Why is Self-Care So Hard for Me?

Looking back I wish I could have been kinder to myself. I wish I could have just said to myself that it’s okay to lay down all the time, it’s okay to take a break, and to have actually believed it. But self-care is hard for me. I think it comes down to being a perfectionist and also living in a society that so strongly values productivity and busyness.

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Let me tell you a little story…

A few weeks ago I was on vacation in Florida to visit my parents and we surprised my 6-year-old with a 2-day trip to Disney World. Neither of us had been there before so it was pretty darn exciting. The plan was to spend one full day in Disney World and the next day in Animal Kingdom (which is what I was looking forward to the most). Day one was so fun, we met so many Disney characters and enjoyed just walking around to look at everything.

We headed back to the hotel for a swim in the pool and some dinner, then we called it a night. Or so I thought.

I woke up at 3 in the morning with really bad stomach pain. At first I thought it was just gas or something (sorry TMI) but after an hour of rocking back and forth on the bathroom floor I had to wake up my mom (we were all sleeping the same room). To make a painful story short, I ended up having to take an ambulance to the ER where I was literally screaming in pain. SCREAMING IN PAIN. After some tests they discovered a large kidney stone had gotten stuck in the top of one of my ureters and was blocking kidney function. So then I had to be transferred to a different hospital for emergency surgery.

Thankfully I was with my parents and my dad was able to take my daughter to Disney Springs, which is apparently a large shopping plaza or something. He spoiled her all day so she wouldn’t worry too much about her mama. My mom stayed with me and I had the surgery. I ended up with a stent in and they weren’t able to remove the stone. I was still in so much pain. I then had to travel back home like that!

Fast forward a bit and I found out I had to have another surgery to laser the stone, remove the existing stent and put a new one in. The entire time up to this point I had to lay down the majority of the day because of the pain, so I missed work and I felt SO bad about it. My work was so understanding but I wasn’t. I love being productive. I hate getting behind on emails. I actually drove myself to work a few times, even in the condition I was in, to make sure that my colleagues had everything they needed from me.

My surgery got scheduled and I had to arrive at the hospital for 6 a.m. which meant I had to leave by 5:15 a.m. Do you want to know what I was going to do? I was going to UBER MYSELF TO THE HOSPITAL. Like, what kind of disordered thinking is that? My boyfriend couldn’t take me, my parents live out-of-town, and I didn’t want to “bother” my friends. I finally got the courage to ask one of my soul-sisters and she didn’t even hesitate in saying yes. Thank goodness for good friends.

Had the surgery, had to keep the stent in for another week and then finally had it removed. This whole thing was about 3 weeks long but it felt like a year.

Looking back I wish I could have been kinder to myself. I wish I could have just said to myself that it’s okay to lay down all the time, it’s okay to take a break, and to have actually believed it. But self-care is hard for me. I think it comes down to being a perfectionist and also living in a society that so strongly values productivity and busyness. I wish I could end this post with some meaningful advice for you but all I can say is if you see yourself in my experience, solidarity mama. We can do hard things. But maybe not many self-care things.

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