Tag: #30daychallenge

It’s ok, take a peek!!

It’s ok, take a peek!!

Day 8 – hooray I have made it a over a week and I am quite enjoying writing these blogs. When I saw my therapist on Thursday he commented that writing is always a positive activity for me. I don’t always write about cheerful things, but the process of sitting down and getting my thoughts on “paper” is good for me. So for today we are taking a look into my purse. At first I thought it kind a silly challenge questions, but the more I work on this, the more I am enjoying the process.

Yes I have always used a purse. Even when I was in college with a backpack I would have a small purse stuffed inside. Having mobility issues over the past few years has changed my purse style. I love having a pretty bag slung over my shoulder  (and also necessary when carrying my kids when they were little.) Due to having to use a cane it makes the whole sling over look harder. Who would have thought?! Something that I can hold on to the straps and not worry about them sliding all over is a necessity.  I also don’t spend a lot of money on my handbag. Thrift stores have some great finds or I check out Target or Walmart or sometimes Burlington Coat Factory if I feel like splurging. I also use one bag at a time. I know some women change out purses to go with their outfits but I just stick with the one.

purse again

Here is my current purse. I have not had it for too long so I still really like it.  It has lots of nice pockets and not too big as to lose everything in the bottom. I tend to keep my purse fairly tidy, so really what I am showing you is about what I found when I started (except a few gum wrappers!) The green ribbon on the front is to support mental illness. I went to a state NAMI conference and they gave us these pins. It really does mean a lot to me.

When I cam to figuring out how to show you the contents of my purse I really had fun with this. I thought of doing a small video, but decided this was more in my comfort zone.

purse pic

I’ll give you a little tour of what’s here and why:

  1. My eyeglasses case and reading glasses. My son laughs because I have so many dollar store glasses around the house, but in my purse I have just the one pair. Usually.
  2. This is my holder for my business cards. In this day and age of the internet and email and social media, we don’t hand out cards too often, but I have a few and this little container is so pretty. I think I got it on Amazon.
  3. These are the two kinds of pills I usually keep with me. Ibuprofen I have on hand for aches and pains and the prescription is for lorazepam. I feel so good that I rarely have to take the lorazepam anymore. During my really hard years of my mental illnesses I had sooooo much anxiety that having these anti-anxiety meds were very important. I still keep them in my purse because every now and again I find myself in a situation where my anxiety level starts to skyrocket and I know that it is aok to have this medication handy.
  4. Ahhhh my favorite gum!!!! Wrigley’s 5 gum in peppermint is the best gum ever!!! Well at least in my opinion. It lasts longer than any other gum and the flavor is awesome!
  5. Just a couple of pens, nothing special. But why is it when I really need a pen I can’t find one in my purse?!
  6. This is my little elephant. I am surprised I have never named him because he has sure been a lifesaver. I think I bought him about 10 years ago and he is a great little critter to hold onto when I am stressed and having anxiety. I can pull him out in a meeting or classroom or any time I am anxious and I can smush him all around in my hands going rather unnoticed.  I really should name him. Any thoughts?
  7. I like to have a little hand cream in my purse. This Neutrogena is good if you have parched hands. It is a little to thick for my liking but the size is perfect. I’ll have to find something new when this one runs out.
  8. My wallet – I LOVE my wallet!! I bought it at the same time as my purse (at Walmart). It has all of the perfect slots and pockets needed for all my cards and bills. It’s funny how incredibly particular I am about my wallet.
  9. Keys – work, house, car, mailbox. They are easy to find with that blue and white key ring and its pretty as well.
  10. These are a selection of lipsticks and a mascara that I have in my purse right now:
    1. Arbonne Orchid
    2. Avon ‘Totally Twig’
    3. Maybelline Super Stay matte ink ‘Dreamer’
    4. Ulta Auto Lip Liner ‘Spice’
    5. Avon ‘Toasted Rose’
    6. Revlon ‘HD Desert’
    7. Avon True Color Wide Awake Mascara
    8. The little round container is an olive oil lip balm from Davis Farmers Market   Davis is where I grew up so I always have a special fondness when I use this creamy balm.
  11. Coins – yes not that exciting except when you have A LOT of them! I never put my coins in the coin section of my wallet. I let them drop to the bottom of my purse. When I clean things out I add those coins to a jar and watch the money grow.
  12. My sunglasses. I can’t go without them but just as with my readers and my purse and wallet, I don’t spend a lot of money on my sunglasses. I swear when I have spent a little more than normal, I lose them! Ugh!! So I stay with the cheapies.

Well there you have it – the contents of my purse. Like I said I really did enjoy this exercise and I hope you enjoyed taking a peek and maybe getting some ideas for your purse organization.

Jenny

Let’s Make Sense of this Together

Let’s Make Sense of this Together

Today’s challenge is fantastic teaching tool to talk about mindfulness, or living in the moment. As I began my years of therapy for treatment and management of Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I learned about mindfulness. I had heard the term before and thought it had only to do with meditation and never really gave it much thought. While mindfulness IS a tool in mediation, it is also a great tool to use when your mind is going all over the place, when you are stressed, when you are upset or when you just want to take a few minutes out of your day to “chill.”  Have you ever heard of Dialectical Behavior Therapy? This is a tremendously helpful therapy for those who have BPD. Let me know if you would like some reference material or websites to learn more about it.

The challenge question today asks about my senses. I take that as examining each sense, in the moment and describe it. This is a mindfulness skill. My first time working with all my senses in a practice was when I was in the hospital many years ago for psychiatric reasons. The instructor gave us each an orange and we used all 5 of our senses to appreciate the orange. It’s amazing how your mind settles down and refocuses when you are in the moment and aware of each of your senses.

So this is a little different. I examind my 5 senses today and took each one and looked at it. For that moment.

Touch

touch

This is my cat Molly. She is about 5 years old and so sweet. Except if the grandkids try to pet her!!  I love when she sits on my bed and I can pet her. Her soft fluffy fur feels amazing. And the silly cat is so much friendlier when she is hungry so I had a great time petting her this morning. Now she has been fed and I cannot figure out where she is!!

 

 

 

Sight

candle

I love candles, especially in the winter. The little flickering flame brings Peace to my mind so quickly. Today as I was looking at the flame, I had memories of camping and watching the campfire. And today those memories didn’t make me sad. For that, I am thankful. I think I would like flickering candles all over my room at night!

 

 

 

Sound

pouty lincon

This was the hardest sense for me. I think becaue we are pounded with so many sounds every day and to try and take one sound and sort it out can be difficult.  Here is a picture of my youngest grandson. His little face is so darn cute and looking ready for a cry. While I haven’t heard this sound today, I can totally hear it inmy mind. It’s the sound of a newborn crying. There is something about that sound that just melts my heart and wants me to hold that baby and comfort him. I realize that most of the time they want to eat so I cannot help, but that cry, even when I hear it in a grocery store, or out and about, just makes my mind focus on that little being. I forget anything and everything that may be bothering my mind and want to care for the infant. I think I would be a great “baby holder.” You know, one of those grandparent-ly types who just hold babies in hospitals. That would be heaven

Smell

smell

This is a picture of the most amazing smell.  I discovered this Aveda product years and years ago. It is an organic oil filled with lavender, rosemary, bergamot and other flowers. I don’t know how other people use it, but when I am having a hard time sleeping, I put 3 or 4 drops in my hand and inhale the smell and rub it on my face. I swear I can fall asleep so fast after that! Mmmmmmm definitely a mindful aroma.

 

 

Taste

taste

Last but not least is taste. Coffee is the taste for the morning. Well, most every morning!  I absulutely love my Keurig and I make one cup of coffee each day that tastes sooooooo good. A little bit of milk and a little bit of vanilla creamer and heat it up in microwave till it is hot hot hot. My kids think I burn my tastebuds off, but I do it that I can enjoy the tasty cup and keep it warm longer. Do I have a favorite kind of coffee?  I think my recent favorite is Good Bean. They just recently started making pods and the coffee tastes rich and flavorful.

 

 

So there you have it, My five senses examined for today. For the moment. Try this exercise yourself.  Escape for a time and take an item, such as an orange, and spend 10 going through each sense to be mindful of the experience. Or look for something in your day that uses a specific sense, and FEEL the moment.

Jenny

Check out these affiliate links below:  Love them all!!

I don’t like this one!!!!

I don’t like this one!!!!

So, today’s challenge question is about music. Don’t get me wrong, I love so many different kinds of music, but I am supposed to list my 10 favorite songs for right now, for this moment. There are definitely times in my life when I listen to a lot more music than others. I get into some genre kick like country or pop or classical and listen, listen, listen. I don’t seem to be on that kick right now. While I am healing from surgery, you would think I would have music on all the time, but I don’t.silence

One thing I enjoy is having Amazon Alexa handy to talk to. She is not as entertaining as Siri but I can ask her to play music and we do play games together every once and awhile. These days it seems like I am wanting quiet music, both at home and at work. I haven’t really mentioned worked to you because I am still cooped up in my house for a few more weeks, but when I AM at work, I need PEACE in my headphones. I work in a very noisy place, so if and when I can, I find solitude in soft music, or yes, even white noise!  If you are a person like me who is very sound sensitive, try listening to white noise in your headphones. There are many different kinds and it’s amazing how it can drown out what’s around you and you also don’t have to “think about” what you are listening to, if that makes sense.

 

I guess this blog questions is not a real exciting one for me, or else I am a wee bit boring with music right now. I like NPR when I am in the car and usually just silence at home.

I know those of us with mental illnesses can have a hard time with noise or music or what have you. Our brains can be going 5,000 miles an hour at times and adding one more thing like music can be somewhat unpleasant.

What type of music do you listen to? Or do you like the background of tv? Let me know!!

Jenny

 

Fear Grabs Ahold!

Fear Grabs Ahold!

So today’s challenge is to write about my biggest fear. Interesting as I suppose many people have fears that make them stop and become almost immobile: mice (lol I saw one this morning!), spiders, heights, snakes, flying, public speaking,  crowded spaces, enclosed spaces. I could go on and on. It’s rather sad that people have fears that they don’t know how to deal with.

When I read what the blog question for today had to do with fear I immediately knew what I would write about.

My biggest fear is that I turn into the person that I was before. Well,  I have never been a horrid person, but my fear is that I go back to the days where my mental illnesses had taken control of my every breath. I fear that one day I will awaken and my life will have turned upside down in some way and my horrible depression, anxiety, self harm and uncertainty will take the place of how I am living today.  I fear that I will have to be hospitalized again, that I won’t be able to make sense of my life again. I must say it can be a rather crippling fear.

trees_road_fog_fence_morning_stakes_26384_1920x1080-450x253

But it doesn’t have to be.

I have been lucky enough to have found a therapist who I have been seeing for many years. He has been my rock when times were hard, he has been able to “bring me off the ledge” when I didn’t think I could. He has guided me through years of therapy and I can see the huge progress I have made in my mental health over these years. With my hard work and his teaching and encouragement, I continue to understand more and more about who I am and accept myself rather than bash myself. I will never forget what he said about fear (probably more than times than I remember!). “Fear can paralyze you or fear can motivate you.”  And yes, he is right. In the darkest days and weeks and months I could have totally given up. I was so scared of what my brain was doing to me  that I could have frozen in place..until the next dark episode. But I didn’t. I was motivated to get healthier and healthier. And I have succeeded.

So for this moment, my fear remains that my mental illness will grab on and have its way with me – take me back to those years of well, darkness and confusion. I will do my best to not let that happen. Every single day I work at positive mental health. Some days are easier than others.. I know how I DON’T want to feel. I know I believe that I will acknowledge my fear and continually work at ways to accept my feelings, but still be able to make positive steps in the right direction.

In the back of my mind I know that I may have dark or rough or challenging days, or weeks or months. But I have learned so much over the years that I also know I will make it through those times – easier than in the past.

Jenny

 

20 Things YOU May Not Know!!

20 Things YOU May Not Know!!

Ok, I am on a roll, it’s Day 2!! This challenge question asks for 20 facts about me. I will try not to ramble (too much) and be interesting at the same time.

  • If you have read a little bit of my previous blogs you know I am a single woman, 51 years old and mom to 4 wonderful young adult children and 3 beautiful grandbabies. My role as a mother is one that I am most proud of.

 

  • I live with serious mental illness conditions (Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder). I do pat myself on the back with how far I have come in my management of Bipolar and my recovery journey of BPD (YES!!!! You CAN recover from BPD, it takes time but it’s possible. I don’t find that I fit in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – DSM V criteria as strongly as I used to. Hooray!!!) Sometimes I think this blog may make its way to the niche of mental health, but I’m not sure.

 

  • I love my pets! I have a fat orange and white cat named Molly, a buff and white Cocker Spaniel named Toby and a Chocolate Lab mix named Cooper. They are awesome and are great therapy in my physical healing.

 

  • Speaking of physical healing I had a hip replacement 3 ½ weeks ago that was not successful (Check out my blog Hip Replacement Gone Wrong! for more details) I had a second surgery and now in the healing mode. Frustrated that I can’t do anything without my walker, but also, I am trying trying to be patient.

 

  • I0cab99ee629b3789f7ec27a02d0cadba--grandma-tattoos-pooh-baby love Winnie the Pooh!!! I mean I don’t have him plastered all over my house but he has a very special meaning to me. During my very rough mental health years, I remember a night when my youngest son, he was maybe 6 at the time, came into my room with his Pooh bear. He handed it to me and said, “Mama, I think you need him more than me right now.” So to this day, 10 years later I have that same Pooh sleeping with me. He has traveled to hospitals and also vacations with me. Unbeknownst to me, my oldest daughter made sure he was in my bag my for my first psychiatric hospitalization. I have never forgotten how much that meant to me.  Yes, Winnie the Pooh is my buddy.

 

  • I have started countless craft projects over the years and never can find one that I stick to: quilting, scrapbooking, cardmaking, needlework on and on and on. I guess that’s why Michael’s Craft stores are so popular, I am not the only one!

 

  • My favorite season is fall. I am sure that’s a question later in the challenge of 30 questions, so I will leave it at that for now.

 

  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Hahaha I like vanilla ice cream soooooo much more than chocolate. But I like chocolate cake better than vanilla! Hmmm , funny!

 

  • I like to garden. You wouldn’t know it at all by looking at my yard of weeds, but I really do enjoy planting a few flowers here and there and some tomatoes in the summer. My physical limitations over the past few years has made it hard to keep up with gardening. I work for a  non-profit organization that has a lovely garden center which I managed for 4 years. For now going and visiting all of the beauty in the nursery will have to suffice.

 

  • mackerricher3If I could be anywhere right at this very moment I would be on the Northern California coast. That is my “inner refuge” that I can picture when days are tougher than others. I can’t really visit  very easily anymore, but it’s where I love and have spent many many days vacationing over my lifetime.

 

  • I love a good steak!! Sorry to my vegetarian and vegan readers!! If I think of a sumptuous meal, it is prime rib, baked potato, broccoli and garlic bread. Yum! Oh I forgot the glass of red wine!

 

  • I am ever so slightly addicted to the internet. Well maybe a bit more than ever so slightly! I love to learn, learn,  learn and look at what’s going on or watch a vlog or scan my Facebook , Instagram Twitter , and Pinterest pages. I guess that’s ok right now since I am kind of stuck unable to walk. But yes, I do spend a lot of time surfing.

 

  • Diet Coke with Lime is my life!!!! Lol my daughter just suggested that and yes I do love my ice cold can of DCWL!!!  I used to drink like 4 or 5 a day but over the past year-ish I now only drink 1, sometimes 2. So that’s a bit healthier!

 

  • Without naming names, I am not too thrilled with the political landscape of our country right now. Enough said.

 

  • 175741_2202172302733_5203475_oI went to college when I was 18 for a couple of years and never enjoyed it. I went back at 42 years old and completed an Associate’s Degree!! I am proud of that fact being a single mom of 4 and working and school was no easy task, but I did it!

 

  • I love jigsaw puzzles. I remember being a young girl and spending summer breaks working away on puzzles. I love them to this day. My daughter is soooooo good at them. I would go to sleep at night and wake up and she had almost finished what we started!! I think I am feeling well enough to work on one again.

 

  • I don’t think I snore!! I know, that’s a goofy one. But honestly, when you are single do you even know if you snore? I suppose it doesn’t really matter anyway.

 

  • Unfortunately, I am a part of the #MeToo movement. Without going into many details, I was sexually abused by a family member from ages 11-13. AS I have later learned about my Borderline Personality Diagnosis, there is a strong link to abuse as a child and the diagnosis. It’s sad, sometimes angering, but I am at a point in my life where I can be mindful about the past and not let it get to me. Most of the time. I think it is awesome that women (and men) who have been abused or harassed or assaulted can share their voice to the world.

 

  • 16681871_1376196835780859_4030784366041141990_nI love beautiful things. I know that sounds silly because who doesn’t?  I guess what it is for me, is I look at photographs or artwork or gardens and more, and the feeling of the beauty just soaks into my soul and makes me feel so good. Beautiful music does the same thing. It’s not just casual observance of these things, it’s how they physically, mentally and emotionally make me feel.

 

  • And last but not least, making this list was harder than I thought!! I hope you have enjoyed reading and I would love to know about your list. Send me a link to your blog!

Jenny

Don’t Hold Me To It!!

Don’t Hold Me To It!!

me polaroid So it seems that many people who start blogs use a 30 day blog challenge to get them into the writing habit. I have looked at a bunch of these challenge lists and I don’t really like all of the questions. Hmmmm, Jenny, you could make your own list?! Grand idea, but I think I will stick with the one I have.

I will start this challenge telling you that there is high likelihood that I will end up on different topics or just not doing the complete challenge all together, but who knows, I may surprise myself!

Day one of this challenge says to introduce myself and use a current photo. So this is me. I am 51 years old and I think I mentioned in another blog that I recently decided to embrace my age (well, that may be an overstatement), and let my hair go gray. Funny how this picture  may hair isn’t particularly gray. Hahaha, I think I need to find some new shampoo to brighten my silver. Any ideas? Anyway, I have 4 wonderful children, 2 girls, 2 boys (23, 20, 18 and 16). I have been truly blessed with 3 grandchildren and am able to see them quite often. Being a mother has been the one “job” in my life that I have loved more than anything. It is what defined me for so many years and for that I am so happy. Now being a grandmother, I have a whole new gift to love.

I am single and have been for over 12 years (wow, more years than I was married!). I have my ups and downs with being single as I suppose many of us do at this point in our lives. There are times when I so wish I could have a close romantic and personal relationship and other times where my life feels fine without having to seek out a relationship such as that. That’s where I am right now in my life and I am content.

My career life has run the gamut from owning a restaurant, working as a special needs aide, managing a garden center and now a grants manager for a non profit. I don’t think I have ever really truly found my “spot” in the work world. I suppose there is still time. For now I have a decent job in an organization that helps others so that is good.

For the physical/mental part of who I am there have been a lot of challenges. My body feels well beyond it’s 51 years which is rather depressing, but I am trying to heal from recent surgeries and become more physically fit. My mental life has been quite tumultuous. Years and years of dealing with a panic disorder and some depression which as I aged popped into over a decade of learning to live a diagnosis of Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder. Multiple hospitalizations and years of therapy and psychiatric care and a lot of work within me has brought me to a place where I am healthier in my mental Self than I have been in years. I have the correct “cocktail” of meds and my self help skills and work in Dialectical Behavior Therapy have been my saving grace.

So there you have it – a little bit about me and Day One on the challenge. Share your blog with me, I would love to read others’ words who are on this challenge.

Jenny

kids n grandkids