Self

My goals for September.

negativespace-17

In my old blog I used set goals every month.  I’m going to try to do it again.  I say try as my life since last October has been crazy. I don’t know what the future holds.  I’m just trying to move my life along.  Lately, I have been wondering what to do with the rest of my life.  I suppose you could cal l it a mid-life crisis, but I don’t think that is what it is.  I am at a point where constant care of my family will slowly be ending. What am I suppose to do?  What do I want to do?  I’m not sure.  What I thought I was going to do in my 20’s did not work out for a variety of reasons.  Some my fault, others not.  My enjoyments are not the same either.  What do I like?  I’m not sure.  So when setting my goals.  I’m trying to move my life forward. Hopefully, I can find a path to my future somewhere.

  1. Drink more water.  Honestly, I hate water.  I know it’s good for you, but ugh, I’d rather drink Coke.
  2. Walk the dog.  The dog needs to lose weight and so do I.
  3. Eat more fruit and veggies.  I buy them, now I just have to eat them.  Goals right?
  4. Establish a time to work on the blog for a regular basis.
  5. Read more. Put the cell phone down Christine.
  6. Go a few more places. I need to get out of the house!  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my house, but I’m a really boring person.
  7. Get a decent nights sleep. Work on that sleep routine.
  8. More self care.  I really let this one go.  I am feeling it as increase physical pain and stomach upset.

Do you have monthly goals?  What are they for this month?  Feel free to share below.

Self

What Are Anxiety Disorders or Panic Attacks?

 

asdrubal-luna-485688-unsplash

I write a lot about anxiety and panic attacks.  It occurred to me that few people may know what the definitions and symptoms are. Even definitions since I was first diagnosed have changed.  While the wheel in mental health has not been reinvented it has been refined.  It evolves, and continues to evolve as modern medicine makes new discoveries about the brain.

Anxiety Disorder is a constant, excessive and nonstop worry or worries that occur almost all day, every day.  It will interfere with you day to day life.  Physically you can experience symptoms such as stomach aches, vomiting, feeling like you are going to throw up, sore muscles, tiredness, anger, dizziness and many more.

Anxiety Disorder can include panic disorder/panic attacks,  agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and other forms of anxiety.  Anxiety has many related disorders and can coexist with other mental and physical illnesses.

Everyone experiences anxiety right?  Just tough it out, right?  Wrong, any type of Anxiety Disorder when experienced is more persistent,overwhelming and debilitating than normally experienced anxiety.  It interferes with you daily life. You get up to leave a crowded theater even when you really want to see the show.  You can’t fall asleep no matter how tired you are.  You ruminate on certain or all worries to the point of inaction no matter how remote or silly they seem to others. You have physical ailments that begin to appear and cannot be resolved by normal medications. You begin to avoid places because you start to relate them to feeling awful.

The cause of anxiety is unknown.  It can be a variety of factors from biological, genetic, experiences, environment and more.  For me, I believe that it was a combination.  Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and more run in my family.  While my paternal grandmother was not formally diagnosed I believe she had it.  My father was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.  I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and others, and my son was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. Then I believe the way I was raised also contributed to my anxiety as it added stress to an already stressful life.

I made a vow to raise my son differently and I did.  To watch him get it and go through it nearly killed me and triggered my own anxiety again.  It was devastating to me.  “What did I do?”, I thought. What didn’t I do?  The thing is nothing I could have done, would have prevented my son from getting it due to our genetic predisposition.  What I can effect is how his treatment and support is.  How he handles what his disorder is doing to him.  That’s because Anxiety is a disorder/disease just like cancer, or diabetes.  Now before you go off telling me cancer etc are different, understand that I say this because many people believe that mental illness is a character flaw and not a medical condition. We should be able to think it away.  There are a few that can. Most people need therapy and lifestyle changes.  Some also need those and medicine.

Anxiety effects every relationship you have.  It effects every opportunity that comes your way.  For me, I lost over four years of my life that I can’t get back.  You need all the support you can get.  Overcoming your own mind is one of the most difficult things a person can do.

Then there is the fear of what other people think.  Will they think that I am crazy?  Will  they stop wanting to be around me?  What if I am discriminated against. Recently in the news a member of the ground crew in Seattle stole a small jet, went on a joy ride and crashed it.  On several different news channels they were asking if ground crews were screened for mental illness.  It made my heart sink.  First, we have no idea if this man had mental illnesses or not.  So why speculate.  Second most people with mental illness do not harm themselves, fewer harm others. There are already some things that those with mental illness cannot do.  One of my greatest fears is the information age and mental illness.  Where someone can with the touch of a button get your medical history and use it to disqualify you from a job or community.

How do you treat anxiety?  It really depends on the individual.  Each person must have their own type of treatment.  Which is how mental illness differs from other illnesses of the body.  One of the more successful treatments is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy involves changing your thinking and habits to manage your anxiety.  In addition, medication can be prescribed to help you control and minimize your anxiety. What medication and how much depends on each person. It’s important that you maintain contact with your medical providers to ensure you get the best care possible.

I myself have been on so many medications.  Some worked better than others. Some side effects are worse or better. Only one medicine did not work for me.  I’ve been changed around many times.  Sometimes, I can’t keep track of everything I’ve been on. This is the hardest part of a disorder.  Finding the right combo of drugs to use.  If you are at this stage please keep the faith.  It may take an extended period of time to find the right combo of medication.  Then again, you may not even need meds or you can get it right on the first dose!

Panic Attacks are acute, intense instances of fear.  They can last for a few seconds to a few hours.  The often can come out of the blue, but some also are triggered by circumstances.  The fear is so intense that it can cause you to flee the area, feel like you are having a heart attack or a break down. You feel as if your body and mind operate separately. The biggest part of these attacks are learning to regain control of you body again.  It involves relaxation, deep breathing and other techniques to bring down the intensity of the reaction.  Short lasting medications are also used for certain patients to take the edge off the attack.

For more information or diagnosis, please contact your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.  You can also check out the website of The Anxiety and Depression Association of America at http://www.adaa.org, Web MD, or NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness at http://www.NAMI.org .

This article is an opinion piece and not to be used for self diagnosis or in place of advice from a medical professional.

 

 

Self

5 Self Care Ideas

unsplash49

Self care is something I really struggle with.  There is too much to do, and not enough time to get things done. Of course, I always think that I am the only one that can do these tasks.  Problem is, I am often the only one.  I don’t deal with stress well.  I feel it in my head, shoulders, and stomach.  Now, due to prolonged stress I even feel it in my legs.  That’s a new one.  So I am working on relaxing as much as I can.  Here are a few things that I do to relax.

  1. Take a deep breath.  I take 5 minutes, usually in the car, where I turn off all media and take deep breaths to reset.  Try it when you are waiting in your car.
  2. Journal.  I have kept a journal since I was 10.  Need some help starting one?  Check out my monthly journal prompts.  A journal can be done in anything.  You can use a journal, plain notebook, loose paper, or a computer.
  3. Go to a rolfer.  Rolfing has really helped me with both pain and stress.  Rolfing works by manipulating the connecting tissue of the body.  After a session I always stand a bit taller.
  4. Call a friend, call your mother, call someone and let it out.  If that isn’t your thing, then just call to catch up.  I will get your mind off it.
  5. Have a short stay somewhere. Go for a night or two to a hotel.  Spend some time alone.  You need it.

What are ways you like to take care of yourself?

Home · Self

Life Update

asdrubal-luna-485688-unsplash

Life happens.  I think my life is happening a little too much at the moment.  I had to take some time off due to events.  I can’t seem to catch a break or relax enough.  Right now I do what needs to be done, then I just can’t do anymore.  I just listen to music or podcasts.  It’s all I have energy for.

My son is still having problems.  School is a month away.  Right now he is in day treatment.  He absolutely hates it.  He goes for three hours a day.  Many of the kids in treatment with him are physically violent or swear and use every manner of bad language.  It is common to hear a 7 year old scream at the top of his lungs “F*ck You, you stupid c*nt.” Wonderful.  My son has Sensory Processing Disorder and High Functioning Autism.  He hates this.  He also says he is hit for no reason.  I know he is telling the truth.  Unfortunately, if the therapists don’t see it, they can do nothing.

I hate to send him here.  However, there is no other place to go.  If I could find a therapist willing to see my son several times a week I would.  There isn’t anyone like that.  Therapists have long waiting lists.

I have even started to have my own panic attacks. I have had 3 so far.  I will definitely need my own medication adjusted.  I’ve avoided a few places because of the attacks which I shouldn’t do.  Bad example for my son.

On a happier note, my family has acquired two new members. We adopted two 12 week old kittens, brothers, from a local pet rescue.  One is a tuxedo cat (black and white) named May.  The other is a grey/brown striped Tabby named Winter.  They were for my son as a way to help distract him from his depression and anxiety.  He was so thrilled to get them.  Check out my Instagram for photos.

I get the joy of cleaning the litter box and feeding them. They are very curious about everything.  Just for the record, I am allergic to cats. I have 5 air filters going all the time.  So far I am getting by.

I also made some zucchini muffins and banana cake.  Check out the blog for recipes.

We have also had issues with insurance. They are giving us the run around on my son’s treatment. I’m sure some random doctor in another state who has never met my son is qualified to decide what treatment he should receive and what he should not.  My son right now is in a day treatment program.  This is the only one we could get him into.  Some programs have three year waiting lists.  We could not wait any longer than a few days.  My son needed therapy.  So he has been going to this program Monday thru Friday for three hours.  He absolutely hates it.

I knew he would.  When I was filling out the paperwork for it, they had two pages on parole officers, and court ordered treatment.  I didn’t feel this was right for my son.  My son has anxiety and depression.   He is not a juvenile delinquent. He is with the 12 and under group.  However these kids are not like the kids he was with in his stabilization places. As stated in the first paragraph, it’s not a good environment.

Starting this month insurance will only pay for three days.  My husband and I can pay for one, and he will have one day off.  I am hoping he can survive being back at school full time.  He has expressed anxiety.  I can only hope for the best.

Until next time.

Self · Uncategorized

How To Get A Pen Pal.

unsplash42

I love writing letters.  There is something about getting a letter in your mailbox that is exciting.  A handwritten letter is always so much longer and involved than an email or tweet. If you take the time to write a letter, you care.  You take the time to choose what to say.  I love to pick out stationery, stickers, pens, and little inclusions for my letters.  I like to make the special.  I even will do some mail art.

I have been writing letters to pen pals since I was 11 years old.  My oldest pen pal has been writing to me since 1988.

When I got my first pen pal in Tasmania, Australia at age 11 it was from a kids TV show called “Big Blue Marble.” I liked writing letters so much that I got several more from them.  I can still remember the jingle used to advertise pen pals.  I even memorized the address and know it all these years later!  Once the TV show ended I searched for more pen pals.

I got some out of various magazines.  Pen pals were very popular in the 80’s.  Pre-Internet you know.  There were various pen pal services back then.  I used several of them to varying effects. A magazine called ‘Teen” magazine did lots of pen pal matches.  In fact, my longest pen pal I mentioned above was matched to me in one of their pen pal programs.  If I remember correctly, we were matched based on our astrological sign.  We are both Libras! I even honeymooned in Hawaii where she lives.  So we were finally able to meet up.  My husband and I took her out for lunch. I also had the fortune of meeting four other pen pals when I lived in Europe. Maybe someday you can meet yours!

One of the main sources of pen pals for me has been IPF or International Pen Friends.  The world’s oldest pen pal service started in 1967. Here is their web address: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~penpals/

Writing to pen pals can be tricky. Things happen.  Life happens. Some people you write to never respond.  Some people write for a little bit then stop.  No one knows why.  Having a pen pal is a serious commitment.  You want a pen pal to write you long letters then you have to write long letters yourself.  Pen pals can be wonderful.  It takes time and effort. I personally feel that it is a fantastic hobby.  A hobby that can last a lifetime.

There are many groups on Facebook for pen pals.  There are also several other organizations that offer pen pals.  Use your best judgement.  Be careful about putting yourself out there.  Do your research.  When in doubt, don’t do it.  When you find a pen pal it can be a great experience. There is so much to learn and its great to have another person to listen to you.

Take a chance and go out and get a pen pal.  It’s an experience to remember!

Enjoy writing those letters.

 

Family · Home · Self

5 Ways To Help The Environment You Can Try Right Now!

Unsplash Photos

Trying to be environmentally friendly but don’t know where to start?  Here are five quick tips that you can incorporate into your everyday life.  Which ones are you going to try?

  1. Reusable containers. We all know about storing leftovers right?  You can also use these containers to carry you lunch, thus eliminating the need for both plastic and paper bags.  If you are going to a restaurant that loves to give large portions take a reusable container for the leftover.  Styrofoam never biodegrades! You can also use these containers for craft items, office supplies and storage for a variety of things.
  2. Tote Bags.  I can remember a time when no one bought reusable bags to the grocery store. Now it is common place. Just remember to keep the bags close at hand.  It doesn’t help if you forget to bring the bags with you.
  3. Don’t use beauty products with microbeads. Microbeads are micro plastic beads used to exfoliate the skin.  These plastic products like their bag counterparts don’t biodegrade and end up in our water supply. Yum!
  4. Save water.  There are many ways you can save on water usage.  You can install low flow toilets and shower heads. Update your appliances to make them energy efficient.  Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.  Plant a rain garden or use a water tank/barrel outside. Even take a shorter shower!
  5. Use paperclips instead of staples.  Paperclips can be used more than once!

What are some of your favorite ways to help the environment?

Self

5 Quick Self Care Ideas

cropped-unsplash44.jpg

Here are five new ways to pamper yourself this month.  Which are you going to try?

  1. Paint your nails. You could also get someone else to.  I prefer to go every other month for a pedicure.  I just sit back and relax for the hour.
  2. Cuddle.  Sort of self explanatory. Cuddle your cat. Cuddle you dog. Cuddle you kid. Cuddle your husband.  You get the idea.
  3. Try a new food.  No need to go extreme.  It could be trying a new fruit, a new flavor of gum or you can take a three month subscription to a food service.  Go online and find a new style of cuisine to try.
  4. Give yourself a facial mask.
  5. Listen to a new podcast.