Dancing Through Darkness #WotW

Okay, I’m supposed to be in bed already, but I can’t sleep. What better thing there is to do than write a blog post, right? I’m joining in with Anne’s Word of the Week for the first time in forever. The idea is to sum up your week in a word or phrase.

This week wasn’t the best mental health-wise. Yesterday, I landed in a full-on crisis. I didn’t express my dark thoughts right then, but I did to my staff this evening. It isn’t the first time I’ve experienced acute suicidality, but the intrusive thoughts and images I get then shock me everytime. Thankfully, I was able to calm down after taking a PRN lorazepam. I will be calling my nurse practitioner at mental health tomorrow, since my community psychiatric nurse is on vacation. I know I’m not clinically depressed (yet), but I do want my treatment team to know about my crisis.

The rest of the week I pretty much saw it coming. On Monday and Tuesday, I was still pretty much in my normal mood. Not euphoric, but not depressed either. In fact, I signed up for the Bout of Books readathon on Tuesday fully intending to spend the better part of the week reading or talking about books. I didn’t. The first day, I got through 23% of Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. I abandoned the book for the rest of the week though.

Particularly Friday, Saturday and today were hard. I did try to remain active. Like I mentioned several times already this past week, I tried to dance. Today I actually sort of succeeded. I also managed slightly more steps and active minutes as recorded by my Fitbit this week than the week before.

I have been trying to be more mindful of myself this week too. By this I mean I’ve started up meditating again. I use Insight Timer, which has like thousands of free meditations. If meditating becomes a regular habit, and I sure hope it does, I may pay for the premium plan. Honestly, though I was still close to crisis today, the affirmation in one of the meditations I’ve been listening to, helped me.

I also started exploring some ways of getting my eating and ultimately my weight under control. This is where dancing comes in handy again.

To sum it all up, I’m choosing “Dancing Through Darkness” as my phrase for the week. I feel depressed, but I’m also trying to actively do something about it.

How was your week?

Word of the Week linky

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 12, 2020)

Happy Easter Sunday to everyone. I am once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had some decaf and right after that had the only fizzy drink I like, called “Dubbelfrisss”. It is only slightly fizzy though. Have a drink with me and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would ask all my fellow #AtoZChallenge participants how you’re doing on the challenge. I am so far doing pretty well. The J and K are always hard letters for me, but as you can tell, I found a word for the letter J. I am almost decided on my letter K post too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about all the fun the littles (inner children) have had reading jokes and free stories. We are a member of an E-mail list called Laughing_Place, but rarely even read the E-mails sent out until this past week. We laughed out loud at some of the jokes. As Milou said, the littles also had lots of fun going on a seesaw. We went on it again on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a lovely Easter card from a woman who lives at another home in our care facility. We can’t see each other much now that the day center is closed, but I talked to her from across her fence.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the blog upgrade I purchased. I have the Premium plan now. As you may be able to tell, I now have my own domain and all WordPress.com ads should be gone. I also got Google Analytics, which I’m having a love/hate relationship with. I’m pretty unsure about all the technical design stuff I can do now, as I’m not tech savvy at all. I’m still not entirely sure this was a wise purchase, but so far I’m not regretting it. I might once the 30-day refund period is over though.

I am thinking about starting my blog’s Facebook page back up. This upgrade also comes with cool social sharing options, so I’d bettter make use of them. I want to get a cover photo for my FB page then though and would love a logo for my blog. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I reached my daily step goal certainly on both Thursday and Friday and probably on Wednesday too. However, then my Fitbit wouldn’t cooperate, so it says I got 33 steps only. I in fact got nearly 13K steps on Thursday and nearly 12K on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made a soap for a staff who’s leaving in a week or so. She is a substitute for someone who’s on maternity leave and that other staffer will return on the 21st. The soap is a butterfly that’s been scented with lavender fragrance oil.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that there’s a new client at my home. I’m struggling a bit with it, but she seems nice.

What have you been up to lately?

What Day Is It Anyway? (March 31, 2020) #WDIIA

Okay, I assume Linda intended #WDIIA to be a daily feature and not only did I skip last Wednesday and Thursday, but I skipped the week-end and yesterday too. I’m still making use of the feature while it exists, as though I don’t exactly have to remind myself what day it is each day, a reminder every now and again can’t hurt.

I slept in till 9:15AM this morning. This isn’t unusual for a week-end and my staff said it was okay despite it not being a week-end. After all, day activities are still provided at the home.

I seem to have lost my exercise mojo a bit. Though I did walk three times today, I took “only” 8.5K steps and don’t feel motivated to go on the elliptical to reach the 10K mark. I haven’t been on the elliptical since Saturday. My sister did compliment me on having beat her husband on Fitbit last week though.

At least I haven’t lost my blogging mojo as of yet. Like I said yesterday, I don’t usually schedule posts in advance but I did tomorrow’s post for the #AtoZChallenge. I feel pretty motivated to write.

Someone from the adaptive tech company, or I assume their carrier service, came to collect my Braille display today. It has a few broken cells. I originally intended on waiting for it to be fixed till this COVID-19 crisis is over, but then last week the company sent out an E-mail detailing their continued service during the crisis. They don’t repair tech in the customer’s home anymore, but they still do collect and return. They also provided me with a replacement Braille display while they’re fixing mine. I doubt it can be reliably fixed though, as this was the second time some cells broke and I’ve only had it for nine months.

This evening, the prime minister held another press conference regarding the coronavirus crisis and its management. Schools are out till April 28 at least and the “intelligent” lockdown will remain in effect. This means, I assume, that the day center will remain closed until April 28 at least too. I don’t mind, as I actually rather like it this way. The staff noticed this too and they might find a way for me to retreat into my room if needed once the day center reopens.

How has your day been?

What Day Is It Anyway? (March 27, 2020) #WDIIA

I’m once again doing a #WDIIA post. I skipped them on Wednesday and yesterday, because I didn’t feel like writing the same old shit again and again. Today I was seriously confused about what day it is. The staff awoke me at around 8:30AM and said I had to shower. I normally shower on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays if I have no outside obligations such as visiting my husband. Obviously right now I don’t. On the other days, I do a quick wash. Now I seriously thought it was either Thursday or Saturday, but it’s Friday, yay!

I must say I awoke some 30 minutes before that from a really horrible nightmare. In the nightmare, I somehow left the facility to visit my husband and then couldn’t come back because of the lockdown. It ended with my husband being angry with me for wanting to go back to the facility at all.

The nightmare was somehwat realistic, in that indeed the new visiting rules that have been put in place for care facilities say that, if family take a client home, they cannot return to the facility until this COVID-19 lockdown thing is over. Family or others cannot visit the facility either unless in exceptional circumstances such as if a client is terminally ill. Obviously this means I won’t see my husband for another while still to come.

It’s the “working” Friday, so we did get day actiivities at home today. This meant, as it has consistently for the last while, that I did go outside twice for walks. I went for another long walk in the evening. As such, I reached 10K steps again. I looked up how I compare to my sister, since we’re Fitbit friends, and I took nearly 1.5 times her steps over the past seven days.

It’s now past 9PM. It’s the weekend now, so we had chips and soda this evening. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to have bread with a boiled egg on it for Breakfast. We get boiled eggs delivered to us by a former staff here who has her own chickens. I assumed she wouldn’t be allowed to come now that the facility is in lockdown, but maybe she puts the eggs at our doorstep and then leaves. So at least that tradition can continue for now.

How was your day?

What Day Is It Anyway? (March 23, 2020) #WDIIA

Well, this thing called What Day Is It Anyway? (#WDIIA) is presumably a daily feature during the COVID-19 crisis. However, I won’t promise I’ll make it a daily feature. I’d like to participate when I can though, as I must admit I lose track of the days too.

Today is Monday, March 23. I awoke at 8:29AM according to my Fitbit activity tracker. I got showered, brushed my teeth and got dressed. I then had nice yoghurt with crunchy muesli with nuts for breakfast. I bought it with the staff on Saturday.

Then I went back to my room for a bit, until it was time to have coffee in the living room, which is our day room now that the day center is closed. The day activities staff are still figuring out how to best help all clients in the seven homes that are part of the facility.

I went for two walks during the day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Then after dinner I went on the elliptical. Then finally while prime minister Rutte was delivering a press conference on the COVID-19 situation, I took another long walk. I reached nearly 12000 steps today.

As such, I didn’t hear myself what the prime minister had to say. I later heard on the news that people found gathering in even small groups can be fined up to €400 per person. It’s up to each city’s mayor though to take appropriate safety measures. Shops can (and probably should) have strict limitations on the number of people entering at a time. All events and festivals have been canceled until June 1. The prime minister will give out further details about school closures next week. But the good news is… no complete lockdown for now! Though the prime minister did say that people should really go outside alone if they’re outside at all, I doubt I’ll be fined for taking walks outdoors with just one staff. I hope not at least, as walks are true stress-relievers for me in normal times already and this time is definitely more stressful than normal.

Then again, I’m not sure I’m affected more by this situation than most others, or maybe even less. I am constantly on edge, but that’s my normal. That’s what living life with (C-)PTSD and BPD traits is like everyday. My distress level simply is never at a one and this time is no exception. Though obviously the lack of routine is distressing, I must honestly say it’s really more the usual things that cause me overwhelm.

Monday, Merry Monday!

Today is a pretty good day. Of course, I did experience some anxiety while at day activities, but it was manageable. One of the reasons I was anxious was the fact that a new client was supposed to come to our home today. This woman isn’t going to attend my day activities group, but somehow this got me thinking of what if things change at my group and I get less care. Ultimately, the client’s move in was deferred for now for reasons unrelated to me.

I took a walk in the morning. In the afternoon, I went on the elliptical for twenty minutes. I struggle to make myself exercise, but I can tell it’s definitely helping to lift my mood. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing my stats on my Fitbit activity tracker. Today, I managed to get 59 active minutes and get 250+ steps an hour for six out of nine hours between 9AM and 6PM. I took a short walk in the evening too.

In the afternoon, I also played a card game similar to Uno with my assigned day activities staff. I won all three games. When my husband and I were in the early stages of getting to know each other, we played this game a lot. Then we forgot about it or did other things. My day activities staff bought a deck of cards for me a few months back and I’ve played games a few times.

I read some Wikipedia entries this evening. Read up on the coronavirus outbreak. The coronavirus in some ways both scares and fascinates me. I mean, I heard there’s at least one confirmed case in the nearby town my husband and I visited on Saturday now. I’m not afraid of getting seriously ill if I catch the virus myself, but all the measures to prevent spreading of the disease do scare me. As far as I know, my care facility doesn’t have a plan on what to do if there’s an outbreak here. I do worry about lots of staff falling ill if there is. Back when the Mexican flu pandemic happened in 2009, I resided in the psych hospital. It didn’t hit the hospital, but if it had and lots of staff would fall ill, management and clinicians would’ve been expected to work on the wards.

As a side note, my iPhone’s spell checker still doesn’t recognize the word “coronavirus”. I think that’s funny.

Gratitude List (December 7, 2018) #TToT

Hi and welcome to my gratitude list for this week. As always, I am linking up with #TToT. Here are the things I’ve been grateful for lately.

1. My writing spirit returning. In November, I only managed twelve blog posts. That’s really not as much as I’d like. I cannot say for sure that I’ll keep in the writing mood, but I certainly am today.

2. Getting to know new bloggers. I’ve been checking out a ton of bloggers and writers lately and am loving it.

3. St. Nicholas. We celebrated it at day activities on Wednesday. It was a little chaotic, but still lots of fun.

4. Festive candy. I love all the St. Nicholas and Christmas-related candy. So sad they don’t have it in the stores all year, although that’d probably be bad for my body.

5. My supportive staff. My support coordinator is still off sick, but my support worker and day activities staff have been incredibly accommodating. This week, my support worker offered to come on Thursday early in the afternoon even though that wasn’t supposed to be a support time for me at all. On Monday, I will be allowed to stay at day activities for the full day again, because my support coordinator was supposed to see me then.

6. Swimming. According to my Fitbit, I managed 53 laps this week. I can’t believe it, but oh well.

7. The stationary bike at day activities. Our staff are trying it out to see if they want to buy it for the day center. I hope they will. I went on it threee times this week. Unfortunately, my Fitbit doesn’t track my going onto it.

I can probably think of more things, but it’s time to go off to bed now. I hope you all had a great week.

Weight Loss (Or Rather, Weight Gain) Update

It’s been months since I last posted an update on my weight loss and healthier living journey. My last update was very positive. This one, not so, but it has a silver lining.

I had not at all been following my diet. Not that I generally follow a specific diet, but when trying to lose weight, I try to moderate my food intake and limit myself on snacks and sweets. I don’t want to completely deny myself any sweets or snacks, but I really had been snacking far too much.

I wasn’t motivated to expose myself on the scale, so I didn’t weigh myself. Today though I did and the result was as expected: I’m now 71.3kg. This means I gained 2.4kg or roughly 5lbs in these three months. My BMI is over 30 once again.

Back three months ago, I was at my lowest weight in five years and had been thinking I could reach a weight in the lower sixties by the end of the year. Obviously, now I can’t. I’m not even sure my ultimate goal is to be at a healthy weight anymore, which for my height is 58kg. I had originally intended to reach that by January of 2020. Now I think I’d need to be content if I can get and keep my weight under 70kg and hence my BMI under 30.

Exercise-wise, I’ve not been doing as well as I wanted to either. I had set myself a goal for October of getting active everyday. Though it looks like I met that goal, I have to be more creative with what I consider “activity” than I’d originally intended on being. Today though was a great day, in that I got 95 active minutes according to my Fitbit and reached my daily step goal of 10,000 steps. Now that has me end this post on a positive note!

Walking

Over at Therapy Bits, carol anne posed a good question. She asked whether we enjoy being out in the fresh air and going for walks.

My short answer has to be a resounding YES. I love, love, love walking! It helps me relieve stress, get my thoughts organized and be mindful. It also for obvious reasons helps my physical health.

Last year, when I first embarked on my weight loss journey, I was badly out of shape. My husband offered to take me on daily 36-minute walks. Why 36 minutes? Because that’d burn the number of calories I’d have to decrease if I wanted to get to my first goal weight within a year. For me, these walsk were jog-walks, as my husband walks rather fast. I was exhausted within five minutes.

My husband hasn’t taken me on these fast-paced walks much after those first few days, but I do go on walks regularly. I regularly walk to the nearby ferry with my support workers, which is about 1.5km one way.

About half a year ago, I bought a Fitbit activity tracker. It is recommended that you get at least 10,000 steps a day. I got that on my first day, but only manage it once every few weeks now.

The Fitbit has a smart way of tracking exericse, so it distinguishes between running, walking, cycling and going on the elliptical. Mine, the Fitbit Flex2, is also water proof. Today, I went swimming for the first time since having my Fitbit. I am not fully able to make sense of the data it provided, but it definitely did recognize that I’d been swimming.

Back to the question though. As much as I love walking, I don’t really enjoy the great outdoors. I hate walking in the forest or on otherwise uneven ground. In fact, I think I would almost equally enjoy walking on a treadmill to walking outside if all other circumstances were the same. They aren’t though, since on the treadmill you’re more in exericse mode than when going for a relaxed walk.