Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Craft projects - tell me what you think of this one

My last post was a bit of a downer. I've been having a lot of health issues, but I don't want to write a lot about that right now. I think about it enough already. I will say that the following issues are being addressed:

-abdominal pain (I've had endometriosis forever but I have been free of that pain most of the time for a few years); getting a pelvic ultrasound in a couple weeks (I've had ovarian cyst issues before and it was thought by a gyn I went to years ago that I had PCOS - polycystic ovaries - which would explain some of my weight issues)

-cold all the time (thyroid? this started in July when I was in the hospital, I don't know if it's related to chronic issues or new meds......it's so hard to tell, but I used to get hot a lot as, after all, I'm overweight and I live in Florida, but now, I carry sweaters with me everywhere and frequently have the air conditioning turned off)

-hair falling out and being more dry than usual (Lupus? Maybe I just need a haircut!)

-fatigue (but not really much worse than usual; I've had fatigue forever - CFS, Fibromyalgia, then diagnosed with Sjogren's, then diagnosed with Lupus and Sjogren's along with the Fibro)

-insomnia (my lifelong battle against this never ends and I will probably never know why)

-feeling weak and shaky (blood sugar? I have prediabetes)

-pain in neck and shoulders (but this is not worse than usual and I see a chiropractor intern twice a week for free because the college I work for is associated with his chiropractic college, and this helps a lot! I get laser treatment and this electronic machine called IFC which is like a stem machine, not sure exactly how to explain it but this has always helped me, forever, as I used  to go on and off to physical therapy for years and they did that machine there too on my trigger points. They also did massage at the PT place when I went, but I stopped going because Medicare limits the amount of PT you can get a lot. Chiro does adjustments on my neck, and my back which actually helps even though it used to terrify me)

-lack of appetite (this is not a problem in my opinion but it exists, which is odd, possibly due to my newest antipsychotic, Saphris, which I love)

-I can't remember the rest. I can't remember anything anymore.

Also, mild auditory hallucinations have returned, so I might have to go back to the secondary antipsychotic, Trilafon, in addition to the Saphris, but I'm trying to stick it out and avoid that as I get akathesia worse from being on two antipsychotics at once. Home health nurse told me weeks ago to go back on it, but she doesn't come anymore; that was a temporary thing, and I didn't really want to be on it.

Anyway, on to the positive things!

I started doing my own art therapy after I got out of the hospital in August. I had no TV, and I found that this gave me extra time to be creative. Now, I do have some TV because I have this cool antennae my friend gave me that her husband mounted on my wall for me and it gets lots of channels (for free, no cable!), however, I don't watch a lot of TV even though I have it.

The first project I made was for my sister. It was a composition book, decorated, full of positive words cut out of magazines to increase her self esteem and help her depression. I doubt she read all of it, but I enjoyed making it for her. It took forever - like two weeks - to fill up the entire book. But it was easy to do, and it gave me something to do in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep.

The second project I made was for me, a journal book full of helpful quotes. I cut up a book I had of meditations by an organization called Messies Anonymous. I cut pages I liked out of some Al-Anon books I have, and an old book of meditations for women I have. I cut out stuff from SARK books which I love. And then I got the rest of the quotes, which I wrote in colored pens, from an old book of quotes by women I've had forever, and an old desk calendar of quotes by women. I decorated it with really cool and pretty stickers I picked up at Michael's art/craft store, Dollar Tree, and Walmart (I hate Walmart but sometimes it's useful). I showed it to my therapist and she adored it! She said she'd love a copy for herself. So then I got this idea in my head that I was going to make these and give them to people, or even  sell them. I bought some scrapbooks from Goodwill's thrift shop for about $2.50 each and planned on filling them up. I just haven't gotten the time to start on that yet. It's going to be a lot of work and it's kind of complicated because I don't have Microsoft Word on my laptop, and my laptop is having issues right now. Also, I don't own a printer. So haven't gotten to that project yet.

The third thing I made was a plaque for my brother with his version of the Serenity Prayer on it, "Dude, Grant me the serenity to accept the shit I cannot change, the courage to change the shit I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". He loved it! I got the plaque from Michael's, painted it, and used stick on letters. Also added some Winnie the Pooh stickers (reminds me of the Tao of Pooh and my brother likes Winnie the Pooh). I wish I had a picture of it to show you.

The next thing I made was a plaque for myself. I need to take a picture of it and post it here. It's painted yellow, and says "Daisybee" on it. It's decorated with stickers of daisies and bees! I love it. It's for my bedroom.

Then I thought about starting an Etsy shop. A nurse in the hospital suggested that if I like doing crafty stuff, this would be a way to make some extra money. Now, I'm no professional artist by any means of the imagination, but I do like making things. I have - throughout all my many psych hospital stays over many years - always loved, loved, loved art therapy. I was in a hospital in Virginia around 2000-2003 a couple times where they had this wonderful art therapy program and that is where I learned decoupage. I make boxes every so often and give them to people. I did it last year for Christmas for a bunch of people. It's fun and I enjoy it. I paint the boxes, decorate them with various things like words from magazines, stickers of letters, tissue paper, pictures from magazines, etc. And people like them. Years ago when my mental health housing agency held an art fair for clients to sell their artwork, I made some and sold them. One person paid me $20 for hers.

So, I went and bought some discounted art supplies. I started by making plaques. I have only gotten far enough to make two so far. One I am going to show you here:

This started out as a plain piece of wood shaped like a Daisy.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

I didn't get a pic yet of the final version. I attached red rope with Super Glue to the back, so that it can be hung on a wall. 

After this one, I made one that is shaped like a heart, and says "Today I Choose To Love Myself". It's painted red, and has heart and caterpillar and butterfly stickers.

I'll have to get more pictures to show you.

I have made these last two specifically with the idea of someone buying them. Does anyone think anyone would?

I also have a few other ideas of things I'd like to make. Dream Boxes are one of them. I have decorated boxes before with little shapes of daisies on which I wrote my reasons to live. During my most recent hospital stay in July and August I made an envelope full of daisies shaped with reasons to live, hearts shaped with people who care about or love me, and butterflies shaped with ways I have transformed myself, since caterpillars transform into butterflies. I showed this to people and they really liked it so I was thinking of making boxes with shaped paper like that for other people to write down their own reasons to live, and people who love them, and ways they've changed/improved their lives. Also was going to include something like maybe cloud-shaped blue papers or index cards where they could write their dreams and hopes for the future. I would put instructions and glue them to the inside of the box. Would this interest anyone? Just let me know if it would. Thanks!

The night I made the above-pictured plaque was right before I woke up horrendously sick in the middle of the night, so I haven't made much lately because of all the health problems I've been dealing with along with my cats' health problems (I recently got a grant from an agency to take my cats to a vet and they both have bad ear infections requiring treatments three times a day which is a hell of a lot of fun, dear god, it's awful), and other stuff, so......But I'm going to get back to making things again soon.

If I do open an Etsy shop, I think it's going to be called Daisybee's Inspiration Station. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Health Issues

I can't type much right now, because I'm not feeling well.

I'm having a lot of health problems these days.

I'm also having problems with a neighbor who is harassing me and making me consider moving into another apartment building, but that apartment building is in a neighborhood just as bad as the one I live in now, and I've got no desire to go there. It's also all I can afford, please do not suggest that I keep looking,, as I already know how to do that.

Health problems may all be related to thyroid and endometriosis. I'm extremely tired, have rashes (Lupus), photosensitive (Lupus), horrendous abdominal pain (unknown cause), no appetite (unknown cause). The endo is an ongoing issue which I haven't received treatment for in years since it wasn't bothering me. I did have surgery for it in 2005 and have been on birth control for it in the past.

Two weeks ago I was in the ER for 7 hours due to profuse diarrhea and vomiting that had gone on for ten hours and caused serious dehydration. It was thought by the ER doc that I had caught a "stomach bug". I no longer believe this was the case as abdominal pain has continued.

Had to go to gastroenterologist (of my own accord because my primary care doc is an idiot and I've only met him twice so he doesn't know me or anything), now have to get colonoscopy partially due to the fact that I had blood in the stool for three days in July while I was in the psych hospital, and partially due to ongoing gastro issues. It has already been suggested to me a million times that I go gluten free, and while this is a consideration it is also something I don't feel capable of managing.

Also went to gynecologist, have to get pelvice ultrasound in a couple weeks, probably go back on birth control pill to control the endo (if that is what is causing this).

Seriously scared that I have some kind of cancer, but that's probably paranoid thinking.

In other news, I attended the NAMI Harvest Festival yesterday although I was in pain the whole time, and it was great. My mom came, a friend of mine came, and I saw lots of other people I know through NAMI. Also, a woman at my mental health housing agency who I recommended receive an Iris Award (awards given yearly to great advocates for people living with mental illnesses), was there, and received the award which she said meant a lot to her. So that was good.

Other things going on are not so good. I've got to stop typing now; not feeling well. Thanks for any encouraging thoughts you have.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Why I've been attending a church, even though I don't believe in "God"

After I got out of the hospital, I decided I needed to make more changes to my life, to avoid ending up in the state I was in before. I had visited the Unitarian Universalist center of Clearwater (which is known as UUC) but not referred to as a "church" by everybody, a few times over the years. Once was for an antiwar play, once was when we held a Pinellas National Organization for Women event there and showed a film, and several times I went to the actual Sunday service. Once or twice I also attended the Social Issues meeting they have before the service. Then, in late August after I got out of the hospital, I was invited by my friend to watch his daughter play cello (she is extremely gifted) at the non-church church since he and his wife and daughter all attend there. So I went to that service, and I remembered why I liked it there when I had visited long ago. I felt at home. They read poetry in their services. Once, when I first went a few years back, there was a Marge Piercy poem read, and she is one of my favorite writers, so that got me really excited, that a feminist poet was being quoted in a "church" service! Anyway, when I went back this time in August, I ran into my other favorite professor of all time, from USF, and she happens to be a very involved member there. Like-minded people go to like-minded places.

What I like about the UU non-churchy church is their focus on social justice, and fairness, and equality, and women's rights, and LGBT rights, and the rights of the low-income people of the world and the rights of immigrant farm workers here in Florida. I like that, although I don't care for hymns which include the word "God" or the word "Lord", they are welcoming to atheists, humanists, agnostics, and non-theists! There is no other "church" or "religion" I know of that does not require you to read a certain book or believe in a certain god of any kind. They do incorporate some facets of other religions, such as Judaism, Buddhism, and Christianity, but they never, ever force you to believe in anything such as a particular deity. And I LOVE that!

I also like their musical performances, such as the one they had a few with a drum circle which was really cool. They have a fellowship hall where you can go and have coffee or juice and some snacks and meet people after the service. They even have a little library there, which I discovered carries lots of humanist books, and even some great poetry books! All you have to do is sign them out and bring them back.

This past Sunday when I went I met some of the humanist/atheist people and they told me to make sure to come in a couple weeks because there's a humanist meeting, in the non-churchy church right after the Sunday service once a month! And then they invited me to eat lunch with some folks at a local cafe that is near where I live. So I did that and had interesting conversations the whole time. I felt like I belonged. When I told them about how the words "God" and "Lord" bothered me, one responded by saying, "I just don't say those words", and that was hilarious to me because I had done the same thing. I sing the hymn but not say those words. And that's OK there!

I'm never going to turn into some kind of religious zealot of any kind - not ever, ever, ever -but I do feel like this is a nice social outlet for me where I can meet like-minded people who I have more in common with than just a shared interest in mental health (I love NAMI, but I don't want it to be my only social outlet), and so I plan on going back and even taking a class next month to see if I want to become a member there.

If you're interested in what I like about this "religion" you can see their Seven Principles here.

The only thing I don't like is that there is no specific group working on women's rights or disabilities rights, but I've already talked to someone about how some of the women there want to start a women's rights committee, which sounds like an excellent idea.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Never be ashamed to ask for help. Never be ashamed to have a mental illness. Never be ashamed for feeling suicidal. Seek help when you need it.

This morning I had a rewarding experience. I got an email yesterday evening as I was about to leave work from the NAMI board of directors president asking if I could help speak at an event for Suicide Prevention Month at Job Corps. Job Corps is a government-funded organization that trains young people in certain jobs so they can enter the workforce after high school, and it is geared towards low-income people.

When I arrived things were a little confusing. It turned out we were not speaking to all of the 265 students at once, and that the local crisis center, PEMHS, was actually doing most of the presentation, so I might not be able to speak at all. It turned out that the PEMHS folks graciously got me into the schedule so I talked for about 4 minutes to the first group, since I was trying to be quick, but I talked for a couple more minutes than that to the second group. I was told by someone from PEMHS that I had all of the students' attention and they stopped talking to each other when I was talking, and all of them looked at me (which I did notice).

I asked them if I looked crazy to them. And many of them shook their heads and said no. I then told them that I actually have a serious mental illness, called Schizoaffective Disorder, which is a mixture of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. I told them that these illnesses all usually start in their age group (17-23 years old). I told them that I had survived 8 or 9 suicide attempts, and that PEMHS saved my life in 2005 when I had purchased a gun and almost shot myself. I told them that, now, when I feel suicidal, I ask for help. For example two months ago I was planning on jumping off the Skyway Bridge. But I did not jump off the Skyway Bridge. Afterwards, one of the young women came up to us and said that her cousin had recently killed himself by jumping off the Skyway Bridge. It is so sad how many people die on that goddamn bridge which has been a place I have contemplated killing myself at for many years, and the place where I tried to drive a car over the guardrail in 2005, totaling the car and barely surviving.

It was heartbreaking that, when asked if any of the students knew someone who had committed suicide, 64 out of about 200 students raised their hands. So sad. So horrible. I stressed to them the need to seek help and that there is NO shame in asking for help, NO shame in having a mental illness, NO shame in feeling suicidal.

I met a woman who was also speaking about a group called HALO which is affiliated with the Yellow Ribbon Project for Suicide Prevention, and is for survivors who have lost loved ones to suicide. She had this very powerful banner with her with a yellow ribbon for every person who had committed suicide in Florida in recent years. It was very thought-provoking, and I asked her if she would please speak at a future NAMI Pinellas education meeting, which she said she would be happy to do. She lost her son to suicide a few years ago, and in the aftermath of that two of his friends also committed suicide.
The statistics that the people from PEMHS showed on their slideshow were awful too. A lot of people do not realize this, but thousands of more people die by suicide rather than homicide every year in this country. We should be ashamed of the goddamn stigma that prevents people from talking openly about mental health issues and leads them to end up in their graves because they did not know how to get the help they needed, or help was not readily available. The United States should be ashamed, and the State of Florida should be deeply ashamed at how much of a priority they DO NOT PLACE on mental healthcare. It is sickening.

I spoke with a young woman afterwards who wanted to tell me about all of her family members, including her 7 year old son and herself who experience hearing voices and visual hallucinations. She told me that a local community mental health center had turned her away when she went there for help because they said she did not fit the criteria for free treatment since she was not experiencing hallucinations at the moment they talked to her. That is absolutely intolerable and disgusting to me. I gave her my card with my blog address and phone number on it, and told her to please come to the NAMI support group that NAMI Pinellas holds every Monday night, and to please call me or NAMI if we can be of any assistance to her.

Overall, I felt that this experience was rewarding. I used to be so shy and insecure, I couldn't dare to dream about being a public speaker, particularly in speaking about my mental illness. Now, I can do it with relative ease, and I enjoy it because it makes me feel like I am making some small bit of difference in the world, which is a reason to get up in the morning and live. I was up this morning because I had been up all night, with my freakin' insomnia again, and I am still grateful I did this even though I am exhausted and I now have to go to work for seven hours. I know I need to set limits on how much effort and time I put into trying to change the whole world while neglecting to care for my own self, but I felt it was important to do this today. Meeting someone whose family member recently died by jumping off the bridge I recently nearly jumped off was something that the universe meant to happen to me. I feel quite sure of that.

If you need help anywhere in the world, contact www.befrienders.org for a crisis line or email crisis counseling. Also see the Suicide Resources page on this blog if you or anyone you know needs help.

I am not ashamed anymore. I know to ask for help when I need it. I don't give a damn what people think about me for daring to mention mental illness on Facebook. I don't care that my employer is extremely ignorant about mental illness and also about the Americans with Disabilities Act, to the point that they tried to fire me for being in the hospital two months ago. Take your ignorance and go straight to hell with it, I have no room for that crap in my life. I will continue to try and combat the stigma surrounding mental illness by openly speaking about it, regardless of what stupid people think.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Positive Changes, What's Working Well for Me, 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.
-I had to come back to this post to add THIS: I've KICKED MY DIET SODA HABIT!! This is so huge, you have no idea. I am known by friends and family as someone who needs and IV of Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke. I got hooked on it when I was 14 years old. I am now 39 years old. I used to drink several Double Big Gulps from 7-11 and at least one entire 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke every day. Then on the days when I didn't drink a ton of diet soda, I'd drink diet Arizona iced tea, that costs like $4 for one large container which would last me only 2 days. Now, I am not only saving a ton of money by not doing that crap, but I also am living in a much healthier manner drinking tons of water and green iced tea that I sweeten with Stevia. It wasn't easy kicking my diet soda addiction, and I am rather proud of myself for this. I can't tell you how many zillions of times people told me over the years that I drank too much diet soda, but I can tell you that I no longer crave it or need or waste money on it, and this is a good thing.

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 am editing this to add something important, I see my therapist EVERY week now, without fail. I really like my therapist, and she helps me a lot. She told me my transformation from not watching TV or using the internet at home anymore was an "incredible detox", and she gives me a lot of positive feedback about how much better I'm doing now, which is something that makes me feel really good to hear. She's a great therapist.

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 


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