As a person living with schizophrenia, I face challenges normal people don’t seem to have to deal with.
Namely, I don’t have the energy or capacity to take care of myself all the time.
This means that I get into phases where sometimes my sleep suffers, or I forget to take my meds, or sometimes I’ll overthink myself to the brink of collapse and not remember to do things like eat (or eat too much) or shower.
Sometimes I get so hyped up on a project or an idea that I’m working on that I don’t give myself the proper time to rest and re-collect myself.
I’m usually the first to recognize when I’m doing this stuff, and when I do, I’m careful to step back and essentially remind myself to be kind to myself.
Another facet of this is when I bombard myself with negative self talk and bury myself in a pit of depression and anxiety.
I’ve gotten better at this over the years and have to take the time to objectively notice my own positive attributes and also find the positive in the things I’m not necessarily a fan of.
All that said, I realize the great importance of taking care of myself as someone with a major mental illness.
We’ve all heard the adages ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ or ‘Treat Yourself’ and as important as those things are to someone who is neurotypical, I’d argue that they’re even more important to someone with mental illness.
It’s just all too easy to lose yourself and forfeit priorities when you’re in the haze of delusion, paranoia, anxiety or depression.
One of the major roads to collapse as a person with mental illness is not being cogent of how you are, what are you doing, and what you need to do to support yourself.
Meds are a big one.
It’s incredibly easy to forget to take your meds sometimes, even though we need them to maintain our stability.
The other big one is hygiene.
Sometimes it just feels as though small repetitive chores like this are an inconvenience and a bother and it’s all too easy to just let them go.
In those cases I try to remember just how good a shower feels and how nice it is to be clean.
The fact is, we all struggle with stuff like this from time to time, mental illness or not. When you are compromised though, it seems easier to let the important stuff like taking care of yourself go.
I think the key is routine.
Organizing your days so that you know what you need to do, and when to do it.
That makes it easier to remember, it also takes the pressure of making decisions off your shoulders.
Instead of thinking about doing it, it’s just what we do, it’s a habit (or it will become one if you make it into a routine)
Overall, Taking care of yourself is essential. not only for good physical health but also mental wellness. \
If you’re struggling, know that you are not alone and many many people struggle the same way.
If you’re careful and prioritize being kind to yourself, it can make living with this stuff so much easier.
You got this.