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Mental Health

It’s Not Selfish to Care About Yourself

Whether or not you’ve been personally affected, I think it’s safe to say that most of us
(hopefully all of us) can recognize the fact that mental illness is difficult to deal with. Like,
really hard sometimes. The specific ones that I am lucky enough to have experienced first-hand
include anxiety and depression. These are pretty well known, I think, and the diagnosis of these
conditions are becoming more prevalent every day. Most of us know the common symptoms of
depression; increased sadness, loss of interest in doing things that used to make you happy,
maybe a change in appetite or sleep schedule, etc. One thing, though, that many people don’t talk
about, is the increased feeling of selfishness that sometimes accompanies the diagnosis of major
depression.

It’s a weird catch-22 situation when you’re officially diagnosed with a depressive
disorder. You went to seek help, maybe you’re starting on medications or going to therapy – you
almost feel proud for finally trying to do something to help yourself. You quickly learn that
you’re allowed to take some time for yourself and “fix” the things you feel need to be “fixed,”
but just as fast realize how much time and attention that requires. Maybe it’s also becoming (or
always has been) more evident that in order to face the traumas and hard times that you’re goingthrough, you either think about yourself a lot, or talk about yourself to others…a lot. To say the
least; it can become overwhelming recognizing that being aware of your own self and things
about you can consume most of your time.

The paradox that is seeking help for depression, but feeling guilty for doing so is not new,
and it is absolutely not limited to just a few people feeling this way. This situation is universal,
and it spans across all mental health diagnoses. While these diagnoses and conditions can make
us feel narcissistic, I’m here to tell you this: self-care isn’t selfish.

I know my words might not have much meaning to you, but I promise that putting
yourself first to take care of yourself is not something you should feel bad about. By making sure
you’re coping with your experiences, getting through your days as best you can, and seeking
help when you need it, you’re not only helping yourself in the moment; you’re helping your
future self, too. It’s difficult, and it’s certainly weird to admit that sometimes taking time to be
with yourself – and only yourself – is the best option, at least for a little while.

I am a senior at MNSU studying Social Work! I have a passion for educating people about self-care and mental health.
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