How I Feel About My Mental Health Diagnoses #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 6 of the 31 Days of Mental Health for #Write31Days. Today, I’m feeling very ill-inspired, so I checked out the 30 days of mental illness awareness master list. This is an awareness challenge in which mental health sufferers answer 30 questions about their experience of mental illness. I am going to combine day 1 and 2 of the challenge and share how I feel about the diagnoses I have been given over time.

The first mental health diagnosis I received was adjustment disorder. Okay, I received a diagnosis of autism before, but most mental health professionals do not consider this a mental illness and in truth, it isn’t. It’s a neurodevelopmental disorder.

I received the diagnosis of adjustment disorder upon my admission to the psychiatric hospital in 2007. An adjustment disorder basically means an extreme reaction to stress that doesn’t meet the criteria for any other mental disorder (eg. depression). Well, how could I not agree to thsi diagnosis? I was under a lot of stress from living independently and I reacted in an extreme way.

I was fortunate at the time that insurance still covered treatment for an adjustment disorder. It would do in my case under the current policy too, because I was suicidal, but many people with psychosocial problems related to even more severe stressors such as a life-threatening illness go untreated for their mental health problems.

As I said before, I then received a diagnosis of impulse control disorder NOS. I didn’t feel right about this diagnosis. It wasn’t that I didn’t agree I had impulse control issues, but I had so many more issues. Why not diagnose me with half a dozen other NOS disorders?

Years later, I was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To be very honest, these never sat right with me. Though I did feel validated that I had some dissociative experiences, I felt I may not meet the full criteria for DID. I did have a lot of identity confusion and depersonalization/derealization (feelings of unreality), but I didn’t have a lot of identity alteration (switching to different personalities) till after my diagnosis and never quite had amnesia (memory loss). Okay, let me clarify this: I did have a sense of identity alteration long before my diagnosis, but I tried to never show it on the outside. That changed after my diagnosis. Now I feel I might have dissociative disorder NOS, but I don’t want to bring up my experiences again for fear of being told that I imagine it all.

That was, after all, exactly what happened after a few years. I went to a dissociative disorders support group, where the support group leader, herself a DID sufferer, eventually kicked me out. Her reason was that she felt I had an imaginary dissociative disorder. My new therapist, who changed my diagnosis to BPD, didn’t exactly go along with this, but she did say that BPD better explained my symptoms than DID.

With regard to PTSD, I never felt I had the full classic PTSD symptom presentation. Though I did and do have flashbacks and nightmares, they aren’t necessarily specific to the trauma I survived. This is possible in PTSD with young children but not adults. I also did experience emotional numbing but not avoidance of triggers. In fact, I was often drawn to triggers. I still am. I did and do however experience many symptoms of complex PTSD. Then again, these are similar to those of BPD.

In 2013, I was finally diagnosed with borderline persoanlity disorder. I almost instantly agreed I have it, but then again, I did with most conditions I’d been diagnosed with. I do still feel I meet enough criteria for a diagnosis, though I don’t exhibit as many classic BPD behaviors as I used to when first coming to my current institution. This is possibly related to my autistic difficulty adjusting to change.

Deciding to Go on Psychiatric Medication #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 5 of the #Write31Days challenge. Today I’m focusing on a difficult decision people with mental illness might face: the decision to ask their doctors to prescribe them psychiatric medication.

Of course, patients do not make the decision to get on medication alone. Neither do doctors. Unless the patient’s mental illness causes them to be a threat to themselves or others, they cannot be forced to take medication. The patient decides whether they’ll swallow the pills prescribed to them, but the doctor ultimately decides what to prescribe. In other words, the decision about psychiatric medication is a cooperative process between doctor and patient.

Each time that I went on psychiatric medication, it was my doctor or another mental health professional who’d taken the initiative. Then again, being an informally-treated patient, I each time had the right to informed consent and chose to take my pills.

The first time I went on medication, in the summer of 2007, I was very seriously distressed. Looking back, the timing of my going on medication was about as wrong as can be. If I have to advise other patients on starting medication, I’ll advise them to change as little about the rest of their treatment or their lives as possible whilst trying the medication. I was pretty stupid in this respect, going on medication a week before I moved into independent living. Consequently, I didn’t have the opportunity to assess whether the medication worked. Maybe it did, but it is quite likely that, if it worked at all, it kept me just millimeters from falling off the edge of sanity.

I was also quite ill-informed about the medication’s side effects. The medication I was prescribed was Risperdal, an antipsychotic known for its metabolic side effects (ie. weight gain, risk of diabetes, etc.). Though I didn’t get any of these side effects as far as I knew, I did develop palpitations. The prescribing psychiatrist brushed this off, saying it was probably stress. Could be, but I’d never had this symptom before and never had it again. Since I know where to find reliable medication information, I quickly found out that heart palpitations are a relatively rare but very possible side effect from this medication.

Like the decision to go on medication, the decision to change a dose or to go off a medication again, requires cooperation between doctor and patient. Because I had moved a week after going on Risperdal and I didn’t have a psychiatrist in my new city, my GP was prescribing my medication. Understandably, she wasn’t sure how I’d do if she allowed me to quit the medication, so she was hesitant about this. I eventually just told her I was going to quit one way or another, and she recommended a taper schedule. In general, doctors have patients taper in relatively large steps, halving the dose one to several times and then stopping. It is however wise to taper more slowly.

I landed in a mental crisis four weeks after going off Risperdal. It is not known whether my going off of Risperdal caused me to fall off the edge, but I didn’t go back on medication right away. In fact, I didn’t go back for another more than two years.

I currently take Abilify, another antipsychotic, and Celexa, an antidepressant. People on antipsychotics are monitored for metabolic syndrome every six months to a year in my institution. When the monitoring project started, we were also given a long list of potential side effects and asked whether we had them or not. I had some, but not enough to warrant lowering my medication dose. The most common side effects of antipsychotics, other than metabolic syndrome, are movement disorders, like parkinsonism (stiffness and tremors similar to those in Parkinson’s Disease) and akathisia (severe restlessness and urge to move). There are medications that can counter thse side effects, particuarly parkinsonism. I don’t take any of these medications. However, it is very important to carefully consider the dosage of the antipsychotic and medications against its side effects. After all, most people want as few medications as possible, so it may not always be wise to counter each side effect with another medication.

How Far I’ve Come on My Mental Health Journey #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 4 in the #Write31Days challenge. Sorry for being a bit late to publish my post. Today, I’m sharing a personal post, describing how far I’ve come on my journey of learning to cope with mental illness.

I sought mental health help for the first time in early 2007. I was severely behaviorally disturbed at the time, having aggressive meltdowns several times a week. Though I didn’t physially attack other people, I was quite verbally aggressive and threw objects a lot. This behavior lessened with some counseling from a community psychiatric nurse and eventually medication, but it didn’t completely disappear.

When I was admitted to the psychiatric unit on NOvember 3, 2007, I was seriously suicidal. I had spiraled down into a crisis while living independently. I at the time showed classic borderline behavior, making suicidal threats when I was seriously distressed. I no longer threw objects as much as I’d done before, but I was still verbally aggressive.

After about three months on the locked unit, my disturbed behavior became less severe, but I still had many milder meltdowns. I’d also display rigid behavior. For example, I had a crisis prevention plan and i’d tell the nurses when they weren’t following it. Now the staff at that unit were quite authoritarian, so I was threatened with seclusion for telling staff they weren’t following the rules. I don’t see this as disturbed behavior on my part now, but I do see how, in the insane place of a psychiatric hospital, it was.

My meltdowns and outbursts didn’t lessen in frequency till I went back on medication in early 2010. It also helped that I’d transferred to the less restrictive resocialization unit. I eventually was quite stable there on a moderate dose of an antipsychotic and a low dose of an antidepressant. I still had my moments where I’d act out, but they were manageable.

This changed when I transferred to my current long-term unit in 2013. I transferred in the summer, so there were often fewer staff available. I also couldn’t cope with the fact that my part of the unit was often left to our own resources when the staff were catering to the needs of the presumably less independent people on the other floor. I started eloping regularly, something I’d previously done sometimes but not nearly as often as I did now. At one point, it eventually led to the staff considering having me transferred to the locked unit. That fortunately never happened. Instead, my antipsychotic was increased to eventually the highest dose. I have been relatively stable for about nine months now.

What helped me along this way was a building of mutual trust and cooperation. An example was that the staff would often offer to allow me into the comfort room when distressed. At the resocialization unit, when I’d have severe meltdowns, I’d be transferred to the locked unit and made to sit in their comfort room. Their comfort room was really a reconstructed seclusion area and there was little comfort to be found. Consequently, I saw the comfort room as punishment, but on my current unit, it isn’t. We have a really good comfort room which is truly calming. I learned to realize that the offer to have me sit in there was an offer for help, not punishment.

Eight years into my mental institutionalization, I still cannot say I have fully overcome my destructive ways. They have significantly lessened, but I still have my moments. That probably won’t be over with for a long while.

Seeking Mental Health Help for the First Time #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

When you feel you may suffer with a mental health conditon, you may want to seek mental health help. This is a very hard step that takes a lot of courage. I mean, there’s still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health problems, so you may feel awkward asking for help for something that’s “all in your head”.

When I took my first steps into the mental health system, it wasn’t by my own initiative. People with more severe mental illness relatively often find themselves being dragged into the system by other people. In my case, it was my staff at the training home for disabled people I resided at who took the initiative to send me to a psychiatrist.

In most countries, you’ll need a referral from your GP or another medical doctor (or sometimes a psychologist) to see a psychiatrist. I went to my GP for the referral, but couldn’t speak at all. I was totally locked up inside. It was my staff member who asked for the referral.

Once you see a mental health professional, the next step is telling them why you are seeing them. This may be hard too. Some people with more severe mental illness do not have insight into their illness. I didn’t when I was first seen by a psychiatrist, and that’s while I studied psychology at the time. Even if you do think you know what’ss wrong with you, it may be hard to articulate. Yu may feel shame, but you also may feel like you have trouble looking at your mental processes. I did. Many mental health professionals, especially those working with the severely mentally ill, will be understanding of this.

The mental health professional may ask you whether you have any idea of what type of help you’d like yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t have an answer to this. Most mental health professionals will understand that you may not have a clear understanding of what help you want, let alone what’s available or most effective with your problems. Particularly when you are severely or acutely mentally ill, the psychiatrist may have to give you limited options or recommend a particular treatment. For example, when I saw a psychiatrist about going on medication in the summer of 2007, she offered me two choices, one I’d come up with myself and another that she felt would be better suited. I chose to go along with her recommendation. Remember, as the patient, you have the right to informed consent, but you aren’t the expert on mental illness and its treatment. You know you best, but the psychiatrist knows what tends to work with your particular type of problems.

Mental Health Recovery #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 2 in the #Write31Days challenge on mental health. When you are diagnosed with a mental health condition, you often wonder how you’re going to get your life back. Ideally, you’d be cured of your mental health condition, but this is not always possible. When you have a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder, this is often going to be lifelong. Therefore, the goal does not become cure, but living a meaningful life in spite of your mental illness. It is here that recovery comes into play.

The mental health recovery movement may be seen as an offshoot from the psychiatric survivor movement from the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, people who couldn’t be cured of their mental illness within a short while, were institutionalized on long-term units essentially for life. The worst part was that they lost all control over their lives. They couldn’t even decide what they were having for breakfast, let alone how they wanted to live their lives. Many were heavily medicated without their informed consent.

In the 1970s, psychiatric patients and activists started to protest the forced institutionalization of mentally ill people. My mother was one of those activists. Part of this protest was asking who is normal. People would wear mirror buttons with this text on them.

The truth is, everyone experiences mental setbacks in their lives. The recovery movement assumes that even people with severe mental illness can and should have control over their own lives. Recovery includes being an active participant in your treatment and the director of your own life.

In 2010, I participated in a recovery group at my former institution. One of the main positives of this recovery group was that it deliberately consisted of institutionalized people. This sent the message that, even as a long-term psychiatric inpatient, you can and should have control over your life. We discussed such topics as sources of support, pitfalls in our recovery and getting our lives back on track. Most people participating in the group, even those who did not originally intend on taking leaps in their treatment, were improving their lives at the end of the course.

I want to clarify here that the goal of recovery is self-direction, not necessarily self-reliance. I for one was planning on transferring to a workhome, which is essentially a permanent institution placement. I didn’t end up going there, but still five years later reside on a long-trem treatment unit. That doesn’t mean I didn’t take steps towards recovery. I took more responsibility for my own life and took steps towards being an active participant in my treatment. For example, I searched for a therapist who would treat my complex trauma once I’d transfer to the workhome. As I said, it didn’t work out, but the recovery course taught me that I could and should take my life and treatment in my own hands.

Defining Mental Illness #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

For my first post in the 31 Days of Mental Health series, I will discuss how mental health conditions are diagnosed. As you probably know, there is no objective test for mental illness, like a blood or urine test. The diagnosis of mental illness is based on the symtpoms and signs a patient presents with.

The main classification system for mental disorders in use in th United States and elsewhere is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. In 2013, the fifth edition, DSM-5, was published. However, some countries, like the Netherlands, still use the previous edition, DSM-IV.

DSM-IV uses a multi-axial system of diagnosing mental disorders. There are two axes for mental disorders: Axis I for clinical disorders like depression, schizophrenia and ADHD, and axis II for intellectual disability and personality disorders. The reason for the existence of axis II is that the creators of DSM-IV felt that intellectual disability and personality disorders are particularly hard to treat and relatively stable over time. Later research found this is not necessarily the case for certain personality disorders in particular. In DSM-5, personality disorders and intellectual disabiltiy are listed under the same section as other mental disorders.

In DSM-IV, there are three more axes for diagnostic classificaiton: Axis III for physical disorders, axis IV for psychosocial and environmental factors, and axis V for one’s global assessment of functioning (GAF) score. This score indicates how well or ill a person is in general. A GAF score of 100 indicates excellent mental health, while a GAF score of 50 indicates severe symptoms or severe impairments in one area of functioning (eg. work, school, social life). A GAF socre of 1, the lowest score, indicates persistent danger of seriously harming self or others. My GAF socre is 40, meaning some problems in reality testing or communication or significant impairments in more than one area of functioning.

The GAF score is, as the name suggests, a global scale. As such, it does not determine how severe each disorder a person may be diagnosed with is. Also, if a person has problems in maintaining their personal hygiene, they automatically get a lower GAF score than those who have problems functioning at work or school. It is apparently thought that, if you neglect your personal hygiene, you will be unable to function at school or work. This at least hasn’t been the case with me. In DSM-5, the GAF scale was dropped and severity can be coded for each disorder a person has been diagnosed with. The World Health Organization (WHO) Disability Assessment Schedule is included in the assessment tools section of DSM-5.

You may’ve noticed that I mostly refer to mental disorders, not mental illnesses. The word “mental illness” is not used within the DSM, rather, DSM uses the word “mental disorder” to encompass all conditions listed in their classification system (with some exceptions, eg. medication-induced movement disorder). A mental disorder is defined in DSM-5 as a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in a person’s cognition, emotion regulation or behavior. It reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological or developmental processes underlying mental functions. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress or disability in social, occupational or other important activities. An expected or culturally approved response to a stressor, such as the loss of a loved one, is not a mental disorder. Religious, political or sexual deviance or conflicts between the individual and society are not mental disorders, unless the conflict originates primarily within the individual.

A mental disorder is not the same as a need for treatment. Need for treatment is determined through a complex process of assessment of symptom severity, presence of certain symptoms (eg. suicidal ideation), the person’s distress or disability related to their symptoms, risks and benefits of available treatment, and possibly other factors (eg. if a person’s mental disorder impacts another illness). Because of this, people who do not meet all criteria for a diagnosable mental disorder but who demonstrate a clear need for care, may be taken into treatment.

Section II of the DSM-5 describes all mental disorders that are currently being recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Mental disorders, for clarity’s sake, include neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive disorders (eg. autism or dementia), addictions, as well as those disorders more commonly thought of as mental illnesses. Personality disorders are not always seen as mental illnesses. For example, in the UK’s Mental Health Act, they are called “psychopathic disorders”. Nonetheless, I see both personality disorders and disorders such as schizophrenia and depression, as mental illnesses.

31 Days of Mental Health #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to #Write31Days, a writing challenge in which bloggers pick a topic to write about each October and write about this topic everday during the month. This is my first time participating in this challenge. I still
don’t have an editorial calendar, so though I’ve been thinking of things to

post about, I still don’t have anything scheduled. I hope that won’t prove to be a huge problem.

My topic for this year’s #Write31Days will be mental health. As regular readers of my blog will know, I have lived with mental illness for a long time and currently reside in a psychiatric institution. I have written quite a few informative posts on mental illness already, as well as a number of posts chronicling my journey towards recovery. During this month’s challenge, I am simply going to expand my collection of mental health-related posts. Since like I said, I don’t have an editorial calendar, there probably isn’t going to be a particular order to my posts. I like it that, apart from choosing a topic, there isn’t a requirement to follow any guidelines such as those in the #AtoZChallenge back in April.

I currently have only one mental health diagnosis, but have had many in the past. I also happen to be a psychology student, so I know a bit about the gamut of mental health conditions. I will take the opportunity during this challenge to share some about conditions and symptoms I do experience, but also about things I don’t. In short, I’d like to educate my readers on the spectrum of mental illness and mental health.

Because it may get boring writing all types of dull posts on mental health conditions (and it may get boring reading them), I will be sharing tips for coping with mental illness, as well as posts inspired by my own journey of recovery, too. I hope you’ll learn from and be inspired by my posts.

This is the landing post for this year’s #Write31Days challenge. This means it serves as an index for all my posts that I write during this month. I will post my button in every post, too. If I did it correctly, clicking on the button should take you back to this post.

Click below on the post you’d like to view.

Coffee #TuesdayTen

Today is International Coffee Day. In honor of this celebration, the Tuesday Ten hosts ask about our morning routine, whether we drink coffee or not. I am twistng this idea a bit and sharing ten truths about my coffee-drinking habits throughout the day. I remember sharing some of these before, probably when International Coffee Day came around last year, but some items will be new.

  • I started drinking coffee when I was aroudn six-years-old. In pictures of me drinking coffee, I look really disgusted. I still have a disgusted look on my face when I drink coffee, even though I like it.

  • I like my coffee black and quite strong, though the coffee my husband makes is a little too strong for my taste. Some people on my unit also make incredibly strong coffee.

  • Last week was one of the first times I drank cappuccino. I must say I loved it!

  • My husband and I have a Senseo coffee maker, which means I can finally get a regular cuppa rather than my husband's strong brew that I mentioned above. It also means that I can make my own coffee. I used to be able to operate a regular coffee brewing machine, but getting the amount of water and coffee right is a bit hard.

  • I don’t drink nearly as much coffee now as I used to. We have specific coffee times on our unit at 10AM, 4:30PM and 7:30PM. I usually skip at least one of these because I’m in bed. Guess I need to drag myself out and get a cuppa.

  • On the unit, we are allowed to get up by 7AM and make coffee then as well. Usually, some is still left by the time I get up at around 8:30. I like to start my day with a cup of coffee and a bowl of yoghurt with muesli.

  • Because the afternoon is so long without coffee, being that we can’t have it till 4:30PM, I sometimes go to day activities just to get a cuppa. Many people do. It isn’t that, at day activities, we can get unlimited coffee, but at least we aren’t stuck with the fixed coffee moments.

  • Speaking of day activities, most people look forward to Friday at 3PM, when we are allowed cappuccino or hot chocolate instead of regular coffee. There’s an automated coffeee machine upstairs from day activities where the administration probably get their hot chocolate, cappuccino and coffee all the time, but the activity staff got complaints that we’re drinking too much of it. That’s why we only get hot chocolate or cappuccino on Friday afternoons.

  • I do get hot chocolate most weeks on Thursday morning when I go to art therapy. That is, if there’s cocoa in the machine there, which often there isn’t.

  • I truly find that coffee keeps me awake. This is probably why I am most awake in the evenings, because I rarely skip my 7:30PM coffee. Then again, whether I drink coffee in the evening or not doesn’t seem to influence whether I can sleep at night.

The Golden Spoons
Everyday Gyaan

My #InvisibleFight for Mental Health #IIWK15

Today is the start of INvisible Illness Awareness Week. I already shared a post on ths year’s theme, my invisible fight, last week. This was about my fight for a correct diagnosis and treatment of my physical symptoms.

If all goes as planned, I will be participating in a 31-day writing challenge in October on the topic of mental health. I have lived with mental health problems pretty much all my life, though I didn’t get into the care system till 2007. In today’s post, I’m sharing my fight for proper mental health care.

I have had a number of diangoses for my mental health problems over the years. At first, in 2007, I was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder caused by the stress of my living independently while being multiply-dsabled. I was hospitalized on a locked psychiatric unit and stayed there for 1 1/2 years. An adjustment disorder can only persist for six months after the stressor has gone (so after I’d been hospitalized), so I had to be diagnosed with something else eventually. My new diagnosis was impulse control disorder nOS. Several years later, I got diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These finally got changed to borderline personality disorder in 2013.

It’s been a long fight to get the care I deserve and the fight is ongoing. In 2008, when on the locked unit, I was treated with seclusion or threatened seclusion whenever I acted even slightly irritable. I wasn’t told that, being an informally-admitted patient, I had to give consent for this treatment. My problems were treated like willful misbehavior, even though my diagnosis of impulse control disorder should suggest the behaviors were at least to an extent beyond my control.

I had a horribly authoritarian social worker at the time. She was mostly in charge of my care, because I was at this unit awaiting appropriate long-term residential care. At one point, when I objected to applying at a certain supported housing place because I didn’t meet half the admission criteria, she threatened to get me a guardian. Not that my parents, who would’ve been the most likely choice for guardianship, would’ve stood in the way of my making my own decisions. I have said many negative things about my parents, but one positive quality of theirs is that they allow me to be in charge of my own life.

I had to fight to be admitted to a resocialization unit in 2009. I first had to fight my social worker, who wanted to transfer me to a low-level supported housing placement instead. That was just too big a leap. I also had to fight the treatment team at the resocialization unit, who were skeptical I’d be able to cope on an open unit.

Once at the rsocialization unit, I got better treatment than I’d gotten at the locked unit. However, I didn’t get much better. Eventually, medicaiton was suggested. This was a huge step, as the doctor at the locked unit had always ignored my questions and suggestions about possibly going on medication. My antipsychotic is truly a lifesaver. Its dose had to be increased several times and an antidepressant had to be added, but now I’m quite stable.

In 2012, when I’d been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder for some years but was noticing my psychologist didn’t have a clue how to treat it, I took it upon myself to find a suited therapist. I E-mailed around, was rejected many times, but eventually found someone. Unfortunately, by the time she had a spot for me, I’d transferred to my current institution and my diagnosis had just been changed to borderline personality disorder.

As the years passed, I got to know and love my husband and we eventually married in 2011. We originally weren’t planning on living together, but early this year, I changed my mind. We’ve been working towards discharge for me ever since. Thankfully, my psychologist and social worker are quite cooperative. The fight is not yet over. In fact, now that my discharge is coming closer being probably around three to six months away, I have to fight my inner demons. In other words, I have to fight the fear that I’ll break down again, like I did in 2007. Thankfully, my psychologist and social worker are understanding of this. I am hoping that, once I am settled in at my and my husband’s apartment, I can finally get treatment for my emotion regulation problems.

Everyday Gyaan

Also linking up to Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2015: Your Invisble Fight.

Gratitude List Once Again

A few days ago, I came across Corinne Rodrigues’ post on The Gratitude Diaries. She wrote this post for her monthly Gratitude Circle and included a gratitude list. Now I know I already did a gratitude list last week, but there’s much more to be grateful for. In this post, I am going to share both things I am grateful for this week and things I’ve been grateful for in general./P>

This week has been pretty good. I didn’t have a lot of energy and have had some health symptoms once again, but other than that, I enjoyed the week. Here are some things I’ve been gratefulf or this week.

  1. I bought two lovely shower gels online. One has a vanilla/coconut smell and the other has a vanilla/honey smell. Can you tell I love vanilla? I have been enjoying using both.
  2. Speaking of showers, I finally got used to the shower at my husband’s and my apartment. We have a thermostat in the institution but don’t in our apartment, so getting the temperature of the water right is a pain. I think I finally figured it out though. I still much prefer a thermostat and haven’t gotten the idea that I want one for our apartment out of my head yet.

  3. When I bought the shower gels, I also bought a fruity facial mask. I haven’t yet used it, because I have yet to ask someone to read the instructions for me.

  4. I found out about FutureLearn by the UK’s Open University and have enjoyed looking at all the free courses they have available. I signed up for one about the science of nutrition, but haven’t yet come far in it.

  5. I have been crocheting at art therapy this week. I used very thick yarn and a huge needle, which helped me feel my way through the project. I created a a flowery type of thing.

  6. I finally got down to buying some new nightwear on Friday. My husband joked that I must like one of the nightgowns, which has “I LOVE SLEEPING” on its front.

  7. I went to our apartment Friday till Saturday. Because I was not feeling very well, my husband went grocery shopping alone. This was the first time that I’d been alone in the apartment since we rented it in 2012. I was fine. Grocery shopping took just over half an hour only, but it’s a start.

  8. Barry, one of our cats, who is quite a bit of a loner, was showing affection to me on Friday. He tolerates being petted by and shows affection towards my husband, but he rarely did so to me. It was so cute!

  9. I had a good meeting with my psychologist on Wendesday. Though not much came from it yet, she’s trying to get informed about my options for outpatient treatment for once I go live with my husband.

This list signifies many things that I’m grateful for in general. For example, I am grateful for our two cats, Harry and Barry, who are way cute (though they can be annoying at times).

I am grateful for the things I can do as well. I’ve been quite productive in the blogging department lately and plan on participatng in an 31-day blogging challenge in October. I am grateful for my ability to be creative, for example my relative success at crocheting in art therapy.

Lastly, I’m just grateful for life in general. I have a great husband, a nice circle of relatives, good staff and a nice apartment. Despite some financial disappointments lately, I’ve been able to make ends meet this month too.

What Katy Said