Categories
chronic illness coconut milk yogurt insurance mental health mental illness peer support psychiatrist schizoaffective schizophrenia support support groups Therapy Weight loss weight Watchers

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.

 

 

Categories
alcohol anxiety Brain feelings haircare harm reduction hemisphere insurance mental health mental illness moderation peer support

Brain Hemispheres and the Rest of My Week

Image Brain: colored hemispheres , right pink, left blue

My therapist emailed me this link on a man who learned late in life, through therapy,  how to use his right hemisphere and feel.  I asked why he sent it to me and he said he was sharing the importance of working with the right hemisphere. I am still confused.  Does he think I don’t use half my brain, that I am unfeeling? I see him Wednesday.  I am not sure if I should ask more or just let it go.

https://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/blog/details/1245/its-never-too-late

I have a cold. I took a test and thankfully it is not Covid. I left work early the other day and have been taking it easy. I will be fine before Monday.

I was contacted on LinkedIn to write something on anxiety for choosingtherapy.com.  I wrote a bit about coping skills.  I hope it is what they are looking for.  If anyone is interested in submitting a story,  this is the submission link https://www.choosingtherapy.com/share-your-story/

I don’t know if I have a psychiatrist. I have new insurance and mine is not on the provider list, but I filed for continuation of care which was approved. So, they agreed to cover him. Now, they are asking him to file more paperwork than he is comfortable with. They denied 2 claims. He is only charging me copays. He called my insurance provider , I called, but I have not heard anything yet. I am supposed to have an appointment this week but he will cancel if it is not covered. I did get the name of a psychiatrist on my insurance who is taking new patients but I don’t know much about him, except that he charges a lot if you don’t cancel 24 hours in advance.

My friend turned me on to a hair product. The company is Olaplex. My hair frizzes and it helps tame the curl. I am 57 and finally learning to manage my hair. My daughter has beautiful spiral curls. I just have waves but at least it is not frizzed. I don’t have any stock in the company and I am sure there are other similar products, I am just happy I found something that works for me. And, it goes with my showering habits. I wash my hair 1 x / week and shower without dealing with my hair in between.

They run support groups where I work. I asked about starting a harm reduction or moderation group or SMART Recovery, but they said they are full and they seemed to equate 12 steps with recovery with no other options. They said they will get back to me.

 

 

Categories
career depression diabetes Dog fun keto mental health mental illness peer support Pets relaxation Therapy travel vacation writing

What is one thing you have always wanted to do?

Image palm trees and water

I saw my therapist today telehealth. One thing he asked me was what do I do for fun or to relax. My knee jerk reaction was that I don’t know how, but I corrected myself. I am a couch potato but I enjoy computer games. I am happy on my couch with my dog typing right now. He asked what is one thing I have always wanted to do, for example, travel, and would I be disappointed if I never do it. I rarely travel, and would like to, but I don’t have a dream destination that I would be upset about not going. I can vacation in my backyard. We go on short overnight trips about an hour away that I enjoy.

It did get me thinking, though, I want to visit my sister in Boston when the weather is nicer. She suggested summer or fall, I have been there once when she first moved but it was a different house. She has a lake she likes to go to that I want to see. I can start planning that trip. My nephew is getting married out of the country but I don’t think I will go. I would like to but it won’t upset me not to be there. Just the coat is too much.

I have new health insurance and took a survey and the result said I am depressed but I feel fine. I am going to ignore that result.

I joined this zoom journaling group through the Mighty. I know everyone has a health condition, not sure if it is all mental health. They list prompts, give 10 minutes to write, share and then repeat. It goes for 3 hours but I leave early because I have another zoom, DBSA later. I feel like my writing is rainbows and puppy dogs and other people go deep. They are nice to me, I can’t go this week but I think I will continue. I know I have other emotions they just aren’t being prompted.

i zoomed with endocrinologist after therapist.My labs were good. I told her I stopped keto in dec and don’t want to go back to where I started but I don’t like logging food and counting carbs. She said I can visually see if my meals are less than 1/4 starchy carbs. I fill myself up with veggies. Beans are my main starchy food. I can do that.

I got a call from an old co worker. we worked at an activity center for adults with mental health issues. we have both moved on. he is now working at a new peer advocacy non profit, I don’t know if it is the grass looking greener. I am content where I am but get antsy when I am not busy I have a lot of down time that should change once I can get trained on some more tasks.

Categories
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.

Categories
12 step AA hams harm reduction moderation peer support sobriety Uncategorized

Slippery Slope

Photo of hamster

I have stopped going to AA meetings.  I felt pressured to attend meetings and pray daily.  I am not religious and I did not find that part helpful.  There are things I gained.  I don’t think I would have stayed sober this long without starting with AA.  The accountability was helpful.

I belong to a couple of Facebook pages. Secular AA, Moderation Management and HAMs. (Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation). We are called HAMsters. I am leaning towards trying to moderate drinking to about two times a year. We are going out of town over my birthday. Someone gave us a bottle of champagne and I plan to have some. Then I plan to go alcohol free until our wedding anniversary in October.

My therapist warned me it is a “slippery slope” and how do I not know I won’t go back to drinking more often. And, that I plan to drink because we have champagne makes no sense to her.  I feel like if I have a plan, I can stick with it.  And, that AA is not the program for me because I want to be able to drink occasionally, like twice a year.  I won’t be alone.  I won’t be driving.

Am I just asking for trouble?

Categories
12 step AA alcoholism career Co-occurring keto mental health mental illness peer support sobriety

Taking a Break From AA

Virta supplies

I have had problems with the spirituality part of AA.  I am not religious and don’t feel comfortable praying.  I am okay with the Serenity Prayer at meetings, but don’t usually pray on my own.  I also started getting busier in my life. 

I started a new job this month and am also starting the ketogenic diet. It is fewer days, but 8 hr shifts so I have to plan lunch. I have been bringing nuts and cheese and making it more of a break. So far that is working well. But, I do have to think more about meals and planning until I get keto down.

I have lost 10 lbs in a month, which is great for me, but the main reason I am doing the diet is for type 2 diabetes. When I stick to the plan, 30 g total carbs moderate protein and fats to satiate I am good, but the store bought “keto” products that go by net carbs, not counting sugar alcohols and fiber, still raise my blood sugar a little. It is still better than when I started.

I am in a program through my insurance called Virta.  They provide me with supplies, a health coach, a dr and a forum.  I report weight, glucose and blood ketones daily.  At first the additional fat in my diet upset my stomach, but I think I have adjusted.  My sister started when I told her how well it worked for my blood sugar, so I have someone to talk about keto.  It is a huge change for me. I am a big fruit and sweets eater but I don’t get many cravings and rarely feel hungry.

The job is going well. I am a peer advocate in mental health crisis stabilization unit. Basically, a mental health urgent care.  We just opened and it has been quiet,  sometimes they send me home early because I have nothing to do,  I have been making a binder of resources,  I will be providing therapeutic communication when we have patients,  so far, I have only been there with one patient who was not very talkative.

As far as AA, I had cut way back in going to meetings because of things going on in my life. My sponsor suggested I go to more meetings and pray every morning and evening. I thought about it and decided to take a break from it all. I can meditate but I don’t want to pray every day and I felt pressured about going to meetings, I have not been drinking. I just don’t know if it is the right program for me.

Categories
12 step AA alcoholism higher power mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

My head is spinning

I have been thinking of a higher power and talking with people and now I don’t know what to think. My sponsor says all I have to do is believe something, anything, outside of myself could, possibly restore me to sanity. That I can do, but choosing what to believe in is more complicated. I have trouble believing in a man in the sky. I started with the Universe or nature. I feel more connected with the world outdoors. But, I don’t know how the Universe could help me. They say you can have the fellowship of AA as your higher power but I don’t know about turning my will over to the group

I talked to.my therapist about my issue with psychosis and she reassured me that it is unlikely I will start getting delusional. It has been 15 years since my last psychotic episode. She thinks my issue is with religion I am getting support and staying sober. I don’t like going to meetings every day and calling my sponsor everyday. My therapist thought maybe I should cut back but do something with that time I have trouble expressing what I want. My sponsor said I don’t have to do anything and that they are suggestions.


The meeting tonight was on step 2 and our higher power. People spoke about their faith or issues with religion. One woman said she can’t define her higher power but it helps her. I have been reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In the book she listens to an inner wisdom that she calls God. I know my inner voice could help me, but that is not something outside of myself.


My friend does not think I have a problem and should not identify with an illness. That gets me wondering if I really need something outside to restore me. Is that something you can do on your own? I think my mind is shattered in a way and I have been searching for someone/ something to repair it.


So far I am staying with AA because it is not hurting anything and I am sober

Categories
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.

Categories
12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia

Giving AA a chance

I had gone from abstinence to trying moderation with alcohol. I started having drinks after work, alone. The problem with that was I was letting other things go. My husband was walking the dog alone and I was not even showering as often. I have fatigue issues which only became worse.

I went to a zoom NAMI seminar and a psychiatrist I admire, Luis Sandoval, was talking about schizophrenia. Someone asked about substance use and he responded, You take medications to help you think clearly, why would you take something that interferes with that? Logically, I have known this, but for some reason this time it hit me. I decided to go to a zoom AA meeting afterwards.

I found a woman’s meeting that meets at the same time every day and have been going as often as I can. My start date is Oct 13, so I only have a week of sobriety so far. I have a friend who is very involved in AA and is giving me pointers. I asked a woman to be my sponsor and she said yes. She has me calling her every day and we will zoom once a week. I ordered the big book on kindle and have started to read.

I am not religious. My mom is Catholic and I recognize some similarities. Prayers, confession, etc. they asked me to end the last meeting with a prayer and the only one I know is the Serenity prayer, which was fine.

There are other options, as far as groups go, but I want to give AA a try. My sponsor says I can choose my higher power. I have not figured that out yet.

Categories
mental health mental illness peer support politics Uncategorized

CA Senate Bill 803 Peer Support Specialist, signed

Governor Gavin Newsom

Just last week, CA Gov Newsom, signed senate bill 803, along with more healthcare bills. Senate bill 803 sets a standard for training and scope of practice for Peer Support Specialists.

I work as a peer mentor and take as much additional training that is available, but it is hard to know what to do when there is no standard. And, we are not reality recognized as part of the team.

We will also be able to bill Medi-cal which is new territory for me. I am sure there will be more documentation.

I am very happy it passed.