Tag Archives: Horseback Riding

My Favorite Ways of Staying Active

It’s still pretty hot here. On Saturday, I paid the price for having said that hot weather is good for practically everything, as I spent the day mostly in bed feeling pretty rubbish. Today, I’m doing better. I am starting on yet another great-seeming Kindle book while still having to review the last one I finished. However, I don’t feel up to this. In fact, I wish the weather was slightly cooler so that I could’ve been more active physically. Instead, I’m going to share in this blog post about my favorite ways of staying active. This post was inspired by Emilia of My Inner MishMash, who asked a week or two ago which sport we’d choose if we had to pick one.

1. Swimming. Oh, how I love this. In the Netherlands, most children get swimming classes at school at least in the early elementary school years. I did too, but at my school for the visually impaired, I wasn’t progressing because my teacher was over-protective. My parens enrolled me in swimming classes at the local pool and I got my first diploma when I was nine and my second about eight months later, when I’d just turned ten. These two dplomas are the ones most people in the Netherlands have. Since we got swimming classes throughout elementary school at the school for the blind, I was able to stay in classes for another two years. I never earned another diploma though.

Back in the day, I still had some vision, so was able to swim in a relatively straight line. Now I can’t to save my life. My left side is weaker than my right, so I often swim in circles and sometimes, when I think I catch myself doing this, I overcompensate. My husband finds it pretty challenging to keep an eye on me while swimming. I still really hope I can find a way to go swimming regularly.

2. Horseback riding. I went horseback riding a handful of times when on holiday as a child. We just did steps on a pony with my parents each walking beside my sister and me. At one point, I asked my mother whether I could get riding lessons, but she said it was too expensive as I’d have to get a private instructor.

I forgot about the whole thing until 2012, when I was in the process of finding suitable day activities while in the mental institution. I had heard of an adaptive riding school and wanted to know more. Unfortunately, they catered mostly to those who are just autistic or learning disabled, so they didn’t feel they could safely get me riding classes. Instead, I was allowed to brush the horses under supervision.

Fast forward another several years and I heard of my current riding school through my mother-in-law. I love it. Usually, we step around for about twenty minutes and then trot for a few rounds. I can’t say this is truly active exercise, though my Fitbit does recognize it as such.

3. Walking. I just love going for walks, although I prefer staying on the pavement rather than walking in nature. With my blindness and mild mobility impairment, walking on uneven ground is just too hard. I like to go on at least one walk a day, usually at day activities.

4. Cycling. I own a tandem bike that I got through disability services back in 1999. It’s in terrible condition though, so we’ll either have to throw it out (as it takes up a lot of space) or get it repaired. I didn’t usually like tandem bike rides and am still not too sure. Last year at day activities though, I discovered the side-by-side bike. I love that one!

5. Going to the gym. I don’t currently have a gym membership, as I won’t be able to afford transportation to the nearest gym. However, I love most gym equipment. I specifically like the treadmill, rowing machine and elliptical. At home, we have an elliptical in my office, which I go on a few times a week.

What are your favorite ways of staying active?

#WeekendCoffeeShare for June 3, 2018

Welcome to this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. I’m a little late this week, as yesterday my husband and I spent most of the day at my in-laws and I didn’t have my computer or external keyboard for my phone with me, so I could barely type. So grab a cup of your favorite drink and sit with me as I write about this week. I’ll have a cup of green tea instead of coffee even though it isn’t terribly late here yet.

On Saturday last week, I finally went onto the scale again. I hadn’t weighed myself in a few weeks. As I feared, I had gained weight, but even more than I expected. I’d gained 2kg. I was so angry with myself. I mean, yes, we’d eaten pizza three evenings that week, but that couldn’t possibly explain such a huge weight gain. My husband tried to reassure me, saying I was probably constipated. This may be so, as the next day I’d gained another 800 grams. Tomorrow marks one year since the start of my weight loss journey and I’m afraid I will not reach my goal of having a BMI under 30. Then again, last January, I did reach this goal already and stayed at that weight all through early May.

On Sunday evening, the Center for Consultation and Expertise (CCE) coordinator E-mailed me and my support coordinator. As we’d had the meeting with her on the 15th of May, she’d planned on discussing my case on the following Monday but hadn’t realized this was a bank holiday. She had eventually discussed me with her colleague and had decided to ask a consultant to focus assessment on my needs and wishes rather than on a diagnosis. On Tuesday, she E-mailed us again to let us know she’d found a suitable consultant and we’d be contacted again to set an appointment for a first meeting.

My support coordinator had also inquired about getting long-term care funding for me. Whether this is possible, depends on whether my blindness is the primary reason for my care or my mental health or autism. If it’s blindness, I may get long-term care funding, whereas if it’s autism or mental illness, I definitely won’t. Long-term care funding would enable me to move to supported housing for the disabled or get more support while living with my husband.

On Thursday, I had my first session of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) with my new nurse practitioner. DBT was originally developed for treating people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It’s usually group therapy. Though I do have BPD traits, I’m also autistic, which means that group therapy would be hard for me. I therefore do the DBT individually. I had already started DBT with my community psychiatric nurse, who left recently. My nurse practitioner, who took over from her, proposed to start at the beginning of the therapy manual again. We only managed to work through the first page, which details the goals of DBT. There are four skills domains on which I’ll work: mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance.

I also realized as I was talking to my nurse practtitioner how angry I still am at the psychologist from the institution who kicked me out almost with no after care last year. My nurse practitioner did the intake interview for this team with me last year and mentioned how he and the psychiatrist got a totally different impression of me than said psychologist had painted. The psychologist had diagnosed me with dependent personality disorder for claiming care I supposedly didn’t need. She removed my autism diagnosis. The nurse practitioner and psychiatrist saw pretty soon that I’m not dependent at all. Yes, I need a lot of support, but that’s due to my disabilities (including autism), not low self-esteem. In fact, I just realized how this psychologist had in fact broken my self-determination. I don’t feel safe to ask for help much now and am a lot more passive than I was when I had this dependency diagnosis. My nurse practitioner validated my feelings, in fact saying that the reason for the CCE involvement is in part the poor after care this psychologist had arranged for.

On Friday, I went adaptive horseback riding again. Angie, my horse, was scared of a car passing by and attempted to go on the run while I sat on her back. This was terrifying. Thankfully, I managed to keep seated on her back. She was quickly calmed down again, but I was shocked for a bit aftwards. So was the girl who held the horse. Thanfkully, the instructor always walks beside my horse because of my blindness, so the girl wasn’t on her own. I still had fun horseback riding.

I’ve yet to think of what I want for my birthday at the end of the month. I will have to look at sensory toy shops for inspiration. I’m also thinking of starting up the soap making craft again, so maybe I’ll ask for supplies for that.

What have you all been up to this past week?

#WeekendCoffeeShare for May 26, 2018

Today, I’m linking up with Ali’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. The idea behind #WeekendCoffeeShare is to catch up on how your week has been. It’s a good way to share how you’ve been doing without having to devote a separate blog post to everything you’re up to. So sit back and grab a cup of your favorite drink (it’s rather late for coffee here).

The week started off rather relaxed with Monday being a holiday because of it being the day after Pentecost. That being said, I don’t really like days off, as I tend to sleep away the day anyway and feel bored when I’m awake. I’d have rather gone to day activities.

When I came to day activities again on Tuesday, I was a little anxious. There’s a family day at the center next week. Originally, my mother-in-law would be attending, but given the fact that I’m being kicked out of this center anyway, I feel it’d be useless. Besides, I have an appointment with my psychiatric nurse practitioner for dialectical behavior therapy that afternoon. I just told a white lie by omission and said my appointment was the reason I and my mother-in-law won’t be there.

On Wednesday, I had an okay day. My home support coordinator came by. She’d visit me on Thursday too, as my regular home support worker couldn’t come. I may get another support worker in her place, as she has a rather heavy workload. My mother-in-law also took me on some errands.

I found out on Thursday that things might not be as hopeless on the day activities front as I thought them to be. My support coordinator had contacted a day activities farm about 25km from my house. Farming isn’t my ideal sort of day activities, but I’m willing to go take a look there. The coordinator for that place had referred her to another person for placement inquiries. This placement person said they have three other day activities places in that area, all roughly 20-25km from my home. This is quite a bit farther off than the 15km to my current day activities (which is already relatively far), so transportation may be an issue. However, I’m sure my support coordinator will find a solution to this. I’ll be going to visit all four places on June 11. There is the farm, which was said to be good for those seeking experience-based activities too, so you’re not necessarily required to work hard. Then there’s an industrial place (but the placement person said not to worry about pressure), an artsy place with a shop and a day center similar to the one I attend now.

I am feeling slightly optimistic about one of these places possibly being a good fit for me. I actually am thinking of mentioning my experience with soap and skin care product making in hopes that I can get the support to pick up that hobby again, either at the artsy place or the day center.

Yesterday I went to the adaptive riding school for horseback riding. Everyone in my class was more noisy than usual and I experienced a bit of overload. Nonetheless, I enjoyed riding my current horse, Angie.

Today, my husband and I went to my in-laws to spend the afternoon and part of the evening. My in-laws have a pretty large house in the countryside. They have horses there. I helped brush one of my mother-in-law’s horses, Remco. We also ate homemade pizza. One half of each of our pizzas had a cauliflower crust. I actually liked it better than the regular crust.

What have you been up to this past week?