June 2020 Caregiver Month! Part 2

How many times have I been doing poorly and my angel in the form of my daughter came to my aid? Countless really! She has upheld my recovery in so many ways, too many to share.The nights she would make time for me from her busy social and work life to take care of mom once again…

These are the ways she has helped me so much-

Listening without judgement 

Gently reminded me of reality when needed

Never challenged my delusions 

Accepted my decision to struggle to work again despite a poor track record and being excited for me when I got my dream job but was then there for me when stress took me out again. 

And then the most painful acceptance of her help in 2018 when I became suicidal and she was in living in Colorado and had just earned her degree. I was curled up in the fetal position on the hotel bed with my medicine close that I planned to take to end the pain and my life but I reached out to her and she told me she was coming home that night. Crying I was like nooooo. I did not want to interrupt her life again. 
But she came. She also called my youngest son to give me a ride to the hospital. God bless them both!!!

She moved home soon after and as I grew stronger she allowed me to flourish and now I am there for her as she is going through her own tough time…

Pax

Victoria 

Send you my love…

Another Jason Mraz song lyric stuck in my head.

But I do send you all my love! Whatever your diagnosis, past, color etc…

We are all children of God! Every life is precious to God and me…

Welcome to my blog which dates back to 2013. Diagnosed in 2008 with Schizophrenia and later fine tuned to Schizoaffective Disorder same year. Earned my Bachelors in Sociology in 2010 and Masters in Psychology 2012. Worked in the mental health field for four years until stress took me out and I have been on permament disability since 2015.

I wrote a May 2020 series on coping skills unlimited which is my greatest work to date as it has all come true.

I used to sit all day since going on disability. All day. But being self quarantined has caused me to do all the wonderful things I have dreamed of doing now that i have the time and energy. And then writing about it in May 2020 has helped exponentially.

I have had to take a break from blogging for a bit. May kind of wiped me out but feeling satisfied with what I got done. With all that has been going on in the world and my heart, I have been more pensive than usual…

Mental health or brain health as I prefer to call it a brain disorder, does not go away when things happen. It can exacerbate it or if one is in touch with triggers and patterns in our lives, we can battle it and win. And on the days that I think it is winning, I can look at my day and say to myself, “you did your best with what you had for the day”.

My energy level has gone back down this week despite my many protests. I need to be ok not doing much too! The reward system worked well today and I actually had energy to blog. My thoughts are all over tonight…

Julia~my dearest friend who lost her husband over a month ago. Been holding a lot of space for her since he passed. Thank you if you have any prayers for her as she is in need of a miracle. I got to hang out at her house the other night and after supper we planted some plants. It was a warm evening and it was a perfect night. I don’t believe in coincidences and I know God wanted me to be with her that night because my old Mercedes broke down right as I turned down her road. made it to her house on a hill and there I stayed all evening. I drove my car all day with no problems but being stranded there was so perfect!

Covid is still greatly affecting me. Been staying at home because of my high risk daughter, which really agrees with me (the staying at home). When I do go out depending on which essential trip I have to make I am often anxious and scared of people not wearing masks. So much has changed in my life because of Covid. Not ready to write about it at least not tonight.

Protests- wish my son could go. he wants to but is honoring his sister’s health and her being high risk. This movement, oh how I pray it changes lives. It already has but we need more so that George Floyd and many black people did not die in vain…

Been using my coping skills as I can but with low energy hard to do my faves, yoga, gardening and tidying, but been keeping up with the dishes (my nemesis) and the house and watering. Plus self care, pet care, bills, medical help (have 5 current afflictions), and journaling about my dad and reading more of Dave Markowitz’s books that have changed my life along with spiritual reading. Actually took a spiritual retreat Sunday all day which included Mass on line, full rosary and rest.

So I guess I am good…hope you all are too:)

pax

Victoria

p.s. tomorrow more on June 2020 caregivers month and will hopefully have my daughter as a guest blogger about her experience on how she has navigated as my main caregiver since age 14! So glad I don’t try to work anymore and that i am doing so well…

June 2020 Series…letter to a caregiver~

Dear (caregiver),

Thank you for being there for me all these years, for always knowing what to say to make things ok, for never making me feel less than…

Thank you for giving up your own needs and wants to watch over me.

Thank you for being strong and gentle when needed when I was falling apart, which was often.

Thank you for not giving up on me ever…

After each and every hospitalization, you were the one I remember when I got home, with a huge smile, clean house and so much positive energy…

Sorry if it was draining for you. Sorry you had to miss out on part of your busy life to be there for me but deep down I believe with all my heart you would do it again.

I love you and thank you with all my heart, all that i am. Because I know that I would not be doing as well as I am now without all your care, love and unconditional support…

God bless and return many favors to you,

Me

Dream big they say…

But for me this gets me in trouble with thoughts of grandeur, so I have decided to start small with the work on all of my life, deep within me, all my relationships with family, friends and strangers and exterior things, home, and gardens.

Today is a rest day for me so it is hard to just do nothing, which is a great sign for me that this will continue, that of being productive.

Had a vision during the healing circle on abandonment issues of smoke going up. I had my eyes closed and don’t believe it was a hallucination but rather a result of many childhood abandonment happenings. My take and that of Dave Markowitz who agreed that “some healing occurred”.

Today I have been sappy and teary plus malaise. The healing circle was on Friday. Yesterday was a busy day but good. I think I took on some of the negative energy in the world right now. So I did the keyhole exercise V2.0 and released what wasn’t mine to keep and kept what was meant for me.

I have been doing a lot of energy work lately, starting on accident at my friend’s home, which is like a retreat. I did a deep sun salutation and received a sign from above…my friend saw it too, a hawk first and then we saw its baby circling above above right after my sun salutation…

I lay hands on my friend that day and she recovered quickly from an ankle injury…she felt the warm energy transcend from my hands to her ankle…

It’s happened before with other people but it’s been a while as I don’t always remember I have this gift. I don’t believe it is a delusion. Just a healer at heart, with words and hands.

Have a great Pentecost Sunday, In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen…

pax

Victoria

May 2020 Series Finale…Self-care: physical and brain health~

It is a good day to complete this series of May 2020. In writing about my coping skills, I have been busy practicing them as I write. I have more motivation than ever to continue to improve on my daily routine, taking care of my spiritual, physical and brain health.

This whole series has been pretty much about self-care but there are a few areas left that I have not touched on and I am sure there will be more to come but I do hope some of you have benefited to at least a small degree of shift in the right direction for you. I still get stuck sometimes but am excited about the journey.

From being passively suicidal in 2018 till now my life has shifted dramatically. Part of the pressure is from above albeit gentle, but the real driving force behind my desire to be a more productive person has come from my husband. He is very pleased this month!

The benefits of self-care~

Physical:

Healthy eating is important because without food you won’t have energy for anything.  I guess any kind of eating in moderation is good but make sure to get plenty of protein and fiber.  I find if I am hungry I cannot focus so I eat every 2-3 hours mostly with an occasional large meal followed by fasting.  That is just what works for me.

I eat pretty much the same foods every day following WW blue plan and find myself full and satisfied and have lost 30 of 70 pounds I gained because of Risperdal.  Nonfat Greek plain yogurt with stevia and vanilla extract, eggs, beans (love chili), cheese (small amounts), tomato soup, beef, chicken and fruits and veggies are my main foods. 

Find what works for you but you may find that frequent meals throughout the day might help with energy levels and brain function.

Exercise!  Move your body each day possible and every day is possible!  It often improves ones mood, is good for the brain and will help us all to be in better shape.  A short or long walk, an arm workout, yoga, gardening, dancing, playing with kids or pets, cleaning, the list is endless.  Find what you like and then set it in your schedule and cross it off when you are done if that helps. 

I wear a Fitbit which helps track my steps and sleep. Daily, I aim for 5,000 steps and 7-8 hours of sleep.  Some days I will just lay on my yoga mat with a pillow and lay there a while in corpse pose and then do some simple stretching with my arms (I use 3 pound weights), and legs; I mix yoga with stretching and if I’m tired I just lay there.  I don’t judge how much exercise I get.  I just prefer to be active. 

Water drink it!  I have large Starbucks water cup next to me throughout the day and keep refilling it with ice cold water which is just how I like it.  You can tell from the color of your pee if you are getting enough, should be a pale yellow.

Me time!  Take some throughout the day!  Do something you enjoy as a reward.  Listen to your favorite music, take a bath with candles and lavender or ??? whatever is fun for you save it till you have completed your list however small or big, or better yet, do something fun or relaxing every time you complete a task.  Call a friend, pet your dog or cat extra and spoil them just because, sip some tea, google ideas for activities you might enjoy. 

The internet is awesome for anything you may be interested in to take things to the next level, start something new or getting ideas.  I’m still waiting for my peacock paint by numbers to come in the mail and I just started learning to play guitar with my adult son.  Life should be enjoyed so do the hard things first and then relax into your entertainment. 

Brain health:

Find a psychiatrist and therapist you can trust, keep looking if you don’t already have one. This is imperative.

Write down your appointments in two places if needed.  I use my phone and day planner and also get a reminder from them.  Especially now with tele-health being the only option where I live, it’s easy to forget so make sure you have some way of reminding yourself. 

Take your meds even if you feel well; the meds are why you feel well. If you are still hearing voices and having positive symptoms, try a different medicine. CureSZ founder (cure Schizophrenia) and my personal friend- Bethany Yeiser writes about her success with Clozapine for resistant Schizophrenia. CureSZ is also a great resource for anybody with Schizophrenia. It has treatment checklists plus more and you can sign up for their newsletter. Also if anyone reading this has a success story in recovery from Schizophrenia, contact Bethany Yeiser and she may feature your story in one of CureSZ newsletters!

Lastly, check in with your psychiatrist and loved ones if you need help with taking your meds or getting back on them.  I take mine at the same time every day so that helps.  I also use a pill organizer so I can tell I have taken them.  Whatever works best for you but for me just talking about it with my psychiatrist and brainstorming together has helped me find the right medication cocktail that works for me and helped me to develop a good routine so I don’t need anyone to remind me. I highly recommend supplements, too, to support your brain health as I wrote about here.

Conclusion:

I am learning to listen to my body, to rest when I am tired, to eat when I am hungry, to drink water, to work around my home and gardens when I can and to take care of myself first and then I can take care of others. 

It’s all about balance I am finding. I am also learning to be gentle with myself if I have a hard day and to not judge anything as bad or good.  It is what it is.  If I’m busy, I’m happier (written with a sigh) and if I don’t get much done one day or more, then I needed to rest.  No judgement.  Days come and they go, and tomorrow isn’t promised, so I will do the best I can today to take care of me.  I am not afraid to ask for help but am grateful that lately I haven’t needed as much as prior to this pandemic.  God speed…

Dedication~

Today is the feast of the Visitation of Mary and May is the month of Mary.  So in proper honor and respect, with all glory to God, I dedicate this May 2020 series to Mary, Queen of Heaven!  Always ready to lovingly take our prayers to Jesus. 

Stay tuned for June 2020 series, Caregiver support!

I can be reached at my private email at: victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com for any comments or questions. Please feel free to share this series with others! To access all the topics in this series, click here- May 2020 Series.

Pax

Victoria

May series cont… connecting with others~

Connecting with others is a hard topic for me because I don’t always feel like it but I do every day to different degrees. I like my alone time and need it throughout the day.

But connecting with others is important because being isolated is not good. Simple texts, a phone call to my mom and dad, a socially distanced visit, therapist (weekly) and psychiatrist (monthly) are all a part of my life. I know I need to check in for me, and for others, especially right now during this pandemic.

Some of us have family, spouses, children and the like and some of us are alone. But please know you don’t have to be alone on this journey. There are tons of ways to connect with others; I am fortunate in many ways but my way isn’t perfect but I have learned to be adaptable and that really helps.

First thing in the morning I check in with God, thanking Him for another day of life and praying for my loved ones, all my readers and those who have no one to pray for them.

After some coffee I text a few people to check in, my daughter is at the top of my list but she works from home in her room, so I send her a good morning text every day I can. She likes it and it feels good to get her text back as simple as good morning can be. She is my soul and cornerstone and even when she is struggling, she makes time for me.

I also do connect on social media sparingly. I don’t get a lot of satisfaction with that but for some that may be a huge part of your life. If it is that’s great if it works for you and have surrounded yourself online with positive people and energy. Examining our usage of social media can be beneficial. Does it drain you or does it uplift you or leave you ambivalent? Worth thinking about…

Churches are great places to connect with others. Sports, hobbies and AA or any 12 step group can also provide much needed connection…

I hope you connect with at least someone and I mean that! You can always email me at victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com and I respond to all emails and it is a private email so it’s very safe.

I found a new way to connect this week. I went to a virtual healing circle for “Healing for Empaths & Highly Sensitive Persons”. No belief in God is needed to belong and it’s by donation if you can. It was put on by Dave Markowitz, the author of the book that recently changed my life. It was a wonderful experience. To learn more about his books, free consultation and healing circles click here and if you’re interested in the healing circles and want more information just email me.

This is just one new way I connected this week. The important thing is that I challenged myself and it paid off!

I have decided to do a theme with topics every month I feel inspired. June will be Caregiver month in honor of my daughter’s birthday in June, who has been my main caregiver since she was 13; although, I don’t need her as much anymore!

Tomorrow I will be posting my final blog of the May 2020 series, Self-care: Spiritual, physical and mental.

Pax

Victoria

Coping skills are sometimes slow to work…

So yeah, I have been doing great but when I have to go out it really stresses me out and takes me a little while to recover…

Puts me in a place of not wanting to do anything. But the busier I am the better I feel so going to drink more coffee and hope I can get back in the groove.

I have really organized this site and the May 2020 series. I still have self care-healthy eating-connecting with others-brain health and maybe journaling…

I have put some of the past blogs to a link on this page. I will be doing more later and hope to have it all ready by May 31, 2020.

May is the month of Mary. So I dedicate this whole series to her. She is our mother, advocate and the Queen of Heaven! Thank you Mary for bringing my many prayers before Jesus, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Pax

Victoria

May series cont… Mindfulness~

The state of being present in the moment at whatever one is doing…

So many examples and to me it is a way of life these days. I take my time with everything. Rushing is no longer a part of my days.

Tonight it was a small bowl of Rockie Road ice cream with milk. I tasted the texture of the nuts, marshmellows, and chocolate ice cream with each bite and used a small spoon to make it last longer. The chocolate ice cream melted into the milk which I sipped with the small spoon…

I enjoyed it very much and I also enjoyed cleaning up my kitchen this evening after cooking a healthy meal. Taking my time to wipe down every counter space and appliance after doing the dishes and feeling the hot water with soap on my hands, a little bit burning but I like it that way because I am sanitizing my dishes. don’t get me wrong, I have a dishwasher which I use but still like using hot water on the dishes I wash by hand.

Taking a drink of ice cold water and holding it in my mouth for a bit feeling the cold sensation…

Doing yoga tonight but first taking my time to wipe down my mat and just lying there on my back, feeling connected to Mother Earth and God. Feeling every pose. Resting in between…challenging myself a little to lift weights while on my back. Sitting in lotus position, releasing energy and keeping what is mine…

Soaking my feet in warm water and epsom salt (toes still recovering). Feeling the injured parts of my toes underwater where it is safe to do so. Glad they are finally showing improvement. Taking my time putting on the bandaids being careful to dry my toes well and massaging my feet with scented lotion, carefully putting on my socks and sandals and stretching my feet…

All of this done with and without music.

This to me is mindfulness. Living in the moment, not the past, not the future but the now and being excited about the next part of my day albeit hard…

Pax

Victoria

May series cont… the benefits of supplements~

Daily supplements

May is coming to a close in a few days… crunching to get all my topics in.  Not sure why this needs to be done in May 2020 but it is a goal.

Supplements are not my favorite topic but I have seen dramatic results with these 3 products these past years or so.  This is in addition to (not a replacement for) my anti-psychotics, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and Vitamin D, which I try to get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine every day I can.

I will list them in order of usage and how they have helped me.

The first one is GOTERPY which is a full spectrum hemp oil combined with their natural terpene blend and precise combination of CBD infused into MCT oil.  I will quote from their printout what full spectrum hemp oil is: Unlike isolated or synthetic cannabinoids, full spectrum hemp oil refers to pure hemp oil that features all the same cannabinoids present in the original hemp plant.  Providing an all –natural cbd hemp oil supplement that allows the cannabinoids to work together in what is called the entourage effect. 

I have used it for a couple of years now and have started selling it too.  It has greatly reduced my remaining schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder negative symptoms and delusions.  It helps me to feel calm and sleep better.  I take 2-3 droppers a day, which is why I started selling it to get the distributor price.  I don’t need the money so will sell for $25 a bottle  of Goterpy, 250 mg, 15ml, plus shipping $8 in US.  At this time will not ship internationally unless it is a large order (5 or more bottles).  Can also get 500 mg or 1000, plus salves are also available, which I also use for muscle soreness and pain, which is also magical stuff.  Learn more at GOTERPY.ECWID.COM for a full list of prices and products offered.

 I only sell the 250 mg so if you are interested in the higher mg you can buy directly from the above website, which oddly my cousin runs.  She’s awesome and I can never thank her enough for introducing me to this product.  If I miss a dose I can feel it but I am very sensitive so that’s just me.  Now that I have a good schedule, I never miss a dose and the midday dose is optional depending on my stress level for the day.

Other potential benefits of CBD are: reduce blood sugar levels, inhibits cancer cell growth, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, suppresses muscle spasms, useful for soothing and massage and helps with restorative sleep.  Hope some of you check it out!

Next, is sublingual B Complex supplement with B12.  I have been taking this for a year or so now and it has greatly increased my motivation and energy levels!  Available at Walmart for $4 lasting about two months.  I have missed a dose when busy and had no energy that day despite lots of coffee.  Put liquid under tongue for 30 seconds and then I drink water.  Love this energy giver!

Lastly, I started taking Shaklee+ Mind, Mental Acuity Plus for memory, focus and mental clarity.  I have been taking this for 3-4 months and the difference in my memory and focus is amazing.  I am more clear- minded and able to focus on things that matter to me and the rest of it that I have to do it helps me to do it quicker because I am so focused.  This is also a life changer!  It’s $50 for 90 tablets and I have been taking one a day but just read you’re supposed to take 3 a day.  I’m sticking with one because it is working for me and who doesn’t love to save money? 

Well I can’t say enough how much these 3 products have changed my post diagnosis life.  Hope it helps some of you too! For ordering Goterpy from me email me at victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com I accept Venmo and Paypal only.

Pax

Victoria

May series cont…the benefits of having a daily routine~

I first wrote out my daily schedule but then I thought that would be too specific.  We are all different and have different interests, needs and pleasures.  The key is to finding out your productive hours and taking advantage of them.  It’s that simple for me, that and copious amounts of coffee balanced with tons of water.

The trick is to get into a good routine and right now with the Corona virus pandemic happening, it is helpful to have some good habits forming for now and in the future in our new normal.  Although I do not follow an hourly schedule, I try to get certain things done in the same order every day so I don’t forget anything.

These are my daily musts:

I wake between 8 and 9am, meds, morning prayer and readings, coffee, healthy meals, supplements, brush teeth, feed my pups, make the beds, keep up with dishes, and connect with friends and family throughout the day.

I dream to do yoga in the mornings but it is hard for me to do anything but sit and relax into the day due to the medicine I take at night, Risperidone/Risperdal

By noon I am finally waking up and try to get out to the garden to water or check on plants.

I make a lot of lists with goals for the day and week and if it doesn’t happen the day I plan it, I try to get it done the next days.  I love crossing things off my lists.

I somewhat plan my day the night before so I will check what phone calls I might need to make or bill to pay (I am in charge of the finances which is scary but I’m doing better), and if it is a gardening day, decide depending on the weather what time it will be nice out to garden.  I sometimes run an errand or two a few days a week, emails to check/answer and texting family and friends throughout the day.

Volunteer work is important to me and sometimes I provide help to people in my city when I can.  I don’t do a lot but do moderate a help group on Facebook so I am on there throughout the day, also enjoying friends and family’s pics and posts.    The last month I have been collecting masks around the county for a local non-profit’s volunteers and its elderly clientele.  Have collected 100 donated masks to date but need 700 more so I need to get back to it. 

I also make time for spiritual reading and writing and always pray at least a couple of decades of the rosary. 

Having fun is so overrated but yes I do make time for fun.  For me my favorite thing to do is go on a walk with my adult daughter or relax in the garden with her or the pups or both.  Sometimes I dance with my pups in the kitchen and a game of fetch brings much joy to them as well.  Tidying is fun and challenging plus very rewarding.  I love Netflix (currently obsessed with Criminal Minds) and watch one to two shows a day while I eat my meals.  TV is boring to me (don’t even know how the TV works, too many remotes) but I love a good movie usually a romantic comedy.

Every day is different according to my energy level and the weather.  Today was hot so didn’t get much done and still recovering from my toes’ procedure.  It’s important to know that not every day will be super productive but ensuring the basics are done sets the right tone for what may be a great day, or not.  And crossing jobs done off my lists feels very satisfying.

I have not always had a lot of energy or motivation but using the reward system helps me to get stuff done.  I also take Vitamin B sublingual every day in the morning which has definitely increased my energy levels.  You can get it for $4 at Walmart!  And one bottle lasts a while.  You have to hold it under your tongue for 30 seconds and then I drink lots of water because I don’t like the taste.

I will be writing tomorrow about my supplements.

Have a good night everyone!

Pax

Victoria