Taking care of yourself whilst taking care of others

Making or changing things seems a lot harder than keeping the old habits but eventually after it becomes a bit mindlessly repetitively simple, these small changes will become daily occurrences without even thinking about it, with long-term benefits

I believe anything can become a habit or repetitive thing we do, for example waking up every day having breakfast, getting washed, brushing your teeth, brushing your hair and getting dressed, prepared for what the day brings.

Say you are demotivated, depressed or anxious you might forget to take the morning steps you used to. You’re still in your PJ’s, uncaring or motivated with the thoughts of these tasks which only feed the negative feelings further, possibly having no intention of going out that day…

What do you do then?

This is where you have to become mindful whether caring for yourself or another but you have to recognise and become aware of the risks from thinking or behaving this way, that may be damaging or causing error in yourself or another

When we are taking care of something or someone we are paying special attention or effort to ensure it is not damaged, put at risk or error. Care can also be when the local authorities take responsibility for a child instead of the parents, which I have experienced.

Care is the process of protectively minding or being minded, it’s looking after someone, something or self-care. This could bring to life feelings that make oneself become worried or anxious. I came across the word keeper which is associated with care meaning harmony and agreement with.

Care is about control, management, protection, supervision and guardianship to name but a few. When I talk about control I mean the power to influence people’s behaviours or the course of the event.

When talking personally taking control over the way I think, act and behave is removing many restricting factors that a negative mindset once allowed. I’m working hard to change these for those that I care for and those that care for me.

We give this courtesy to our children, partner, friendships and so forth but often never think to give it to ourselves putting ourselves at risk of personal neglect.

So what is care yet again another word with so many surrounding and linking words but is about being bothered or having an interest. By looking more acutely at just one word ‘care’ I have found more answers.

When we are looking after someone or something we are caring or being cared for eliciting feelings simultaneously of worry, anxiety, and affection.

We can become anxious because we are worried or nervous due to unwelcomed things that might have happened or may happen, causing eagerness to have or do something about it.

Trying to keep ourselves or another safe from harm or injury is the hardest protection of all and the one that elicits feelings of fear to name just one, creating a chain reaction requiring care.

Care is a constant supervision where you are continuously carrying out tasks, jobs or work done to ensure everything is completed correctly.

It is a cycle that needs to be on a never-ending loop. I have spent so long trying to become unstuck I jumped of a cycle I never should have, and that is the one where we take care of ourselves as well.

Guardianship is about defending and protecting which sometimes we don’t have someone to do that for us.

Therefore we are required to learn the methods, skills, and techniques to equip us to be able to do that for ourselves and those we are able and those who are willing, to help.

When it comes to any form of care where it’s for someone else, yourself or something else, caution has to be taken to take care to avoid danger or mistakes. We may do this by paying heed in a cautiously sensible way whilst taking special care to take notice and consideration to things that might help.

We could become overly or underly prudent where all that caution and sensibility gets us stuck or shackled. Could be the opposite where a lack of prudence becomes untamed, hoping to be tameable.   This can cause us to worry and become troubled or bothered over unwelcomed things that have happened or may happen.

We can become annoyed and disturbed by this creating stress, anxiety, and tension. Caring for someone, something or someone can be a source of anxiety that is best learnt to manage.

When we are taking something or someone into consideration we are giving it careful thought such as thoughtfulness towards other people or where we take a fact into account when making a decision.

Taking care of ourselves involves all versions and ways of looking at the word care, even the ones I have not included. We have to mindfully look after ourselves by watching over, protecting, tending, or nursing ourselves back to a healthy mind set.

How we handle or deal with this, learn to manage or cope with it all depends on the individual. At the bottom of the article, I will include links to some articles that give more suggestions on how one goes about initiating self-care in more detail, I focused on care more acutely in this writing.

One of the first steps in self-care is being out the door ready each day whether in your comfy or feel good clothes it’s the start to combat a lack of motivation, drive and focus. One of the hardest to motivate is depression, anxiety or self-critical behaviour but forcing oneself to do these actions is a must.

You can access an article here A trio for self-destruction: self-hatred, anxiety, and depression on these mental health problems.

Some of the therapeutic activities I came across entailed personal-care as a highly important aspect to care. Relaxation could be anything from going for a walk, listening to music or yoga which I tried and enjoyed but lacked consistency.

Keeping your body fuelled and hydrated healthy through a well-balanced diet will give you the strength to get through your day. It allows you to keep physically and mentally active which is another tip I’m always reading about. Doing these each day will help with trying to get enough sleep by physically and mentally keeping yourself stimulated throughout the day leading into your evening.

Mindfulness is about paying heed, becoming aware and recognising what’s around you in all areas able. Learning how to take your own feelings into consideration alongside how others feel is a skill one can learn to improve that benefits all. An inner balance is achievable by recognising and accepting where needs work and where you already have the skills.

Getting out into nature can be a source of anxiety for some but the more accustomed you come to doing it allows for relaxation, mindfulness and being physically active ticking a few of the list simultaneously.

The first source for Self-care comes from the website mind. Here it talks about ways for you to stay aware of your mental health, how to nourish your social life. Just click the link to the website to take a look www.mind.org.uk

There are articles about trying peer support and making time for some of the therapeutic activities discussed above alongside looking after your physical health and how to contact specialist organisations.

The second source that I was grateful for is a really useful table available on Dr. Perry’s website where it has snapshot tips for self-care on an emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, practical and social level which was really useful for a quick reminder and some new ideas.

Learning how to manage how we care is essential not only for ourselves but our dependants and those around us starting with ourselves, self-help

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by Daria Shevtsova

Further reading

  1. Catastrophising; worst case scenario at an extreme
  2. Looking into the word individual
  3. Friday 27th Septemeber 2018; Time to begin looking into how one goes about taking self-care?
  4. Heard of a midlife crisis but a quarter-life crisis, what is that?
  5. A trio for self-destruction: self-hatred, anxiety, and depression

Thursday 16th August 2018, evolution reaching a pinnacle moment

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by Pixabay 

My focus is how too refocus oneself in a different way depending on mindset, mood or individualistic requirements that influence, seems a repetitively effective method and technique for this individual that I abandoned, at  a time I needed it the most. 

I believe it was because I allowed negative influence, words and feelings to set roots where they didn’t belong. fighting in stead of acceptingly embracing and managing my quirky abnormities that once were just normal to me, before people.  Currently I am trying to remind myself of a once upon a time where I used to give it all out and get it all back.

I always get there in the end landing on an answer that places me in the eye of the storm out of the chaos, showing the direction to the calm, eventually seeing, accepting and fixing the destruction left behind.  Starting the process all over again repairing and strengthening the foundations in avoidantly demanding preparation, for what I once did not have the time or ability to see.

What direction, method or timeframe is unpredictably predictable in some of the most orthodoxly simple, sometimes immeasurable in a humanistic statistical way that puts reason to logic.  Manipulating and managing natural chemical balances for any individual is a daunting task regardless of the method,  may it be the long way round, the way the crow flies cutting directly through the middle, or sitting on the side lines biding your time….

Whatever you do never give up because there is always light at the end of the tunnel, do not fall into the dark hole of abyss, cloaking and submerging yourself in the self sabotaging way of thinking that is depression, sadness is unavoidable but manageable before it manifests into something, way more ugly.

It is up to you not to let anything snuff out your light, an inner battle that can be helped with sheer will and determination to survive, and an empathetic hand to find what yours is.  If you know it or when you find it you may have to dig real deep, but anchor to it and never let go of it. Before my children I used to just follow my feet, brushing off the dust and getting back up, no matter what because once upon a time I only had me, myself and I for whatever reason, to many to pin point just one.

Now I follow my children’s, partner’s and mine in some of the most challenging dynamically frustratingly unexplainable ways, but I do eventually turn the corner to see what I once avoided.

There within is the reason I wouldn’t change any of my colours, just like to understand and manage them better in a more beneficial way, for everyone.

What I’m learning to be a more important factor though is accepting and having faith in myself primarily, as I fight another battle with my biggest critic that is self-hatred. Whether I lose or win this one is not the questionably relevant outcome that determines all, because I will win the war against my inner Bermuda triangle, regardless.

Something I once was ignorant to but becoming more aware of is nowadays, I’m always hesitating, second guessing myself, not for myself but for others, to the point I appear to be lost, at times. 

The amazing thing I find about my brain is, I always leave a cookie trail to follow my way back carrying knowledge and understanding in some of the most innovatively revolutionary, but sometimes  destructive ways for myself, and others.

I have perfected the art of Silencing and protecting my inner core through perfectly imprisoning masks, takes a spectacularly observant eye to see the cracks and showing them seems to have had the worst, but best impact on my mental health and wellbeing for myself, and others.

As my action man once said ‘I am really resilient’…. I find myself saying I have very thick skin because nobody could be harder on me than I am myself, but how many theoretical burns does one person need to take to learn their lesson.  If a lesson is not learnt, the negative will continue, thus the positive in any bad situation being the lesson learnt and what actions, behaviour and outcomes that you take from them, that determines the path, you end up finding yourself on.

This is how I always manage to bounce back and land on my feet, some what like my nemesis known as the cat.  Our energies do not mix both equally wary of one another, approaching with caution.  Just a thought but probably because were both as unpredictable as each other, relate better with dogs, cats make me nervous.

Through writing and people there is a voice emerging behind the silenced, removing the veil figuratively speaking unravelling the tangle, allowing insight and glimpses into my hidden world, that I am now learning many others are trapped in.

The hope and intent is to make room to blossom fully opening up, by no longer holding myself back and getting nothing, in return.  I have personal reasons that make me continue this journey with my mental health team as do they, which is the reasons for many as I have learnt first hand, to why they do their job in the first place never giving up, everyone has a story.

What isn’t needed or doing any good for you, can’t be ignored if the cost is yourself.  If you need to hide do it temporarily until you reflectively recuperate or ground yourself.  If you do not like it express it but in an empathetic way, only then can we truly blossom into the true reflection of ourselves.

Right now the best way to describe how I feel is with these words….. I am looking at heaven whilst living in a hell of my making, asking questions that have led me to answers I never thought or imagined, I would find. I don’t know what I believe but I have learnt not to allow my eyes, ears or any of my senses to be deceived.

Answers live indefinitely and what we once may have thought, may not have been the case which we often, learn too late.  So for me personally it is time to face it, stop running or hiding from the reality, bursting the bubble I no longer need.  Today has been a day where I face the music instead of, hiding behind it.

I have been a busy wee soul in the right and wrong ways, but managing the negative and positive in a balanced way, is never easy.  I’m a firm believer that you have to have faith in yourself to have faith in anything else, to maximise full potential and growth.

So, a little about my day that allowed for an evolutionary pinnacle moment on a personal level, different from what had become my norm.  My wee mans first full day (9:00am-3:20pm) in nursery couldn’t have gone better, neither could have my first day of putting my big girl pants on and getting back out into the big wide world, where real people live, child free!!.  Could have been more productive in some ways, but it was my first day with that amount of hours kid free, man free, and time for myself to do with as I please.

I managed getting kids too and from school without turning it into a military operation of get in, get out ninja style with as minimal notice, or small talk as possible. For a change my brain didn’t switch to high alert, danger or high voltage, internally wanting to mimic my sons behaviour of hiding under the table.

I am an Adult, so that I believe may spark some questions and sideward glances making the cracks visible, so standing like a statue seems to be my usual mask and way of coping to cover the cracks, one extreme to another.

I managed to control and manipulate my thoughts as soon as I was aware my mindset had shifted back to catastrophise my way of thinking.  I’ve created habits, systems and strategies to avoid, a little to well, forgetting I’m a living breathing organism.

I had a great morning but I have to say to all mothers used to getting two kids ready in the morning for nursery and arrive on time, hats off to you because I was not prepared for the mass difference at 7:00 o’clock with the 3 and 9 year dynamic.  Smoke was coming out my backside as I made pack lunches, dealt with melt downs and hormones, using negotiation techniques in the skilled, unquestionable way.

My avoidant behaviour to the previous demands the night before, were surely noted.  I need to have everything organised and prepared the night before, which is next weeks plan

So as I say dropped kids off, had bumped into a friend on the school run home the previous afternoon, and planned a proper catch up for this morning.   We met up after dropping my wee man off 10 minutes before 9 (early bird for a change), and chatted for about 5-6 hours.

I have not been so social in the past few years… most definitely not a social butterfly, slowly changing it but not making much progress as I continuously shut myself away.  Time frames always varying from some time, too uncalculatable amounts of time.  More often increasing becoming more extreme a shut down than a melt down, as time has progressed.   As of late I seem to have managed a lot more forced and unavoidable social interactions.

I’m learning to trust and enjoy it, with the right people and manipulate the energies with the ones that I don’t.  Building up your self esteem and confidence is no easy task, especially when it is in the gutter but I’m not one to shy away from a challenge

I even managed a 40min gab with mum, catching up and hearing how good things are starting to become after my grandad passed in April and my Mentally challenged Nana in her mid 70’s, come to live with them a few weeks ago.  I am able to be an empathetic ear but unfortunately due to distance, not able to actually be of much use when their working.  In time I hope to change that but unfortunately, that is something out with my control at the moment, that will change in the future.

The fact we have the National health service is a blessing even though we constantly exhaust the resources making the time-delays appear unavoidable.  But the right people are becoming involved opening doors for my Nana and myself by taking the time to gather information, starting therapy in our futures to help heal and allow for a clearer, more acute understanding allowing for clarity where there once, appeared to be none

This Journey and process has and will change mine and others futures, it is taxingly exhausting on every individuals mental health involved.  The system is in dire need of a resurrection but there are people trying to do that by NEVER giving up on those, who need their help.  The journey is hard, but my scales always balance out eventually and this time I know inside and outside, I am not Alone

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

New insights and understandings in my journey through, psychological and neurological disorders 

When I first initially started writing and sketching out ideas I never new what the true purpose or intent was, just that it was helping me. How time has changed that, my compass constantly shifting seeking out its destination, has now turned into my own website/blog/group/page, a communication platform I was once told, wasn’t possible at the time.

I have always gave the impression I rebel against the label, or so myself and others have been led to believe, which is not entirely true. I just want more of an accurate or closer fitting one, given as wide a scope of the situation as possible for all parties involved or relevant to this exchange of information. 

This has led me down a very long complicated path, which more recently, seems to have been more focused and orientated around Autism, which has to change to widen my scope that may have become, too narrowed.  I know I am diagnosed ADHD so I need more understandings there, also my mental health is damaged through years of neglect and abuse, intentional or not.

Today (30th July 2018) I had an insightfully enlightening appointment for the second time with a very uniquely observant woman (a speech and language therapist I believe), who gave me hope and understanding in a time where I was struggling to find some.  Many a time I wonder why I pursue this crazy journey with so many closed and out of reach doors. I felt, and still do at times, like giving up time and time again on many a thing, during this journey with mental health and simply put, myself. I was kindly reminded the reason why I don’t give up, and glad to see someone else hasn’t given up on me either.

The Bermuda Triangle that I refer to at times, has now pinpointed and shaped a new angle….. the starting point me, pinballing between my neurological disorder and fixing, my mental health.

I have been in a constant battle trying to figure out autism, because it was the one that made the least sense to me at the time but at the same time like reading an autobiography.  I used to have a stigma view into the most complexity dynamic label of ASD. Professionals and others kept repeatedly mentioning it in different contexts.  Whether or not I have ASD/Asperger’s still hasn’t been answered and can’t be presently due to the state of my mental health, or so it would appear but yet I can be diagnosed ADHD. If what I am reading is correct you have to fit 5 of the criteria for ADHD, been present in childhood and impacting day to day living in adulthood (in a nutshell)

Something a few professionals seem to have concluded and agree upon, is whether I have ADHD which is what I am currently labelled at 30-years-old.  My attention and focus has been less sharp of late as I’ve been stuck in self-destructive tendencies, increasingly getting worse due to catastrophic ways of thinking, which I’ve done for as long as I can remember.  When I take meds for ADHD I seem to get stuck so to speak and can actually have more difficulty focusing, becoming more spacey.  It enables in some ways, whilst disabling in others.

I need to at least research and look into ADHD further in more depth and scope to see where I do, and do not fit statistically, immeasurably relevantly and  individually, in today’s, yesterday’s and tomorrows understandings and findings.

Until I repair some of the damage done, with the aid of others through time and therapy, the question in relation to Autism will be far to difficult to answer, due to far to many overlaps and similarities.  For many a reason I question if it is even possible to separate between ASD and ADHD, when it comes to myself and many others as I have been discovering?  I do believe however over time, whilst the experiences and traumas impacting my mental health are dealt with, I will have a clearer answer to that question.  Another thought is am I wasting my time, when the NHS system is so fractured and demandingly frustrating for myself and many others.

I find this an ironic frustrating cycle, until my disabilities are managed, I can’t work amongst others so am forever hiding behind my studies, therefore I cant afford private health care, so have to hope my mental health doesn’t deteriorate quicker than, the professionals time frames assigned, to myself. All over my medical records it is plain and clear to see how may months back dated the Community mental health team dealing with myself are.

What is even more obvious is how much the departments do not communicate and when they do, how tangled and confusingly misleading the information could be, and often is. What hope do I have when the staff are so overworked doing to many jobs they never signed up to do, (affecting their mental health and well-being) who by their own words admit the system doesn’t work.  Things have to change because I don’t want history repeating itself for my children, and if they do need help, they at least can have access to it in a less damaging and defragmenting way..

My daughter had a more challenging year, really obvious nearing the end of P5.  I met with her teacher to come up with a plan of action to get her resettled because, at this point she was requesting to have her table and chair moved out of the classroom, attitude and outlook on life was daunting to say the least.  Her reasons for doing this as she said ‘I will be able to concentrate on my work’.  My daughter is bright above her years in some subjects, extremely emotional but has difficulty with expressing and controlling the feelings.  She explained that her head and tummy became upsetting and sore whenever she put pen to paper, making her ill from the anxiety it is causing her.  Her solution as I said was to remove herself from the classroom.

After a couple of exchanges with her teacher, she looked into my daughter through two years of experiences, insights and understandings after teaching her for two years.  She was compared to the current criteria for both ASD and ADHD and she met them for both. Her intellectually insightful teacher even went for a second opinion as was shocked herself as not so obvious unless looked at more acutely.  Backing the argument girls tend to suffer in silence, their behaviours not necessarily replicating the common ‘norms’ criteria for certain disabilities.

When discussed with the doctor, or any other professional nothing has ever been done or looked into, the care very poor unfortunately, for whatever reason.  I have told this story because I believe it is relevant here in regards to myself, the opinions, insights, understandings of others and my current research.  Something flagging up consistently is the fact girls are severely skewed for the diagnosis of both Autism, and attention deficiency hyperactive disorder.  I plan to look up the criteria for ADHD and ASD, writing and documenting where I’m aware I fit and where I don’t, because I do not believe ADHD covers enough of my symptoms compared with ASD, given current knowledge and understanding

I once had the distorted view I had to prove I wasn’t abnormal and could fit societies version of the ‘norm’ just like everybody else, still do at times but I think the poker face has slipped there.  I’m beginning to see where life events, uneducated, the energy and resources used to play the chameleon had.  My clinical psychiatrist once said to me with such honesty and sincerity in her eyes and voice once, ‘I believe you struggle a lot more than we think’……..

I remember thinking if only you knew, or I even knew how to begin expressing or voicing.  At least in my head I can delude myself slightly but not once the words have been spoken aloud, that seems to change my perceptions

The cost for playing the chameleon intentionally or not, has been substantial to my mindset, personal development, confidence and self esteem.  More often than not it takes more of a personal resource trying to communicate at times, that suffering in silence is the best option, or leaving people to there assumptions and implications on matters.  I once was asked what the best option is, being a statue hiding my emotions lurking beneath the surface almost unreadable , or being an open book for the world to see, and I’m yet to decide which is the best option, time will tell. It is said women with ADHD tend to suffer in silence, developing strategies to try and hide there deficiencies and more often than not, the strategies make you feel ashamed and have low self esteem.

I never questioned or understood the diagnosis of ADHD fully, most research is on males and irrelevant at the time to my circumstances, or so I thought, given my understandings and abilities.  Over time I have learnt and seen many a different perceptions, events and personalities that have broadened how I once used to perceive certain labels or words. Now that I have more of an understanding, I think it is time to delve into, ADHD which is another controversial and debatable subject.

I want to see what others have discovered, and figure out where I fit amongst the words written, and where I do not.  I’m hoping that with the trio combination of what I have learnt through life, neurology and psychology so far, then writing my findings and what I learn in the future, presently on women diagnosed or suspected to have ADHD, it will allow me to understand what others are relating to, when referring to myself

From what I have been reading so far its a minority diagnosis amongst females, because most of the diagnosis’s of ASD and ADHD are given to males in the past, but I believe that is beginning to change.  There are many a theory and opinion on why these changes are coming to light, in today’s societies, but words repeated and recited a lot seem to focus on the fact,

The majority of studies were done on males in the past, but now more research, that has been done into women under the same and different light, both in psychology and neurology, are changing our once black, white and grey outlooks on life in every way to some extent or another.

ADHD and ADD are believed not to be gender biased as more research comes to the surface, now more female research has been undertaken, a spanner thrown into the works so to speak.  The stereotype once was that an ADHD diagnosis was given to hyper little boys, extended further to stigmas that the parents couldn’t control or discipline, the fault being theirs.  Nowadays it is almost as often seen in females, as it is for males but the way individuals present these symptoms, react, behave or think can be different, depending on past experiences and understandings

What I can relate to with my findings so far in ADHD is having difficulty shutting out noises and distraction, that don’t appear to bother others.  I pick up noises and smells that can be infuriatingly irritable which can be a trigger, depending how intuitive my mindset is or my way of thinking.  Some days I’m able to tune out or be distracted, other times it appears the harder I try the more it seems to affect, eventually causing me to revert into myself or spontaneously combust spurting out word vomit, as I lose control over what my outward emotions portray.

An example would be the noise made when someone eats with their mouth open, similar to when you mix a saucy bowl of pasta…..  There are certain pitches and noises that make my skin crawl, triggering and making me appear aggressive and giving off ample amounts of negative energy as I fail to hide my displeasure or how uncomfortable I am.  Usually if I can’t find away, I walk far away as possible or remove myself from the situation as best and as much as possible

As many can probably relate, time, money and everything in-between really seems to dominate my life, interfering and influencing my abilities to achieve my goals. Something I’m looking into is the difference between a melt down and a shut down. A question in a test for ADHD referred to the feeling of shutting down and that requests for just one more thing, can send you over the edge.  I seem to cope by always looking for things, researching, avoiding, looking back and catching up, or covering up the fact I’ve shut down in the first place.  This can have me avoiding people, life, internal and external influences becoming either a couch potato or  a tornado.

I don’t feel like my ideas are always better maybe once upon a time in my younger years possibly, I prefer the best most effective solution regardless of who has came up with it.

I’m actually good at organising and structuring tasks, but I can really struggle juggling it with my personal relationships and incorporating it into my daily life, self esteem and confidence play a big part there. I do go to bed with the intentions of being organised and motivated, but more often than not the next day arrives, ending in the ground hog feeling of deflation. I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to fulfil my potential  or meet my goals, more often than not because I have no control over the outcomes, I am reliant on people and their timescales, systems or procedures.  If this is referred to as despair…… I most definitely can relate.

I often feel as if I’m an imposter in my own body (internal prison), a shadow of my former self just trying to pass as normal.  As time passes though I become more and more fed-up, I’ve became sick and tired of the constant looping cycle that’s so self-destructive.  I’m forever just trying to cope to get through the day, trying and failing to stay organised, in control of my emotions as I struggle to communicate my feelings. There never seems to be time for relaxation, even when I try my efforts seem pointless.  I know there is help available out there that could substantially speed up my process, I still can not gain access to them though, in an efficiently and effective worth while way, because they are out of my control or not seen as needed under my current label.