This past month I realized sometimes I am incapable of taking care of myself. Although I understand basic necessities like sleeping and eating, I don’t have a good track record of practicing self-care mentally or physically.
For example, in early September, I injured my ankle. It wasn’t broken or anything, just badly sprained. When I sprained it, I was trying to multitask while walking down some stairs instead of focusing on the important task at hand at that moment … getting down the stairs.
My first reaction after the shock and the pain was to power through it and go to work. Despite my mother’s reasoning to stay home and rest, I hopped into the nearest CVS to find an ankle brace on my way to work.
While the brace made my ankle feel much better and I was able to sit for the most part while I was at work, I didn’t take the proper steps to help my ankle heal or allow myself to feel better.
While at home, when I was supposed to be recuperating I didn’t ice or elevate my foot. I struggled through the pain instead of taking the appropriate amount of pain relief medication. When I complained to my mom about the pain I was in, she asked if I had done any of the aforementioned things. I instantly felt a pang of guilt and frustration for not being aware enough to take care of myself.
There would also be days I would come home after a day of not wearing the brace at all, complaining about how much my ankle throbbed. I didn’t carry pain relief medication in my bag while I was out and about for the day.
When I started to realize this behavior, I realized it was not an isolated incident, but more of a behavioral pattern. Whether it’s going to bed so I can wake up early or preparing the night before so my morning can run a little smoother the next day, it’s like my brain identifies these things as good ideas but I don’t have the will or the motivation to back it up.
After realizing this pattern, I started to create greater intentions behind my actions; whether it be setting a reminder for putting ice on my ankle as soon as I got home or planning out my meals over the weekend.
I also had to be more intentional around my actions when it came to my mental health.
As I mentioned in my first submission of this column, I am struggling with becoming an adult and there is a significant amount of anxiety and depression that has come with my journey into adulthood.
In the past, I have let myself wallow in this feeling of uncertainty and frustration towards my career and personal relationships. I kept it all inside and didn’t tell anyone else what I was struggling with, for a while not even my therapist. It might seem crazy and unbelievably naive to not be honest with my own therapist about how I was feeling, but that was how I decided to cope.
My breaking point was when I realized that there were days that turned into weeks where I would wake up in the morning and while I was getting ready to start my day all I could think about was going back to bed. I know it might just sound like I was really tired or something like that because most people have had those days, but this hopeless feeling that I felt right when I woke up wasn’t something I could just shake off.
When I was finally open and honest with my therapist about how I felt, I was told I needed a creative outlet and something that helps me get through these times. My therapist knows I am a writer and suggested I start writing more.
That is one of the reasons this column was created. I want to write about my struggles and personal growth as an outlet to help me process them. Through expressing myself, I hope I can reach someone else who feels the same way or inspire someone to be honest with themselves.
“Post Grad Chronicles,” is a monthly column serving as a record of writer Abeni Hill’s trials and tribulations towards becoming an adult.