ADMIN: 2018 Changes Part 1

Introduction

Back at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, I mentioned a couple times that some changes were coming to the website and blog.  I wanted (still do) to update and add more quality resources and make sure that the content stayed high quality and relevant to the original intentions and keeping this a safe, anonymous, FREE resource.

Why?

There are new and different priorities taking over right now.  Some of my explorations require a bigger time investment and a new space to write/share thoughts.  Others are or will be big life changes that also require dedicated, long term focus.

Since I want to do all of that and maintain this website and blog, compromises and changes have to take place.

Website/Blog Changes

  • Untangled Connections is moving to a paid account by June 2018
    • The domain name and/or URL might change (I’m still trying to understand this), but the Web site Name and accessibility WILL NOT CHANGE
    • I will write an ADMIN Post announcing the changes 1-2 weeks before they take place
  • At some point, probably the next holiday or vacation, I’ll be collating all of the Resource posts and putting the links on the Resources page
  • The Search and Menu functions will change to become more user-friendly
    • This might require changes to the theme, but I will know more after making the upgrade

Schedule Changes

  • Posts about me, my experiences with resources, reviews, etc. will take place 1x a week – probably on Sundays
  • Posts about topics and ideas from the Internet or other bloggers will be shared as I find them – could be none one week or up to 4 another week
    • These posts may or may not have comments from me, but the links will be available in the body of the post
  • You might or might not also find links to videos, websites, and Podcasts instead of links to blogs, articles, and organizations

Life Changes

  • I’m implementing phase 1 of the career change plan with the goal of complete changes by 2020
  • I’ve finally saved up and bought the supplies to work on aromatherapy certification lessons (blending, case studies, research paper, etc.), so will be spending a lot of time on that.
    • The new blog mentioned above is part of these lessons.  It will chronicle my explorations in class and with personal use to help maintain emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness
    • **REMINDER** I am not a practicing medical professional and probably won’t be until the agoraphobia becomes less intense, so anything on there will be informational only
  • My home still needs a lot of work – organizing and decorating – to make it feel safe and comfortable and easy to clean no matter my emotional state
    • Requires thoughtful purchasing of storage solutions, time to organize said solutions, and space to cope with any triggers all that brings up
    • Requires creating and implementing new house chore routines to address trigger issues like laundry, food shopping, cooking, and other tasks that require leaving the apartment
    • Requires creating a safe space in my apartment where I can meditate, do crafting, and go for self soothing comfort

So, yes this is a lot.  Not everything will happen this year.  I am going slow, turtle slow.  And my social media usage is taking a big hit because of that.  But there is progress in every aspect of these big changes.

And each small bit of progress is a success.

Whatever you’re doing, please go slow and make time to celebrate your progress too.

Thanks for reading

Survival Mode: When everything just feels wrong

Yesterday was the first day all week that I left my apartment and the building.

Sometimes life is too overwhelming.  Thoughts stick in my head; refuse to leave.  Everything tastes funny.  My body feels off, but I”m not sure how or why.  My mind is foggy.  So tired, yet unable to sleep.  Everything feels wrong.

But then, it is March.  My mind tells me I”m supposed to feel sick and lethargic.  My body is trying to recapture those sensations through body memories.  Runny nose, allergies, blocked sinuses, colds, infections, and a swollen face are my spring norm.

Instead, the opposite is happening.  The herbs are working; all of the clogged up spaces around my eyes, nose, ears, and jaw are opening up.  Sure, it feels like a major head cold.  The sensations of stuff moving inside surprise and distract me sometimes, but they don’t hurt like in the past.

For the first time since childhood (maybe), the red, puffy, stuffy, tender places around my nose and cheeks are normal colored, smooth, and comfortable to touch.  As those areas drain and heal, so do other parts of my body – including the muscles that usually tighten and prevent me from being active.

Why does that feel so wrong?

something-wrong-eagle
From Google search of “Feels Wrong” images

Probably because I shouldn’t be feeling this healthy, happy, and good, not according to the rules the monsters drummed into my head.  I’m supposed to feel miserable and sick.  To gross out my peers and teachers with my constantly runny, dripping nose and sneezing.  To have to stay inside because of my colds.

How did I get that way?  Still can’t remember.  But the dreams share fragments of stories.

Between this and what I learned among family, my mind has been blown.  Literally.

Survival Mode

Next week, I go back to therapy and counseling.  IT can’t get here soon enough.

Until then, I’m coping as best as possible with the conflicting feelings and sensations inside me.

875d5f0d12bcdb70aaf1913a4fceb9c4

If you’ve read past posts, you’ve seen this quote before.  But it’s a good reminder for me right now.

Do as much as I can.  Remember to feel everything and let go of what doesn’t belong.  Keep on moving; there is an end even if I can’t see it.  Finally, backlash is OKAY; it mean’s I’m doing something right.  I survived backlash before.  I’ll survive it again.

Thanks for reading.

Family: Connecting Safely

This weekend I’m flying back to visit family

It’s an unexpected trip, and one I am not too excited about.  With everything that’s happened, I really need some down time.  But I also need to be mindful of the work vacation/sick day policy.  This year, my goal is to stay within the acceptable limits of time off instead of going over by accident or necessity – aka big move or panic attacks or triggers or unexpected family stuff.

Family trees
This was taken back in grad school; branches and leaves remind me of my family connections

My grandma had bad accident late in January, and I couldn’t visit then because of the moving situation.  She is not getting any younger and doing well with recovery/rehab, but I still feel like visiting sooner instead of later is important.  More important than taking a vacation or personal down time to recover from recent experiences.

At the same time, I also need to take care of myself.

My internal family system - sort of
How I see myself…still alive and thriving as I connect my inside and outside worlds

Hence the hotel.  And spending a few days working and connecting with positive people in my network.  I hope it balances out visiting people on my mother’s side of the family too.  And potentially running into my father, brother, mother, etc.

My Self Care Kit goes a little like this:

For flying

  • Warm comfortable outfit
  • Aromatherapy inhalers my friend made me
  • Wireless noise-cancelling headphones + charger/cord
  • E-books/music saved on my phone + phone charger/cord
  • External Battery for electronic devices (fully charged) + charger/cord
  • 1 carry on suitcase + 1 personal bag/backpack
  • Empty water bottle; chocolate/snacks
  • Crystals for grounding, serenity, protection, and mental clarity

For Family

  • Crystals for grounding, protection, courage, and mental clarity
  • Warm, comfortable clothes and accessories in my favorite colors
  • Personal computer with cord for distractions or grounding
  • Chocolate and other grounding stuff
  • Extra warm layers in my backpack in case the house is cold

For Being Where I Grew Up

  • Restaurants with reasonably priced comfort food
  • Room service for times I don’t want to leave the hotel
  • A plan for getting around town – aka public transit card, GPS, and rideshare apps
  • A plan for getting to and from hotel, airport, and work with minimal anxiety
  • Soothing kit that fits in my purse for environmental triggers
  • Fully charged phone with hotline and support phone numbers in case of emergency

And an ESCAPE Plan for everything else.

Things for ME to remember:

  • CBT will help me stay grounded in the present
  • DBT is my best, most effective communication tool
  • No matter what, I am an adult now and can leave ANY time I want
  • Safety first always
  • Travel light, but stay warm
  • Connecting flights are scary, but doable without checked luggage
  • Cramped, middle airplane seats are scarier, but necessary for my budget (sigh)
Hope
A wish that my family will be repaired someday…like the branches of these trees

Wish me luck!  Next post will be coming from a hotel and/or a family member’s house.

Thanks for reading!

Anniversaries: A Wish for Everyone to Stay Health & Safe this weekend

Hello,

This weekend is a holiday weekend in the USA.  That means we have a 3 day weekend to celebrate Labor Day.

Not sure about any of you but most major holidays bring about some anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, and so on.  Triggers are everywhere, and a lot of places don’t feel safe.  I worry about what could or will happen if I interact with people when I feel this way.

Staying home feels right unless there is something I HAVE TO do that requires leaving.  Delivery works best too since it helps me meet my self care needs without causing anxiety or panic attacks.

Depression is something that comes and goes in waves.  Last month, it took over for quite a few weeks as I struggled to process so many changes and cope with flashbacks.  Funny how (for me at least) working through anger and shame eases the feelings of depression in my mind/body/spirit.

At times like this (read almost any anniversary), Self Care and Self Soothing are super important to maintain, increase, start again, continue, or follow up on – depends on where you are in the moment – so that the symptoms and scary stuff don’t take over as easily.

So I wish you all a safe, healthy, relaxing weekend full of sleep/rest, self care, and positive energy.

xx AlterXpressions

p.s. Yes there is a post going up tomorrow.  This is a bonus for all of us 🙂

Coping Strategy: Reviewing my toolbox

A quick post tonight.  Lots going on and not much to share at the moment – still processing.

Last week, I went back to school for the first time in over 10 years.  It’s part of my graduate school application to help me and the admissions board decide if I should be accepted into the program this fall.

I have 5 more classes to sit in on over the next two weeks.  During the first class, I stayed mostly clearheaded and did not get overwhelmed.  But I did react to the loud noise/talking when students finished their work early and waited for the rest to finish.  Also, I discovered that I have to move around in my seat, sitting still in a classroom made my body hurt.  Finally, I have to be wary of my hyper-vigilance and try to relax instead.

The day after I sat in on a class, I experienced some confusion during reflection time.  The confusion led to anxiety because I wasn’t sure I had the coping tools available to help with these “new” experiences.  A call to the hotline and a conversation with the counselor helped me realize I had plenty of applicable coping strategies and techniques in my toolbox.  I just had to figure out which ones worked or didn’t work and how to apply them in this new setting.

My list so far:

  • acupressure for pain management
  • water or a drink for grounding
  • bracelet to play with
  • deep breathing or “tree” exercise in my chair
  • Chocolate or something similar for taste grounding
  • magic bag??
  • extra battery/charger for my phone

What is on your list?

hanks for reading