Let me tell you a story about me and baths.
So I’m currently a huge fan of baths. I try to take one every week, I splurge on bath bombs, all that basic tumblr jazz. And it all probably sounds like nice cutesy fluffy self care lite, but two years ago when I’d just been abducted and raped, it was anything but easy. I physically couldn’t be naked for the first three months. That post I made about self care when you can’t shower that got so many notes? I didn’t just make that because I have fibro. I made that because for the longest time I had to take sink showers and shower in my bathing suit because being naked gave me such bad flashbacks that I would end up hurting myself.
I was eventually hospitalized and then continued therapy (which I’m still doing), and I worked really really hard at grounding and processing and CBT and a bunch of other skills until finally I was able to take a quick five minute shower with no clothes on. And with a LOT of work, that became a ten minute shower, and one day my therapist suggested I take a bath and with a bit of trial and error I finally managed to do it. My mom was so proud that she cried
Now I have worked really hard and gotten so much better, and at this point in my recovery I enjoy baths and showers most of the time. But even now there are sometimes days when I get triggered, and when taking a bath seems like the hardest thing in the world. It’s about so much more than just relaxing. It’s about learning how to reclaim my body and think of it as something other than the site of a trauma. It’s about applying grounding techniques and mindfulness and coping skills. It’s so much more than just something I’m doing to #treatmyself.
I don’t think people should categorize self care in sweeping generalizations, because especially when mental illness is involved, even seemingly easy things can be unbelievably complex and difficult. And even if it isn’t anything more than a neurotypical person taking a bath for fun just to chill, it can still be valuable. Self care is fundamentally and by definition personal, and I personally don’t feel equipped to judge anyone’s other than my own.