Thursday, September 18, 2014

Positive Changes and the Importance of Socialization in Recovery/Improvement

"Dear Change,
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?
-Love Susan"
-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:

About food:
-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.

At Home:
-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.

My cats:
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 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Motivational Quotes on Cleaning, Organizing, Keeping House, and Keeping Things Orderly

As you probably know by now if you've read any of my older posts, I have a real problem (as do MANY people with serious mental illnesses), as far as keeping up with housework. In other words, I used to never actually do any housework. I'd let my dishes pile up for so long I'd be embarrassed to admit to you how long it was. I had to hire my friend about a year and a half ago, and she was generous enough to clean for me for $10 an hour, but it was such a job, when she came once  week or once every two weeks, it usually took her about 6 hours. I couldn't afford that, and she knew it, so she stopped cleaning for me earlier this year. And then things really went downhill.......

When maintenance came into my apartment in July while I was in the hospital, they discovered a severe flea infestation. I was so down with the negative symptoms of psychosis (depression, apathy, spacing out and staring at the wall doing nothing but thinking or sometimes not even thinking), that I had NO idea my cats even had fleas. This was an infestation so bad it required my brother to go in, save my cats' lives by getting them out of there, flea bomb my apartment, and get my dad to drive the cats to my mom's house where they stayed for five weeks. They were treated with flea treatment, but before I brought them home, which was only after the house had been professionally treated for fleas four times (and also after two of my neighbors had their apartments treated because the fleas got into their apartments too), anyway, before I brought the cats home, they got flea baths (thought they were going to kill me!), and I sprayed them with lemon juice which is supposed to be a natural way to kill fleas.

Now I vacuum every week. There is not an option to NOT do this anymore; it must be done. The other day I covered the carpets in Borax, locked the cats in the bedroom, and let the Borax sit for hours, then vacuumed it up. After that, I did the same thing in my bedroom.

My mental health housing agency has a wonderful employee I've known since 2005 who runs the Supported Living Program and is my case manager's supervisor. While I was in the hospital, a friend of mine from NAMI who is an excellent advocate and does a lot of networking, contacted the mental health housing agency to tell them they really needed to help me. At first I was going to be billed for all the flea treatments or I wasn't going to be allowed back into my apartment. After my friend called, things changed, and they did not charge me for any of it. The woman I've known since 2005 went into my apartment herself, even though she's allergic to fleas, and took all of my clothing and blankets and pillows out. Everything had to be washed at a laundromat (it took four days).  Then they had someone come in to do a cleaning of my apartment while I was in the hospital. Also, after I came home from the hospital, they steam-cleaned the carpets. So the fleas are, primarily, gone now. But this issue could have made me homeless again, so it was a very serious problem.

Now that I'm doing MUCH better than I was before I went into the hospital on July 17th, I am keeping a very tidy, neat, and clean household. It takes work every day, and I am doing that work every day.

So I started making a book of quotes to help keep me motivated. Some of the quotes come from an old little calendar with quotes by women on each page, some come from SARK books (checkout Planet SARK if you never have), some come from Al-Anon books, some come from a book I have full of quotes by women, and some come from a book my mom gave me last Christmas that I only recently looked at, which is called Meditations for Messies Anonymous (there is an actual support group called Messies Anonymous).

So, in case you have some of the same trouble I have, here are some motivational quotes:

From the Messies Anonymous book:
"What insanity is this? Just because I live in the house alone, why don't I feel it is important for me to keep the house up? I don't want to bother to put the toilet paper on the empty roller. I store things on window sills. I don't want to close drawers or cabinets because I don't want to open them again. I don't see the need to keep dishes washed. I don't throw away the small papers that clutter my house. Why? Because it's just me here to know or care.
What insanity is this? My lack of caring for myself flows from a lack of self-esteem and flowers toward the same destination. As the house deteriorates around me, I can't find things. I can't have people in. And I don't want to come home myself. Eventually living in this house is like walking hip deep in molasses, slow and unpleasant."

From Madonna:
"The self-confidence one builds from achieving difficult things and accomplishing goals is the most beautiful thing of all."

By Erica Jong:
"I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. I had poems which were rewritten so many times I suspect it was just a way to avoid sending them out."
"Dear Change,
I've previously been very 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? Love, Susan"

From Messies Anonymous Book:
"The change that I am making is a journey from innocence to awareness, from disorder to harmony, from powerlessness to control. I want to take control first over myself and then over my life. Like the journey of the tides, control and power flow in and out of my life. It is much easier to see the times when things are going poorly, when the tide is out. We note defeat here and there and think it will last forever. Yet, all the while our victory does not lie in our lack of defects bunt in our continuing to go on, stage by stage. In a way it is a blessed pilgrimage that I am privileged to make. In the struggle to change, I grow. From my despair comes not only the possibility of success in my house but also of insight into myself." 

By Florida Maxwell:
"You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly process all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality."

"I wish for all of us more radical self-acceptance. Succulent Wild Women can be rich with self-acceptance."

My therapist talks about "radical reality" and the previous two quotes remind me of that.

By Hazel Markus:
"Research into the links between achievement, motivation, and self image suggests that possible selves - future selves - are part of one's present self image and are keys to success or failure."
From Messies Anonymous:
"Maturity is the understanding that I must take responsibility for my own way of life. My situation is under my control. My hand is on the clay, and the piece forming before me is of my own doing. I got myself into a disorganized state; it is my responsibility to get myself into a state of order. I have with me an arsenal of weapons for change. I will not become alarmed and run off in every direction at once. With deliberation and moderation I will uses these weapons one at a time, slowly pushing back the disordered life that is my enemy. I must remember, however, that this disorder is, in a way, not my enemy at all. It is my own creation that I created as an expression of my life at that time. The point is: I am responsible for what my life becomes, ordered or disordered. The power is within my hands.

By Barbara Kingsolver:
"What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive."

From and Al-Anon book (I change the word "God" to "Universe" per my own belief system):
"The first tool I used in my recovery was the Serenity Prayer. 'Universe, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change....' taught me I can't alter the past, neither what was done to me nor what I did to others........'Courage to change the things I can....' instructed me to change my attitudes and resentments, my self-pity, and my fears. '......Wisdom to know the difference'....gave me hope that I could change or the better".

By Cora May White Harris:
"The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave, is to profess courage and act accordingly."

By Marie Curie:
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
By Maya Angelou:
"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage." 
From me: I am very grateful that right now I have the courage to change. And I'm doing it. You can too. Just one step at a time. Don't give up!
I am going to keep writing about this stuff and give you tips. Here are some online resources if you want them:
Messies Anonymous has a wealth of information, email lists, books, etc.

FlyLady.Net also has a wealth of information, will send you daily emails, has tips for beginners, etc.

100+ Ways to Help You Organize Your Home and Your Life

Help Me Organize My Home

31 Days to Help Me (Cheaply) Organize My Home

10 Ways to Cut Clutter in Your Home

Planet SARK (for inspiration!) 


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

How I am Sticking to a Strict Budget and Tips for You on How to Save Money

Hi Folks,

As you may know I live on a low budget, as do most people with disabilities. In the hospital I had time to clear my head and work on things that I had previously avoided doing, such as working out a strict budget. I have a lot of credit card debt, and have often received 15-day-late-rent eviction notices because I didn't pay my rent on time. So I worked on keeping a strict budget since I was in the hospital, and started calling charities that might be able to help me.

So here are my tips:

  1. If you live in the US, and you need help with food, rent, or utility bills, dial *211 on your phone to find all the resources near you. I do not know how this works outside the US, but I'm sure there is someplace to find out something similar.
  2. Get food from food pantries. The day I got out of the hospital, I went to a food pantry right away because I had no food in my apartment and no money. They only had things like canned  vegetables and bread, but it was certainly better than nothing and it was free. I got some more canned food yesterday from another place where I went looking for assistance with rent or electricity. And tomorrow, I'm planning on stocking up at the best food pantry I have found, where they even have fresh things like eggs and frozen veggie burgers.  If you qualify for food stamps (in the US), make sure you get them! I don't qualify.
  3. Get help with your utilities. There are charities like the one I went to in St. Petersburg, near where I live, which will give you a portion of your electric bill such as $50. Some even more! I found one of those through a friend. You just have to be very patient, and call, and call, and call till you get through to them if you need to find out things before you go, and you have to be prepared to wait for hours sometimes, like I got to the one in St. Petersburg and was number 61 in the line of people, but likely there were chairs to sit on inside and they had air conditioning, and I had brought water with me. (Unfortunately I was crying while sitting there feeling so pathetic that I am in this financial situation and everyone around me looked and probably were homeless, which I am very grateful I am not, but one of my biggest fears is EVER becoming homeless again.)
  4. Try to get help with your rent. Some, limited very much where I live, charities will help you with your rent, especially if you have already gotten an eviction notice.
  5. Sell stuff! I am selling books, and even DVD's on Amazon. For example here is a set of Grey's Anatomy DVD's I never opened from Christmas a few years ago! : I started selling text books on Amazon a long time ago, but I didn't keep up with it because I was too busy to get to the post office and mail them all the time when they were ordered. Now I'm being more diligent, and I've sold three books so far which is going to give me enough money to fill up my gas tank, and that's important. I'm trying to sell quite a few books on Amazon right now. It's not stuff I am likely to read again (and a lot is stuff I never read in the first place because concentration to read is one of my major problems that I really, really hate, but I do love books.)
Also, before I started selling them online, I sent out an email about stuff I wanted to sell, such as the books, some clothes, my bed, and a TV. No one wanted to buy these things, but I had friends who received the email actually send me gift money, which was amazing to me! I never expected anyone to do that, and I really appreciated it very much. The sisterhood of the National Organization for Women is very strong.

   6. Cancel your home cable and internet if you can live without it. It is AMAZING how much I do not miss having TV in my apartment. In fact, I really could not care less about it. I've been without TV for over four months now.
I've found that not having TV has given me more time to do important tasks like cleaning and organizing my apartment, instead of wasting time zoning out in front of the TV.  I also fill up my time keeping busy with things, and when I'm home, I turn the radio on and that's fine by me instead of TV. I'll work on art projects, like a book of collages I made for my sister, and something I made for my grandmother's birthday. I'm not distracted by stupid TV brain-wasting crap, or even by news (which does interest me usually).

For internet, I have a laptop I can use at McDonald's (where I don't buy anything but a small Diet Coke or iced tea) and can also use anywhere that has free WiFi, or go to the library, or use the internet at work.

Also, if you really need internet at home there are cheap places to get it like WOW and FreedomPop,  NetZero, and others, where you don't get the whole cable/internet package, you just get the internet.If you get that then you really don't need TV because you can watch it through sites like Hulu or rent movies from Netflix or some place.

7. STOP eating fast food or going to restaurants. I used to do this stuff all the time, and now I don't do it at all. I also stopped eating frozen dinners,which used to be the only thing I ate for dinner every night. Now, I use the food from the pantries and cook stuff, like pasta, or make sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly, tuna, and yesterday I bought cheese. I didn't buy any food since I got out of the hospital until yesterday, and I only spent $15! Also I HAVE LOST WEIGHT! I lost 20 pounds since July 17th when I got into the hospital. (I think this is due to eating less junk, eating less in general because my appetite is decreased either by meds or by my Lupus, and being more active all day long). So there are many good reasons to stop eating fast foods and frozen foods all the time, if you have that habit like I used to have. Now, I carry lunch with me for work, and if I'm going to be out late somewhere, I carry dinner with me too (a sandwich or something). I never go to Subway like I used to do all the time, because I just cannot afford it.

8. Cut down on entertainment expenses. I used to go to the movies every weekend with either my mom or my friend Kathy. Now I can't do that anymore, and that's ok. I can live without going to the movies. I cannot live without a car (*it would be way too physically difficult for me to use a bus, and it would also never work out for me to get to work or school on time on a bus), and my car costs me a lot of money, but I can live without going to the movies or eating fast food.

9. Use coupons. I don't do this actually at all, but if you have the time, my friend Kristyn gets all kinds of free stuff and cheap stuff through frequent couponing. I call her the Coupon Queen.

10. I realized the Medicaid specific type of assistance I used to get to help pay my Medicare co-pays had run out and I had never gotten it renewed, which is why my copays are costing me $80 a month, which I absolutely CANNOT afford. So I reapplied for that. It does help if you open your mail and respond to important things like Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security Benefits and attend to them right away, which I had neglected to do with this. I don't have Medicaid, just the program that pays your copays, is what I reapplied for.

11. Get as much as you can from cheap stores like Dollar Tree, where everything is a dollar. You can get soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, cards and birthday wrapping paper and gift bags, home decor like fake flowers and vases, all kinds of cleaning products and paper towels, napkins, paper plates and cups, and kitchen supplies from Dollar Tree.
 (again, this is in the US)

12. Ask your family for help if possible. I had to do this in the hospital, because my biggest stressor that landed me in there was financial issues, which were causing severe anxiety and leading to suicidal thoughts - actually a whole suicide plan (I had to edit this to be more accurate), and psychosis. I had to ask my family to help me because I had no choice. And they did.

13. Drink water, or something cheap like iced tea you can make yourself. I used to drink a couple of 2 liters of Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke every day, or a gallon or so of Arizona iced tea. Can't afford ANY of that anymore, so I've been drinking nothing but water. They I finally got out the "Iced Tea Maker" my mom had given me for Christmas which I hadn't been using, and I am now making delicious green tea with it, which is great. Obviously you don't need an iced tea maker to make tea, but I like it because it's easy and quick, and I drink a TON of fluids because I am always thirsty and my mouth is always dry from Sjogren's Syndrome, as well as from meds.

12. Clean out your closets. You might own stuff you forgot you had, like I did! I found purses, shoes, three alarm clocks and various and sundry other items in my closets. There is a store I found out about from a friend where you can sell your "gently used" clothes, and accessories and shoes, and I plan on going there this weekend and trying to get some money.

13. I clean my cat litter box out at least once every day now. I was so down for so long I wasn't doing that, and I was just emptying the entire box every week and buying new cat litter, which costs $8, so it was way more expensive and way worse for my cats to do it that way. Now the litter can last much longer because it's being cleaned out regularly. This is much better for hygiene both for cats, and for eliminating unpleasant odors in your home.

14. A friend of mine buys all her clothes at thrift stores. I have a hard time finding stuff that fits me, and that I like at thrift stores, but this is always a wise idea if you need clothes and are living on a tight budget. Don't make the mistake I made of getting a bunch of credit cards and then not being able to pay them off.

I think that just about covers it!

I just thought this might be of some help to someone. I'm sure most people probably don't need to do these things, but people with disabilities very often have low incomes, and it helps to cut down on expenses in any way possible, if you're in that situation.

Remember World Suicide Prevention Day is September, 10th!

Friday, August 29, 2014

I like living AND I got my fur babies back home

I read this just now, on an old little calender book with quotes by women on it. It seems appropriate right now, because this is how I feel, and even though things are difficult, it is definitely not as difficult as being dead.

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Agatha Christie
Quick update on things with me:

-Got my apartment almost to tip-top shape. It's cleaner than ever, but now I have to put away all my tons of clothes that were cleaned for me by my mental health housing agency. That is work, but I can do it a little bit at a time. I will also be needing to vacuum weekly from now on, even though it kills me with the Fibromyalgia, because I have to keep control of the flea problem.

-I've been doing artwork for fun, pretty much every day. This morning was kind of bad, I woke up at 1:30 AM and never went back to sleep. I took my PRN Ativan and it didn't do a thing. So I'm still awake (and at work), but I'll go to bed early tonight. Anyway, what I did in the middle of the night was work on my book of collages I'm sending my sister.

-My cats are home!!!!! I missed Spooky and Ribbit sooo much and they missed me too. They wouldn't even eat at my mom's house unless I came over to visit.

This is what I had to do to get them home without fleas:
  1. Buy flea shampoo (a cheaper, milder one than the heavy duty stuff), 2 bottles of lemon juice, a spray bottle and a flea comb.
  2. Found a long sleeved flannel shirt at my mom's house that I could wear so I didn't get clawed to death.
  3. Put both cat carriers in the bathroom, so that as soon as the baths were over I could stick them right in there and take them right home (my mom thinks her house has fleas now and I had to do whatever possible to make sure they did not bring any home with them).
  4. Bathed BOTH my cats. Spooky tried to kill me, clawing her way onto my back to try to escape (this is really a 2 person job, but I had nobody to help), and they both made horrible, growling noises like I've never heard before in their lives. But I got it done.
  5. Sprayed both cats with lemon juice. I've read this is a safer, natural way to kill fleas especially when they have already been treated with the pesticide gel stuff twice in six weeks.
  6. Stuck 'em in the cat carriers and brought my babies HOME!
They are so happy to be home! They are both eating like little piglets and coming up to me for me to pet them, Ribbit did his common thing of trying to take over my bed last night. And their fur is so soft, and clean, and shiny, that they look great.

I'm going to get them both low-cost vet care when I get the money but that money does not exist right now.

I also found two charities that are willing to help me with a little of my rent and half my electric bill!!! That was wonderful news. So this week I have to go places to get that taken care of.

My medication nurse who visits me asked me if I had enough food because I mentioned I plan on going to a food pantry again on Thursday, and she wanted to see for herself. So I showed her what was in there, and she was like, "Um, Jennifer, you have nothing to eat!!", and she actually went to the store, and brought me back bagels, a loaf of bread, spaghetti sauce, a half gallon of skim milk, four cans of tuna fish, and mayonnaise. Is that nice, or what?? I hope her agency reimburses her for it.

Alright, leaving work now and gotta go. I hope you're having a good day.

Please do not forget that September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day (you can read my post about it below or Google it). Some groups are recommending everyone light a candle that day at 8PM in honor of all those who have lost their lives to suicide.

If you are feeling suicidal or know someone who might be, Click HERE

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th

I encourage my fellow bloggers to post something about World Suicide Prevention Day on your blogs. If you don't have a blog, go to Facebook and join

Warning Signs for Suicide

Call 9-1-1 or seek immediate help from a mental health provider when you hear or see any of these behaviors:
  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
  • Someone looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Someone talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
Seek help by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral should you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any one or more of these behaviors:
  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
If you are suicidal or you think someone you know is, we want you to know that help is available and recovery is possible. Start by learning the warning signs, and do whatever you can to get yourself or someone you care about to the help they need so that they can return to living a fully functioning life.
This list of Warning Signs for Suicide was developed by an expert review and consensus process informed by a review of relevant research and literature. Additional information about the warning signs can be found in the following published article: Rudd, M. D., Berman, A. L., Joiner, T. E., Jr., Nock, M. K., Silverman, M. M., Mandrusiak, M., et al. (2006). Warning signs for suicide: Theory, research, and clinical applications. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 36(3), 255-262.

From PEMHS (Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services - the local crisis center where I live in Pinellas, County Florida:

FALSE: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like
“you’ll be sorry when I’m dead”, “I can’t see any way out”, - no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicide feelings.
FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself, must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and
emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live
and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop.
FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true – bringing up the subject of suicide and
discussing it openly, is one of the most helpful things you can do.

At PEMHS, we have speakers / consultants who can address “warning signs”. We also have direct emergency service workers
who staff our Suicide Prevention line and referrals from 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, or the Family Emergency
Treatment Center (FETC), an urgent care walk-in facility located at 400 – 15th Street North in St. Petersburg may be reached
at (727) 552-1053, where direct person to person interventions are available.
Please remember on WORLD SUICIDE DAY, Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, that suicide is a preventable solution.  


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