Kiss5Tigers

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


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Life Moving Forward

I got an invitation to speak at a DBSA meeting in December. I accepted, pending deployment. At this rate, I assume I will not be.

It’s a panel discussion, sort of “meet the facilitators” type of thing. I don’t really have much to say. I feel like I’m something of a unicorn. I haven’t been hospitalized, I haven’t tried suicide, I gave up self medicating without a struggle, the doctor got the medication right the first time. I mean, I’m proof it can happen but I don’t feel like I’m typical. I am a little embarrassed by how easy it’s been for me.

The WRAP class is coming together. The facilitator has picked dates and times, I am just looking for a location. If we get enough people, we can have a room at UT Southwestern, but that location alone will cut down on the people who can get there. Ah, the balancing act. If they want it badly enough, they will come. But if you make it impossible for them to get there, you are not serving the population.

I have a dreadful cough. It’s making my ribs hurt but is rarely productive. Clearly an itch, post nasal drip. Probably an allergy. This is Texas after all.

Took my daughter to Planned Parenthood the other day. She has a boyfriend and doesn’t want babies, so she needs birth control. I like Planned Parenthood. They were affordable and professional, and she felt comfortable. Clean. Kind.

We tried a new poke place, Royal I.T. Cafe. It was adorable. We both got the Seafood Bowl. It was huge. The rice was hot which was a nice contrast to the chilled fish. There were 6 shrimps, an ice cream scoop of spicy tuna with mayo and a huge serving of salmon. Plus red onions, avocado and furikake. Neither one of us could finish it, but it was SO GOOD.

I went to art therapy today at Dallas Art Therapy, sponsored by Foundation45. It was interesting. I am too much in my head, though. I did better the first one than the second, but I did learn something. I wrote “the pain is not symmetrical” by which I meant physical pain, but it applies to my emotional pain as well. Most of my pain is due to loss. I feel it. The other person, the dead person, doesn’t miss me. Which is okay. I would hate for my mother to spend her afterlife missing me. Grief is rather one-sided, I’m afraid, but that is the nature of it.

I have signed up for a course from Leonie Dawson called “40 Days to Create + Sell Your ECourse“. I figure, I can be inspirational. I can use a stream of income that flows even when I’m busy. And Leonie, well, I remember when she was figuring it out. She’s got it sussed. I should definitely follow her path.

Maybe instead of writing a book, I should release a series of e-courses. Each chapter could be another course. There’s a thought . . .

I am also working on a book about human pollinators. They do the job that bees used to do, but by hand. I am trying to work out the action in the plot. I have some ideas, but no real outline yet. Still, everything starts somewhere.

I think that covers it for now. Like most of my posts, not really anything earth-shattering, but then life is full of average moments. I’m thinking of a nap now, actually bed based on the time, though it’s a bit early. Rest is so important.

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Hopeful Things

I’m feeling better, so that’s good. My ribs are still sore from being sick so it’s painful to cough but that will improve with time.

I made an amends to someone today. I don’t know what I needed to do, apologize doesn’t exactly work, so I ended up with 12-step language. She said we’re good, so I’m glad I did it.

Group was good today. The tables in the room had been rearranged and it gave us a different energy. Plus new people. One of them talked about his wife with such emotion, it’s so cool to see married people still in love. Made me happy.

I had breakfast with my daughter. She is planning to go back to school in January, assuming I get to work. She’s only planning on going part time, so with books it should be around $600, which is affordable. IF I’m working. Which I probably will be, since it’s storm season.

Ah, work. I enjoy working when I can. I wish I would be called back to work soon. It’s been since December, and people I know have been deployed, just not me. Well, that 12 day deployment earlier this month, so I hope they contact me again soon. I need to spend more time on USAJobs.gov to see what I can get.

I need to start reading the grant writing book that Bonnie gave me. I meet with her next week, wait, later this week, so I should have at least some idea of what I’m doing.

Grant writing is one of those things that, if I’m going to work in mental health, I’d better learn how to do it. It would be great to be able to take Kiss5Tigers and make it a 501(c)(3) non profit. (At least I think that’s the right code.) Or if I could set up 5Tigers Charities as a wholly- owned entity. Ah, dreams, lol.

So yeah, it will be useful to me, it will give back to a place that has given me quite a bit, and it’s a marketable skill. Win-win to be mentored in grant writing. Which I’ve known for years.

I need to be in touch with APAA about space for the WRAP class. I did speak with someone a couple weeks ago and he said it would take a while, but I need to make details public as soon as I can. I have the instructor, I have students, I just need a classroom.

I need to work on something creative. I have a scarf I can knit, but I really want to paint. Maybe tomorrow afternoon, after Recovery International.

I need to get that list of bands to my friend. A friend is looking for some new music and thought my daughter would be a good source, so I asked her for a list of 6 or 10 bands she thought I’d like, that I could share with my friend. I have the list, I just haven’t shared the information yet.

Things are going well. Stuff in progress, all looking good.


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Shopping

Shopping is bad for me.

And yet I love to do it.

I did some online shopping. I ordered stamps, which I need. I ordered art supplies, which maybe I don’t need, but they are with a purpose. I ordered some really cool yarn for specific projects. I love yarn so one of my rules for myself is that I must have a project in mind. And I went on Etsy and ordered some vintage ephemera for junk journaling.

I also spend money on tickets to the Perot Museum with friends on Saturday and some yogurt pretzels. Then Saturday night have dinner out with friends, Sunday I have a ceramics class, and Monday I have dinner out with my roommates.

I’m hemorrhaging cash.

I need to get this under control.

I also need to put gas in the car, help my daughter pay for a replacement ID and do a little grocery shopping.

Money vanishes so fast! I don’t feel like I”m doing much but I’m spending too much.

In other news, Hurricane Dorian is a thing. It’s due to strike Puerto Rico and Florida, two places that got slammed last hurricane season and aren’t dug out yet. Neither one is prepared for another disaster.

Roommate says I need to clean my room. How do I say, it’s hot so I don’t want to hang out in there? I have an air conditioner in the window, but it’s an older house and if I turn it on while the one in the living room is running, it blows the circuit. I can’t imagine my roommates want to turn off the main a/c in order for me to clean my room. So I will work on it somewhat at the beginning and the end of the day, when I am awake and the a/c is on but it doesn’t interfere with the roommates’ comfort.

And yes, it IS hot. This is Texas. For the past week, temperatures have been over 100 F with heat index around 110. We had a cold front come through which dropped temperatures by 15 degrees, but that’s still over 90. I am just hot and uncomfortable with no air. I should be used to it – there’s no air conditioning in my car either – but for doing a task I am loathe to do, heat is a deal breaker.

Waiting for the cooler weather, thinking of how to tidy my room, it’s all part of life.


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I Did It

I did the thing.

I have been procrastinating, and I finally forced myself to stop procrastinating.

I opened up my file, and began typing.

I didn’t get much done, but I got some done, and that’s good enough.

Actually, I got more done than usual. I have been writing one paragraph at a time, and tonight I wrote about 6.

I have no deadline, so I’m not worked up about how much I do or don’t write. I just know I need to write.

I also have a sort of outline for this writing. I don’t really like outlines. To me, once I’ve written the outline, I don’t want to write the thing. It’s like, I’m done. But this time, well it’s not really an outline, but I’m finding when I run out of ideas I go to it and pick up the next topic. Writing is progressing.

I just heard about a really cool index card method, too. You make notes in the book as you read it and mark the pages (I would have to use sticky markers) and then a week or so later go back and transfer each item that still seems relevant to an index card. Use correct citations. Because then you can physically organize the cards by topic and you don’t have to remember where you read it. Sounds like a cool way to write a book or paper. I’ll have to try it sometime. Like, for a year, to have a variety of information to work from.

So this is my way of patting myself on the back for making the effort.

Because I am not ready to share the project, but getting over procrastination is huge!


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Everything and Not Much



Wow, it’s been a week, where have I been?

It seems like not much is happening but every day is full.

I’ve been napping a lot. I seem to sleep 10 hours. I get out of bed after 8 hours and then fall asleep on the sofa in the living room. I am trying to find things to do to keep myself awake. My doctor would like me to go for a walk but even at 8 or 9 in the morning, it’s too hot for me to do that. I would do yoga but F is asleep in his recliner so I don’t really want to turn on the sound.

Unemployment is giving me grief. I was scheduled for orientation on the day before my vacation, at the time I was due at the passport office to pick up my passport. They assign you a time to get it, so that wasn’t actually negotiable. However I had reason to believe the orientation could be flexible.

In the past, I actually blew off the orientation appointment and it did not interfere with my payments. I just rescheduled the orientation. It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t realize it was a requirement. This time, I tried several times to reschedule. I called in more than once. I left voice messages. I did not get a call back. I thought it was okay because I gave them notice more than once that I couldn’t make it and needed to do it another time.

I was wrong.

Unemployment decided they didn’t need to pay me because I missed the orientation. They decided this after they had already paid me. They want their money back. And they won’t pay me again until I refund it.

Well, I don’t have it. I had to catch up on rent and phone. I put gas in the car. I paid bills. I mean, it was spent.

Now I do want to be clear, it was NOT spent on my trip. The trip was paid for before I was even eligible for unemployment. The trip was already budgeted. Not that I have to justify where unemployment payments go. This is insurance and I pay into it when I’m employed. It’s my money, not welfare. But, that aside . . .

I also told them I was out of town and they decided that meant I was unavailable for work, so they want the money back for that week as well. So that’s over $1000 they want back from me, and frankly I don’t have it. I have been to doctors and picked up medicine. I have bought a book or two. I renewed my Barnes and Noble membership. I’m not outrageous, but money doesn’t go very far.

Now really if there had been work, I would have been doing it. But there is no employment for me. I am working toward it in the mental health field, but it won’t pay as well as the government does. Still, I am looking, to see what I can find.

However my friend P has found an opportunity for me. He knows someone who makes jewelry who needs help marketing it. I know a bit about posting on Etsy and maybe DeviantArt. I can maybe get her started for a stipend. Of course, it’s only any good until I get called for work. P suggested I take a percentage of the profits, but I’m thinking an hourly rate might be better. I don’t need to get paid right away but I can’t for example mail anything that gets sold if I’m in another state. So internet marketing consultant could be a thing.

I also got the chance to facilitate a few groups in the past 2 weeks. Three people told me I did well, so I’m feeling pretty confident about my facilitating skills. I don’t feel like I actually did very much. For example, one group we had a new person come in who burst into tears when we asked how he was. I didn’t know what to do, but the group did. They gave him Kleenex and water and support. It was amazing. I got credit for it, but I think it was all on them. I am facilitating again next week and the following week, assuming I’m not called for work.

And I do hope to be called for work.




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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.