(The majority of this post was on my own blog a few weeks ago)
Image is from Facebook. It’s a photo of what I think is a group of porpoises. The text over the top reads: “Self care is more than just eating healthy. Self care is taking care of you. So if that means eating a heap of chips, having a nap, watching cheesy movies, crying, going for a walk, looking at cats or anything that makes you feel good, do it because you are worth taking care of.
Last year I took part in an NHS weightloss scheme called Oxfordshire weight loss lifestyle services or OWLS. And it pretty much destroyed my self esteem. They couldn’t accommodate my needs as a full time wheelchair user – amongst other things they couldn’t weigh me. This apparently didn’t matter because I would find my condition improved and my meds reduced. Despite the fact weight loss can do neither of these things for me (I asked my consultant neurologist about the meds thing and CP being what it is that was obvious) They kept changing their minds about possible solutions and weren’t open to working with me to fix things. It was completely ridiculous and to be honest participating in it was the biggest mistake I made last year.
Crap like that is common when you use a chair. But this was extreme. I described it as ridiculous, inappropriate and at times soul destroying. I told a friend of mine about it and the OWLS staff reaction to it and she had another term for it. She called it victim blaming.
Yeah. That gave me a new perspective.
I was supposed to receive support for a year. I stopped going after four months. The practice nurse who referred me wanted me to drop out after six weeks. But having had CP all my life I’d learned to fight for my rights and I fought it until I had nothing left.
There were one or two useful bits. But I find it hard to look back at because of the emotional trauma involved.
One of the exercises was to write yourself a letter as though its five years in the future. What would life be like if you didn’t lose weight and if you did?
My letter landed back through my door a couple of weeks ago. I wrote it May 2012 so about 15months ago. It was a bit of a shock and a bit difficult because of the emotions it stirred up. I could remember some of it but I’d forgotten a lot. I’d obviously been in a lot of emotional pain the day I wrote it.
One thing that really resonated was this line:
“I love my life. But I’m not good at loving me.”
My friend Angela had actually spent sometime the day before the card came telling me something along the lines of I’m worth more than I realise.
I’m in a better place in terms of depression and trauma now than I was after the OWLS experience. I’m in a better place than I was a few months ago too. Realistically I could do with losing weight (although my weight has been incredibly stable this year which is a huge improvement). But the most important thing is for me to be healthy.
So I’ve been making self care a priority for the last few weeks. I think it’s helping. I’ve said yes more and said no more. I’d wanted to get my nails done for months and I finally did. Today I had a long overdue rant at someone then took a nap. I’ve pledged to blog what I’m doing every Sunday (I love alliteration so I’m calling it self care Sundays).
Strangely I thought it would involve doing more writing but it hasn’t. It has involved taking more photos of nature and stepping back a bit from the Internet which I didn’t anticipate.
I feel calmer. And I think I like it. Even if that is a little hard to admit too.
I would love to know what others do to take care of themselves. Is it a priority for you?