blogging

Sleep…or lack thereof

Back in September, immediately prior to the rebranding, I joined Weight Watchers (more about that later. Or you can head over to IG @humaninrecovery and see what’s been happening.)

Every week is a new topic of discussion about mindset, behavior changes, and achieving goals. I call it DBT Lite. This week’s topic is sleep.

Sleep doesn’t love me as much as I love it. It seems as if it never has…at least not since adolescence. I mean, I’m writing this at 2:45 A.M. because sleep abandoned me.

Correction: my lovely, not so little, daughter chased it away and it’s eluded me ever since, four+ hours now. Now, she’s sound asleep and I’m wide awake. *sigh*

Supposedly, not having my phone in the bedroom with me would help with getting back to sleep. I’ve tried. Can’t do it. It’s my alarm. It’s my fidget. It’s where I do the brain dump. It’s how I run my brain down until sleep is possible again.

I have horrible sleep hygiene…always have. My room is a cluttered mess. My bedroom & bed are multipurpose locations. My bed is shared with a growing, nearly 10 year old child with sensory issues and needs. So, she’s either burrowing into me, flailing arms in my face, and/or hogging the covers. Occasionally, she snores and breathes through her mouth…Her dad sent me an article yesterday which suggested an exam with an ENT could turn up some medical condition causing sleep disruption which can present like ADHD. More on that later.

In addition to clinging to me like a baby gorilla, she insists on listening to “girl music” when she’s ready to go to sleep. Read: female pop artists. She goes to sleep fairly easy once the music is going. Not me. For someone who has words constantly flowing through her brain, pop music is especially unhelpful when trying to go to sleep. Any music with words is, including what she calls “God music,” my CCM Pandora channel, heavily salted with music by MercyMe.

Then there’s temperature.

I can’t sleep if it’s warm…she freezes and turns into a heat seeking baby gorilla. I like it cool enough to want my feet under the comforter…yeah, I know, weird. The problem with that is the baby gorilla blanket thief.

Let’s see, what else?

Oh, yeah. My body & brain. I’m a premenopausal spoonie with Bipolar 2 Disorder & PTSD. If the nighttime neuropathy doesn’t get me or the busy brain, the night sweats and apparently shrinking bladder will.

And, so, I guess it isn’t that sleep doesn’t love me. It just doesn’t feel welcomed or wanted. *sigh*

The kicker is that I don’t even drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages to get and stay functional. Apparently, I’m a deceptively alive and youthful looking zombie vampire.

Yes. I’m 49.

This is Day 2 of

Click to see other participants’ blogs and show them some ❤️!

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NanoPoblano – November 2018 Daily Blog Challenge

🤔 You’ve probably noticed, or maybe not, how dormant my blog has been for a long while. Periodically, I try to jumpstart my writing by doing a daily blog post challenge. This is another such effort.

The past few times I started a challenge, I haven’t been able to do the full month before…life. My hope and my plan is to incorporate my life into this month’s effort.

By that I mean I’m going to bring y’all up to speed with the things that have been going on in my life this year, especially the past couple of months:

• Parenting
• Autism
• ADHD
• Bipolar 2 disorder
• PTSD
• WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
• Binge Eating Disorder & Compulsive Eating

are among the things I’ll write about. There may even be a haiku or two and other poetry tossed into the mix.

Welcome and thanks for joining me on this journey.

Click above to find other NanoPoblano bloggers.

Writing Prompts to Prime the Pump

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted much of anything. Life and depression have shut down the part of my brain that has writing ideas and the will to write anyway.

I suspect, or believe, that the meds “stabilizing” the bipolar disorder have something to do with dampening the writing spark. The last time I did any “real” writing was when I was in a manic episode, back in March/April. I was in limerence and completely obsessed over an absolutely inappropriate guy…to be honest, he’s still in my brain, just nowhere near as much.

For those of you wondering, limerence looks an awful lot like a crush or infatuation and feels like the initial throes of excitement one feels when first falling in love. It isn’t either of those things. It’s obsession, pure and simple. It’s also not always about love and romance. Fortunately, I was able to recognize it and acknowledge it for what it was, even though I had little to no power to stop it. I even wrote the following:

This Isn’t Love
Longing for your glance, your touch.
I can’t stop thinking about you.
My mind is not my own
Excruciating anticipation.
Resistance is useless.
Excited and breathless
Can you feel it, too?
Eventually, this, too, shall pass.

Limerence
lim·er·ence
ˈlimərəns/
noun PSYCHOLOGY
1. the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.

It didn’t end well.

My writing was prolific during those few weeks. Since then, the urge/desire/need to write has disappeared. For the most part.

Last month, I planned to get back to blogging. So, I signed up for The Ultimate Blog Challenge…then didn’t write a word for the blog. Actually, that’s not true. I started to write a post about ableism and the use of the word “crazy.” It’s in the Drafts folder.

Finally, on Sunday, I decided I needed to start small and use a social writing app, lettrs, and the prompts the admins and members offer, to get writing again. Here are the results of the past four days of prompts I’ve responded to:

Skylark Challenge 149:
Image + four words: pernicious, illuminating, children, malevolent.

The pernicious presence of the alien craft, illuminated the children, who stood frozen and fearful in the malevolent atmosphere.

Skylark Challenge 150:
Image + four words: flowing, timeless, fierce, enigma.

Writing Prompt: Thankful

To those who have supported me with love and kindness
How can only mere words express
Appreciation for your devotion and acceptance of my mess
Never treating me or my experiences as less
Knowing my heart and not judging what I confess
Friends and family do nothing but bless
Understanding my pressures and stress
Love deep and lasting given without duress

And finally, today’s prompt:

Photo Challenge
Nostalgia for What Never Was

Sitting beside you as you leaned next to me, we gazed over the bridge’s wall to watch the traffic flow below.

We searched for the odd or unusual: out of state license plates, bumper stickers, classic cars, variant paint jobs, and anything that made the vehicle unique.

You would ask me questions: Who is in this car or that one? Are they coming or going? Why are they driving from there to here or here to there? Who are the people inside? Families? Businessmen? Women on errands or on their way to work to support their families?

We would spin tales and weave stories with one another…each one more elaborate and descriptive than the last.

You midwifed my lifelong curiosity about the nature and character of my fellow humans. You taught me how to expand my imagination and to use even the most mundane of things as a source of inspiration. You instilled in me a profound love of words and language. You gave me the foundation for my writing today.

Thank you, daddy. Thank you for being you and helping me to be me.

Signed,
The Lifelong Orphan

What helps you write when you’re experiencing writer’s block?

Liebster Recipient: Sovann Pen

Sovann is one of 11 Noteworthy Bloggers I listed in my Liebster award post. He opted to answer the questions and submit them to Human In Recovery.

Here are his responses:

1) Is your blog personal or professional and what is its primary focus and/or topic? Personally professional on counseling, marriage and parenting.

2) Do you have a YouTube channel or podcast? If so, please provide the title or link. No podcast yet but I’d like to do a podcast to encourage families, especially those who do foster care and adoption, in the future. I love talking with people and learning from them about their marriages and families.

3) Are you a contributing blogger/writer elsewhere? No (Does Facebook count?)

4) What is the most valuable, free product/app/service you have found as a blogger?

Definitely Facebook and Facebook groups. It’s fun to be a part of groups with kindred spirits who share and write about similar topics.

5) What piece of information or advice would you have found invaluable as a beginning blogger? Jeff Goins’ blog and You Are A Writer ebook, join his My 500 words FB group and/or take his Intentional Blogging or Tribe Writers course and listen to his podcast The Portfolio Life for inspiration. Michael Hyatt’s Platform and Donald Miller’s StoryBrand books are helpful too.

6) What social media sites do use use for public interaction and how do we connect to you? On twitter @sovannpen and FB at A New Day Counseling Center. I also invite you to subscribe to my blog at http://www.sovannpen.com

7) Are you an introvert, extrovert, or an ambivert (both to varying degrees) extrovert but not life-of-the-party, center-of-attention variety. I like to read and spend time on my own praying too.

8) What core value do you try to live by?

Love God and love others. That and the belief that redemption and healing are possible.

9) If you had to choose an anthem song, what would it be? Can I choose two? Right now, This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, a great song and movie and So Will I (100 billion X)

10) If you had to choose, would you consider yourself an advocate or activist?

Advocate. An advocate for grace and empathy and being brave.

11) What is your favorite quote?

This week it’s: “The opposite of joy is not sadness. It’s hopelessness.” (I’ve seen it attributed to Allistar Begg and Timothy Keller)

The Liebster Award: Celebrating noteworthy bloggers

I have been blogging here at Human In Recovery, on and off, since December 2011. During that time I have participated in The Ultimate Blog Challenge, as I am doing this month.

Something which seems to happen during these challenges is bloggers giving each other blogging awards. These awards build community and networks. It boosts traffic and is an opportunity for bloggers to connect to a greater audience. It’s a way build their platform.

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award, both when I participated in my first UBC (read about it here) and again during this cycle, by Vidya Tiru at Lady in Read Writes (read about it here).

The Liebster’s criteria and process has evolved over the past five years. Here’s the details of its current incarnation:

  • Acknowledge the blog(s) that gave it to you and display the award
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  • Give the bloggers 11 questions to answer

I will name 11 noteworthy blogs to explore. However, I am not requiring or expecting a Liebster acceptance post.

Noteworthy blogs:
Marc Alan Schelske, “a writer, speaker, hobbyist theologian, recovering fundamentalist, tea drinker & motorcycle rider.”
http://www.marcalanschelske.com/

Sean Paul Mahoney, “a writer, playwright, blogger, tweeter, critic, podcaster and smartass for hire.” https://seanologues.com/

Sarah Fader, “the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. “ http://www.sarahfader.com/

Dan, “Having written his whole life, he blogs because he has to write…he can’t help it.” https://dan4kent.wordpress.com/

Mary, “a music lover who finally got off her duff (or on it, I suppose) and started sharing her opinions about music.” https://myelectronicjukebox.wordpress.com/

Robert Kennedy III, he loves “helping people create hope, generate excitement and belief in their capacity to change lives, starting with their own.” http://www.robertkennedy3.com/

Steve Austin, “focuses on everyday faith, mental wellness, and embracing wonder to encourage, educate, and empower audiences from every walk of life.http://iamsteveaustin.net/

Daniela Pesconi-Arthur, Founder and editor of The Might Women ezine is “a Brazilian who adopted Wales as “home”’
http://www.themightywomen.com/

Martha DeMeo “writes product and book reviews” at http://themarthareview.com/

Sovann Penis a licensed professional counselor, who loves “counseling because it offers healing and freedom” by “helping families with parenting challenges and with the stresses of communication, conflict and disconnection in marriage.”
http://www.sovannpen.com/

Steven Shomler, a Pyrocatalyst, Author, Culinary Storyteller, Consultant, Entrepreneur & Speaker
https://www.stevenshomler.com/

If they choose to participate, here are my questions:

1. Is your blog personal or professional and what is its primary focus and/or topic?

2. Do you have a YouTube channel or podcast? If so, please provide the title or link.

3. Are you a contributing blogger/writer elsewhere?

4. What is the most valuable, free product/app/service you have found as a blogger?

5. What piece of information or advice would you have found invaluable as a beginning blogger?

6. What social media sites do use use for public interaction and how do we connect to you?

7. Are you an introvert, extrovert, or an ambivert (both to varying degrees)?

8. What core value do you try to live by?

9. If you had to choose an anthem song, what would it be? If possible, please provide a YouTube link.

10. If you had to choose, would you consider yourself an advocate or activist?

11. What is your favorite quote?

Now, for those interested, we enter the “All About Me” part.

* If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Australia

* What is your favorite food to eat?
Depends on the moment.

* What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time ten years?
This line from the song, Dear Younger Me, says it all: “do I go deep and try to change the choices that you’ll make ‘cause they’re choices that made me.” What I want to say would change my life in unimaginable ways. However, it would also cost me my youngest child and my grandchildren. So, I have no advice, just, “you’ll get through this, too.”

* What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
Pay off my student loan.

* Night owl or early bird?
There’s a difference?

* What superpower would you like to have?
The ability to clone myself and experience the memories of all the clones while they share each other’s and mine.

* Your favorite way to relax?
Water aerobics or swimming followed by a soak in the hot tub, chatting with the people around me.

* eBook or the printed book or audio book or no books at all?
If conditions allow a book at all, paper.

* What four words would you use to describe yourself?
Survivor, empathetic, committed, wounded

* Who is the most influential person in your life?
Currently it is my youngest daughter, in the sense that pretty much all my decisions and conditions are made with her in mind and affected by her.

* Do you make resolutions? If yes, what is your top resolution for 2018?
Not anymore. However, my personal goal is to transition my eating to be primarily whole food, plant-based by 2019.

11 random facts about me:

1. I am a 48 year old grandmother of three.

2. I have three children ages 31, 24, 9.

3. I am parenting a child who experiences the world through the Autism Spectrum.

4. My 31 year old stopped being legally my child in 2012. He went through an adoption process, as an adult, and legally became another mother’s child. Our estrangement has been reconciled.

5. I earned two diplomas and a GED.

6. I have the debt of one who earned a Bachelors degree.

7. I have no college degrees.

8. I have experienced two major nervous breakdowns.

9. I have a Bipolar brain impacted by PTSD.

10. I am married but have not seen my husband since December 12, 1988.

11. I am half Mexican.

Prioritizing the next 28 days

I’ve just completed my fourth 28 Days to a New Me accountability challenge.

  • I got active in May by commiting to 15 minutes of daily activity. By the end, I was exercising 60 – 90 minutes a day. I was excited and confident, feeling encouraged and supported. I lost a little weight, my clothes fit better, and I was managing my symptoms better.
  • In June, I tracked my eating. I exercised the first couple of weeks, but dropped the activity when other things got in the way. Since I’m already self aware and cognizant that my food choices and eating patterns are way out of whack and very much a reflection of how I’m doing psychologically and emotionally, I’m not really sure I accomplished much.
  • July was the Ultimate Blog Challenge and I reestablished a daily writing habit. All self-care practices went out the window.
  • I decided to develop a book in August. I wrote daily, but the book has not happened, yet. Other things needed to be written and ability to write these past two weeks has been severely challenged.

Although I stayed in action all 28 days of each month’s challenge, I’m feeling very dissatisfied with myself and what I’ve accomplished. I recognize that some of that feeling is the damnable Impostor Syndrome rising up. However, I can’t help but feel as if the inner critic has valid points I need to evaluate.

I know I need to commit to the exercise and nutrition again, because those are the things that enable to me to manage my symptoms better and allow me to stay in a more constructive and positive frame of mind. I also know that I’ve been “dabbling” with my writing and it’s beyond time to get serious about actually developing it into something I can earn an income with. Otherwise, I will need to push myself mentally, emotionally, and physically to start looking for employment again, which could mean going back to pushing papers and being in an office where I’m serving an broken engine or system instead of actually having a constructive impact other than exchanging my time for a paycheck.

Luna is starting full-time Head Start on the 12th. I’ve already been in talks with the program director about volunteering and learning grant writing. I’ve spoken with the HR person and discussed a modified parent training program where I take the classroom ed portions of the Certified Teacher Assistant training program they offer. I’ve got the study books on hold with the library to study for the National Career Readiness Certification program offered by the local employment office. I’m fearful that I may have to set aside these plans for improving my skills and just take any job that can help our family financially, even if it just keeps us treading water and not moving forward.

The purpose of the 28 Days accountability group, is to create something new, to transform. There’s a part of me that feels as if revisiting previous goals is “cheating.” I feel I should recommit to exercising and writing, while adding on something new. After all, being successful in following through in one thing for 28 days and then dropping it when the next thing comes around isn’t really creating lasting change, is it?

Since, my ultimate goal here, isn’t actually losing weight (though that would be nice) or publishing a book (which would be affirming), it is about becoming a wholer person. (Yes, wholer. A concept taught by my friend, Steven Shomler, is that we may not be able to achieve actual wholeness, however we can continue to move into wholerness.) My heart’s desire is to be able to live a more integrated life inside of myself and be less segmented and compartmentalized. To let go of the the controlling manipulations which keep all my separate pieces contained and restrained. My goal is to create a balance between living my life for others and living the life I want for myself.

I recently watched Cloud Atlas and one of the things repeated throughout the movie resonated completely with me:

Sonmi-451: Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.

The present I am currently living is the future birthed from past crimes and kindnesses of myself and others. As is the present my adult children are living and experiencing. This future was created from chaos, confusion, and conflict. I’m striving to birth a new future for myself, which will, hopefully, build into better futures for those whose lives I touch. Making choices and decisions from the paradigm of self-satisfaction and building a life of material survival and comfort will not birth the future I envision.

A new friend shared this video clip with me today:

Since I’m an eclectic learner, I needed to see the actual words as well as hear them in the video:

We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale, most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. . . . Human happiness does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. . . . And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and even to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more. ~ Crimes and Misdemeanors, Professor Levy

The September 2013 28 Days to a New Me (sign up here) goal stems from my remembering that transformation works from the inside out, not from the outside in and that the basis for reprogramming thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors stems from inner spiritual transformation. Back to the first three steps: I can’t, God can, I think I’ll let Him.

Pinterest and other mania

A few of you have already discovered my recent advent onto the Pinterest boards. When the nosy, gossipy, poser known as Facebook asked: What’s happening? I made my reluctant confession.

What’s happening Facebook? Glad you asked. thanks to Marisa, and several others, I have succumbed to peer pressure and personalized a Pinterest.

Yes, it is true. I avoided it for over a year. I was intimidated by it. All the crafty, talented, creative, and beautiful people on the interwebs were posting all of these things that showed off skill, passion, humor, and inspiration. The Muses have evolved into the 21st Century and Occupy Pinterest.

I considered myself museless. Seeing all the things that I had never learned to do, had the patience for, or believed could ever be part of who I am was as dissatisfying and disheartening as window shopping and Sears-booking. If you have to ask what Sears-booking is, well, you are way too young. However, I won’t hold that against you.

Sears-booking is what people did before internet, cable television, and malls. Families would obtain a Sears catalog, once a year I believe, and it would become their window to the world outside of their homespun existence. It may have been the first concentrated marketing effort to convince people that their lives and what they had in them wasn’t enough. In 1894, a time when the household management was the woman’s domain, clothes were crafted from homespun cloth, sewn with detailed attention and love to last from one child to the next, and the next, and the next, to be saved for the following generations, the Sears book was the inspiration for making new patterns, implementing do-it-yourself innovations in the home, and the wishlist of the entire household.

The 1943 Sears News Graphic wrote that the Sears catalog, “serves as a mirror of our times, recording for future historians today’s desires, habits, customs, and mode of living.” ~ History of the Sears Catalog

It sounds a lot like Pinterest to me.

But I digress.

The point is this. I avoided Facebook for years believing that I had no place in that sphere with my depression, self-imposed isolation, and complete loss of passion and interest in life. One incredibly devastating and traumatizing event happened, in a series of such events, in my life and as a result I located my father, whom I had not seen since I was less than a year old, and a connected with a sister who had suspected of my existence when I’d had no knowledge of hers. At her urging, I joined Facebook. It was the second step in this journey of healing and recovery I embarked on in 2010.

I’m realizing I have believed these lies about all the things I’m NOT over the truth about all the things I AM. The power of believing, not just believing but immersing myself in them for so long has been similar to the pickling process (as I understand it). It took a pure, firm, healthy cucumber and transformed it into a smaller, wrinkled, more sour version of itself. It’s tasty for those who like pickles, but probably not a whole lot of fun for the cucumber, if a cucumber had feelings, that is. Writing this analogy just gave me a new revelation and understanding. The end result is not bad, it just means the cucumber has been transformed by it’s experiences and is different than it once was, but it’s purpose is the same: So it is with me.

AH HA!!!!!

Back to Pinterest. A day or so ago (I lose track, insomnia will do that to a person) Amy West, a bloggess extraordinaire I met through Le Clown’s blog, A Clown on Fire, with her post, “Zen and the Art of Blogging,” put out a Facebook feeler to see if any other bloggers who were mom’s wanted to participate in an an ongoing project with our children and art and blog about our activities, as a way of getting more engaged and connected to our children and our creativity. I volunteered, though my bleary eyes initially thought her broadcasted request had said it didn’t involve art or children. Yeah, insomnia will do that too. Pinterest is part of the process, optional, but still part of the process. When it comes to this blogging and social media thing, I’m starting to adopt the attitude of, “Go big or go home.

Speaking of going home . . .

It seems as though we are looking for a new one. If we get the one I found on Craigslist last night, Mr. Jade will have his new home in the same place ours will be; on the bank of the Umpqua River in rural Oregon close to the coast. It will be a five mile walk down a graveled drive with only five or so neighbors to reach the main road, which is a State Route. A wood stove for heat (I’ve never had that before, a little scared) and my only access to the outside world will be the internet and Direct TV service provided by the landlord.

For years I’ve lamented not being the domesticated woman of yesteryear and being capable of scratch cooking and homesteading activities like organic gardening and fallen into the easy excuse of fibro-fatigue and convenience reheating and mixing of pouches, boxes, and processed foods. Initially we will be without a vehicle, as I have been for the past couple of years. There is also no public transit system within walking distance since the main road will be five miles away. Therefore, Keith and I are in talks about postponing his hearing aids so I can get a freezer to place on the 60′ covered deck and stocking up on non-perishables, frozen meat, fruits, and veggies and equipping me with the necessary tools to cook and bake, as well as household necessities. It will be sink or swim and I’m determined not to sink. So, Pinterest and other internet resources to guide me in the process, here I come!

Prayers and positive thoughts about us getting this place and making this move within the next 30 – 45 days will be very welcome and much appreciated.