How To Look After Yourself

Eat vegetables and fruit

But make sure you have treats sometimes too

Drink plenty of water

But not too much alcohol

Stay active

Sleep enough

But not too much

Get fresh air

Hug people you care about

Don’t smoke or take drugs

Spend time in nature

Laugh

Read and engage your brain

Express yourself in a creative way

Blah blah blah BLAH BLAHHHH….

We all know the drill. But we still prefer Netflix to running and cocktails to broccoli 95% of the time. Yes, all things in moderation but what I’m interested in is why we love the things that are so so bad for us, oh so much.

I had a conversation with a friend really about drugs. Recreational drugs or abusing prescription drugs can cause mood swings, irritability, heart palpitations and liver failure amongst countless other negative effects. We all know this *drugs are bad kids* and I’ve always been under the impression that happy people don’t take them. The truth is, life is hard for everyone and drugs make it easier. Especially during addiction. On the surface it seems obvious from the outside that people struggle to work, maintain relationships and live a normal life when in the grips of an addiction, but this is because the drug becomes the most important thing. It takes away the significance of anything else. Life is all about balancing plates but during addiction you just have one (admittedly very heavy) plate. Simple. I can understand the draw of that. In this conversation with my friend he spoke of someone who works with addictions who rather than persecuting an addict actually said to them “well done, you’ve found something that makes life bearable for you”. Drugs might be extreme but everyone has their things. I watch TV when I should be doing yoga. And I go to the pub when I should be sleeping. It’s so normal that it’s boring. We all have things.

So balance is key, but who’s to say what the right balance is? It’s just another thing that to me means pressure and guilt. I’m forever telling myself that I should do better and be better and looking after myself is just another subject in which I let myself down. That thinking isn’t good for me. Forcing myself to do things that don’t make me happy isn’t good for me. It’s a lifelong struggle of back and fourth between perfection and reality. It’s a feeling built in so deep that it’s not easy to tell the difference between the days that I’m choosing the bad choices because it’s what I really want, and the days when I’m doing it to punish myself or because I don’t feel worthy of being well. It all comes back full circle to my weight for me. I avoid mirrors lately, I’m not happy with my body and my body isn’t best pleased with me either. I know I would feel better if I worked out harder, for longer, but in my mind it’s a constant battle between “I’m not good enough, be thin, be better.” and “I don’t even deserve to look or feel good, so don’t even try”. Either way, it’s just self harm. If I eat better and exercise more, I’ll loose a bit of weight, I’ll feel better physically, but it’s really important to me that I know that these actions are coming from a good place, and I can never know that for sure. I can convince myself of absolutely anything and before you know it, I’m in an isolated, invisible hole again, drowning in empty starvation, screaming that I’m fine and I just want to be healthy.

I’m so scared of falling into my own trap again, that when it comes to looking after myself, I would rather keep my head down and ignore these pulls. I try and fill my days with decisions that I know come from a healthy foundation, but unfortunately, I struggle with the things that you can never just avoid and abstain from completely. Lately, I feel like my brain is catapulting from one extreme to another and it’s causing some kind of hurricane in my brain, that sucks in all my thoughts until I can’t separate them. Sometimes, I wish I had a drug problem instead. At least then maybe, people could understand how hard it is to live with every single day, I could do a 12 step plan, I would have some answers. Instead, I’m making up my own answers to questions that escape me. I do feel like it would be simpler to be a drug addict some days. I could pick my poison and let it swallow me whole, but 27 years down the line I’m still not. Let’s just celebrate that for now and let it be enough. Maybe I won’t live forever, but yay for not being a drug addict.

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