Month: January 2018

Grocery Trip Peek-a-Boo!!

Grocery Trip Peek-a-Boo!!

Hello and Happy Wednesday!!!  I have had a few readers comment that they enjoy seeing my grocery cart, so today I thought it would be a great day to do so. If you are a recent follower to my blog, you will notice that I like to share different topics from time to time, but it is my main goal in this blog to keep my focus related to mental health. I want us to all know that we can live for the moment and learn how to heal and manage our mental illnesses, every day.

And for this moment, let’s talk about groceries!

My grocery shopping definitely has shrunk over the years. From being a single mom of 4 little ones to now it is just 16 year old son and me.  I remember how it used to be hard for me to shop for fewer people, but now I think I have figured it out, though it will be quite strange when someday I shop for just myself.

Today was the first day that I had a little longer list and I didn’t use one of the store scooters. I am slowly but surely healing from  a couple of surgeries and it felt good to be able to get through the store on 2 feet! (Though I was really pooped and in a lot of pain by the time I got done!)

TeaI thought I would show you this pic first. I do enjoy drinking hot tea in the evening when it is cold outside, but I laughed when I got home and looked again at the two I picked. I was about midway through the store in the tea aisle and getting pretty sore…  it looks like I was feeling tired and a bit stressed!  But I really do love both flavors, especially the Honey Vanilla Chamomile; I put a bit of honey in the tea and it tastes so yummy!  Sometimes if I have a big cup of tea, I put one bag of each variety for a perfect combo of Celestial Seasonings.

I bought a pork roast (only $6.75 and 4 lbs) and I wouldl like to make posole. Have you ever cooked posole before or eaten it?  It is Pozole is a hearty Mexican stew traditionally made with pork, hominy and has either a red or green color depending on the chiles used for the soup base and is soooooo good. I found this recipe below that I am going to try. I’ll let you know how it goes. Recipe courtesy of BudgetBytes:

30 MINUTE POSOLE

This quick 30 Minute Posole has intense slow cooked flavor thanks to an enchilada sauce base and leftover pulled pork.

 Total Cost $6.55 recipe / $1.09 serving
 Prep Time 5 minutes
 Cook Time 25 minutes
 Total Time 30 minutes
 Servings  (1.33 cups each)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small yellow onion $0.14
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil $0.04
  • 2 Tbsp flour $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp mild chili powder* $0.30
  • 3 oz. tomato paste $0.33
  • 1/2 tsp cumin $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) $0.03
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
  • 2 cups water $0.00
  • 3 cups chicken broth** $0.38
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chiles $0.87
  • 15 oz. can hominy $1.09
  • 1.5 cups shredded pork, chicken, or beef (pre-cooked) $2.04
  • 1 fresh lime $0.33
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro $0.85

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Finely dice the onion, then add it to a large soup pot along with the canola oil. Sauté the onion in the oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until it is tender and transparent. Add the flour and chili powder and continue to sauté for two minutes more. The mixture will be fairly dry, so stir continuously to prevent burning.
  2. Add 2 cups water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to the pot. Whisk the ingredients together until the tomato paste is dissolved. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, at which point it will thicken.
  3. Finally, add the chicken broth, shredded meat, diced chiles, and hominy (drained). Stir to combine and then heat through (about 10 minutes).
  4. Cut the lime into wedges and roughly chop the cilantro. Top each bowl with chopped cilantro and a wedge of lime to squeeze over top.

IMG_2453My son loves these Jennie-O turkey burgers – cooks them right up and slaps them on the buns (I think the dogs got half of burger he couldn’t finish). Bananas are one of my go-to’s every morning and also if I need a bit of a snack. Those peppers looked so tasty at the store and $1.49/each I couldn’t pass up to slice up for snack (and maybe to add some to the posole along with the onions) The Coffeemate vanilla creamer I just can’t give up!!

And why would I need to give up my creamer, you ask? Well, I am trying really hard to take dairy out of my diet (for the moment, anyway). I have read that dairy is a big contributor to inflammation. I have osteoarthritis along with some kind of severe piriformis muscle I can’t get rid of, so I am trying to reduce my dairy intake. I tried removing dairy and gluten a couple of years ago, but I just couldn’t stick with it.

IMG_2451Here is the rest of my shopping. For my dairy free options I have really been enjoying almond milk in my coffee and cereal. As you can see I have a Silk dairy free yogurt that I am going to try. My biggest issue is ice cream. Ohhhh I love ice cream!!!  I have tried almond milk ice cream which is pretty good, but it’s really expensive (hmmm I guess the ice cream already made it into the freezer!! Mint chocolate chip, my favorite.). Cheese is a tough one, so I am just trying to keep it out of the house except what my son uses on his sandwiches. My daughter makes “overnight oatmeal,” for her and her husband, so I will give it a go with the oats, frozen berries and peanut butter powder and yogurt. I love the Private Selection brand from Kroger – their coffee pods (on the right) were $4.00 off this week!!! I think I got a box of 12 for $1.79. It looks like some posole ingredients in the pic and vanilla wafers for my son.  All in all, a good shopping trip.

I hope you enjoy taking a peek into my grocery bags. I think I have mentioned before that it’s interesting how I like to watch vlogs about people’s shopping “hauls,” so I decided to write about mine.  If you have any questions about the products or if you have any thoughts on the whole anti-inflammatory diet, please please let me know.

And again, for those of you that have just started following my blog and this one is a bit different, I guess I want to show that those of us with mental illness can lead very normal days and it feels good when we can see the positives of daily living because we know hard difficult the difficult days can be.

Take Care

Jenny

Featured image: unsplash-logoBrooke Cagle

Eeek!! I have to travel!

Eeek!! I have to travel!

I just found out that I have to travel for work. Not until March, but I just love to get anxious about it welllllll in advance! I am going to a meeting in which I am flying and staying for two nights.  The reservations are all made.

I must say that I am proud of myself for one thing. I found out that there is another coworker going and she told me that she was flying out at 6:00 in the morning to be at  9:00am meeting!!! It is doable, but not for me. And not because of my physical health, but for my mental health. I have to take a bunch of medication at night and I am still so groggy in the morning that the thought of an hour’s drive to the airport (which would mean waking up around 3:00am), checking in, flying, getting a taxi and racing to a meeting sounds basically impossible for me. I discussed with my boss the fact that an early flight would not work for me for health reasons, and she was perfectly fine. She said to book my flight the day before and get a room for an extra night. Success! I do have to say that my boss is somewhat aware of my mental health issues, but I didn’t have to go into any detail, as I shouldn’t have to.  Having to “hide” our mental illness from our employers can be so very difficult and can amplify symptoms, I am thankful that I work somewhere that is understanding.

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Back to my anxiety. I am ok with flying, I actually kind of enjoy it. What gets me is the whole checking in at the airport, the hotel, the meeting…having to interact with people and getting settled.  I have done this before so I know I will be ok, but I just get stuck with nervousness that is well- – anxiety ridden!!!! Probably the worst part is the meeting. I can’t stand “networking” with people, I really can’t handle having to stand around chit chatting with people. Most of the time I try and find a place off to the side where I can go stand up or go for a breather if I need to. I have no idea how many people will be at this 2-day meeting or what to expect so that adds to the stress. The coworker that I am meeting there is so very nice, but I think she has worse anxiety than I do!!!!! I don’t know if that will help me or not!

Alas, I will try to keep it out of my mind. I do have almost 2 months to worry about it!!  Anticipatory Anxiety sucks!!! A brief definition from AnxietyUK helps with understanding this: “Anticipatory anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future. Rather than being a specific disorder in its own right, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety related conditions, such as generalised anxiety.” For a more indepth article with some hints (that I need to remember!), click here.

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How are you with traveling? Is it worse if it’s for work, or maybe personal? Do you have anticipatory anxiety? Would love to hear your thoughts and until March..I wil TRY not to be anxious about this trip!!

Take Care

Jenny

unsplash-logoTom Barrett

unsplash-logoFabian Møller

unsplash-logoMatthew Smith

Mental Health Day? YES!

Mental Health Day? YES!

Have you ever just felt like you can’t (or won’t) get out of bed and go to work?  I think we all have been there. We cannot seem to find any exact ailment, but our brain is just tired….tired of dealing with much of anything. We just want to roll over and go back to sleep. Or we want to get up, have a cup of coffee and just BE with our day because we just cannot BE at work.

Do you know what? It is perfectly ok to take a mental health day

If you had a cold, you might decide to power through your workday. But if you had the flu, you’d likely need to stay home and rest — and no one would call you “weak” for getting the flu. In fact, your co-workers would likely thank you for not coming into the office when you’re sick.

Mental health rarely gets the same respect. Instead, people are told to “get over it” when they’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or similar issues. And when those of us try and “power through” a mental health symptom, it can make us feel worse and can potential cause a mental overload that is not so easy to overcome. But mental health is part of your overall health. If you don’t proactively address it, you won’t be able to perform at your best.

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One thing  PLEASE try and remember – DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR TAKING A MENTAL HEALTH DAY!!!!!!  Taking a mental health day doesn’t mean you need to curl up in your bed, unless you think that’s what is going to bring you the most self care;  you may want to go outside, take a drive, take your dogs for a walk, even take yourself out to lunch…that’s all ok as well. Whatever you need to do for YOU is what is important. This might be a good day to schedule a day with your therapist. I have done that in the past. I have spent an hour with him and then spent my day taking care of me. Typically I would walk the dogs and then a late afternoon nap. By the next morning I felt ready to go back to work. Usually!

relax-pillow - mentalhealthday

When was the last time you took a mental health day? Never?  That’s not good. Those of us with mental illnesses have to constantly keep our health a priority. It can be exhausting, but you and I both understand that in order to keep our symptoms to a minimum, we must listen to our innerselves and make sure our brain is running like it should.

Take a mental health day and share with me what you did!!!

Take Care

Jenny

Photo credits:
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unsplash-logoAlisa Anton

unsplash-logoKelly Sikkema

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Calling a Suicide Hotline

Calling a Suicide Hotline

Many  of us with mental illness have time in our lives when we feel utterly alone, confused and in the dark depths of our illness. We want to cry our for help, but at the same time we don’t want anyone to know how bad we are really feeling.

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Have you been there?  I know I have many times.

If you have never called a crisis line, I want to share with you what it’s like – from our side and from the side of the person or agency you are talking with.

I have had several times in my life that I have called the Crisis Hotline. For me, I called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). There are many crisis lines in this country that are for set up for a variety of topics. At the time of my first call, I didn’t know who to call so the Lifeline was my choice. I remember it was very late at night, my kids were at their father’s house and I was alone in my despair. I was terrified to call because I thought that they would immediately send someone to my house and take me away. I finally felt brave enough (or desperate enough) to make the call. I was on hold for what was only 10 or 15 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. A calm woman’s voice came on the line and just started “talking me down.”  I know I was very wound up and talking 100 miles per hour, but I held on to her voice. I don’t recall what all we talked about. I do know that I took my phone outside as we continued our conversation (a very useful tool when you are in such distress is to go outside, feel that fresh air, if only for a moment). We talked for maybe a half an hour and she and I together made a plan for me to go to sleep and contact my therapist the next day. The woman on the other end of phone truly was my lifeline and guide that night and I was so grateful.

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Of the handful of times that I called in over the years, they were all very positive experiences except for one. On one occasion the woman I was talking to did not jive with what I needed. I remember getting angry with her. I don’t know what it was; was she judging me? Most likely I was judging myself and I projected those feelings on to her. I still feel bad about it all these years laters, but I know that the responders are trained to handle many different situations.

And speaking of that I want to share with you what happens on the responders side when a call comes in. About 4 years ago I decided I wanted to try and volunteer at the call center in my area. I wanted to make a difference and help others like I had been helped. What an absolutely amazing experience. I had over 80 hours of training before I took my first call. I would work a 4 hour shift along with a few others. Our call room was small, about 6 lines, and the center is considered a hub for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (there are several hub cities throughout the country where calls are cycled to). Those first calls I took were a bit scary, but once I got going, I really thought I excelled at working call line, interacting with people in distress and bringing them to a better mental place. I had calls from people who were actively suicidal, to women who were in situations of abuse, to those in crisis of depression, panic or similar. And then you get the oddball calls like someone trying to do their homework and needing information and those who have oversexual tendencies and want to “talk” to the responder.  Very interesting to say the least. I would have like to have volunteered longer, but for me, the drive was an hour each way and with 4 kids and a full time job, I just couldn’t make it work. I hope someday I am able to volunteer again

So what happens when you call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)?  First off there is a short recording that encourages veterans to “push 2” so they can be connected with specially trained veteran responders. Otherwise, you are on a brief hold and your call is going to get cycled to wherever in the country there is the first open line. So most likely, whomever you are talking to will not live anywhere close to you. I had calls from all over the country. The responder has a computer that they are inputting any data they may collect from you (name, sex, diagnoses, immediate issues, etc). This is done partly for data collection reasons (which that data helps in grant applications later as these lines are non-profit), but it is also helpful if a person calls again someday, the responder can bring up some useful information.

The responder has been trained for all types of situations. If a caller is actively suicidal there is an exact protocol that gets followed. If there is some type of active abuse or crime happening, the responder is able to be in contact with local authorities.  Most of the time the responder is there to listen, to offer support, to guide the caller into determining how best they can provide self care, reach out for support, search for resources. If the responder and caller can talk about resources in the callers area, it is very helpful.  The responders use 211.org to locate local resources.

Again, the responder is there to listen – to YOU! It is not a thing to fear and you only tell the responder whatever you want to tell them.  They are not going to force name, address, phone number or anything of the sort from you. This call is your SAFETY NET. And you don’t have to feel actively suicidal to call.  Some states and cities have a general crisis number you can call.

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I urge anyone who is feeling any type of mental distress to call. I know it may be scary at first, but you will find that the person on the other end of the line wants to help you, wants to offer comfort, guidance and resources. I am so grateful that these crisis lines exist. And for all of the volunteers out there that work on the lines, I thank you.

Take Care

Jenny

 

 

Photo Credits:

unsplash-logoJames Sutton

unsplash-logoAaron Mello

unsplash-logoMatthew Brodeur

unsplash-logoJessica Castro

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A Beautiful Pic

A Beautiful Pic

I just wanted to share this beautiful photograph I found today. For those of you who blog, Unsplash is a great way to share photos on your page without worry of copyright and you also can feature the photographers to help them build their media footprtint.

It’s always good to have something beautiful in your life everyday – be it a photograph, music, art or any other kind of Peace.

Enjoy!

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Take Care

Jenny

Photo Credit:
unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

unsplash-logoAles Krivec

What’s in a word?

What’s in a word?

Do you have a WORD? I have a word. It’s a word that I can hang on to when times are troubling as well use when times are filled with optimism.

My word is HOPE – no, nothing earth shattering but it means something to me. Hope has carried me through a lot of very challenging years. I have quotes with the word around my desk at work, I have it hiding here and there around the house. I don’t have a tattoo of it…but yes, we will have a tattoo blog someday in the future.

I wish I could remember how I developed this into my “word.” It’s not a safe word for me (I don’t think I have one of those – maybe I should.) but I can feel calm when I can just BE with the word, not the randomness that people talk about hope.

Below are a few pictures of something very special I bought a few years ago. I was on my way to my therapist’s office and had arrived in town pretty early. I really didn’t know what to do with myself, but I did know that I had to pee!!! (After giving birth to four children that is a constant occurence). Anyway, the town where my therapist is at is pretty rural and there is not much to see or do so I ended up at a Pilot gas station/truck stop/gift shop and everything in between. After using the restroom I wandered around the little gift area and there it was….My HOPE!!  It’s a decor item made of glass and mirrors; the colors change depending on how the light is hitting it. Along the center, it reads, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Perfect!! I fell in love and it didn’t matter the cost. Being a truck stop I don’t think I paid more than $20 and the cashier wrapped it so carefully and bagged it up.

I arrived at my therapist’s office and decided to bring it in. I never do anything like that. He and I have talked and talked and talked about so much over the years, but I never bring anything to show him (well, wait there was a time I showed him some artwork I had created during a rather dark night). After we talked a bit I unwrapped my treasure to share. He knows how much the word Hope means to me and pleasantly admired my gift that I had bought for myself. We both did laugh at how I could find something so special in a rather “podunk” town.

Hope

 

I encourage you to find a word, or a phrase or a quote to OWN in your mind and in your heart. While I have lots of quotes that I find dear, for me, a word is easier to remember. I know I will be hanging on tight to my words as I work through these weeks of recovery and rehabilitation. I am not 100% certain that I will become pain free, but I do…Hope…

Share with me your word, if you would like.

Take Care

Jenny

When the moment sucks!!

When the moment sucks!!

One of the hardest things to live with in life and even more so when we struggle with mental illness is the Moment….living with the Moment with the moment plain and simple sucks!!  I try and be mindful of something within that moment, try to talk myself through that moment, or just try and let the waves of “yuck” go by.  I am not having much luck right now.

I know some of you go through these exact same feelings. I wish you could help me right now!!

So what’s going on?  Well, I have Restless Leg Syndrome. I get so frustrated when I hear people say , “Oh I do too, my leg shakes or sometimes it’s hard to sleep….”  Well, I am sorry for you, but you know what?  I have RLS Like almost nobody does. I have read medical journals only to find out that I have most severe form which affects, my toes my legs, my hips, my torso, my shoulders, my neck , my fingers. UGH!!!!! I have had this since I was a little girl and usually medication keeps it somewhat calm….except when it doesn’t. I can barely type right now because of the massive amount of discomfort…not too much pain…just this horrible uncontrollable need to stretch and move and stretch some more.

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I’m sorry to complain…are we allowed to do that on blogs? I’m really not sure.

So along with the disgusting RLS tonight I am still dealing with this hip replacement recovery. I know I am doing better, but I am discouraged because I have a really painful muscle (piriformis) that is causing me to not be able to walk very well. I feel no better than before all of this surgery nightmare. I feel like I am going to have this damn cane forever and I just want to give up.

That’s where I think those of us with mental illness struggle soooo much harder to stay positive than other people with more a more typical response pattern. Everyone is trying to boost me up and I just don’t want to hear it.  Is that rude? I hope not, but it is what IS in my mind. It’s easy to fall into a pit and I think that is what everyone is afraid of. I just need to understand where my mind is in regards to my healing for ME. I need to understand how important it is to continue doing the excercises and I need to maintain HOPE that I will continue to improve so I can walk again without a walker. I have to do this within ME. This is hard work as many of you know, but an important part of my healing to come from within rather than counting on what others may say. Accepting what is going on for our own selves in our own lives is critical.

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Christos Tsimaris; Painting, “self- acceptance”

How might you feel about what I have written? What kind of struggles have you had to deal with “in the moment” when the moment seems rather awful?  Have you read about Dialectical Behavior Therapy?  Today’s frustrations would an ideal practice under Radical Acceptance – and yes, my most challenging part of therapy. I would’nt even let my therapist use those words for years!!!! I would get so angry!! Haha, little by little he inched his way there so I so understand the theory or Radical Acceptance, even though often it still irritates me!!  But a lot of DBT really IS about living in the moment.  Maybe I will share with you more about the DBT therapy in a future blog.

Thanks for reading- it helped to get this awfulness out of mind and on to paper. I actually feel a bit calmer.

Take Care

Jenny

feature Photo by Mike Alonzo on Unsplash

black and white image Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash