When I heard the saying, " Staying safe while thinking dangerously", I knew I needed to write about. It speaks volume to a secretive life of struggling with intrusive thoughts of self-harm behaviors. Trying to push those thoughts to the back of our mind, only for it to come up again. And again. And again.
Pregnancy, prenatal, postpartum struggles can often amplify self-harm behaviors. Coping with thoughts of self-mutilation, suicide and harmful behaviors is hard enough. Then on top of that, being a caretaker for someone else just intensifies feelings of shame and guilt.
Feeling alone in this? You are NOT alone. There is just a lot of secrecy, people don't feel safe sharing these thoughts. Let me tell you, these are real thoughts that happen to many of us.
Coping with thoughts of self-mutilation, suicide and harmful behaviors can honestly feel like another person just taking over. It is sometimes just not enough to tell ourselves to " stop thinking about it". In many cases, preventive measures are needed. We must try to keep ourselves safe even with these thoughts.
How it works?
The stress placed on the modern American family is at an all time high. There is no wonder many of us struggle to take care of ourselves during this period. Some common beliefs, habits and attitudes that stem from trouble with self care often flare up and the symptoms are sometimes these intrusive thoughts.
It is just a symptom ( a dangerous one that needs to be taken seriously), yet it is just that.
What to do about it?
During my journey, the most common thread I read and heard about over and over again was the power of self-care. Especially during these times. Crazy thing is, during this time- the last thing someone wants to add on their " to do" list is any self-care. The idea of it can make us even more anxious!
Yet, I am here to be just another human stating that self-care is where it's at. I really believe into action, and you can see the results.
-Develop a plan for self-care and gradually implement it. Allow yourself to slowly adapt. For example: focus on 15 minutes of exercise, and gradually you can do 30 minutes if you see it is possible. Focus on small increments, remember the turtle that wins the race? It is true to self-care also! (except we are not in a race....)
-STOP minimizing the importance. Hello! You are important! This is important! Get help if needed, talk to a trusted fellow, professional, attend a support group. Be honest that struggling like this does not need to be your unhappy cycle. Change is possible.
- Shut down voices of GUILT. I will never forget when someone shared with me that feeling guilty, may just be a sign that I am now just setting healthy boundaries. Practicing self care is really difficult for some individuals. They may have a narrative that taking care of themselves is " selfish" in some way. Shut down those voices of guilt, and repeat to yourself that self-care is the best thing you can do for you and your family. When parents are at their best, the child FEELS it. They know it , and they benefit from it. Same to say about your spouse or other family members. There is nothing selfish about self-care. In return, it always helps the ones you love as well.
-Resources for self-care can be FREE or inexpensive. There are hundreds of ways to take care of yourself for free. There are many free classes and support groups offered. Your room can be your gym room. You can shop for sales for healthier food items. You can check to see what your insurance offers you for mental health resources. Don't let money fool you, if there is a will- these is a way!
There is a tremendous amount of self-care benefits that can lessen the voices of these intrusive thoughts. Speak up and remind yourself that you are worth it. You really are.