stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
On this day one year ago, I was Celebrating February 14th.  It's been a long, hard year since then.  While I was released from that visit with a mere Contract for Safety, I was back at the ER a month later, being admitted to the inpatient unit because I was dangerously suicidal.  I had another three inpatient stays throughout the year, including one that followed an overdose of Benadryl.

I've signed at least half a dozen Contracts for Safety and laughed at the idea of many more.  I'm no longer asked to sign them.  I've had a total of 63 therapy sessions across 3 therapists.

I've gone every month or two to the psych APRN to have medications adjusted.  Each time that he has set the appointments 2 months apart, something has happened halfway between them.  The first time, I ended up in inpatient.  The second time, I had to call him with a problem, and still ended up in inpatient.  The third time, he gave me permission to call for a sooner appointment and I did.

Currently I take Wellbutrin, Latuda, and BuSpar, with a few leftover trazodone on hand in case I can't sleep.  During the past year I've also taken Seroquel (made me suicidal) and Abilify (didn't seem to help as much as the Latuda).

A month ago, I started attending DBT group therapy each week.  Next week I have an interview with Vocational Rehabilitation to see if they'll pay to have the supported employment services help me with job hunting, as anxiety led to me quitting my full-time job in December.

As I said, a long, hard year, but things are starting to look up.  Not only do I not want to kill myself, but I'm no longer passively suicidal and am even starting to find some enjoyment in activities again.  I still feel pretty hopeless about my life as a whole, but at least I have some ability to take steps toward a better future.

One such step, which I've been planning for some time, is the writing of a book about this first year of treatment.  I have some ideas of information I'd want to include, but am opening this question up to readers: what would you be interested in reading more about if I were to write such a book?


Originally posted at https://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/one-year-of-treatment/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
A few days ago my therapist warned me that next week we will have to update my treatment plan and ANSA yet again. I groaned. In my post ANSAs to My Questions, I discussed the first update that was done, and commented "All those needs exploded everywhere", as compared to the original.  My therapist indicated there might be some improvement this time, but I honestly can't see where there would be.  I suppose there's a slight chance that my depression could be considered less severe, given that at the time of the last update I had two back-to-back inpatient stays.  Other than that, I almost expect there to be new needs added, regarding topics that had not previously come up in our sessions.

The treatment plan should be easy to update, and look essentially the same as the last one.  I recalled that the goals from last time were rather long-term, and we set deadlines 6 months away, despite the treatment plan needing to be updated every 3 months.  I suggested that we would just be copy/pasting the information from last time, including the deadlines.

When I got home, I pulled out my records to read through these documents once again.  I was reminded of something on my treatment plan that has nagged at me these past three months.  One of the listed therapeutic interventions was "Therapist will provide positive, unconditional regard for Donna*."  *Not my real name.

This made me laugh when I first read it, but as time has passed, it has become increasingly less funny.  I get frustrated talking to someone who I know is obligated to be nice to me whether I deserve it or not.  I don't trust that she actually means any of the positive things she says, because I know she's not free to tell me that she thinks I'm being an idiot.  In fact, I pretty much assume that it's all lies, which makes me wonder why I try so hard to be completely honest with her.  In all the times that I've confessed to skipping pills I should take, taking pills I shouldn't take, or otherwise being self-destructive, the closest she has come to expressing disapproval is to say "I support the idea of you taking your medication this week."

With my previous therapist, it was clear when she thought I'd said something ridiculous.  She could say, "Really, Donna?  Really?!" in this tone that instantly smacked sense into me.  Now I'm seeing someone with whom my weekly struggle is to figure out what the hell she thinks of me.  We have issues come up where I have no idea what her opinion is, and I can't figure out my own opinion because there's nothing there to agree or disagree with.

I can't decide how much of my annoyance here is from not knowing which statements to trust, and how much is from feeling that there's no possible way any of it could be genuine, because I don't believe anyone who really knew me would have anything positive to say.  I want to say that I'd feel better if she wasn't always positive, so that the times when she is would hold meaning.  However, it's equally possible that I just want her to criticize me because it's more comfortable to deal with.


Originally posted at https://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/positive-unconditional-regard/. Please comment there.

DBTwo

Jan. 28th, 2015 12:34 pm
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
When last we met in My First, My Last, My DBT, I expressed a great deal of anger and frustration about my first meeting of DBT group.  Following that post, I e-mailed a link to my therapist and told her she'd have 50 minutes to convince me to go back.  She replied that she had no interest in convincing me to do something I hate.  By the time I got into her office two days later, I had already decided I would go back and try it again.  I suspect she was secretly pleased.

Why the change of heart?  After talking with several friends, it became clear that I had spent several days experiencing hints of manic symptoms.  First, there was the extreme anger and irritability.  Also, I was feeling superior to everyone around me.  Most alarming was that I was losing my insight.  It sounds contradictory, as I obviously need insight in order to recognize that I don't have it.  However, I was writing some things in my journal that I wholeheartedly believed, despite the fact that I recognized how completely irrational they were.  I was convinced that therapy and medication were ruining my life.  I was convinced that had I not sought treatment last February, everything would have worked itself out and I'd be fine now.  The reality is that had I not sought treatment, I would be dead by now.

So when I got into therapy Thursday, there wouldn't have been any convincing to be done, even if my therapist had wanted to.  I knew I had to go back and give the group another chance.  What we did discuss made me feel better about the diary card I'd been given, in that I felt I could mention that it wasn't working for me.  We also went over the myths about Interpersonal Effectiveness again and I acknowledged I do need to work on challenging some of those.  Most importantly, we discussed my diagnosis.  My therapist said it's possible she's wrong, and also that diagnoses are fluid and can change as she gets to know more about me.  I admitted that it's more likely I'm just having trouble accepting the diagnosis.

I returned to group on Monday and it was a totally different experience.  Both therapists were present this time.  We had the same number of members present, but two of the ones I'd met were absent this time and two new ones were there instead.  As it happened, the two who were absent were the two who I thought overshared the previous week.  The conversations felt much more balanced this time.

When we reviewed diary cards, they weren't expecting me to have anything to share, but I surprised them with a summary of two pairs of skills I used that week.  In the first half of the week, when I was experiencing all that anger, I used a lot of Self-Soothe and Crisis Survival Network.  In the second half of the week, on a weekend trip, I used Mindful Eating and Participate.  There were other skills I listed, but nothing that stood out as significant.

I solved my problem with the diary card by coming home and creating my own.  My therapist had mentioned that when she led group they added the new skills onto the diary card as they were taught.  So I modified the one I received for group so that it contained just the 20 skills I've learned so far.

As a nifty coincidence, we did Mindful Eating with some chocolate cake.  That was the skill my therapist had just given me last week, which I was testing out on my mini-vacation.  I found it a challenge to do in group, because I was distracted by anxiety about eating in front of other people.  No need to be anxious - they were all way too absorbed in their own cake to even be aware of my presence.

We still didn't reach any actual skills yet, just covered some information about intensity of asking or refusing.  I left with a homework assignment to fill in about a recent situation in which I wanted something from someone.  As it turns out, I had a situation on my trip in which I wanted something, but wouldn't ask for it due to one of those myths - the one that says, "It doesn't make any difference; I don't care really."  As a matter of fact, I do care about a lot more things than I let on, but I have a terrible habit of sublimating my own desires in order to please others.

I feel 100 times better about group after this second meeting.  I still don't think it's going to be all that helpful to me, but I at least feel capable of tolerating it in order to give it a chance to help.


Originally posted at https://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/dbtwo/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
Today Lauren Hayley posted Day 28: Do you consider yourself high-functioning or low-functioning?  The question is in terms of Borderline Personality Disorder, and she includes a description from BPD Central of the traits of these two levels of functioning.  As a general summary, low-functioning BPD sufferers are those who direct their pain inward with self-destructive actions, and are seeking help.  High-functioning BPD sufferers are those who lash out at others, destroying relationships, and are in denial that they have a problem.

I find these definitions weird.  I don't see how seeking help makes a person low-functioning, or why being high-functioning requires fitting the negative stereotype of BPD sufferers being abusive toward friends and family.  By these standards I would have to describe myself as low-functioning.  Externally, I'm one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.  I take things out on myself.  I also am seeking help.

In my latest therapy session, my therapist and I discussed the fact that I often don't list many skills used on each day of my diary card.  One of our theories was that I'm actually using more skills than I write down, but don't think of them consciously when it's time to fill in the diary card.  In some cases, I'm using skills I haven't been taught yet, so of course I don't know to write them down.  One skill that has been referenced occasionally but not yet taught is "Opposite to Emotion Action", which is what I used today.

I recently complained about Dialectical Behavior Therapy in I'm a person, not a diagnosis.  I hate DBT.  I'm joining a DBT group on Monday.  In the orientation session I went to today, when I was asked if I wanted to join the group, my mind was screaming at me that it sounded like torture from hell.  I wanted to say no and run from the room as fast as I could.  Instead I agreed to join.

The woman who did the orientation said that they don't like to do "process therapy" with people who haven't yet learned these skills, because there is a risk of triggering negative reactions that the person can't yet handle.  This gave me a new perspective on my struggle with doing DBT in individual therapy.  It's true that when we discuss negative experiences from my past I often leave therapy feeling terrible, crying, and having urges to harm myself as a result.  I need to recognize that I'm in therapy for the long haul - as much as I want it to, it's not going to magically "fix" me in a few months.  I need to have patience with the DBT now, knowing that there's time for other approaches later, when I'm better prepared to handle them.


Originally posted at https://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/low-functioning-high-insight/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
When I started meeting with my first therapist, who we'll call Wendy, I had just flown through a month of mania and gone crashing into a mixed episode. I find mixed episodes to be the hardest thing to explain to the non-bipolar. It's not that hard to understand depression - most everyone has experienced at least a brief, minor form of it at some point and can extrapolate from there. Mania is a little trickier, but again the idea of being filled with energy and not needing sleep or food and feeling like you're on top of the world has at least some basis in the average human experience. Most of us have felt very, very good for one reason or another, and could understand what it would be like to feel that way only magnified.

Mixed episodes? Now those just don't make sense. How can you be up and down at the same time? How can you be filled with energy and flying from one task the next, yet feel a deep despair about your useless, futile life? For me, mixed episode meant I was still sleeping a mere 3-4 hours per night. I still raced from one thought to another, talking to myself in words filled with rhyme and alliteration and assonance and somewhat lacking in sense. I still shared way too much with people I barely knew. I still drove too fast. I still felt enlightened.

I also felt agitated and disoriented. I was unable to focus. I obsessed over all the negative events of my past. I couldn't stand being home and would go out wandering in the middle of the night. I'd berate myself and cry and plot how I was going to kill myself.

So I started seeing Wendy. While we did discuss concrete steps for improving my life, these always stemmed out of conversations where I rambled on and on about my past experiences and current worries. A lot of times what helped was that I said things that it scared me to say, and found that Wendy didn't react badly. Granted, that's her job as a therapist - to be accepting and supportive even if she doesn't actually feel that way. However, it still tricks me into feeling less alone and less like anyone who actually knew me would immediately hate me.

Things were improving for me. I was managing to control my typical overreactions to negative events, and starting to feel a lot better about the past. Then Wendy's internship ended and I was transferred to a new therapist. We'll call this one Sadie.

Before I even start, I will mention that I like Sadie a lot. That's what has made all of this so difficult. If I didn't like Sadie so much, I'd have a lot more options for how to deal with this situation. What situation? Well, she's just so very different from Wendy. She's very focused on tangible things we can do. Don't like my job? Let's leap right into hunting for a new one. Stressed out? Here are seventeen different coping skills to choose from.

At one point, pushed to the edge of the cliff on the job search issue, I was prepared to call and cancel all my appointments and see if I could go it alone. I went to an acquaintance for advice, and she talked me into writing Sadie a letter to explain what was not working for me. I got waylaid a little by accidentally ending up in inpatient, but I wrote the letter while there and gave it to her upon my release. I told her that I needed more space to just talk about situations and how I feel. Also more space to talk in general, as she has a tendency to fill the silence when I'm having trouble finding what to say.

The same day that I was asking for less structure, Sadie was preparing to propose more of it. The inpatient unit had strongly encouraged the use of DBT. Her ideal solution would have been for me to attend a DBT group, but it did not fit into my work schedule. So we compromised, saying that I would get half of each session for my freeform talking, and then we'd go over 1 or 2 DBT skills with the rest of the time.

It was a nice proposal, in theory. In reality, it's now 4 months later and we've been doing all DBT, all the time. Learning a skill or two each session would be fine, except Sadie wants to go over the worksheets before I do them, and then go over them again after I do them. I am quite capable of reading and comprehending them on my own, so we only need to discuss my answers once I'm done. Also, she has me doing these weekly diary cards, to rate my urges for negative actions (suicide, self-harm, etc.) and my various emotions (sadness, anger, joy, etc.). Also I'm to note which DBT skills I used each day and how much they helped.

dbt-sheets

So what does a session look like now? I hand over my diary card (with a special notes page I make, because I am an overachiever). Sadie looks it over and tries to identify patterns. She may ask me a couple of questions. Then we go over my completed skills worksheets, then she basically reads the new ones to me, then when there are about 2 minutes left she asks if there is anything else we need to discuss.

Last week I'd had enough. I warned her in advance via e-mail that I was not getting enough time for just talking, and then that's what we did. I did give her my diary card, but then we actually discussed all the events that I had noted on it. We talked about how I felt, about why certain events upset me. We did talk about concrete things I could do, but in the context of the greater conversation. It all felt right. It hurt, but it also felt like there was hope. I even conceded to receiving a new skill worksheet, on the condition that I get to read and fill it in myself before we discussed it.

Sadie apparently didn't feel the same way I did about the session. She said, "I don't want to take away from your opportunity to just talk, but DBT is the best treatment for your diagnosis." I'm a person, not a diagnosis. Even if I were just a diagnosis, I'm not just BPD. Maybe DBT is the best treatment for BPD, but until you strip away the bipolar, strip away the non-disordered parts of my personality, strip away my past experiences and my thoughts and feelings and all that makes me a human, then perhaps it's not the best treatment for me.


Originally posted at https://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/im-a-person-not-a-diagnosis/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
I'm telling my stories all out of order again, so to preface this I must say that I quit my job 10 days ago.  In those 10 days, I've struggled with many things, including the feeling that I must be busy 24/7 to make up for the fact that I'm not working.  Yesterday I had a huge list of things I could be doing.  I even did some of them.  However, one particular thing I didn't do made me feel like a failure, and as I journaled about it I kept pulling out more and more failures from my day.  I failed to make a dentist appointment.  I failed to apply for a new job.  I failed to do any exercises in any of my three self-help workbooks.  I failed to comment on any blogs, upload any photos, or add any information to my family tree.

Today, my therapist questioned why I did not do a thought diary (an exercise from CBT) regarding these thoughts of being a failure.  Oh, look, I failed again!  In fact, I have failed repeatedly, as I quit doing thought diaries within a few weeks of her teaching them to me.  I felt guilty as I explained that they are difficult.  I let her think it was strictly about the amount of work, but they are emotionally difficult as well.

My therapist is smart, and clearly knew that telling me to go home and do a thought diary was not going to be very effective, so we worked on it together.  One small event, or rather a lack of event - not making a dentist appointment - led to four negative beliefs driven by four different types of unhelpful thinking styles:

thought-diary

"I am a failure." (labelling)
"Nothing I do is good enough." (all or nothing thinking)
"I'm wasting my time." (should & must)
"Anyone else could do this." (magnification & minimisation)

As we moved on to disputing my "hot thought" of "I am a failure.", I listed all the things I didn't do yesterday as evidence of this "fact".  When providing evidence against the hot thought, my therapist asked me to think more broadly about my past accomplishments.  So while I included "I did write a blog post." and "I made other phone calls that day." as accomplishments from yesterday, I also came up with a few from the past.  I wrote a play.  I designed a style for a website.  I've been in a few plays.

Then she asked me to think about ways in which others have complimented me.  She mentioned that some people from my ex-job had probably told me I did well at things.  She was right.  I used to work with people from a department outside my own, and they frequently lamented the days when I was working on other tasks or was unable to attend work.  They told me how well I did at the job.

I've left a couple of our pieces of evidence out of the previous two paragraphs, because the act of doing the thought diary actually brought up two additional negative beliefs.  The first was that scores on standardized tests are not an accomplishment because they are just numbers that no one cares about (disqualifying the positive).  The second was that any positive comments made by my mother don't count, because she feels obligated to compliment me (jumping to conclusions).  This proved my therapist's point that I need to be doing these thought diaries regularly or I will never stop having negative thoughts that stir up negative emotions.

After the evidence for and against the hot thought, the next step is to answer one or more disputation questions designed to bring up positive alternatives to the negative thought.  I chose to answer "How might someone else view the situation?"  My therapist said, "What would Wendy* say?"  *(former therapist, not her real name)  I really hate it when she uses Wendy against me.  It just stirs up the pain of her having finished her internship and left, and even worse I feel like my therapist's subtext in these moments is that the two of us still haven't built a rapport.

I'm doing the best I can.  I wish she knew how much I like her and want to feel comfortable with her.  How much I beat myself up internally every time I sit in her office and deflect pain with humor.  I would give anything to show sadness or anger in front of her, to prove that I'm more than a really bad comedy act.  So now I feel like I need to do a thought diary about doing this thought diary.  Therapy is becoming entirely too meta.


Originally posted at http://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/thought-diaries-about-thought-diaries/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
When I wrote the post Medical Records, I was waiting on a third batch of records to arrive.  I've had that batch for quite some time, but never managed to write about what I learned from reading it.  On my first read-through, I laughed hysterically.  For example, at the line "Smiled inappropriately several times during the interview when talking about suicide and substance abuse."  Gee, you think maybe because I was nervous?!  I've been seeing my current therapist since May and she's still waiting for the day when I'm comfortable enough to hold a conversation without being sarcastic and cracking jokes.

There's also a note of "laughed when asked to sign a safety contract".  By this point, I've lost track of how many I actually signed, and how many times I laughed and said signing was pointless.  Initially this was because the contract relies upon a willingness to pick up a phone and call for help if having suicidal or self-injurious thoughts.  I knew I would never, ever pick up the phone.  Eventually I did call once, on a lunch break from work, to discuss the fact that I had a strong urge to cut myself.  Did that 5-minute call help?  Actually, yes.  Am I at all confident in my ability to call again?  No, especially considering my failure to call somewhere between nagging suicidal thoughts and the overdose that occurred days later.

Another example of the hilarity was a 3-page Emergency Services Assessment that managed to note not once, not twice, but thrice that I had walked in with a number of suicide methods written on my arm.  This was actually more of an intellectual exercise (or, as the inpatient psych APRN noted, "an academic thought") than anything else, but the on-call therapist (who I wanted to talk to about feeling stuck with my current therapist) fixated a bit on the content of my "self-decoration".

I'm also a bit enamored of the phrase "Risk for not taking medications as prescribed."  I've never quite been sure if that is a risk they consider specific to me, or simply a product of statistics about my diagnosis.  At the time this particular report was written, I had a couple of instances of taking leftover pills that were no longer prescribed, but had not yet experienced the 5-day stretch of willfully skipping my medication.  So perhaps they were leaning more toward statistics at this point, although my own stupid behavior would account for this risk assessment in the future.

The most informative portion of these records was an update to my Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment (ANSA).  This assessment has to be updated every 6 months, so this was my second time having it done.  I was curious as to how it turned out, because I was not actually involved with the production of this assessment.  My therapist did it herself based on information from past sessions, because on the date it was due she was too busy dragging me back to the inpatient unit.

ANSA

My reaction to this assessment was a sudden increase in depression.  Each need on the assessment can be ranked 0 = no problems, 1 = history/mild, 2 = moderate, or 3 = severe.  At the time of my original assessment, there were 5 needs ranked at level 2, and everything else was 0 or 1.  I went into this assessment expecting about the same.  I thought there might be a couple more at level 2, simply because my original assessment was based on 90 minutes with a stranger.

Reality was cruel.  Two needs (Depression and Interpersonal Problems) had leaped up to level 3, and I now have a whopping ten at level 2.  So my full list of needs to be addressed (as prioritized by my therapist):

Suicide Risk
Depression
Self-Injury
Other Self-Harm (Recklessness)
Criminal Behavior
Decision-Making (Judgment)
Medication Involvement
Impulse Control
Interpersonal Problems
Social Functioning
Family Functioning
Recreational

I noted on one of my diary cards that I felt sadness because "ANSA update was depressing."  In therapy I continued that by saying "All those needs exploded everywhere."  Before my therapist could even try to reassure me, I commented that I knew it was a matter of them being needs this whole time, just that they hadn't been recognized yet at the time of the original assessment.  Does this make me feel any better?  Not so much.  It doesn't change the harsh reality that there is so much to deal with in therapy that I will probably never go more than a week without it.


Originally posted at http://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/ansas-to-my-questions/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
medical-records

In an online bipolar support group, I recently posed the following questions:
How many of you request copies of your medical records? If you do read them, how do you feel about what you read?

I have requested records three times (and received them twice...still waiting on the third batch).  The first time was in March, immediately out of my first stay in the IPU.  Aside from general curiosity, I wanted some specific information that had not been shared with me: my exact diagnosis and the results of my first-ever blood tests.  I got my answers, and a few moments of humor, and a few other moments of being really annoyed.  For one thing, my appearance when I arrived at the IPU was described as "bizarre".  I showed up clean, in dressy clothes and full makeup, and just happened to have purple hair.  This is not bizarre.  In fact, it was quite pretty.

I also was annoyed that every time someone did an assessment of my intelligence, they wrote down "average".  The staff members who have seen me over the long term would definitely laugh at the thought of me being average.

A few months later, in late May, I submitted a request for everything added since that first batch.  The day before they arrived, my therapist told me she had been notified of my request in case she had any concerns.  I would still receive the records either way, but she did tell me she was concerned that as a people-pleaser I may read things as criticism that weren't intended that way and become upset.  And possibly injure myself in response.  She made me promise that I would talk to her about anything in my records that upset me.

I tried not to be upset by anything.  I knew my reactions were irrational.  However, some things kept nagging at me, so when I next saw her I told her we needed to discuss it.  Most of my concerns were things she couldn't really address since it was about other people's notes.  The only thing I was bothered by in her notes was that she refers to me by name instead of as "the client" like my former therapist did, and I got a reasonable explanation as to why that's done.

Last week I stopped in to submit another request, this time for the past 4 months worth of records.  Aside from being a longer time period, it is also one that was quite eventful, so I'm expecting a very large stack of papers, including:

  • Updated Adult Needs & Strengths Assessment (ANSA)

  • Updated treatment plan

  • 2 inpatient nursing assessments

  • 2 inpatient physicals

  • 2 admission notes to the inpatient unit

  • 2 discharge notes to the inpatient unit

  • 21 inpatient shift notes

  • 7 visits with inpatient psychiatrist/psych APRN

  • 3 visits with regular psych APRN

  • 21+ visits with regular therapist

  • 1 visit with therapist's supervisor

  • 1 visit with on-call therapist

  • 1 phone call with a different on-call therapist


In fact, I won't say "including".  I don't think I've missed anything, so if there are additional pages beyond a few more times seeing my regular therapist between now and when the records are printed, I think someone should take me out back and shoot me.


Originally posted at http://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/medical-records/. Please comment there.
stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
I have a habit of taking things in to my therapist before she asks for them.  When I went to my first appointment - transitioning from a therapist who was leaving - she said she didn't know much about my family.  I handed her a family tree I had drawn.  She asked if I had supportive people in my life.  I handed her a copy of my safety plan.  She said, "How did you know to bring things to answer questions I didn't know I was going to ask?"

In a later appointment, I brought in a little essay I had written about what my current life would look like if it were perfect.  I had also created a checklist of the elements.  As it turns out, this is an actual exercise that my therapist sometimes assigns to people.

perfect-life-checklist
I live with my cat in a spacious apartment located in a quiet neighborhood within a large city. There are numerous amenities (banks, parks, post office, stores selling natural and exotic groceries) within walking distance. Just about anything else I could want to do is easily accessible via public transportation, or a short drive in my compact 4-door sedan that has a roomy trunk.

I work part-time at the nearby public library, helping people learn to use technology. I go to work wearing my own handmade cardigans and chainmaille jewelry. I take two college courses per semester, working toward a degree in psychology with minors in law enforcement and creative writing. When I have a week or two off from school, I travel internationally to do charity work.

In my spare time, I volunteer with a local theatre company and meet with a writers' group where I share excerpts of a play which will soon be professionally produced. I update my popular blog at least once per week. I enter poetry and photography contests, which I occasionally win. I am a member of Mensa and participate in their puzzle competitions.

I regularly cook for friends, either by hosting dinner parties or bringing food to other people's events. I keep in touch with many extended family members and bring updates on my genealogy research to our family reunions, where we hold board game tournaments. Some of my close friends have small children with whom I do art and science activities. I send greeting cards for all occasions.

For relaxation, I spend time at pools and water parks. I keep GAMES Magazine, Popular Science, and Reader's Digest on hand for filling spare moments while waiting at appointments or riding buses. At home, I always have a jigsaw puzzle in progress, and work on it while listening to mix CDs I've made to tell stories.

All of the elements of this scenario are individually plausible.  Putting it all together presents budgeting issues, both financial and timewise.  It would be impossible to pay for tuition and all the fun activities on a part-time salary.  Perhaps more importantly, juggling all those activities would require a level of manic energy that a.) cannot be summoned on command and b.) would inevitably lead to hospitalization.

My therapist thought it was cute that I had already checkmarked "cat".  I've had my beautiful, sweet, loving cat for 9 years.  So far, I have acquired the car, which is not compact but otherwise meets the description.  I have been making chainmaille jewelry, although it's for gifts and sale rather than for myself.  I'm getting closer to updating my blog regularly, but it's nowhere near being popular.  I've handed out a ton of greeting cards, just not as many as I'd like.  So I am making some baby steps toward what may not end up being a perfect life, but at least will be a better one.


Originally posted at http://stuffthatneedssaying.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/a-perfect-life/. Please comment there.

Profile

stuffthatneedssaying: (Default)
Stuff That Needs Saying

February 2015

S M T W T F S
123456 7
891011121314
15161718192021
222324 25262728

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags