(A Woman’s Guide To Reclaiming Wholeness After Sexual Abuse)
Blog and Podcast Show notes
By Simone N
For a more in depth discussion, check out the podcast episode for this blog, to listen.
Do you engage in self-neglecting behaviors as a result of depression?
Can you identify and recognize why and when you are doing it?
And what can be done to improve self-care in the midst of depression?
This episode is somewhat of a part 2 to episodes 11-13. And you can see, it is in the light of the subject of depression. Self-neglect, many times, often occur in a state of depression, (and stress).
Self neglect, or neglect in general can manifest within our bodies, environments, and relationships. Personally, we can neglect our minds and bodies, and this can worsen (the mental and emotional state); creates more problems, on top of what is already already there.
In past episodes (11-13), we can lack in good self care by under eating or inadequately eating, avoiding sleep, and poor hygiene and grooming.
We can also neglect our need for love, help, support and attention. What I will do here is expand and/or tweak those points spoken in previous episodes about physical neglect.
Let’s start off by talking about under eating, or neglecting food.
This is major sign of depression, of depression. Persistent Depressive Disorder, ranging from mild to chronic, is characterized of under eating, or overeating, the increase or decrease of appetite.
Our thought life: distressing thoughts such as guilt, shame hopelessness, and despair can affect our bodies, and how they function. Sometimes, this intense, prolonged, upsetting state of being can cause nausea, which in turn can affect the appetite negatively. Constipation, for some, may be another deterrent of food. Fatigue, that accompanies this depression, affects your ability to get up and prepare meals, cook; therefore resulting in the neglect of eating and food. General disinterest in cooking, or food, along with the various other activities that was once found pleasurable, has a lot to do with this problem.
What can we do to improve appetite and eating habits?
- Scheduling and pre-planning your meals. Organization, and preparation reduces overwhelm, so it is easier for you to eat.
- Prepare and eat smaller meals; those that are simple and easier. Eating smaller portions are easier on the body, maintains sugar levels, and encourages more increased appetite.
- Eat more nutrient dense foods. Stay away from junk foods, or food with empty calories, as it will only serve to make you feel worse; more fatigue, draining on the emotions, and does not encourage good health and healing.
- Be sure to eat plenty omega 3s, vitamin C, E, and protien (see episode #27)
- Meal supplements or replacements can be extremely helpful to restore lot vitamins and minerals, and easier on you in this fatigued state.
Avoiding and neglecting sleep is another issue, that can happen as a result of depression.
First, let me clear up something. Having difficulty sleeping, sleep disturbances, or insomnia, is common in depression. This may be a result of agitation, and restlessness, disturbing thoughts and emotions; guilt, shame, resentment and hopelessness, does not leave the mind clear and settled to sleep. Physical issues, of pain and discomfort; headaches/migraines, back, neck and body pain prevent restful sleep.
These issues can culminate to the point that we become so accustomed to the struggle (to sleep), that we just give up, and neglect it all together. This, of course, further exacerbates the problem, worsens the depression, it doesn’t promote wellness on any level.
Here are some points to improve the issue (also look to episode #11 for more):
- Rest and sleep is essential to healing and well-being. Getting as much sleep as you can helps, it makes all the difference in the world.
- Meditation, and breathing (this is played out I know). It soothes the mind, relieves stress, overall promotes physical, emotional, mental wellness. Scientific studies have shown that it helps to rid you of depression.
- Natural, or herbal sleeping aids. This can in many ways be a big help to you, and because it is natural, it can help heal your mind and body at the same time.
- Talk to yourself before bed. Positive affirmations to re-program your mind, put you in a better mental and emotional state, to settle into sleep.
Personal hygiene and grooming.
The neglect of the self in this manner, can come from stress, as well as feelings of unworthiness, shame, guilt, and hopelessness. Fatigue, the calk of energy to perform tasks, can affect your personal care in general. When you have no desire to do anything, or do not see the sense of it, will affect this negatively. Fogginess, and impaired memory and judgement, to remember small tasks of what needs to be done, (personal care) goes out the window.
Here are some points to improve grooming and hygiene:
- Know that the lack of personal care and personal appearance as a result, will only serve to deepen your already existing feelings that cause you to demonstrate the neglectful behaviors. Put in extra attention, effort and importance into self care. This can help to improve your thoughts, beliefs, and attitude toward yourself. Externally, when you feel better about body, and appearance, it raises self-esteem and overall good feeling about yourself.
- Solicit or ask for help for those things that are overwhelming, and cannot find the energy to do. Eg. If washing hair becomes a burden, ask a friend to do it.
- Find temporary, easier alternatives to help with those tasks. Eg. Try a dry shampoo instead of the traditional kind.
Neglecting the need for care, attention, support and love, is something we do to ourselves unbeknownst to us. Hopelessness (what’s the use? attitude), has us disbelieving that we can be helped, that things can improve with the support and love of others. We feel alone, and are alone, so therefore, the help that comes to us remains invalid or useless. Guilt, shame, or worthlessness can make one feel unqualified, or deserving of others’ support and love.
Sexual abuse, as I have said at least a few times (throughout the episode), can cause us to feel unworthy (of love and attention); and many times creates an aversion to the intimacy of other people, in other words–we don’t trust them. This of course, is unproductive and damaging, so it does not aid in our healing and recovery.
We may also feel that we must do it all ourselves; suffer, bear it, and endure it all as we did the time we were being used, violated, especially if it was done in secret, behind the garment of shame and guilt.
Here are some points to help with your understanding of your needs; allowing the love, support, and attention you deserve
- Know that you cannot do it alone. At some time, at some point you will need help and support. We are social beings, wired to interact/communicate with others; it is our innate need for connection.
- Know and be aware that you were conditioned somehow through your experiences to believe that you cannot, should not have, need, or deserving of help, love, support and attention. Dismantle this lie because it is not true, in any way. whether you believe it or not, someone, or some people in your life, care about you
- When someone wants to support or help you, let them. Remember, you deserve it. Remind yourself of these things spoken here in these points, and accept, and allow the help in your life, however it manifests.
- We are all here to help and support each other. Understand that the cycle, or law, of giving and receiving must come to completion with your receiving.
- Know that you are Love.(Others are too). With this understanding, what you deserve, what you are to receive is love. Your buried desire, beneath a bunch of distortions, lies, repressed and dulled years ago is for love, connection, acceptance, and understanding and support for who you are.
Hopefully you found this helpful. Once again, if you haven’t watched or read episodes 11-13, it can provide a good prerequisite to this episode/topic.
Check out the next article: Dealing With: Depression and Overindulgence