This is a great presentation/speech. I hope you can watch and share it! It really needs to go viral! Hopefully the correct video will play. It is a TED talk about mental illness and community.
Hey Everybody! I recently made this new brain/neuron fabric and gift wrap! I made a giant brain pillow for my psychiatrist too, and he seemed to like it which was awesome! :) Here are some pics! Also, the fabric, gift wrap, and wall paper are available on spoonflower here: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3713721
I’m tired of constantly debating
women’s peoples’ bodies. I’m tired of it being the sole focus of so much conversation. I’m tired of “healthy” this and “unhealthy” that. I’m tired of “men want meat not bones” and “eww, gross, you are so fat!” I’m tired of all the health-nut trollers. And I’m even tired of trying to get the health-nut trollers to understand how they are not helpful. I’m tired of ranting about how fat is not the devil. I’m tired of all of the tired “debate” (*cough* yelling *cough*) about how obesity is the single biggest plague on society. I’m tired of having photo competitions to show who is sexiest—fat, skinny, fit, unfit, tall, short, round, normal bodied, differently bodied, tattooed, maimed, jaundiced, oompa-loompa-tanned, blonde, brown, lumpy, frumpy, dimpled, ab-rocking, make-overed, pierced, Barbie, grungy, blah blah blah, etc.—why can we NOT stop talking about bodies?!? Do we all have some form of body? Why yes, yes, we do. I think we can all pretty much agree on that. There are no brains in jars being pushed around on carts that I know of. Yes, our bodies are wonderful and amazing, but can’t we PLEASE PLEASE quit talking about them for five seconds?!? Every day it is a firestorm of shit about people are too fat, people are too thin, people are healthy, people look this way, people look that way, OMG Becky, LOOK AT HER BUTT!!!
Why are we all incessantly patrolling each and every body part of each other? Dude, it is sooooo out of control! Stop the madness! Calgon take me away! So, in an effort to alleviate some of this nonsense, here are a few examples of topics to discuss with your neighbor. You don’t have to discuss heavy world politics or anything (like anyone understands THAT anyway)! JUST SOMETHING ELSE, PLEASE! I’m going to try to make these topics as banal and non-controversial as possible.
Topic #1: Cheese.
Topic #2: Lightbulbs.
Topic #3: Sharks.
Topic #4: Scissors.
Topic #5: Legos.
Topic #6: Rain.
Topic #7: Motor Oil.
Topic #8: Sumi Ink.
Topic #9: Trees.
Topic #10: Stuffed Teddy Bears.
Now, there’s a list of ten things that are rarely discussed on Facebook and the rest of the interwebs. I’m sure if you try hard enough, you can think of many more things to add to the list, and so can I. The next time you are tempted to post about weight loss/gain, your new healthy cleanse/diet/lifestyle, someone else’s (or your own) boobs, thighs, butt, flabby/not flabby arms, how someone is too skinny/fat/unhealthy/healthy/lazy/beautiful/ugly, how the world needs to be changed because people are too fat/skinny/unhealthy/healthy/blah de de blah, etc., well, just consult this list of banal topics. Now, I am not talking about eliminating critiques of culture/body culture all together, but if all you (or I) am going to add is blah blah blah GARBAGE, ill-conceived nonsense and old tired tropes to the conversation, PLEASE put down the keyboard and WALK, CRAWL, SCOOT, LEAVE, GO AWAY FROM the computer! Interwebs, you are just making me too tired to even stare at the screen for hours on end! How dare you!
Oh my gosh you guys! So, I’ve been making fabric using spoonflower.com. And a nice woman who makes scrubs (medical) hats and things found my fabric and turned them into hats! Here is the link to her ebay store: http://www.ebay.com/usr/laserjill
The thought of doctors and nurses walking around with Judy the Utie on their heads just makes me smile inside and out! How wonderful! I’m including her pics of the hats! And here is the link to my fabric: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/1125213
I’m also going to be doing more fabrics with organs. lol. For example, Hearty Arty featured here: http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/2660407 (and below), which isn’t for sale yet, because I have to get a sample first. :) Soon though! :)
Recently I made a medication change (with the help of my psychiatrist), and as you might know from your own interactions with meds sometimes it can cause issues to develop. I was happily strolling along for a couple of months with a few bad days here and there, and then I started to notice the bad days piling up more often. I was really irritable, sad, became unmotivated, and suicide starting sounding better. I became alarmed, because I knew something was going wrong, but how was I supposed to explain to my psychiatrist that “irritable” is a symptom for me?
The problem with mental illness is that even when we fit into a diagnosed category of disorder, we all have our own unique symptoms that we need to pay attention to. I have schizophrenia, but for years I didn’t appear “sick enough” to most doctors, because they expected me to be talking to the walls and completely disheveled. There were times when I was talking to the walls and completely disheveled, but the doctors rarely saw me during those times, so they figured I wasn’t that bad off. Because I could communicate relatively well most doctors dismissed schizophrenia as a diagnosis.
Over the years I have come to realize what my symptoms are (for the most part), and now that I am doing better I can advocate for myself more effectively. However, it still isn’t easy to call up my psychiatrist and say “wow, I’m extremely irritable, this isn’t normal for me, and I need to increase my meds.” Most psychiatrists won’t believe that “irritable” is in any way related to schizophrenia, but for me (and many others) it is. I don’t become psychotic over night, and I don’t believe that I should have to be talking to walls in order to get the help I need. I also don’t believe that people should have to try to kill themselves before mental health professionals take people seriously.
Unfortunately, a lot of mental health professionals won’t take a person seriously unless they are debilitated to the point of needing to be hospitalized. So, as people living with mental illness or people who love people with mental illness, we have to be very proactive about getting the help we need before it turns into a crisis. Think about the good days and what you are like on those days, and compare them to the bad days. What are YOUR symptoms? How do things manifest in your day to day life? You might want to write down what you know your symptoms to be, and take that list with you when you talk to your doctor. It isn’t easy or fun, but we have to advocate for ourselves even when we are not doing our best.
In the end, you know your symptoms the best. Remember that you aren’t “crazy” for wanting to feel better and you aren’t making up excuses. Be pragmatic and straightforward, and get the help you need.
Some of you may remember that I have been getting Haldol Decanoate injections for the past 13 years or so in order to keep my schizophrenia in check. I wrote about it here: https://kristinbell.org/2012/06/14/the-haldol-injections-after-10-years/. Recently Abilify Maintena, the long-acting injectable form of Abilify came onto the market. After discussing it with my doctor, we decided to give it a try. I have been taking the oral form of Abilify along with the Haldol Dec injections for about two or three years with no adverse side effects, and it has really improved my functioning as well. The long term risks of side effects like tardive dyskinesia are much higher with the Haldol than with the Abilify which is one reason why we decided to switch. Abilify also has fewer metabolic side effects (things like less weight gain are associated with Abilify). We are taking a giant leap into the great unknown. I got my first injection of the Abilify tonight. It comes in an injection kit with sterile water that must be mixed with the powder Abilify and then injected. The Haldol is an oil-based mixture that is also injected. I am hoping to also have less sedation side effects from the Abilify. I’m just crossing my fingers that all will go well. I will keep you all updated as time passes. It is also interesting to note that Abilify Maintena has been approved for much longer in many other countries, but it just became available in the US. The US also lags behind many European countries in the administration of injectable forms of antipsychotics. Personally, I think that all people with chronic schizophrenia should give injectable antipsychotics a try. The injections don’t hurt and it is much easier to manage than oral medications. I’m including some pics of what my injection kit looks like too. It looks complicated, but it really only took about 4-5 minutes to administer including reading the directions! I’m saying Hello to Abilify Maintena and goodbye to my old friend Haldol Decanoate!
Hi! Just wanted to post this to ask people to please sign the petition to the President and Congress to increase funding for research related to finding cures for mental illness. It only takes a minute! Please share with your friends too!
Hey check out Lindsey’s vlog! Great to hear her story! :) She is also an amazing artist! Check out her art at http://www.etsy.com/shop/lindseycormier
I thought I’d do a little mental health update, since it has been quite some time since I’ve blogged about my overall mental health. As some of you dear readers may know, I have schizophrenia. I first had issues with it when I was about 15. My first hospitalization was when I was 16. Towards the end of 2000 I got mostly stabilized with my Haldol injections and Zoloft. I haven’t been in the hospital since then! Yay! Quite a long run I’ve had and I hope it continues! For quite some time I had problems getting things done, being motivated and feeling down…that sort of thing, even though I was mostly fine. I think it was last year that I started taking Abilify and it has made a HUGE difference! I’m still taking Zoloft, Buspar, Haldol and some non-psychiatric meds in addition to the Abilify, but the addition of the Abilify was great. I’m doing really pretty well these days. Sometimes I have anxiety, although I think it might generally be related to performance issues with school. I also tried taking Topamax to help with weight loss, but I thought it might be making me stupid and giving me more anxiety, so I quit taking it. I think overall, the Topamax was not helping. It seemed like I was becoming less motivated and more sad with it. I also had that bad anxiety day that I wrote about recently.
So, I think I was just hoping for a magic weightloss bullet with the Topamax. It didn’t work. Boo. I have lost about 90-100 pounds though which is good, but I still need to be less sedentary. I’m also a believer in fat acceptance, but of course it is hard to say that I never want to try to lose weight. I would be an even bigger believer in fat acceptance if I wasn’t actually fat I think!!! hahaha. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is kind of true. I can accept the hell out of everyone’s fatness, but my own! lol.
Anyway, enough about fatness for now. What I want to say is that I’m doing well on the whole. My sleep patterns have improved with my sleep apnea machine, and while I’m not sleeping on any kind of normal schedule yet, I’m getting sleep every day and mostly at the same time! I still tend to be somewhat paranoid, but I’ve found that opening up with people over the years on the internet has really helped me to realize that I don’t need to be afraid of everyone in the world. I still have some delusional thoughts that blow through my brain now and then, but I consider them to be more of a slight annoyance than a big deal right now. But seriously, it is because of the medicine. If I wasn’t taking my meds, and doing so faithfully, I would be in and out of hospitals and massively psychotic. Some people don’t believe me, because I “seem so normal,” but I have to wonder what THAT means anyway? And, I don’t know, it seems like I should be insulted when people say that to me, but I’m not sure why I find it so insulting! I don’t necessarily want to be abnormal, even though I pretty much am, but I think it just bothers me that people attach a kind of value judgement to the term “normal” as if “normal” is superior. It is definitely easier to live in the world if you are “normal,” but it isn’t the only way to be in the world, that’s for sure. Normal is just such a peculiar word, no?
So, I’m doing fine. Some anxiety here and there, some weird thoughts here and there…a depressed mood now and then, but mostly just good. Which is nice. Thank you meds and thank you lucky stars! So, that’s my update after living with schizophrenia for 24 years. Wow! 24 years! Man am I getting old!!! LOL.
So, the thing is, I hate cooking and I don’t like to eat healthy food! What a great combo, right? LOL Probably one of the reasons why I’m so fat. But, I’ve been trying to eat a bit better and lose some of the pounds. I went to Starbucks one day and decided to try their Roma Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich. It is completely delicious! But then I’m like “I can’t afford to eat this delicious sandwich every day. What should I do?!?” So, I adapted the sandwich to make it at home and I’m here to share my results with you.
The skill level for making this sandwich is like super-beginner. You need NO skills whatsoever. If you can buy the food at the store, open the packages and turn on the microwave you are golden! This sandwich can be adapted with changes to make it however you like, but here is the general idea.
What you need: bread, roasted tomatoes (they come in a can), pesto (generally sold in the cheese/fresh pasta area), baby spinach, gardenburgers, and mozzarella cheese.
The whole sandwich is less than 450 calories depending on how you make it.
Here are what the ingredients look like that I used:
1) Bagel Thins, because they are only 110 calories and I like bagels.
2) Mozzarella cheese slices. I got the pre-sliced ones that are 80 calories per slice, but you can slice your own if you like. It is probably cheaper that way.
3) The *Original* Gardenburger. You could use whatever you like, but I like the Original kind. It is 150 calories. Also, you could have the sandwich without any garden burger at all or you could even use a regular burger, but that would involve cooking, which I don’t do! haha
4) Pesto. You can make it yourself I suppose, but I didn’t. I bought it in a container. Less than 1 tablespoon, so approx. 50 calories.
5) Roasted tomatoes. These are very low in calories and come in a can already cooked.
6) Baby spinach. Also very low in calories. Bought it already washed and ready to go!
Now all you have to do is:
1) Toast your bagel.
2) Cook your Gardenburger for about 45 seconds on high in the microwave for each side.
3) Put a bit of pesto on the bagel. Here is what mine looked like:
4) Put a bit of the roasted tomatoes on one side. Here is an example:
5) Add the pre-cooked Gardenburger, put on the slice of mozzarella and top with the baby spinach. Don’t forget to put the lid on! Here is what it looks like before it is cooked, and I suppose you could eat it without cooking it anymore if you like.
6) I like to have it nice and warm with the cheese melted, so I put the whole thing in the microwave for about 30-35 seconds on high to melt everything together. Here is the finished sandwich!
It has been a long while since I’ve written about body acceptance. I sort of ran out of “steps” that I could think of. For me, it really is a process. I told my therapist that when it comes to weight, weightloss and size acceptance, I feel like I am walking on a balance beam. Not quite a tightrope, but still balancing nonetheless.
Over this past year quite a lot has changed. My blood sugar levels were elevated with an A1C level of 6.3, so my nurse practitioner qualified me as diabetic. She also did other blood work and discovered that I was really low in Vitamin D and that my thyroid was off (hypothyroidism ), so I started meds for those too. I decided that I was sick of people suggesting that I get a gastric bypass, and I felt like I really could be in better shape, so with the combo of meds for my thyroid and blood sugar, watching what I eat a little more, and getting a bit of exercise, I have lost some weight.
However, I still want to maintain my outlook as one of size-acceptance. I know it seems kind of weird to say I am for size-acceptance and still be trying to lose some weight. There really is no manual for this kind of thing, so I’m just working on it as best I can. I am taking steps to improve my health. I got my A1C level down to 5.3 (non-diabetic) so far and my other labs are looking better. I’m still taking meds, but I’m TRYING to take a bit better care of my body. I know that at my size I am not quite as healthy as I could be, but I also know that I am not going to starve myself and turn into a raging bulimic again to try to maintain and lose weight (well, I really hope not at any rate!!!).
But, it is hard in some respects, because when I do make some attempt to pay attention to what I am eating, all of those negative thoughts tend to come back to haunt me. Thoughts like if I eat something “bad” I am being a “bad” person. My therapist calls thoughts like that ANTS (automatic negative thoughts). You know, some months I might gain some weight or not lose weight, and I have to be okay with that.
As a person who has struggled with weight issues all of my life, it isn’t like losing weight is just a matter of calories in and calories out. It is a whole quilt of past experiences, thoughts and feelings related to weight and how I have dealt with things throughout my life as a fat person.
So, I feel like I’m in a process of understanding how to accept myself and my body while trying to take some steps to improve my health. For me, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, the whole world drifts away and what matters is how *I* feel and how *I* can function and accept my body in this life. So, maybe I want to lose some more weight, but I still eat. I still eat “bad” stuff and I’m not ever going to live on a diet of celery, that is for sure. I don’t want to give up my life and I don’t want to give up eating. I just want to live my life the best I can!
P.S. And just so you know I am not anywhere near skinny, I have posted a picture of myself that was taken a couple of days ago! lol
Well, not only am I a schizophrenic, but I’m a regular girl type. The kind of girl you all know. Which means that growing up I had regular girl problems (not that eating disorders are girl-only problems), not just schizophrenic girl problems. I was a chubby kid. And then as a teenager I went on a crash diet right around the time I first started losing touch with reality. I essentially starved myself so the weight would come off, but then, my hair started to come off too. And, eventually Continue Reading So…the Bulimia….
First, my apologies, because I fear that this post will just be a standard, ill-conceived diary rant. Sometimes I don’t know what else to do than to simply spew words on a screen (I was going to say on a page, but there aren’t any “pages” in the computer world exactly.) It is 5:30am on the Continue Reading Standard Ill-Conceived Diary Rant…
I don’t talk that much about my eating disordered self. My eating disordered self is like the proverbial (fat) skeleton in the closet! Okay, I know skeletons aren’t fat, but mine is! haha. People tend to think one of two things when you are fat. They either think that you don’t have an eating disorder and that you are just lazy, gluttonous, disgusting, and everything else along those lines…OR if they don’t think that, they think you DO have an eating disorder and the eating disorder is OBESITY period. So, basically Continue Reading The Fat Skeleton in the Closet…
I just finished reading “Manic: A Memoir” a few days ago, so I thought I’d share my opinion with you. The book is the memoir of this high-powered female attorney from Los Angeles who has bipolar disorder. I’m usually really interested in most Continue Reading “Manic” A New Memoir of Bipolar Disorder…
Oh, so I haven’t blogged about this yet, but I went up to Seattle with my family about a week ago and participated in the National Institute of Mental Health-funded research project regarding schizophrenia. I had a really great time and the research team was totally fabulous and wonderful!
So, we arrived on a Wednesday afternoon. They took blood samples from Continue Reading NIMH Schizophrenia Research Participation…
Whew! It has been awhile since I have written a tip/trick. The last few months have been crazy, but not really in a good way. Oh well. The tip I’m writing about today has to do with this special time of year for people. This may be rather specific to people who are in the US and/or to people who celebrate certain holidays. Anyway, in the US most people have some holiday that they celebrate or they go on vacation or just have some time off. The major holidays are Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Again, I know there are more holidays that I’m sure I’m missing, but these are the big ones. So, here is my tip: Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #11…
Hi! Since a lot of my posts are about mental health issues, I thought I’d post this video that Kevin put up where he has an actual panic attack on video. Be warned, because it might disturb you. It is sad to watch him go through this. Kevin has two channels on Continue Reading Kevin’s Panic Attack Video…
The following videos are by Rob aka deidzoeb, a person from YouTube. His wife, Melinda, aka melsbasketcase, is also a YouTuber and Melinda has schizophrenia. She does well when she is properly medicated, but a lot of people go on her channel and try to convince her that her drugs are poison and that she should stop taking them. I hope you will watch all three of Rob’s great videos about Psychiatry Denial. He does a great job of showing how psychiatry deniers are simply wrong and how they try to take choice away from people with serious mental illnesses. I have included all three videos here. Please click to find them. Continue Reading Common Fallacies of Psychiatry Deniers…
Well, it is taking me a little more time to come up with steps for body acceptance, because I don’t want to end up repeating myself here. I have a couple of steps that I’ve been thinking about, but I can’t really remember them at the moment, so I’m going to go with one that really struck me today as I was watching someone’s video on youtube where they were talking about being skinny. Continue Reading Steps To Body Acceptance #5…
Well, I think I have covered most of the basics regarding mental illness, or at least the ideas I had right off the top of my head. But, I haven’t covered this next topic yet, so here we go with number nine: Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #9…
I don’t really know how many of these steps there are going to be. I kind of just write about them as they pop into my head even though I may have given them some more thought previously. Anyway, on with step number four. Step number four has to do with dealing with the people you may encounter in your life and the people who are important to you. Just like Continue Reading Steps To Body Acceptance #4…
Okay, seriously, if I hear ONE more person tell me that Continue Reading Fat Fat Fattie Fatterson Fattie Fatpants!…
My mom and I really like to make smoothies. They are easy to make, healthy and delicious. All you need is a blender and a few ingredients and in seconds you’ll have a yummy treat! The things you can blend are endless, but we like to use Continue Reading Smoothies! Yay!…
I don’t know if I am just stating the obvious with all of these Tips & Tricks, but sometimes it is the most obvious things that we forget when illness hits. This next tip is something that I have personally struggled with for years and sometimes a glimmer of it still pops up every now and then. Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #7…
Well, you can’t see me, but I decided to write this body narrative completely naked except for the computer that is attached to my fingers! Let me tell you why I’m writing this naked. Am I a nudist? No, absolutely not. I really like to wear clothes most of the time. I just wanted to say a little something about being naked, and I thought the best way to do that would to actually be naked while I’m writing this…just so whoever reads this will invariably have to imagine a fat naked woman laying on a towel in her bed typing into her laptop computer. OH MY GOD! Continue Reading Body Narrative: It Is MY Fat Body!…