Gratitude List (January 22, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. It’s time for another gratitude post. I’m struggling a little, but, as I’ve said many times before, this makes them all the more important. As usual, I’m joining in wiht Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful to have seen my husband on Sunday. We went to the Subway drive-through to get a sandwich. I chose a turkey one, to which my husband asked whether I took it because of my diet or because I was in the mood for turkey. “Both,” I replied.

2. I am grateful my mother-in-law visited me on Wednesday. We went for a drive around the nearby countryside and for a short walk in a nearby village.

3. I am grateful for muesli for breakfast. I am also grateful the dietitian allows me muesli with some nuts or raisins in it and it doesn’t have to be plain grain.

4. I am grateful for blueberries. When in the nearby village with my mother-in-law, we decided to get some groceries for her. I decided to get blueberries too.

5. I am grateful my dental chek-up last Wednesday was uneventful and, other than the fact that I have inflamed gums, everything was fine.

6. I am grateful for a good laugh with one of my staff on Thursday. I originally was anxious about her being my one-on-one that day, because a few weeks prior she’d triggered me with what she thought was encouragement of my independence. I thankfully talked it over with her and we then laughed our butts off at some silly jokes we were cracking.

7. I am grateful I am inspired to write on my blog. I still struggle to find the motivation to go on walks or to craft, but at least I’m writing almost everyday, sometimes twice a day.

8. I am grateful my nurse practitioner keeps trying to help me and takes me seriously despite how complicated I might be. I have been experiencing increased flashbacks to the time I spent in the psych hospital lately, but I try to remind myself my staff and my treatment team at mental health are different.

9. I am grateful it looks like the essential oils I ordered on Thursday, are on their way. I ordered with a company that doesn’t use the bank’s payment processing system, so I had to make my payment manually, then panicked worrying that I’d made a typeo somehow. Apparently not. Let’s hope the company isn’t altogether lying and will actually have shipped my essential oils.

10. I am grateful I’ve found the courage to experiment with essential oil blends that are slightly different from the ones I find online. For example, earlier I used tangerine rather than orange in a blend that otherwise contained cardamom and cinnamon. It smelled delicious!

What are you grateful for?

Moaning About My Meds

It’s 8:30PM and I’m probably going to bed before 10PM tonight. Since upping my topiramate (Topamax) a week ago, I’ve been more sleepy earlier at night and consequently going to bed sometimes by as early as 9PM or even earlier. Unfortunately, the quality of my sleep doesn’t seem to be better.

Last night, I had a horrible dream in which my staff were chattering among themselves and all the while I was trying to get their attention because I was anxious, but to no avail. That’s how I’ve been feeling ever since upping my medication: I am still anxious, but too drowsy to react to it. In fact, I’m not even 100% sure my experience last night was completely in my dreams, because, when I awoke, I couldn’t get to the level of alertness necessary to press the call button.

I don’t really mind the drowsiness as much. Or the tingling in my fingers and toes, which I’ve started to experience since increasing my topiramate dosage too. But the medication does have to work for my hypervigilance. And hypervigilance is not just an outer reactivity, or is it?

My assigned home staff did say yesterday that she judges from the staff’s reporting that I’m calmer, because I come calling out for help less at the times I’m not having my one-on-one. That comment triggered me intensely, because it made me think I’m supposed to take my topiramate so that I don’t ask for help outside of my assigned support hours. I’m reminded of my psychiatrist’s comment about meds as a “chemical nurse” again, something I now don’t see as quite as validating a statement.

This evening, I did E-mail my nurse practitioner my concerns. Of course, the topiramate’s positive effects might still need time to kick in, but if they don’t, I’d rather go back to my old dose. Which, of course, means we will need to find me a different PRN medication or something for when I go into crisis. It also means we’ll need to postpone my aripiprazole (Abilify) taper. Honestly though, I don’t really care about those.

Gratitude List (January 15, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’m feeling a bit tired today, so to give myself a boost, I thought I’d do a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I’m grateful it is not as cold as it used to be. Like I said yesterday, daytime temps rose to about 7°C for most of the week. I am also grateful it’s not been raining.

2. I am grateful I was able to clear the air again with a staff after an incident on Sunday. On Sunday evening, I got angry because there were no bananas, even though the groceries should’ve gotten in the day before. The staff got really cross with me for yelling at her, which triggered an alter who carries a lot of memories from the psych hospital. At one point, the staff even tried to physically move me to my room, which triggered her even more. Rationally, I do understand I shouldn’t have yelled at her, but emotionally, I really couldn’t handle the whole situation. I am grateful I was able to explain this, with the help of my assigned staff.

3. I am grateful my husband’s cold seems to be over. He was supposed to visit last Sunday, like I mentioned, but canceled because he had a cold. All going to plan, he should be here tomorrow.

4. I am grateful for fried potatoes. I had those for dinner on Tuesday. I am grateful that, even though the staff had originally forgotten to remove the plastic foil from the area where the potatoes are in my meal, the potatoes hadn’t become soggy. I almost had a meltdown over that too, but remembered to ask the staff to remove the plastic and put the meal in the oven a little longer.

5. I am grateful the dietitian gave me some good tips for variations on things I can have for breakfast or lunch rather than bread with jam on it. I am also grateful I had an overall good appt with her.

6. I am grateful there’s only 82 calories in a cinnamon star, my favorite Christmas cookie, of which I still have two full packages left. I am also grateful I am allowed mini stroopwafels during the week. The dietitian had originally said a small cookie such as a biscuit, but there’s only 36 calories in a mini stroopwafel. For on weekends, she allows me a large cookie. She mentioned as an example a cookie that has like 200 calories in it, which I consider rather outrageous. Maybe I misunderstood and she meant that I should eat those only sporadically, as we were also discussing the fact that no foods are forbidden altogether. Anyway, with that being the case, I’m so grateful there’s only 82 calories in my favorite cookie, so I allowed myself one on Friday even though I’d originally only said to myself Saturday and Sunday.

7. I am grateful I feel less stressed out about my diet already as well as able to experiment more with varied foods. On Thursday, there was no meal delivery service meal for me, so I decided to get a salad from the supermarket for dinner. It was absolutely delicious!

8. I am grateful my husband got some opportunities for a new job. He works as a truck driver right now. That is, he currently works in the truck wash, but that doesn’t earn him that much money. Come February 1, he’s going back to driving, but he also talked to the recruiter about other options. I’m not sure I’m allowed to disclose too much, so I’m not going to share which jobs he’s going to look into, but he’s hoping to find himself a job with regular working hours and decent pay at some point.

9. I am grateful I was able to do some crafting again over the past week. I created a red and silver present charm on a keychain for my father, who has his 73rd birthday today. I am also grateful my husband was able to order a real present for him. My father wanted a cd that’s really hard to come by in the Netherlands, but my husband ordered it off Amazon.co.uk. It won’t be here till mid-February, but that’s okay.

Polymer Clay Present Keychain

10. I am grateful the chickens are back. Remember a young man from the care home next to mine had chickens near the day center? Well, shortly before New Year’s, his grandpa took them home with him because they were broody. This week, they returned. Apparently the grandpa had found a way to deal with the broodiness.

I am even more grateful the man whose chickens these are allowed me to pick the eggs today. No eggs though, unfortunately, so either the client who feeds the chickens on weekends had already picked the eggs or they hadn’t laid eggs today.

This was quite doable. Sorry for all the food-related gratefuls though.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (January 8, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. It’s Saturday again and I’m trying to get into the habit of writing a gratitude list then. At least today I’m doing one. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT. Here are some things I’m thankful for.

1. A productive appointment with my nurse practitioner on Monday. We are going to discuss my crisis signaling plan together. This is used by the staff to help guide them on how to support me depending on how I’m doing. My assigned staff should have E-mailed it to him by now.

2. Sunshine! I am so grateful that the sun’s shining at least some of the time. It’s near freezing cold, but at least from indoors I can look out the window and see the sunlight.

3. Reading. I am so grateful I feel motivated to read again. I’ve picked up several books again. I’m currently reading the latest Maggie Hartley foster care memoir, but have several other books I want to get into soon.

4. The Word of God. I am so grateful I am still going strong with my Bible reading. I am also grateful I discovered an interesting Biblical podcast yesterday. It’s called Spoken Gospel. Yesterday, I listened to the episode on Jonah 1.

5. Weekend treats. Like I mentioned yesterday, I started on a food plan/healthy diet this week. I am grateful I am allowed to have a cinnamon star cookie in my diet today.

6. Getting my money back from the broken Fitbit charging cable I’d returned. I am so grateful about that, since I was fully expecting Bol.com (which is a site similar to Amazon here) objecting. After all, when trying the thing, my staff had removed some plastic thingy that kept the cable rolled together. Thankfully, I got my money back without any fuss.

7. Phone conversations with my husband. I am grateful to have him. I am also grateful he’s coming for a visit tomorrow, since I haven’t seen him since Christmas.

8. My staff, the one who had COVID, being recovered and back on the job.

9. My still getting up at 8AM consistently to do my Morning Pages. I am grateful I still find something to write about each morning even if it isn’t something related to my creative endeavors.

10. My computer. A few days ago, I thought for some reason that it’d broken down, but it’s still working. I also managed to clean its keyboard (it was very necessary) and, since I don’t have the type of alcohol or whatever you need for that, I wasn’t sure I’d do it properly without causing it damage. I am so grateful everything still works as it should!

This week, it was harder to come up with ten things of thankful than last week. I think I might do a daily gratitude list in the diary app Day One, now that I’ve revived it for my Morning Pages anyway, so that I have something to refer back to when I’m doing this list.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 7, 2022)

Hi everyone on this first Friday of January, 2022. Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I’m right between my dinner and my evening coffee, but if you’d like a drink, I’m sure my staff can make you a Senseo or a cup of tea, pour you a glass of juice or offer you a soft drink. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start off by saying that the weather is all over the place right now. Sometimes, it’s raining or even snowing, while at other times, the sun is shining. It’s too cold for a walk though, so I’ve stayed indoors all day and most of the week. Last night, despite the heating being on and all windows being closed, I was feeling quite cold. Okay, I can feel cold in the middle of summer sometimes. That’s just me, I guess.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share about my new food plan. Like I shared before, my hope is to get to a healthier, less stress-inducing diet this year. The dietitian got back to my staff on Tuesday with a healthy food plan. It’s a standard basic food plan I’m sure, as for instance it allowed for an artificial sweetener in my coffee even though I’ve been drinking my coffee black for years.

I have been trying to stick to the food plan ever since. On Wednesday, I did have my crunchy muesli for breakfast, because my staff had already prepared it. Oh, I said this was something I wasn’t willing to give up, but I’m trying after all. Yesterday and today, I had two slices of bread with jam on them.

So far, it’s going okay, but I do find that I’m struggling to eat a variety of foods, as out of the healthy food choices, I only like a few things. Today, as an alternative to the bread with jam for lunch, I tried a toasted cheese and bell pepper sandwich. After all, the dietitian said that toasted sandwiches are a healthy choice as long as you don’t load them with more than one slice of cheese, ham or the like. You can, however, add veggies to taste.

If we were having coffee, I would share that, speaking of the food plan, I do look forward to getting chips this evening. I am so happy I am still allowed these on weekends.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I haven’t been too inspired on the crafty front lately. On Wednesday though, I did create a polymer clay dolphin charm. I used the Fimo soft color blue ice quartz for the body of the dolphin, white for its belly and black for its eyes.

Polymer Clay Dolphin Charm

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I did do a fair bit of reading lately. I started the latest Maggie Hartley foster care memoir, which came out as an eBook yesterday, right then. I’m now at 54% already. It doesn’t look like I’m going to finish any of the other books still on my currently-reading shelf on Goodreads though, but that’s okay.

How have you been?

A Few Really Intense Days

Last Thursday was a weird day. I had to have my mammogram at 11:45AM at the hospital in the nearest city, which is half an hour’s drive away. We arrived about fifteen minutes early, which was good, since I still needed to get an ID label. Normally, the hospital give you an ID card with your first visit, but the receptionist said I should already have one since my ID was in their system. It probably was from when I had my abdominal X-ray at the outpatient clinic here in town, where apparently they don’t do ID cards. Oh well, he printed off a label and sent me on my way.

The mammogram people were running a bit late, so I got a little stressed. As it turned out, the person doing my mammogram was also a guy, which made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I tried to reassure myself that it’s his job. The mammogram was painful but thankfully it was over with quickly and I knew that it being painful said nothing about possible results.

In the evening, a male I initially didn’t recognize was in the care home. As it turned out, he was our GP. I was already distresssed from my schedule going to pieces due to the mammogram. It was getting even worse, because it turned out a fellow client had to go to the hospital. She had Down Syndrome with severe heart complications and the doctor suspected her heart was acting up again.

Later, it turned out she had RSV, a type of pneumonia that normally only affects babies and small children. She was tested for COVID too but was negative. As she was moved from cardiac care to the lung unit, she seemed to improve over Friday and Saturday, but wouldn’t be discharged until Monday as there are no doctors to do that over the weekend.

Thursday night, I myself started experiencing nausea and bad stomach pain and could hardly sleep. I vomited a few times in the morning, then was exhausted and lay in bed most of the late morning and early afternoon Friday. Thankfully, by Saturday, most of my symptoms were gone.

Then on Sunday morning, I got the news that the fellow client who’d gone into hospital Thursday evening, had passed away after all. My first thought was: “This won’t affect staffing, will it?” I quickly silenced those thoughts, knowing they are selfish. When the manager came by to support the staff, she did pay a quick visit to my room though and I asked her whether the vacant room would be filled quickly now. She reassured me that the staff and clients will have time to process this loss first.

I have been busy all of yesterday evening and today thinking about how to make something for the client out of polymer clay to go with her to the funeral. Yesterday, I initially made a butterfly using a mold, but I did it all wrong and it turned out rather rubbish. Then I decided to create a multicolor flower. However, one of the staff who knows the family’s wishes about the funeral etc., told me a butterfly would be especially fitting. So I stressed all day about how to make a butterfly using my rather inflexible mold. I might’ve found a way. My nurse practitioner, with whom I had an appointment this morning, did reassure me that I am well-intentioned regardless and that’s what matters.

This afternoon, I got the results of the mammogram. Thankfully, there are no abnormalities! At least that’s something to be happy about.

Gratitude List (November 27, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this rainy Saturday! I hope all my U.S.-based readers had a great Thanksgiving. Here, it isn’t a thing. However, I like to show thankfulness everyday. For this reason, I’m doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful I reached my goal of 10K steps a day once during the past seven days. Okay, it was on Sunday and I only got (barely) more than 5K steps one other day this past week (Monday). The rest of the week, I’ve been rather sedentary. However, I’m still grateful I can apparently still walk 10K steps in a day.

2. Speaking of which, I am also grateful I managed 15 minutes on the elliptical today. It didn’t earn me much in the way of steps, but at least my muscles haven’t totally atrophied so far.

3. I am grateful I had a good talk with the current behavior specialist for my care home on Tuesday. It was my second time meeting her. She helped me clarify some of the things I wanted to talk about with my nurse practitioner too.

4. I am also grateful my appt with my nurse practitioner went pretty well as a result too. I had originally considered quitting treatment with him, but decided against this after the talk with the behavior specialist. Overall, my appt with my nurse practitioner was relatively constructive. We decided on some things to make our sessions more productive. For instance, next time I E-mail him about not being well, he’ll try to call me back so we can assess the seriousness of the situation and what can/needs to be done rather than him telling me to wait for our next appt.

5. I am grateful I am sleeping slightly better lately than I used to. I am still not usually getting the nine hours of sleep a night I need to function optimally, but I’m getting close.

6. I am grateful I have been able to pick up the polymer clay craft again after a bit of a break when I’d finished the owl. I created a unicorn yesterday and it looks pretty cool.

7. I am grateful for French fries yesterday in celebration of St. Nicholas. The holiday isn’t till December 5th, but we celebrated it early at my care home.

8. I am grateful I got nice presents. Well, my husband will actually get the bill, as like I explained before, the care facility doesn’t pay for St. Nicholas presents. I had E-mailed my staff a wishlist too. As it turned out, I didn’t get the specific things I’d had on my wishlist, but I got similar things. I got a number of cookie cutters to use with my polymer clay and a little box of fruit candies.

9. I am grateful my assigned home staff, who was my one-on-one this evening, helped me through some tough flashbacks. I did ultimately decide to take a PRN quetiapine, but I think I really benefited from my staff’s help too.

10. I am grateful my loved ones so far aren’t directly affected by COVID, in the sense that I don’t have any direct family members or friends who’ve contracted the virus.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 21, 2021)

Hi everyone. Today is a rather mixed Sunday weather-wise. We had sunshine almost all morning and early afternoon, but now we’re having clouds and rain. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had a late afternoon coffee (I normally have them at around 2:15PM and it’s almost 3:30 now). I am likely to skip my soft drink, which I normally have at around 3:30, and have some water again when my one-on-one comes on at four o’clock. If you’d like a drink, you’re welcome to grab a soft drink or water or get a Senseo in the kitchen. Let’s catch up.

I already shared on Friday that this week was a rather meh one. So, if we were having coffee, I’d try to focus on other things. I’d share that I’ve been trying to pick up the polymer clay craft again. Yesterday, I finished three labels with “Bedankt” (Dutch for “Thanks”) on them for the three staff who are leaving soon. I still need to cure them in the oven and add glitter glue for decoration. I’m probably going to do that this evening.

I will still need to make real presents for each of the three staff, because I don’t think just a simple label, even if it’s hand-made, is enough. One of the staff is leaving at the end of this month. The other two aren’t leaving till the end of December, so I still have time for those.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ve been oohing and aahing at some polymer clay supplies I want to get for Christmas or St. Nicholas (December 5). You need to actually pay for your own St. Nicholas presents, but I agreed with my assigned staff that she could spend around €15 on them and I’d send her a wishlist which she could pick something from, so that I’d still feel a sense of surprise. We do get a small Christmas hamper from the day center, so I told my day activities staff she might talk to my assigned home staff about ordering from the same company as to save on shipping. Some things on my wishlist include cutters, pushmolds and texture sheets.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I bought a new essential oil diffuser. I couldn’t seem to clean the other one properly anymore, so all scents were starting to smell the same. I made a note in my Reminders app to clean this one each month, but with how often I’m currently using it, I’ll probably make that every other week. The new one has a remote and two mist settings for normal and strong mist.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband came by to take me out to lunch this afternoon. We’d talked about going to a particular snack and dine place we’d been to two years ago and I’d looked forward to it all week. It was really good back then. Now, not really. The burger we ordered was okay’ish. Not very bad, but not good either. In addition, we had to wait forever to place our order and the staffer really was quite curt. This time, we were asked for our CoronaCheck code, but not our ID, as is required. Oh well.

How have you been?

Desperate Yet Determined #WotW

Hi everyone. What a week it’s been. I’ve been swinging between despair and determination, sometimes experiencing both at the same time. Let me share.

Last week, I was in a very depressive, dysregulated, suicidal state. I finally managed to tell my assigned home staff about the nature of the “monster” in me, ie. my suicidal thoughts. She decided to E-mail the current behavior specialist assigned to my care home asking her for help in finding me someone to talk to about this. I mean, I have my nurse practitioner at mental health, but I cannot seem to get it through to him how I’m truly feeling.

I also E-mailed my nurse practitioner, only to get a response saying we’ll talk about it on the 23rd. Well, that was the final straw for me and I’ve pretty much decided I’ve had it with treatment with him. I mean, I know I should have called the team, but it’s not like this is the first time he doesn’t pick up on my signals, be it in E-mails, on the phone or even face-to-face. Our talks have pretty much been meaningless forever. Honestly, the only thing he’s helped me with is getting the right medication, the topiramate, for my nightmares.

This week, I’ve been swung back and forth between the thought that truly there is no hope for me and the thought that, maybe, if I stand my ground firmly enough, I will be able to access the right help somewhere.

I’ve also been ruminating over those two years I’ve been in treatment with my current mental health team. My nurse practitioner told me a year ago that “we could search half the country for a suitable therapist but that wouldn’t make sense”, adding that we’re stuck with each other (as if it was something he hadn’t just decided on himself). Half a year earlier, he wanted to refer me to the specialist autism center, but that got shoved off the table for a reason I was never told. I have been saying for all of the two years that I’ve been in treatment with this team that there are two things I want to work on: my trauma-related symptoms and seeing if I can lower my antipsychotic. Neither has even remotely been started yet. After two years, I’m done.

I am not so naive to think my nurse practitioner is actually going to give in and actually help me find someone else this time around. I have a tiny bit of hope focused on the behavior specialist for my care home, but not much. Even so, I’m pretty sure I can get by with no help from any mental health professionals at all. It won’t be easy on me or my staff, and that’s one reason my staff might pressure me to stick with mental health. Thankfully, so far they don’t.

On the physical health front, I’ve also been swung back and forth between despair and determination. After thinking kind of wishfully that my abdominal discomfort was almost gone last week, it returned on Saturday and has been pretty bad all of this week. Nonetheless, my GP wants me to stick to my current regimen of one magnesium tablet (laxative) per day for two more weeks and have the staff call back to evaluate then. I was pretty upset yesterday when I heard this. Now I’m more resigned to the idea that there’s no hope for improvement of my symptoms.

Overall, right now, despair is taking over, but thankfully I’m not actively suicidal right now. There must be some tiny flame of determination in me somewhere.

How was your week?

Word of the Week linky

Gratitude List (November 12, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’ve really been struggling lately, which is one reason I haven’t written much. To get myself out of my rut, I thought I’d share a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT for short. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for salami pizza. We ordered delivery from the local Italian restaurant on Sunday and I had this.

2. I am grateful for the night staff who helped me calm even the slightest bit on Sunday night when I was experiencing severe mood dysregulation.

3. I am grateful for a new book to immerse myself into. I’m reading a collection of short, autobiographical stories from a Dutch GP.

4. I am grateful for relatively good weather again over the past week. We’ve hardly had any rain and, though the temperature was quite low for my liking, at least it wasn’t freezing.

5. I am grateful my abdominal discomfort seems almost gone. I think I’ve finally reached the right dosage of magnesium. We aren’t to evaluate it with my GP until sometime next week though. Fingers crossed.

6. I am grateful my assigned home staff has returned to work part-time again. Like I mentioned before, she had been on sick leave since late September, but she seems to be recovering. She worked part of my day activities shift on Tuesday and my evening one-on-one today.

7. I am grateful for white chocolate. I bought myself a chocolate bar yesterday. I have it in my locked kitchen cupboard so that I can’t consume it all at once, but that way I do enjoy it more.

8. I am grateful for new essential oils. I ordered cypress, mandarin and lavender. Lavender, I’d had before but had used up. The others, I’d never used before. I did have to throw out a few others that I either didn’t like or that had expired, but that’s okay.

9. I am grateful I finished my polymer clay owl. Some people think it looks more like a turkey, but oh well. I’ll write a separate post on how I made it with more pictures later.

10. I am grateful for my staff. I have been extremely depressed lately and have been convinced that they should and will abandon me. While I heard from the manager yesterday that three staff are indeed leaving my care home, this apparently has nothing to do with me and the staff I have the best relationship with, aren’t leaving (yet).

What are you grateful for?