Health

Fab Friday: Anxiety and Panic Attack Recovery Care

(I wrote this up on Friday, but I’m only just getting around to posting. Sorry about that! Hopefully next week’s Fab Friday will be on time.) Happy Fab Friday, friends! I’m writing this from the front seat of my car outside my in-laws’ house. Why? Because I just had a panic attack.

I haven’t had a panic attack in over a year, and this one came completely out of the blue. I was sitting at the family dinner table, passing the veggie platter and dishing up food for my son when all of a sudden the lights got too bright, and everyone’s voices got too loud and too sharp, and my heart started to race. I calmly turned to my husband and said, “I think I’m having a panic attack, so I’m going to go to the other room.”

I cried, put in some earplugs, and practiced square breathing, but everything was still too loud and too bright, so I went to the car. It’s nice and quiet and dark out here. My heartbeat is nice and slow, but my arms and legs don’t feel like they belong to me yet. My husband came out and brought me a lemon La Croix (bless him), and the rest of the family is leaving me gloriously alone. Thank God for a family who understands mental illness!

So while I’m stuck here in depersonalization-land, I’m putting together a moodboard of all the little things that help me recover from panic attacks. (Your mileage may vary on the specifics, but most people find the general categories helpful.) For those who have never experienced a panic attack, the attack itself is terrible, but the after-effects can also leave you feeling like you have a really terrible hangover. It’s the hangover part I want to try to help with today. So here’s your Anxiety and Panic Attack Recovery Care Starter Kit:

Anxiety and Panic Attack Recovery Care Guide > Thriverguide.com

5 Super Easy, Nourishing Dinners for Low-Spoon Days

Have you ever literally broken down in tears just thinking about the task of making dinner?

Spoonie friends, I’m willing to bet you have. For those of us with chronic illness and/or mental illness, there are some days where the thought of having to come up with something to eat—even if it’s just for yourself—is enough to break you. Severe fatigue, pain, and mental fog are a daily reality, and they can prevent you from taking proper care of yourself. As spoonies, we’re all probably aware that it’s better to eat fresh, healthy foods and home-cooked meals, but there are times when that ideal seems laughable. Heck, I’ve had days where I knew I had a frozen burrito waiting for me in the freezer and that all I had to do was get up and stick it in the microwave, but you know what? Even that seemed too hard. Reader, I cried.

I cried because a frozen burrito didn’t seem worth the effort. I didn’t really want to eat it.

I cried because it seemed like the only option.

I cried because we were out of eggs and tortillas and cheese and I was too tired to go to the store.

What I’ve learned since then is that when you live with chronic illness, you need to plan ahead knowing that your best intentions may fail you. If you know yourself and can plan for your needs, you’ll find you’re much better equipped to take care of yourself on the days where everything is difficult.

On the “Day of the Burrito” my planning failed me because my plan hadn’t taken me into account. I had stocked my freezer with burritos because they were cheap and easy, not because I actually wanted to eat them and definitely not because they were good for me. Pro tip: when your body already feels crummy, don’t feed it $0.50 burritos. Your body needs and deserves more from you.

The other thing I’ve found that makes dinner so difficult some days is the process of deciding what to eat. When you’re over-tired and clouded by mental fog, no amount of staring at your pantry or fridge will make your decision about what to eat easier. So I find that having a list of go-to options combined with keeping a well-stocked pantry and fridge is a huge help in avoiding dinner-prep tears. With that in mind, today I’m sharing my top five fast, easy, low-spoon dinners.

Five Super Easy Dinners that are Low-Spoon Friendly

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6 Reasons Why You Need a Breast Pump

Me: Hey you! Are you currently a pregnant person?
You: ………..yes?
Me: You should make sure you get a breast pump!
You: Uhhhh, even if I plan to exclusively breastfeed and want to forgo bottles?
Me: Get yourself a breast pump!
You: I feel a little uncomfortable discussing my breastfeeding choices with a stranger—
Me: *stomping feet and punching the air* Get! A! BREAST PUMP!!!
[End Scene.]

I don’t actually yell at people on the street (just on the internet). But you can bet I’d give this same advice to any and all of my pregnant friends. Get a pump, any pump, although if you’re a spoonie like me, definitely go for an electric one if you have the option (old “arthritic hands” over here can’t reliably operate a manual one!). At the time of writing this post, all insured pregnant people are entitled to a free breast pump as a result of Obamacare provisions. The type of pump might vary from insurer to insurer, but I know a lot of people who have been eligible to receive a double electric pump of high quality for free through their insurance. All I needed personally was a prescription from my doctor and a list of approved vendors from my insurance company, and then I picked out my pump and ordered it online and had it shipped to me for free. It was actually really painless. I have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump Starter Set, and I have zero complaints. It’s pretty cushy, actually. I use it 3-4 times per week now that I’m back at work part-time, and it has been great. I haven’t even had to replace any parts yet, and my son is nine months old.

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Why should you get a breast pump? I know someone reading this is going to be all like, “women have gotten along just fine for thousands of years without breast pumps.” You know what else we’ve gotten along fine without for thousands of years? Cars, airplanes, grocery stores, antibiotics, the internet. I’m going to guess that you use at least some of those things and don’t find the argument convincing that you should do without them just because they were invented in the last two centuries. So let’s just agree not to be Luddites, here…

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Fab Friday: Sick Day Self-Care

Happy Friday! I’m thinking I want to introduce Fab Friday as a series where I can recommend something Fab to you all, something beautiful or helpful or whatever that you might enjoy.

For me, I’ve been battling sickness for the last month after my immune system was weakened from a bout of shingles, and on Tuesday night, my current sinus bug struck me hard. I’ve had vicious insomnia since starting antivirals for my shingles outbreak back in January, but come 7:00 pm on Tuesday night, I literally could not keep my eyes open.

So I thought I’d make a Sick Day Self-Care inspiration board for this first Fab Friday, since that’s where I am at. Some of these things are things I’ve found helpful this week, and others are things I wish I’d had! (Click on Continue Reading for links to each item.) Enjoy!

Sick Day Self-Care | Fab Friday Recommendations | thriverguide.com

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