Welcome

I hope it is easy to find lorib.blog, or lorib434.wordpress.com

i have been blogging, more like journaling for years, but not for an audience. I have published on The Mighty, recently started posting on Medium and published on Psych Central.  The title there is Triple Winner (archived)

I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and social anxiety, along with overcoming an alcohol addiction. I plan to blog about those topics and other ramblings.

I will repost some but also have new posts here.

I will do my best to respond to comments.

where I can be found:

twitter lorib641

https://themighty.com/ (Lori Bernstein)

https://medium.com Lori Bernstein or @lorib641

TikTok Schizoaffective Dog Mom

Update

Whoops..I’m Awesome workbook by Melissa Villasenor

I saw my current therapist telehealth last week. He moved me back to as needed. He seems to think I am fine but I don’t feel that way. I am on a waiting list for a new therapist who does internal family systems therapy. I don’t know how long that will take.

I stopped keto last year when the Virta program stopped because my insurance changed. I have since gained some weight and don’t feel as well. I am going to try doing keto on my own, after Thanksgiving. I am going to try an app called Healthi that helps count calories, carbs or what they call bites that are like WW points. I did not do well on WW but I did not stick with logging food.

I have been making chia pudding with coconut milk instead of yogurt. So much easier but you don’t get the probiotics. I have been eating fruit which I will miss when I go back to keto, I can still have some berries.

I watched a webinar with Dr Christopher Palmer about keto and mental health, he uses it for treatment resistant patients. My meds work well, but it can’t hurt to add it. He has a book releasing tomorrow, called “Brain Energy” I am going to get the kindle version. Hopefully, it motivates me for when I start keto.

I used to love to read. Now, I have a bunch of things on kindle but I don’t read often. I think I need to put it on my to do list. I got a journal called “Whoops…I’m Awesome” by Melissa Villasenor. It has activities and stories. I have not done anything with it yet but it looks fun.

Internal Family Systems Therapy

Image: Workbook titled Self-Therapy Workbook by Bonnie J Weiss

I am reading a book, self-therapy by Jay Early. I also have the workbook pictured above that I will get to next.

I have some sort of dissociative disorder, not DID. I have experienced sensations and parts talking through me, but that was years ago. Some people think it is all delusional. I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.

I am reading the book on internal family systems. The author suggests everyone has sub personalities that they can access. I was skeptical. My stomach tightens while I am reading. The author encourages noticing thoughts, feelings, sensations

I know I have a loud inner critic, like a drill sergeant, telling me not to mess up.  If I make a mistake I feel like a complete failure and my mood spirals downward.  I am trying to think of him like a motivator.  I think the purpose is to make me more productive, but it is not working for me. I feel something constricting my stomach.  I am not sure why.

I don’t know if these parts are real distinct sub personalities, but if it helps I will use it as a tool. my therapist says it is a different perspective.

My therapist pushed my appointments further apart because I run out of things to say. In May he moved me to as needed, that I can call if I need an appointment. I told him about the workbook. He does internal family systems therapy with clients with dissociative disorders. I wanted to set up an appointment to work on this but he told me to see how it goes and then if I need I can make an appointment to contact him.

I feel like the therapist is blowing me off. I feel better checking in with someone at least once/month. I found a different therapist who seems nice and willing to work with me. She knows of this therapy but does not practice. I have an appointment with her on Saturday.

A Long Overdue Update

Image: blank wordle computer game board

I just realized I never gave an update on my Covid experience. After 19 days of isolating, I finally tested negative and was feeling better. I had given a month’s notice at work, but I was out for 3 weeks. I only worked 2 days/week, so I went back for my final 2 days. They quickly improvised and had people sign a card and ordered cupcakes. It was nice.

I am not sure what I want to do with my time, now. I have been going to an activity center that I used to work at, as a member now, and participate in a group. It is a course that ends in 2 weeks. I think I will continue going to one or two groups/week after it ends. I give talks for NAMI, National alliance on mental illness. I did one over zoom and they played it on the tv at the center.

I do want to do other volunteer work, but I don’t want to commute or commit too much time. I have some opportunities already. I stopped working mainly because I was having trouble hearing. I got hearing aids at the beginning of the year but it has been hard to adjust, I am having another hearing test and they will clean the hearing aids in November. I want to get to where I can hear well, before I commit to any type of peer support.

I like playing little computer games. I finally tried wordle and I think it is fun. I usually can get the word but it takes a number of guesses. I find it relaxing.

About a month after I got over Covid my husband and daughter caught it. My husband travels and I think he must have caught it at a conference. My daughter is super careful, but she still caught it. She felt pretty lousy, lost taste and smell. She isolated for 10 days. My husband did pretty well, he took Paxlovid with no rebound. He was better in 5 days.

I have given up on making the coconut milk yogurt for now. I am making chia pudding with coconut milk instead. It tastes pretty good. I add fruit and granola.it is really easy to make. I have a recipe for a small volume but I make more. If anyone is interested I will post the recipe. You can use other types of milk.

I saw a video on internal family systems therapy. It looked interesting. I don’t know if I would be able to connect with other parts of myself. I searched for a therapist and found one but she does not work at the company anymore. They recommended a few other therapists. I don’t think the woman on the phone understood what I was asking for. I have a zoom appointment with a therapist on Saturday. She is on my insurance plan. I like the therapist I had/have?, but he only wants to see me as needed and I think I would feel more comfortable seeing someone on a regular basis. I can’t find much on the new therapist through google. Just on the company’s website.

I had an issue finding a psychiatrist my insurance would cover. I saw one who I liked, but I they first denied the claim and eventually changed to covering. I saw a different psychiatrist in the same office. I had a bad experience the first appointment. The next appointment was better. But, I found the other psychiatrist is in network now, so I switched back. I go in November. He does therapy, too, so that could be an option and I always have the one, as needed. I think he will retire soon, also,

Covid update

Image Covid test kit

17 days since symptoms of Covid started. I now have post viral bronchitis. My dr prescribed an inhaler and cough suppressant. I have been out of work 3 weeks. I can’t go anywhere with this cough. I have not tested lately, I will tomorrow. I have not had to use the inhaler. I think I had rebound after paxlovid, where you get better and then when you stop taking it your symptoms come back,

I had a neurological symptom where I had manic energy.couldn’t sleep, couldn’t focus. I did not know if it was a mental health issue or part of Covid, My dr prescribed klonopin which worked.

I am bored so I ordered a cameo from a comedian I like, Darren Carter to cheer me up.

Even Faint Lines are Positive

Still testing positive.  A faint line is still positive. I come out of isolation Friday.  It is sooo boring just hanging out in my room. Thankfully, my husband and daughter are still negative.

I gave a month notice at work but now I have 2 weeks.  2 weeks to get what I can done.  I feel like it is all piling up.while I lsu here, bored

I was offered some volunteer opportunities. One was volunteering at a resource center.  I did that years ago. But I am not interested in the commute. So, I said no.  The other is facilitating a support group live or over zoom.  I think zoom might be easier with my hearing loss.  I am not sure.  I know I don’t want  to be obligated every week.  I am going to talk to someone soon.

Covid

Image: positive Covid test 2 lines Control and Test

My son works at a boy scout overnight camp but they had the week of the 4th off. He came in contact with someone with Covid, eventually testing positive and isolated here. He was cleared to go back to work wed night, but left me testing positive. I have been isolating since Tuesday. So far my husband and daughter are negative. She is taking a PCR test today. Husband is doing a rapid test tomorrow.

My Dr prescribed an antiviral Paxlovid because I have diabetes. It leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I have been eating and drinking fluids but have lost a couple of lbs. I am overweight so that is fine. I test tomorrow. If it is negative I go back to work on mon. I can come out of isolation but have to wear a mask for 5 more days. If it is positive I isolate for 5 more days. Feel like a groundhog, if it sees it’s shadow 5 more days of Covid.

I was very congested but that has cleared up. I still sometimes have coughing fits. No fever. The isolating is worse than the illness. I am bored and lonely. The dog keeps me company.

I gave a month notice at my work on 7/5.  My last day is Aug 2.  I am having issues hearing, even with hearing aids.  They could probably accommodate somehow, but I feel like it is time. I have been offered some volunteer opportunities with DBSA that I am considering.  One is working in an office but I really don’t want to commute and there is facilitating live or online. I might share one of the facilitating roles. No rush to decide.

 

 

If your health condition was a college major

I belong to an online journaling group through The Mighty. Unfortunately, it will be ending soon. I am going to try a different group they have that is coloring and chatting. I attended the journaling group Th night. They have a number of prompts and you write for 10 minutes.

Image people in red gowns and caps graduating college

The prompt I chose was based on this post on The Mighty https://themighty.com/2022/06/health-conditions-as-college-majors-class-schedule/
If your health condition was a college major, what would the class schedule be.

This is mine:

Major in schizoaffective disorder with minor in social anxiety

Courses:

Intro to making friends
Reality testing 101 (or do you hear what I hear?)
Psychopharmacology and the art of being a guinea pig
Assertiveness and not letting others beliefs undermine your stability
Self-care

What would your classes be?

My week

Image plane in flight

I tried hosting a session on sharewell, sharewellnow.com, a site for peer support. My session was supposed to be on coping with psychosis and/or mood disorders, but no one came so it was cancelled. I am going to try another session sun 6/26 on Coping with Social Anxiety. Hopefully, someone will come. https://sharewellnow.com/session/c7aba3cd-0dcb-44d5-b36a-1ed85d28eefe

I went to visit my sister in Boston for a week. It was fun. We saw some historic sites, had great meals, and just hung out. I talk with her all of the time, but it is different being in person. I actually adjusted to the time change, 3 hrs, pretty well. It was a direct flight which made it easy. I know nothing about flying, forget to take out my ipad from luggage at security point and take off shoes. I couldn’t figure out how to stream video. I slept, looked out the window and waited. I had rides to and from airport that went smoothly.

I am having more insurance issues. My therapist from last year emailed me that she did not get reimbursed. She is billing the wrong insurance company. I explained that and that I am stressed with the new insurance company. She was nice about it, said she will not bill me and will get back to me.Speaking of insurance, I have to have a root canal and don’t know how much will be covered, I am seeing an endodontist.

I posted on Reddit that I am frustrated with my hearing loss. I turn up my hearing aids but still have trouble understanding speech, an audiologist replied that I should not be turning them up and should wear them often. I am wearing them around the house today and I can hear. I will see how it goes at work next week,

Inviting the Dragon to Tea

I don’t have an appointment with my therapist since I am seeing him as needed. I emailed him the dragon slayer story. He suggested that I should invite the dragon in for tea. When he starts saying I am worthless, a failure, no good, I will argue with evidence to prove that is not true, I wrote something, listing some of my qualities. I can’t get out of the values assignment.

Dragon silhouette

I saw an ad on Linked In for a site called Share Well, sharewellnow.com It is a site for hosting video support groups. I went to one on depression tonight. It was pretty good. After you go to one, you can sign up to host. I made one for psychosis and/or mood disorders for the 15th. I am going out of town the 6/8-6/14. I set it for one hour. I am hoping people want to talk but I will prepare some things in case I need. They are free sessions. If you are an expert, you can charge people to attend.

I went to a family gathering, my husband’s side. I went off by myself quite a bit. His family is friendly, no one was bothering me, I just did not feel social. At one point I left and sat in the car just to get away.

My car airbag light turned on. We had to get it fixed at the dealership $1000. I was not sure if we should get a new car but my husband pointed out that we can’t sell a car like that. I do want a newer car, but everything is so expensive right now.

Dragon Slayer

.

My therapist decided that I am doing well enough and run out of things to say, so he will see me as needed. I was feeling down earlier this month and he was able to give me a phone appointment.  I had an epiphany of sorts, maybe obvious to others but it struck me.

Image: Dragon silhouette

I was raised that you were valued for performance/achievements. So, any time I feel I did an inadequate job I think  I am bad/worthless.  So, little things can spiral me into depression.  

I emailed that to my therapist and this is what he wrote back:

       ”  do two things:

first, list the values you would choose to measure your life by then how you see yourself adhering to it…..

second, would you use the same standards that you grew up with to measure your children’s worth or value…..

write this out…..

lastly keep the things you have written out to re read anytime you begin to experience these thoughts….. and shame that comes with it”

There is no time limit since I don’t have another appointment set, but I have started thinking about it.  

I went to a journaling group on zoom last night. Everyone has some kind of illness so I can talk about mental health and it is not weird,

They have different prompts and you choose one and write for 10 minutes, then you can share. I usually share,

The prompt I chose was fighting your metaphorical dragon.

This is it, It is really rough but I like the imagery. 

The dragon in my life is negative core beliefs. I was raised to believe that how you performed was related to your worth. Whenever I think I did an inadequate job, I think I am a failure and worthless, I fall into a pit rapidly.

To fight my dragon, I would face him head on at first. I would yell and stab at him to get my anger out.

Then I would turn away in disbelief.   The dragon is not real, but I am keeping his image alive.  When I stop believing he will get smaller and smaller until he disappears.

I will rejoice and not miss him when he is gone.