The Line Between Self-Care and Depression/Mental Fatigue

*******CW: Mental Health, self talk.********

*******Disclaimer: These are my thoughts and my experience only. Everyone is different. I am not saying that everyone who is doing self-care is “just depressed”, or that every one that is depressed should “just do self-care”. This is just what I noticed about myself.*******

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lately, I noticed some things.

For a long time, I’ve been a big personal advocate for self-care. I told everyone to do it. Not just taking care of your needs, but your wants. Making time for and doing things for ‘you’ and you alone. But I believe there’s a line that comes into that, between practicing self-care, and literally being fatigued, or actually depressed, but I can’t tell until later because it’s in the guise of “self-care” and telling myself that I’m taking care of myself, when I’m actually doing the opposite.

Here is how that works.

When you think of self-care, you think about a warm bubble bath, a new shirt, or binging your favorite show. Things that make you happy at the moment and throughout days off from work. Things like hobbies that you do for you. But if you have depression, it can show through these self-care techniques.

For example, taking a nap. One nap in the day when tired is to me, considered self-care. Constant tiredness to where you physically can’t get out of bed because it takes every ounce of energy is not. Or browsing social media. It might seem like self-care, you’re playing catch-up with your friends and family, laughing at cats, until instead, you’re scrolling for hours and hours through Twitter or Facebook, mindlessly looking at posts and letting them all affect you emotionally and mentally. Not only hurting yourself but also getting stuck in a consciously faded loop.

In these two instances are where I notice the biggest difference between self-care and Fatigue/Depression. Self Care, I am already in a good state of mind, and confident, and feeling good about life while I do these things for myself. While Fatigue and Depression, I feel like I’m falling further into a hole that I’m trying to climb out of but the soil keeps slipping.

There’s also more subtle instances of Self-Care versus Fatigue and Depression. For example, if you have a whole list of things you’d like to do for yourself, to grow, and instead you are in bed, or scrolling the internet, or something else to distract yourself. In those instances, I’m merely surviving, and not thriving or living. Because my brain has decided, “I don’t have the energy or motivation for these things I’d like to do”, even if they would be considered self-care.

And I’m not trying to say that being in Fatigue/Depression is inherently a bad thing, it isn’t, you are valid in your physical and mental feelings. I think it is just really important to not mask depression to myself as self-care because it only hurts me in the long run, making me participate in tasks or lack-thereof that are damaging, but I’m telling myself it is taking care of myself. When I’m really doing the opposite.

Realizing this line between Self-Care and Depression has helped me to realize what is taking care of myself, rather than not even doing the bare minimum for myself and still calling it self-care. It’s also okay if all you can do right now is survive, and you are struggling to take care of yourself fully. I have so many of those days.

I hope that you maybe learned something about your own thoughts, but everyone’s mental compass is different, and while mine steers in one direction, yours doesn’t have to steer the same way.

Thank You,

I Love You,

Rhian (They/Them)

Featured Image @: Here

 

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