Self-Care and Grief

Hi there! My name is Caroline, and I am the Social Media Assistant at 1N5. I am 25 years old, a Cincinnati native, and a mental health advocate.

I want to start by saying that I truly leaned into my self-care journey about four years ago when my mom passed away from stage IV lung cancer. As a perfectionist, people pleaser, and Type 1 Enneagram (if you know, you know), my default state of being is giving my 100% to others, resulting in unintentional neglect of my personal self-care. This worked for me for a while; my body got used to this default until everything came to a halt, and I was forced to recognize my reality through the stages of grief. Grief looks different for everyone. I felt the effects of the physical and mental symptoms through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.

I was able to seek help for my mental health during this time, and I am grateful for the physician and therapist who showed up and made me feel heard. It was not easy to ask for help because my pride and ego were a barrier for me. In addition, my first physician dismissed my request for help, and it took even more courage to advocate for myself and ask again. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and depression, which helped me better identify coping skills and self-care practices to incorporate into my daily lifestyle.

You do not need a diagnosis to incorporate self-care practices into your life; however, that is where my journey began! I am grateful for the opportunity to share what personal and community self-care looks like for me and to interview others in the upcoming blogs.