I used to wish there was someone to take care of me, yes as an adult. Why? Because taking care of yourself is hard. I do it every day, and I’m exhausted. I wish I didn’t have to take care of myself. I wish someone would show me some outfit options and let me choose what I wanted to wear the next day. I wish there was someone to make things better in general, but the truth is, only I can make things better for me. There isn’t a person who is going to “fix” things for me. And even if there was I don’t know if I’d actually want that. I remember being in various romantic relationships where we tried counseling. One of the issues that continually would come up was my need to be taken care of as if I couldn’t do it for myself. But I realized after some introspection and work on myself in my own therapeutic process, that I CAN take care of myself, it’s just HARD.
When I was a child, I looked at adults like they were superheroes. They seemed to know things, have everything together, in order, and it all made sense. It was magical, and I couldn’t understand how it was possible. How did they make that happen? They were easily able to keep jobs, pay bills, and maintain their lives. It was mind-boggling.
The thing that prevented me from believing I could take care of myself was anxiety. Because I live with a significant anxiety disorder (or three) I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself. What if I had a panic attack? I wouldn’t be able to function by myself. I’d need the help of another person for reassurance. Due to my anxiety disorder, I often seek reassurance from others. It can be exhausting to them, but for me it’s comforting. I want to know that everything is going to be all right, and at times I don’t seem to have the tools to show myself that. I’m learning, but it’s definitely a process. It’s about learning to trust myself more. I have a mantra that’s worked for me: “I trust me.”
Now that I put myself to the test, moved across the country, got an apartment and started working as a full-time writer, I realized that (without knowing it) I’ve been taking care of myself all along. Sure, I still need people from time to time, but we ALL do. Just because you take care of yourself, doesn’t mean you don’t need other human beings in your life. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. I have a better perspective on what it means to take care of myself. It doesn’t mean isolating and pretending like I’m the only person who exists. But, it is about me putting myself first, which for a long time I had a difficult time doing. Now I know that I need to do that in order to be well.
What about you? Do you have trouble taking care of yourself or are you used to doing it?