How COVID-19 Changed My Outlook on 2020

Yes, I’ve said it before, but can you believe it’s May already? Four months have passed since the beginning of 2020. Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. Well, time also flies (and drags at the same time) when in a pandemic. Today I’m joining in with Finish the Sentence Friday (which is open all week), for which the question this week is how the pandemic changed your word of the year.

In January, I chose the word Wellbeing as my word of the year for 2020. I was at the time already a bit angsty about it, as I was in a bit of a hypochondriac phase and thought that if I chose this word, I’d die this year or something. Some kind of reverse law of attraction.

Still, so far, my word is still pretty true. I am taking preventative measures to hopefully keep the coronavirus out of my body. Just yesterday, my staff started taking everyone’s temp twice daily with a no-contact thermometer. Since the virus hit the home below mine, I have been a little more scared. At the same time, I still often avoid thinking about the pandemic too much. Actually, I realize that, as the month of April continued, I included fewer and fewer references to the pandemic in my posts.

I had a few hopes for 2020 too. The first one was to keep my marriage strong. I felt I needed to learn to travel to my husband for this, as I thought ultimately living apart wouldn’t be very good for our marriage otherwise. While I still feel I need to learn to travel to him independently once the crisis is over, I have learned that our marriage can survive a time of not seeing each other. It’s hard, but it’s doable.

Honestly, I must say the pandemic has given me a clearer focus on what matters most. I try to appreciate my husband more. After all, he isn’t a given. One day one of us might catch the virus. Besides, we can’t see each other now and it isn’t altogether logical that a marriage survives this.

On my other goals, I did pretty well so far. I’m actually loving it. I don’t know whether the crisis is the reason I’m doing so well, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the factors.

Intentions: Living Your Life with Purpose #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day 9 in the #AtoZChallenge and my letter I post. I really wasn’t sure what to write for this post, so looked to The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges for inspiration. One of her letter I topics is “intentions”. This may seem fluffy to you and it feels that way to an extent to me, too. Today I am going to write about living your life with purpose.

When I think of this, I immediately think of the Purpose-Driven Life, which is some type of conservative Christian book about how Christians should live their life. Even though I haven’t read it, I know it has many things that will not apply to me as a progressive believer. Besides, I want to speak to people of all faiths and none at all, so this is not what I’m talking about.

Instead, I am talking about determining how you want to live your life. A purpose in life can really be whatever you want it to be. That doesn’t mean it should change very often – it really should not.

For living with intent, it requires that you focus on your core values. Determining these may be hard especially when you’re still young or unsure of yourself. However, though your life’s purpose shouldn’t change on a whim, it isn’t necessarily completely static either.

Focusing on who you want to be and what you want to achieve, can take the form of a single word or phrase. For example, I choose a word of the year each January. This year’s is Wellbeing. I know that most words of the year I’ve set in the past are related to emotional wellness. Of course, most people strive for happiness in their lives, so this may be an open door really. However, if you set a word such as “Success” or “Productive” as your focus word of the year, this reflects that other values, in this case achievement, are more important to your happiness. Remember, that’s okay too. Just because I am focused on emotional wellness, doesn’t mean you need to be too. In fact, I think my chosen intentions may come across a bit self-centered to some.

Once you have set an intention for your life, or for the next year, it should help you guide your path. If you reflect on your chosen theme regularly, it will become easier to let it guide your short and long-term goal setting.

Do you have a word of the year for this year or an intention for your life in general?

My Hopes for 2020

Hi everyone and a happy new year to you all! I’m wishing all my readers the best for 2020. May this year be filled with health and happiness.

Like last year, I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. That is, I’m calling them “hopes” as to have them give me less pressure. This may be a stupid mind trick, so that if I fail at all of them at the end of the year I can just say I wasn’t really meaning to stick to them. Well, anyway, here goes.

1. I hope to find a way to keep my marriage as strong as it’s now whilst I’m living in the care facility. This mainly means I need to find a way to keep seeing my husband despite the fact that I won’t have the ParaTransit to travel one way even once every other week. I really need to find a way to learn to travel by public transportation. The thought of which overwhelms me. Then again, the consequences of not making this work, are far, far worse. I have very conflicting feelings about this whole situation, which I won’t be sharing here.

2. I hope to settle in at the care facility, both the home and the day center, and find a routine that keeps me happy.

3. I hope to keep going for a healthier lifestyle. I first hope to be more mindful of my food choices. I mean, I did okay’ish over the holidays, eating far less than I would have had I not had it in mind that I ultimately need to lose all the pounds I put on. However, I still ate more than I should have.

I hope to stick to my habit of drinking two liters of fluid each day. I have occasionally lost track when at my husband’s, but did welll over the past month otherwise.

I really want to get into an exercise routine. I have a gym in mind that I may want to join in February (because everyone else joins the gym in January).

4. I hope to stick to a regular writing and blogging schedule. I won’t push myself to blog everyday or the like. I mean, I could be joining in with #JusJoJan again and I know the rules aren’t strict so this post counts too, but I think I’d rather jump in when a prompt speaks to me. I aim for a minimum of two posts a week, unless illness or technical problems get in the way.

Dreaming bigger, I hope to write another essay that could be published in an anthology in 2020. I mean, I’m still excited about the one piece I had published in 2015, but there must be more in store for me.

5. I hope to read more. The year is off to a good start, as I finished a book (okay, one I’d started reading in 2019) today. I really want toventure out into the book blogosphere, even though I have zero intention of becoming a real book blogger.

6. I hope I can get into a better self-care routine. This is really an excuse for me to explore more of mindfulness, essential oils, relaxation, etc. I often think that I need to be productive all day. Then recently I listened to a Podcast in which the presenters explained the importance of daydreaming. They linked a lack of it to dementia, which has me scared like crap, because whenever I’m not doing anything in particular, I tend to fall asleep. They didn’t say whether you can train yourself to daydream or whether this helps, but it can’t be bad.

What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

2019: The Year in Review

Wow, can you believe 2019 is almost over yet? It was truly an eventful year. I want to do a review of the year. I originally intended on waiting till the 31st to do it, but I’m not sure I’ll have time for it then, as I’m celebrating New Year’s at my in-laws.

I had a theory when I was a teen that said life ran in cycles, by which every three years I’d find myself struggling significantly, then the next year would be one of hope, and the third year would be one of disillusionment, by the end of which I’d spiral into despair again. 2001, 2004 and 2007 were all years of despair, whereas 2002, 2005 and 2008 where years of hope. I didn’t continue to be superstitious about this past that point and honestly looking back each year was really a mixed bag. By this logic though, 2019 would have to be a year of despair. It was to begin with, but it ended on a really positive note, whereas by my teenage logic, the fall of the year of despair would be the hardest.

Well, let me say this year was extremely eventful indeed. At the end of 2018, we had just mailed out the application for long-term care funding. I started the year really hopeful by looking at a living facility and having my long-term care assessment in January. Then in February, I grew cynical. I decided everything wouldn’t be okay till 2021, as that would be the year people with lifelong psychiatric conditions would be allowed access to long-term care. I was right. My funding application got denied.

March, April and May were all largely months of waiting, as we sent out the appeal letter and my appeal was looked at. In late May, my support coordinator told me I would most likely not be granted long-term care funding this time either, but the lawyer in charge of my appeal was going to see if she could find a way to approve me anyway. She did somehow. I feel the long-term care regulations put people with multiple disabilities at a significant disadvantage. I remember writing blog posts explaining the legalities of long-term care back in like 2009 on my very first WordPress blog and I already felt the rigid care packages based on primary disability, were stupid. I don’t know how they managed to grant my appeal and even if I knew, I wouldn’t share it here.

By the time my long-term care funding was approved, my support coordinator had been informed that the care facility in Raalte with her agency had several available rooms. I started the intake process. By late August, just as I was losing hope again, I was told I would be accepted. I moved on September 23.

The past three months have been good. I feel a sense of calm, even though I still experience meltdowns. I had one tonight. Like a fellow patient on the locked unit said once, I can move around all I want, but I still need to look to myself for improving my own mental health.

When I looked at my review of 2018, I saw that my husband had been warming me up to us buying a house in his work city. I thought then that this may not happen if I go into long-term care, and indeed the house we bought isn’t in his work city. However, it’s still a house he likes. It is legally my house too, of course, which is good, in that I can move there if I ever get kicked out of long-term care. I also try to stay involved with renovation plans, but I struggle with this.

I took a look at my hopes for 2019 as I was preparing to write this review. I can be pretty satisfied with how I did on them. The only goal I didn’t meet, was to have a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. I’m doing okay on the healthier eating part, as I haven’t had binges much since coming to the care facility and make sure I don’t indulge into my every food whim. However, I don’t exercise nearly as often as I want to, though I get about as many active minutes as I did when living with my husband.

I did buy a new computer. Two, in fact, as I wasn’t happy with the Mac I bought and sold it to my mother-in-law. I am very happy with my current Windows PC though. Having a working computer again enables me to do so much more with my blog than I could when only using my phone. This helps me keep a regular blogging schedule too. Finally having found a feed reader that works in my browser, also helps. That was my only initial frustration with my current PC, as my Mac had a good feed reader and I struggled to find one for PC.

My last hope for 2019 was to stay mentally stable. I’m pretty sure I have reached this goal, as I’ve not been in serious crises at all. I’m also more than happy with how my staff handle my meltdowns or short crises as they do happen.

#IWSG: My Future Writing Self

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means I’m linking up with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) again. I did okay in the writing department this past month. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about writing more than I actually wrote. To mention how I’d like to write more in the coming month, seems like a pointlessly repetitive statement though.

However, the optional question for this month’s #IWSG is to envision your future writing self. Let me share.

My future writing self will have finally taken a course on memoir writing. I’ve been looking at them but, since they’re usually really expensive, I don’t feel I can invest the money in them. Then again, if I ever want to be successful as a writer, it’s going to be as a memoirist. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t write poetry or fiction that’s catching at all.

I will then have written and maybe even self-published my own memoir. I don’t need to earn any money off of it, but I’d love it if other people read my story.

My future writing self will also have written more on this blog, including actually poetry and short fiction. She will not feel as self-conscious about her writing as I do now. I mean, no, my writing may not be the best when compared to other people’s, but it’s the best way I can express myself.

My future writing self will actually be able to sit and plan a story or, like I said, a memoir. She will be able to actually complete the work she starts even if it takes longer to write. In the past, I could actually write longer stories and I even have a few unfinished novels. I don’t intend on ever publishing a work of fiction except on this blog, but I do wish to have the patience to complete something that could be turned into a book. Right now, I impulsively start a ton of projects I think will be great, but drop them again within hours to days.

For example, I have been thinking of starting a prompt-based writing challenge. No, not another word-of-the-day challenge. They’re great, but there are enough of them on WordPress already. Rather, I’d like to start a journaling challenge based on prompts around self-discovery and reflection. I already registered a WordPress site for it, so in a hurry in fact that I initially accepted a missspelled subdomain suggestion. I fixed that (registered another blog with a correctly spelled address), but now I’m stuck. I don’t lack inspiration, but I have no idea how to go about actually promoting this challenge to the masses and am not even sure my idea will catch on. Then, the fact that I cannot create images to go with my posts, is holding me back, because whoever finds a short prompt that doesn’t have a catchy image with it? Maybe this idea is bad indeed, but I wanted the #IWSG community to know about it. We’ll see what 2020 will have in store for me.

The Wait Is Over…

Today, V.J.’s Weekly Challenge is all about waiting. It’s an interesting topic, considering that, as I said before, it’s been twelve years this week since I embarked on my journey to finding the right care. The wait is over. On June 4, exactly five months ago today, I was granted long-term care funding. I moved into the care facility on September 23.

It was an extremely long wait. Twelve years is roughly fifteen percent of a person’s lifetime, and they covered almost my entire adult life so far. In other words, I spent most of my adult life waiting. And now it’s over.

And yet, I don’t feel the sense of relief I was sort of expecting to feel. I, after all, hadn’t put my life on hold while waiting for this magical moment. I’m glad I didn’t, as that would’ve meant I didn’t have a husband now. You see, originally, when he told me he was in love with me in January of 2008, I planned on waiting to reciprocate his love until I’d moved into supported housing. I’m glad I didn’t wait.

And yet, my life did seem on hold in other areas for all of these years. I was always in a waiting position at least on some deep, emotional level. And now I can stop waiting and start living. I hope.

Then again, can I truly let go of that paralyzing feeling of apprehension that I’ve carried with me all this time? I still feel like I’m in waiting mode. Hibernation. This long-term care placement still feels temporary to me. Then again, well, guess what, life is temporary. I’d rather get a grip on it than spend the next so many years waiting for some magical miracle that won’t ever happen to make me feel all good.

Lately, I’m constantly reminded of a comment one of my fellow patients on the locked psychiatric unit made in those early days of my hospitalization. I can change my environment all I want, but I’m still me and I need to look to change myself instead.

Tomorrow, I’ll have a review with the behavior specialist and my home and day activities staff. I already discussed with my home staff wanting to get more out of my day than I do now. I came up with the idea of taking my Braille display and external keyboard with me to day activities, so that I can do more stuff on my iPhone than simple dice games and texting. I did this today and unfortunately felt immediately overwhelmed when I tried to read a blog post while a fellow client was making noise playing with macaroni. That almost made me give up and retreat into hibernation mode again. I hope I won’t give up though.

Where #SoCS

Where am I going? Where am I even right now? Yes, I am currently at home, writing this blog post. I go to day activities four days a week and spend the rest of the time at home or at my in-laws. I don’t blog nearly as much during the time I’m home as I’d want to.

I know I’m in the process of going into long-term care. It is an incredibly slow-moving process, so I can’t write much about it.

I have developed an interest in reading. I want to be blogging more about books. Not that I want to be a “book blogger”. I still want this blog to remain as eclectic as it has been so far.

But I want to do something with my life other than being in the process of going into long-term care. I don’t mean I want to work a real job or go back to university. Or maybe I do, but I know I can’t. Then at least reading should satisfy that need for doing something with my life.

Maybe I’ll someday pick up crafting again. Soap making or jewelry-making. I tried to make my own melt and pour soap at day activities again last Monday. It went okay. I needed a doable amount of help. Same probably with jewelry-making. At least with making the simple string necklaces I am used to making. They aren’t even bad. But they aren’t something I can blog about.

And as it seems, I’ve dedicated everything I do in life to the purpose of blogging about it. Well, not exactly. Of course I’m not going into long-term care to have a more interesting life to blog about. That seems like something my parents would think, since I did at one point feel like becoming a mother mostly for that purpose.

I can have a much more interesting life if I just live. And if I find joy in what I do. That way, I can help spread positivity. And I hope that by sharing where I’m going with a positive attitude, I can have an influence on the world, or at least the WordPress community. I don’t need to be an “influencer” – such an overused word – to be of influence. I just need to be me.

I am writing this post for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt this week is “Where”.

Goals: Major Things I Hope to Achieve in Life #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day seven in the A to Z Challenge. I’m finding that, even though ideas spin through my mind to blog about, I’m already less motivated to write and especially so for the #AtoZChallenge. Today’s post is a list, so I’m not sure it fits in with the theme of miscellaneous musings. I am feeling a bit uninspired though and lists are the easiest to write posts. I am sharing my major goals in life.

1. Find myself a satisfactory living situation. When I wrote a list of goals I had for myself on my old blog, buying a house was on it. Not that I’d ever be able to buy a house on my own, but divorcing my husband wasn’t on the list. This (buying a house) was however more my husband’s goal than mine. When I finally decided to try to get into long-term care, I felt much calmer than I did before. Even though the process is now going on for six months and counting, I’m still sure of myself on this part. This is the reason finding a satisfactory living situation tops my list.

2. Write my autobiography. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a young child. Of course, I am a writer with my blog and I also got a piece published in an anthology in 2015. I would love to publish more pieces, but I’d also love to write a memoir.

3. Find a hobby (other than blogging) that I can do independently. Or almost independently. I’m in a course now at day activities to explore this. We’ve been trying soap making for the last two weeks, because I used to enjoy that, and it’s going okay.

4. Visit the United States. I have a few long-time online friends from there whom I’d love to visit. I’d also love to visit carol anne of Therapy Bits in Ireland.

5. Heal from my childhood trauma. I hope to be able to someday access a qualified therapist able to treat me for my trauma-based symptoms. Even if I can’t do that, I hope to heal.

What are your major goals in life?

My Hopes for 2019

Happy new year everyone! Today and hopefully throughout this month, I’ll be joining in with Just Jot It! January or #JusJoJan for short, organized by Linda G. Hill. Today’s prompt is to reflect back on 2018 or write about your plans or resolutions for 2019. since I already wrote about my 2018, I’m going to use this post to jot down my hopes, goals and plans for 2019. Here goes.

1. Find suitable supported housing. This is my main hope for 2019. Of course, given my experience with finding (or not finding) supported housing out of the mental institution, I don’t have my hopes up too high. However, I at least want to get long-term care funding approved. That way, even if I don’t find a housing place, I can get more support in my current home than I get now.

2. Get back on track with healthier living. I didn’t gain any weight over the holidays and in 2018, lost a pound or 500 grams, while I expected I’d gained. I’m proud of that, but I’m still obese. Knowing that I’ve experienced some time when my BMI was under 30 this past year, I badly want to lose those two or three pounds it takes to be back at just overweight.

More importantly though, I want to embrace a healthier lifestyle. I want to exercise regularly and eat at least somewhat healthfully.

3. Blog regularly. In January, participating in #JusJoJan means I’ll have something to write about each day, as Linda will be posting prompts. I plan on writing regularly throughout the year though.

4. Get a new computer. I have had this on my list of plans ever since 2017. This year, I’m serious about it though, as I finally convinced my husband too that my current PC is outdated. I am seriously considering getting a Mac, as that’d mean I could do without having to get a screen reader separate from the operating system. I already love my iPhone, but I feel I need a computer too.

5. Stay mentally stable. Over 2018, I’ve not had serious crises other than the one in January that eventually got me kickked out of my old day activities place. I’m still considering terminating mental health treatment once I’ve found suited supported housing. After all, I’m pretty confident that the depression I suffered early in 2018 and that required an increase in my antidepressant dose, was caused by my difficulties coping at home and at day activities. I do still experience trauma-related symptoms, but at this point, they’re manageable.

What are your hopes for 2019?

Dreams I Had for Myself as a Child #Write31Days

Welcome to day 18 in #Write31Days. Today’s post is all about dreams and life visions. Specifically, I am sharing the dreams I had for myself as a child.

The first dream I remember having about what I’d be when I’d grow up, was a writer. I may’ve said as a KIndergartner that I wanted to be a princess or whatever, but as soon as I could write with some confidence, I wanted to make my career out of that. I remember my parents telling me pretty early on that writers usually don’t make a living writing, but I didn’t care.

As I said before, I started out wanting to write fiction. I didn’t keep a journal consistently until I was thirteen and fiction was all that I knew before then. I didn’t get access to the Internet until age fifteen, but by the time I had an Internet connection, I was hooked on non-fiction.

Another dream I had for myself as an older child and teen, was to become a teacher. My ideas varied as to which grade or subject I’d like to teach. I definitely looked up to my teachers, so it’s no surprise I wanted to be one.

When I was around twelve, I started to deveop a dream of becoming a psychologist. I wanted to help children who were likely to fall through the cracks, as I had a feeling I was. I started hoping every episode of my parents’ favorite news program had a feature on kids with psychological problems. Once, there was an episode on about autism and I was hooked. This was nearly ten years before my own autism diagnosis. I had a feeling I was somehow like the boy in the program. Similar with a seventeen-year-old girl who was being restrained in a psychiatric hospital in around 1997. She was too smart for intellectual disability services but didn’t belong in psychiatry either. Something clicked with me, but obviously I couldn’t put my finger to it. I still really can’t.

When I was sixteen, I developed another dream. I wanted to study in the United States once in college. I would be majoring in American studies at university in Nijmegen, which'd offer motivated, talented students the opportunity to study in the U.S. for six months in their third year. I was at the time pretty sure I'd be talented enough. I loved reading up about American cities on City-Data.com.

Looking back, obviously, I didn’t make any of my dreams come true. I write, but not for profit and I don’t intend on it ever at all. I have some education in psychology, but am nowhere near a degree.

At the back of my mind, there always was that seventeen-year-old girl in the isolation room in the psychiatric hospital. I’ve not become her either, but I’ve come close. Then I rose up above my fate and now I’m an advocate. I’m happy as I am now.