#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 18, 2021)

Hello everyone and welcome to my #WeekendCoffeeShare post for this week. I just had my afternoon coffee. I think there’s still some left, or you can have a tea, fizzy drink or water. We alsso have custard cupcakes if you want one. They’re delicious! Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about your weather. Ours has been steadily improving over the past week. On Monday, we still had a bit of ice rain, but the rest of the week, it’s not rained much. Today, we have some sunshine and temperatures of about 16°C during the day. It’s still close to freezing at night though.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, on Wednesday, I had a good talk with my community psychiatric nurse. I was able to express some of my anxiety. Then again, Thursday night I ended up in a bit of a crisis again. I tried to reach my CPN on Friday. Unfortunately, by the time she called me at 5:30PM, there was little she could do for me.

Tomorrow, I’ll meet with my nurse practitioner again. I’m considering asking him about my medication, both my daily meds and my PRN tranquilizer. While the PRN med, the atypical antipsychotic quetiapine (Seroquel), works okay for reducing sensory overload, I’m experiencing increasing anxiety, particularly at night. I don’t blame the quetiapine, but I’d really like something to help with this.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had quite a scary experience yesterday. I was walking outside in the sunshine and suddenly completely blinded. Of course, it is only to be expected that I’ll eventually lose my light perception too, but it’s still scary. My staff interestingly did understand my panic about being blinded. Most people probably won’t, since to a sighted or even partially sighted person, I’m pretty much totally blind.

I also had a pretty nasty headache, so I’m wondering whether I might have experienced a spike in eye pressure. My staff is going to inquire about getting my eye pressure checked by an ophthalmologist. I’ve heard, after all, that glaucoma needs to be treated even in blind people.

This experience did motivate me to finally inquire about getting a pair of NoIR sunglasses again. I had them in the past, but cannot find them in my size at the most well-known low vision shop. My staff E-mailed the occupational therapist about it. For now, another staff gave me a pair of regular sunglasses.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a new roller tip for my white cane on Friday too. I now have a marshmallow tip, which I think works better than the large ball tip I used to have.

If we were having coffee, I’d share how happy I am with all the engagement on my blog. It’s truly heartwarming to see how many people are touched by my posts.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that my husband and I went for a walk in the “wolf woods”, as he calls the woods between Raalte and the nearby theme park. A wolf was found in the theme park a few weeks ago. Thankfully, we didn’t spot it.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 11, 2021)

Hi everyone on this cloudy and slightly rainy Sunday evening. I’m rather late writing my #WeekendCoffeeShare post this week. I’m having a rather hard time planning when to write, as I cannot concentrate on it when my one-on-one staff is with me and yet struggle to feel well enough to write when alone. I just finished my dinner, so no coffee for me as of yet (though with my parents, coffee after dinner was a ritual). If you’d like a Senseo though, I can make you one. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was rather bad weather-wise. It’s been raining all week. On Monday and Tuesday, it even snowed a bit. It’s been near freezing cold too. How is your weather?

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week, the physical therapist and orthopedic shoemaker came by to discuss my getting semi-orthopedic shoes. My current, store-bought shoes aren’t great for fitting my AFO in. They also have laces, which I can’t tie myself. I’ll hopefully hear next week what models they have available. I did try on a pair already, but this was just to get an idea of what I’d need.

Thankfully, the shoes will be fully covered by long-term care. This did lead to a bit of self-loathing, in that I feel like a burden for costing so much with my one-on-one, the weighted blanket and all the other costs and now this. I try to calm myself by thinking it wasn’t really my decision. Besides, I will most likely experience less pain when walking and be able to walk longer distances. Still, I can hear my inner critic say that I fake my mild cerebral palsy.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, last Friday, I was in a crisis. I don’t even know what led to me starting to feel triggered. At some point though, I left my room at night. On my way to wherever, I bumped into something and swore. Then I decided I’m unforgivable anyway now and decided to self-harm. I’m okay physical wound-wise and the night staff eventually calmed me down. Still, I have been feeling really unsettled all weekend.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share how proud I am of myself for continuing to blog each day and sometimes more than once. Of course, I’m busy with the #AtoZChallenge, but I also managed several other blog posts. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

How has your week been?

#IWSG: Taking Risks in My Writing?

IWSG

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to meet. It is April, which means it’s time for the #AtoZChallenge too. For this reason, I am writing a lot. Not that I didn’t write much in March. I wrote 29 blog posts, which I’m rather content with.

I also have been loving looking at writing prompts again. Not that I’ve dared to actually write based on them yet, at least not on the fiction/poetry ones. Okay, maybe it’s not so much that I am too scared, as I could of course be writing just for myself. Then again, I usually write with an audience in mind, so maybe I’m still scared to write even just for me. However, I also find that I take on a lot with my blogging, maybe too much. Yesterday, I was up till 11PM blogging because I had to write something for the letter E in my #AtoZChallenge series. I really hope I’ll find both the time and courage soon to write something more outside of my comfort zone.

This brings me to this month’s optional question. It is whether you’re a risk taker where it comes to your writing. This could mean tackling subjects or genres that are outside of your comfort zone, but also it could mean talking about controversial topics.

The short answer to this question is, no, not really. I used to take risks with my writing several years ago, when I still often shared my views on disability rights and autistic advocacy. Now I hardly ever cover these topics in my writing anymore.

I originally started my current blog as a way to actually take a risk by writing from the heart. I also chose my domain name to reflect the fact that my alter personalities could write too. They hardly ever do anymore.

That being said, I do put myself out there with my writing. As a personal blog writer, I am very open about myself online. Maybe that’s taking a risk in itself.

Do you take risks when writing?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 4, 2021)

Hi everyone on this chilly and cloudy Easter Sunday. I am rather late joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. The reason is that I’m participating in the #AtoZChallenge too and couldn’t find the time to publish another post until today. I just had my afternoon coffee and am going to have a soft drink in a bit, so if you’d like something to drink, that’d be great. Let’s grab a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share how much fun I’m having with the #AtoZChallenge. It is a great way of connecting with new bloggers and challenging myself to write (almost) everyday. For those who don’t know, the challenge is to write posts using each letter of the alphabet on each day of April except Sundays. This is the reason I have time to write a blog post today. My theme is aromatherapy and natural wellness.

If we were having coffee, I would share that this week was rather eventful in general. On Monday, I was very much triggered. I have been having emotional flashbacks a lot, as well as paranoid thoughts about my former clinician reporting me for care fraud if she finds out I’m in long-term care. My staff try to reassure me that I’m not responsible for my care funding. After all, my staff, the manager and behavior specialist applied for me. I am still unsure though.

Anyway, on Monday, when I was particularly triggered, I did an exercise of hitting a pillow to symbolically kick my former clinician out of my life. It was truly empowering!

If we were having coffee, I would also share that, on Friday, I had a treatment review at the mental health agency. My nurse practitioner tried to tell me that I’m already actually processing my trauma with the steps I’m taking now, such as the exercise on Monday. This validated me. My community psychiatric nurse, however, wasn’t fully sure of her role in my treatment and wondered whether she could visit me less frequently. For now, we have decided against this in order to maintain weekly appointments with mental health, alternatingly with my nurse practitioner and CPN.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I finally managed to go to Lobith over the weekend. My cold is still not fully gone, but it’s gone enough that I could see my husband. We had delicious Airfryer fries, turkey and peas for dinner yesterday, as well as pudding for dessert. This morning, we had breakfast in front of the television while watching Hour of Power. It was great!

How has your week been? And how’s your Easter weekend?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 27, 2021)

Welcome to another #WeekendCoffeeShare post. I just had my afternoon coffee about an hour ago and am going to have a soft drink in a bit. Of course, I can still make you a Senseo if you want. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I’m just about as well as it gets with respect to my cold. I am still a tiny bit sniffy, but I don’t think it gets any better anytime soon. I didn’t go to Lobith this weekend, even though my husband had promised me pizza at our house if I did. After all, yesterday I still wasn’t convinced I was well enough. Instead, my husband is coming over tomorrow.

If we were having coffee, I would say that this past week has been great in the walking department. Like I said yesterday, I’ve been quite active. Today was an exception, as it was raining on and off all day so far. I hope to still get some steps in this evening.

If we were having coffee, I would talk some about the political saga that unfolded after last week’s general election. The current prime minister, Mark Rutte, won the election again, probably because people are used to him doing the corona-related press conferences. Before the election, he’d hinted at some restrictions being lifted for Easter. Of course, that was just a political game to win voters, as in the last press conference, only the curfew got moved from 9PM till 10PM.

Speaking of the lockdown, my husband predicts from what he’s read that most of the restrictions will remain until mid-June. I really hope he’s wrong, but at least we can still see each other (provided neither of us is under the weather).

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve been loving reading other blogs as well as writing my own blog posts. I’m not yet preparing for the #AtoZChallenge. Maybe I should, as it’s in less than a week.

I’ve also been in contact with WP support again. The reason is the news that the classic editor might be disappearing after all. I’m not sure WP support itself knows what it’s doing, as I get mixed messages. I’m trying to let it go for now though, as so far at least I can still blog.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that we might get new staff here in my care home soon. I think I mentioned last week that a male staff was having a look around our home last week Saturday to see if he wanted to work here. Turns out he does. He’s been orienting here a few more times. He used to work in a home for people with intellectual disability who also have complex care needs due to behavior. I got the impression he didn’t like that anymore, so I feared I’d scare him away from wanting to work here. Turns out he’s going to work in both homes.

Then on Thursday, another prospective staff, also male, toured my care home. The manager informed me in advance that he was coming, which I liked. I’ll be curious to know if he decides to work here.

What’s been going on in your life?

#AtoZChallenge 2021 Announcement!

Hi all! Ever since 2010, the challenge of blogging from A to Z in April has been a thing. I didn’t find out about it until 2015 and then participated on my old blog with the topic of autism. I participated again successfully in 2016, this time with mental health as my theme. In 2017, I barely even started. I blame my chosen topic, which was autism again in the midst of my undergoing reassessment for it. In 2018 and 2019, I had no topic and both times didn’t finish the challenge either.

Last year, I didn’t officially have a theme, but unofficially it was self-care. I finally finished the challenge again, having decided on an only tangentially related topic for my letter X post well in advance. As one of my commenters said, you have to know your letter X word first.

Usually, the official master list for participants goes live sometime in January and there’s a designated theme reveal at the end of March for those who’ve chosen a topic. Not so this year. The theme reveal list went live last week, while the participants’ master list won’t go live until March 29. I’m not sure why this is. This did leave me with a kind of dilemma though, because I hadn’t decided on a theme and usually only decide on one at the last moment, even though I have topics running through my mind practically the entire year. Since the theme reveal sign-up will close on March 20, let’s consider this my theme reveal post.

Like I said, last year I had self-care as my unofficial topic. This year, I’m going to do a sort of similar theme. My theme is health and wellness. I intend on giving a lot of focus to aromatherapy and related topics, but to cover those letters that would otherwise be too hard, I’ll broaden my theme.

Let me say up front that I’m not an aromatherapist or alternative medicine practitioner. I am not even sure I believe in aromatherapy beyond its obvious effects of creating a nice smell. I am not a researcher or scientist and I don’t have the skills to review scientific literature, nor do I have the means to access it or the will to read it. I do find alternative medicine interesting though to learn about. That’s why I chose this as my topic. As such, please do take the health claims that aromatherapy or natural medicine make and which I may share about here, with a grain or several of salt.

Are you participating in the #AtoZChallenge this year? If you don’t know about it and are interested in signing up, check out its homepage.

#IWSG: Favorite Genres to Read

IWSG

Welcome to another installment in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) meeting. This past month, I’d set my expectations pretty high and, as such, was disappointed. I participated in #Write28Days with the aim of writing each day. Not surprisingly, that didn’t work out. I wrote 23 posts over the month of February. I also didn’t really broaden my horizons with respect to writing. That is, most of my posts were securely within my comfort zone. I really hope to be doing better this month.

Now on to the March 3 question: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

Let me begin by saying my writing comfort zone is pretty narrow. I mostly write personal essays, if that’s even what my blog posts can be called. I would really like to write a memoir at some point, but I’ve been telling myself and others that for many years and yet never got down to actually doing it.

When I do write creatively, it’s usually poetry or very short pieces of flash fiction. I used to write some short stories and even have a young adult novel that I started writing as a teen yet never finished and that’s incredibly unimaginative I think.

My reading preferences do partly match my writing preferences, in that my favorite genre to read is memoir. Next to that comes young adult fiction about real problems, like the aforementioned work in progress also is.

I also read books that I couldn’t possibly be writing myself. Oh wait, I can’t really write a book at all, but oh well. I mean, I’ve recently developed an interest in science fiction and the like. I also occasionally read romance novels.

I rarely if ever read traditionally published poetry. That being said, I do love to read poems published on other people’s blogs. Same for personal essays and flash fiction. I mean, I’ve read a few books that were basically anthologies of personal essays, but I prefer to check out blogs for those.

With respect to what motivates my reading choice, I’m a true mood reader. I read a pretty wide variety of books, but they have to suit my mood at that time. I usually choose books based on the blurb. I can’t see the covers, obviously and I rarely read reviews on Amazon or Apple Books. When I do read reviews, it’s on other people’s blogs.

What about you? What motivates your reading choice?

Profession or Identity? #Write28Days

Today I finally remembered to check out the #Write28Days Facebook group and jump back onto the challenge bandwagon. The prompt for today is “Profession”.

I immediately thought of all the career paths I had envisioned for myself as a teen. When I was sixteen, I was planning on becoming an English major in college, choosing to specialize in American studies and was sure I’d leave for the United States in my third year. I actually half-joked that I’d obviously find employment there and never come back to the Netherlands.

Now of course I never even made it to being an English major. I never made it to my third year in college either and haven’t been to the United States as of yet. I’ve never been employed, in fact.

For some time, I listed my old blog as my place of employment on Facebook. Now because I’m not keen on my family reading my blog, I no longer list it on my personal profile. I don’t have work listed on my FB profile at all.

Today, I was discussing my personal strengths profile, which the mental health agency is supposed to have on file for each client, with my community psychiatric nurse. It scared the crap out of me. In the plan, you’re supposed to write about your former abilities (before becoming mentally ill or whatever), your wishes and ambitions and your current abilities. I immediately thought big, thinking that since I used to go to university before my autistic burnout and lived with my husband before coming to the care facility, I should probably want to go back to these. My nurse said I can think small too. I later thought of the fact that I used to be stable on a much lower dose of daily medications and would really like to go back to a lower dose of my antipsychotic at least. That’s a valid ambition too. I don’t really need to find a profession.

In fact, I am also reminded of last week’s Hour of Power show, in which the preacher talks about one’s title vs. one’s testimony. In the Dutch show, Carola Schouten talked about her title as the minister of agriculture and vice-prime minister. She contrasts this with her identity in Christ. I love this and felt an interesting connection to her, even though with respect to profession, she is infinitely more successful than I am. With respect to identity though, we’re both children of God.

#IWSG: Bloggy Friendships

IWSG

Hi everyone again. It’s the first Wednesday of the month and this means it’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to meet. I must say I did pretty well with respect to my writing over the month of January. I wrote a blog post almost everyday. Of course, at the beginning of the month, I planned to do even better. That’s usual for me. I hope with #Write28Days in February, it doesn’t go in the same direction.

For those visiting from the IWSG who don’t know what #Write28Days is, it’s a kind of restart of the original #Write31Days October challenge, in which you pick a topic and write about it for the entire month. Thankfully, randomness is a topic too and we aren’t currently required to even have a topic. The idea is just to write everyday. Hence, this post really counts for #Write28Days too. I may or may not write another one this evening.

In addition to writing pretty consistently over the past month, I also took some steps outside of my comfort zone. I wrote two pieces of flash fiction. Both were extremely short, under 100 words each. I’m not sure they count as actual pieces and not just exerpts. In that case, there is no broader story as of yet.

Now on to this month’s optional question. Today, the IWSG crowd talk friendships and relationships developed because of blogging. I don’t honestly think I have any though. That is, I consider carol anne from Therapy Bits and Emilia from My Inner MishMash my friends, but I can’t remember whether I first “met” them through blogging or through E-mail lists.

Maybe though, I can count my husband. After all, though we met via a message board, one of the reasons he contacted me to meet up was that he’d read my blog. This blog, I’ve since made private because of the spammy visitors.

Other than this, I don’t think I’ve developed any bloggy friendships. I also must admit I’m horrible with reciprocating visits. I just realized, in fact, that, in general, I’m not that good at keeping in touch with friends, be it through my blog, the rest of the Internet or in real life. I really need to improve on that.

My Bookish Resolutions for 2021

Hi my fellow book lovers! Today, I’m joining in with #SixForSunday. I don’t think I’ve ever participated in this meme, though I’ve known about it for maybe a year. This week’s topic is your bookish resolutions for 2021. Now like I said, I don’t really do resolutions in life in general. However, I think I can safely resolve some things regarding my bookish life. Here goes.

1. Read more. According to Goodreads, I only read like thirteen books in 2020. I may not have set the finish date for some books accurately, so they may’ve been more books. I just set my reading goal on Storygraph to be 20 books in 2021. I think that should be easily attainable.

2. Read a greater variety of books. When I saw some reading challenges come by, it surprised me what types of books people were challenging themselves to reading. I mostly read memoirs, young adult and middle grade fiction. Though I do generally try to get some diversity in my reading, I really need to step outside of my comfort zone.

For instance, though I read some books by BIPOC authors or featuring BIPOC characters, my white privilege still shines through heavily in my book choices. I want to change that. I also want to read more books featuring disability, LGBTQ+ issues, etc.

I also want to step outside of my comfort zone where it comes to genre reading. For example, in 2020 I read my very first SciFi book. I’d like to continue to broaden my horizons.

3. Interact more with fellow book lovers online. I mean mostly in the book blogosphere. I’d really like to write more bookish posts and also engage with other bookish bloggers, though I don’t intend on becoming primarily a book blogger.

4. Do more on Goodreads. Okay, I know some of the book pros are switching to Storygraph now and I got that one too, but it doesn’t seem to have the group discussions etc. that GR has. I just signed up to Storygraph today and so far, I much prefer GR anyway for keeping track of my reading, as Storygraph predictably isn’t as accessible with my screen reader. Storygraph may be able to offer me better recommendations though. Anyway, I’d really like to be active in the book groups I’m in on GR. I’d also like to share some reviews on there rather than just on my blog.

5. Join at least one readathon. I have been wanting to do this ever since I first heard of them in 2019, but apart from a failed attempt at joining Bout of Books last year, haven’t actually gotten down to it.

6. Continue to enjoy reading. Okay, this one is a no-brainer, but I couldn’t come up with anything else.

What are your bookish goals for 2021?