Menstrual Cups! ‘When Yuh Play Fass!’

I am the Queen of save a buck and the environment, so when I discovered menstrual cups I just had to try it. Save money on tampons? Save the environment? No risk of toxic shock? *insert take my money meme*

The novelty of the product quickly ‘disapparated’ when I found out how it is inserted. I am one of the clumsiest people you will find! Learning that the stem does not hang out the vagina for easy removal and having to use your pelvic muscles to insert and eject the cup frightened the life out of me. How was I…me…going to figure out how to push this thing in whilst having to relax AND use my pelvic muscles??? The fright was enough to deter me for over a year. Obviously I came around eventually or else we wont have this blog.

During my monthly budget write-up, I started thinking of ways I can cut expenses and the idea popped back into my head. I called my trusty friend who sold me the idea 2 years ago to get a full break down on the experiences of this cup. She ensured me that I will eventually get the hang of inserting it……..she forgot to mention how long eventually was -_-

This blog comes 6 months after buying Madam Pixie Cup. Choosing a cup was a feat of its own. Do I choose the popular Diva Cup, the Ruby Cup, the Pixie Cup or a cheaper no brand option? Being an avid researcher, I googled the reviews of each settling on the Pixie Cup because of its price; the ‘it’s for Beginners’ claim; and the longer stem (because we know I was scared shitless of taking it out). I ordered it on Amazon and anxiously awaited the coming of Aunty Flo aka my period.

Standing in a semi squat position, I first tried the U-shaped fold. Oh Universe! I would love and hate to have sex with me because that was a fight to insert! I gave up and tried the Push Down fold. We had a bit more luck as it glided in, but then I had to figure out how to get it open. The instructions I read said insert till you hear it pop out, I never heard said ‘pop out’. I continued pushing the cup up in hopes that it opened. I also read somewhere to feel around the cup to make sure it was open at the brim. UMMMM…my fingers couldn’t fit all the way there, so I left it. I think it is obvious to say that I leaked. The next attempt? Leaked! And every time I leaked I gave up and used a tampon. This happened for the past 5 months. I probably succeeded all of three times, but I never fully gave up.

So here we are, sixth period since I bought Ms. Pixie Cup and I think I have finally figured it out. I watched one specific vlog tutorial and gained success. To be honest I had no choice but to figure it out as I was on the heaviest day of my period and my stash of tampons ran dry. The vlogger said to insert in the Pull Down fold till the bump in the fold is just past your vagina opening. Then using your fingers push on the bump to open the cup out. Use your pelvic muscles and your fingers to push the cup up to your desired place. Again, using a finger feel that the brim of the cup opens out to the walls of your cervix. Don’t get me wrong, I had to insert it approximately 4 times to get it but ultimately I got it right.

Removing the cup is easy peasy. You simply feel for the stem and pull it out. Please do this over the toilet bowl incase you drop the cup or it is overflowing with blood. I tend to have a bottle of water handy to wash out the cup as my mother forbade me from washing it in the face basin or bathroom. I read that the silicone prevents bacteria so there is no need for soap which can irritate your insides. You do not want that! I try to soak it in the boiling water once a month to give it good clean.

I know you are probably wondering, ‘How the hell do I empty it in public?’ The best part of using the cup is that you can leave it in for up to 12 hours!!! This basically solves that issue because I mean who stays out of their house for over 12 hours, especially on your period. In the unfortunate event that you need to empty the cup, keep a bottle of water handy. I have seen people say use wipes but the image of wiping blood and disposing the wipes disgust me.

Finally, things that I noticed along this journey:

  • If you have a tilted cervix like myself, squat with one foot on the tub ledge and sink into the squat in the direction of the tilt
  • Be careful with inserting your fingers to get a feel of the cup inside. I sit now with a left bruised wall.
  • Yes it may feel as though your finger cannot fit to get a feel, push it in anyways. It will open up for you.
  • Wetting the cup before insertion gives it some lubrication. I read somewhere to put olive oil on the brim but I personally do not like the idea of oil up in my cooch.
  • Do some squats after insertion to ensure it lodges properly.
  • Prepare to be amazed when your blood has collected. The viscosity of the blood is not seen when using a pad or tampon. Imagine a thick gel like blob.
  • Wear Always long or extra long panty liners just incase! They give you enough protection from leaks without the bulky feel of a pad.

I urge every female to try menstrual cups. Let us save money, save the environment from non-reusable products, save yourself from toxic shock and save your crotch from bulkiness!!!!!

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Sting away negativity 

Lately, I have walked around with a dark cloud over my head. As usual, my controlling nature started getting frustrated with my mind for feeling this way. In other words, I was frustrated by my frustration with life. Again….doubling my anxiety. This led to my extensive google search for methods I can use to possibly get out of this depression.

If you are from the Caribbean I am sure you have grown up hearing ‘don’t ever let anyone have an effect on you’ or ‘suck it up, emotions are weaknesses’. With this being repeated at my core, I have been trying to fight this depression so that I can seem ‘normal’. Therefore, introducing this experiment to sting myself every time I started feeling low. People! The first challenge was to realise I even went into the depression. Most times I got so lost it took me 20mins to sting myself!

Unfortunately after 1 day, I ended up mentioning this to my mental doctor who didn’t think it was a quite a good idea. Now she commended me on trying to find a solution but this one was not the most favourable. It seems my emotional issues stemmed from my controlling need to force them away and not sit with them and sort it through. It seems I have a ‘push it aside’ or ‘lock it in a box’ relationship with my emotions and the rubber band was just another way of still not dealing with them. I took her advice into consideration and as frustrating as feeling is for me, I was determined to get a handle on things. It was obvious that pushing away the emotions made my life worse because I started periodically bursting out of it. Therefore, in an attempt to not fully control my emotions and still be on this experiment I developed a plan. I will allow myself 1 hour a day to feel depressed (if I do get the feeling) and after that hour I sting myself every time the emotions came.

For the first few days, I found myself stinging my wrist multiple times within an hour. There were instances when I stung myself within 2 minutes of each other because my mind just would not quit branching off. This was no normal sting I gave myself either. It hurt, and scratched! It became so habitual that my fingers subconsciously held the rubber bands when I was daydreaming as though it was waiting for me to go into the dark.

By the second week, I no longer needed the rubber band. As with any experiment not held in a vacuum, there may be other factors resulting in my triumph. Time can be a factor, they do say all things heal with time or at least you learn to bear it. Then there is my new technique to make bullet points of my thoughts and see if they are rational. Let us be honest, the things we generally over analyze and worry over are situations we have no control over; so why bother stressing if the result is inevitable.

There is also one other technique I started. Whenever I started analyzing an outcome of my actions or a possible situation, like last Saturday, I went through each possible avenue once and confirmed my reaction. This helped settle things in my mind so that there was no need to continuously stress over them. I solidified my reactions and that was all I could ever do. Seems to work like a charm.

Today I sat thinking back over this week and smiled in triumph. My mind’s realm has been a peaceful one. That kind of joy is unbelievable! I can’t wait to see how much further I can get with finding inner peace.

The Joy of Breathing

If there is anything I can fully vouch for is the use of breathing techniques to quell anxiety. It is not just for person’s suffering with anxiety but also for those nervous moments, those nights you take too long to fall asleep, or that moment of anger. Breathe!

Have you ever had one of those moments when your mind starts drifting and you only realize that you have put yourself into a trance when your chest starts clamming up? Or in that moment of anger or sadness, you take close to 2 minutes to realize that you have stopped breathing. Whenever I am in these situations I always try to stop and breathe.

I learnt this technique from my first Yoga class years ago. We, humans, usually breathe using our upper chest, it is a shallow and a less calming way to breathe. The trick is to breathe from your diaphragm. Follow these instructions-

  •  Breathe in through your nostrils, counting slowly for at least 4 counts. As you breathe in feel your stomach expand as you allow the air to fill your entire body.
  • Hold the breath for 2 counts
  • Slowly breathe out for no less than 4 counts through your mouth. As you exhale feel your stomach slowly contract, as though you are pushing all of the air back out.

Tip: Breathe in and out for 8 breathes for falling asleep

Ta-da! With those few steps I have not just taught you on how to breathe but how to meditate. There are two ways to calm yourself using this technique. First, focus only on counting the breaths to clear your mind. Focusing on counting distracts you from whatever was clouding your mind. Secondly, you can imagine ‘good vibes’ entering your body as you breathe in and the ‘bad vibes’ leaving as you breathe out. The second way personally helps me when I start doubting myself or someone pissed me off. In those times of anger, breathing gives you time to rethink your stance on your situation and consider if the emotion is warranted. Most time you will realize that it isn’t.

Next time you start to feel overwhelmed, breathe. You may just find yourself doing it every hour of the day but that beats allowing those negative emotions to run free.

Ps: For my next blog I have started an experiment to sting myself with a rubber band for every negative thought. Lol, we will see how that goes!

 

Anxiety and Me

Have you ever had one of those moments where your heart seemed to race and stop all at the same time? Or your mind is going down hundreds of rabbit holes, all the while thinking that you are frustrated because you cannot make it stop? If you have, “by golly we are in the same club”, if not, count yourself lucky!

I did not always suffer with this mind crippling habit (a habit, because I am determined to change it), I was once a happy go lucky, confident person. Do not get me wrong, I had my nervous moments before an exam or performance but nothing to what it is now. That overwhelming pressure to be perfect, or some resemblance to perfect.

In my realm, anxiety is seen as being an over dramatic person. You are constantly being told “Just calm down”. Like no shit Sherlock, I never considered that brilliant idea! When your mind is racing at triple speed, thinking about all the different outcomes of one situation, whilst telling yourself you are being ridiculous for stressing, it is extremely difficult to ‘just relax’. To be honest, one of my major contributors to my anxiety is control. I have an enormous problem with letting things go. If I have some thought of how I can fix or alter the situation, I become obsessed. I also always need answers, and usually confirmation from the other person. I know that in life you sometimes just have to let things be, but sometimes you have to fix things. The big question is deciphering when to let go and when to fight.

I have tried many ways to calm my thoughts. Meditation, exercise, reading, sewing, you name it….I tried it. My brain though somehow is that Arrancar (Really strong spirit from Bleach Manga) that fights its way back in and sucks out the happiness that I tried to force in. I can’t allow it to win anymore though. This blog is another attempt to solve the issue. Perhaps sharing with others my attempts and they about their situations, can be a source of support and encouragement.

Fighting anxiety is the first attempt at finding myself.

How do you fight anxiety?

‘Let’s start at the very beginning’

“A very good place to start”

Firstly, WELCOME TO MY BLOG! Journey to me, a bit cliche I know but at 28, underemployed,single and anxiety stricken; I think this is a good place to start. This blog is not only to help myself but to help others who struggle through similar life struggles and need that reassurance that they are not alone.

As said, I am 28, underemployed, single, childless and anxiety stricken. I have many moments where I reflect on my situation and find it extremely difficult to find the joy. This is not where I wanted to be, this is not who I wanted to be. My younger self exuded confidence and adventure whilst the present me gets paralyzed by fear of the unknown. However the little me is still in there screaming “Get off your arse and fix you!”, ushering in my self designated task to “Find myself”. To find myself in an unstable economy; an unfulfilling job; a small island country. A daunting task, but never an impossible task!

Over the next few…..however long it takes, I will post a blog fortnightly sharing my journey to self love. I will share my lessons on meditation, exercise, outdoor activities and other random things that I tried to accomplish this task. You my reader are in for a hell of a ride!

ps: I hope you know where my title came from! One of my favourite things.

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