TW: This post mentions self harm.
Life has been feeling pretty hectic lately. The combination of starting a new job alongside my internship, meeting an amazing man and spending a good 75% of my time on a train, has meant that I've been feeling a tad fragile. As always, I convinced myself that the kind of exhaustion I was feeling, and the hideous mess that my skin had become, were totally normal, and that it was something I had to do in order to keep my career goals on track. After finding myself in eating disorder melt down, knelt on the floor in Boots holding a pack of razors trying to determine whether it would be more effective to cut or to go to town on the purse full of prescription medication in my hand bag, I realised it was probably time to ease up on myself.
After this potentially damaging episode, a conversation with a friend reminded me how important it is to take time for self care, for something as mundane and cheesy as a bubble bath or painting my toes. Due to my eating disorder, the prospect of exercise leaves me worrying so much about not doing enough to reach my, aforementioned, imaginary 'goal weight', that I end up giving up before I've even started, convinced I'm going to fail at each self inflicted hurdle despite how vital exercise is to maintaining my BPD. I needed to start thinking straight and realising that, no matter how hard I work or train, if I've burnt myself out to the point of no return, success is never going to come my way.
I think maybe these feelings didn't register because I feel that this is something I need to do in order to be successful. As I discussed in my post Millennial Exhaustion, feeling inadequate about the steps I am taking to reach my career goals feels natural to me, and I constantly feel that I'm not doing enough to secure something that even vaguely resembles my dream job. This toxicity is second nature, and I repeatedly find myself asking if I'm meant to feel stressed throughout the day, wondering if it's part of everyday life or something that I should be questioning and investigating.
Since then I've been a little better. I've lowered my hours at work to ensure I get some time off during the week, and I'm making sure I allot myself time to work out even if it's just to squeeze in half an hour of yoga. 30 minutes might not be a lot, but if it's the difference between me standing frozen in Cambridge city centre having a panic attack and feeling calm and happy, I'm pretty sure it's enough.