Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Year in a Word

A prompt I came across asked us to sum up our year in a phrase, but I’m choosing a word. Creative. When choosing a word for 2014, I chose “self-care”. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to follow along with this theme much this year. I gained more weight (I’m obese), had a really hard time sticking to my exercise routine (or non-routine), and any attempts to start adoptig a healthier lifestyle ended in a few days. I also haven’t made much progress in therapy. Having been diagnosed with BPD in 2013, I had hoped 2014 could be the year of finally finding appropriate treatment. It wasn’t. My antipsychotic medicaiton was upped in late 2013, but unfortunately it had to be upped last week again.

But the year was positive in some other ways, and those things are what causes me to choose “creative” as my word for the year. Early in the year, I chose not to invest much in my old hobby of cardmaking anymore. I am still part of a few cardmaking groups, but had to let go of my commitments on all group sometime this year.

However, I did pick up several new hobbies, including jewlry-making and polymer clay. I did recently start up cardmaking again.

Creative day activities also started to take a place in my week this year. I stopped going to one of the crafty day activity places in late 2013 because the stress of having to wait for the car to pick me up and drive me there and the shortage of staffing made it too hard for me. Fortunately, the day activity room attached to the long-term adult units in my institution (on which I reside) opened its doors in late 2013 too and activities took full effect early this year. I have sometimes had a hard time going there, but I have persevered. As a result, I’ve been able to create quite a few nice things. Below is a picture of a necklace I recently made.

Necklace

I’m still thinking, but I might just choose “creative” as my intended theme for 2015 too.

Christmas 2014

It’s Christmas time 2014. Merry Christmas! I hope you all are having a great day. I really would like to look back on the year today, but I’m having an extremely hard time thinking up things to write about. Therefore, I’m sharing just some thoughts on my Christmas.

I was lucky that the day activity room was open all week except today and tomorrow. If I have to say one thing about this past year anyway, it’s that it’s been a creative one. So was this week. I made some nice cards and some polymer clay animal figures. NO pics yet as I haven’t scanned the cards and haven’t seen my husband yet since making the polymer clay figures. Besides, he may not yet have found his camera.

I went to church yesterday night. A catholic pastor was preaching and my beliefs lean towards protestantism, but it wasn’t a problem. I like that everyone in my institution who follows Jesus, or even who finds his message inspriing, can come to church. There was a great gospel choir too. I didn’t have money to buy their CD or I would have. In the sermon, the preacher talked about both our personal lives as patients or families of patients in the institution, and about the bigger world news. Of course, the MH17 disaster was mentioned. I did find it a little frustrating that I couldn’t remember the words to any of the songs we sang, even though they were well-known for being sung at Christmas and I recognized most.

There was another church service this morning which I’d planned on going to, but I was too tired. Instead, I spent much time in bed or sitting in the front room drinking coffee and eating Christmassy snacks. I didn’t end up going to my in-laws today. Instead, I’ll be visiting them tomorrow. We had a pretty good institution supper for a ready-made meal. In fact, one of the nurses oven-baked the potatoes.

I’m having a little difficulty with the lack of ordinary structure these two days (today and tomorrow). Thankfully it’s only two days and then next week Thursday which is new year’s. The staff will be making snacks for a few days prior to new year’s because they sell them for extra money for the ward. I don’t like the crowdiness it brings on but I can go to the day activity room then at least.

How I’d Spend the Holidays…

One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s writing workshop prompts this week is to describe how I’d spend the holidays if it were totally up to me and money wasn’t an issue. Since I’ve been extremely overwhelmed by what Christmas “should” be like, I thought I’d fantasize a bit.

I have several ideas floating around in my head. The first is that I’d stay in our little apartment with my husband. Given that we have two rather hyperactive cats, we can’t decorate the place. Not that I’d want to either. I love to make Christmas cards and decorations, but to decorate my home is quite a different story. After all, this is one of my main stresses on the psych ward: the whole ward is decorated and there are Christmas trees and decorations everywhere in my path from the entrance to my room. I’ve bumped into them on quite a few occasions so far.

I would want to bring somee Christmassy atmosphere into the home, but would do it with scents. Last year, I bought a set of wintery scents at the local supermarket, all suited for in my diffuser (but they came with a burner in case you don’t have a diffuser). I love these scents and would buy some additional oil pads so that I could interchange scents without having to use the first one up before inserting a new one.

Taking a bath on Boxing Day would also be nice. At my husband’s, we don’t have a bathtub, but at the ward we do. So once returning to the ward, I’d spend some time taking a relaxing bath with some lavender soap in it.

We’d of course eat my favorite dish on Christmas night, which is chicken with vegetales and either noodles or fries. If we ate noodles, the dish would be spiced up with lots of herbs and spices. I really don’t know about spicing up fries. Any ideas?

other than that I’d just spend the holidays relaxing with my husband. I’d also spend considerable time online, since even though my Internet connection is okay, it’s not as good as my husband’s.

Most of all, I’d have zero obligation to put on a holiday spirit and shiney, happy face when I’m not happy. Of course, I’d be nice to my husband, but I’m usually nice to him the rest of the year too and don’t have to put up a façade for this.

So how am I really going to spend the holidays? On Christmas day, my husband and I will spend the evening at my in-laws, where my husband says we will eat chicken. I guess he’s afraid that if he cooks up any sort of specially-prepared holiday meal, I’ll shame him about it on my blog.

I’ll take my computer with me so that, if my husband and his family want to watch any type of televison I don’t like, I can just spend time online. Then at night my husband and I may leave for our apartment. I will probably return to the ward on Boxing Day. Most likely, there won’t be time for a bath, but I can diffuse my lovely scents all I want.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Random Questions #TuesdayTen

Today for Tuesday Ten, people are answering ten random questions from the 100 random questions list. I love these questions. Would love to answer them all, but it’s Tuesday Ten and besides I’m too lazy, so here are ten.

8. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? I last went outside to go to my husband’s car so he could take me to our home. This was at around 3:15 this afternoon.

10. Do you remember your dreams? Usually, yes, but I don’t always realize they were dreams. Sometimes I dream that I checked my E-mail and then when I really do check my E-mail, I’m surprised at the number of new messages. Yes, I do dream about checking my E-mail!

17. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? I’d love to live in the United States just so that most people I know online would live in my country. The health care system in the U.S. sucks though, so I guess I’d go for the UK.

27. Type of music you like most. Country.

36. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? No, but to my defense it has fifteen strophes. In school, most people learn the first and sixth strophe. I can however barely remember the first as I write this.

58. Do you believe in love at first sight? No. It took me almost eight months to decide I wanted to be in a relationship with my now husband. I do believe people can be attracted to someone at first sight, but love is something much deeper than sexual attraction.

73. What do you do most when you are bored? I’d like to come up with something that doesn’t make me sound like the laziest creature on the planet. Go on the computer, read, listen to music… Truth is however most of the time I go into bed and sleep.

76. What did you want to be when you grew up? A writer or a teacher.

85. What kind of books do you like to read? Autobiographies, true stories (mostly from doctors), and juvenine fiction.

99. What is most important in life? Happiness, oh duh.

The Golden Spoons

St. Nicholas

I am still having difficulty getting inspired to write regularly on this blog. Ironically, I wrote six posts for my Dutch blog this week. Writing those posts gave me one idea to write about here – books I’ve read in 2014 -, but I’m too lazy to write that post.

I went on the SITS Girls website and looked at the prompts for December. Yesterday’s prompt asked if we celebrate with Santa Clause. Since St. Nicholas or Santa Clause is a particularly Dutch (and somewhat Belgian) tradition, at least in its most well-known form, I thought I’d write about that. A day late – or two, since the St. Nick’s celebration is on December 5 here -, but who cares?

St. Nicholas in some ways is like Christmas in the U.S., in that we swap gifts, there’s an old man with a white beard and a red coat involved and we eat lots of candy. There are specific St. Nicholas candies. For example, people often get a chocolate letter.

We used to celebrate St. Nicholas with my family rather than Christmas. At school, we also celebrated St. Nicholas in additon to Christmas. A tradition in many homes and classrooms is to package your gifts in a surprise package and to draw names to determine who has to gift to whom. Of course, you always thank “Santa Clause” and in some cases, who really gifted you will remain unknown to you forever. Like, I never found out who’d gifted me some chocolates packaged in a box that was made to look like a laptop in seventh grade.

At our home, we usually gave each of our family members a present, at least from the moment we were old enough to have some money for it and not believe that Santa Clause existed anymore. I hated the name-drawaing, surprise-gifting process and to my knowledge I managed to persuade (or tantrum) my parents into never adopting that tradition.

Another tradition which I couldn’t keep my parents from adopting was the Santa Clause poem. The most boring kind goes along the lines of “Santa thought long and hard what to gift dear Edward”. The best ones have some kind of moral advice in them and if they’re really good, they’re humorous too. It was usually easy to tell who had gifted me something by the quality of and tone in the poems. My mother was the one with the hugely moralizing poems, my father incorporated humor and some advice, and my sister would make up words in order to make the words rhyme. I hardly ever wrote poems and hated having to read the ones I got aloud. In fact, I hated the whole pretend play involved in Santa Clause once I was old enough to no longer believe he existed. I never went along with it.

Nonetheless, I liked celebrating Santa Clause, though possibly more for the gifts and a bit because we’d always done it this way than for any other reason. It did sadden me that we stopped celebrating St. Nicholas once I got into the psychiatric hospital. Now we visit my parents every other year for Christmas instead.

Diary Entry: September 21, 1999

Mama’s Losin’ It has some great writing prompts this week. One is to share a diary entry from when you were younger. You are allowed to make one up, but I’m going to share a real one. I was orignally intending to share one of my myDiary.nl entries. This was (and I think still is) a diary site in the Netherlands where I kept a diary between age sixteen and eighteen. I however deleted all entries from the site and the document I saved them to is in a format I can’t read now. Then I thought of sharing an entry from my earlier offline diary. It dates fromw hen I was thirteen. It is translated because the original was in Dutch, and I altered some bits for privacy reasons, but it is a real entry. I at the time addressed my entries to a fictional character named Claire. Probably got the idea from reading Anne Frank at the time. This is a short entry, because it is my second attempt at sharing something (computer crashed), and I am too lazy to translate a long entry now.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Dear Claire,

I am once again the home bitch. I have a figurine in the shape of a mouse. Its tail broke off and I attempted to make it, but that didn’t work. Logically, since tape doesn’t stick to stone. My sister got involved, and so now I’m in my room. Mom by the way says that my sister never gets attention and I always want attention, but she can decide for herslef whom to give attention. So, it is the day of arguments today.

Yours, Astrid

Don’t ask me what the broken figurine and my sister getting involved had to do with my spending time in my room. I probably had a tantrum over the figurine breaking, but not sure what my sister or “always” wanting attention had to do with it. I now realize my behavior did draw attention to me, but that of course is not the same as wanting attention.

Mama’s Losin’ It