Tag Archives: schizoaffective

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,

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?

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.

 

 

New Year, New Docs and Parenting Woes

Image man lying down on therapist couch

My health insurance changed in January. My primary care is the same, but I had to get a new therapist in January. I was approved continuation of care with my psychiatrist, but that fell throug, so I had to find a new psychiatrist, too.

I saw the new psychiatrist on Thursday. Fortunately, he did not want to change my medications. I have been on this combo for years. A friend had recommended a different doctor in the practice but he was booked up so they assigned me to this one. I googled and found him but did not get much information. He seems nice. He ordered refills. Our next appointment is over the phone next month.

I like my new therapist. He makes me think. I asked him what he meant by that article on brain hemispheres and he said just that you can change your thinking at any age.

My daughter is 23 and lives with us. She graduated college last year and plans to get her teaching credential. But, she has not applied, yet. She is afraid to learn to drive and is afraid of Covid. She has a job at the library. We drive her back and forth, which is okay. She just goes to work and home and spends a lot of time in her room.

My therapist suggested we are enabling her to avoid self awareness, and how satisfying is her life if she is isolating? Another thing that is making me wonder. I don’t go out much myself and I feel content. It is not out of fear, I am just fine at home. I mentioned her at a support group and they said we are enabling by driving her and that she may stay home until in her 30s. I don’t know what to think. She seems fine, rarely complains. We did not get along for years and we are in an okay place now.

I don’t know what we should be doing, if anything.

I have joined an art journaling group. It meets once a month. The teacher is a therapist, but it is not therapy. She just charges a donation. She brings up a subject for inspiration. This week she wanted us to bring light to Ukraine. We worked with mandalas which is a circle. I like the way mine turned out. I am not artistic but it is still enjoyable.

Image: blue and yellow circles with yellow heart and sunflower in center. Words: hope, support, power of love

I also joined an online journaling group. It disappeared and I thought they weren’t going to have it anymore, but it is back at a different time. It is enjoyable, too.

Sensory Coping Skills

Image: essential oil inhaler, sock, modeling clay, lemon heads and phone with image of bedroom with dog

My health insurance changed, so I have a new therapist. I have seen him twice, so far. I am doing well, so we may move to monthly appointments.

He went over some sensory and other coping skills and assigned me to get items. I have a post “Coping With Schizoaffective Disorder” https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ These are additional tools

The first is a calming essential oil, like lavender. I don’t like that so I got chamomile and an inhaler. I was skeptical but I enjoy the scent.

The next was a photo of a safe scene.it could be a place in nature, whatever you feel is safe. I took a picture of my bedroom with my dog. That is my safe place.

Music. Something relaxing like rainfall or ocean waves. I found some nature sounds on YouTube.

Fabric, an item that is soft to hold. I bought a fuzzy sock at the dollar store.

Lemon drops or sour candy

Some other things he recommended:

Box breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale fir 4 seconds).

Exercise

Watch a funny show

Take a shower

Throwing something safe, like modeling clay

I told him I did not think I would do the throwing, but he encouraged me to try them all.  I bought clay but have not tried throwing it yet.

 

When I told him I have trouble getting in the shower. I don’t like to get cold. He asked if anything had happened in a bathroom or shower. I did not go into details but told him yes, when I was 8 years old. He told me to have all the coping tools and journal from the perspective of an 8 year old. I don’t know how to do that, so I journaled what I remember. I think the tools helped me stay calm. I don’t believe that has to do with me having trouble with showers, though.

Insurance Woes

Image: Skeleton with phone, on hold

My health insurance changed at the beginning of this year. I have been dealing with the insurance company. Monday it was impossible to get through. Tuesday I was able to chat and call and get most questions answered, I thought. My primary care physician is the same and she can refer me to any specialists. I see an endocrinologist, a sleep disorder pulmonologist, and a specialist dentist who monitors an oral appliance I wear for sleep apnea. But, I need a new psychiatrist and therapist.

I filled out a form for continuation of care with my current psychiatrist hoping I could at least get my meds refilled before I switch. Up until Monday, I thought he was covered, but he isn’t in my IPA, whatever that is, I thought it was a beer. I found a psychologist and had an appointment on Wednesday. He suggested calling my insurance to ask about a psychiatrist and to double check, he, the psychologist, is covered.

The problem is, this insurance covers medical and behavioral health, but they are different departments and don’t seem to communicate. The first person I called said anyone I see has to be in the medical group, which limits me to 4 psychiatrists to choose from and does not include the psychologist. Then, I contacted behavioral health who said the psychologist is covered, it says in network. I was getting conflicting info so I texted and it took all day but I got confirmation that behavioral health is not required to be in the medical group and does not need referrals but medical care does. I screen shot the text in case there are problems.

So, I looked at the list of psychiatrists and called one who seems to have a lot of experience. I found out she is the medical director and I will be treated by a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I am a little uneasy since I have a complex disorder ( schizoaffective disorder). I am stable now and just need medication management. I made an appointment but checked out some of the other psychiatrists. I found another that sounds good that I will call Monday. I am not sure if it will be the same.

Also, I have been taking a medication called modafinil for excessive daytime sleepiness due to sleep apnea even with the appliance. The insurance rejected the order. my dr is trying to get it for me. I am completely out and so so sleepy.

The therapy appointment went well. I told him I feel shame about past mistakes and have trouble forgiving myself. He asked if I would forgive someone else and I said yes. Why the different standard? I first said “I don’t know “ which I learned he does not accept as an answer, so I reflected on it and decided I should be able to forgive myself, but I still don’t know how. Baby steps?

Then I told him I get uneasy sometimes at work when there is a lot of noise and commotion even though I am not directly effected. Or if my husband raises his voice at home. He told me to journal when I feel uneasy. I have not had to deal with loud noises lately, but dealing with all of this insurance stuff gets me worked up. I want to drink to calm down, but I also want to stay sober. So far, sobriety is winning. I have a blood test in February and I am hoping for good results. We agreed to monthly appointments since I am stable.

Did I mention I got my hearing aids.? They work well. A little bit of trouble getting tangled in my mask. They have blue tooth capability and I have them connected to my phone. I am slowly learning how to disconnect if I want to use my phone or I hear nothing. And, I get notifications through the hearing aids. I go back to the audiologist for follow up soon. Sometimes it seems like only one is working and I don’t know if I am doing something.

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!

Will it be too stressful?

Image: STRESS spelled out in scrabble

I have been stable for 15 years, but I have really decreased stress in my life. I find that when stress increases my symptoms can increase. I did not work for a few years after diagnosis. Then, I volunteered part time for years. I have been working part time for 6 years and I am doing well.

I found out about an open position at my work. It is higher pay, but more responsibility and full time. I put in a request to transfer and am waiting for an interview. I have no offer yet, but I am starting to worry if I am doing the right thing. (My opinion does not represent my employer). I want to ask my psychiatrist his opinion on taking on more, but he is out of town.. I emailed therapist but I don’t know if she will get back to me.

I have a delay with the hearing aids. The audiologist contacted my insurance and they said I have no coverage. That did not sound right, so I called. I have a $1000 allowance but it needs authorization from my medical group. I asked my primary care and she said she is not the one to ask, I had been referred to an ENT when they sent me to the audiologist so I don’t know if the ENT is supposed to get authorization. I am hoping I get them before the end of the year.

I am still doing TikTok videos on coping with schizoaffective disorder. Username Schizoaffective Dog Mom. I used to do live Periscopes. Few people came, but it was fun. TikTok has a live feature, but you need to have 1000 followers (I have 50). I guess it does not make sense to go live with no audience, but I am a little bummed I can’t use that feature. I have enjoyed viewing live videos.