Throughout both my journey as a young trans man and a young man struggling with major depressive disorder and PTSD, a recurring theme that tends to rear its head (mainly in internet blogs like this one) is self care, and what that means for the author. Oftentimes, the things that one person finds soothing and reassuring, I, due to my warped body image and general upset, am unable to enjoy. Therefore, for those of you out there in a similar boat, here are just a few tips, that I hope are general enough to guide you through taking care of yourself and your sphere of influence.
In reading as much as I do on taking care of one’s self, I feel strongly as though self care is not doing what makes you feel good, but doing what needs to be done. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to drop everything and study for that test coming up, or write up a paragraph long apology to your friend-turned-enemy. Really, it just means taking stock of your body, then of your various tasks at hand.
I tend to like to think of my body as a fire, due to my many years working with the temperamental, horrible, god-awful chemical reactions. Each thing that you do to put fuel on your fire will keep it burning for longer, whether that be eating little bits throughout the day, taking that much-needed shower, or spending some time with a beloved video game. These little things put sticks and twigs and logs on your fire (depending on how big or small each action is) for when you need to use that fire later.
Despite one’s best intentions, dysphoria can make parts of fueling this fire difficult. Getting in the shower is a daily struggle, and many would rather let themselves grow increasingly more uncomfortable than facing their body up close and personal. Eating can be a difficult task as well, ‘Do I deserve this meal? Will it add weight where I don’t want it? Am I wasting my time?’ And to that I say what I have said so many times, YOU NEED TO EAT. It is a non-negotiable part of living. And yes, I digress, living can be less than ideal some of the time, but you need to keep living for it to get better, and to live thou must eat.
Enough of my tangents though. The point of this is, self care is difficult for anybody, let alone someone with issues regarding their body, things like eating, executive dysfunction, etcetera. However, what I plead is that you can use this article to judge your own personal fire, gauge whether or not you have enough fuel to finish those tasks, and plow forward with a raging blaze inside. Godspeed, my fellow firewatchers, godspeed.