This guest post was written by the wonderful blogger, Just M.
⚠️Tw – suicide⚠️
“You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.”
I’m calling it.
I’m calling bullshit.
I’ve always hated this quote but as years go by I dislike it more and more. I’m aware that people use it as an insensitive to be kinder to ourselves and that, in itself, is a good thing but I don’t like the quote and here’s why.
For many people with mental health issues, like myself, loving yourself can feel like a colossal task. Many mood and anxiety disorders can be rooted in low self esteem, and if not, it can still cause you to feel pretty bad about yourself.
I struggle with depression and anxiety and I know that loving myself is something that I’ve not quite mastered. When you’re ill, self hate is often easier than self care but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of love.
One thing I can always hold onto, even in times of terribly low self esteem, is that I’m a very loving person. I have a huge capacity to love stuff. People, animals, films, music. You name it, I probably love it.
Because I over think, I over feel. And because I over feel, I over love. I love with a fire, with a strong and powerful spark and I think this is why I get so angry when I hear this quote.
I also know many other people in my life who are extremely affectionate and also extremely ill. They can co-exist. It’s not impossible to be unwell and loving at the same time.
You can take my word for it, but I imagine you would like some evidence so I’ve got a story for you.
Not too long ago, I had my second suicide attempt. I took an overdose of paracetamol. I went to the shops before school to buy a couple of boxes of pills and when I got out of the shop I was determined to die. My mind was on one thing, escaping. I was speed-walking to school when I was distracted. A small black and white cat was sitting on a wall. I love cats. So I stopped to pet it. Even in this moment, knowing what I was going to do, I had capacity to love.
I was at crisis point. I was on the edge of the cliff. I was on what I thought were my final hours. I stopped to love. I stopped because that’s who I am. I stopped because I could. And I’m glad I did.
It’s something that I didn’t even have to think about, I naturally did it and moved on. It didn’t stop me overdosing. It didn’t even really slow me down. But after I had taken it and survived it, it proved to me something that I already knew.
It doesn’t matter how ill you are, how down or useless you feel, how badly people treat you. You can always love.
If you enjoyed this post why not go over to thoughtsandwanderings for more content about mental health, music, and more!