Category Archives: Coping Skills

Reflections #13

Last day of writing to see what I’m thinking! I’m sure you’re bored of my drivel every day… I would be!

My mood is still stable though I’m feeling irritable today. Could be a shift in mood, or just an off day with normal fluctuations of feelings. I think the irritability has been slowly growing, mostly because I’m not doing enough to satisfy my values. I would be volunteering more, yet I can’t seem to get a call back from any of the 3 places I called. Hmmm.

What I’ve learned from two weeks of daily blogging: my mind might be empty instead of racing; I can string a thought into a paragraph with enough effort; and I’m searching for ways to fill my time that fit with my values. I could say that I have jumbled thoughts since I go from random topic to random topic. I think I am prompting thoughts though. The thoughts are more about things that happened in the day because I’m prompting myself with a probe about what I did in the last 24 hours.

I’ve got a NAMI meeting tonight. I don’t have anything to talk about since my mood is so stable right now. So glad for that!

Reflections #12

Almost there! Just today and tomorrow in the quest to see what I’m thinking in this either very full, racing brain, or a very-empty-until-I-put-in-a-prompt brain.

My mood is still stable, thank goodness. I’m loving my new cocktail! I’m actually happy most of the time. I’m pretty sure that one of my meds is overkill though. I hope the next psychiatrist nixes it.

I drove on a lot of unfamiliar roads today to get my parents’ cat to an imaging center for a radioactive thyroid scan. The scan is a precursor to next week’s radioactive treatment to cure hyperthyroidism. He doesn’t take the medicine well, chasing him all over just to rub his ear for 10 seconds, twice a day, even with a reward of fresh baked chicken each time. So my family is paying a lot to get the treatment. He’s old at 14, but in ok health. Might have an inflamed bowel that is causing his vomiting instead of the thyroid. Treatment for that??? You guessed it! Daily medicine. Sigh. I hate being recruited to help grab him, since my family can’t give my cat another hoot. And that cat doesn’t like me anyway.

I finally called again at the refugee agency where I want to volunteer. I had to leave another message. I hope this time I get a call back.

I did some art therapy today. This time it was a picture of my inner and outer life. My inner life is full of desire and want – a busy life, meaningful activities, a relationship. My outer life is like calm waters – a calm demeanor, the appearance of nothing going on – compared to the large, rough waves of my inner life. I think it’s an accurate depiction. How do you draw desire though? I tried.

I finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World And Me. Very excellent book. So much about how black people’s bodies are so vulnerable because of people who like to think of themselves as white’s culture that is built on the bodies of black Americans – ghettos, redlined housing districts, police brutality, just to name a few. I knew about this, and Coates explained in a clear way. This racist’s eyes are more open again. How can I help change the culture?

The Handmaid’s Tale is also finished, with a good cliffhanger at the end. I won’t spoil the ending in case you are watching it. The last episode dropped today, and now there won’t be any until when? Anybody know? Is it a summer series?

Reflections #11

Another day of trying to see in print what I’m thinking. Mood is still stable at happy, a midpoint where my emotions go up and down in a usual fashion. I’m still uncertain whether my thoughts are racing so fast I can’t tell what I’m thinking, or if I have no thoughts until I prod.

The grocery store had my favorite OPI nail color, “I’m Not Really a Waitress.” So I did my toenails today while watching “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I’m all caught up in time for the season finale to drop tomorrow. I’ll be sad to see it go for possibly another year.

I forgot to call about volunteering with Refugee Services of Texas. I was going to leave another message that I was interested, since I’m guessing I’ll get voicemail again. I’ll put in my calendar to call again. Doing it right now… Ok, done.

Shark week is coming! I’m so excited to see underwater again. It’s like a little vacation. I’d be afraid, but I would totally get in a cage.

Reflections #10

Another day in the two week quest to see what I’m thinking. I haven’t decided if my thoughts are racing so fast I can’t tell what I’m thinking, or that I have so few thoughts that I don’t have anything I’m thinking about. If the latter it’s the first time possibly ever! When I stop to try to form a thought, there is a song going through my head at any given time. Just a couple lines, of course, just to give me an earworm. But not much else. I listen, and the thoughts are non-existent or racing so fast I can’t tell what they are doing. I’m almost thinking they are non-existent.

I saw my psychiatrist today just to get refills. I would have waited to see the new one except that I would need refills before I saw him. So I gritted my teeth and bore it. I just don’t get that she sympathizes with me at all. And I need someone who is compassionate at the very least. I don’t get that from her. Oh well. I tried. On to the next one!

I’m doing well with exercising 5x/week, half hour at a time. I vary what I’m doing between the pool, the treadmill and the recumbent exercise bike. I’m not getting in any strength training though. I could use the fitness center, but I’m doing things with the least amount of fuss possible. I’m going to the pool which takes more fuss than it’s worth, including that I have to wait until at least 6:15 to go so the sun is lower. By then the pool is bath water, which feels gross. Pool water should be a little cool when you get in…

People have been giving me suggestions for churches in my denomination to try. I appreciate the leads! Based on the websites and the distance I don’t think they are good fits though. There’s something about staying in my area so I can do things with a local emphasis. I could try the church near me again. It’s website makes me think it’s a different spirituality than I have. Torn again between two spiritualities.

Reflections #9

Welp. I forgot to blog yesterday. But it’s a new day, and I’m blogging to see in print what I’m thinking. My thoughts are racing so much that I don’t know what I’m thinking – still. It’s been weeks. I went from thinking nothing when I was severely depressed to thinking way, way too much now that my mood is so much better – happy even. Mood is still stable at happy. My emotions are fluctuating normally, a little higher, a little lower, all in response to stimuli and less based on how my mood is.

Today I’m feeling down or bored or reflective. It’s a Sunday and that makes me more reflective. In church today it felt like too many words and too much non-helpful music. The silence was nice, though my thoughts tried to drown out the sound of silence. (Cue earworm…) I tried to stay in the moment during the silence, and even during the words. Mindfulness in the moment. Only the silence felt right, though I get enough alone time at home. Intentional silence in community is different. I don’t feel alone. I feel surrounded by others’ thoughts and bodies. I can find that place of stillness in the communal silence. Even today with racing thoughts I found it for maybe 10 seconds, but it was delicious! Maybe I should try more meditation and find the stillness when I’m alone too. Usually I find the stillness more when I’m in a group of people though.

Yesterday I did some volunteering for a local politician’s campaign. It was a phone bank training followed by some calling. I didn’t realize there would be calling in a group, and I didn’t feel in the right space to do that. So I went home and thought I’d do some calling, but I haven’t yet. I did meet some good people though. Baby steps?

I’m feeling lonely today. I wish I had more friends – ok, any friends – to hang out with here. I have people I see at church, and people I see at NAMI, and people I interact with on Facebook. I don’t have people to hang out with. I’m hoping with some engagement in political things I’ll develop some relationships. And I hope that will happen also with volunteering at other places. I’d like to get out of the house more too. Although I’m liking my room better, I can still feel isolated.

I just didn’t feel up to making art today. I think it went with feeling lonely. I didn’t think I could be more introspective than I was already with church. I guess. Maybe the directive for art therapy was not on point today, and I didn’t feel like coloring.

I talked with someone at church today about how I feel caught in between loyalties. I’m a minister in one denomination and attending a church of a very different denomination. Even though I feel at home with the new worship and focus on different kinds of spirituality, I still feel a call from my home denomination. I don’t know if I should be going to both, or pick one. I don’t feel totally comfortable in the new one, I think because of feeling torn. I don’t feel totally comfortable in the home denomination because it’s so far behind where I am spiritually in most of the congregations. And this is Texas. Do you think I’d be able to find a liberal church in my denomination? I’m guessing no. But I may be underestimating my home denomination.

Reflections #8

Day 8 in the two weeks of seeing what I’m thinking. Thoughts are still racing, check. Mood is still stable, check. Yep, status quo.

There was an incident last night with the cats. My cat and one of my parents’ cats got into a tussle again. After they stopped, and I was positioned to keep them apart, my mom says maybe it’s time for Charmer to go to bed. Which is a not subtle hint that he needs to be in my room now. So I just went up with him without saying goodnight. I know when we’re not wanted. Even if Charmer didn’t start it, he’s to blame. My dad hates him. He’s just young, and still wants to play. They are old and don’t want to play. They are fighting back now, and Charmer keeps his distance from the one that will fight back. But I know that we’re not wanted.

I was able to read non-fiction last night! Even with racing thoughts. I was scanning, but was able to slow it down enough, and reread enough, that I was able to comprehend most of what I was reading. It’s historical political science, not my usual fare. It’s interesting though.

I finally called the Democratic party office in my county, and got some leads on volunteering with a couple candidates and some computer stuff I could do with their office. Finally a place to volunteer! I hope the others get back to me, and I hope I can balance and juggle all three places to some extent. Staying focused is hard. Concentration and comprehension are hard. Everything feels stressful. I haven’t been able to hold a part-time job for very long, and a volunteer job for even less time each time I tried. These have lead to feeling a failure. I keep trying though.

Did some art therapy again. I’m getting better at incorporating art in my life right now. I feel good about that. This art therapy exercise was to look back on the last 24 hours and notice the highlights. As you drew or wrote about them, notice what you felt about them then, and what you feel about it now. I’m still bent out of shape about how my cat is treated…

Still watching The Handmaid’s Tale and I’ve started watching Queer Eye. Each has a very different view of the world right now. One is very dystopian and speaks to what is slowly, or not so slowly, happening in our country. The other is optimistic that change is possible, starting one person at a time, and affecting those closest to you with your new confident perspective. Setting them against each other is interesting. One is communitarian; one is individualistic. I suppose I see the situation that I need to keep a wide vision of what the community and nation can be, with local and individual choices to be made with that in mind. That’s probably stretching it. That’s how I’m resolving the tension anyway. It speaks to my political involvement this year too. I have taken to heart, also, that it is privilege that lets someone think they can opt out of politics. Plus, we can’t make it better by holding ourselves above it. We must hold a view that a rising body of water holds all boats aloft. I can’t rise unless we all rise. It’s rare to find this view, at least around here. I’ve got some leads though!

Reflections #7

Another day of seeing what I’m thinking because my thoughts are racing so fast I don’t know what thoughts I’m having.

I did some art therapy today. It was a self-evaluation exercise to see what place I am in my life right now. I did some doodling, then wrote a little: “This period began with a move. That transition is now over. It’s a time now of transition and change. What kind of person do I want to be? I’ve lost independence and I’m trying to gain some through activities. Each day revolves around family, and I want it to revolve around me. It’s a time of transition and change. Or I could slump. I don’t want to slump. I want to stay vibrant, like the primary colors of blue and yellow. My mood is finally stable, and elevated. Two hospitalizations later. But I was showing self-compassion by going.”

I’m not sure what I gained by doing the exercise. Just some self-reflection, which I’m trying to do on my blog anyway. I guess the takeaway was asking the question of what kind of person I want to be, and that I don’t want to slump, that I’d prefer to be vibrant. I’m at a point where I could go either direction. I would prefer to stay active. I need to be active. I’m not ready to be a retired person. Hence, volunteering. I could really use some volunteering this week when I don’t have much going on. I need some things to do, to live for.

I wish the cat rescue I volunteered for in Illinois had an office here, or that I could find a similar rescue. I visited the one I would consider volunteering for, but I didn’t like it very much. I wasn’t feeling the passion that I did at the previous rescue. I don’t want to just scoop boxes either. I’d like to be an adoption counselor/screener which I was just learning to do when I left the state.

So this is the end of my first week of blogging every day to try to see what my thoughts are. I’m not sure I’ve learned what they are, other than that I can put a few sentences together on a topic if I write it out. I’m not able to do that speaking right now. Mumbled answers feels about it. I’ve got jingles and songs in my head, lines from shows, vague thoughts about sensations in my body, circling thoughts about stimuli I see or hear in the environment, grinding teeth going on (a new symptom that started after I began a new med a month ago). I can’t even read articles and like things on Facebook. It’s too much to think about. I have been able to scan instead of read. I finished an easy book. I have a harder one I want to read. Not sure just scanning it will work though. I wonder if I can read it.