Listening to Your Body

If you read my post about my PMDD, then you know I took a months leave from my job. Deciding if that was the right choice for me was hard but ultimately I decided that it was probably best – and it was. During my leave I continued seeing all my doctors, therapist, and taking my medication. I also started creating a routine for myself. I would wake up around 8am every morning (no alarm!) relax and enjoy the morning, go to the gym, and then do whatever I needed to for the day. It was extremely relaxing and I was noticing how much calmer I was becoming. Sure I had some bad days but they weren’t like before. It wasn’t until I was walking around the mall one day that I realized how stressed out I was before taking this leave. I had gone to the mall just for one thing and ended up wandering around for 2 hours! I didn’t care if there were long lines or kids running around..it was nice to just be. It was then I knew that I needed to listen to my body more and take care of myself physically so I could start taking care of myself mentally.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

I work in a high stress environment and normally that isn’t a problem. I like being busy and I do well in chaotic situations but there has to be a point where I need to step away sometimes. The last few months of 2018 were very hard for me mentally. On days where my PMDD was at its worst I still went to work because physically I was fine so I couldn’t call out. I pushed and pushed myself to go to work and deal with work stress on top of personal stress. I started noticing that when I sat down in my chair, I was immediately tense and my breathing would change. I started taking the stress and negativity I was feeling at work into my home life and relationships. Taking my leave of absence made me really see how much I was overworking myself.

What I’ve been working on now is to listen to my body and know when I’ve reached a limit to where I need to take a step back.

 

  • Take a Break – This not only applies to my job but my everyday life. At work I take my mandatory two breaks but other than that I don’t step away for breathers or anything. Same for my personal life – I’m always on the go, go, go and never stop. This is something I started writing down constantly to remind myself it’s okay to take a break if I need to slow down for a moment. Having a few extra minutes to collect my thoughts and feelings is a lot better to the alternative of being explosive and stressed.
  • Control my Breathing – Like I said, I don’t ever slow down and that includes my breathing. I’ve tried a few times when I notice myself breathing too quickly and it honestly feels completely unnatural to me. Now when I start to notice it becoming too quick I do my best to try and calm it back down. I also assess the situation that I’m in to see why I started breathing like that. I’ve tried meditation before but like I said, having to slow down and focus on my breathing feels unnatural. However, given recent events I’m open to more things like it to see what works for me.
  • Know my LoadI had to be the one to get everything done when in reality that wasn’t true. I work with 10 other people that can do the same task! When I came back from my leave I started pacing myself with tasks and reminded myself that it’s okay if I wasn’t the person responding to that email or making fresh coffee for clients. My team shares all tasks and I don’t have to take on the responsibility of doing everything.

 

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

It’s a small list for now but I’m learning as I go. Now I make sure to prioritize certain areas of my life when it really calls for it. If y’all follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been pretty absent. I love my blog and sharing things with everyone but I mentally was not in a place to focus on it – and I know now that that’s okay! My blog is fun and I enjoy it so much. I don’t want to lose interest or start to hate it because I’m forcing myself to come up with good content.

What are some things you do to help calm down and assess the priorities in your life?

Living With & Understanding My Diagnosis

Beginning of 2018 I found out that I was having high blood pressure. I had several tests done, a diet change, started medication, and was taken off birth control because of it. All the tests came back normal and I was taken off the blood pressure medication when my BP dropped too low. The doctors came to the conclusion that my hormonal birth control was causing my high BP. 

The next few months quickly became some of the hardest I’ve had in the last few years. About two months after stopping birth control, I went to my doctor for a follow up on my menstrual cycle. I told her I was happy being off the birth control because my cycle finally normalized and I was having fewer migraines but the negatives were not worth it for me. I was starting to get very depressed again, even having thoughts of self harm, but only when my cycle was about to start. I would get very aggressive, cry uncontrollably, have intense mood swings, binge-eat, and experience so many other symptoms. This was when she diagnosed me with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder(PMDD). She explained what it was and how it was affecting me. The hormonal birth control was keeping the PMDD at a normal level for me which is why it hadn’t been diagnosed earlier.

The next few months I tried to work with my PMDD. I took advice from other people, looked into some medications, and even joined support groups. Knowing about my diagnosis only made me feel worse. It was maddening to know that there was a part of my brain that completely took over my body leaving me impaired. I was frustrated that my relationships were suffering because of it. It consumed me. I became more depressed and fell down the rabbit hole. I stopped taking care of myself and stopped caring in general.

December 2018 I went through a lot. My boyfriend and I broke up and it made me realize how “damaged” I was. Now that doesn’t mean we solely broke up because of my PMDD(separate issues for another time) but it was a big factor because it controlled my emotions and how I interacted with others. I was on my own and didn’t know how to handle it. I started having panic attacks all the time and literally felt like my skin was burning and I was dying. The panic attacks started happening at work and became more severe. I was already seeing a psychiatrist and therapist trying to get things under control but my PMDD struck hard. End of December my cycle was about to start. There was so much going on in my personal life and in my head that I reached a breaking point. End of December I almost took my life. There was so much pain around and inside me that I couldn’t take it. The only reason I didn’t follow through is because I received a phone call at the exact time I was about to do something.

That phone call is the reason I’m here and telling all of this to you. January 2019 I took a leave of absence from my job to focus on my mental health and get myself stable. I had so many doctor visits, started new medication, and continued seeing my therapist. I kept myself around my friends and family but treasured my alone time. I even got myself on a normal sleep schedule and was eating frequently again – I had lost 10 pounds in three months.

I went back to work on January 30th and have been continuing my medication and therapy. My PMDD is still a learning process of finding what works for me and what doesn’t. I felt completely alone with this diagnosis. I felt insane, especially the last few months of 2018. I felt like everything I was feeling and experiencing was wrong, that nobody else felt like me. If you’ve been diagnosed with PMDD or think you may have it, I want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s a horrible disorder that is very hard to cope with. I’ll be sharing more about my journey and please feel free to reach out to me at any time!

Learn more about PMDD here and check out the PMDD tracker app, Me VS. PMDD.

 

My Benefits of a Weighted Blanket

*This post contains links and product suggestions. I have not been paid for these – this is purely my own experience and review.

 

I heard about weighted blankets a long time ago because a friend of mine had purchased one. She said she absolutely loved it and after that I completely forgot about them until recently. I don’t remember exactly how(probably an online ad) but I started becoming interested in them. I read reviews and posts about them and how life changing they were for some people. I also came across an article that someone wrote about their child who has AD/HD and how beneficial the weighted blanket was for them.

In my post about my mental health, I mentioned that a lot of changes have been happening in my life the last few months. I’ve been switching between a few medications and had a new diagnosis that I was trying to work through. Just recently I had another doctor appointment where they are questioning another diagnosis for me and the potential for another medication switch. Basically there’s still a lot going on for me and my health and I’ve been doing my best to find my coping mechanisms.

And now we get to the weighted blanket! After reading several articles about how they’re very beneficial for people with mental illnesses I was hooked on wanting one. There are many different kinds out there but the one I have is The Calming Comfort Weighted Blanket. From their website, here is how they explain how the blanket works: The Calming Comfort™ Weighted Blanket applies an even amount of pressure over your body to help the production of serotonin and melatonin (the body’s primary sleep hormones), simulating Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation. It feels like a warm hug, immediately sending you into a state of comfort and relaxation.

Knowing this and the information I found from the articles, I was very eager to get one. I have a few mental illnesses and I also have a hard time sleeping. The sleeping part I always struggled with, even as a baby! It always takes me a long time to fall asleep and when I do, I constantly wake up throughout the night.

Okay, fast forward to actually getting the blanket. *This is not an exaggeration* It literally feels like heaven. I immediately snuggled up with it on the couch and having all that weight on me felt so good. Not to mention it’s extremely soft too! My first night sleeping with the blanket was one of the best sleeps I had had in a long time. I woke up feeling refreshed and actually well rested. Now I know you’re probably thinking, ‘Well Kait, how do you REALLY know that it was working?’. One night I went to bed without the blanket. I had it nearby but was just too lazy to grab it. Nothing changed during my day or in my normal routine. I did everything as I normally would have, took the same medications, and had my same bedtime routine. I had also been using the weighted blanket for about a week every night already as well. That night I felt SO distressed! I couldn’t get comfortable and when I finally fell asleep I was awake maybe 30 minutes later. This went on for a few hours. I eventually grabbed my weighted blanket and fell asleep shortly after – and stayed asleep.

Ever since then I have used my blanket every night and the occasional cuddle on the couch. I have been falling asleep faster and staying asleep the entire night. I wake up feeling well rested and comfortable. It’s been very rare that I wake up without anxiety anymore! I highly recommend you give the weighted blanket a try. If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or AD/HD then this blanket is truly a great gift. It’s also helpful for those that have an issue being touched by other people. Some of my friends, myself included, don’t necessarily prefer to be touched when we’re having an anxiety or panic attack. Some don’t like to be touched in general. For them it’s not a great way to get them to calm down; it only amps up their anxiety. This blanket could be an option for them as it will stimulate the pressure stimulation without having to feel another person on them.

Check out their website and find more testimonials about the blanket!