The importance of selfcare in depression

Selfcare can seem vain at first glance...

Av Anne Rosenvold 

I squint at the screen. My forehead wrinkles painfully against the stiffness of an overly stressed face. I need glasses, but I can’t afford them. Can’t afford to see other people staring at my ugliness as I desperately try more and more glasses on. Can’t afford how it will weigh me down the entire day. But it doesn’t matter right? Because it doesn’t matter to others. There are poor people in Africa and I am not a vain and materialistic person. Why should I worry about not having money? I never used too, when I was happy. I should just suck it up and work hard and then, when I am a bit more successful, people will love me and then - then I will be happy. All this feeling decreases my efficacy, I think and look important. Or cold and emotionless, if you look closely. And very, very tired.

I have high hopes of people. I see how they smile and laugh, and remember all the times they made me feel worth wild. So beautiful and fascinating people can be. I walk to the doctors with my issues and I think “They surely must help me, it’s their job”. My face is paralyzed from a bad dentist, in a year nobody has bothered checking that out, nobody at my college want something to do with me because my digestion doesn’t work, I am all alone, everything I do is wrong, everything I do is stressful and… I just feel horrible all the time for no reason. I say the important bits, in the most polite and technical terms, not to burden the doctor. So that I can feel like it’s not my fault when and come back again bit poorer in my soul, stubbornly pretending that they did something to help. Because I did something and went to an appointment. Because people always say; seek help! You are not alone. I did something. So tired.

But the truth is sometimes you are alone. Sometimes you could die and nobody would notice in a month. I sometimes imagine my ex being there when I hurt in ways I am not aware of saying; “There, there.” Then I’ll say “it’s no big deal, it’s not like I’m sick” and he’ll say “every kind of sick is sick”. Taking care of the needs I ignore now. I look to people around me, begging them to help me inside my mind.

Because when you are depressed and don’t see any reason to live, everything is just tasks to a gold that seems unreachable. Waiting for something. Every movement a chore and nothing brings you joy. So why would a bubble bath help? A cleaner carpet would just be a cleaner carpet. I’ll find something painful and wrong anyway even if my brain twists to think #positivity! in the most painful of ways. Because it’s all my fault. And why take breaks of breath when everyone thinks you are lazy. Staring at nothing just makes me feel – nothing but pain. My headache would not go away anyway. I feel bad for my negativity about everything. I am spoilt.

My sister once made fun of me for using sunscreen. But my sister isn’t here. I imagine my parent’s disappointment, but they aren’t here. I imagine peoples loathing to the girl who hasn’t found her job. But I also imagine how silly I has for letting people expectations stop me from living and taking care of myself when I was younger. Such a silly little girl.  I imagine stereotypical physiatrists telling me what’s best for me, but they were wrong. Because only I know. Only I am here to take care, of me.

Today got dressed slowly and warmly, like I pretended to be with a kid, teaching her the importance of being warm and healthy. I ate a bit of breakfast slowly, whilst my dog was whining impatiently. I took on a tiny bit of makeup, not to hide but because I liked the fresh color and the powder with sun protection promise to protect me. And I took a long walk in the sunny side of the valley because I didn’t think badly of myself for hating living in the darkness in a hut all alone.

I listened to music to dream away, as usual. But for some reason the dreams didn’t feel so far away. The songs felt fresh and not tedious.

And when I came home after hours in the cold the strangest thing happened. I was hungry, as usual, but that was not it. The food actually tasted good! The water tasted like jelly and I wasn’t impatient to get done with eating my bread. Didn’t feel like just a chore in a pointless life. The feeling of constant pain ceased to exist that breakfast.

I took a warm shower, feeling the itching zits on my tight back skin per usual. Thinking of years upon years of layers of scars and how it will look on a beach. I have a cream for it. This drying, useless cream I got from the doctor after begging twice. The second time she said; do you have bumps? Surprised. Like I actually had zits! Like I wouldn’t know what zits looked like and just came to for my weekly humiliation at the doctors for fun and attention.

And then I suddenly realized that I can just stop using conditioner for my hair. I know for a fact that my skin is trigged by it. But I wanted to be able to have good hair and I wanted the doctors to help. But I don’t need people to think I have good hair. Hair grows out. My skin is easily hidden but it’s more important to me. Seems obvious, but that was the first time I had this grand epiphany.

Today I wrote this instead of doing math, only panicking slightly… Today, for some reason, I feel…somewhat positive feelings that aren’t forced. Selfcare can seem vain at first glance, but look a little closer and you will find that it was your mind that wasn’t deep enough.

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