Kiss5Tigers

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


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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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Vision Boards and Banks

I did the vision board presentation again today, and it went well. I’m pretty pleased with it in general. I need to figure out a way to bring some music into it. I don’t listen to anything on my phone and I don’t have a bluetooth speaker so my options are a little limited.

One of the guys finished his but didn’t want to talk about it. I talked about mine, a couple of the ladies talked about theirs. It’s good, I think, to look at what you end up with and think about how it reflects your life.

Tomorrow and Thursday I am facilitating some other groups. Then next week we do vision boards 2 more times. It’s a good thing. I’m glad I did it.

But to balance out the good, I got an email from my bank regarding an overdraft.

How did that even happen? I don’t believe I have overdraft turned on. If I’d known I had a little leeway, I’d’ve spent $20 on Care.com to be able to contact clients.

Now I know, if I’d gone to the grocery store, the card would have been declined, so I don’t know why they paid what they did. I zero’d out the account for a reason. I would think that was obvious.

Additionally, they just send me a new bank card because my old one got compromised. It has a new number which I have not given out. Another reason those charges should not have gone through.

So I will call the bank tomorrow and see what’s up. Hopefully we can get it together and I won’t owe the whole $200. Because I should get unemployment next month, but it will only be for one week because of that thing where they hold a week back. I don’t want it all going for an overdraft that never should have happened.


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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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Can I Do This?

Last Monday, I facilitated a group.

On Monday afternoons, I attend the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance support group, because I have bipolar II, which I’ve mentioned before.  I’ve been going for about 3 years now.  I’ve worked through the book more than once.  I know the answers, haha, as if I could know the right answers to mental health when it’s different for everyone.

The regular facilitator was having a hard day and asked me if I would lead.  None of this is surprising, since he is a peer and the group could be led by any peer.  I said yes, and I was happy to do this favor for him.

It went surprisingly well.  We worked our way through 2 pages in the book.  That may not be much but it included some conversation and it was the end of a section.  Didn’t make sense to start a new section with only 15 minutes left.  The group appreciated the chance to chat during the session.  It was a little more active than the usual facilitator likes, but we have different philosophies.  He is trying to get through the book, whereas I use the book as a jumping-off point.  Nothing wrong with either one, just different.

At the same time, I have been hearing about women who lead seminars to help other women.  I think I could lead one about vision boards and creating goals.  It would be maybe 3 hours, give or take.  Part of it would be about setting goals, where do you want to be in, say, 5 years?  Or indeed, ever?  Part of it would be making the actual vision board.  And part of it would be about sharing our dreams and visions.  I think I could manage about 10 women, and they would have to bring their own scissors since I don’t own that many pairs.  Glue and magazines I’ve got, scissors not so much.

So I am looking for goal setting exercises.  They are surprisingly hard to find.  There are a lot of sites devoted to professional development and goal setting in that regard but really almost nothing about personal goal setting.  The principles must be the same however so I just need to tweak them.  Of course I would need to tweak them in any case to make them my own.  I’m about being inspired by other people, not stealing their work.

I believe I can do this.  It seems very do-able.  It also doesn’t overlap the government job so there should be no conflict of interest.  The first one or two would be free while I get my feet under me, then I would have to start charging.  I wonder if I could even do it monthly.

Words of encouragement and suggestions only, please.  I have enough nay-sayers in my own head as it is.  I could stand some support around this idea.


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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.