from people saying that they’re here for me if I need to talk but it actually triggers my self harm feelings even more. Depression and sadness, for me, it’s a natural thing and something I have a handle on.
I read something recently from a friend of mine, Michael Webber, he said, “Silver line that shit.” As I’ve been coming out of this depression I’ve been trying to figure out what I can take from this last month. Other than the admiration of my own strength (which in itself should be enough). What I came out with was this new found knowledge of how to truly take care of myself. What self care actually looks like.
Self care, it’s such an easy and fun buzz word. It, at its core, is a practice of maintaining your wellbeing both physically and mentally and yet it has been painted to be something much more singular. A google search of “self care” shows images of tips that are, what can best be described as pretty tips. “Bake your favorite treat.” “Write down three nice things about yourself.” “Eat your greens.” I’m going to be honest, I fucking hate that. I was in this dark depression where I couldn’t even get out of bed and you want me to write 3 nice things about myself, I can’t do that! It was this added extra feeling of how much I fucking suck, it honestly made me hate myself more than I already did.
A couple weeks ago I was sitting in my room completely naked, eating cheesecake, and watching Community on Netflix. I was getting ready to walk out of my room when I turned around and looked back at my bed and something about seeing this unmade bed, with a half eaten cheesecake on it, the feeling of the breeze on my naked body that I honestly couldn’t help but laugh at what I was looking at, because in that moment I was completely content. It was with that laugh that I realized that that was self care.
That’s the big secret! Self care is literally doing whatever you need to do in that moment to feel better or at least not horrible about yourself and life. It just might be eating greens for some people! For me, this last couple weeks, it’s been staying in bed until 11a. Is it sustainable? No, probably not. But it’s what I need to get myself through the day. So please, don’t feel like your self care has to be this picture perfect instagram moment. Most of my actual self care isn’t pretty. It’s sitting in my car, rage screaming music. It’s sitting on my bed, crying, eating ham. It’s eating Baskin Robbins while I listen to Possibility by Lykke Li. But thats for me, thats what I need to do to feel better. If you’re reading this because you wanted the secret to self care, or even if you’re reading this just to laugh at my misfortune, I really hope that you leave feeling some sort of agency in your own happiness. Don’t let a picture on instagram, or someone else’s definition, of self care make you think you must act a certain way to feel better. Trust yourself, listen to yourself. Only you know what self care actually looks like.
Until next time (which hopefully will be next week)!
A Whelmed Christy