Mental Health: Take Care of Yourself to Take Care of Others

by | Jun 9, 2020 | Eating Disorder Recovery, Mental Health | 1 comment

2020, am I right?

A lot has transpired over the last several months. While there have been memes out there that are saying 2020 has been the absolute worst, I’d like to think of it as a growing period for everyone, everywhere. A year of true change. But what do I know.

On Saturday, I attended my weekly virtual eating disorder support group. Many people in the group of various races, genders, ages, and sexualities all said the same thing:

“I haven’t been taking care of myself because I feel like my issues are not as important as what is happening in the world right now.”

I was also one of those people. But here is the thing our moderator said.

“In order for us to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves. We can’t help anyone or anything if we aren’t also focusing on our health and well being.”

And she isn’t wrong. Stephanie Yeboah, an influencer and author on Instagram, shared a post that said:

“Its so important, now more than ever, that we look after our mental health. Some of us will have pre-existing mental health conditions that will be triggered by recent events. Some may develop conditions triggered by these events.”

She wasn’t necessarily speaking to me, but I still felt like I resonated with what she said.

We all have to do better. We all have to do our part. But we can’t do that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Mental health disorders did not just suddenly disappear. They exist, and have been existing this entire time.

For me, I was using it as an excuse. I was letting the voice of my eating disorder take over in full force and tell me that I shouldn’t be worried about myself because there is more important shit going on. But again, how can I possibly do my part to help with change if I’m physically weak or curled up under the covers because I’m having a bout of depression because I’m not taking care of myself? That doesn’t help anyone.

There is a thing I learned about recently called Compassion Fatigue.

It was brought up once by my therapist which I of course brushed off as I was telling her how I wanted to help save the sea turtles, figure out a way to send my donated clothes straight to Mumbai so they can get actual clean clothes instead of literal clothing from the garbage from Salvation Army, help the homeless situation in Denver that has only increased due to COVID-19, provide more support for Alzheimer’s research, and be an advocate for mental health for every human on the planet.

She told me to slow down and take a breath. She told me try and see that I am not going to fix anything if I keep overloading myself with all of the world’s problems ultimately allowing my eating disorder to take the driver’s seat.

Then I heard it again on the recap episode for 2019 of Patriot Act (watch the video below):

I am in no way, shape, or form saying that we need to not care about what is going on. On the contrary, I am saying that in order for us to be our best selves to help and be the change, we HAVE to take care of ourselves at the same time.

If I am on a regimented eating schedule, my brain and body can function significantly better. I am more creative and adaptable. I am able to be a helping hand and retain more information. I am able to do my part.

Because this journey of change is not a social media trend. This is an ongoing commitment to better the world.

My neighbor recently sent me a verse from Corinthians. I know that all of you reading this are not religious, and that is totally fine. But I do believe it is relatable regardless of what you believe and would like to share that.

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

1 Corinthians 12:7-12

We are not meant to do it all. We each have a gift or ability that can contribute towards bettering the world. We just need to figure out what our role is, what our manifestation of the Spirit is. And when we have that, we need to make sure that we are taking care of our mental health and physical body to be able to do just that.

How are you taking care of your mental health today?

1 Comment

  1. David

    I am proud of you, very nice my friend. 🙂

    Reply

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Meet the Author

Hey, I’m Lauren Dow. Author, advocate, and feeler of the big feels. I’m here to provide a safe space to normalize the conversation about mental health and reinforce self-love. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.

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