Tag: anxiety

I Went to an Art Class and Learned to Paint a Valentine’s Puppy

I Went to an Art Class and Learned to Paint a Valentine’s Puppy

I felt intimidated about getting into the art world, but, as the instructor for this class said, “You can’t take a picture of a puppy with a tilted head too seriously.” This acrylic class made the perfect introduction for me because of that. It took place at Pinot’s Palette. Here’s a link to their list of locations, if you’d like to try a class.

I learned the wet-on-wet painting technique, of painting with another color over one that hasn’t dried yet. We painted the hearts white while the red paint underneath was still wet, which turned them pink. When we painted the nose, she said that it would be better to start small and need to add to it, then to do it all at once and think its nose was too big. I’m already a little more confident in my artistic abilities now.

There are some things that I wish I did better with my puppy painting, but since I’m a beginner, I’m trying not to dwell on it. There’s still a little red from the background heart showing through its white face, its nose is misshapen, and the outline around its face is a little too sloppy.

It was my idea to add the white dots to its eyes. A little white in the eyes makes a work of art look more lively to me.

I sometimes fell a little behind throughout the class, but at least I managed to finish the painting. I’d like to take more classes there in the future.

Due to Shopping Anxiety, I Hired Someone to Take Me Grocery Shopping Once a Week, and it has Made Life Easier

Grocery shopping on the bus was really hard. When I managed to go, I couldn’t put much food in my rolling cart. The bus route for where I live gets so crowded that I worried about the extra space that my cart took up. Since I couldn’t carry much on the bus, I had to choose between not having enough to eat, or making multiple trips per week.

A lot of times, I starved. When I did manage to make multiple trips, just getting food consumed hours and hours from my week. I’d rather put that time into things like working on my blog and job search.

I sometimes ate at nearby restaurants, ordered delivery, or bought way overpriced food at nearby convenience stores. I couldn’t afford to buy enough food from any of these places to fill the gap from my shopping difficulties, so I still often went hungry. My orders from these places wiped out my savings. I was hoping to use my savings to pay off my school debt so that I could return, turn my blog into a business, put together a decent wardrobe, get a pet from a shelter, and finish furnishing my apartment. Now my savings are gone, and all of those things will take way longer.

I tried a couple of grocery delivery services, Instacart and Shypt, but neither of them took food stamps. Trying to get an agency caregiver was a nightmare. Recently, it occurred to me to look up resumes on Craigslist and hire someone myself.

I got lucky with the first person I contacted. I can put groceries in the back of his truck, so now I can get enough food in just one trip each week. That has given me more peace of mind, along with not having to worry if people on the crowded bus resent me for taking up space with my cart of food. A nice bonus is that it has been fun having him to talk to on the way to the store and back, such as when I got to hear about his experience working with farm animals.

I wish I had thought of this sooner. It could’ve saved me thousands of dollars. My back pay went almost entirely to my food crisis. I’m so sad and ashamed about that. I feel stupid. It could take years to bounce back from this financial setback to pay off my debt, make my apartment look nice, etc.

At least my shopping problem is finally solved. Although my back pay is gone, going forward, I’ll be free to spend my regular money on other things besides just trying not to starve to death.

 

 

 

If You Need Experience, Practice, or a Reference, Consider a Job Training Program

Have you been unable to find a job or keep the ones you’ve had so far? Have you struggled so much in your relationships that you don’t even have any personal references to offer an employer or volunteer coordinator? If any of that applies to you, maybe you’d find a job training program helpful.

Even someone who’s simply hiring for an odd job or a volunteer job will probably want to see some record of accomplishment and at least one reference. I’ve read that an inexperienced person will typically put classes and clubs on their first resume and list teachers or other people who they know as references. I didn’t do well in any of my classes in high school or my previous attempt at college, and issues like my social awkwardness and anxiety have gotten in the way of having even personal references. If you’re facing similar barriers, but want to work, you still have options, and the option that I’ll focus on in this post is job training programs.

Since job training programs are designed specifically for people with difficulties finding or keeping a job, I think that their supervisors will often be more patient than supervisors at a paid job or even a volunteer job. For example, I just started my barista training program yesterday, and I remembered my schedule incorrectly, so I showed up thinking I was on time when I was actually an hour late.

Someone in a more official position might have been harder on me or even fired me. My supervisor, whose role is a blend of barista manager and social worker, was very gentle with me about my mistake. I apologized, but then froze. She was also patient about my anxious moment and smoothly moved the conversation along. The rest of my shift went a lot better. Since this job is practice, not an official job, it was a low-stakes way for me to discover that I still need to work on my organization and not freezing up when I make a mistake, which are issues that I can bring up to my therapist before trying to work or volunteer again.

I think that having someone, such as a therapist, to talk about progress and setbacks with during your job training program will lead to even better results than doing the program alone.

I found my program through an organization in my city that helps low income and/or homeless women. Job training is one of many services that they offer. You may be able to find an opportunity in your area through a charity like this one. Other places that may offer this service include D.V.R (department of vocational rehabilitation, specializing in people with documented disabilities), Goodwill, mental health agencies, or Job Corps (if you’re 16-24).

Good luck!

A Tribute to My Late Mom

I’m happy and honored that I had her as my mom.

She showed her love for her community by helping her neighbors with their social services paperwork, voting, sharing links to news articles, and contacting politicians.

She showed her love for me by saying, “Go do something fun,” at the end of our conversations. It made her sad how much I ruminated about stressful things, and she encouraged me to try to tap into the more refreshing side of life, which I’m still working on, thanks to her.

She showed her love for my dad by putting minutes on his phone for him every month, since he really struggled to figure out how to do it.

When we hung out, we spent most of our time together watching crime shows and playing Pokemon. We had so much fun! One of the last things I told her as she was dying, which she unfortunately couldn’t respond to because she was in a coma, was that I’d continue our criminology tradition by trying to get a volunteer job in the field, such as possibly visiting kids at the juvenile detention center.

Halloween was her favorite holiday. This is the day her spirit tells me that she wants me to do the most for her every year in her memory. Monster movies, such as the Frankenstein ones, were among her favorite kind.

Aside from criminology, her other favorite subjects to learn about included anthropology and linguistics. Sadly, she regretted not majoring in anthropology in college, but she did get to minor in linguistics. At least one, maybe a few of her classes were in anthropology. We shared both fascinations and frustrations with trying to understand people.

Security was one of her values that was most important to her. She was very mindful about things like going to her medical appointments and having two phones in case one of them was lost or stolen. It seems that her favorite aspect of security to learn and discuss was finance. She enjoyed going over her budget and scoping out sales and other ways to save money. Recently, she contributed a guest post involving safety in the kitchen.

Aside from Pokemon, she also enjoyed playing Sims a lot. She had a routine of playing every Sims game the same way, by having her sims run a nectar (their word for wine) business from their homes so that she could manage their needs more easily. In her Pokemon games, she liked more variety, and gave herself little challenges to entertain herself. One challenge that she’d sometimes do was to beat a Pokemon game with a team full of Pokemon of the same type, which was tricky, because there are 18 types, which have different strengths and weaknesses to each other.

Thank you, Mom, for being part of my life.

 

 

I’m Scared That My Mom Will Die

On Monday night, my mom was having severe leg pain and trouble breathing. I didn’t know at the time. She told my dad, and neither of them realized how much trouble she was in, so she didn’t get help until Tuesday morning, when her caregiver’s supervisor visited her and saw that she needed emergency help. My mom thought that she was having a panic attack.

Late Tuesday afternoon, she went into a medically induced coma to help her breathe. I’m sorry that no one knew sooner that she needed help. Maybe if she could’ve gotten help earlier, she’d be in more stable condition. The last things that we talked about while she was still conscious were a cat joke and a cooking video about things to add to refried beans. She loves to talk about food. I was trying to keep things fun for her.

On Wednesday, my dad and I visited her at the hospital. I was grateful to have him guide me, since I get lost easily. It hurt to see her helpless in bed, unconscious and paralyzed by the medicine they were giving her for her protection. My dad and I talked to her and touched her hand, which was very cold. We told her that we hope she makes it, but that if she wants to leave, that’s okay, since we didn’t want her to feel pressured.

Since Halloween is her favorite holiday, I did Halloween themed word search puzzles on my Switch, which she enjoyed trying out earlier, and told her about them, as well as the cheesy jokes that show each time I solve the puzzle. I told her that Halloween is next month and that I still have Pokemon to catch for her. Lol, maybe that will help keep her going.

I started writing letters to her on Wednesday. I’ll write one to her every day until she either wakes up, or passes away, to document how she’s doing and how I and the other people connected to her are coping. If she wakes up, I hope that she’ll find the letters meaningful. If she passes away, I might save them to look at once or a few times a year.

I got to talk to my therapist on the phone. She said that she’s there to support me. She wants to connect me to a peer counselor, and she encouraged me to try a group there again to build a support system.

My mom has been my blog’s biggest fan. She asks me for links to almost every post. She wrote a guest post for Psychology Plus last month, and we had planned on her contributing one per month after that, so that she could enjoy writing without what she felt was a hassle of trying to maintain a regular blog. I’d really enjoy seeing more of her writing and another side to her voice.

44 would be so soon to leave this world.

My Thoughts on Nintendo Switch game “The Lion’s Song,” by Mi’pu’mi Games

My Thoughts on Nintendo Switch game “The Lion’s Song,” by Mi’pu’mi Games

In this media series, I divide the post into two parts: Part 1 for those who haven’t experienced the work yet, and part 2 for those who would like to read more deeply about it. Image description: an artist paints their subject’s portrait while standing in front of an easel. Other portraits they’ve painted are hanging on the wall.

 

Part 1:

The Lion’s Song is a narrative game in which your choices affect whether a few artists and scientists find the success that they’re looking for in early 20th century Vienna, Austria. The playable characters are mainly a violinist trying to find inspiration for her composition, a portrait painter trying to figure out his identity, and a mathematician who faces sexism from characters who don’t believe that someone who’s assigned female at birth can do math. It’s hard for me to tell, since if it’s there, it’s very subtle, but I think the game may imply that Emma (who also portrays themselves sometimes as Emil to work around sexism) maybe be transgender and/or genderqueer. The fourth episode ties the previous three together.

There’s some crossover between arts and sciences, such as how Wilma, the violinist, can find inspiration from a science textbook, and Emma/Emil, the mathematician, can have their portrait done by the painter, Franz. I like that the game shows that art and science can be interconnected. Another example that I can think of in everyday life is how science books can have photos and other illustrations in them.

I like the social justice theme in the third episode. The game acknowledges that people who are assigned female at birth have also been disadvantaged throughout history in the science fields, and further than that, it even acknowledges that there are more options for presenting and identifying as than just female or male. This episode reminds me of the book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, and I just bought the Kindle version, which I’m excited to read.

 

Part 2:

I played Wilma differently than I would’ve acted in real life, but I played Franz and Emma more like how I would’ve acted.

I set Wilma up for heartbreak by letting her nurse a crush on her music teacher. She eventually gets together with him, but the last episode reveals that she gets so obsessed with him that she neglects her music career, and both her relationship and career fall apart. I’m taking this as a warning that getting too obsessed with anything can derail me. My mom recently warned me herself that worrying too much about how to transition from being on disability to becoming a mental health therapist could undo the progress I’ve made in my recovery and possibly even go as far as to put me back in the hospital. I’m being more careful now to think about other things, too, such as while I finished this game, which required some concentration.

The last episode reveals that Franz gets more depressed, which shows in his artwork. This surprised me, since he figures out his identity in the second episode, and he seems really happy about that. While I played him, other characters encourage him to interact more with the “real world.” His grandfather said that the real world is made of deeds, not words, but I don’t entirely agree with that, since words themselves can be a type of deed. I would instead say that both words and more concrete actions are important. The characters have different interpretations of what is real, such as how his grandfather considers it to be rock climbing, and Emma /Emilconsiders it to be science. Since his grandfather and Emma/Emil also have pretty specific views of reality, I don’t see why some of the characters think that Franz’s niche of painting is beneath theirs. This reflects how, sadly, in real life, some people think that what they care about must be objectively more important than what other people care about.

In Emma/Emil’s episode, I have them strike up a friendship with a disabled girl, Nikol, who finds out that they sometimes present differently and shows her respect for that by offering to call them Em, since both of their names have Em in common. I found that a heartwarming moment. At first, Nikol feels blah about most things, but the last episode reveals that my choices about their friendship lead to it helping Nikol get to a more positive place as she gets older. Em wins a debate with a professor who tries to humiliate them, but I have them remain calm and kind, which leads to the professor eventually mellowing out and even collaborating with them on mathematical developments afterwards. I like how Em makes a positive difference both academically and in their relationships with others.

 

Works Cited

The Lion’s Song.¬†Nintendo Switch, Mu’Pu’Mi Games, 2018.

 

 

How I Find Word Search Puzzles Beneficial for Mental Health

Word search puzzles help me with my anxiety and depression because each puzzle gives me a list of words to search for that are related to a specific topic. I often pick topics that are good for my mood, such as animal related ones. Focusing on these clusters of related words makes me focus less on what I’m depressed or anxious about and more on the puzzle’s theme. For example, I did one about cats yesterday. One of the words in the puzzle was “sunshine,” which made me think of a cat sleepily soaking up the sun’s warmth, and another was “ears,” which made me think of how pointy a cat’s ears are and how they easily flick when there’s even a slight noise. The puzzle really immersed me into thinking about cats.

For me, doing these puzzles feels similar to meditation due to how they shape my focus. They keep me concentrated on a specific thing that doesn’t need to go anywhere aside from brief mental imagery and looking for the word. Since I tend to over-analyze, they’re a good way for me to give my brain a bit of a break.