Monday’s Music Moves Me: Nursery Rhymes About Animals

Yesterday, I wanted to participate in Song Lyric Sunday and I had the most fabulous song (haha) for the theme of “drive/driving”. Then I couldn’t find the lyrics, so I gave up. I however also discovered Monday’s Music Moves Me, another music-themed blog hop. The theme for today is “songs with animals in the title”.

I have not previously participated in this linky, so I don’t know whether it’s focused on just pop songs. Others are including The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which was going to be in my head all day long, so I had to replace it with another one. I picked a children’s song. My mother-in-law sings this rhyme regularly.

From there, I decided to look up more children’s songs on this theme. I remembered from a time I listened to a lot of nursery rhymes that there was one about Alice the [whatever] has five humps. I googled it and here it is.

From there, I decided to make this entire post about nursery rhymes, so here’s another lovely song I found.

And for my last song, I’m going to cheat a little and share one of my all-time favorite nursery rhymes. It doesn’t have an animal in the title, but I guess it has a whole farm of them, LOL.

What children’s songs with animal themes do you love?

Mental Illness Labels

Yesterday, Sue over at My Loud Bipolar Whispers wrote a very interesting post on mental illness labels. It is definitely very inspiring to read how Sue overcomes the stigma and self-stigma of mental illness labels. I must admit I’m still caught up in mental illness labels at times. I started this blog in part to help myself overcome this limiting mindset where a diagnosis defines me. As such, I thought I’d do a similar post to Sue’s.

Over the past nearly twelve years that I’ve been in the mental health system, I have accumulated a bunch of mental illness labels. I am too lazy o list them all, but they included adjustment disorder, impulse control disorder NOS, dissociative identity disorder, PTSD, borderine and dependent personality disorder and depression. These labels define me in a sense, but in a sense, they do not. After all, some of these diagnoses were not just given to me but taken away again later. As such, I’m not supposed to dissociate anymore, as DID is no longer among my mental illness labels. Well, here we are, all 25 or so of us. I hear my former psychologist saying that I make up the DID because of having read up on it too much. Ironically, she was the one most eager to give me new and exciting mental health diagnoses.

Mental illness labels have a function in getting insurance to pay for treatment. In addition, they may guide what treatment and support you can access. Self-labeling (self-diagnosis) may have the added benefit that you can access support without the approval of a mental health professional. That’s how I access support geared towards people with DID.

However, mental illness labels should not be limiting my experience of who I am. I am more than my mental illnesses. Here is a list of labels I’d like to be known for.


  • Wife

  • Daughter

  • Sister

  • Friend

  • Writer

  • Blogger

  • Creative

  • Introvert

  • Compassionate

  • Intelligent

  • Honest

  • Former psychology major

  • Disability rights activist

  • Mental health advocate

  • Survivor

What labels do you define yourself by?

My Relationship with Food

Today, I’m paging through the eBook Journal Writing Prompts for Child Abuse Survivors. It is definitely worth it. One of the prompts, in the third chapter, which deals with shame, is about your relationship with food. I am going to write about that today.

I am fat. There I said it. I am no longer obese, fortunately, but I still need to lose over 20lbs to be at a healthy BMI. Besides, my body fat is concentrated primarily on my stomach, which means it’s all the more dangerous for my long-term physical health.

I have a long history of disordered eating. When I was around 14, I “wanted” to develop an eating disorder. No, I didn’t read pro-anorexia sites, though I probably would have had I had access to the Internet back then. I didn’t really want to have anorexia, but I wanted badly to overcome the painful relationship with food I had by this time, and my way of doing so was to develop an even more harmful attitude towards it.

The origin of this even more harmful attitude was probably shame. My parents would regularly yell at me for eating too much and I badly wanted to break this habit, but I didn’t knowhow.

I didn’t stop overeating, but I started obsessing over how it’d make me fat. I started keeping food logs and commenting on how much I’d eaten, but it didn’t help me actually stop overeating.

I remember at one time calculating my BMI, which was a little above 20 at the time. I thought that should soothe my mind and it did in a way. I wasn’t fat, after all. Looking back, I now realize said BMI calculator was geared towards adults and a BMI over 20 is in fact overweight for a teen.

I never developed a full-blown eating disorder, even though a part of me engaged in a lot of disordered eating patterns, including purging, up till fairly recently. In fact, this part of me – she’s called Agnes – was the one reasoning last Wednesday that diarrhea is a good thing because it helps me lose weight.

I’ve had a fairly normal relationship with food over the past year or so. At least in terms of behaviors. I no longer purge, rarely overeat and do exercise regularly. However, like I said above, my thought patterns are still pretty disordered.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 11, 2018)

I did the #WeekendCoffeeShare for a while on my other blog, but stopped eventually. Now that I’m getting this blog up and running, I think I’ll participate again. I’m currently having a cup of organic green tea with my mother-in-law, but if you’d like coffee, that’s fine with me too.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how you’re doing. I hope you’re all doing as well as possible. I hope the weather is good where you are. It is here. For me, that means not soaring hot anymore but not chilly either.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I started new day activities last Monday. My first week as a whole was as good as my first day. I have been doing a variety of different activities, both indoors and outdoors.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m still enjoying this blogging adventure. It is a challenge to blog everyday, but so far I’m meeting that challenge head on.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I am considering exploring a low-FODMAP diet for irritalbe bowel syndrome. I discussed this with my mother-in-law, who is trying this too. It is pretty compliicated, particularly the elimination phase, but it may be worth trying. I was provisionally diagnosed with IBS in 2013 after a colonoscopy, bloodwork and a stool sample all came back normal, even though I’m not a classic case. I’m already pretty sure artificial sweeteners trigger my IBS. I consume those in relatively large quantities, as I tend to believe they’re an excuse to consume sweetness without gaining weight. Thankfully, with low-FODMAP, you don’t need to stop eating products that may be triggering altogether. IBS, after all, is painful and annoying, but it is not dangerous.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m enjoying the day at my in-laws. My husband is visiting his grandma, who had a stroke a few weeks back. Unfortunately, due to her cognitive decline, she probably won’t recognize me, so I am not going with him. I’m so happy that I can stay at his parents’, because I don’t like being alone all evening. My father-in-law made a delicious pizza for dinner.

So what have you all been up to lately?

Weekly Gratitude List (August 10, 2018) #TToT

It’s Friday again. This week has flown by! It was really a mixed bag in terms of how I’ve felt. Here are the things I’ve been grateful for this past week.

1. Starting at new day activities. My first week definitely was a good one. I am truly loving it there.

2. The weather. It was hot on Monday and Tuesday but as of Wednesday it’s been pretty nice. Not cold but cool enough that I could finally move again and not break out in a sweat from merely existing.

3. Going on the elliptical. It was quite a challenge, since I hadn’t exercised in weeks, but it was a fun challenge. I love being able to let my thoughts go as I exercise.

4. Eating at my in-laws on Wednesday. My husband had to suddenly stay at work late, so he asked whether I could eat with his parents. They cooked endive with mashed potatoes, which is not my favorite meal to say the least, but it wasn’t too terrble either. Congrats to me for eating all that was on my plate.

5. A lie-in on Thursday. I had kept my alarm set at 6:45, but turned it off and rolled over. My support coordinator wouldn’t be here till 3PM and, though I have in the past been in bed till that late, I trusted myself to wake before then. And I did.

6. Those blueberries I mentioned yesterday. Boy, do I love them. They also doubly made up for the endive on Wednesday, as I had them for dessert then too. At home, I rarely eat dessert, but my in-laws do.

7. Making a cheesecake with my support coordinator. I didn’t share this yesterday, as I hadn’t tried it then yet, but it was delicious! My husband also really liked it.

8. Going to the marketplace. At my new day activities, the people visit the local marketplace each Friday. We all bring money, throw it together and buy some extra treat for lunchtime. Today though, I didn’t put mo money in with the others’, as I’d forgotten my lunch so wante dto buy me some more food than just a treat. The bread stand wasn’t there, but I did buy strawberries. Later, a staff went to the supermarket to buy some bread for me.

9. Journaling prompt eBooks. I bought two new ones on Wednesday. Yes, I’m probably obsessed with collecting them, given how many journaling prompt books and files and apps I have. One of the new ones I bought is the complete Lisa Shea journaling collection (eleven books for one reduced price). I had been ahing at many of the individual books, but €1,- each still means I’d spend over €10 on just some journaling prompts and some were more expensive. What then if they disappoint me? Well, the full collection was €6,45, which seemed reasonable. So far, I’m loving the books. The other was Journal Writing Prompts for Child Abuse Survivors, which cost only €0,99. I like that one too. As a side note, it’s interesting how I spend far less money on eBooks now that I use Kindle. Back when I used Kobo, I didn’t bet an eye at €5,- for a few simple journaling prompts (like one of Mari L. McCarthy’s 24-day challenge books). It’s good that I am more careful now, in that it’s technically my husband’s money I’m using (even though I pay him back straight away), as I use his credit card.

10. Lying in the cocoon swing at day activities. A cocoon swing is like a small tent that hangs off a tree and you can then lie in it and swing it. I love it. It’s truly pure relaxation!

Linking up with Ten Things of Thankful again.

Angry

Hiya everyone,
My name is Kelly. I am 10-years-old. I am so angry now. I wanna call my mother and shout at her and all that, but the grown-up people say I can’t. I am angry because my parents say I’m angry too easily when in fact it’s them who do stuff like tough love.

I mean my mother says “So you wanna go residential at Bartiméus?”. That’s the school for the blind we go to. So if I’m not being good she’s gonna send me away. She also throws out my toys cause she says I’m defiant because I have too many toys.

Oh and Mrs. B our low vision teacher doesn’t want me to do low vision anymore. Well I don’t care what people think.

I was typing up this memory thingy but then my Internet crashed and I lost the piece I’d written. I will try to share again.

One day a social worker comes by my house to talk to my parents. I dunno who wants it my parents or the social worker. My mother says the social worker had said I’m angry too easily and I need play therapy. I go there during biology class, which is the only interesting class in school. so it sucks. I gotta play with this grown-up man I don’t even know. I wanna flood the water tray and throw out the purple dolls in the dollhouse because ya know, dolls can’t be purple. I don’t know why but my parents take me out of this therpay after four sessions. So why the fuck did they put me into it? I mean I’m not supposed to magically snap out of my anger by four sessions of stupid play therapy am I?

I’m confused now. Yes I’m angry. My parents say I wanna make them miserable. I have stopped caring. They’re gonna put me in residential if I don’t stop playing with my toys anyway and yet I’m suppose to play with this grown-up during biology class. I’m so angry. I don’t know why, cannot write it in English or maybe not even in Dutch either. I’m just pissed off.

Quote of the Day (August 9, 2018): Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

I once read that gratitude is happiness coupled by wonder. It means that we recognize that what we have is not a given. I mean, being able to read a quote on the Internet puts me in the minority worldwide. Even with my disability benefits, which amount to only 75% of minimum wage, I am rich compared to other people in the world. Isn’t that humbling?

Today, I had a rather boring day. Still, there is a lot to be grateful for today if I really look hard. The fact that I slept well and had a lie-in as I didn’t go to day activities. Barry, our cat, meowing me awake in the morning, letting me know he’s still here. He is a true delight. The blueberries I put in my yoghurt with crunchy muesli this morning. My being able to be grateful for that definitely did turn breakfast into a feast.

As I started my day, I was grateful for the two comments I had gotten on my blog while asleep. I also appreciated the tons of E-mails in my inbox. They reminded me of the good friendships I’ve formed particularly on one E-mail list.

I went to have some exercise on the elliptical. Though I was scared by a thunderstorm pretty soon, I still managed twelve minutes of exercise and am going to try for another 30 or so later in the evening. I am grateful for my mobility. I am also trying to be a little grateful for the rain, as nature and the farmers really need it.

My support coordinator arrived at 3PM. We had a cup of coffee and then started making a cheesecake. Gratitude turend that activity into excitement. It was the first time either of us had made a cheesecake.

Later, when my support coordinator had left, I looked up some journaling prompts in some eBooks I had bought yesterday. One of them gave me the reminder that I am blessed. Ordinary things such as the boring day I had today, do not happen to everyone. Besides, they can be turned into extraordinary things with the help of an attitude of gratitude.

Some Kind Words Meant the Best Part of My Day

Boy, am I feeling awful right now. I ate a whole bag of sugar-free candies (a small bag, but still) and now I’m having the worst bowel cramps in the history of this body. A part of me is still not convinced that I should never buy these candies again, as this part believes with their laxative effect, I’ll actually lose weight while indulging into my sweet tooth, so a double win. I have already banned myself from buying candy containing sugar, as that’d mean I’d eat a whole (usually much larger) bag too and I’d have the added drawback of it containing like 1500 calories. My goal is to be healthy though, not skinny and awful-feeling. That same part of me disagrees, but well.

To cheer myself up and to find inspiration to write a post for today, I looked at some question of the day posts on other blogs. On A Writer’s Life, last Monday, the author asked a question that could fulfill both these purposes. They asked about the best part of our day.

I had a pretty boring day today. I didn’t do much that was truly exciting. That is, I exercised on the elliptical for the first day in a while, but that’s while I was already suffering from the aforementioned bowel cramps. At day activities, I did a few things I enjoyed, but nothing that stood out majorly.

However, some kind words from my day activities staff did stand out. Yesterday, I had been taken home by taxi as usual. The drivers know the day activities in this area well as they regularly drive clients there. As such, they know that my group is for pretty severely intellectually disabled people. The driver who drove me home yesterday asked what I, being of at least average intelligence, do at that group. I did go into an explanation, which I later felt maybe I shouldn’t have. I mean, she’s just a driver, not one of my staff.

I also worried that my real staff would soon enoug find out that I’m too good for that group too. So today I asked one of the staff at my group. She said: “Because you can talk so well, people may get that impression, but we know better.” It didn’t sound like it was a blow to my self-esteem at all. She didn’t mean it to highlight my social and emotional difficulties, which are the reason I’m at this group. She just said that they’ve gotten to know me well and we’ve together decided that this is the right froup for me. Phew, was I relieved.

She Walked Through Fire

She walked through fire but was not burned by it. Her body did not show a sign of the path she’d been traveling through the burning forest or her life. She did not feel pain. She had all feeling neatly folded away in the dirty laundry drawer in her mind. Over the years, walking through a little too many fires, she’d grown accustomed to not showing their effects. She was not burned – at least, not visibly so.

A few months ago, I read up on somatoform dissociation. It is where there’s a disconnect between your body and your mind and it shows itself physically, as opposed to psychologically. Psychological dissociation is a distortion in memory, sense of self or identity. Somatoform dissociation manifests itself in distortions to your physical experience. For example, you may not feel sensation in a particular body part for a while (not explained by the body part just having “fallen asleep”). Or you may have a strong aversion to a food or smell you normally like. You may even react differently to medications depending on your state of mind.

While it is unlikely that someone would not have physical burns from walking through an actual fire, the psychological equivalent describes perfectly what it is like to dissociate. In dissociation, you lock away the feelings or memories associated with a trauma into the unconscious. You walk through a psychological fire (experience a trauma) but don’t get burned – at least, not visibly so.

I once read in a women’s magazine about a person with dissociative identity disorder (DID). This woman’s doctor explained that everyone has a breaking point in life and this may be why people with DID may be able to hold it together for years after their early childhood trauma, but fall apart eventually. In other words, they lock away the pain and burns from walking through fire until a minor injury – hurting their index finger – tears open the horrible burn wounds. In my own case, I was fifteen when I first realized I dissociate, but 23 when I experienced this breaking point. I think the breaking point happened after I was attacked by a fellow patient on the resocialization unit of the psychiatric hospital. I wasn’t diagnosed with DID till more than a year later and that diagnosis has since been taken away, but the psychological burn wounds never disappeared.

This post is part of Reena’s Exploration Challenge #48.

Movement Therapy Again

It’s incredibly hot (yes, it’s *still* incredibly hot) and I’m not too motivated to write. However, we had movement therapy again today and I feel pretty much obligated to share about it, since our last session didn’t go well.

I was feeling somewhat stressed but also capable of communicating my feelings at the start. I explained about having fought with the therapist about her asking for Astrid to come back. I just realized yesterday how unhelpful this can be on several levels. It’s not just that it creates a fight between us and the therapist. If the one who thinks she’s truly Astrid truly appears, she’s often quite disoriented. Yesterday she did after Marieke tried to be open about herself. I don’t know whether she’s truly the core or just a part who denies our existence. I like to view us as a system as altogether Astrid, but this Astrid part is clearly not us as a whole and can still feel quite dissociated. But I digress.

I told the movement therapist that I’d prefer her asking us to get back into an adult state if we seem to dissociate. This was fine by her, so when this had been cleared up, we could proceed with the session.

I disclosed that our mind was quite full of thoughts. Actually, it was several others chattering but I didn’t say so as to not start another argument. We then did a concentration exercise. We had to move a one-meter-long stick that was standing up from one hand to the other without dropping it. Then from one finger to the same or next finger on the other hand. This was quite a challenging activity and we liked it.

After that, we did a sensory activity with a spiky ball. I was out in the body but Marieke and Suzanne were close by. I chatted to the therapist while they felt and enjoyed the ball. After this, we did a ball-throwing activity. This was definitely calming and enjoyable. It helped that the others had already had their time close by the front, I think.