Hello and welcome to recommendation number five of Blogmas 2020 with I’m NOT Disordered!
Today, I’ll be talking about the importance of self-care for your mental health and how vital it has been to stabilise my own. This post is in collaboration with Superdrug, so I’ll also be recommending some bits I’ve picked out from their website!
In 2011, my Mum and I found out about Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) after a Psychiatrist mentioned that it was the recommended treatment for someone with my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). She and I were baffled as to why I’d had the diagnosis for two years and had spent those years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, self-harming, and attempting suicide, yet we’d never even heard of DBT!
Unfortunately, the mental health services in my locality were very limited in supporting someone with BPD and there really wasn’t anyone specialising in treating someone with the diagnosis through DBT. It meant that when a suicide attempt left me on life support in intensive care, the professionals were sort of forced to transfer me to a specialist psychiatric hospital over 100 miles away from my home and my loved ones. It wasn’t that infuriating until a member of the hospital’s staff commented that if I’d lived in their locality, I would’ve had the treatment so much sooner. Postcode lottery.
I was initially very reluctant to start Therapy because I was so convinced it wouldn’t make a difference and that teaching me it, would be a massive waste of everyone’s time. Then I turned this thought process around and thought ‘I might as well do it and then when it doesn’t work at least I can say I tried!’
Fortunately, DBT was a huge help to my mental health, and I think it was that I had been using all these dangerous coping strategies (like self-harm) because I didn’t know any other way. And I know it might sound silly that I hadn’t thought of all these basic skills DBT teaches you, but I think that I was so poorly there was no rational, sensible part left in my head. I just couldn’t see any alternatives to what I was doing.
One of my favourite DBT skills is Self Sooth and it comes from the Distress Tolerance module, which is quite obviously focused on learning safe and healthy methods to tolerate any distresses in your life. Self sooth was quite a hard skill to learn because I had spent years believing I deserved any and all of the bad things that had happened to me – especially the abuse, so it was unfamiliar territory to believe that I actually did deserve to look after and care for myself. That I was worthy of doing something nice for myself, something that would make me happy or at least put a small dent in just how much I was struggling.
Being taught this skill, I worried what other people would think if I admitted how much it helped… I thought that it might make people think; ‘she can’t have been that suicidal if doing her make-up has helped!’ I also worried people would be thinking why the hell I hadn’t thought to do something so simple instead of the dangerous, unsafe behaviours I’d been using to cope with things!
Now though, I have the belief that if something like this has helped my mental health so much, then I should talk about it because there’s a chance that it could help someone else who hasn’t tried it. And that it might also encourage more people who have found self-soothing helpful to talk about their experiences too!
thanks to Superdrug, I have three links for gifts for absolutely everyone to benefit from self-soothing:
Shop all Gifts for Her: https://www.superdrug.com/Gifts/Gifts-for-Her/c/more-gifts-for-her
Shop all Gifts for Him: https://www.superdrug.com/Gifts/Gifts-for-Him/c/more-gifts-for-him
Shop all Superdrug’s gifts: https://www.superdrug.com/Gifts/c/gifts
Finally, one of my best-friend’s – Georgie, bought me an advent calendar from Made By Georgia Mai and when I checked out the rest of her online shop, I was so impressed by the quality of her hand made positivity and wellbeing related products!
So, here are some of my favourites...
AND she's very kindly given a discount code for all my readers, just type in IMNOTDISORDERED at the checkout!
You can shop the rest of the products: www.madebygeorgiamai.co.uk
To follow the brand on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madebygeorgiamai/