"Jen, you do have an awful lot coming up at the moment. You do have to make sure you treat yourself."
"What do you mean?"
"You have to be kind to yourself too. It's all well and good doing things for other people but you've got to put yourself first sometimes."
"And that won't make me really selfish?"
"No. Why would it?"
I've had this conversation with a few close friends recently as my hair cut date approaches. I've been throwing myself into this and making sure taht I keep up the fundraising and keep up the work. I had said I would take time for me but truly, I wasn't.
Truth be told, I didn't really know how to put myself first. I've felt irrevocably selfish for doing so. The repeated tellings of "Be a good girl", "Think of others before yourself", the countless abusive remarks from the one abusive parent and the ensuing bullying throughout my time in compulsory education & sixth form has solidly reinforced to me that I don't deserve anything. Other people were always the priority, I've used this as a form of self-punishment especially in the aftermath of being raped, finding out I was pregnant and subsequently miscarrying. I felt like I really couldn't deserve to put myself first. Ever. Why should I when I could be silly enough not to spot the red flags in the predator who attacked me? Why should I when I failed to keep a foetus alive?
To say it's harsh is an understatement - I may have mental health issues but that doesn't make me unaware. I definitely would never say it to a fellow survivor. Far from it: I'd be telling them that they did deserve to put themselves first and that if anything it was a necessity to deal with what they've been through. So why on Earth wasn't I prepared to do the same for myself?
I'm still trying to work a lot out and I am, as I previously stated in other entries, awaiting psychological therapy under the NHS which is hopefully going to be a mix of talking about things and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.)
For now, I have to start practicing what I preached. Start doing the things I feel comfortable with to make myself feel better and to make sure I'm okay first. If I want a few minutes alone to give myself a break from a social situation, I should allow myself that break. If I want to go out and see people, I should do so. It has to be a bit more about me as the time draws closer to do one of the biggest things I've ever done.
Continue to support me by keeping up with my blog and donating to my JustGiving page. Just under 3 weeks to go!!!
Lots of love and solidarity XXX <3