For the past few years, I’ve posted a sort of to-do list of things I want to work on or accomplish in some way over the coming year. This year is no exception, though I admit I usually have this done by December 31 of the previous year, so I’m running a little behind compliments of starting the year out with a cold and not feeling up to doing much of anything beyond sleeping and sniffling. Today is the first day in about a week I’ve felt something nearly human, so I thought I would work on my list for the coming year and see what I can come up with.
- Continue my quest to lose weight yeah I know a stereotypical resolution, but it’s something I’ve been working on for the past year and am making some slow progress, I’ve lost about 30 pounds in the past year, and hope that by next year I can lose another 30 pounds maybe a little more, but not so much that I’m losing it at an unhealthy rate.
- In conjunction with my weight loss goal, I want to reach a point where I need to buy some new clothes because my existing clothes are too big for me.
- I would also like to work on something that I haven’t been able to do in a long time, because of anxiety issues. I want to see if I can get to where I can ride the bus on my own again. I know to some it may seem like one of those things some would say why is that a goal you just go stand at the bus stop and when the bus arrives you get on ride to your destination and get off, what’s the big deal? well, for me, my anxiety disorder has prevented me from riding it, because I feel trapped and by the time I get to where I need to go I’m so anxious that I find it almost impossible to do whatever it is I rode the bus to go do. I rely heavily on other people to get me from place to place, and I want to be more independent if I can and I think that working on riding the bus and finding ways to make that doable for me would be a huge step in the right direction. I have a Peer Specialist and I think it’s something she could help me work on, she just doesn’t know I’ve considered this yet, so I think she’ll be impressed that I’m even thinking about it.
- I would like to work on my research project more than I have been. I started researching the history of Warren State Hospital, a couple of years ago, and over the past 6 months that project has been on the shelf gathering dust for the most part, so I would like to try to work on it at least one day per month this year, more if I feel inclined to but my basic goal is one day per month.
- With the latest school shooting, I have seen a huge increase in the stigma people have towards me as someone with a mental illness. The media found out the shooter had Autism and since then the myth about mental illness and violence has been magnified about a thousand times greater than it was prior to the shooting. I use a Psychiatric Service Dog to help me manage my anxiety, depression, and help with medication reminders. Someone who seemed genuinely interested in service dogs was talking to me and very friendly until they asked what type of work my service dog did. When I said she is a Psychiatric Service Dog the person literally had a look of panic on her face and she took 2 steps back away from me, then told me she was “in a hurry”. So this goal stems from that experience. I want to find creative ways to help people realize that not every person with a mental illness is violent or should be criminalized because of the actions of a very small minority. I’ve had other similar experiences like the one I described but until the recent shooting they were scarce, now it seems like all I have to do is say I have an anxiety disorder and people flee. I want to be a diplomat and try to help people realize that Lanza wasn’t like the majority of people with mental illnesses. I don’t know exactly how I will do this, but it is my hope that I can leave a positive impact on the people I come in contact with when I’m out running errands and that maybe I can help at least one person realize that I’m not a criminal because someone else messed up.
- My last goal for the coming year is to write and publish at least one article per month over the coming year. The topic doesn’t matter, it could be an opinion paper on how red the tomatoes are in my grocery store, or something more serious like a tribute to someone who means a lot to me. Pretty much any topic will be fair game, I just need to have it published by the end of each month.
Those are things I hope to work on or do this year. most items will not be finished at the end of 2013, but I hope to be able to show something that demonstrates I made progress on them. The weight will be easy to measure, while the stigma related goal will be a lot tougher to measure, for it I think I’ll simply have to document responses I get from people I come in contact with and hope its a fair gauge of what is really happening with that issue. I may use my writing goal to help with the stigma goal, and maybe write a letter to the editor about what it’s like to have a mental illness since the latest school shooting. The bus goal is probably going to be my most challenging goal in that I haven’t ridden the fixed route bus in probably 3 or 4 years, and for me any change in routine even if it is a positive change can throw me for a loop, so While I’m hoping I can carry out the bus goal, I’m scared out of my mind of that one.