#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 25, 2020)

It’s already late Sunday evening. I was up real early today, but still didn’t get to blog so far. Today, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. We may still have some coffee, although our official evening coffee break has passed. Otherwise, I can offer you green tea or water. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would share that last week, I bought a new Fitbit Inspire 2. It’s pretty cool to be able to track not just my steps and distance walked, but also my minutes in active heart rate zones. I got more than twice the required number of minutes this week.

That being said, I’m already looking at someday buying myself an Apple Watch. I discovered just a few days after I’d purchased the Fitbit, that there’s a new Apple Watch SE that’s significantly cheaper (or should I say less expensive?) than the regular one. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to buy that one someday.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I had a health check on Tuesday. Like I said, it showed that my blood pressure was somewhat high and of course I’m significantly overweight.

I did find out on Friday that my blood pressure is actually pretty normal when resting, ie. just after waking up. It was 115 over 75 then, but rose to 129 over 91 after I had showered and gotten dressed. I have no clue of the significance of this, but my staff E-mailed my GP about it, as the nurse from the health check-up had recommended.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how frustrated I was when discussing my health check with my husband. He wanted me to go on a diet. I want that too, but it’s hard for me to follow through especially long-term and the staff refuse to enforce a healthy lifestyle.

After a sleepless night and some frustrated discussions with my staff, they talked to the behavior specialist. She recommended we make a food plan together, my staff and me. Then all of us know what I’m supposed to eat and not eat and the staff can redirect me when I want to overeat. So far, it’s going okay’ish. That is, the staff have still occasionally offered me food I’m not supposed to eat at that moment and then I struggled to refuse it. I did eventually talk to the staff about it and try to make up for my bad choices later on. I’ve not yet had a moment when I requested food I wasn’t supposed to eat, which according to my food plan would require the staff to tell me it’s not wise and to offer an alternative.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my husband came by for a quick visit today to take me on a walk. That was fun.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I finally updated my iPhone to iOS 14. I hadn’t expected iOS 14.1, which came out a few days ago, to solve any of the many accessibility bugs the original iOS 14 had come with. After all, the release notes didn’t mention VoiceOver at all. To be sure, I asked on a Dutch VoiceOver users group about it and got a reply from the most critical iPhone user on the list saying that the update had fixed most of the bugs. Practically all other list members had already updated, claiming that most bugs can be circumvened. I didn’t want to take the risk, but I do believe this particular member. So far, it’s all pretty good. I am having a play around with VoiceOver recognition, which describes images. It’s pretty cool so far.

What have you been up to?

Self-Care Strategies for Coping with Mental Health Issues #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt in #Blogtober20 is “She Drives Me Crazy”. Many bloggers are using the prompt to inspire posts on organization, decluttering and mental health. So am I.

I’m not feeling too well today. Yesterday, my inner voices started back up with a vengeance. This led to a mini-crisis in the middle of the night. Today I’m feeling a bit low. It may be to blame on my lack of proper sleep last night, or it might just be a bit of the seasonal blues. I hope not, of course.

Anyway, here are some things I do to cope with mental health issues. Some of these are specific to a certain problem, such as depression or anxiety. Others are more general wellbeing tips.

1. Proper sleep and rest. I’ve noticed that, when I don’t sleep well, my mental health goes downhill rapidly. For this reason, I’m trying to get into a better night-time routine. I still use my computer or phone before bed, which I probably shouldn’t do, but I don’t know what else to do in the evening.

I currently am in the process of trying out a weighted blanket, which really helps with relaxation. I mean, even if I don’t sleep, I do rest more when using this. I also use an app called MyNoise, which allows users to customize various mixes of nature sounds or other sensory-friendly sounds. You can set the individual volume for each sound within the mix and there are about 150 mixes to choose from if you have the paid version (which is a one-time purchase of I believe €10,99). Last night, I ultimately fell asleep listening to a soundscape called Patagonia.

I do usually take one hour-long nap during the day. Most days, if I stick to just that after-lunch nap, I sleep pretty well during the night and still feel refreshed the rest of the day.

2. Sensory-friendly activities. I already mentioned the weighted blanket and the MyNoise soundscapes. In addition, I often diffuse essential oil blends into my diffuser. Just today, some new oils arrived, so I’m excited to try them out soon.

3. Staying active. Today is a bad day weather-wise, as it’s been raining most of the day. Still, I managed to squeeze in a walk in the afternoon. I also made sure to stay active and do something in the morning. I made a soap. This is not physically exerting myself, but it definitely gives me joy.

It helps me to stick to a routine as much as possible. Like, I drink coffee in the morning and afternoon, eat my meals at regular times, and do an activity in the morning and afternoon too. I also usually go for a walk in the evening, but today it was raining and the staff were too busy.

4. Mindfulness. I haven’t practised that today, but I find it can help me stay grounded in the moment. I sometimes try a body scan meditation. I also for one love guided visualizations.

How do you take good care of yourself?

For those who are interested, last April, I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with the topic of self-care. If you click on the #AtoZChallenge tag in my tag cloud, you’ll find a lot of information.

#Blogtober20

Negative

This is probably going to be a quick post. Like I said on Sunday, I was interrupted while blogging by a staff to tell me I and all other clients with cold symptoms were from then on in room-based isolation. We would be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Thankfully, yesterday morning, the facility’s nurse came to test us. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was okay. I am however pleased to inform you that I, as well as all other clients, tested negative for coronavirus!!!

It was no fun being in room-based isolation. The hardest part, for me, was the fact that staff had to go to each client’s room for individual support rather than combining care activities, so there was effectively less time for each of us. The staff who had come to inform me of the isolation, said I could press the call button as often as needed. Well, press the call button I could, but that didn’t guarantee a staff would have time to come.

Yesterday, I landed in a rather bad crisis. Initially, I had been really upset and crying and screaming. Then one staff came to inform me that she wasn’t wearing protective clothes and the staff who was, would come “in a while”. That’s a rather unclear comment to make to an autistic person. I freaked out and became destructive.

For those asking why that staff wasn’t wearing protective clothes, staff need to change into different protective clothing when visiting each person suspected of coronavirus separately. They also need to leave the protective clothing at the client’s doorstep. After all, suppose my snot gets onto the staff’s protective clothing and they then go help someone who isn’t showing symptoms. Then that person runs extra risk of contracting COVID-19. You see, over half of the clients did not show symptoms.

Thankfully, the staff in protective clothing came about ten minutes later. She was able to comfort me a little.

Today at around 2:15PM, I heard the day activities staff tell another symptomatic client that he was free to leave his room. I thought I heard her say that “all is well again” or something like that, but I didn’t dare hope I was negative too. Well, I was! The first thing the staff asked when telling me everyone had tested negative, was whether I wanted to go for a walk. Of course I did.

We also had French fries at the facility’s cost to celebrate the good outcome. I was almost writing “positive”. It’s a positive outcome indeed that everyone was negative!

Gratitude List (September 18, 2020) #TToT

It’s Friday, yay! It’s the Friday there are no day activities, so I spent most of my morning and part of the afternoon in bed. I’m feeling a bit tired and down in the dumps, so I thought I’d do a gratitude list. As always, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. The weather. Early in the week, the temperatures reached over 30 degrees Celsius. I loved being able to wear a skirt for what might be one of the last days this year.

2. Going for walks. I reached my step goal of 10K steps a day three times this week.

3. The scenery. I cannot fully enjoy it, of course, as I’m blind, but I do appreciate it.

Scenery

4. Taking pictures with my phone. I, of course, needed some help taking them and still needed to delete several because my finger was showing. However, I loved the ability to do it. I’m still not planning on following the rule of a picture with every post, as that just won’t work for me.

5. The sensory garden. I spent some time in it on Tuesday afternoon. I loved smelling the rosemary. Sadly, the lavender had already stopped flowering. I also loved listening to the little stream of water.

Sensory Garden

6. Wraps. We made those for lunch on Thursday and I loved them. I had three of them. We had them filled with chicken, lettuce, cucumber and red pesto.

7. Soap making, of course. I loved being inspired to make some soaps again and am planning on making more. One of the staff is retiring next week, so I’ll make one for her.

8. My essential oil diffuser. Okay, its buttons are almost stuck, but not completely, so I can still use it. Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I diffused a store-bought essential oil blend called Sweet Dreams into it. I am already on the lookout for a new diffuser in case this one stops working altogether. I also have been looking at recipes to make my own blends.

9. Special interests. And people who listen to me perseverating about them. My current special interest is, of course, soap making and aromatherapy. I have been loving telling a new staff, who will be replacing the retiring staff, all about how to make soap, lip balm, essential oil blends and such.

10. My husband, of course. It’s our ninth wedding anniversary tomorrow, so how can I not mention him? I saw him over the week-end and will be seeing him again tomorrow.

What are you grateful for?

A Sunny Monday

Hi all on this beautiful Monday! It’s mid-September but the temperatures rose to 29°C here anyway. Tomorrow we’re supposed to get even hotter weather, with temperatures rising to 34°C in some places in the south of the country.

I went for three walks today. In the morning, my regular day activities staff was in a meeting, so a substitute came. She took me on a long’ish walk. I think we took over half an hour. Then in the afternoon, I took my usual 20-minute walk when the regular staff had returned.

I was originally planning on taking some pictures, but ultimately I didn’t really have the courage. That little voice that says as a blind person I shouldn’t be interested in visual stuff like photographs, was pretty prominent in my mind.

In the evening, I took another longer walk. The staff who took me pointed out that there were some cows real close. I asked her to take a picture with my phone. Both Seeing AI and Envision, my two image description tools on my phone, didn’t get beyond calling it livestock, but my iPhone itself did identify cows in the picture.

Ultimately, I took over 12K steps so far today. This gives me an excuse to take it easy tomorrow, when it’s going to be so hot. I might make a soap then or maybe I’ll try out the matcha green tea in a smoothie. I doubt I’m going to try it as regular tea, as I’ve heard it tastes pretty bitter then.

I may also visit the sensory garden attached to the day center. I went there some weeks ago and loved smelling the herbs. There’s a birdcage there too, although at the time the birds didn’t make a sound.

I may try to take some pictures myself. What do you think? As a blind person, should I be interested in pictures, and if so, is it worth it if I try to take them myself? I mean, would you like to see more pictures on this blog even if they’re not good?

The Ordinary Moments

Gratitude List (September 4, 2020) #TToT

Hi all on this fine Friday. How are you doing? I’m a bit tired, but want to write anyway. Today, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) for a gratitude list. It’s been a while. Here goes.

1. Hamburgers! On Saturday, my husband took me to our house and we had hamburgers for dinner. I loved them, even though they’d come from the freezer.

2. Reading. At the beginning of the week, I did a lot of reading and had a lot of fun with it. I slowed down a bit (or a lot) as the week progressed, but am hoping to get some reading done over the week-end.

3. Steptember. I started the charity physical activity event for cerebral palsy on Tuesday. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I got my 10K steps in. I also collected more than twice the money I’d hoped for already.

4. Going to the marketplace. On Wednesday, my staff took me to the marketplace. We bought chicken and fish for lunch and I bought a lot of candy. I particularly loved the chicken!

5. Paracetamol and rest. The next day, I was ill with a low-grade fever, nausea and diarrhea. It’s probably because I ate too much stuff on Wednesday. Thankfully, paracetamol helped some and so did resting.

6. Soothing music and blankets. I’ve been loving relaxing in my bed with a calming music playlist on on Spotify. I’ve also been loving being able to have blankets on my bed again without it being too hot.

7. Talking to my husband. He most likely won’t come by this week-end because of my fever, but I loved talking to him nonetheless.

8. Feeling better both physically and mentally. I’m slightly depressed and tired still, but the sickness has gone and I don’t have a fever anymore. That’s good, because otherwise I may’ve needed to be tested for COVID-19.

9. My staff. A staff I can’t really get along with well, is leaving at the end of the month. She’s going for early retirement, so really I should be happy. I wasn’t at first, because I’d gotten it in my head that she was leaving because of me. Thankfully that’s not the reason. I had a meltdown on Wednesday because of it and this staff tried to comfort me.

10. Okay weather. Yesterday, it was raining all day, but I was ill anyway. The rest of the week has been okay: not too cold or windy and mostly dry.

What have you been grateful for lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 30, 2020)

Hello all. I’m not feeling like writing much right now, but maybe by just starting I’ll get somewhere. I just had a cup of coffee and a soft drink. I think the flavor soft drink I had is gone now, but we might still have coffee. As usual, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. Let’s have some drink – there are probably other soft drinks out in the fridge – and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your weather’s been. Ours is okay. Not too hot, not too cold, not too rainy and not too dry. I’ve been out taking regular walks most days. I don’t think I shared this in this type of post before, but come September, I’ll be starting a sponsored physical activity challenge called Steptember. It’s for the cerebral palsy charity. The idea is to get in 10K steps everyday – or as many days as you can get. I find it quite a challenge – both the sponsoring part and the step goal. However, I’m trying.

As regular readers might know, my Fitbit activity tracker broke down some months ago. I’m now using my iPhone’s built-in movement detector to count my steps. That works okay. I did reach the 10K steps on both Thursday and Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent most of the week escaping into books. I’m okay, but I do need some escapism right now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the appt with my community psychiatric nurse on Tuesday. It went pretty well. We did go in some depth considering her role as just a nurse. She also told me my nurse practitioner was going to refer me to the specialist center on developmental disorders (autism and ADHD). If the information on the website is correct – which I’m not sure of, as the date of the last update was August 27, 2019 and I’m not sure that’s a typeo -, the wait is several months for an intake interview and then another six months for treatment. I’m not sure that’s just for the inpatient units though, as I know that the workhome is part of the center too. That one has a wait of several years due to it being a living facility.

In any case, before I knew there’s likely a long waiting list, I had all kinds of worries and thoughts about it. I mean, I’m hoping to eventually get trauma treatment and lowering my antipsychotic is still on the agenda too. However, I’m very scared either of these could destabilize me. Then again, I just don’t feel my life right now is all it can be.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I spent the week-end in Lobith. It was good. My husband made us hamburgers with cauliflower and baked potatoes, all out of the freezer. I really didn’t taste that about the cauliflower and the burgers and potatoes were delicious too.

As usual, we spent some time together on the couch and some time apart in the two bedrooms. I have a desk in the master bedroom and my husband has his desk in the other bedroom. That one is also used as our cat’s place though.

Then this afternoon, my mother-in-law came to pick me up and drive me back to Raalte. There, I arrived just about in time for my dinner to still be shoved in the oven.

How have you all been?

Accomplishments for Today (August 25, 2020)

It’s been a few days since I last wrote a blog post. I just wasn’t inspired. I still am not. For this reason, I thought I’d revisit a type of blog post I did a few times before and share my accomplishments for the day. Here goes.

1. Stayed in bed all night. I’ve been struggling with keeping a proper circadian rhythm lately, sleeping a lot during the day and not at night. Though I didn’t have too restful a sleep last night, it was good enough and I managed to stay in bed all night. I went to bed at 9:30PM and got up at 8:30AM. I also only napped for about an hour this afternoon.

2. Ate three healthy meals. We had cheesecake with our coffee today because it was another client’s birthday, but other than that I ate quite healthily today. I had yogurt with crunchy muesli for breakfast, three slices of bread for lunch and carrots, potatoes and fish for dinner.

3. Brushed my teeth, hair and used deodorant. Personal hygiene has been a struggle again lately, so this is good.

4. Had a productive appointment with my community psychiatric nurse. We discussed some of the sources of my abandonment/separation anxiety and also went into my fear of being one giant attention-seeker.

5. Did 45 minutes of mindfulness. At the appt, my CPN suggested I try mindfulness more often. She said she used to do a 45-minute daily meditation and thought I might benefit from it too. She didn’t specify which meditation she used, but I selected a body scan off Insight Timer. I actually did pretty well doing it. Of course, I couldn’t keep still the whole time, as I just had to scratch a few times when I itched. That should get better though.

6. Read for an hour. This isn’t really an accomplishment lately, as I read most days, but it’s still good.

7. Went for two walks. This is more of an accomplishment now than it used to be, as I’m sometimes seeking excuses not to go for walks. I also used the stairs, which I’m not always doing of late.

8. Did some weight-lifting exercises. I just remembered to do these while writing this post and so took a break from writing to do them. I also did some hand strength exercises.

What is something you are proud of yourself for today?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 16, 2020)

It’s been several weeks since I last joined in with the #WeekendCoffeeShare community. I was thinking of doing a post earlier in the evening, but it was just too soaring hot in my room still. Now it’s past midnight, so technically Sunday and I’m joining in.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how the weather is where you are, only to complain about the weather here. It’s been over 30°C here all week. Today was slightly cooler, but the humidity made it very exhausting. I’m almost hoping for some thunderstorms tonight. You know, I’m scared of them, but I really hate this heat.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my computer crashed on Monday. I guess it got hit with the heat too. It was fine again Tuesday after leaving it off for a night and is still fine now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the woman who lives in the other home that’s part of my facility whom I often talk to, had her birthday on Thursday. I gifted her a keychain that I’d made and she loved it. She did feel a little uncomfortable when my staff asked her whether she’d like to have me visit sometime, but that’s because she needs time to process.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I made some delicious banana and strawberry milkshakes over the past few days.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a bargain on some peaches and blueberries at the local supermarket. They were three packages of fruit for €5. Blueberries are pretty expensive so I got a small package of those, but I got two large packages of peaches. They are the wild, flat kind of peaches and they’re delicious! I got them on Thursday. Though I ate all the blueberries that evening, I haven’t even emptied the first box of peaches yet.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I talked to my nurse practitioner on Thursdday. I sent him some piece of writing I’d done for my staff about how I’m feeling. I left the link to my blog in my signature, which I’m not sure was the right thing to do. He said he’d been browsing around a bit. Of course, that made me feel uncomfortable, so I asked him whether he had some type of weird idea about me now. The main reason I asked is because he asked about the meaning of my blog URL, which of course refers to my seeing myself as multiple. I’m trying not to care, of course, and I won’t be censoring myself based on who might read my blog. I know this is a public blog so to be careful about my and especially others’ privacy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a ton of ideas for blog posts in my mind, but for whatever reason (the heat, maybe), I cannot quite concentrate enough to write them. I’m also thinking of finally starting up my journal writing prompts blog, which I registered with WordPress some months ago. I will post a formal announcement when/if this happens.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that my husband came by for a visit today. We’d originally planned for me to go to our house for a night, but my husband proposed we eat somewhere and go for a walk. We ended up getting a burger and milkshake at McDonald’s. The walk was short, as I didn’t want to walk in a forest because I had my sandals on and it was too hot and humid to walk anywhere else.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (August 7, 2020) #TToT

Happy Friday everyone! I still have a lot I want to write about, but it’s soaring hot here and my brain is melting. For this reason, I’m going with a relatively simple post and do a gratitude list. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. Barbecues. My husband bought a mini barbecue last week and we had sausages on it on Saturday. To get some healthy food in us too, my husband served us both a full plate of cherry tomatoes. That was funny.

2. Ice cream. Lots of ice cream! Like I think I said last week, the freezer was still full of ice cream from my birthday and the previous time it was hot. Well, my staff bought even more and so we had ice cream for dessert or as an afternoon treat several days this past week.

3. New shoes. I ordered new walking boots on Monday and they arrived on Wednesday. They are a size bigger than the ones I had before, as those didn’t fit well anymore with my feet swelling. These are pretty cool.

4. Getting motivated to walk again. I signed up for Steptember, a sponsored walking/movement event in support of the cerebral palsy community. At first I wasn’t sure whether to sign up, as I can’t make it to 10K steps every single day of the event. However, my husband encouraged me. I can’t wait to start walking a lot again. Not now though, as it’s incredibly hot, like I said. By the way, I’m not sure there’s an English-language site where you can donate.

5. Liquorice. I bought a bag yesterday and had some tonight. Yes, I still had it unopened by then. Okay, full disclosure, I did also buy a bar of white chocolate and did eat that one, but oh well. Oh, how I loved the black liquorice!

6. Reading time. I actually finished a book this week that I’d started a long time ago. I loved sitting up late at night reading, as it was too hot to sleep.

7. My staff. I was feeling very much on edge for the first few days of the week. On Wednesday, I even had to take a lorazepam again to calm me down. However, all through it, my staff were so very supportive.

8. All the lovely comments I get on here. You all are so special. I’m also so happy to be motivated for writing a lot again this time around.

That’s it for now I guess. What are you grateful for?