Know Your Heart Beat(s)

I’m finding more reasons to be excited lately. PTSD has been a positive excitement killer for me (negative excitement still happens frequently), so this is a new and welcome experience. Or rather the return of an experience, since I used to get good excited a lot.

My resting heart rate has been down to my goal rate for a week straight, and last night dropped another beat.

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There was a time that I was consistently in the 70s and a resting heart rate of 64 didn’t seem feasible. The reason this is important is that my resting heart rate tells me a lot about my state of anxiety and how stress and activation are affecting me. They affect my ability to rest, to have restful and restorative sleep and to let my body recover panic attacks, triggers and meltdowns. I’ve been doing better managing my condition the last month or so and have had healthier eating habits, and it’s starting to pay off.

I wear a Fitbit to track my sleep and heart rate. Sure it tells me my step count and how many stairs I did, but I really wear it to track the symptoms that are harder to see and identify and that I’m not as aware of otherwise. If I know my heart rate, especially when I sleep, I know how well I’m doing, and how external circumstances are affecting me.

Prior to years of abusive employers and the trauma that caused PTSD for me, my resting heart rate was in the 40s. Sure, I was younger too, but the years have added up to a heart health situation that is not good for me. If I travel for work, my resting heart rate usually climbs into the 70s. If I have a lot of unresolved problems, same thing. Hitting 65 consistently for a week then dropping to 64 last night is a cause for celebration. I’ve been doing yoga after work this past week, being mindful of what and how I eat and giving myself plenty of time to transition to bed by closing my laptop well before bedtime and getting ready for bed earlier. I’ve also been up much earlier in the morning, and I’m finding the change to work well for me.

Knowing your body, knowing how to track your symptoms and knowing how to tell when to make adjustments to your daily routine (or even having a daily routine) are so important to managing PTSD. It has taken me a long time to get here, and a long time to be able to put the pieces together for myself. This is really cool, and I’m so grateful that even as healing happens slowly, I am able to heal.

heart shaped red neon signage
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

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