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anxiety career Coping skills Dog Donation hearing hearing aids mental health mental illness NAMI Recovery schizoaffective stock stress

My Week

Image: Yorkie with words you just won a free pet portrait from I’ll shoot your pets a $250 value!

I was at a Halloween event at Hala’s Paws pet store in Mission Viejo, CA. I entered raffles and won 2 prizes. A Target gift card and a photo shoot of my dog by I’ll Shoot Your Pets located in Temecula, CA. They came over to my house to take pictures bringing a toy and treats to get his attention. Raider was pretty cooperative, but grew restless by the end. He was laying on the couch so the photographer took pictures of him there. The pictures turned out great. I had the choice of a large canvas photo, 3 8×10 prints or a ceramic mug. I have a large picture my niece made with pastel on wood, so I opted for the 8x10s. Here is the link to the photos.

https://galleries.page.link/Q9XLV

I own a small amount of shares from a company I used to work at in the 1990s. I received a package in the mail of documents that they want to buy the shares back. I want to sell. The only thing is I misplaced the certificate and it is over $100 to replace it. Then I can sell and make a small profit. My friend says it does not sound legitimate. The company is definitely buying the stocks back. He just thinks I should be able to do it all electronically. I have never sold stock or tried to replace a certificate. I have the holdings statement. I am going to look through our files this weekend and try to find the certificate.

The hearing aids are in limbo, my primary dr got them authorized but it is not with the right company, so they are working to get that straightened out. I will have them by the end of the year. I just don’t know when. They can’t order without the insurance authorization so for now I am just waiting.

I am going on a walk for NAMI Orange County, CA tomorrow. I am bringing a friend and will see people I know there. I have a fundraiser on Facebook and the Nami walks website. I have met my goal and will add to my collection of T-shirts.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/326881332539007/?fundraiser_source=external_url

https://www.namiwalks.org/participant/359276

The position I applied to transfer to changed from full time to per diem weekends so I withdrew. I will keep my eyes open. Fortunately, I like what I am doing now. When I told my friend I was anxious just deciding if I should apply he said “ don’t suffer twice”. I wish I knew how to turn off precipitatory anxiety. Now, I can relax.

Have a nice weekend!

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anxiety Coping skills Dog insurance mental health mental illness schizoaffective Therapy TikTok

TikTok @Schizoaffectivedogmom

I made my first TikTok video https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8DvPD97/ my username is @schizoaffectivedogmom I wrote a blog post early on about coping skills called Coping with Schizoaffective Disorder https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ so I am starting with a series on coping skills. The first one is my dog because he is the best. He is cute and funny and likes walks and being pet.

Image: dog on bed

I will keep blogging. The reason I was drawn to TikTok is that I went to an online NAMI CA conference and someone recommended a few users on TikTok. I liked what I saw and would like to add to that. I am older and not very technologically adept so we shall see how long I last. I did make some periscope videos when those were a thing, but few people came.

I am doing well. I just took my dog, Raider, to a Halloween event at a pet store. They had treats for dogs and people, lots of dogs dressed up, raffles, an artist, a dog rescue with the cutest puppies. Raider gets nervous but he seemed to have a good time meeting the other dogs. I just put a bandana on him. I entered the raffles. One prize is a portrait of your dog which would be awesome. We have one that my niece made that I love.

My health insurance, including behavioral health, changes Jan 1. My psychiatrist takes the new insurance. My therapist doesn’t but can apply for continuation of care and if it is approved the new insurance will cover her. Otherwise, I found someone highly recommended who takes the new insurance but retires in 2023. I was really anxious at first but now I am calm since it should work out.

ETA: hey I won the pet portrait from I’llShoot Your Pets (gotta love the name). So excited! and a Target gift card.

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anxiety Calories depression diabetes Donation intermittent fasting keto life lessons Marrow Medication mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma Weight loss

Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Stigma in Plasma Donation

Image of insulin and glucagon levels over time source Digbi Health

I saw the image above of how insulin drops between meals and while fasting. While insulin is low, glucagon can burn body fat. I was intrigued. I am 10 lbs away from a healthy BMI, but still have abdominal fat. I am type 2 diabetic and asked my doctor if fasting would be safe. My glucose is pretty well controlled and I don’t have hypoglycemic episodes. She said it is fine, but recommended 12-14 hour fasts. Which is mainly cutting out the nighttime snacking and eating breakfast later.

So far, no change. My weight has been stalled for awhile. My diabetes medication was reduced in June and my biometrics went south. Glucose up, ketones down, weight up. Thankfully, that stabilized but I can’t get my weight to go down. I log my food on an app (Cronometer) but sometimes I estimate weights. I am going to have to get better at calorie counting to start losing again.

So I am gung ho on intermittent fasting. Watching Dr Fung YouTube videos. Then, I saw this study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34135111/
A randomized controlled trial to isolate the effects of fasting and energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic health in lean adults

All I can see is the abstract and I heard a review but this is what I got out of it. There were 3 groups. One calorie restricted, one calorie restricted (same as group 1) but alternate day Fasting and a third group with no calorie restriction. The calorie restricted groups both lost the same amount of weight but the non fasting group lost more fat.

It was a short study 4 weeks, I think, and these were lean adults. Also, they were doing longer fasts than I am. But, I don’t know what to make of it. I would have expected the fat loss to either be similar or more for the fasting group since they have lowered insulin during the fasting period. if anyone has any insights let me know in the comments. I will stay with 12-14 hr fasts and keto diet for now.

I tried donating plasma at a donation center. I tried calling ahead to ask about restrictions but they do not give that information over the phone. And, they don’t take appointments for first time donors so I had to walk in and wait. For what it was it was not too bad. First someone checked my veins, which are fine. Then I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. Then, I watched a video on plasma donation and read through a manual for first time donors.

Then, a woman, I don’t know her title, took me to an office to go over my paperwork. She got to the medications and asked what each was for and looked them up in a huge book. I take 7 medications for various conditions. After she goes through the medications she goes over them with me.

Most were fine. I take antidepressants but as long as anxiety and depression are under control it is fine. But, I take metformin for diabetes. She said that is a temporary deferral. If I was off it for a year I could come back. I don’t know what the likelihood of me maintaining my diabetes by diet alone is, my husband is able to, so possibly. Then she got to abilify which is an antipsychotic although it is sometimes used along with an antidepressant for depression. But, I told her I take it for schizoaffective disorder. That is a permanent deferral.

Bone marrow donation has the same policy. It is not the safety of the product. They consider me a safety hazard. I have been stable for 15 years but still people are afraid of me because of a diagnosis. They should have a sign out front: schizophrenics need not apply. So, I would not have had to waste my time.

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anxiety Co-occurring job keto Medication mental health mental illness peer support psychosis schizophrenia support Weight gain Weight loss

The Keto Roller Coaster

Image of roller coaster

I have been on a ketogenic diet for about 5 months to help treat type 2 diabetes. I was taking 2 medications. Metformin and Januvia. I am monitored through a program called Virta. I have a coach and a physician through Virta, it is all done virtually. There is also an online community for people on the program. It is covered by my insurance.

At the beginning of this month I had labs that my endocrinologist had ordered. The results were really good. A1C of 4.8 and fasting glucose 98. Everything else was normal, too. For some reason my endocrinologist office cancelled my appointment so I had to reschedule for August. The Virta dr said that I could try going off Januvia since my labs are so good.

So, I go off Januvia and everything goes screwy. I get ravenous at night and have to eat after dinner. I had been slowly losing, now I am gaining weight. My fasting glucose is higher than before I started keto. I test my ketones and they are low. I chatted with people in the community and they tell me to stick it out, that my body will adapt. I am not so sure. I put in a message to the Virta dr to ask for his opinion but I won’t hear until at least Monday. I did not even know if the Januvia was doing anything but I now notice a difference without it.

I rarely talk about work, but here I go. My opinions do not represent my employer.

I work in peer support in a 20 bed mental health crisis stabilization unit (CSU). I have worked in peer support at an activity center for people with mental health issues and in a residential program. The people we see are much more symptomatic than I had worked with in the past. I am available to talk and offer groups but I don’t get much interaction because people want to sleep, are too symptomatic, want to be left alone etc.

It is a new facility and peer support is a new position for my employer. I have been there about 5 months and still have not found my footing. My boss is aware of the issues of people not wanting to interact and told me to keep being available and offering groups. She is going to give me some additional duties once they are approved.

It also can be anxiety provoking when patients are loud or aggressive. I am not involved with dealing with those situations but I feel tense. I help out where I can. I like the place and what we do.

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anxiety bipolar Coping skills distorted thinking Medication mental health mental illness NAMI psychosis Recovery schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma Therapy

In Our Own Voice Presentation

Yesterday I did a presentation for NAMI Orange County on my recovery.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/8I-z9RKNONCJ958C7klIYBjCf3ZzCXs_BD743CKZD0QUzGcCtPbtjjVcYygq5hk.nKTSbzmA_Jj3DrvG


Passcode +6$T%coQ

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alcoholism anxiety Co-occurring Dual diagnosis mental health mental illness peer support politics Recovery

What did I sign up for?

I volunteered to lead one day in my AA group. It is not very complicated. They have a format and I pick a passage from AA literature to read, talk about 5 minutes and then open for discussion. But, I have social anxiety. It is much better than in the past but I am still nervous. On top of that, I told my friend I would speak on her podcast in January. That I am a bit terrified about.

I picked a chapter from the Big Book, More about Alcoholism, and will talk about doubting we are alcoholics. I think it will be good for me to hear others experiences. I just finished step 1- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

In my youth my life truly was unmanageable. I had rules for myself about when and where I could drink, by the time I stopped, to keep my drinking from getting out of hand. It is hard for me to see my life as unmanageable. I made a list and will continue to add to it, about being powerless and my life being unmanageable. I will refer to it when I have doubts.

As far as the podcast, I am going to be talking about myself, my experience with mental illness. I had an older brother who has passed away, who had a psychotic break in the 1970s. I am going to talk about his story, too.

My friend called to discuss the podcast with me. I froze on the first question. She asked me about being a mental health advocate. I think of myself more as my job title, a peer support specialist, or someone with lived experience. I have written letters for certain bills but am not very politically involved. We are going to talk again and hopefully I can relax. She can talk enough for the both of us. I just want it to go well.

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12 step AA alcoholism anxiety Co-occurring Uncategorized

Powerless and Unmanageable

I am starting to work on the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous. My sponsor has me writing down how I am powerless over alcohol and that my life has become unmanageable.

It is hard. I like to think that with enough willpower I can do anything, but I have tried quitting on my own and that did not work. I have gotten sick, saying “never again” to go out the next night and drink again. I am endangering my physical and mental health, but I did not stop until very recently.

I considered the bottle to be a friend. It was always there, never let me down. I think I was developing a tolerance. I was having trouble getting a buzz. I was letting daily activities go to the wayside. I am terribly shy and needed a drink to socialize.

I was talking with a friend who is very involved in aa. She started telling me rules. You aren’t supposed to make changes the first year and I should be journaling were a couple. She was scaring me. I wondered what I was getting into. I called my sponsor and she said those things can be good but not required.

The meetings I have been going to are over Zoom. I can’t wait to meet people in person. I have just been going to women’s meetings. The ladies have been nice. I have 25 days sober. I am still a newcomer.

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anxiety disability eugenics motherhood pandemic politics relationships schizoaffective schizophrenia virtual doctor

My government is trying to kill me and other news

I have a form of schizophrenia and people have been suggesting my fears are delusions, but some things are obviously true.

I am in the USA. Our president is playing games with state governors for medical equipment and supplies. If they don’t compliment, praise him in the media so he can win votes he won’t order supplies, He buys them up, or tells vendors not to sell to them. I am talking ppe and ventilators, test kits. Even if we have more tests available someone has to obtain sample and needs ppe. He has kept testing low to keep numbers of reported cases low and people don’t take the mitigation policies seriously.

He suggested that our elders and high risk people are expendable. Worth the “sacrifice” for Wall Street. Hospitals are deciding who should get first choice of ventilators, who not to resuscitate, They will choose to give up on the disabled. I don’t know where I fall in those discussions. I have loved ones that would die. All we can do is try to hide from the virus.

Our president only thinks of money and power, has no humanity, I feel helpless and the ones in power are moving really slowly. We let him become above the law.

His followers don’t care he is killing them and us. They are blinded. You would think when it is affecting you, personally, you would wake up, but no. There is so much propaganda, the media perpetuates it. He lies on tv and they still play it.

I feel like I am in a simulation (that is my mental illness) and just want it to end. I worry about myself and those around me. This virus is so infectious. I am in CA. Our governor says they predict over 50% of us over the year. I think it is inevitable I will catch it, just don’t know when. He also said maybe 12 more weeks of stay home order. People complain of boredom. If that is the main complaint that is ideal in a pandemic.

I just go to work and home. I work in a residential mental health facility. My views are my own not my employer, we need to put disclaimers. We take our temp before shift and resident vitals daily. So far the residents are restless but healthy. It is an 80 bed facility. It would be a disaster if we get an outbreak. No visitors, no packages, stay on site.

I am scared. I try to distract myself. I watch tv shows and go on social media. I do not watch our president talk, it just makes me upset. Our governor is calming. It is bad news but I feel like he is a good leader. My mom and mother in law are high risk and stay inside. Mother in law is alone. she gets lonely. We call everyday but I wish we could do more. She has not figured out video meetings yet. I wish I could just go there and show her, but if I could we would not need it. My mom gets frustrated with technology,

My husband is still working, too. He works in communications for the school district. All teaching is online now, so that is important. He goes to grocery store and anything we need. I really don’t want him to get sick. There is a shortage of masks so they told us not to wear them. I think that recommendation will change soon, I see people say how to make them but it is too complicated for me.

My children are 18 and 21. My daughter is home from college and everything is online. My son is a senior in high school. It is hard from him being away from his friends. He is no longer working, youth sports, because it is cancelled. He interacts with his friends online or goes out for a drive alone.

I had a cold that turned into a sinus infection and saw a doc via telemedicine, I recommend highly. there are so many things that are now accommodated for and I hope that continues after this is all over.

I like Biden for President. He has compassion. I don’t care to debate. This is all my opinion,

Men keep sliding into my DMs. I am not used to this. I am happily married,. I can follow on social media without messaging. It makes me uncomfortable. You can message me anything important, like how to protect myself and others, but I won’t respond generally to chit chat.

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anxiety Uncategorized

Dealing with Anxiety

imageI am suffering with constant anxiety. My stomach feels queasy and I am having trouble with shallow breathing.

I just started a new job and I think that is the issue. i am hoping once I settle in, it will stop.

My therapist suggested more exercise and mindfulness. My pdoc said to push through it, but he said i could increase my antipsychotic medication.  I have a number of coping skills, but I still feel miserable.

it is really tempting to drink in the evening. Anything to numb out.

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anxiety Dysfunctional parenting Therapy Uncategorized

Uncomfortably Numb

I saw my therapist today.

My daughter moved into the dorms for her first year in college yesterday. We talked about that for a while. It is bittersweet. I am very happy for her, but it does feel different with an empty room. I got shaky when I was moving her in. I don’t think it was the lifting, but anxiety. There were so many people.

Once we got all of her stuff in her room, I said goodbye. My husband and son took her shopping for a few last things, and had lunch in the cafeteria. I would not have been able to eat.

I told therapist about the shaking. I was still doing it today. In the room my son was telling me to breathe in my nose and out my mouth to try to help. He is sweet.image I told her when I came home from the last visit I was unsure how I felt. We had talked about the past, growing up, and it was uncomfortable. She asked me what I needed and I said some acknowledgement that parts sucked. The unpredictability.

I tried to be invisible and would do what I was told at home and keep a low profile, and stay away from home when i could. I told her i got into trouble with drugs and my boyfriend, but my parents were too preoccupied to notice or care. She thought that would upset me, that i went unnoticed, but it was my plan.

At one point I told my therapist I was “pulling back”. I guess I was dissociating. I was there but numb to any emotions.

i mentioned how once my mom was talking about my niece, saying really nice things. She brought up my daughter, for some reason, saying she is not the same or something. I said, i know and was agreeing with her, and said that my daughter is really good, but she is different. Then my mother said, ” well, I thought you were good, too.” It really bothered me because I thought she was insinuating my daughter might be up to something she isn’t. My therapist said, ” I don’t know what to say to that. There are so many levels.” And it came out of the blue when my mom said it.

This is so hard. My father is gone. My mom has changed some, for the better.

My therapist said, parents do what they can for their children, unless they are sociopaths, and that mine did not know how to do things differently, is that fair? I squirmed with that. Not the sociopath part. I know they did things the way they thought was the best. I don’t understand how they could think some things were okay to do, let alone good. if I can get past this it might be a breakthrough.

My dad once discouraged me from therapy, because he said you talk about the past and it makes you sad. As far as i know he had never had any therapy and I shrugged it off, but here I am. Talking about the past and feeling sad.