It has been almost a month since my last post. I haven’t really had the mental bandwidth to write to you sooner. Sometimes most of your focus is required for other things and there’s little time left for hobbies and reflection.
Freya has had two scary moments in the beginning of the month. The first time, on a Saturday, she was lying on my chest, wanted to get up, looked at me with surprise, and fell down. It looked as if her legs were not working properly for a moment. She stumbled to her “I feel sick, don’t disturb me” spot under the dinner table and after a while she was fine and normal again. That scared us a lot, and I wondered if I should visit the vet. Then, on Monday, I think it happened again. I was in the kitchen, and I heard scratching noises as if she had fallen off the couch, and she came limping towards me.
So I called the vet immediately and I was lucky: the vet was available to discuss the situation. He said that there was one thing we could investigate rather easily: high blood pressure. It would certainly fit the picture, because her fast thyroid would have masked it previously. So on Wednesday, we went to see him.
Freya REALLY hates going to the vet now, and she got more stressed when we had to wait a bit before we could go in. My regular vet did not have his regular assistant (who is lovely) there, but a less-experienced assistant who seemed insecure in holding Freya properly for the blood pressure test. This freaked Freya out even more, as well as the extra waiting because the blood pressure monitor was missing from its case and they had to search for it.
Freya is a mellow, friendly, relaxed kitty, until she goes over a certain stress level threshold. Then she becomes fierce, angry, aggressive, and she starts growling, hitting and biting. It’s not easy to calm her down when she gets that overwhelmed. And of course, that’s what happened, so they had to put a mask on her face to prevent her from seeing where she was hitting. She still managed to scratch the vet… And her blood pressure was through the roof of course. 230, where it should be 160 max. So, we decided to give her medication for it and re-check in two weeks. Back home, she was her old, happy self again immediately.
Getting her to take her meds is going surprisingly smoothly. She gets two pills every evening, and I hide them in a bit of Vitakraft treat. She loves these cat sticks and we have made it into a ritual together. Sometimes she manages to drop one of the pills, and she gets an extra treat then. We have not missed a day so far.
Freya has also been eating quite well ever since I discovered the Beaphar renal support wet food. She loves the taurin and chicken flavours (salmon not so much), so getting her to eat properly is less of a worry now. She also eats dry food occasionally (Royal Canin Renal Select). I’ve noticed that she’s drinking a bit less now that she’s eating food that supports her kidneys, so that’s good.
After two weeks we went back to the vet to check her blood pressure again. I was not looking forward to that, with the memory of the previous visit fresh in my mind. But this time it went much better. There was a more confident assistant, and measuring Freya’s blood pressure posed no problem. Some muttered grumbling, of course, but no real fighting. And her blood pressure was now at 145, which is great! We won’t have to go back again until April or so, so that’s good news too.
Ever since she’s on her meds, Freya has been seeking out heating more. She used to not sit in front of the heater, but now she does, and she even snuggles with me under the blanket! Having a normal thyroid clearly helps with keeping her body temperature normal. I hope that it helps her in the summer as well.
In general I’ve been feeling moody, lately. Sometimes I’m feeling great, and then I suddenly dive into pits of anxiety and hopelessness. I think that it may be caused by my (changed) hormonal birth control. It amplifies the emotions I’m already feeling and I get lost in my ruminating mind when I try to make sense of it. Very unsettling. For some time, I did not realize what was going on and I was worried that I had regressed on my path to better mental health.
I was sick at home for a week because my body actively stopped me from working (got a fever, headache, and muscle ache), and then I found out that that could actually be symptoms of anxiety. Weird as it may sound, I had never considered that I might suffer from a form of anxiety. I thought I was more prone to depression and I thought that anxiety meant that you had panic attacks with heart palpitations and hyperventilation. But it can show itself in many forms, including excessive rumination and flu-like symptoms. Whoops.
Reading more about anxiety, I found that this discovery actually was a bit of a relief. My experience was so common that I felt less alone, and I only had to make a minor switch in my approach to not fall into its depths powerlessly.
I think that it works like this:
- My hormonal imbalance causes emotions.
- My emotions make me worry about what could be wrong to cause such strong feelings.
- My secret fears latch on to the emotions, blurring cause and effect. It seems as if the emotions are caused by the fears, and that they uncover problems that I have been ignoring.
- I worry that the intensity of the emotions is telling me that I need to address those problems right away, because it’s very important. Those problems seem huge now.
- My worries intensify, making the emotions stronger, and reality seems far, far away.
All of the above seems so true and logical, but it’s not. Actually, I’m fine, I’m just feeling some emotions that are hyper reactions to small, regular things that happen (for example, the weather, having not slept well, reading something depressing, etc.). But since the emotional reaction is now so strong, it must be something Serious. I know now that that’s not necessarily true.
It’s a bit better now that I’m aware, but I still feel the rumbling emotions just beneath the surface. I’m telling myself not to go there right now, and to take good care of myself instead. I’ve recently discovered tapping (which seems to help), and meditation also brings me back to the present. My husband is very understanding, so that helps too. But it’s hard to not eat too many cookies right now.
Some positive stuff
It hasn’t all been hard, of course. Nice things happened too! I try to write something down in my gratitude journal every day, because I’m lucky with how good I have it.
- I went back for a checkup at the dental hygienist, and that went well! Sure, she had to remove a bit of tartar, but my gums were much better, not as inflamed, and she was quite happy with my progress. Next appointment is in April.
- I bought a swimming suit for myself. I have not had the opportunity yet to sew one, and I did not want to wait any longer. This week, I’m going for a swim in my new black-and-pink Speedo!
- Between the bits of spinning that I did, I’ve been busy with work. I got a great appraisal this year, and my manager was so very kind and she gave me lots of compliments (I was blushing so much).
I’ve also been struggling with working together with a new team member who is working in another country. It has been stressful for me to deal with someone who says the right things, but doesn’t follow up with his actions (and there’s always an excuse). Thankfully my manager has my back and I try to see it as a learning opportunity.
- I got back into proper reading. I’ve been an avid reader until the iPad/mobile phone became big in the early 2010s, and then I just didn’t read books anymore all of a sudden. I’m now reading the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik and I’m really enjoying them.
- I try to use my phone less and return to some “old” pastimes. Reading is one of them, but I’ve also bought a music player to just listen to beautiful music (it’s a Cowon Plenue R2). I want to untangle myself from all the online, on-demand stuff, and do things that require a bit more focus and patience for a different, more satisfying gratification. Yes, a phone is convenient and you can read, listen to music, take pictures, and more, but it’s also a time-suck and a distracting item. I want to be more mindful of what I do when, and I can do that better if separate activities require different media.
It has been a busy month, mentally and emotionally. In the past weeks, we’ve been going to bed very early each night because we were both so tired. But I’m holding on, and I’m going to be okay. I have some self care planned and I will make more time for creative things as well. That should help with my mood. How long has it been since my last photography walk? I can’t even remember. The birds are singing, the snowdrops are blooming. I’m going out. And then I’m going to spin a bit.