Good Morning Friends!
It has been a hot minute, (okay, almost two weeks!), since I last made a post on here. And while I have so many wonderful things to share with you, in today’s post I’d like to get candid for a moment. If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Kitten Kaboodle. I’m an Adult Little who is happily married to her Daddy, just living a quiet life on a farm. 🙂 If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’ll remember how I’ve discussed here and there about my anxiety disorder. For over a decade I’ve lived with, coped with, and have been working through my generalized anxiety disorder. Today I’d like to share more about that, and how I’ve been doing during self-isolation. So, if you’re here for all the Cg/l and BDSM stuff, please dive into the archives, and stay tuned for the next post in which I’ll have many more things to share. Now, let’s dive into mental health together! 🙂
My anxiety stemmed from a very traumatic incident back in my 20’s. Making that decision changed the trajectory of my life completely. As I moved throughout my 20’s, and now into my 30’s, the anxiety began to take hold. At first I couldn’t understand that this anxiety was my mind’s way of overcompensating and trying to protect me against further pain. I had developed this massive fear of being abandoned and losing everyone I love. I had reached a mental point between the rational and irrational thoughts and crested over into new territory. Looking back, it’s no surprise that I did, as I have a very creative mind. But I digress.
For the past year and a half I decided to tackle my anxiety head on. Therapy on and off for the past decade wasn’t solving the issues, so I turned to a team of doctors to help me wade through the muck. I began by ruling out anything super serious. At the time, I had been having horrible headaches (another side effect of anxiety), so I sought a neurologist and got an MRI. (That was a wild experience!). Thankfully, with a clean bill of a health and a normal brain scan, I was ready to move forward. It was then that I was prescribed SSRI’s. Lexapro to be exact.
Now, I have to get real here. Having been on anti-anxiety medication, and now living off of it, I can attest that it does help. Does it “solve” or cure the anxiety? No. But for me, what I felt was when I would begin to get anxious, I could only reach a certain level of fear before the medicine would step in to calm me down again so I could think rationally. I described it to my Daddy has having a “stop gate” of sorts inside of your body. Your anxiety can come in like a wrecking ball a la Miley Cyrus, but the medicine will be waiting there like a wall of steel to stop the train from completely mowing you over. Does that make sense? 🙂
So, I was on the medicine for a year as prescribed by my neurologist with the expressed intention of him taking me off of it after a year. And then my neurologist moved out of town! Poof! Gone! My super-cool doctor left the practice and I felt like a fish thrown out of the water. At the time I was right at the tail end of my year-long journey on Lexapro so I decided to just quit my medicine “cold turkey”. Don’t do that. *Wags my Little pointer finger*. The correct (and best) way to go off SSRI’s is to see your doctor and have them wean you off of them by slowly lowering the dosage.
As we moved into 2020, I felt empowered. I had implemented self-care practices and was armed with my heating pad, a cuppa, and my laptop to tackle my anxiety in the most natural way possible. I was determined to beat this beast once and for all!!
And then a pandemic hit the world.
And then we had to self-isolate (and still are…).
And then my life turned completely upside down.
I began using my heating pad daily for hours on end, basking in the warmth to soothe my fraying nerves and rising anxiety. And that, my dear friends, is why I’m writing this post. Too much of a good thing– a heating pad — can be bad. Now you’re probably sitting there thinking, “Kitten, what the heck are you talking about?!”. I’ll explain. Heat has always been a source of comfort for me as a person living with anxiety. I even wrote about it in an old post! And I quote:
Heat is glorious when you’re feeling anxious and in a state of age regression. Whether it’s a heat dish, a heating pad, a cup of hot tea or cocoa… heat can soothe and make you feel small and comforted. Heat gives us a subconscious feeling of safety. It’s a primal instinct to turn to heat when we are feeling small, unsure, and nervous. Think about camping. What is one of the first things you do when you get settled on your campsite? Start a fire! Yes, when I’m feeling Little for a reason other than my normal baseline of happiness and bubbles… I turn towards heat. Currently as I type this to you, I’m hugging my heating pad to my chest to self-soothe. It helps greatly.
Yeah…. that’s great. But I’d like to show you what happens when you over-use a heating pad accidentally, because that’s exactly what happened to me recently and why I’ve been M.I.A. As I left the heating pad on me for hours and hours daily, I noticed my very pale skin turn pink in these weird, squiggly patterns. It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t like a sunburn. But at the time, I shrugged it off as it would disappear an hour or so later. I even joked to my Daddy about it saying, “Babe, I’m turning into a lobster!”.
Then, a few weeks ago I noticed that those pink squiggly patterns would fade away leaving light brown squiggly marks in its place. As a self-professed hypochondriac, I immediately stared at my inner arm and blinked. This was not normal! I showed my husband my skin. Again, it didn’t itch or hurt. But there was hyper-pigmentation in this light brown squiggly pattern and that certainly wasn’t normal. It was time to see my dermatologist.
It turns out that you can mess up your skin from over-use of a heating pad, and it’s called erythema ab igne (or Toasted Skin Syndrome). While I had thought that I was soothing my anxiety, here I was slowly toasting my skin with the heating pad. I admit that it was on the hottest setting, as I love the feeling of heat. But I had no idea the damage I was causing. Once I found out what had happened I put the heating pad away. At first, it was strange. I had relied upon it for months to self-soothe, but the fear of permanently damaging my skin, (and possibly causing skin cancer!), freaked me out even more.
As I type this to you my skin has healed a great deal. It isn’t fully healed, but I’m well on my way. I’ll be having a follow up in a few months to make sure that no skin cancer spots have formed. Fingers crossed, my friends, that my skin stays clear. But the point in this whole post is that sometimes too much of a good thing can be really, really bad. Heat is great, but don’t do what I did and use it as a crutch. Times are hard right now. People are in pain and feel anxious. Let’s strive together to find balance in all that we do. Right now, I’m having to find other ways to self-soothe and care for myself. I’ll keep you updated all along the way. ❤
If you’ve read through this post, then thank you! You’re a rock star and I’m sending you a GIANT virtual hug. 🙂 I hope you stay “Little”, happy, and healthy. Until next time!