self care

Self Care Isn't Selfish

“Do I stay up, relax and watch trash TV or do I go to bed at a decent hour?” For weeks I’ve been having this internal debate and I know I can’t be the only one. I used to go to bed at 9 pm (in the good old days) because I need A LOT of sleep but now I blow past that 9 pm mark knowing that I’ll likely regret it but I also know I need “me time.”

Surely I’m not alone in this. Especially now because the coronavirus is holding us all hostage. Don’t get me wrong, I do like being around my children but after 8-12 hours of their incessant arguing, watching freaking Peppa Pig and wanting to climb on me and whatever else, I’ve just had it. I’m touched out. I want to be on the couch, watching my shows and not asked to do one single thing, even by my husband. I don’t even like the cats on me until after I’ve chilled for an hour. It’s too much. And I know y’all feel me. At least I hope you do otherwise I need to up my meds, lol.

My usual self-care routine includes massages, getting my nails done, reading and napping. I would also go to therapy. But none of that is plausible now and I think it’s ok to mourn that. It’s ok not to enjoy every second with your kids, because this shit is hard even when you do have outlets and self-care rituals.

Staying home with the kids right now is one of the hardest things I’ve done. My 3-year-old wakes up at 5 am every morning, which means I’m up. He’s clingier than usual, most likely from the uncertainty of life, which he can probably sense from us adults. But despite his 5 am wake calls, I’ll still probably go to bed late because that’s the only alone time I’ll have all day. The only time I can eat the kids’ cupcakes. The only time nobody is shouting, “Mommy!”

This precious time to myself has become a ritual and until the schools open back up, I’ll just be exhausted and crazy looking because frankly, I’d rather have bad TV and cupcakes.

If you’d like to share your self-care rituals, please do so in the comments.

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I take a lot of naps. I even go to bed around 9 p.m. most nights and wake at 7 a.m. but I’m so exhausted some days. Sometimes comments are made to me like, “What could you possibly be tired from?” among others. It hurts my feelings when I’m asked and I start to feel guilty because I don’t work or do more around the house. (I am a stay-at-home mom).

It’s true that I have a housekeeper and my two small children are in preschool most of the day.

Yet I’m still tired.

It has taken me a long time to realize that I’m not like everyone else who can go full speed during the day and who do more than I do.

It took my therapist pointing out that every single day I have to battle demons. Every decision I make during the day including what I eat and when I sleep affect my depression. There are some days I have to make myself take my pills because even that is a feat. I have to tell myself that it’s ok to recharge – it’s ok to take care of yourself.

I’ve come a long way in the past year, and while some things are easier, it’s not because the depression and anxiety aren’t there – they are. And unfortunately, they always will be here. I didn’t go to the mental hospital last year just for fun. I was there because I have an illness and needed help beyond what I could get at home. If I have to go to bed early or take a nap in the middle of the day, so be it. Fuck anyone who judges you, they will likely never know the struggle.

So for everyone who’s depressed out there, please take care of yourself and do what you need to do to get through the day. It’s hard battling demons and sometimes we just don’t win.

If you ever need to talk or vent, please email me at heatherannloeb@gmail.com

Thanks for reading.

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The Other Side

by Heather Loeb

I have a new respect for my husband. And any other partner of someone who has depression and anxiety. I’ve realized these past few months – a year, maybe – couldn’t have been easy for husband. I’ve gone from almost manic happy to severely depressed and hospitalized; I’ve told him I don’t feel well almost everyday; and he’s the one who helps me when my anxiety attacks come, which they do often. It’s got to be hard on the other side. We might not be suffering the same way but I imagine it’s a struggle to see his other half down and out.

DSC01340He’s so patient and sympathetic. I truly picked a good one. But it’s not always perfect, sometimes we fight about my depression. Sometimes it’s too much for him to bear all the responsibility while his wife can barely get in the shower and brush her teeth. That’s an accomplishment some days. Who else is with me?

So, I’m wondering…does every married couple or relationship suffer if one has depression/anxiety? Tell me, friends.

On another note, Rosh Hashanah begins tonight. For those who don’t know, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It’s a chance to start over, reflect over the past year and then prepare to apologize to those who you have wronged (Yom Kippur).  I of course plan on apologizing to my husband but I owe myself a big apology too. I haven’t taken care of myself, I’ve put others’ needs in front of mine (kinda hard not to do when you have kids) and I haven’t shown up for myself. I break promises to myself all the time. But now I’d like to change all that.

I sometimes rely way too much on my meds and therapy to slough through my depression and that’s fine but I want to make an effort, when I can, to really meet all my needs, stop talking negatively to myself and practice self care. I know that will help immensely in my marriage. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. I want to be better for me and my family and I believe self care is the first step to that goal.

So, here’s to the new year. L’shana tov, friends.

Update on TMS: I’ve had 14 treatments and I’ve started to notice little things that are better. Around the 20th treatment is when I’m supposed to notice major changes and I’m looking forward to that.

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