Kiss5Tigers

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


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DBSA Vision Board Presentation

Monday afternoon is DBSA at MHA. I got to do my vision board presentation again. I’m getting pretty good at it, and people are enjoying it. I’m actually amazed that people think I’m as good at it as they believe. I mean, I’m used to having to work so hard to be successful at something, so to have this pretty much come naturally is a real gift. I mean it, it feels like a present to me.

Most people shared their vision boards, a few people didn’t. I always ask if they’d like to share, and remind them that “no” is an acceptable answer to that question. One lady decided her piece was too personal to share, another was new to the group and felt shy. I am not about forcing people to do something that makes them uncomfortable. I want people to feel safe and respected.

There was a new lady today, and I talked to her for quite a while after the meeting. She had a lot of family issues that affected her deeply and she just needed to get it all out and not be judged. I am very good at not judging. I am a good listener. So I sat with her until almost 6, just because she needed to talk.

One of the guys asked for my number today and said he’d like to hang out sometime. I don’t know if I think this is a potential dating situation or not. I don’t think I’m his type and he is better looking than me, but maybe he can see past my plainness to my heart. It could happen. And yet I don’t want to think too much about this. We can be friends, see what happens. Maybe nothing.

He joined us for coffee at Cafe Brazil last week, and paid for my snack. And he hung around after class today and helped me bring stuff downstairs. So maybe he is being friendly but maybe it’s a little more. I can’t tell, but right now I don’t mind the uncertainty.

It’s nice to feel a little bit of interest. I have felt pretty much asexual for several years now. I’ve thought maybe it was menopause or maybe it’s my meds. Many antidepressants kill sex drive. So it’s fun to feel a little like, maybe there’s some interest there. No expectations, just noticing that I can still feel this way.

The rest of the week will be pretty busy. I have Recovery International tomorrow morning. Wednesday I’m covering Taking Care of You for the usual facilitator who is out of town. Thursday I’m doing the vision board presentation for the last time. Friday is ATTA. I missed them last week, I just plain did too much and was worn out.

I often wonder about that. When I work, I work 10 hour days, 7 days a week, and it doesn’t bother me. Then I get furloughed and I have weeks or even months to myself. But I have had regular 40 hour a week jobs, and they just drain me. Why is that? I feel like it must be related to the bipolar pattern.

And, I have been asked a couple of times now how people can help me out, since I am having money issues at the moment. If you want to make a donation, my PayPal is under rippledwords@yahoo.com. Otherwise I have an Etsy store where you could consider buying something. I am really feeling the crunch, any little bit would help.

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Vision Board Presentation

I did my first vision board workshop today. It went very well.

So, vision boards. In simple terms, it’s a sort of affirmation meets arts and crafts proposition, but it actually works.

When you think a thought often, you strengthen that pathway through your brain. It becomes easier to think that thought again. So if you are thinking something negative, it becomes easier to keep thinking it. That’s why we get caught in thought loops about being, say, ugly or worthless or stupid.

But the reverse is true too: If we get into the habit of thinking positive thoughts, those also become easier to think. That’s why affirmations work. You spend more time thinking a positive thought, it becomes easier to think it, and eventually it becomes second nature. I am a good person replaces I’m worthless.

Now the left side of the brain contains the language centers. Working with words like affirmations activates the left side of the brain. But there is another side of the brain, one that does not think in words but in pictures. You are familiar with its way of thinking, you call it intuition. It’s the things you know that you don’t have the words to express, because you don’t know it in words. In order to make changes, you want to activate the whole brain. So how do we activate the non-verbal righthand side?

Turns out, art and imagery are a good way to engage the right side. So if we want to fully activate the entire brain, working with words and images together is one good way. So if we combine the words of an affirmation with pictures, we get vision boards.

There are several benefits to creating one yourself. First of all it causes you to think about the topic. In my presentation, the topic was “live your best life” so people had to think about what their best life would be like. Then they had to find words and images that spoke to those ideas. Now some magazines have content that fits exactly, but lots of time it’s just a case of symbolism. You might, for example, find the word “relaxation” or you might find a picture of a hammock. They speak to different parts of the brain.

People find that once they go through these exercises, the ideas really do stick. And because they stick, we act on them. Maybe not consciously, but we open ourselves to possibilities and take actions in line with the new way of thinking. Both halves of the brain work together to bring about a change.

So my little group of people, they are going to find themselves experiencing some changes in the future. They have developed an idea of what their best life looks like and feels like, and they have worked it into both sides of their brains. The non-verbal side will influence their behaviors even if the verbal side still provides negative messages.

People had fun with the activity. One of the ladies found an image that clearly depicted the kind of confidence she wanted to have. One of the men found wonderful words that spoke to his self-described zen self. Several people asked for another piece of paper to do another one at home.

The only complaint was that there weren’t enough male images. Now that’s no surprise. I get mostly women’s magazines, and for some reason I didn’t have any Wired or Fast Company in my stack. I did have some National Geographics. But it’s a valid concern, so I will have to hit up Half Price Books and see if I can find some Sports Illustrated or GQ. Maybe Men’s Health.

So I would say this was very successful, and I’m excited to be doing it another several times. After this, I start to monetize it. Because I need something I can do when I’m not working for the government.


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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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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!


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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?