I’m fucking terrible at looking after myself.
In my defence it is getting better, and I have the Internet to thank for this. Let me wheel in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as an example of how self-education is allowing my brain a chance to expand and embrace the shortcomings:
If you’d like to know how this became one of the keystones of modern Psychology, there’s a YouTube video for that. Needless to say , it’s a beautifully visual means by which I can grasp exactly what self-care ought to mean. There’s been failure on almost every level of personal balance in the last week. I’ve not eaten properly, failed to look after my health, done less than great things with relationships and ultimately lost sight of what it is I’m here for.
One level however has been massively restocked with energy: esteem.
For a LONG time the top two parts of my pyramid never actually existed at all. I’ve been trying to crack relationships properly my entire life, with varying degrees of success. Above the ‘Love and Belonging’ point for probably a decade there was simply nothing of any value. With the push towards trying to better my own personal narrative, there’s the outline of a pyramid in place. That’s still all it is. There is a phenomenal amount of work to do.
I survive on a lot of vapour, especially during days when the eight hours sleep required for basic survival doesn’t take place. When tired, so much else just disintegrates, which is why it has become so important to instil a level of physical fitness to offset this… but that requires a phenomenal amount of mental effort to establish. That, plus the ability to rebuild my writing skills from the ground up have finally given this pyramid a top. Yeah, it’s doable, but not all at once. I failed this week by overloading myself.
The consequences of expanding my understanding are important to note: you don’t just absorb the information and that’s it. All the new stuff needs to be considered and absorbed, integrated back into the framework that already exists. That’s where I failed this week, because the layers of my pyramid are not nearly as well defined as Maslow’s. Certain elements cross all the levels, some only a few. There’s lines from top to bottom too, side to side that require acknowledgement.
Visualising all this however is the master stroke. Being able to ‘see’ where some emotions begin and end, that others are far more significant in holding me together, that there’s still an awful lot of negativity that has not been addressed. The answer, of course, is to keep on working the problems, deciding what matters most, and then attacking those areas in a sensible, structured way. No good is ever going to come from approaching a dozen problems all at once.
Yesterday was the first day of grasping that doing nothing is neither bad nor wrong. The results of stopping myself from thinking for a couple of days are already emerging:
Then, the sleep ‘problem’ throws up its own odd consequences:
This is new territory, except it’s not. That’s a story for another day. For now, time to strap in and see where this new road is taking me.