All posts by Lori Bernstein

About Lori Bernstein

I am a mental health paraprofessional with lived experience. I have schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and social anxiety. I have gone from being reclusive to public speaking.

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.

Update

Image: Yellow smiley face

My therapist was able to fit me in with a phone appointment on my lunch break Monday. He validated my feelings which helped a lot. Then, he gave me cognitive behavioral therapy homework to find evidence about being worthless, a failure, etc. There is no deadline. I don’t have a scheduled appointment. I will let him know if I need an appointment. He is going to retire soon.

Then, I talked to the assistant to my boss, I don’t know her title, and told her how I have been feeling. She said she has had no complaints from anyone about me. That helped, too. I made sure to document my encounters this week and this month already looks better.

I have a LinkedIn friend, I don’t know if we have met ever, who volunteers in my field. She mentioned she was looking for work. I told her we had an opening, part time and how to apply. She jumped on it and got the job. I think today is her first day. I hope it goes well for her.

I saw my new psychiatrist. He works in the same office as my last one, but he is covered by my insurance. I don’t know what to think of him. He barely spoke to me, just checked boxes while I talked which was off putting. He took a personal call. I am maxed out on the meds I take and he thinks my antipsychotic is too high, so he decreased it and told me how to taper down. No one has wanted to change my meds because they are working. He does not want to see me for 3 months.

I am a little worried I will destabilize in that time. When I made the appointment for August, I asked if they can switch me back to the other doctor when they get the insurance worked out. They put me on a list.

Sad

What do you do when all your coping skills only help a little?

Image view of blue sky from hole in ground

I am in a pit. I know it will pass, but it feels agonizing. My dog and husband try to comfort me, it helps some. I had thoughts of not existing but I have decided against that. I am here to stay, even if I am miserable. I want to quit things that cause me stress. My husband wants me to wait a month to make Important decisions.

I am not sure what I would do with more free time. My therapist moved my appointments further and further out because I was doing well and had trouble coming up with things to talk about. So, he moved me to “as needed”. Now, I need it but I have to wait for a time he can fit me in. I see my third psychiatrist this year next week. My insurance has been denying claims.

If you have any tips on how to ride this out please comment

Therapy PRN?

Image: dinosandcomics cartoon I hate leaving the house, why are you here then, well…, I have to have something to talk to my therapist about

I started seeing a new therapist when my insurance changed in January.  He started spacing our sessions further apart because I am doing well and run out of things to say.  Last month he told me he thinks I just need to see him, as needed, and to contact him if I need an appointment.

I don’t know what to think.  I am happy I am doing well but did not know I could finish, with a chronic mental health condition.  I do like checking in with someone but I have a psychiatrist and support group and people around me.

When I ask people about it they think I am unhappy and tell me to speak up, but that is not the issue.  I am unsure how I feel.  I am getting used to the idea now.

 

I also changed psychiatrist with the insurance change. But, I am having more insurance issues. He is part of a medical group that is covered but they are not recognizing him in their system. They covered the first appointment but denied the second. I filed a grievance and the psychiatrist office says it will be taken care of.  It still makes me nervous.

 

Work is going fine. I work 2 days and they hired someone to work the other 3.  I was wondering what he was doing. Work would be piled up for me when I came in.  I just found out he has not been working there for over a month  I feel silly for not knowing, but no one told me.

 

Weight watchers is going fine.  I had a birthday and celebrated with some desserts.  My weight has been going up and down but at least it I have not be gained.  I am getting back at it. I got a recipe book when I signed up and have made a few recipes.  I made slow cooked oats with fruit and a hash brown and egg meal.  I have coconut milk yogurt cooking overnight.  I plugged in a blueberry muffin recipe and it is 6 pts which is okay for a treat but I have to limit to one.