Kiss5Tigers

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


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What I’ve Been Doing

I was sitting here drinking the coffee that my roommate L has made for me and I realized that you don’t know what I actually do with my time while I’m demobilized.  I’ve done a fair amount of complaining about things and I’ve certainly shared my (mis)adventures, but really life is pretty good and I want to share some of that.

I sleep most days until 9 or 10 in the morning.  I usually wake up with my cats cuddled up to me, which makes me happy.  If you have pets, you understand this.  Or children, I suppose, though as a mother I dislike comparing pets and children.

I get up and check facebook and email and other online things I’m working on.  I take my morning meds and eat some peanut butter toast.  I like the way the hot toast melts the peanut butter.  Usually by then L is up so there is coffee.  Now you may ask why I don’t make my own coffee since I certainly know how.  The truth is, we use a French press and the thing is just a pain to clean.  I am lazy.  That’s my big secret.  If L makes the coffee, she cleans it up.  Yup, that’s it, silly as it is.

Most days I go to a support group.  I use a peer run support group cluster that is available through a local mental health facility.  It’s free.  Mondays is DBSA, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and we are working out of a book about managing life while struggling with a behavioral health concern.  Tuesday is Recovery International which has a very formal method.  It does however teach you to deal with daily life, something I don’t always do very well.  Wednesday is the PTSD group.  I don’t have PTSD but nobody is without trauma.  Thursday is a depression support group.  Friday is ATTA, which stands for Achievement Through the Arts.  It’s for artists with brain differences, so there is a mix of people with issues ranging from schizophrenia to injury.  Most of these groups meet for 2 hours, so that gives me a whole lotta free time.

I have been writing letters.  I have an extensive mailing list that I am trying to send everybody something and see who writes back.  Then I’ll keep up with the respondents.  I like getting mail and to get mail, one must send mail.

I also have been working on the 100 Hats project.  I want to sell them but I suspect most of them will wind up donated.  And that’s fine, for me the joy is in the making.  Speaking of making, I am working on some art pieces as well.  One of them is based on my friend K’s living room.

I stay up with my roommates until around 1 in the morning, then I lay in bed on the phone until 2 then I sleep.  So 10 am is really 8 hours of sleep, which is good for me.

I do see friends and go out to eat and run errands.  It makes for a pretty full life, but I would like to be deployed again.  Not that I wish for bad things to happen, but when a disaster hits, I am ready.


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Don’t Get Cocky

The Universe has a way of evening things out.

Today, I got a call from my support group facilitator.  He is also a peer.  He’d had an active weekend and just didn’t have the spoons to lead this week, so he asked if I would.  Of course I said yes.  I want to be helpful but also I like facilitating.

I went in early and set up.  J and B arrived.  Then 2 more B’s, E and M.  It was a full house.  I started the group at 5 after, just in case anyone arrived late.  I started off by reviewing the rules, which the group mostly stated to me.  I think the facilitator would be pleased to know that.

We did two pages of exercises from the workbook we are using, and the rest of the time we just talked.  Now the usual facilitator is very book oriented.  I am more relationship oriented.  I was glad to see people reach out to each other and provide feedback.

M brought up a good question.  A doctor can, for example, prescribe a particular kind of mattress if someone needs it.  Most of us have doctors who want us to attend these meetings.  There is a cost to the book.  Only $25, but for some of us that’s a lot of money.  If the doctor prescribed the class, would the cost of the book be covered by insurance?  Oh, probably not, because that’s how things work out, but if I went for physical therapy and needed equipment it would be covered.  This is psycho-therapy – at least loosely – and the book is the equipment.  I think we should try it out.

Anyway, I felt pretty good when I left.  I feel pretty good about my facilitating.  People enjoyed the meeting and I think they got something out of it.

I was driving home, minding my own business, when the Universe decided to make sure I didn’t get too cocky.  Suddenly my engine didn’t sound right.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  I looked down at the dashboard and saw that the temperature was redlined.  I pulled over and shut off the engine.

I pay for good insurance, so I called my roadside assistance and they sent someone out to tow me home.  I waited about an hour in 100 degree heat for a 10 minute tow.  So be it.  It was covered.  I checked fluids and oil was low, so I bought some oil that I’ve added.  Now it’s too dark out for me to be able to check the level again so it will have to wait for the morning.

I hope the low oil is the whole problem.  If not, I don’t know how I’ll pay for it.  I mean, I have 6 hours of training to do in the next week or so, so that’s a few dollars.  There is always unemployment.  I just need to drive the car around the block or something and see if the temperature shoots up again.

I’m just glad I had The Artist’s Way with me  while I was waiting.  It’s a good read.  More about that later.


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What I Did Today

Today has been a rather eventful day. Especially considering it was supposed to be a relatively slow day.

The plan was to start the day about 8:30 or 9:00, take a shower, go to Recovery International, and have lunch with a friend. I did actually wake up at 8:45 but it all went to hell after that.

It started with a text message from my daughter: “Dude the last 12 hours have been ridiculous and a waste of $100.”

I knew she was serious because she doesn’t usually call me dude. It took a few messages, and you need some back story to know what was going on.

Daughter is on a road trip with some friends. They went to Rainbow Gathering in Georgia, then spent a few days in Naples, FL and were headed to New Orleans. At 5 in the morning they hit Pensacola and decided to stop. They were going to sleep in the car under a bridge but they found out that someone else had tried the same thing about 10 hours earlier and got shot dead. Now we are talking about 3 girls in a car who don’t know anybody. That means some random person — and in my head it’s a homeless guy bumming a cigarette — told them this story that made them uncomfortable. They decided to rent a hotel room instead. This is the $100. Check out time was 11:00 so they didn’t even get showers.

Then before hitting the road again, they went to a dog park. One of the girls had brought her 2 dogs which seems like a lot but personally I’m glad they had the protection. One of the dogs got off the leash, and someone pulled a gun on the girls. I asked my daughter about this, because I thought the whole point of a dog park was to let the dogs off their leash. She replied, “THAT’S WHAT YOU WOULD THINK, HUH?” And followed it up with, “Fuck Pensacola!”

The problem of course was that they had no money and no food. Uh huh. I’m surprised I didn’t get this call sooner. I’m on unemployment right now and I hadn’t gotten paid for the last two weeks yet, so I said there was nothing I could do. My roommate F gave me $60 to send her. We spent an hour trying to figure it out, and finally I paypal’d it to her. She is in New Orleans now, no further incidents.

The girls lucked out in New Orleans, too. They got an Air BnB a couple blocks off the French Quarter for 3 days for under $150. I might be jealous!

All of this took the hour I had for getting to my meeting. I still had to take shower before I could go and get dressed. I made it to RI but I was an hour late.

What is RI? In this case, Recovery International. It’s a sort of rational recovery program for mental health issues. Dr. Low developed the method back in the 50’s, so that was early days for psychiatry in a lot of ways. He referred to his patients as “nervous” rather than ill. He believed that getting worked up was an expression of either fearful or angry temper. He defined fearful as internal and angry as direction outward. His method is basically to have people talk themselves down using sayings and adages that he calls tools. They might be as simple as “peace is our goal” or as complicated as “people do things that annoy us, not to annoy us,” or even as pithy as “Try not to take your own dear self too seriously”. We meet weekly as a group and talk about how to use these tools in our daily lives.

I was so late, I missed the reading for the day and about half the discussion. At least I got to check in with everyone.

Afterwards I caught up with my friend R. He is the president of the local chapter of DBSA ( Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance )and he was delivering flyers around town. He wanted company while he did it, and basically he bribed me with lunch. It was a good day. I met several people in the mental health field, ranging from EAP workers (employee assistance plan) to the folks at Prism Health (AIDS Arms) .  I really feel like, when I get done with the government, I can find a place in mental health, which is where I want to be.  Eventually.

Lunch was at a place called Henk’s which does German food and has a European bakery and chocolate shop in the restaurant. We got the lentil soup, which was amazing. I also got a salad. R got a side of sauerkraut and a beer with his. Turns out the bakery provides the treats to the Black Forest Cafe, a coffee shop that’s in my favorite bookstore, Half Price Books. Later we stopped for coffee. I had an iced cold brew which was very refreshing. R paid both times, which I thought was very kind of him. Basically, it took us all afternoon.

On the way home, I got a message from my roommate. His meds were ready at the pharmacy so would I pick them up? I ended up going to the pharmacy, the grocery store, and a local chicken joint. I stopped at the mailbox because I was hoping either my new headphones or my book had arrived but alas, no such luck. I finally got paid my unemployment, so I ordered some stamps online. I really like the current round of stamps, they are becoming very creative.

It is finally bed time. I have group tomorrow afternoon so I can sleep in a little. The cats are sitting on the bed waiting for me. All I need to do is take out my contacts. It’s been a busy day, but a good one.


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Being unfriended

I got a private message from someone saying that my comments on her posts only make her feel worse so she was going to unfriend me.  She must have already blocked me because I just happened to be online so I read the message almost as soon as it was posted and I wasn’t able to reply to her.

This makes me sad.  I didn’t know I was bothering her with my comments.  I wish she had said something before it got to this point.  I wish I knew better how to connect with her.

I know her from a mental health support group.  I assume she has issues, but then I have issues.  We all have issues there.  That’s why we’re in a mental health support group in the first place.  I would usually go to that group for feedback, but I don’t feel like I can.  I don’t want to piss her off even more, for a start, but I also don’t want to open myself up to trolling if I really am a jerk.

I don’t think I’m a jerk, but it matters what other people think of me.  Not a lot, but some.  I mean, you can hardly be a jerk to yourself but you might not see how you are being a jerk to other people.  We all get nearsighted and can’t see how what we did affects others.

So tell me I am being difficult for you before you get to the point where all you can do is run away.  I thought we were getting to know each other, but apparently that didn’t cut both ways.  I am sad.  I’m sad that she unfriended me and I’m sad that she didn’t speak up sooner and I’m sad that I don’t know what I did.

 


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Finding a Schedule

I seem to be blogging every other day, which is good until I go back to work.

Sleep hygiene is suffering lately.  I was somewhat manic and I’m not working, both of which push my sleep time later in the day.  Yesterday I slept until 1:30 in the afternoon so I just wasn’t tired at bedtime.  I wasn’t tired until after 4:30 am.  In the meantime,  I  heard from a friend that she needs help getting to work early tomorrow.  I am going to sleep at her house tonight so I can be there in the morning.  Well, I need to get up around 5 am, and I didn’t see me getting any kind of sleep if I went to bed late.  So I decided to stay up.  I figure I’ll be ready to crash right about the time I should go to sleep to get up in time.

It’s Fathers’ Day which is a non-event for me.  My grandfather’s and father have long since passed away.  My ex husband has also died.  I suppose I could call my uncle and wish him happy Fathers’ Day but that seems like fishing for inclusion.  I owe my uncle a call anyway, I just think I’ll put it off until Monday.

I filed my payment request for unemployment.  They say I have been awarded nothing at this time, but I will keep filing.  They should have all the documentation by now, but I will call them Monday as well just to be sure.  I should have something in my payment column since I worked until the middle of May.

Hawaii has been declared for individual assistance.  I hope that means deployment.  I’m dying to work!  Several other states have requested assistance, so maybe soon.

My roommate says the cats were glaring at me to go to bed, but I doubt it.  They probably wanted a snack or some attention.  My other roommate made coffee, so I am soon going to be sufficiently caffeinated.  Then I will clean out my car so my friend can be comfortable in it.

Today will be busier than planned.


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Finally Settling Down

I slept last night.  I got up about 10:30 this morning and went into the living room and slept sitting up on the sofa until 1:30.  I think I can no longer consider myself manic.  It will, however, mess with my sleeping to get up so late.  I won’t be tired at bedtime.  I might stay up all night just to get my sleep back on track.  I don’t know.  It will depend how I feel in 12 hours.

Hamlet the kitty passed last night.  He was a good kitty.  He was also elderly and sickly, so he is at peace now.  It makes me cry.  I tried so hard not to get attached to him, after all I have 2 of my own.  Three days ago I held him in my lap and petted him.  He barely purred but whenever I stopped he reached out for more.  For the last 2 days, he has laid on the kitchen floor, not eating or drinking.  Every time I went past him, I’d stop and pet him for a second.  This is not a surprise but I feel it as a loss.

I have been reading about the immigrant families that have been separated, and watching The Zookeeper’s Wife.  They feel like the same thing to me.  One story told in two different ways.  There is some difference between them, but the underlying feeling is the same.  I have my representatives’ phone numbers and I vote.  I don’t know what else to do.

My heart is actually with the homeless.  I have read about the Stewpot downtown Dallas and they are doing a lot of things I think are valuable.  Things that are within my vision of what I would want to do.  I should volunteer down there but I am not able to commit a lot of time with my unpredictable work schedule.  I hear from a friend that “it’s not a place for a lady” but I don’t think I’m that much of a lady.  A woman for sure but more like a tough old broad.  Not a ballbuster though.  Still, all those children separated from their families breaks my heart.  But how can I worry about them when we can’t even take care of our own?

The Stewpot

 


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On Being Slightly Manic

It happens from time to time.  I think I’m okay and then, well, I’m not.

It 2:10 am and I just ate my third meal of the day.  I have eaten toast, a McDouble, and now 2 servings of pasta salad with no protein component.  I think if it had meat in it, I might have had only 1 serving.  The problem with eating so late is that it means I have been up long enough to get hungry again.  Now I will have some increase in energy and feel even less like sleeping.

Sleep has been off for me the last few days.  I’ve been up late at night, though I still sleep only 8 or so hours.  I just would rather sleep until say 7:30 not 12:30 in the afternoon.  I am a slow waker so I don’t want to get up late since it will take an hour or so to start my day.  And if it’s too late in the day, I might get nothing done at all.

But I am up now.  Up and typing and wondering if there’s anybody else awake who’d like to interact.  Probably not.  Or at least, if they are, they are looking for someone to talk dirty and I’m not down for that.

Up and a little ADD right now.  I am typing, watching TV, monitoring both email and facebook, eating, trying to pet the cat (the cat is not cooperating) and planning some art projects.  It’s really too much and I should be overwhelmed or distracted but I’m not.

I’m talking a little too much today I think.  I feel like I took over group today, even though I really didn’t.  I feel pushy and a little controlling.  I think I don’t act that way, but I feel it.

If I had money, I would do some shopping.  At this time of night it would be online shopping, which is fun twice.  Once when I do the shopping itself and again when the stuff arrives.  I don’t need anything so shopping is frivolous.

My computer is going to die shortly, the battery has almost run out.  I will put the computer to charge then get out my knitting, watch TV and knit.  Or maybe I’ll plug in the computer out here and watch some anime and knit.

I should sleep, sleeping would be the smart thing, but I’m not tired yet.  Maybe I’ll stay up tonight and try to sleep at a normal time tomorrow.