Did you know not taking care of your basic needs can heighten or trigger feelings of anxiety? Well at least this is what my counsellor tells me, and she's hella smart. Everytime your brain has to remind you to complete a basic function it's screaming louder aND LOUDER trying to get your attention, overstimulating all sorts of systems.
This may be obvious to some people - the idea that it's all strung together and every piece of us is somehow interconnected. But for someone who is so detached from their body and unable to truly understand the deep connections, it was like a revelation. Of course the way I take care of my basic needs corrolates to the anxiety I feel, or is at least a part of it (duh!). I have a tendency to ignore myself and my basic needs. Why? Yet to be discovered. How? By ignoring basic bodily functions like peeing, eating etc, until the last minute because I just CAN'T right now. Or I'm TOO BUSY for ME.
TOO BUSY TO PEE?
No one is too busy to ignore themselves. So that excuse doesn't work. Why do we feel the need to put everyone and everything else first? As I scroll through our social media I'm inundated with individuals expressing burnout, the need to take a break, the need to remove themselves from social media... Why do we wait until the very last minute? Until we feel so sick to our stomachs that we have to recooperate and reenergize for days at a time just to do it all over again. Even as a mental health + illness advocate I struggle finding a balance. I probably have all or many of the tools I need, but it just does not compute. I know better than to put the needs of someone before me, I know better than to cancel appointments last minute, I know better than to ignore my basic needs. Yet still, I do. Do you? That is where the depression wreaks the most havoc and all the mental illness comes together to form some giant fricken cloud over anything you try to do.
So my homework (yes my counsellor gives me things to read and exercises to practice, that's how I continue to work on myself and master the skills I need to take care of myself) for counselling this week is simple: Go pee. Don't hold it because you can wait; just one more email, just one more task, just one more minute. GO because your body is trying to TELL you something! One piece at a time, start to chip away at the little things.
The little things that actually have a tremendous amount to do with the BIG things.