People with mental illnesses such as depression, severe anxiety, PTSD, and other mental issues are often not in the habit of taking care of themselves.
We will neglect our personal hygiene like taking showers, brushing our teeth and brushing our hair. We don’t tend to go to the beauty shop or the barber to get our hair cut every 2 months like other people do.
We rarely wear makeup or brush our hair. When we are in a state of severe mental torment, these things just seem like a waste of energy or we don’t think of them at all.
We don’t think we are worth the trouble or we are too depressed to get out of bed to get into the shower.
Our diet becomes neglected. We either under eat or overeat. We don’t think about the food groups or vitamins. It simply does not seem important and we don’t see the point anyway.
Behavioral patterns become imbedded into our brain and they are hard to break. Once we develop the behavioral pattern of taking a shower once every 2 weeks, we become used to that.
The mere thought of increasing our number of showers to 2 per week sounds like a huge undertaking. The problem must be dealt with gradually with patience. We must be patient and forgiving of ourselves.
The problem is that when we neglect our personal care and our diet, it snowballs the mental health problems. Our self esteem about how we look goes down.
We do not feel good about how we look in the mirror. We fear how we will look to others and that we will be judged unfairly.
Bad nutrition will make our bodies and brains weak and less effective. Our thought processes will be slowed. Our ability to fight off infection is lower. All of these things will increase depression.
If we do not feel like we are taking proper care of ourselves then we will have more social anxiety and much lower self-esteem. We need self-esteem to heal.
It is very difficult to begin taking care of ourselves if we have been out of the habit for a long time. It requires “baby steps” to get back on the right track.
If you are only taking a shower every other week, try to add one more in between. Try for once a week. If you cannot tolerate that, then try just washing at the sink in between the showers. Buy a new toothbrush and brush your teeth and brush your hair.
If you can feel a little better about your personal care then your self esteem will go up. The self esteem is so critical to our healing. If we do not feel good about ourselves the we are not going to bother to take any other steps towards healing.
The cycle needs to broken up a little bit at a time. Bit by bit. Little by little, let’s try to take care of ourselves.
Take a shower, brush your hair and wash your clothes. Have something nutritious to eat that you enjoy eating.
Other people do all of these things without a thought. They get exercise, watch their favorite tv shows, eat their favorite food, get their hair and nails done and buy themselves underwear and socks when they need it.
You are no less deserving of being taken care of than anyone else. You must take care of yourself. No one else is going to do it.
The more we snowball into a cycle of neglecting ourselves, the worse our mental illness will become. Sometimes a change in schedule, like a shower in the morning or before bed, will help our boredom with the schedule.
Even a slight change in our routine, can have mental health benefits. You will feel cleaner and feel better about yourself once you begin to take care of some of your basic needs.
Even if you do not feel as though you are worth the effort, try to add something into your personal care routine.
Our behavioral patterns can gradually be changed. Along with the routines being changed, our thought behaviors can follow along.
We are stuck in bad self-care routines of the physical self. We are also stuck in bad self-care routines in our thoughts. A good place to start is with some basic self-care.
You are worth a little effort. Take baby steps and do it a little at a time.