Kiss5Tigers

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


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Nasal Swabbing

At work we have a handyman. He works for a number of people, but he was over here last week hanging a room divider for the girls’ room. On Friday, he called us and told us he was being tested for Coronavirus because someone in his apartment complex had it. Today he called us with the results: His test came back positive.

Now of course we are sorry that he is sick, although he has no symptoms. However, that means that our household needed to be tested. Fortunately, Watermark Church is doing free testing for people without insurance. Since I am on the Parkland Plan, I don’t have traditional insurance and I got the test for free.

Let me tell you: The nurse who administers it is a little humorous about it. “That physical feeling of being violated will pass, the emotional part I can’t help you with.” Which was actually cute the way she said it.

But yeah! Did it feel like a violation!

The swab is about 8″ long and it goes up your nose. Up your nose and down your throat and into your brain. It is a long-ass swab. It wasn’t exactly painful but it was not at all pleasant.

Of course I got all tense and that makes it worse. They do it with you sitting in the car and I arched all up out of the seat. I felt like, if I could have tipped my head at a different angle, it would have been better. But yeah, not fun, not fun at all.

The whole car got tested and now we wait for our results. For the next 2 weeks we are quarantined which means the 5 of us (me, Victoria, our 2 guests and the baby) are stuck in the house. Together. Victoria and I get along pretty well, I don’t know the girls will be after being cooped up for 14 days.

I am going to let my daughter take the car for the quarantine. She has things she needs to get done and I can’t go anywhere so she might as well use it. I hate for things to be wasted through non use. (Remind me of that with regard to art supplies.)

I did however get two very cool masks in the mail today from Lilydale. Who is a person in Canada. I don’t know her real name, she’s an online friend so I only know her alias. So that was a nice surprise.

And I got Jack-in-the-Box for lunch. Tacos and egg rolls. Greasy greasy food but I’ve been eating home cooking for a couple weeks now so it was really good for a change.

Here’s hoping the tests come back negative and life returns to “normal”.


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Gardening As a Subversive Act

Only certain stores are allowed to be open, they have to provide essential services. So nail salons are not open but grocery stores are. However certain items can only be purchased in stores of a certain size. This means that, for example, Wal-Mart often exceeds the square footage requirement so they can’t sell certain items that are not essential.

Among the non-essential items are seeds. Apparently the seasonal department is closed down and at this time of year, that’s the gardening department.

So growing your own vegetables is considered non-essential.

To me, there is no reason to discourage people from gardening, and in fact it feels like the government doesn’t want us to grow our own food.

Which to me, is the perfect reason to do it.

I used to garden when I was a kid. I grew flowers, mom grew vegetables. I had a flower bed near the house, mom dug up the ground over the septic tank. As a child I never thought about it, it was just the grassy place then the vegetable garden, but as an adult I’m a little grossed out. I’m not invested in gardening very much at this point, but fresh veg is always a good idea.

V is talking about putting in a raised garden at Shepherd Inn. I’m not sure how she thinks that’s gonna work, but we’ll see. She works more than full time as it is at her non-profit. I need to work to cover my other expenses so I feel like I can’t really devote much time to gardening. The kids, maybe?

What would I plant? Let’s see . . . Tomatoes. Zucchini. Carrots. Mixed lettuce. Should I try onions or potatoes? Maybe some kind of squash like butternut or pumpkin. Peas? Cucumbers? Ooh, bell peppers. Radishes. Salad fixin’s. Beets. What, I like beets! Broccoli? Jalapenos?

Possibilities.

I’d have to order seeds by mail. I’d go with Burpee, since that’s the company my Grandpa used. Until I wanted heirloom seeds, then I’d have to look somewhere else.

So, gardening might become a thing in my world.


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Watching the World Shut Down

Italy is closed. Yes, the whole country.

I am watching the US, in particular Dallas where I live, slowly grind to a halt.

As of today . . . Gatherings of over 500 are banned. Now that’s big for a wedding, but it’s small for a rally. I hope we are able to go back to large gatherings after the crisis passes.

Schools are closing. Around here most schools have more than 500 students so that’s in line. But there are concerns that some kids rely on that school lunch and even the school breakfast. And many parents are only able to work because the kids are looked after.

Mega churches are also shutting down. Of course many of them already have online services so that might not affect attendance. Or it might. They might find out how many people go for the fellowship rather than the message.

The Dallas Museum of Art has closed until further notice. I can see museums becoming echoing halls of antiquities that nobody visits even after the crisis is over. I have a Logan’s Run1984 feeling about it.

The city has declared a state of emergency for health purposes. Government is cutting back to bare bones staffing. City managers will not all be in the same room any more.

People are encouraged to “self quarantine”, which basically means isolating yourself in your home. When in public, try to keep 6 feet between yourself and other people. Don’t hug or shake hands. Call the doctor and the hospital before showing up at the office, because they might not be able to accommodate you.

I have concerns. Self quarantine is an awful lot like isolating, which is a problem for those of us with behavioral health concerns. I really appreciate my support groups and the friends I have made there.

Nobody keeps a 6 feet space between each other. I was in Walmart last night and the lines were packed. People were right up against one another. Lines were long. I see chaos resulting from trying to make space. Lines would reach up aisles which would interfere with shoppers. People wouldn’t realize who was in line and accidentally cut others off.

I am less scared of the virus than I am of the government.

Texas has 46 reported cases of Covid-19, with about 7 of them in DFW. That isn’t very many, but this is still the beginning of the situation. I expect to get sick. I expect it to be like a very bad cold. I don’t expect to get the shortness of breath part but you never know. I understand the concern is about having sufficient medical services. Once you get to the breathing issues, the best treatment is a ventilator. Problem is, there are only so many ventilators so only so many people can be treated. The goal is to keep the number of cases manageable. Nobody really talks about containment, though you would think the self quarantine thing would help. People are going to get sick, is all I’m saying. Better if the numbers are spread over a longer time so that fewer people are sick at the same time. I hear there are other countries where the number of people needing treatment has exceeded the capacity of hospitals to care for them, and they are making some hard triage decisions. Hopefully we can avoid that situation.

We are, for the first time as a nation, looking at employment decisions. About 60% of citizens live paycheck to paycheck. People have 2 or 3 low paying jobs to make ends meet. And low paying jobs are often part time and without benefits. Here are all these people in service jobs who work closely with the public who can’t afford to stay home and still meet their financial obligations. Things are going to change, though I can’t say what those changes will be.

These are my thoughts at this point in the process. I don’t know what’s going to happen so I have no real speculation yet about how things will affect me. I am not looking forward to being stuck in the house. I don’t know how this will affect my job search. Anything could happen.

I will make it through. I just wonder what the world will be like when everything’s over.


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Parkland Hospital

So meds are an issue in my life now.

I went to Metrocare for my psych meds. It took about 5 hours as a walk-in. I did see the nurse practitioner. He said that my anti-depressant was a bit high for bipolar and that if it was reduced, I might not need the mood stabilizer. Interesting. This cocktail has worked just fine for me so far so he refilled it as I was taking it, but I might ask about reducing meds.

Then I ran out of blood pressure meds. That’s a little different. I went to Parkland hospital because I know they have a program for people without insurance. I started in the business office. I filled out the paperwork. I didn’t have pay stubs but I had my W-2’s because I’d just done my taxes. I didn’t have a copy of my bank statement. The person who took my information said they’d ask for it if they need it.

I went to lunch at a little cafe serving Starbucks products. It was decent and filling but not fabulous. The coffee was good.

From there I went to the urgent care center. It was quite an experience. After I signed in, I had to wait for someone to see me. That’s to be expected. They triaged me and my blood pressure was a little high. Not surprising since I was out of blood pressure meds and I’d been drinking coffee. Then back to the waiting room.

Of course when they called me, they couldn’t figure out my name. My family name is Leonard, pronounced Lennerd, not Leo Nard. I assume it’s the Spanish pronunciation but I could be wrong. Then they couldn’t figure out Allison. I got Alicia, Alyssa, and finally just a snort and the letter A. It’s not a complicated name. It took me a minute to realize they meant me.

They walked me to another waiting area, they walked me to a lab, they walked me to a third waiting area, they walked me to a room, and they walked me back out to the lobby to wait for final lab results. They certainly don’t let you sit anywhere for very long, which probably makes the wait seem shorter. Finally I was given some prescriptions and discharged.

I was sent over to the Anderson building to the pharmacy. You get in line and check in. Then you wait for your name to appear on a screen, meaning the prescription’s been filled. You get back in line and receive a number. Then you wait for them to call your number. It was a lot of unnecessary line time but I’m sure someone thought it was reasonable. No charge for the meds though, that was good. Nice to get something for spending 7 hours of my day there. Pshew.

I got home and figured out that they’d only given me 7 days worth of meds. In the paperwork was a number for a referral for a primary care physician. I tried to call. It wasn’t exactly successful.

The first lady told me she’d connect me to “the clinic” and dropped me back into the queue. I told the second lady what happened, and she told me to call a different number and choose the make an appointment option. Ok. I called the other number and got the same phone tree and made the same choices, including the option to make an appointment. I sat on hold for 10 minutes and had to pee so I hung up. When I called back, the outgoing message stated the office was closed, which means I try again in the morning. I actually feel like the phone operators are either incompetent or lazy, since either they didn’t know how to help me or they didn’t want to. In either case, it looks like I won’t get an appointment until at least 6 weeks out, which means spending every Tuesday up there for the next month and a half.

People talk about folks who get services as if it’s a gift. In reality, it isn’t easy. It takes so much effort to get help. It took all day to walk through the system. It cost me parking and meals out. And I got the bare minimum of help so I will have to keep going through the process repeatedly until someone sees what’s going on. Hopefully once I have an appointment, they’ll just write me a script that will last until then.


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Franklin

I don’t know Franklin, I only know about him.

A friend of mine passed him on the street regularly. He was unhoused. She didn’t get to know him, but he was part of her community. For several days she didn’t see him, then she noticed his belongings scattered about the area where he camped. She knew something had happened but she didn’t know who to ask. Then she found the little shrine in his honor. His friends had bundled up his sleeping bag and set out flowers and candles, a small sign that said “Franklin”, the usual thing you see on the side of the road.

I want Franklin to be remembered so I painted a picture in his honor:

Parts of it I am very pleased with. Considering that I can’t draw.

I am slightly off my meds, and I am weepy. I ran out of the mood stabilizer. I have been crying over sentimental things, like a character dying in a movie. I generally feel pretty stable in my moods but I thought that was just me. I learned in my 20s that big emotion was bad for me so I worked at being understated in my expressions. I thought I was a calm person. I’m not really. I’m quite emotional without my meds.

I wonder, is that a problem? I made art because I felt sentimental about a homeless man. And it’s not bad art, all things considered. I want to make more art. Is taking the meds interfering with creativity? Is making art worth being emotionally raw? Maybe if I lived alone, but surely it would be a problem for my roommates, if I was all over the place.

In a few days I will be stabilized. The meds will have built up in my system and my mood will settle down. I’ll be back on my usual weekly schedule and things will be back to normal.

Funny phrase that, “back to normal”. Normal is a double-edged word in my life. Normal, like neurotypical, which I’m not. Also normal like typical, as in typical for me. Do the drugs make me normal? Is it worth it? I’m not 100% on that, but is that just my mood because I’m off my meds?

Does being on my meds cloud my thinking? Or is it that depression so often feels like truth to me? It seems like seeing things clearly but maybe I am just used to that particular bias. If you always look through tinted lenses, that appears normal. If you take them off, that might be reality, but putting them back on feels familiar and comfortable. Is it really better? I can’t tell.

I feel like I’m talking in circles which is surely a sign that I need the meds. Do I really need them, or do I just think I need them? I mean, joining a gym, looking for a full time job, those are normal things. Making art, not so normal. Yet making art makes my soul happy. Going to the gym is good for my body though. And I need to do it more often. I wonder if I would go, if I was off my meds. I mean, I’ve been off them for about a week and I haven’t gone. Coincidence? Maybe.

In other news, Momo just nosed the dog. He laid down next to me, which was also next to Jack. Charli getting in the middle of everything has driven Momo off. Such a shame, I was honored that he was dozing against my leg.

I have some add-and-pass pages to send out. I’m going to send them to each other. I mean, they have names and addresses on them so I’m going to send the item from envelope one to someone listed on item 2. Ah, yes, add-and-pass. A picture, or in this case a chapbook, where you put your name and address and maybe alter it in some way. Then you send it along to someone else to do the same. A mail art staple.

I haven’t left the house today, except to get the canvas out of the car and put the empty cat litter container in the trash. Today was lovely out. Hopefully tonight will be temperate. Last night was too cold, but today was warmer than yesterday, so maybe. I usually get out of the house to go to a group or a store. I’m thinking tomorrow would be a good day to work out and do some laundry. I want to make more mail art but that isn’t exactly something I can do in public, like at a coffee shop.

Trying not to think in circles. It’s only 9:30 so I’m not ready for bed yet, but I think soon it will be time. Charli the kitty has decided to nap balanced between the back of the sofa and my shoulder. She will be bothered when I get up. Right now she’s purring. And snoring. It’s almost like a sleeping child, that level of trust and relaxation.

Well, I’m off to look at mail art calls and see if there’s anything I can do tomorrow. Wish me luck.


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TCB

*Taking Care of Business

I haven’t done much to report lately, just getting things done.

I’ve been to 2 doctors, my gastro guy and my psydoc. We have cut back on meds with both of them, so that’s pretty cool.

I joined a gym so I am trying to get back into the swing of working out. I didn’t go at all last week because I was looking after my roommate. He is disabled so I didn’t like to leave him alone for long periods of time. He’s pretty self sufficient but you know, things happen. I was supposed to go workout today with my daughter, though I haven’t reached her yet so that could fall apart.

I have been trying to reach Shonda at Workforce Solutions, which is the job placement arm of the unemployment office. I keep missing her. I asked what her hours are so I could call at a better time, and the person who answered the phone got snippy. Apparently they can’t tell me her hours. I haven’t had a callback from her yet, so I don’t even know if she’s getting my messages.

I think I have finally gotten my paycheck issue with Michael’s handled. You might recall, they sent me the replacement check form as a .pdf but I was unable to activate the edit option. I printed out hard copies, and have been looking for a fax number or physical address to send the forms. The people at Michael’s keep saying to scan the image into my computer and email it, but I don’t have a scanner. I emailed them again last week. They got back to me saying to take a picture of the form and email it to them. Well, duh. I’ve been dealing with this for several weeks now, and it never occurred to me to take a picture. I am just not one of those people who is very tech minded. Apparently neither are most of the staff in HR, since nobody else suggested it either.

We are moving forward with putting a DBSA meeting in Oak Cliff. I went to a meeting and met a very helpful man named Patrick LeBlanc who works with Bridging the Gap Foundation. He gave us a referral to a local church who will hopefully be willing to give us space. I sent an email this morning. I called last week but didn’t manage to connect.

I need to empty suitcases still, and start packing for my work trip in 2 weeks. Really I only need 4 days of clothes so it will be the carry on. No checked luggage for me.

We are replacing the floor in the bathroom so I need to get in there and clean it a bit. I would keep using it, but I spilled some toothpaste on the sink and it left a clean spot. I didn’t think the sink was dirty until that happened. Yes I am oblivious. My roommate F says it looks like a boy’s bathroom. I think, it probably looks like a teenager’s bathroom.

I also have an opportunity to enter the Art214 exhibition. It’s juried which is a little challenging, but there is no entry fee so it’s within my budget. I can’t tell if I’m excited or nervous, which probably means I should enter. What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t like my art and I don’t get to show it, which is no different than my situation now.

We watched AJ and the Queen yesterday. The whole season. I was up until almost 4 am and slept until 1 in the afternoon. Totally worth it. Now let me be honest, this isn’t going to win any awards. But it has RuPaul, and I love her, and many cameos from drag queens both in and out of drag. Chad Michaels, Jujubee, Bianca del Rio, and Latrice Royale to name a few. The plot was a little predictable — I figured out the big reveal before the end of the second episode — and periodically a little preachy, but also funny and heartwarming. I give it a solid B+, thoroughly enjoyable.

So that’s been my week. Also a solid B+. Time to call my daughter again and see about working out.


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Yeah, I’m Manic

Or at least I’m hypomanic, since I am not psychotic.

I feel like I could stay up all night again, I have things to do! I’m not over excited, I’m just darn busy.

Except of course Fred will make me put the light off so I can’t really write letters or work on my ecourse.

I bought a collection of wellness stuff. Of course it’s designed for active people which I am not. But since I am trying to eat more responsibly, I figured the protein bars would make a good breakfast. I am getting deucedly tired of eggs.

I ate a rice krispies bar with breakfast this morning and it was SO good. I’m thinking of having another one in a little while.

See? I just ADHD’ed my way into another topic. Squirrel! Wellness stuff right to I want a snack. Another sign of mania for me.

Anyway, here is the stuff:

shipment of good stuff

So 3 boxes of snack bars, 2 supplements, 2 energy boosters, a box of water flavors, and the chocolate shake mix with the mixing bottle. I figure it will make for a different breakfast if nothing else, and see what happens. Maybe a protein shake and an energy bar will see me through the day and I can finally get that fasting started.

I did see my psychiatrist the other day, and he agreed with me that maybe I should increase the mood stabilizer back up a notch. He thinks I have sleep apnea, however, and that’s the reason I have a hard time waking up, that I’m not sleeping well. I don’t mind doing the sleep study, but I’m not gonna sleep with the mask on. I am not comfortable sleeping on my back and I feel claustrophobic just thinking of wearing the elephant nose.

But it’s the shopping that has me a little worried. I’ve bought the wellness stuff in the picture, and some books, and some socks, and a box of cards. Oh, and stamps. And that’s just in the last 24 hours. That doesn’t include all the art supplies or the yarn that I have sitting in a cart or the zines that came the other day. Or the trip to the metaphysical shop. Or the bizarre bazaar. I love shopping, but I have to get it under control. This is too much. It’s stuff I don’t need. It’s not about the money, although I could easily spend way too much money; it’s about not needing things and buying them anyway.

And I want to say, except books. Because to me books are a special kind of magic. But even books with no place to go are clutter. Even very cool books. It breaks my heart, but it’s true.

Just naming the mania makes it better. I feel like, I am not in the grips of it, I am observing it and I can choose to feed it or not. And mostly I choose not.

I’ve had a little paranoia lately, thinking people are mad at me or talking about me when they aren’t. It seems reasonable in my head that folks are having emotions about me. How self centered! People are too busy with their own lives to worry that much about me. I mean, I’m wonderful and amazing, but so is everybody else. I’m not any more interesting than your own life. In fact, in a perfect world, your life is the most fascinating one for you. (I know what I want to say, I just can’t seem to say it gracefully.)

Hopefully in the next few days this will pass. The increase in meds should help. The fact that bipolar is cyclical should help. Convincing myself to sleep should help.

I have a lot of reading to do. I’m going to try reading a little and see if that settles me down into sleep. Better sleep hygiene will help with everything.


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My Body

My body rather disgusts me. I really don’t like my body.

I am middle aged and fat (yes, over 250, I qualify as fat) and things don’t work the way they used to.

I have a rotator cuff injury to my right shoulder so I have somewhat limited range of motion.

I am going gray. Now it’s the gray you want to have, it’s a pretty gray, but I’d rather be a natural purple. Yes I know nobody is a natural purple, but since it’s not gonna happen, I can pick whatever color I like. I have tried coloring it, but really too much of a hassle.

I have too much tummy and no waist.

I have small boobs. Well, not so small, but only B cups so they don’t balance out the gut. Plus I have many years with no bra due to renaissance faires so they are saggy. They don’t like each other so I don’t have nice cleavage. Remember the old bra commercial, “It lifts and separates”? My bosoms would live in separate counties if they could manage it. Good bras make a difference, but I feel like I’m lying about how much I’ve been blessed with. If I ever have a boyfriend again, I’ll have to keep my bra on during sex.

That whole female bleeding thing. I’ve been dealing with it for over 40 years now, can it please stop? Please?

Speaking of goo, now that I’m older I have issues with incontinence. Sometimes I pee what I laugh or cough or sneeze. The cough has been an issue with the current round of allergy crap. And as a fat person, they don’t make pee panties in my size. Hey, Depends, I’m looking at you. Not to mention I don’t want to wear a pad all month long. Bad enough during shark week.

Now I have poop issues. I get the feeling I have to go, and damn I’d better go! There is no holding it. I have had to clean myself up in public rest rooms on more than one occasion. It’s embarrassing. Walking into the grocery store, asking where the ladies room is, with a load in my pants because I couldn’t control it. Can’t stand it. Horrifying.

And there is the facial hair. I don’t mean a little fuzz on the lip. I have PCOS which means my body fights me in annoying ways, and it has given me a full beard. I shave every day, just like my dad. I wanted to be like my dad when I was a kid, but not in this way. I would like to be able to go camping and not come out of the woods looking like Grizzly Adams. One day I will have the money for laser treatments, but until then, I’m stuck with the razor.

I am outliving my teeth. Now I didn’t expect to make it to 55. My parents died at 47 to cancer and heart trouble. I figured I’d die young also. But no, at the rate I’m going, I’ll see 90. My teeth however probably won’t. They simply break. I am dreadfully afraid of the dentist, and I can’t afford one that I’m not. I have a tender mouth and all the work is painful to me. I can’t pay for full anesthetic dentistry or I would.

And my eyes. I am near sighted to the point of almost legally blind. I am presbyopic which means I should have bifocals only they make me dizzy. And I am developing a cataract in my left eye. It will need surgery at some point, but until then I am seeing through a gray haze on that side.

Now I am really struggling here. My dislike of my body means I tend not to take care of it, though clearly taking care of it would make it less disgusting to me. Eating is an issue. Working out is an issue. Money for dentistry or laser hair removal is an issue.

In the meantime, I live in a physical world. I like to feel the cat’s soft fur. Chocolate tastes good. Color, the existence of color, is an exquisite gift. I knit and crochet, I love the fibers, the texture, the colors. Hugs are amazing. The smell of lilacs. All these things need a body to appreciate them.

Here is this tool that makes it possible to interact with the world, and it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I escape into my mind, the world of ideas. I read. I think. I get online. It’s all intellectual because that doesn’t need a body. I can escape for a minute.

I am trying to learn to be good to my body. I’m trying to eat better. I go to the doctor a little more often. I want to work out, but it seems like a huge hassle. And yet I don’t want to be a little old lady in a wheelchair because I didn’t take care of myself at 50. I already suffer from not taking care of myself at 30.

So I will learn to accept this body, because it is the one I have. Because it isn’t healthy to hate oneself. Because there are enjoyable things about the physical world.

One day, we will make peace, my body and I.


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9 Tools for Health

I was watching a documentary called Heal on Netflix.

One of the experts said she looked at what people with chronic or fatal illnesses did to promote health, and came up with a list of 15 items. Now not everyone did all of them, but they all did 9 of them. She didn’t provide the entire list, but she did provide the 9:

  1. Radically changing your diet
  2. Taking control of your health
  3. Following your intuition
  4. Using herbs and supplements
  5. Releasing suppressed emotion
  6. Increasing positive emotions
  7. Embracing social support
  8. Deepening your spiritual connection
  9. Have a strong reason for living

So here I am, just an average person, not having a life-threatening illness. I believe I can benefit from following the same guidelines. So this is my assessment of my general health from these traits.

I am working on changing my diet. My roommate has gone keto and I have shifted to low carb in solidarity. I admit that I eat sandwiches and burgers away from home, which involve bread. But I don’t bring carbs into the house and I eat most meals here. I’ve lost about 10 lbs since starting this, which is not a lot but it’s better than gaining which has been my default for the past several years.

I can take control of my health. I can be proactive about making healthier choices, like more exercise. And I can be more outspoken with my doctor in terms of advocating for myself.

I can definitely learn to follow my intuition more. We all have that little voice that tells us when things aren’t quite right. It can also tell you when to move forward, even if you don’t think you’re ready yet. For me, intuition is that moment when the universe opens up and gives you a hint about what’s coming and what to do. I can pay more attention to that and act accordingly.

Using herbs and supplements. I’m not so good at that. I do have a multivitamin that I try to remember to take in the morning. I don’t succeed that often. I should just add it to the box with my other meds. I have used to take potassium; calcium; fish oil; vitamins B, C and E; liver powder; and cinnamon. I don’t know if I felt much different on any of them. Except the fish oil, because I have no gall bladder so it’s difficult for me to digest that kind of fat. I guess I can look into different herbal supplements and see if anything else makes a difference.

I don’t know about releasing emotion. Part of it is, I’m bipolar and letting big emotion express itself is likely to increase my symptoms. That said, I can work on letting go of negative stuck emotions even if I can’t release them to the desired degree. I don’t have to hold onto toxic emotions.

I’m pretty sure I already work to increase positive emotions. I’m equally sure that everybody on the planet does that. People don’t usually choose to stay in the negative place. People usually choose to keep doing what makes them happy. I think this is part of human nature.

Ah, social support. So necessary and so hard to find. That’s part of why I go to group so often, pure and simple support. It’s difficult to ask for support. It’s almost like dating, people are afraid of being rejected. If you ask for help, you have to be open to the possibility that the answer is no. No doesn’t feel good. It takes courage to ask for support.

I don’t really have any plans to deepen my spirituality. I’m not a religious person. I do believe in a higher power of some kind. Mostly I believe in science to explain what is going on, and the idea that everything is made of energy which we get from quantum mechanics. Matter seems to be made of waves of energy. If it’s all energy, and I am energy, then the fields can interact and I can make actual changes to myself. That sounds very airy-fairy new age, and yet . . .

I do have a strong reason for living. I am bipolar, my ex husband was bipolar, and our daughter is bipolar. About 3 years ago, my ex completed a suicide. I need my daughter to know that having this diagnosis is not a death sentence. Having this diagnosis is just a way to explain my experience of life. It does not limit me or define me, and it does not mean that I can’t handle living in this world.

So I think I’m doing pretty good on my way to health, and I still have a lot to do. What are you doing?


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Making Coffee in a Strange Kitchen

I’m house sitting for a friend. She went to Europe. Often I would be envious but not in this case: I know what she puts herself through to save for her adventures. I don’t have that kind of self-discipline. I hope she has fun.

What she does have, is a cat named Archie. He apparently doesn’t take well to staying alone so I am here to take care of him. He is meowing for food but his dish has food in it. From this morning and from yesterday. In the morning, before I leave, I will clean his dishes and put out all new food.

Now what she doesn’t have, is cable tv. I am a person who runs the tv all the time for background noise. I’m darn glad she gets Netflix is all I can say. And she has set up a profile for me. I’ve watched way too many NCIS, a few Person of Interest and some Sherlock. I saw a documentary about eating called The Magic Pill. One of the things I thought was interesting was the connection between how we eat and the environment. I also watched a movie called Dumplin’ which was about a girl who loves Dolly Parton entering a pageant. Spoiler: she doesn’t win. But it was heartwarming nonetheless.

My coffee is cold and there is no microwave to hot it up. My friend lives close to the bone to save for travel, but the no microwave thing is more of a life choice. She objects to them. She claims they are not good for food and she is into clean eating. I’m struggling with keto and she is adding in the secondary layer of ethical sourcing. Hats off to her, it’s more than I would do.

I need to rearrange my stuff tonight. I brought an extra bag of activities so that I would have something to do while I was here, but I don’t want to check a bag on the plane tomorrow so I have to consolidate. I figure I’ll leave the extra bag here and pick it up later. But I do need to go through the bags and figure out what goes and what stays.

The travel. Not sure if I mentioned that already. I am going to Alabama for some training next week; Sunday – tomorrow – is my travel day. Oh that reminds me, I must get my boarding pass into my Apple wallet. I can stand a week of pay, since I’m not going to Alaska this time around. My training counts as a deployment so I probably go to the bottom of the list. I’ll have a wait.

I have written about 20 letters for International Correspondence Writers Month, called InCoWriMo. I have maybe 10 more addresses that I pulled off the website. Then I have a stack of mail that needs replies. I figure the nights this week will be good for getting some writing done. I need to get going on my morning pages too, even though I don’t actually do them in the morning.

I will miss my support groups this week but work is good. I should make myself some eggs and toast, and settle in to sleep early.