To care for something or someone requires a lot of strength. It can be damaging, rewarding and draining for yourself. I now don’t care for a lot, but what I do care for; I care for a hell of a lot.
Back before I finished my counselling I cared about EVERYTHING and by everything, I mean the majority of it was absolute shit that I really should not have given a fuck about. By this I mean:
– My fashion choices
– Others opinions (I cannot stress how unimportant this one is)
– How I presented myself (this could include how my voice sounded, how much I talked or how little I talked, how I walked, my social media presence, my body language, my make up/lack of and so on…oh the joys of anxiety)
– One sided people (You know, the ones that unload their shit onto you but don’t offer the same for you)
– Things that couldn’t be changed (LET THAT SHIT GO!)
– All the negatives (Is carrying extra negativity ever worth it?)
– The past (this can be anything from mistakes I had made, bad choices, traumas etc)
The list can go on to be honest.
It’s hard when you care too much. You know you care too much, maybe you know that you’re caring about things that you shouldn’t but you can’t help it, right? It’s shit. It’s draining for yourself, you worry about what others might think/say if you begin to care more about yourself or maybe the thought of caring for something (even if it’s not worth caring for) provides you with some sort of warm feeling/reassurance that you aren’t completely heartless or dead inside (trust me, I have been there). Maybe you just don’t know how to care for yourself because you’re so used to putting others first (I’d also like to stress that putting yourself first IS NOT SELFISH).
I think when you suffer from any mental illness; it’s hard to care less about the pointless shit. My anxiety is the absolute worst for creating pointless cares in my head. When I am going through anxious periods I begin to over care and it can take anything from a few days to a few weeks for me to re-prioritise my cares and bring myself back to myself.
Prioritising your cares isn’t the hard part. The hard part is cutting yourself off from those pointless cares. Reducing those negative thoughts, cutting out the toxic and letting go of the crap is what you could find difficult but holy fuck, it is so worth doing.
My list of what/who I care about is a lot smaller now. When I began to work through my mental illnesses, I was able to mentally see clearer. I was able to prioritise my cares. The amount of cares I had didn’t change, I just began to care about what/who truly mattered to me, which resulted in me caring for the right things and caring for them an endless amount, which then resulted in me overall feeling a whole lot lighter and happier.
My cares now focus around:
- Close friends
- My overall wellbeing
- My future
My starting point began during my counselling. We were working on my anxiety and how it impacts my thoughts, how I see my life, myself and whatnot. We would discuss what I had been paranoid about or what negative thoughts I had during the week and work out whether they were genuine or whether it was my anxiety talking crap. So here are a few genuine pointless cares I used to have which I discussed with my counsellor many times before it actually clicked in my head that they are in fact, very fucking pointless.
Running during daylight hours was something I could never do. I cared about my outfit, how I ran, how red my face could go, how much I could sweat, how fast I was running, what others might think if they saw me running and so on. Absolutely fucking pointless to care this much about running. Running. Something that is beneficial for you in many ways and something I enjoy (anxiety works in funny ways).
If I am going for a night out, I like to wear something that is going to boost my confidence. Something that I feel good in, I like to feel sexy, I like to be a bit more daring. So sometimes before I went out, I’d post a picture on my Instagram or wherever of my outfit because duh, I was feeling good but then a few days later I could be ripping the shit out of myself for it. I’d create negative opinions in my head of myself that others could possibly have thought. If I could think it then surely others could as well right? Possibly, but does it matter? Does it fuck. I know full well how little confidence I have so if I was wearing something that gave me that boost and helped me feel good then good for me. Caring about what others may or may not think about your fashion choices, absolutely fucking pointless.
When you have PTSD you are constantly reminded of past traumas and with those traumas comes the feelings you felt, the thoughts you had and the trauma replays again and again. This was by far the hardest thing to overcome. Letting go of what has happened, whether it be a traumatic experience or something else that has been bothering you is far from easy or simple to do. If you are able to let go of any hurt others have caused you, any traumas or any pain you have caused yourself then please give yourself a pat on the back. The past isn’t worth dwelling over, especially when it can’t be changed. Don’t carry excess weight with you, it’s only going to hold you back mentally and emotionally.
The journey to prioritising your cares is a tricky one. You’ll have moments where you feel you are becoming more heartless, you’ll come across people who will call you heartless (they just don’t understand) and you will probably go back and forth on your priorities till you figure it all out.
When it comes to prioritising my cares about a situation now, I ask myself 3 questions.
Could it be worse?
The answer for me now is always yes. Not only have I come a long way from where I used to be, but there are people out there who had/have had it worse than me. Some of them still manage to get on with their lives, some struggle and some give in. If your situation could be worse, then is it really worth stressing over?
Can it be solved?
If it can’t, I let that shit go. If it can, then I’ll attempt to solve it and I’ll either succeed or I’ll fail. If I fail, then it’s time to let it go.
Is this me speaking or my anxiety?
Trust the very first answer that comes to you as soon as you ask this question. Anxiety masks how you truly think/feel to what benefits it. I know that if I am going through an anxious period my anxiety will try to take over countless amounts of times. Trust the very first answer that comes to you when you ask this because 9 times out of 10, that will be you answering. I know that if I am able to answer the question, my anxiety will kick in within half a second afterwards and this huge debate will begin in my head about what the fuck I should do. Trust the first answer!
Say you made a mistake a work and you’re dwelling on it (which is completely understandable). Ask yourself those 3 questions and then say either:
- “Shit happens”
- “It could always be worse”
- Take a big sigh and say “Oh well, shit happens” (This one is my favourite. The sigh is a huge stress reliever)
Living with any mental illness is hard but what makes it even harder is that you end up caring about everything and everyone else but yourself and that’s not a simple thing to just change. It takes a lot of dedication, sacrifices (but it will always be for the best) and self love but trust me, it will benefit you in so many ways.
Only 10% of our stress is due to what happens, whereas 90% is due to how we think about it. The less cares about the pointless shit, the less stress.
Thank you for reading,
Sending my love to you all,