Friday, March 29, 2019

Lost

So, I'm feeling a little lost right now...not sure of which direction to go. I've been enjoying my time at home and all the things I am accomplishing (like purging, cleaning, selling etc). I love my morning routine and it sets a great precedent for the day.

However, being at home doesn't pay very well. Or at all, for that matter. It's tough to survive off one income and it feels like we are just getting by. I want more than "just getting by"...I want security and independence and freedom. I am still waiting on hearing back about two different jobs - one in PA and one in Saskatoon. I would take either one, but would prefer the Saskatoon one (for a fresh start).

I am racking my brain to try and come up with a way that I can work from home...to bring in an income but be able to get done all the things at home that I want done. I've thought about teaching English online, but haven't finished the application process yet. I wish you could make a decent amount with blogging...I need a post to go viral so that my blog takes off. Maybe I should sing "Shallow" from A Star Is Born? No...nobody needs to hear that. I've applied for writing and marketing jobs but haven't heard anything back. I've researched affiliate marketing but not really interested in the product I'd be marketing (water softeners). I've looked into Shopify, but that whole platform terrifies me. I've thought about getting back into baby products and running a website again, but the products and styles have changed so much, I wouldn't know where to start with that. I've looked into a drop shipping website, but haven't pursued it very far (again...scary). I've thought about starting the mental health awareness blog again, but the disclaimers you need for that are huge (I am NOT a therapist). I've considered learning how to do Reiki treatments and doing that from my home (and access bars). I may still do that actually.

And, of course, there is still subbing. Always subbing in the back corner...it's not a work from home job, but it's an income.

So much up in the air and so many possibilities...like I said, I'm a little lost.

And so it goes...

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My Morning Routine

I just finished listening to the Salt & Light podcast about routines and it has me wanting to post about my morning routine. I know I've done instatories on it before, but I'd like the chance to write it out for  you :)

I am up typically an hour before the kids wake up (5:30-6:00). This is MY time. If Andrew happens to wake up, he's content with snuggling up on the couch with his iPad and staying quiet for the first hour. Screen time = golden time for mama!  First and foremost, I make coffee. This is essential to my day. Sometimes, if I'm really on the ball, I prep it the night before (but haven't figured out how to set the timer) so I can just push the start button. We use to use Keurig for that instant cup of goodness, but found it to be getting too expensive as we were drinking 6 cups between the two of us in the mornings, so it's back to good old pot coffee.

The next thing I do (which isn't the healthiest, I know!) is I have my morning smoke. I don't have a smoke in the last couple hours before bed, so the morning one generally delivers a pretty good head rush. It's the only one of the day where I get a rush so it's my favourite smoke. Like I said, not very healthy, but still important.

Once coffee is ready, I sit down at my desk area (which is also the end seat of the dining room table). I have a small table set up with all my readings, books, journal and day planner. On the dining room table is Bath and Body Works candles which I like to light. Then begins "the teachings" (as Mike and I like to call it). I start with affirmation cards. I have two different boxes. One is by Louise Hay and I'm not sure who the other one is by but it has a picture of a rabbit riding a unicorn on a rainbow and that was all I needed to see before I bought them. I shuffle each deck seven times and then split the deck to a card. There have been days where it's been scary how bang on the cards have been for reflecting my life's current mood!

After affirmations, I read from Max Lucado's Pocket Prayers. I generally read one or two prayers and focus on those for a few minutes. After reading the prayer, this is also the time where I pray my own prayers...asking God to watch over my family and friends and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life. I also read from God Hears Her, sometimes before I pray, sometimes after.

After prayers, it's time to delve into The Secret Daily Teachings. I read a few passages and set my intentions for the day. It's a time for visualizing my intentions and putting it out there to the Universe whatever I would like to happen. It has worked for me before in the past (even within the last two weeks!) and I continue to believe that you get what you put out there.

Next, it's time for Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. This is a year's worth of essays about discovering your authentic self and how to carve out joy in each day. I've had it for a few years and still haven't read it completely as I've missed days here and there if I'm away or sleep in. After this, it's time for some OPRAH! Her Wisdom of Sundays book is an easy read and I read a few passages to motivate me for the day.

Once all my readings are finished, it is time to journal. I have two journals that I use regularly (besides my travel journal, holiday journal and my mental health ward journal). One is Start Where You Are. I do one page a day and since the pages are so long, I draw a line underneath my passage and date it. I have intentions of doing each page several times throughout the years and see how I've evolved. Then it's time for my regular journal...where I get to dump all my thoughts and fears and wonders. Some days, it's just a recap of the previous day. Other days, it's a long meandering of thoughts. Super therapeutic!

At some point in the morning, I will have washed my face and done my skin care routine. I have one age spot on the left side of my face that's driving me bonkers and am trying to attack it with special essential oil blend. Also? I take my morning meds which are blister packed for me so I don't have to even think about how many of what do I need. It's a life saver.

Also in the morning, I put on my essential oils. I have about eight different blends from Healing Hollow that I routinely put on. Always in the same order, on the same spots on my body. I have them lined up in the order I use them. If I happen to knock one over, it turns into a game of dominos with each one falling over and creating a ruckus.

So there you have it...my morning routine in a nutshell. What do you do every morning that sets you up for goodness in the day? I'm curious...

And so it goes...

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Flip Flop

So, after trying reiki, hypnotherapy, yoga and acupuncture, I'm feeling pretty well rested. Reiki was amazing for feeling the energy flow through me. Hypnotherapy was super cool and I will definitely be going back....she gave me some great tips and tricks for dealing with my anxiety. Yoga? I hurt my back in one of the resting poses. It was restorative yoga which is building little nests and relaxing for 15-20 minutes at a time. During the face down pose, I hurt my back. FML. Actually, with each treatment, I've hurt my back. Something about laying flat out does bad things to my lower back.
Acupuncture will continue on a weekly basis. I was worried about the needles but I barely felt them! Luckily, my chiropractor is the one who does my acupuncture so she was able to work on my back immediately after I hurt it :)

So what's the flip flop? Here's the sitch...I am desperate to work. I want a job. THE job. I have two great opportunities coming up and I would take either one. I've been in talks with some other women who deal with mental health issues and are on a variety of meds. We've discussed a lot of stuff and I've now flipped back from wanting to go off all my meds to being comfortable with being blitzed out on them. I'll do whatever I need to do in order to be able to work without anxiety. I haven't put in a full five day work week in YEARS. Or possibly ever. I can't remember.

I'm definitely in a better head space than I was in September when I quit the pen. Last year was a transitional year for us in so many ways and I think that affected more than I realized. Between east meets west medicine and holistic practices, I am confident that I will be at peak performance sooner rather than later.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't change my mind rapidly and repeatedly. Cheers to a new path!

And so it goes...

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sometimes I Forget...

In this recent pursuit of employment and working my butt off to rid myself of anxiety in order to do so, I forget that I already am employed...that I am a substitute teacher. When you break it down, it really is the best possible job for me. I can work on the days I feel good and X myself off on the days I don't feel good (and do so without any repercussion besides lack of payment). No one is losing out if I don't sub that day. No classes are going without a teacher. If I were to have any other job, there would be consequences, of some sort, for me to miss a day...students without a teacher for the day, most likely. Miss too many days and I'd be reprimanded or even fired.

Subbing has so many positives. If I am rocking a kick ass outfit, I can wear it multiple days in a row (if I am subbing at different schools each day). I work the same days as my kids are in school and have the same days off, so no babysitter is required. No extracurricular activities. No report cards. No parent teacher interviews. My day is done at 3:30 (sometimes a touch later if the teacher I'm subbing for has door or yard supervision but no biggie).

This week? Instead of Xing myself off for the week, I am going to be open everyday that I don't have appointments (which is Thursday). Follow along on Instagram to see which days I end up working :) And wish me luck in getting called in :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

My First Reiki Experience Was Divine

This morning, I had the opportunity to go for my first Reiki appointment. I didn't do a whole bunch of research into what goes on during reiki appts, but I knew there was the possibility of heat sensation where the healer's hands were...I was so unprepared for all the rest of the feels. Here's how it went down...

I met with Jennifer and had an instant liking for her. She had a very calming, gentle and wise presence. We chatted for a few minutes about what brought me to seek reiki and I talked about wanting to get past my anxiety so that I can work. Then, she told me about herself. As she talked about her grandmother being a medicine woman and of her mother's time in residential schools and of reconnecting with her culture, I knew I was in for a great session. There was just this...this...wisdom flowing out of Jennifer. She is my age, if not younger, but her presence and stature were of undeniable strength and pride. She talked about grandfather stones and sweat lodges and the more she talked, the more calm I became.

I laid down on the table and Jennifer began by brushing off her own energy so that my energy would be the sole focus. There was music playing and every so often, a chime would sound. This was when Jennifer would move her hands to a new position. She started off by hovering her hands over my forehead. I didn't "feel" much in the way of energy. But when the chime sounded and she moved her hands to either side of my head, I instantly felt a rolling sensation underneath my head and neck. I went so far to ask if she was kneading the table with her knees from underneath. "No", she softly laughed, "that's your energy shifting!" It felt incredible! Jennifer mentioned how hot her hands were and how that was a good sign because I was responding to the treatment.

When she placed her hands over my stomach, it felt as though someone laid a heating pad on top of me. Every other part of my body felt cool (I was only in a tank top and yoga pants), but my stomach was heating up! As she moved her hands down over my right leg, my left leg was cold and my right leg was super warm! It felt so odd!

After a half hour, she got me to roll onto my stomach to cleanse my chakra (a colon cleanse is a completely different thing...don't get the two confused like I did).  Once I was comfortable, she laid down six or seven grandfather stones along my spine. Shortly after they were placed on my spine, it felt like they turned into ice cubes....super cold up and down the entire length. I'm not sure what happened next as I fell asleep for the next half hour. I woke to her brushing off my arms and legs to clear the energy.

Once I sat up, she handed me THE grandfather stone that had been placed between my feet. She asked me to hold it between my palms and see if it would speak to me. Over and over again, the message of, "Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay" kept repeating. I just about cried from relief, but I held it in. Next, she put a drop of Frankincense on my hand and got me to rub my hands together, cup my hands around my nose and mouth and breath deeply. I instantly relaxed once more. And with that, the session was over.

In the main reception area, we chatted about our mutual dislike of migraines and how we found relief. As we were about to part ways, something told me to hug her. So I asked if I could and she obliged. I'll say this...her hug was just as soothing and comforting as the hour long treatment I just had.

My instructions for the day were to drink lots of water and have a nap. I think I can do that quite easily :)

And so it goes...

Sunday, March 3, 2019

East vs West

I have been under the care of a psychiatrist for ten years now. I am no better than when I started. In fact, I think I may be even worse off. A wise woman pointed out to me that if my daughter was under the care of a doctor for ten years and nothing was improving, what next step would I take? Hmmm....great question.

One option that was presented to me was to go away on a retreat and go off all my meds and see where my baseline is....who I am without any medication at all...to see if I would go back to being the me I was before all this debauchery began. All of this started when I got pregnant with Miss K...I chose to not take meds while pregnant but did attend counselling on a weekly basis. Eleven days after she was born, I stopped breastfeeding and went on meds. I haven't looked back.

Over the years, I have been on a wide variety of meds. Mostly anti-depressants and anti-psychotics with a few mood stabilizers thrown in for good measure. I honestly think we are running out of options...that's how many I've tried. I have a psychiatrist appointment coming up on the 6th...I have to decide whether I'm staying on the few that I'm on and upping my counselling or going on one of two mood stabilizers (lithium or valproic acid). Each have their own unique set of side effects. I'm not keen on either one.

The other option I have is to shrug off western medication and start looking in the opposite direction....towards the east. I have an appointment on March 14th to give acupuncture a try for anxiety. We will do it once a week for the first few weeks and then space it out. I'm excited to try it. I've also always used my oils as calming agents...and they do a wonderful job. I'd be lost without my oils.

Down the road, something else I want to give a try is Reiki. My wonderful chiropractor said she has been throwing in some Reiki healing for free, without me knowing, during my chiro sessions...bonus!!

I have been using my EFT tapping (saying an affirmation while tapping on acupressure points on the body) and that has also been supremely helpful for anxiety. It's effect is as good as a clonazepam for stress release!

I have also ordered some hematite bracelets that have lava beads attached to them. I have a hematite necklace that my wonderful friend, Carmen, gave me years ago during a low point. I wore it for awhile but it got lost in the shuffle of necklaces. I dug it out, cleaned and polished it and have been wearing it faithfully this last week! I used to be quite reliant on Advil for all my little aches and pains and am trying to replace Advil with oils and magnesium spray.

And so? I've got a number of new things to try with regards to anxiety and I'm looking forward to trying each one!

And so it goes...

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Here We Go Again...

So, it has been almost three years since I've written on this blog. I tried other smaller blogs after "the incident that shall not be named", but it just didn't have the same feeling to it. Over the last little while, I've been using Instagram as a sort of mini-blog, but one can only say so much on that space. And so, here we are...

Let's start with an update, shall we? I had been holding steady in 2017, mental health wise. A job opportunity came my way for January 2018 and I decided to take it. Only trouble was that it was six hours away. I tried the commuting aspect, but it was a long, twisty highway and I don't do well on single lane highways, especially at night. My mental health started to fail and Mike offered to move the kids down pronto. But Joel wasn't in a home yet so that put a halt on those plans. So I resigned.

Joel moved into a fantastic group home in March 2018. He is very well taken care of - daily baths, regular diaper changes, all the movie time he could possibly want, daily trips to Kin Workshop. This Sunday? They're getting up early and heading to Saskatoon for Telemiracle! It is been such a great thing having him in the home. Mike doesn't know how he did it for all those years!

In May 2018, Mike turned 50 and retired from the jail. He did this because it made the most sense, with regards to getting both his knees fixed. He would have needed a bunch of time off work and EI pay is the shits. So, retirement it was.

My mental health continued to improve and another federal job opportunity came my way. I jumped on it. I was so excited and so pumped for this chance. The first few weeks went well, but then my mental illness took over and I had to resign. I ended up going for EMDR treatments (Google it - ain't nobody got time to explain that shit) and my life was saved. I inquired about getting my job back, but it was too late - they had hired someone else. Dammit.

Fast forward to January 2019...another job opportunity. This time at a rehab facility for young girls. I was over the moon excited at the thought of having my own classroom. Three weeks in, and I began have severe anxiety over my abilities. I just couldn't. do. it. So, once again, I resigned. Seeing a pattern here?

During one of my counselling sessions, my counsellor, Kathryn, and I made up a Mental Health Contract - things I was to do or to not do. Job searching and applying for jobs was the number one no-no. Searching for animals was a close second. Within a week of signing this contract, I had applied for four jobs. I couldn't help myself! At the time of writing, I'm still waiting to hear back from two of them.

My psychiatrist hasn't quite put a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder on me yet, but I'm pretty confident this is what I have. Ups and downs, but without the major major ups and downs that Bipolar I has....a little bit more levelled off. So? I'm going to try a mood stabilizer at my next appointment. I tried one recently, but ended up with rash and vomiting so that one was a no-go.

I hope to use this space like I did in its hey day - a place to laugh, to cry, to think, to amuse....and to bring awareness to mental illness.

I'm back, baby!

And so it goes...

Monday, November 28, 2016

My Time In Jail

For eight years, from 2005-2013, I was a teacher at the men's correctional centre here in town.  I never talked about my work while I was employed, for fear of getting my hand slapped.  I once wrote a rebuttal to the local newspaper when we were on strike in 2006. That was a giant no-no and my higher ups slapped my hand while patting me on the shoulder :) Lesson learned!

I convocated from College of Education in May 2005. I worked at Sylvan Learning Centre for the summer and in October of that year, I applied at the men's jail. I was hired! Huzzah! To say I was terrified was an understatement BUT I was being hired to fill in for a woman going on mat leave.  If she felt comfortable enough working there pregnant, how dangerous could it really be? My first day, I was totally pumped to put on my standard issue uniform (I wore the same thing that the guards did).  I was shadowing another teacher for the first few days and then was set to take over his position and he would technically fill in for the mat leave.

My first year of working at the jail entailed working with the inmates in remand and secure. Guys on remand are awaiting their trial.  That meant murderers and rapists, along with petty thieves and everyone in between. In remand, I taught a group of guys at one time. In secure, I could only teach one at a time.  Guys would get pulled from their cells and spend about ten or fifteen minutes with me.  I'd correct their old work and assign them new stuff.

To test their levels, we used the good old CTBS tests that we had to do in school…anyone remember those? The scantron sheets? Anyways, we tested vocabulary, reading, grammar, spelling and math. Based on the outcome, we would assign the guys work. Reading labs, World of Vocabulary and good old math text books are what the guys used. Down in secure, everything was photocopied…no books allowed.  Later on in my years, they even switched the guys over to golf pencils and no erasers as a safety precaution. I remember one of my students making a stabbing motion and complaining, "How the fuck am I supposed to stab anyone with this?!?".  Ah, good times…

Come summer time, there were no holidays for this chickie.  I took over the main GED classroom (which was combined with the early literacy classroom) so the higher ups could have their holidays.  My only complaint was how hot it was in those gall dang uniforms and plus 30 temps! Not comfortable! While I was in the GED classroom, two RCMP officers were shot and killed while on a chase. Constable Robin Cameron was related to one of my students.  Because they were airing the funeral on TV, he asked me if we could cut class short and watch the funeral.  I said of course. What I didn't expect was to find myself in a room full of crying men. As I sat at my desk, I choked back a couple of tears myself.  I got up and stood at the back of the class so the guys wouldn't see me crying (show no weakness!). A memorable moment, to say the least.

There were four of us teachers in total. When the one lady came back from mat leave, she took over her spot in the early literacy class.  She didn't want to work full time, so I job shared with her.  Being in the early literacy class (LRC) was a nice change.  The guys who were in there WANTED to be in class and actually learn something.  For the most part, it was a good bunch of guys with only a few bad eggs mixed in there. I felt safe enough, although I never turned my back on the class and always had my radio on me.

There are only two incidents that stand out as scary to me.  In one instance, a guy in remand was pissed off that it was either school time or lock up time - no free time. He took that anger out on me and came at me with an empty coffee pot, making motions like he was going to hit me.  A guard luckily intervened.  Another time, in LRC, a guy was pissed off at something a guard had just said to him and when I asked him to start working, he started throwing his books around and just about flipped the table.  I called for back up and they were there within seconds.  Not gonna lie…I was so scared I cried (not in front of the guys).  It just rattled me at how quickly someone can turn.  I was pissed off at the guard who riled him up and then sent him to class.  He should have just kept him on the unit.

Even though I was employed there for eight years, I ended up having a fair chunk of time off.  I was forced to take from January-June 2008 off because the woman needed to top up her hours before she went back on mat leave.  Then I took December 2008 off for in vitro trials. Then I had from January 2010-2011 off because of mat leave. In January 2012, I went on disability from work due to my mental health (pregnancy really did a number on me). I never did work again.  In September 2013, I officially gave my notice and then opened up my kids' used clothing store. I've never regretted leaving the jail.

And so it goes...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Early Childhood Intervention Program

Since February, we have been working with Early Childhood Intervention Program for Andrew (ECIP). Lori has been doing a great job of helping Andrew. Every two weeks, Lori shows up with some new game or activity for Andrew to play/try. We did a bunch of assessments, initially, to figure out where he is low/lacking and then activities are chosen, based on those outcomes. This past week, Andrew was given little strips of paper on them with lines in the middle…he is to work on cutting on the line.  Lori also left us a memory game, but it's a bit too advanced for Andrew.

Katelyn's former preschool teacher suggested ECIP to us and I'm eternally grateful! There have been activities and games that Andrew has completed that I never would have guessed he could do (matching games, sorting games etc). Andrew enjoys his time while Lori is here, even though he doesn't always like being dressed for her visits! If he's at home, he likes to just be in his pull up…can't blame the little duder! When I'm at home, I like to be in my relax outfit too :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Worst Pain - Revisited

Oh, how naive I was when I wrote this post in June of 2012…if only I had known what was in store for me with regards to Andrew's birth.  Migraines ain't got nothin' on the pains of labour! We are done having children pretty much solely because I NEVER want to experience the level of pain that I did when Andrew was born. The only positive to the entire birth experience was that it was over rather quickly. An hour and a half from first contraction to Andrew's appearance.

There is no way I can describe the pain with his birth…I tried telling Mike to take the feelings associated with his worst crap and magnify that by a thousand…you'd come close to what I was feeling that day. My entire body was just rocked with contractions and there was no time to administer an epidural.  I was begging for morphine or fentanyl or anything…anything to take the edge off.  Nope.  No could do. They didn't even have time to get an IV into my hand.

So if I had to rewrite the list, Andrew's birth would now be at number one.  Here's hoping I never experience physical pain that tops that!