Nail Polish

Nail Polish

When I look at the posts on the Bipolar support group that I belong to, there’s one common thread that continually pops up. Self-care, or rather, the lack thereof. I see posts of people celebrating taking a shower after 2 weeks of not being able to do it. I read about houses left uncleaned for months, people finally going to the dentist after years. This is so validating. Not the showering part, I shower on a regular basis to be clear.

But I do connect with not being able to do housework. Years ago, I would be on top of everything, cleaning, washing, laundry, mopping, windows, yardwork, etc. And fast. I was like a machine. That’s when my mental health was in a better space. I had energy and liked how I felt when the house was pretty and organized.

When my mental health is in the toilet, so is the house. I can’t seem to care or muster the energy to take care of the simplest chores. Dishes will pile up on the counter, the floors aren’t swept and the laundry piles up. When I do get up an ounce of pep, it all seems too overwhelming and I fall deeper into my depression, feeling shame and guilt. 

Simple self-care acts are thrown to the side like yesterday’s trash. Shaving my legs (when will the sasquatch trend take off???). Eating healthy. Drinking water. Taking my pills. Everything feels like a tremendous weight on my shoulders, and I buckle underneath it.

I don’t know if there is a component around feeling worthy. Do I not feel worthy of doing nice things for myself? I think when you are steeped in depression, there is a voice that tells you that you’re worthless and you believe it. I’m not worth the time to invest in getting healthier, in looking better.

But on Sunday I did a thing. I painted my toenails. That may seem small and insignificant, but I assure you, it is not. I had bought the nail polish months ago and it sat on my side table collecting dust. I felt guilty for spending money on it. I felt guilty thinking about taking time for myself to do my nails (in reality it took me 5 minutes).

On Sunday, while I was waiting for Darren to mop the floor downstairs, I told myself that this was a good moment to take for myself and do something nice for me. So, I sat on the edge of the bed, trying to bring my fat legs up onto the side table, reaching past my gut and huffing for air while I applied the nail polish. I admired my handy work. It’s a nice colour, a pinky mauve.

Something as simple as that made me feel better. Simple acts of self-care. I’ll take the small victories where I can, small boosts to my self esteem and my mental health. It makes it easier to take those little steps. Makeup routine, skin care, making the bed.

With some of those under my belt, it’ll be easier to conquer the bigger issues hopefully. Eating healthy, exercising, drinking more water. But for now, I’ll admire my toenails and wear open-toed sandals.

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