does self care mean self centered?

Before I used to care about everyone but me. All I cared about was your well being. How do you feel? How are you? Are you ok? What is going on in your life? Nevermind about me, I’m fine (regardless of what have been going on in my life good or bad), my number one priority was to take care of you. I was very good at it. Some people told me that I was “motherly” and called it a bad thing. I couldn’t help it. I never really took care of myself, I was last on the list as far as taking care of people. I could be sick with the flu and still my priority is you.

I knew how to give advice to people on life and situations that they would get themselves into. I would be that person that everyone runs to and tells their problems to because they knew that I would be a listening ear and would not judge. They knew they could trust me.

This was the better half of my life. The life that I knew how to live day in and day out and I was always happy to do it for anyone and everyone.

Then I get hit with my mental illness. All of a sudden I had to start taking care of myself. All those years of taking care of others, I had to do it for myself. The funny thing was, I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I was kind of clueless. I didn’t know how to listen to myself without judgement. We are our own worst critics. That is very true of me even to this day, but I have lightened up a bit. With the help of my therapist, a good friend and unfortunately some bad events, I was forced to, really, just pick myself up and start walking on my own. I had to accept that I had this thing that I’m now stuck with and forced to deal with whether I like it or not.

Accepting my mental illness was taking care of myself was the first step. I found a dog walker for Mochi because I couldn’t do it myself. Sometimes during a walk, I would feel like I get lost in our neighborhood, not knowing where I came from because every street looked the same and never ending. I got a housekeeper because I couldn’t clean my own house. Even with just those two things made me feel like I was spoiled but at the same time I needed to do it for my own sanity. Therapy helped me a lot to talk through my endless pouring out of control emotions that I didn’t know what to do with or how to handle. One incident would take me days or weeks to process. Even now, it still takes me some time to process tough situations. Having a friend to talk to everyday to keep your mind off of this thing constantly hanging over my head helps a lot. We talk about anything and everything and he even makes me laugh most of the time.

Now, while still trying to be there for others, I do try to be there for myself as well. I do pay a little more attention to my emotional, mental well being because I have to. I don’t like it, I feel like I pay too much attention to me now than I used to and not enough attention to others like I used to. Sometimes I begin to realize that I tend to talk about my situations a bit more than usual and it makes me think and it makes me wonder, am I becoming self centered? I really hope not. Self care is about making sure that you are okay physically and mentally. It is okay to make sure that you don’t have any scrapes or bruises or any broken bones that need healing. It is okay to make sure that you are emotionally stable and if you need to talk it out by yourself or with someone, that is okay too. How can we take care of others if we can’t take care of ourselves, first and foremost? It’s okay to take care of yourself. It’s okay to take care of me.


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