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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My personal goals for 2015

As 2014 comes to a close, my mind is moving into 2015 and thinking about the possibilities I have for goals for the coming year.  Here’s a list of some of the things I hope to continue working on and a couple of things I hope to try for the first time.

  • Kinda cliché but I plan to continue working on my weight loss goals.  At the time of this post I weigh 226 pounds, and am hoping that by this time next year I can say I weigh less than 200 pounds even getting to 199.9 pounds would impress me at this point.  I’ve lost 30 pounds already, but ultimately hope to get back down to 125 pounds, but that may take a couple of years.
  • To continue to post things here and maybe even add a few more items that are a bit more of my own original work, I’m thinking I will aim for a minimum of 3 posts in the coming year that aren’t simply relayed articles, but are something I create based on my own experiences.
  • Now that I have a fitbit Flex and can easily track how many steps I take each day I would like to work on increasing my number of steps per day to where I am able to easily reach a minimum of 8,000 steps per day my goal is to get to where I am doing over 10,000 per day on a fairly consistent basis.  My best since getting my Fitbit Flex is about 6,480 steps in a single day, but I only did it once so far, so I feel like striving for 8k steps is a reasonable goal.
  • I have done more knitting and been getting more looms that allow me to knit different things on them, but I hope to knit 6 scarves by Halloween so I can give them to the Hat and Mitten Ministry at my Church.
  • This one is a tad odd, but one goal I have for this year is that by this time next year to have spent $200 on new clothes they can either be brand new or new to me from secondhand stores, but I really need to get new clothes, because it’s been ages since I went clothes shopping and I’m reaching a point where I have more clothes that really need to be replaced then I have stuff that is in really good shape, I think in the past 10 years I’ve bought 2 t-shirts, 3 packs each of bras, underwear and socks, and a pair of winter boots.  Some of the clothes I’m wearing probably should have been re-purposed 10 years ago.
  • In conjunction with my clothing purchasing goal …. I am setting a goal to re-purpose as much as I can of my old clothes, even if it means turning them into cleaning rags or to wipe my hands off when I oil the chain on my bike, my goal is to find as many non-clothing uses for the clothes I am replacing as I can so they aren’t just being tossed into the landfill.  They are in bad enough shape I wouldn’t consider donating them to goodwill, so cleaning rags or maybe stuffing for craft projects might be the best I can do, but I want to use them until they can’t be used any more basically.
  • Continue the work I’ve done at better addressing my health issues both in my mental and physical health.  Like a lot of people I hate going to the doctor, but honestly I’m finding that if I address things when they first become a problem they are easier to treat, and I typically feel better sooner than I do if I wait.  I’m pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired, so continuing to address and manage my heath care needs is a huge priority for the coming year.  I addressed a couple of things last year and learned that by simply having 2 infected toenails removed, I felt a lot better overall, not only did my toes stop hurting, but the rest of me felt better too.  I also started getting treated for Asthma this past year and it too was something that made a huge impact on my quality of life.  I have other stuff that I want to address, so basically I’m building on what I learned in 2014 when I had those pesky toenails surgically removed.
  • I want to ride my bike at least 10 miles per week once the weather is better for riding, further would be better, but my minimal goal is 10 miles per week.
  • I think my most challenging goal though is to find ways to better distribute items through a ministry I started in 2014.  Collection is going great, but distribution is slow so I want to try to balance that out during the coming year so that folks who need the items will benefit from what has been collected.
  • Read 2 books during 2015 (either e-book or physical bound books)
  • And finally do some more work on researching the history of Warren State Hospital, that got put on the back burner for the most part in 2014, and I would like to dust off that project and see if I can make some more progress on learning about its history, because I found that while researching the history of Warren State Hospital, I was also gaining insight into the history of the mental health system and how people with mental illnesses have been treated in the past and started to better understand why things are the way they are now. So, basically learning about the past is helping me better wrap my head around the present when it comes to the topic of “Mental Health” and all the subtopics found under that heading.

My hopes and goals for 2014

Tippy

Tippy (Photo credit: Wolves68450)

 

A lot happened in my life in 2013, I retired my long time Service Dog “Tippy” and started training her replacement, “Orca” the same day.   There have been some health issues nothing too serious, but definitely disruptive.  I got off track with my weight loss goals and have actually gained back some of the weight I had lost (I’m at 236 pounds up from my lowest weight of 226 pounds).  2013 was definitely not one of my better years in more ways then I care to delve into.

 

So, what do I want to aim for in 2014?

 

  • I’ve been working on learning how to write raw code for websites, specifically HTML, XHTML and CSS, so I’m thinking I want to continue to work on those skills (I’m still a noob in many ways)
  • Getting back on track with my weight loss goals is something I want to do.  My specific goals include sticking closer to my 1200 calorie limit and get back to doing an hour of exercise each day as instructed by my doctor.   I would like to get my weight down to 220 pounds or less by this time next year.
  • Read at least 3 books this year (any topic that looks interesting to me when I look for a book to read)
  • Once the snow melts and the roads aren’t icy in the spring, go for regular bike rides, of at least 1 mile per day (I have a steep hill to contend with so a minimum of 1 mile per day is a good starting point)
  • Buy some new clothes (It’s been years since I bought anything new and my clothes are starting to develop holes in bad places so a few new things would be a good idea)
  • Start and finish the website I said I would do for someone else once I finish the book I’m learning raw code from.
  • Aim for at least 365 posts in 2014 (I just missed it this year)
  • Continue to work on my mental health recovery

 

While I prepare to start working on my goals for 2014, my hope for my readers is that it will be a safe and healthy year for all my current and future readers as you go about your day to day lives.

 

 

 

 

 

PAMHI 2013 in review

English: Sydney Opera House

English: Sydney Opera House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

 

 

Here’s an excerpt:

 

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

 

Click here to see the complete report.

 

My present situation

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On Saturday, November 16, 2013, I had my last Mountain Dew, and as a result I’ve been experiencing LOTS of headaches and other withdrawal symptoms over the past week.  As a result of these withdrawal symptoms, my posts got very random as far as the consistency of my posts.  I am happy to say that as of today, November 22, 2013 I am still dew free and the headaches are easing up to where I’m able to think, so pending nothing else out of the ordinary occurs, I should be able to get back on track with posting more consistently.  I am also working on several other projects all of which I got behind on or in some cases wasn’t able to get started with, as a result of my withdrawal symptoms after deciding to stop drinking mountain dew.  I am also planning on writing something up about my personal experience of stopping drinking Mountain Dew after over a decade of drinking large quantities of it every day.  Once I get that completed and hopefully published, I will share the link here and other places so maybe others may benefit from my experiences.

 

I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day October 10

I have worked on developing and enhancing my list of items I use as personal medicine.  For those who aren’t familiar with the term “personal medicine” let me explain it a bit.  Pat Deegan describes personal medicine as things we do that make us feel better, and reminds us that medication prescribed by our doctor is not the same as personal medicine.  Medication or pills are something you take.  personal medicine is something you do.

Here’s a list of some of my personal medicine items and how I benefit from doing them.

  • Bicycling
    • Riding my bike helps me manage my anxiety by giving me an outlet for some  of the anxious energy
  • Blogging
    • Blogging helps me feel connected to the world around me and at the same time gives me a sense of purpose
  • Playing video games
    • When I play video games, I am able to take a step back from things that may be overwhelming me, and I get an opportunity to regroup before trying to face whatever is overwhelming me again.  I also use gaming as a way to practice social skill in an environment that is less threatening to me then face to face encounters with other people tend to feel.
  • Knitting
    • Knitting helps me in a few ways
      • gives me a creative outlet
      • helps me quiet my mind by doing something that doesn’t need lots of thinking, and I can sort of meditate a bit
      • allows me to do something nice for other people and when I see people smile when I give them something I have knit, I get a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of warmth that helps take the sting out of the rough patches I may be experiencing in my life.
  • Researching
    • Researching or learning more about whatever I happen to have as a pressing question on my mind, helps to quiet my mind, and satisfy my hunger for information.  I will often have a question or idea on my mind that seems to almost take over my brain and make it tough to think about anything else, and I found that simply taking a little time to do a little research into the question  or idea helps me settle my mind by giving me information to satisfy the thoughts.  It’s kind of like if you have a baby that is hungry who is crying and fussy because of being hungry.  Once you feed the baby and satisfy the baby’s hunger, the baby will generally settle down and be more content overall.  In many ways that’s what my mind is like but instead of being hungry for food,  my brain gets hungry for information, and the questions or ideas are like the fussy baby.  I feed my mind information and the fussiness dissipates.  So while I do realize that most people don’t do research for fun, it is something that I not only enjoy, but am able to use to quiet my often noisy brain.
  • Journalling
    • Journaling helps me sort and organize thoughts, feelings or ideas, and gives me a second option for handling the questions and such that often become overwhelming to me if left unchecked.  If I don’t have time to do research right then, sometimes just the act of writing down the question, topic, idea or whatever it is that seems to be taking over my mind, it allows me to in a sense say ok, I recognize that this is on my mind and needs to be further considered, but I’m going to table it and deal with it later when I have more time.  In short, it’s like I’m emptying my brain a little so I can focus on the thing I need to be focused on at that moment.
  • Walking
    • Walking, like bicycling helps me manage my anxiety, my weight, and helps me kind of clear my mind by getting out and enjoying nature a bit
  • Interacting with my Service Dog
    • Interacting can be playing, training, working, or simply cuddling, but the thing all these forms of interaction do for me, is divert my attention off myself and help keep me from dwelling on things.  I also get to explore the world around me much easier than I could on my own.  The world is a very scary place for me, but using my service dog helps me manage the fears and anxiety I have about the world around me that pretty much paralyzes me if I’m left to handle things on my own without my Service Dog’s help.  I get a sense of joy, accomplishment, and am more likely to interact with people around me then I would on my own.  My service dog bridges the gap between  my world and the world around me in a way that in some ways is almost magical, as well as being very difficult to put into words.  She has the ability to make me laugh or smile at times when no human has been able to succeed, she gives me comfort, bolsters my braveness, and even though she is the one being trained, our training sessions give me a sense of accomplishment and pride when I see her begin to master a skill I’ve tried to teach her.  She’s learning to help me, and I’m learning to reach beyond myself.

All the things I listed above are things that help me in many ways, but they all are able to have a positive impact on my mental health and even my physical health and by doing things that impact both my mental and physical health, I feel more like a complete or whole person who is better equipped to face the world around me and everything it has to offer.

Image I'm Blogging for World Mental Health Day on October 10

I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day on October 10

 

As promised a pic of Orca

“Orca” is a year and a half old, mixed breed consisting of lab, cocker spaniel, beagle and poodle.  She is starting to fit right into my home.  She has basic training, but we need to work on custom training at this point with her primary work duty being to focus on bonding with me at this point.  Each day she is a little livelier then the day before, and we are starting to communicate better.  Especially now that I changed her name slightly.  Normally I wouldn’t change a dog’s name especially if they are responding well to their name, but this gal was named “Ora” and I kept referring to her as “Oreo” which is my cat’s name, so I though simply adding a letter to her name so it flows a little different might help without causing her too much confusion, so “Ora” has become “Orca” below is a pic I took of her on Sept. 12, 2013 when we were cuddling together.  This is actually one of my favorite pics of her so far.

Orca cudles withe her handler

Cuddle time for a tired Service Dog in Training and equally tired Handler

Stepping back

I wanted to let folks know what is happening and why I haven’t been blogging.  Some may know that I utilize a Service Dog to help me manage my mental illness.  Over the past few months it has become more and more apparenet that I need to retire my current Service Dog and get a younger service dog to replace my current one.  If there was anyway for me to keep her working, believe me I would, but she’s at a point where we need to stop so she can rest often when we’re out, and in general isn’t keeping up with me the way I need her to.  Some might be suggesting I keep her as a pet, but I see two very big problems with this.  First of my lease only allows for a singe 4 legged creature in my home, and offers eviction as a possible consequence for having more then one.  The second problem is that if I had my current Service Dog here the same time as I’m trying to bond with my replacement Service Dog, knowing the personality of my current Service Dog and how jealous she gets if I pet another dog and she’s in the room, I feel it would be VERY difficult to bond with andlearn to work as a team with a new dog if my current dog is trying to wedge herself between me and the new dog. So, since I like having a roof over my head and want to be able to have the best shot at a successful match with the new service dog, I am reluctantly going to be giving up my current Service dog.  The organization I got her from will keep her during the trial period with the new dog in case things don’t work out, and they will be assisting me in finding a home for my old service dog.  I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster, and my ability to focus on anything that doesn’t have to do with the transition of retiring one dog and acquiring the next just feels too overwhelming now.  I am not abandoning this blog entirely, but I am also not going  to be committed to posting anything until about September 20, 2013.  That should give me time to get to know the new dog and say goodby to my current dog,  without having to worry about my blog as well.  If there was any way I could keep blogging through this, I would continue, but I have tried for several days to blog and am having a hard time with reading things multiple times and still not having a clue about what I read in the media, and it just feels very overwhelming to push myself with blogging now.  I feel like once I have in essence swapped dogs, I should start settling down because there will be fewer unknowns racing through my mind distracting me from whatever I’m trying to do.

So, tentatively September 20, 2013 is when I will resume blogging, however in the event that I feel like I’m able to focus enough to produce a post, I might post before that, but now the 20th is the earliest I will be posting.

I’m sorry for the downtime, I know I have a bunch of faithful readers, I just need to step back from things that feel overwhelming now that don’t contribute to a successful transition between Service Dogs.

Thank you for your patience,

Jenca

Sole blogger for “Pennsylvania Mental Health Issues”

2013 is here and so is my yearly post about what I hope to accomplish :)

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.

 

PaMHI ….. 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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