Kiss5Tigers

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


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Working Again

I will be going back to work next week. I don’t know what day yet.

I passed the interview at Michael’s and they requested information for a background check. I know I’ll pass that, I just have to wait for them to do their due diligence. The manager thought it would be 24 to 48 hours, but then she remembered this was the weekend so it might take an extra day. Once I pass, they’ll let me know when I work.

I am also going to talk to W about what she does. She seems to think I could be pretty good at it. I just need more information about it.

It’s finally gotten chilly here in Texas. I know it won’t last, but I’m sure enjoying the cooler temperatures. I like shirts with sleeves. The best part is, the cats have become cuddly. I love their furry little bodies snuggled up against me. Charli has been sitting in my lap.

Charli and Komori nesting in a fuzzy blanket

There has been a certain amount of haggling over the fuzzy blanket. I sleep under it and I don’t mind sharing it with the kitties. However, the dogs also want to lay on it, which I do mind. Frankly, the dogs are smelly and make the blanket smell like dog. I assume cats are also smelly, but to me they have no odor. Perhaps I am prejudiced.

Tomorrow I have a DBSA staff meeting at 11. That seems pretty early but it means we’ll be done early too so the rest of the afternoon I’m planning on making art. I haven’t made anything in a while now, it’s time to get back to it. Maybe take a nap, but definitely make some art.

And do laundry. I should really do some laundry tonight but I’m not motivated. I need clean clothes for the rest of the weekend but the idea of doing laundry is just overwhelming. I’m actually thinking of taking a nap now, except that it’s so close to bedtime.

But I really need to use some of my art supplies. I just don’t have the energy to start now. I am going to settle into the sofa with the animals and watch Ancient Aliens. TV then bed sounds like a good idea.

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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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Tuesday Afternoon is Neverending

It’s been a Tuesday.

Nothing much has happened, which is fine.

I napped most of the day until about 4, which is not fine. I need to stop screwing with my sleep schedule.

I finally had a stack of stuff fall onto my bed. I have, or had, about 10 rubbermaid tubs stacked against the wall at the end of my bed. One of them has been slowly crushing under the weight of the tubs above it and the shift of having a cat sleep on the top of the stack. I don’t know when it happened, sometime late morning or early afternoon, but I went in my bedroom and everything was laying on the bed. Right where I lay at night, so it could have been worse.

I am being lazy. I still haven’t picked them up and it is after midnight. Of course I’m not tired yet, thanks to all the napping.

Tuesday is a slow day for me. There is a support group but they meet at 10 am which is early for me. I tried very hard to get up this morning but I slept until 9:45 so I just wasn’t gonna make it. I’d like to be more consistent with that group. It’s Recovery International which I find very useful, but since I am up after midnight, I don’t get up very early.

So the upshot is, I don’t get out of the house on Tuesdays and I don’t get to have conversations with people. I miss the contact.

Now the rest of the week is full. Wednesday is group and an online mentorship. Thursday is unemployment orientation, group, and DBSA meeting. Friday I have coffee with a friend. Really this keeping busy thing is the most important part for me. I just need to keep practicing getting up early so I make it on time for Thursday.

I have done some research for peer specialist pay. Apparently upstate New York is considered to pay well, and a friend says they are being offered about $12.50 an hour. I make more than that working for the government, makes it hard to give up the on-call position.

Also I live in Texas, where mental health is not a priority so I’m sure the pay is less. I have learned that the Medicaid billing rate in Texas is about 1/5 as much as other states. But I need that Medicaid certification if I want to work in the field. And I do.

An online group where I belong has just listed addresses for a mail pod. I now have a whole new list of addresses to send stuff so I need to get busy with it. I have a stack of people I owe snailies to, too. About an inch, maybe 2 of letters needing replies.

I am currently reading too many books: Eat, Pray, Love ; Keep Going ; and A Book That Takes Its Time. I also ordered several zines from Microcosm Publishing so I’m reading those, and there are the books we use in groups. For someone with no focus, I do a lot of reading.

Well it’s almost 1 am and I have a bed full of boxes to deal with. Now that it’s getting a little cooler, I might be able to manage. Texas in the summer is not comfortable.


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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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Middle of the Night Musings

It’s quarter to 2 am and I am awake. I fell asleep on the sofa so I’ve had a nap and now I can’t get back to sleep. This is what I’m thinking about.

I checked out my unemployment account. I haven’t been paid for a month. I wonder why. So tomorrow I will have to call them. I worked one week for the government and they stopped paying me. I understand they’re not going to pay for the week I worked, but they should pay for the following weeks.

I wonder when I’ll be called back to work. I got an alert last week but it got cancelled. It was like “be prepared in case we need you, just kidding”. Well I need the money guys, don’t toy with my emotions like that!

I really need dental work. Sucks that I am not a good dental patient and I can’t really afford it anyway. The estimate was $7000. Ain’t nobody got that kind of money!

And if I had that money, I would pay what I owe my college and do some work on my car, like putting in an air conditioner.

I need to call my bank and ask them about an actual credit card. It would be good to use it and pay it off regularly. On the other hand, I could pay off my Target card and my Torrid card.

What I need to pay is the toll bill I received.

I am a little disappointed in M, the regular facilitator for the Monday afternoon DBSA group. I facilitated last week and there were about 15 people. Folks were uncomfortable. I could see the social anxiety folks getting edgy. Some new people didn’t participate, I’m not sure if it was due to shyness. I texted M and said, if there are this many people again, do you want to consider splitting the group? I meant just for the session, I’m not sure if he understood that. Anyway his response was that the group is designed to accommodate 20 people, so unless we get more than that, no reason to split it up. I think people being uncomfortable is good enough reason. He said people will adjust. It’s his group, so whatever he says, goes; but I don’t have to agree.

My Artist’s Way group is going well. I’m trying to do the exercises in the book. I struggle with some of them. Not because the content is so hard, but because they want things like a list of people who’ve been supportive of you in 5 year blocks. I don’t remember years, so 5 year blocks don’t work for me. I actually don’t remember anyone being either especially supportive or especially derogatory of my art. Usually when I show off my work, people say good things. Not amazing things, but not constructive criticism either. Of course, since I am abstract in general, I think a lot of my work confuses people.

I really need to finish that picture of K’s living room that I started.

My hair is gross. My head itches. I need to take a shower.

I think I should try sleeping again. I’m not exactly sleepy, but I have ATTA in the morning which means I should get up early.


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Facilitating

Today I had the opportunity to facilitate a DBSA support group. The regular facilitator was out of town.

It went well, I thought. Though we had many more people than usual.

Usually there are about 6 of us, today there were close to 15 people, many of them new. That is really a LOT of people. I didn’t have performance anxiety but I was concerned about the size.

Additionally, the reading today was a story from African folklore. We had 2 black ladies from the US, and a black couple from Africa. I was like, this will either be really good or really bad. And it was a mixed bag. The black ladies stayed, the African couple left. I hope they weren’t offended. I can’t help what the material is, I just facilitate.

I did notice a few people were less involved than usual. A few people passed on responding to questions, which also doesn’t usually happen. We read the lesson out loud, a few people passed on that too.

After the lesson, I asked a couple of the regulars how they felt about the size of the group. Mostly, the response was negative. Too many people. Especially for my folks with social anxiety, just too much. I want people to be comfortable. I can’t suggest the group will be that big every time, but how can we make people feel safe to share.

I think, when there are more than 10 people, we should consider breaking the group up. I could take half, and the regular facilitator could take the other half. That way, people would feel more comfortable opening up about their stuff. I have texted this idea to the regular guy, we’ll see what he says when he gets back.


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Making Decisions

Oh, there is such a difference between what is my vocation and what is my avocation.

Or to put it another way, between how I make money and what my heart longs to do.

I love my job. I enjoy helping people. I’ve had such a good experience so far, made friends, traveled. I get paid pretty well when I’m working. I would be very happy to do this job for a long time.

When I’m not working, I attend support groups. Because I am doing well, I often get to facilitate. I enjoy facilitating. And I think I’m pretty good at it.

Thing is, with my job, I can’t commit. My job calls me away for months at a time, which is not conducive to mental health work. So much mental health work is about relationship and I would have almost no notice to put the relationships on hold. Not good for the other person.

Today I spoke to Nikita. She is the group coordinator at the facility where my support groups meet. I work with her in a lot of ways. I have suggested support groups that we need (eg. one for senior citizens since we get so many over 70’s that need a different kind of support). I am helping her set up a meeting for facilitators. I feel like we are peers more than I am a consumer.

Nikita told me that Texas passed legislation where peer support specialists can bill Medicaid for their services. That would mean, I could maybe support myself as a peer specialist. And I would like to do that very much.

Of course I would have to be certified. There are required classes and a certification board. And it costs money, which I only have because of the job.

So now I have to make a decision. I can start the process, but eventually I’ll have to either commit to the government job or commit to being a peer specialist. At the moment I can’t do both. Though at the moment, I am not working so I might as well pursue it. At least as far as I can.