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Article ID: 9756

VoxAcct: 261095

Section: teen

Age Group: Adult

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Learning To Take Care Of Yourself - Your Whole Self

Author: Mydnyht
Posted: June 5th. 2005
Times Viewed: 5,831

I was looking at the suggested topic for this season, and at first I just dismissed it, slightly amused. ďResponsibility?Ē I thought. ďThat doesnít apply to me Ė Iím not responsible; Iím just a kid! What have I ever done thatís responsible?Ē

Sure, I do my homework and I get it in on time (granted, this usually requires doing a little cramming at lunch block or during break). I make my bed every day and I do my laundry about once a week. I feed my rabbits and my guinea pig every day. I clean my room, and Iím responsible and organized enough to run three student groups. I am a high honors student, and my grade average has never dropped below a 90 for the past two years. Everyone thinks Iím such a wonderful mature young woman and that I always make good choices. So all of this makes me responsible, right?

One of the major problems we have in todayís Western culture is that itís these sorts of things that denote who is responsible and who isnít. As long as you play by the rules society has set up as far as personal gain in the world, youíre all set. Being responsible equates to coming into work everyday or doing the right thing in a bad situation. Itís meeting deadlines and managing your money, feeding your pet and studying for tests. It seems to slip peopleís minds to be responsible enough to take care of themselves. Itís okay if you get by on only a few hours of sleep, or eat potato chips for lunch without eating breakfast or get a little tipsy when you go out with your friends. Maybe youíre not treating your body right, but at least you manage all that money and get to work on time (or in my case, do that homework and donít cut class). Donít get me wrong Ė thatís all really important and I donít condone slacking off in these cases. But taking care of your soul is just as important as your real world duties. Sometimes, itís even more important. People donít seem to realize that when you hurt your body physically, youíre hurting your mind and more importantly your spirit as well. Theyíre in a direct balance with one another, and when one is hurting the others often soon follow. Physical pain goes hand-in-hand with mental anguish. Mental disorders often affect how we feel physically, and when youíre hurting spiritually it definitely takes a toll on all aspects of your health. When thereís a piece of your soul missing, part of your essence Ė your very self Ė is gone. And because these three functions of well-being are so closely intertwined, you canít expect to not be responsible with your body and keep your spirit intact. Your body is a gift and it matters. Taking care of your body isnít just important for your bodyís sake, itís important for your soul as well. So to ignore your body or any part of your well-being Ė thatís not very responsible, is it?

I am clinically depressed. I am bipolar, ďmanic depressive, Ē or whatever you want to call it. In my pre-teen and early teen years, I was not very responsible with my body or my mental well-being. I started hurting myself purposely; I was a combination anorexic-bulimic and most importantly, I wasnít telling anyone about my problems. They kind of spiraled out of control because of all the pressure I was putting on myself. My spirit couldnít survive that kind of draining loneliness. I did stupid things like overdose on pills and I even got put in a psychiatric hospital twice. I feared that it wouldnít be long before my life became a flaming ruin, not because I was doing really horrible things but because I wanted to stay in my slump. I was being totally irresponsible to my body and mind: this, in turn, weighed heavily on my spirit and I distanced myself from everything. I remember the day I stopped trying. I tried to get taken off my medication so that I could stay miserable. I read a beautiful spell about treating your body as a temple, but I couldnít go through the ritual because I knew I couldnít keep that promise. ďIf Iím not responsible enough to take care of myself, how can I be responsible enough to take care of another human being?Ē I wondered. Being a mother is the thing Iíve always wanted to accomplish most in my life, and I was at a loss when I thought I wouldnít ever be able to be a good parent. I remember breaking down at last about a year ago, crying, and thinking: ďI am so sick of being unhappy! The Goddess loves me, so why canít I love myself?Ē It finally dawned on me that I wasnít being a responsible person because of the way I abused myself. My body is a temple and a gift, and I need to treat it with respect. The responsible thing to do would be to humble myself enough to ask for help Ė not necessarily from other people, but from myself. So I threw away the razor, started eating, talked to my psychologist more Ė and prayed.

Instead of letting other people help me, I took responsibility for my condition and decided that I wanted the help. This was a huge step for me. When I took responsibility for myself it wasnít just with one element of my well-being, it was with all of them. Treating myself right helped me see my life as a special gift; a wonderful, magickal thing, and I developed more as a Wiccan. I had a closer relationship with the Goddess after my epiphany; I didnít want to destroy my relationship with Her the way I had ruined so many others. I needed Her trust and through my trials I grew spiritually. I learned that taking care of myself wasnít just good for living in the real world, it was an important part of being a good Pagan. So the most responsible thing Iíve ever done was to love myself, and I think itís the most responsible thing any of us can ever do.




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Mydnyht


Location: Upton, Massachusetts

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