I've previously been afraid of you. You weren't welcome in my home, and I spoke badly about you behind your back. I resisted you, avoided you, and made fun of you. I want to change our relationship. I want to learn to cultivate and respect you., dance with you, and take you out to dinner. Let's travel together! Will you be my everlasting friend?
-From SARK book by Susan/SARK
So, I want to write some good news. I've made some changes, as you may have noticed in the past few posts, in my life since coming out of the hospital on August 16th or 17th. Here is a list:
-I go to food pantries out of necessity and I there is one that gives me pretty healthy foods.
-I started making "green" smoothies, which are smoothies with vegetables, such as fresh spinach or kale, plus frozen fruit, like frozen, bruised bananas you can by for really cheap at fruit stands, or frozen grapes or strawberries or avocado, plus almond milk or soy milk, plus sometimes peanut butter, and I'm going to start adding flax.
-I don't eat fast food anymore at all. I also don't eat any frozen dinners at all, which was THE WAY I LIVED for YEARS. I never cooked. I ate Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, or Weight Watchers meals for dinner ever night. There is no more of that. Now I cook and even if I eat the same batch of spaghetti for four nights in a row, like I did this week, it's cheaper, and probably more healthy, than eating pre-packaged frozen foods.
-I lost 13 pounds since I was in the hospital, and I lost 8 of those pounds in the past 3 weeks. This is really necessary for me, because I am overweight and it negatively affects my health, so I really am pleased that this occurred. I did it without even exercising at all. Though, I do realize exercise is important and I need to start doing that daily too.
About my health:
-I see a chiropractor intern every week 2 times per week again. It's free because I work for the college they are affiliated with. They do lazer treatment and this thing called "IFC" where they put electrodes on your muscles where you have pain, and it makes the muscles contract and then relax, which helps a lot with my Fibromyalgia pain. It's made a big difference from the horrendous pain I was in a few weeks ago. I still have the pain, but it's not as bad.
-I do stretches the chiropractor interns taught me to do every day.
-I saw my rheumatologist a month ago and she ordered a ton of bloodwork. I saw her associate today. A lot of my bloodwork, as usual, comes out "normal" even when I am having a bad flare up of the Sjogren's and Lupus, but some of it was abnormal. For one, my thyroid T3 level is low which does not surprise me. So I'm going back on Cytomel, which, in addition to Synthroid, helps my hypothyroidism. It's really important to get your thyroid checked if you have a mental illness because a thyroid problem can cause a multitude of issues.
-A nurse comes to my apartment every week to put my medications in pill boxes for me. She's only able to come for 2 more weeks, per Medicare, but after that I have a set up with a new pharmacy. This pharmacy is going to prepackage ALL my medications into bubble-wrapped containers, so every day, I will just take that container with me wherever I go, pop out the meds, swallow them without forgetting any of them or mixing anything up, and I think this will be a big help. Also, they will deliver the meds to me so I no longer have to go to pharmacies 5 times a month. They are working it out so all my meds will be filled at the same time eventually meaning there will be a once-per-month delivery. And the delivery is free, and the co-pays with this pharmacy are cheaper than what I was paying Walgreens. If you live in Pinellas and are interested, the pharmacy is called Bay Life.
-I'm keeping my apartment neat and clean. I wash dishes after I use them most of the time. I used to not do my dishes sometimes for 2 months at a time, so you have to understand what a huge change this is for me. I no longer have clutter everywhere either. I have organized my entire apartment except for one hallway closet. All my clothes are hung in the closet or put away in drawers instead of lying on the floor in piles in baskets. My silverware gets put where it belongs. I clean up a mess after I make a mess. I don't just ignore it or leave trash lying around on the floor. It's a HUGE change for me. Goddess, it takes so much stress out of my life to not live in total squalor!
-I've been working hard to keep the flea problem under control. I've combed both cats with a flea comb while they were forced (not easy with Spooky!) to stand on white paper, and I found no fleas. I use Borax or table salt on the carpets once a week (stuff I researched that is safer for killing fleas than pesticides are), and then I vacuum it up by borrowing my mom's Dyson vacuum cleaner which picks up stuff way better than my vacuum cleaner does. Ribbit got outside one day for about 1 1/2 hours, and I immediately bathed him when I got him inside.
I clean out their litter box every day now. I wasn't doing this for a long time. That is not healthy for cats, and they hated it. So I am keeping them much happier now. I adore my cats and I feel really bad that I neglected taking better care of them when I was unwell. That's not going to happen again.
-I follow a really strict budget. Like I've mentioned before, charities, friends, and family have helped me. I will continue to follow a strict budget. I don't miss not having TV at home. It's been about five months since I had cable or any TV at all, and I don't care. I have the option of getting an antennae to pick up some channels, but I haven't made this a priority because I feel like I'm doing better without vegging out in front of the TV like I used to. I also have no internet at home, which kind of sucks, because I can't do things like write on this blog whenever I want or check in with my support groups on Facebook all the time, but it's ok. I go to McDonald's (though I don't eat their food), which is where I am right now, to use free Wifi when I can, and I have a little time at work to check up on stuff online. Not much, but a little.
-I'm selling stuff. I've been trying to sell a bunch of my clothes for a couple weeks via Facebook and Craigslist. Not having much luck with that yet. But I had a lot of of clothes that didn't fit me anymore, and I decided I needed the money more than I needed to hang onto these clothes. I did make $30 by selling some stuff to a store that buys used clothing. I'm selling a Kindle I've had for a very long time and never used. Someone offered to pay $40 for it and I am going to take her up on it.
-I don't go to the movies like I used to every week. This saves $20 a week!
-I turn off the air conditioning when I don't need it. A lot of the time I'm freezing cold from the Lupus so there is no need for the air. Then again, I do leave it on to benefit the cats when I'm not home, because Florida heat would kill them if I didn't do that.
-I do artsy/crafty stuff every day now. I've made things like a whole scrapbook about my sister for my sister. I made my grandmother something creative for her birthday and she really liked it when she got it in the mail. I've made a book full of great quotes for myself for motivation when I need motivation. I'm working on a present for my brother now. I love doing this stuff. I wasn't doing it for so long, I forgot how enjoyable it was. I also was wasting time vegging out in front of the TV. Now, when I can't sleep, I get up and do arts and crafts. The home health nurse thinks this is a sign I'm becoming manic, but I disagree. I just no longer feel the need to lie in a bed staring at a wall all night when I can't sleep. I prefer to be productive in some way.
-My mom and I are looking into taking some kind of art class together. I think this would be good for both of us.
-I know from my many, many, many hospital stays that art therapy is one of the best benefits I ever get from being in a hospital. So now I do it on my own, regularly.
-I've gotten more involved with my NAMI work again. More than I was before I went to the hospital. Actually I'm ending this post soon so I can get to a board of directors' meeting on time!
-I've gotten a little involved again with NOW (the National Organization for Women), and went to a state council meeting in a van with a bunch of other women, which was good because I got to see a couple of old friends I really missed seeing since I haven't gone to the meetings in over a year, as that's how long it's been since I was on the state board of directors.
-I went to the NAMI support group a couple times for the first time since 2009 to get a little extra support and meet some new people. I don't think I will keep this up every week, but I know it's there if I need it and want it.
-I make lists daily of the things I need to accomplish that day and I post them on the front door to my apartment and take them with me.
-I found out I only need five more classes to graduate with my Bachelor's degree, and I plan on letting nothing and no one stop me from doing that in the next year.
I think that about covers it. All of these changes have been helpful for me. They may not all be what works for you, but I thought a post like this might help some people. It's hard to know what to do sometimes when your mental illness is overtaking your life. It's hard to figure out solutions then. But I've been doing a lot of problem solving and work on myself, and it's helping me stay focused and positive. So I don't feel like Schizoaffective Disorder is controlling me right now. I feel like I am in control of my life. And that matters.
"Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream proceeds a goal." - Pamela Vault Starr
"Your world is as big as you make it,
I know for sure I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner,
My wings pressing close to my side.
I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze,
Then soared to the uttermost reaches
With rapture, with power, with ease!"
-Georgia Douglas Johnson
"Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway." -Mary Kay Ash
"Self-esteem is the basis for feminism, because self-esteem is based on defining yourself and believing in that definition". -Susan Faludi