Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Self Harm (not me)

I was fast asleep at 5:27 this morning when my phone rang. I’m not normally up at that time, so it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I saw that it was my daughter’s girlfriend’s phone number. Okay, the timing was weird, it could be a pocket dial, but maybe my daughter was trying to reach me for some reason. I tried to call back and didn’t get an answer so I sent a text. Within minutes the phone rang again.

It wasn’t my daughter. It was her girlfriend, who was clearly freaking out. My daughter was cutting and she wouldn’t let her girlfriend take care of her.

“Call 911 if you need to, and I’m on my way,” I said. I am used to this so I was pretty calm. I was more concerned about her bleeding out if she cut deep enough. I got dressed and headed out for the half hour drive through Dallas to my daughter.

There was a surprising amount of traffic for so early in the morning, but once I got to Spring Valley, I hit all the lights green. When I pulled up to the house, the garage was open so I let myself in and entered the art room.

Now it had been about 40 minutes and a LOT can change in that time when you’re talking about someone’s emotions. I found my daughter sprawled on the sofa with her girlfriend in latex gloves trying to attach butterfly bandages to her right shin. Let me be straightforward. My daughter had hashed up her right leg from knee to ankle. Not her usual scratching, as the doctors like to call it, but some actual cuts. She was laughing and joking. Time to go to the hospital.

Daughter did not want to go to the hospital. Last time she’d been seen for cutting was at Baylor, which doesn’t have a psych ward. They kept her for the required 72 hours and eventually had to cut her loose. They hadn’t been able to find a bed for her at another facility either. She remembers the experience as being like torture and didn’t want to go through it again. Understandable, but not necessarily the best choice.

Girlfriend googled mental health facilities and we were directed to Medical City which used to run Green Oaks, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, Green Oaks has been shut down, just gps hadn’t caught up with it yet. Dallas has lost, I forget if it’s 2 or 3, mental health inpatient facilities in the last 5 years, and nobody has picked up the missing beds. This is just another casualty in the quest for profitable health services.

We changed direction and headed up to Methodist Richardson. I’ve had good luck with their outpatient program and girlfriend had been there for trauma, so that seemed like a good choice.

It was probably about 6:30 or 7:00 when we arrived and nobody was there. They took us back right away. The doctor came in and inspected her leg and didn’t react. Then he went away for a while. He came back with a nurse and a lo-o-ong needle and a staple gun. Not the kind you buy in a hardware store, but essentially the same thing. He numbed up daughter’s leg and went to work. It took 39 staples and 27 stitches to close up the worst of the wounds.

The doctor checked with us all about her mental state. Again, I’m going to be straightforward: My daughter has never wanted to kill anybody (except maybe her molester but that’s another story) and she only wants to harm herself in certain situations. Once she’s done the cutting, the desire to cut passes. So we could say with clear consciences that she was safe to go home. The doctor asked if we’d like to talk to a social worker. Well the nurse had already given us a fat packet of information so I asked if the social worker would have anything different to offer. Probably not, was the consensus, so we declined the social worker.

Now you should know, this does not mean we are ignoring the issues. Daughter has a psychiatrist who handles her medications. She is working with Genesis women’s shelter to get a case worker and a counselor. She has her girlfriend and she has me. We talked about some other ways to handle stress and pain, and it looks like she might take up kick boxing to help let out some of the big emotion.

I also found out that this started the night before. Daughter was feeling needy and felt like girlfriend did not pay her enough attention. Girlfriend did not pick up on it until after the cutting. I have to say, I think this is daughter’s fault. As a SARK says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I don’t think daughter asked clearly and I’m pretty sure she is understated in her needs. I’m not pointing fingers here. Girlfriend feels pretty guilty about not getting the hint, but really she can’t blame herself for daughter choosing to cut. It’s not her fault. It’s not really daughter’s fault either, since when a person is upset, they don’t have a clear picture of how they come across. Daughter might easily have believed she asked bluntly for what she needed and somehow wasn’t as blunt as she thought. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I just know the situation left my daughter upset enough to cut.

I asked why she cuts. She said that when she does it, endorphins are released which of course makes her feel better. It actually resolves the problem at the time, though of course it doesn’t solve the root problem.

I just wish she would stop cutting up her perfect body, but it is her body, I don’t have any control here.

And I wish I could make the world safe for her. “You can’t fix me,” she says, but I don’t want to change her, I want to change the environment she lives in. And I can’t do that either.

I am sharing this story because people need to know they are not alone. Parts of life suck. Some emotions are big and overwhelming. But you are not alone, someone else has been there too. I can’t prevent you from cutting, but I can encourage you to find other ways to express your pain. Your life matters.


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Mushroom Pasta

We are a keto household. I need to clarify that I am not fully keto myself, but I am definitely low carb these days. One of the things my roommate F misses is pasta. Well, L found shirataki noodles in the produce section at our local Walmart that are pretty much the same thing. The texture when chewing is a little different, but they are an Asian product and it isn’t much different from glass noodles.

All of which is to say, tonight we had spaghetti casserole. Shirataki noodles, tomato, meat and cheese. It was a little greasy, but you know, sausage and cheese are not fat free. Very good, and a nice change from servings of just meat. F is not a fan of vegetables, so we don’t eat a lot of those.

I’m planning to go to North Texas Food Bank on Saturday morning. They provide fresh produce, I think it’s 30 pounds to a household. There is a place near me that claims they come every Saturday, but I think they really only deliver once a month. But I’ll go down and check it out. I might have to give away some of it so it doesn’t go bad. I feel like, as long as I have no money so I can’t pay for things, I can at least find other ways to bring resources into the house. Being poor is hard work.

I took the first withdrawal from my GoFundMe today. It will take a few days to be available and then I’ll withdraw it so it doesn’t accidentally go for another purpose. I’m keeping an eye on my bank account. I wish I could withdraw to Paypal, which would be more accessible for me.

I continue to post hats in my Etsy shop. I’ve gotten compliments on my work but I haven’t sold one yet. Of course this is not exactly the hat time of year. I need to find something else I can make that is more seasonal. I used to make jewelry but now it’s too difficult. I can’t see up close with my contacts / glasses, and I can’t see far enough to pick up the beads from the table without them. I can’t even thread a needle at this point, which makes needlework or mending difficult. Eyesight is sure a problem when you get older!

We didn’t make it to the plasma center yesterday. Daughter was sick as a dog. She thinks it was food poisoning. She was eating chicken nuggets Monday night and one had a huge (for a nugget) bone in it. She kept eating. I think it’s money stress combined with lack of sleep.

We did make it to the doctor. She finally talked about her issues with employment and got a referral to Genesis Women’s Shelter. They do counselling as well as housing, so hopefully they can find some way to help her. Daughter gets anxiety attacks when she’s at work. I think she is capable of doing a job if someone is willing to support her until the anxiety attacks subside. There are all kinds of jobs for people with disabilities. Hers is very real and there should be options available for high functioning people who just need a little help.

I fall into the same category, since bipolar is certainly considered a disability but I can hold down a job for months or even years at a time. I just need some support when things come crashing in on me. There isn’t much room in our society for people who don’t aspire to a 40 week job or who don’t fit that mold.

In the meantime, I keep working on finding money. I believe the Universe has infinite resources and can find some to share with me.


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Zero’d Out the Bank Account

I just took the last of my money out of the bank. I want control over what gets paid and what doesn’t, so I just pulled it out and paid my rent for May. I am now broke.

My daughter wants to donate plasma tomorrow and I’m gonna go with her. I can use the money and we can keep each other company. Then I’m taking her to the psychiatrist. We’ll have to figure out paying him.

What am I doing to find money? Well, I have applied to some temp agencies, waiting to hear from them. I have written an article that I hope to post on Nook. I have submitted it, but it still shows as pending, not actually for sale yet. I am signed up with Rev.com to do online transcription. I have applied to Amazon and will try Costco, since apparently they are hiring. I hate to burn bridges by leaving with no notice — and I get 24 to 48 hours notice before being deployed — but I need money now so I just might have to bite the bullet. I have also watched a dog and would consider house sitting.

In the meantime, my GoFundMe is doing well. Got another donation today, so that makes me happy. I’m over $200 now.

I’m working on hats. I have posted 13 of them in Etsy. I’ve had some looks, so hopefully there will be some buys soon.

I learned, in group today, that I basically like myself. I knew I didn’t hate myself, in spite of my periodic disgust with my body, but I didn’t really think about liking myself. I would be friends with me. That’s actually pretty cool. Not that I’m a perfect person, because there’s always room for improvement, but I’m good with who I am. And that makes me happy.


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Brunch and Mall Walking

It’s been a good day.

I went to an organic plant sale at St Andrew’s church in Dallas. It was raining mildly when I left but not horrible. By the time I got to the highway, it was practically white out conditions. Yes, a rain white out! I kept going anyway because I am fearless. Well not quite, I was only going 55 mph the whole way. South Dallas was a swamp. I hit every light red and the water was building up so fast that the storm drains looked like whirlpools in the middle of incredibly deep puddles. But I made it to the sale, and didn’t find anything to take home. I liked the cat mint, but cats apparently don’t care about it. I know it’s not the same as cat nip, but I thought maybe it had cat attracting properties. There was also an adorable little plant called red amaranth with hot pink stems and pink leaves. Turns out that sucker grows to be like 5 feet tall, and apparently might get taller, so not a good choice for me. I’m going to repot some aloes I trimmed tonight and bring one to my friend tomorrow I think. She couldn’t find anything either, but her problem is a shady porch. Most plants in Texas want full sun and she just doesn’t have it.

We then went to brunch at Cindi’s deli. I paid. I get to do that from time to time. But also, I know that soon enough I’ll be flat broke and I won’t be able to do it. It feels good to treat a friend. I had eggs and lox. The first bite was SO fishy, lol. I don’t know what I expected! I mean, it was lox, of course it’s fishy! The hash browns were perfect; the bagel, well, my only complaint was that a full bagel could use 2 packages of cream cheese, not just one. Coffee was so good. I also really like the reuben sandwich here, but I didn’t want one for brunch.

Then we went to the Galleria and walked. We circled each of the three store levels and got almost 2.5 miles out of it. I worked up a sweat so that was probably beneficial. I don’t usually care to sweat. Usually it just means I am uncomfortably hot because Texas is a hot state. We went to Old Navy and my friend bought 2 dresses and a blouse. I saw a lot of really cute stuff, but I won’t buy it. I have lost 10 lbs in the last couple of months and I’m hoping to lose more. I just refuse to buy new clothes until I don’t fit into what I already own. Unless I need something, like to replace my black jeans with the broken zipper. Or the bra that the underwire is poking through.

Now I am home, with my cat snoring next to me. She has soft little kitty snores. It took me the longest time to figure out what the sound was and my roommate didn’t hear it so I couldn’t ask her. We had pizza for dinner and there is some soup that I’ll probably have a bowl of when I’m done here.

I have posted some of the hats from the 100 Hats Project on Etsy. You can see them here. They are pretty inexpensive for a handmade item, and for now any money earned will be spent on more yarn for more hats. I saw such a good buy 2 days ago and I just couldn’t do it. So please buy a hat!

Also, don’t forget about my GoFundMe for Envisioning Wellness. Looking for something to do with your tax refund? I could stand a few more donations!


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Envisioning Wellness Update

Envisioning Wellness is the name of my vision board project.

I want to be sure to thank all the donors who have shown their support of my project and belief in me. The link to donate is:
https://www.gofundme.com/envisioning-wellness

So I am beginning to think about how to spend the money. I think good quality paper would be the most expensive part. It doesn’t have to be fabulous paper, but it needs to be sturdy like poster board, card stock or watercolor paper. I’m thinking watercolor paper, because I can get it in packs of 12 x 18 or 18 x 24 sizes. I want it to be big enough without being too big. I want people to feel like they have a finished project but we only have an hour or so to work on it.

I will need to get glue sticks and scissors. I don’t mind providing them myself, but if I do that, they are mine and they will come with me. Ditto the magazines.

I was thinking of getting a bunch of markers, and I still might do that. Good ones, like Sharpies or Crayolas. Nice and juicy and with a thick point but not the chisel tips. Though maybe some with chisel tips, for that thin-and-thick line quality. But my roommate, who used to be a teacher, has gifted me a big bag of colored pencils, which I think would be about perfect for this project. Not as bold as markers, though, so maybe both.

I need to acquire some kind of carrying item, like one of those milk crate style boxes on wheels. And some bungee cords, probably. I need to be able to bring those magazines into the room. There should be a bunch of them, too many to carry easily. Paper gets heavy after all.

I’m pretty excited still, can you tell?

I also had a chance to facilitate a group today. I enjoyed doing that. The group actually laughed, and most of them felt better afterwards. That’s what I’m going for, to make a difference in someone’s day.


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Taking More Risks

Money is now very tight, I own about $500 and I have no income at the moment. The government has no work for me so I’m not working. I have tried temp agencies but they are mostly looking for temp-to-hire people, an; frankly nobody is going to pay me what the government does, so whenever they call me back, I’m going. I was collecting unemployment, but I have run out of funds in my account and I can’t reapply until June.

So I am trying things to see what I can do for money. I have written an article that I’m selling on Nook. Someone offered to help me set it up on Amazon but I’m not sure about the price point. I posted $2.99 on Nook because that’s the breaking point. Less than that, they keep 65% of the sale price, at $2.99, they take 35%. So that’s how I set the price. Amazon looks like it will be 65% regardless of price.

I need to work on the article, make it more so that it feels like I put some effort into it, not just the writing. I need to decorate it up a bit and add some color and motion to it. I’ll be printing it out later to see what I can do. Just need to dress it up a little. It’s not live yet so I have time to work on it.

I have also opened a GoFundMe for the vision board workshop. So far, no response of any kind. Not just no money, not even any likes. So that is rather disheartening. I’m thinking of changing to dollar amount. I think I can do what I need with $100. I’m not looking to get paid for myself, I just need to cover the costs of basic art supplies like glue and poster board. Money is too tight for me to do that myself.

I need to make a list of phone calls for tomorrow. I need to call my daughter tonight and see if she has that lab test tomorrow. I have some labs from the doctor myself so it makes sense for me to take her if we are both going. But I have things that I plan to do that somehow don’t get done, mostly phone calls. I think of them when it’s too late to take care of them. I figure if I make a list, I can do them after group tomorrow or before group on Wednesday. I hate to-do lists but I seem to be brain dead about some things I need to handle.

I usually make a have-done list. I usually list things as I get them done so I can feel good about my day. With the depression, it’s easy to blow off a whole day. But it’s also easy to get things done and feel like I did nothing. Keeping a list of what I did helps offset that. I mean, it’s too easy to just drift through days and suddenly a week has gone by and I’ve done nothing. Except I probably haven’t done nothing, and I can check that with a have-done list.

Hopefully something will start moving for me, moneywise. I know there is money out there, I just have to find it. And it has to find me. I need to keep on working it and trust the Universe to meet me where I am.


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100 Hats and the Vision Board

First I want to talk a little more about the 100 Hat Project.

The goal is to make 100 hats. I have a bucketful made already. They are for sale, and at the end, what doesn’t sell, will be donated. Probably to the local homeless shelter. You can follow the project on my facebook page, Kiss5Tigers. I will be posting hats several times a week.

I also took a risk today. I want to lead a vision board workshop. I know, it’s a little cliche, but I believe I can actually get paid to do this at some point in the future. I have several friends who’ve done this, none are doing it right now, so I feel like I could get mentored into it.

I proposed a vision board seminar to the community outreach liaison at the facility where I attend most of my groups. She said to put something in writing, and she’ll show it to the director. The director! I’ve never made a written proposal before, so it was a little nervous for me. But I have composed a class plan and included my information about the peer specialist core class I took last month.

I did also ask for a little support. I need poster board, scissors, glue sticks and maybe markers. I already have a ton of magazines, so that isn’t an issue. And of course people can bring their own materials like photos or colored pencils. I’m thinking of posting a GoFundMe. If I can get some money toward supplies, I can take the burden off the agency. I think I’ll look into that right now. I’ll add a link when I’m done.

Added:

Here is a link to my GoFundMe page:https://www.gofundme.com/envisioning-wellness

Now taking contributions!