20 Questions Book Tag

I found the 20 Questions Book Tag when searching for interesting tags to fill out. I am not that much of a bookaholic, but I love to read a good book every once in a while. And I love talking books!

1. HOW MANY BOOKS ARE TOO MANY FOR A SERIES?
Two. I don’t like reading book series.

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?
Love to hate them. I always get pretty tense when I find one, but they do keep abook interesting.

3. HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?
Neither, as I am blind. Give me an eBook instead. When I used to scan books to read them, I preferred hardcover.

4. FAVOURITE BOOK?
I don’t have one. There are quite a few that stick with me. My favorite genres are YA social issues books and memoirs.

5. LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. I had to read it for English in high school, but hated it.

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?
I don’t mind to read about them, but I don’t really consider them a turn-on book-wise either and I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of one.

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU COULDN’T FINISH?
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork. At least, that’s the most recent one I’ve given up on finishing. I tend to take forever to read some books, so I rarely consider a book unfinishable.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?
Angels in Our Hearts by Rosie Lewis and Casey Watson.

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?
Same as above, although I haven’t actually finished it.

10. OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?
Wuthering Heights, but I read a simplified version in eighth grade. Other than this one, I guess Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which was published in 1932.

11. NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?
I’m not sure. I think it was Finding Stevie by Cathy Glass, which was published in February.

12. FAVOURITE AUTHOR?
If non-fiction/memoir authors count (and I’m deciding they do), Cathy Glass. Otherwise, Lisa Genova or Jodi Picoult.

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?
Both. I buy books on Amazon and borrow them on Bookshare and in the Dutch library for the blind, although rarely there nowadays.

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE?
Not anything I’ve actually read, but I can’t imagine I’d like the Harry Potter series. No, I haven’t read any of the books.

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG EARS?
Bookmarks!

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS RE-READ?
I rarely reread books, actually.

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC?
No. I can’t do much while listening to music anyway. I used to be able to though as a teen.

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE?
I like both, but the books I’ve most enjoyed have multiple.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?
Always over multiple days. I mean, I’m a slow reader, so I can’t ever physically finish a book in one day.

20. WHO DO YOU TAG?
Carol Anne of Therapy Bits
and Emilia of My Inner MishMash. Others are free to consider themslves tagged.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 21, 2019)

It’s Sunday again and, though I have lots of things I want to write about, I cannot seem to get started. I am however enjoying once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. It’s lovely to catch up with people who visit my blog each week for this hop.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m sweating, even though it’s supposed not to be that very hot here now. Only about 23 degrees Celsius. I guess my room keeps the heat. Next week, the temperatures are supposed to rise to 35 degrees Celsius or more.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I need your prayers, positive thoughts and crossed fingers re our house-hunting journey. We found a house we may want to buy. Yesterday, my husband took me on a tour of the town.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a lovely day yesterday at my in-laws’ house. My father-in-law is about to return from his vacation in about an hour, so it was just my husband, me and my mother-in-law. My husband cooked up a tasty dinner of pasta with cheese, minced meat and zucchini. When we returned home, we drove right through a thunderstorm. This was a bit scary.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m currently reading Angels in Our Hearts by Rosie Lewis and Casey Watson. I just finished the second story. It is a really good book.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband helped me tidy my room today. We threw out a lot of my soaping stuff that had expired.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’m really wanting to pick up creative writing again, but somehow, I feel stuck.

How was your week and how is your week-end going?

Working On Us Prompt: Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts

I have lots of things I want to write about, and yet all I do is sit behind my computer and try to figure out which feed reader would be best (or least bad) on my Windows PC. I’ve yet to make a final decision, but I’m frustrated with it for now.

I’m joining in with Beckie’s Working On Us Prompt again. This time, the topic of discussion is suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

As regular readers of my blog know, I do experience suicidal ideation on a regular basis. I have in fact lived with re-occurring suicidal ideation ever since the age of seven or so. My most severe suicidal break however was in 2007, when I was 21. Ironically, my parents thought that, since I had had suicidal thoughts on and off ever since age seven, I must not be serious and it all must just be “for attention”. Well, let me be very clear on this: suicidal thoughts are no fun and, if they ever happen “for attention”, there probably is a very good reason the sufferer is seeking attention.

I had never attempted suicide when I had my break in 2007. This break too involved “just” threats. However, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t genuinely struggling. I genuinely thought death was my only option. Same when, in 2002, I wrote a goodbye letter but had no idea how to go about actually taking the final step. People commonly say that, if you truly want to end it all, you will and, if a suicide attempt fails, it must not have been serious. That’s not necessarily true. People die from impulsive suicide attempts and people who’ve tried to kill themselves many times and are adamant they want to die, may still be alive.

In 2007, I was hospitalized, because my suicidal ideation was so serious that I needed help for it. That is, because I was suicidal due to be overwhelmed living independently and going to university, it helpd already to be taken out of the situation. That doesn’t mean my suicidal thoughts were gone immediately. That took at least three months and they’ve returned frequently since.

I did not actually get much help overcoming my suicidal thoughts. When I was on the locked unit, I had no therapy and no medication other than PRN oxazepam. I started therapy at the resocialization unit, but it was mostly just supportive.
In 2017, after my discharge from the psychiatric hospital, I made two suicide attempts by overdosing on medication. I am hesitant to call them suicide attempts, because both were impulsive and I’m not sure my intent was to die. I was most definitely depressed though. My suicide attempts were “for attention”, yes, but I had a very valid reason to seek attention.

Losing Myself and Finding Myself (Reena’s Exploration Challenge #96)

I remember when and where I lost myself. My old self, that is. It was November 2, 2007 at 8:01PM when I stepped onto the bus at Balustrade bus stop in Apeldoorn. I had decided this was it.

I phoned my old support coordinator at the training home. I’d just been told to leave the home’s premises, because according to the on duty staff, I was making them take unwarranted responsibility for me. I had come there in distress and a housemate had offered for me to spend the night with her, so that we had time to find me a new place to stay in the morning.

I wasn’t homeless. That is, I had a roof over my head. In the Netherlands, the word that translates to “homeless” also refers to people who are wasting away in their residence. And I was.

At 8:01PM November 2, I phoned my old support coordinator to tell her I was going to kill myself. I was on the bus and the bus driver and fellow passengers heard me. They called the police and, after a long wait at the police station, I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in the middle of the night.

At that point, my old self went away. I lost the self that went to college, had plans for working and lived independently.

I’m still not 100% sure who will replace her. When and where I’ll find myself. My new self, that is. I know my old self is gone. Even though I live semi-independently now, I do not have anything close to a “normal” life, whatever that may be. But that’s okay. I know I will ultimately find a new eqwuilibrium, when I’m in a living facility that suits me.

In September of 2006, I wrote a post in my online diary about the two different images I had of myself. One was “white”. This image represented a “normal” life. Living independently, going to university, finding a job, marrying, getting children and whatnot. The other image, the “black” one, represented my need for support. It wasn’t that I needed 24-hour care, but that I needed more than just the once-a-week visit from a support worker to read me my mail that’s normal for people who are just blind.

By April of 2007, I knew the “black” image was coming true, but I was seeing the colors in it. I eventually did live independently and go to college, but I would get sixteen hours of home support a week.

And then that image too died, on November 2. It was hard. I grieved. But I didn’t give up. Gradually, I started to see how colorful a life I can have if I accept care.

The care facilities I’m looking at moving into, couldn’t be closer to the “black” image of myself. They are 24-hour intensive support facilities. Yet I don’t see that life as bad. I see it was exactly as colorful and rich as, or even more so than the “normal” life I envisioned for myself.

I am joining in with Reena’s Exploration Challenge #96.

Progress in Finding Long-Term Care

It’s been exactly six weeks since I got approved for long-term care, so that we could finally start finding me a supported housing facility. Things are moving slowly but steadily. Today, let me share how we’re doing.

Immediately after we heard I was approved for long-term care funding, my support coordinator contacted the care consultant for my current care agency. She made sure to get the paperwork in order so that, while we’re waiting for supported housing, I can retain my current support. After all, community support through the local authority was immediately stopped. My support coordinator also contacted the care consultant for the living facility in Raalte, which is with my current care agency too.

When it turned out the process with that living facility would be slow-moving, I proposed to contact the two blindness agencies to explore the possibility of my living there. One of them responded immediately with an appointment for an intake interview. This is, unfortunately, the one with the facilities in the far north and south and west of the country. Of course, we are talking the Netherlands, not America. However, my husband isn’t happy to travel up to two hours each week to visit me. We agreed on a maximum distance of one hour. This agency has nothing within an hour’s driving distance. We did however request that they help us by recommending accommodations a future living facility could make for my blindness. They will come by to observe me at day activities next week.

The other blindness agency has my file, but they haven’t yet scheduled an appoitnment to meet me.

I went to have a look at the facility in Raalte last week. It was great. The staff/client ratio is 1:6 to even at times 1:4 during the day and there is an awake night staff. They also have tons of sensory supplies, including a sensory room, rocking lounger and a bathroom with a tub. I will hear more about whether the psychologist and physician for this facility find me a good fit soon.

Then today I heard about another facility. It is with a countrywide Christian care agency. It is in the city of Ede, which is about a 45-minute drive from my current home. The facility primarily serves elderly people with intellectual disabilities. I don’t know whether that would be a problem. It might be, as the other clients are probably a lot less mobile than I am. Clients only have a bedroom to themselves, but I don’t mind. The care consultant would send my file to the psychologist for this facility too and then I may come for a tour.

It all makes me feel a bit confused but overall excited too. I mean, I still feel off applying to live in intensive support living facilities, being that I now live semi-independently. Of course, my husband does all of the housework, but still. It’s hard to believe that people suddenly aren’t rejecting me, saying I misuse care and leaving me to my own resources.

A Month Without a Laptop

I am writing this post on my new computer. I love it. Definitely a PC is much more user-friendly than a Mac if you are not too tech-savvy. My mother-in-law would say the opposite, but oh well. I’m just glad I got to sell her my Macbook.

Today, when I read on another blog about someone having to do without a laptop for a few days, I was reminded of the month I spent without a computer. Of course, people older than me will remember the years they spent without a computer and, in fact, I didn’t get my first computer till I was eleven and didn’t have access to the Internet till nearly sixteen. I quickly became addicted though, so when my laptop broke down in 2009, I was lost.

I had at the time just transferred from the locked psych unit to the open resocialization unit. The locked unit didn’t have a patient computer. This got me to consider getting a wireless cellphone-like modem for my laptop. However, at the time, I was too scared of getting Alzheimer’s from electromagnetic radiation. This meant that, in the early months of my hospitalization, before I was allowed on leave, I didn’t have access to the Internet. I had a computer though.

The resocialization unit did have a patient computer that was connected to the Internet. It didn’t have a screen reader on it, of course, but I just removed the network cable from the computer and plugged it into my laptop. And then one day my laptop crashed. This was, obviously, before accessible smartphones. In fact, though I had a phone that could connect to the Internet, I could only use it to make phone calls.

I was frustrated, but not as frustrated as I’d be now if I lost access to the Internet. For an entire month, I typed up my diary in Braille and listened to audio books and magazines on my digital talking book player. I do still have my Braille typerwriter and my digital talking book player, but both are pretty much useless.

Since having no computer for an entire month, I usually make sure I have at least two devices that connect to the Internet. Currently these are my PC and my iPhone. My old PC could probably be revived if need be too.

I also did finally get myself a wireless modem. I just threw it away yesterday, as I’ve not paid f or the data that goes with it in years.

I guess I could technically (no pun intended) deal without going online for a while now. However, I am always very happy to discover that a potential new living faciltiy has WiFi. I guess some people take this for granted, but the psych hospital didn’t have WiFi till 2015 and even then it was very limited.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 14, 2019)

Yay, it’s Sunday! I am once again joining in with the #WeekendCoffeeShare fun. It’s relatively early for me to write this post, so the most recent drink I had was actually coffee. I usually drink only one cup of coffee at breakfast )or lunch, as it was nearly afternoon), but my husband made me a second cup saying it’s good for the heart. I don’t know whether that’s true, but oh well.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband picked up my new Windows laptop on Monday and installed it on Tuesday. The adaptive tech guy came by on Wednesday to bring me a new Braille display and install the JAWS screen reader on my computer, so that I could actually use it. I have been playing with my computer ever since. I hope the tech company will get me training on the screen reader and Windows 10, but even without training, I like this computer much better than my Mac. Right now, my husband is resetting my Mac, so that my mother-in-law can have it. I think I just closed the tab with instructions on it from my iPhone.

My mother-in-law offered to pay more for the Mac than the Windows laptop had cost, but we refused. I don’t want to get extra money from switching computers.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that I visited the living facility in Raalte that’s with my current care agency on Wednesday. It was great. There’s tons of sensory equipment in both the house and day center. The staff are also really nice. The house they felt was the most suitable for me, has twelve clients living there. There are two staff during the day and an extra staff during times the clients get showered and such. The manager and care consultant were a bit vague about the waiting list to move in, but I hope to hear more about that soon.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that yesterday, my husband had the yearly driver’s day at his work. He is a truck driver for a large transporting company and the driver’s day is sort-of-mandatory. I spent the day at my in-laws. Well, my father-in-law had just left for vacation, so I was alone with my mother-in-law. We went for a walk with her dog. Wow, it was hot and humid! My husband came to my in-laws’ house after a few hours when he’d had enough of the event at work. My mother-in-law cooked us dinner, although she was interrupted to pick up a kitten from the animal shelter. She volunteers to bottle-feed kittns that are too young to be kept at the shelter. The kitten was lovely!

How was your week?

Working On Us Prompt: Depression

Oh my, I seriously haven’t blogged in nearly a week! It’s not that I have nothing to share. In fact, a lot has happened this past week. However, I’m struggling to put these experiences down into words on the page. I feel terribly uninspired and also held back by my own inner critic. You know, the voice that says posts have to be “blog-worthy” to publish. I remember I originally intended this blog for me to let go of this idea. Not so, apparently.

Today, I’m joining in with Rebecca’s Working On Us Prompt. This week, it is all about depression.

The first question is to share what type of depression you suffer from. Well, it seems simple and yet it’s complicated. When I had my original mental breakdown in 2007, I was assessed for depression, but the psychiatrist couldn’t diagnose me with it. I just about didn’t tick enough boxes, probably because I didn’t understand half the questions. I was most definitely depressed, but acted it out as agitation. My diagnosis was adjustment disorder.

Fast forward nine years. I had lost my autism diagnosis, which had been replaced by dependent personality disorder (DPD). Because just an axis II diagnosis didn’t qualify you for this inpatient unit, my psychologist gave me an additional diagnosis of depressive disorder NOS. Yes, I kid you not: she seriously gave me an additional diagnosis so that I could stay on the psych ward for a bit. One of the nurses said she did me a favor, because in fact, the whole DPD diagnosis saga was meant to eventually kick me out of there.

I sought to get my autism diagnosis back through an independent second opinion. For the initial assessment, I was given a ton of questionnaires I had to fill out online. Among them was of course the autism spectrum quotient questionnaire, some ADHD screening tools but also a depression inventory. I filled it out as honestly as I could. It seemed as though the questionnaire had been designed for me! I scored as having severe depression. Eventually, I was diagnosed with moderate recurrent major depression. I also got my autism diagnosis back and DPD was removed.

Rebecca’s second question is about treatments. I have been on the SSRI antidepressant Celexa ever since 2010, so years before my depression diagnosis. I hardly knew why I took it and had no idea whether it was helping. This is until I noticed my mood dropping significantly in late 2017. I waited for six months for it to pass – because I didn’t want to misuse care – and then consulted my psychiatrist. She increased my Celexa dose. It has been a godsend. Without it, I’m pretty sure I’d still be very depressed.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 7, 2019)

Ugh, I’m feeling so off. I want to write so bad. Words are spinning through my mind, but somehow I cannot put them down onto the keyboard.

I am once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I had a delicious little apple pie with my cup of green tea this evening. Grab a cuppa and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that we decided to let go of one of the houses we were looking at this past week. It’s the house built in 1880 that my parents are totally in awe of, but we’d take a huge risk if we bought this. Inspecting the foundation for problems cost like 5000 euros and there is indeed a high risk that the foundation will be unstable. That amount of money is not something we want to invest before buying the house, yet we don’t want to risk finding out about it once it’s ours. I didn’t like the house to begin with, but my husband loved its appearance.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that next Wednesday, I am invited to go check out the living facility with my current care agency. It’s in Raalte, which is a little over an hour’s drive from my current home. My support coordinator was told not to get me too excited, so I predict the place has already almost certainly been taken, but oh well. We’ll see.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I bought some books on Amazon today. One is a collection of journaling prompts (yes, again!), which cost only 99 cents, but it’s still disappointing. It has a ton of typeos and characters VoiceOver makes out to be Chinese or Japanese in it. The other is Angels in Our Hearts by Casey Watson and Rosie Lewis. It’s a collection of previously published eShorts by these two foster carer writers. It sounds good.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband ordered a new Windows computer for me today. My mother-in-law will pay for it, as she’ll get my Macbook. The computer he ordered is an HP Pavillion, which I’ve heard is quite a sturdy model. It doesn’t have a solid state drive like my Macbook, but it does have some type of thing attached to the hard drive that keeps stuff you use often in a sort of ready-access memory. The hard drive has 1tB of space, which is awesome. I no longer need to worry about getting it full and I can even copy all of my CDs to my PC now. I have a ton of CDs with music that’s hard to come by on streaming services, so that’s cool.

I think my husband will go collect the computer at the pick-up point near his work tomorrow. On Wednesday, the adaptive tech company is coming by to install JAWS, the screen reader, onto it. I called the company to let them know they’ll need to schedule the visit with me in the morning, as I’ll be off to Raalte at 2PM.

What’s been happening in your life lately?

Working On Us Prompt: If Disordered Eating Isn’t About Food or Weight

Today, I am once again joining in with the Working On Us Prompt. I hope the link works, as it once again gave me an error 404 when I tried to visit it. There are really two question prompts for this week’s Working On Us. I may post a separate post about the second question. The first asks what if eating disorders aren’t about food or weight? What are they about?

As a person with disordered eating tendencies, I can totally empathize with this question. I mean, yes, I am obese, but that in itself doesn’t qualify you for help with disordered eating other than a monthly kick in the ass from a dietitian. Well, that just isn’t enough for me.

Then again, I was told by my psychiatrist that I do not have an eating disorder, because the amount of food I eat during a “binge” isn’t big enough. Well, I understand. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my relationship with food or weight.

Because that is really what disordered eating is all about: the relationship we have to food and our bodies. It isn’t about how much you eat, how much you weigh, or how often you exercise. It’s about the thoughts that go on in your mind.

For clarity’s sake: at the time that I was told I do not have an eating disorder, I was in the early stages of recovery from purging, which in itself does warrant an eating disorder not otherwise specified diagnosis. I was never fully bulimic, but I was coming close. That’s not my point though.

I struggle a lot with disordered thoughts about food and my weight. In fact, I think about food the majority of the time and those thoughts are not usually healthy.

Once, when I read a book about someone with an eating disorder, her psychiatrist suspected she was an alcoholic too. She administered a simple screening tool, which asked whether the girl had tried to cut back on alcohol, was getting annoyed or angry when people commented on her drinking, ever had alcohol first thing in the morning, and then there was another question. She answered “Yes” to three out of four questions. Well, I can answer yes to the three I remembered here when substituting alcohol with food. I occasionally overeat first thing in the morning, have very regularly and unsuccessfully tried to control my food intake, and I do get angry like all the freakin’ time when someone makes a comment about my food-related habits.

Yes, I knnow that to the outside observer, I appear like just an unmotivated, overindulgent fatass. What they don’t see are the inner battles I fight each and every day to deal with my disordered eating tendencies.