Subject: Announcements: The Inner Kiddies - 365 Surprise
I have learned that consistent care of my mind, body and soul have been essential to my spiritual growth and living my dreams. How can I care for others if I can’t even care for myself? How can I do good things if I don’t feel good? How can I love you if I don’t love myself?
This past month I spent traveling to be with family. All 6 of my kids are grown with families of their own. Some moved away so summer time off from my school job allows me to go on extended visits. Traveling has always been hard for me. When I married, I told my new husband that we could go on a honeymoon that I would sleep through or not tell anybody where we lived for a month. No honeymoon. I didn't know at the time how I functioned. I just knew that traveling was exhausting for me. I want to travel to see family so I worked for a long time to understand what happens when I travel. I learned two things. First, I learned that my mother insisted on keeping us busy all day and from the time I started school I was sleep deprived, part from our family schedule and part from nightmares. Trips in the car my mother encouraged us to sleep. Plus most trips we left about 4 AM to get on the road and out of the city before rush hour. I learned to sleep in the crowd back seat with 3 other kids. I can sleep sitting up squished between 2 other people. (A real asset when flying.) The joke is just hold me still for 5 minutes and I will go to sleep. (Yes, I have done a sleep study and I do have sleep apnea to make things even harder. Unfortunately, the treatment doesn't work for me.) The second thing I learned, I don't listen to the airline personal. You know that spiel they say before every flight for what to do in case of emergency? When they demonstrate the oxygen, they remind parents to put the mask on themselves first and then the children. I don't do that. I learned from a very young age to take care of myself last. Not only is it a bad habit but it is detrimental to my own health and the health of my family. My mother put herself last, so did my grandmother on my father's side and so did many of the women around me. I was taught not to be selfish and any self care was considered selfish. KavinCoach spent many, many sessions teaching me the importance of taking care of myself. Another term is filling your own bucket. You can't share of the water in your bucket if you haven't filled up yourself first. No matter how it is phrased self care is difficult for me to do and worse when I am traveling. I feel like I came so far to see them that I must spend every possible minute with them not realizing that I burn out and end up sleeping through most of the visit. This trip I worked at meeting my needs for sleep, food, sufficient water, exercise, medication, and decompression time. I feel fairly good about how well I took care of myself this last month. I didn't do very well one day and flying was really difficult but for the most part I did take care of myself. I would start to feel guilty for taking a nap then remind myself that playing with toddlers works much better if I am well rested. Taking care of myself was one of those things I thought would magically happen with integration. I learned that not taking care of myself is a human problem not a PTSD or a DID problem and integration didn't solve it. My personal bill of rights, consciously thinking about taking care of my healthy, and choosing to go to counseling and learn new ways of living are all steps in the right direction for a healthier me. When I am well rested, well fed, taken my medication, and generally feel like I took care of my basic needs, I am happier and better able to do the things I enjoy doing to help others. Self-care is not selfish; it is healthy.