2019: More Movement, Patience and Positivity-November Edition

This was a post I didn’t want to write. It’s actually been really emotionally painful.  Everything was going fine until the morning of November 16th. I woke up, I was going to do work on my computer, plugged in my external hard drive and it wasn’t working. I tried getting my files on my grandpa’s computer; the same thing happened. I called my friend in a panic; she told me to get an extra cord and maybe it was that. On Sunday I went to Best Buy and the tech checked my hard drive. He said it was the cord. I ordered a new cord off of Amazon, and I waited almost a week for it to come in. Thursday night I said a prayer and plugged it in. Nothing changed. The following week my grandpa took me to a computer shop to see if it could be fixed. Sadly, the hard drive died without warning. I lost all my files. Now I am trying to get my blog and everything else I had back in order. I only had a few backups on some things, but not everything.

Then the day before Thanksgiving, I woke up very early in the morning. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I suddenly got very angry over my situation. Without thinking I threw my phone on the floor. I cracked the screen.  I have to pay for the damage and it is going to be expensive.

I know that this all isn’t the greatest news in the world, however there are some movement, patience and positivity in all this.

When it comes to movement, I know that I have a slight chance of getting my files back. I plan of sending my drive to a friend to see if he can fix it. In the mean time I am going to work with my editor on the things she does have while I am working on new exciting content.  The writing and disability community has been amazing. People have reminded me to keep positive and to keep going. I know that I can get my phone fixed. It may take some time to get an appointment, but I can get it repaired. I have definitely learned not to let anger get a hold of me.

When it comes to patience, I am learning to give myself time to get caught up on the work I can. It’s going to take some time and this is okay. Any movement and progress is better than nothing.

Lastly, I had to learn to stay positive in all this. I can’t let this setback hold me back. I have a great support team and I’ll make it through.

How was your month? What are your goals for December? Tell me in the comments below.

Thanksgiving celebration 2019

I hope each of you had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday. I enjoyed my holiday. I woke up early to help grandpa with a few house chores before he made his famous coconut cake. After I helped him with the chores, I finished a quick load of laundry.

I then cleaned up my room before I sat down for a rest. I wasn’t feeling my best since this week was a rough one. After a few hours of binge listening to music on YouTube a friend of mine came and picked me up. We went and met with a group of friends at Denny’s. They had all different kinds of foods to feast on. I didn’t want the Thanksgiving meal that they offered, so I ordered an Oreo cookie milkshake and a cheeseburger and fries. The milkshake was so thick and it tasted amazing. It really hit my sweet tooth. My hamburger was so big that I had a hard time picking it up. I had to slowly pick it up and eat from the sides. I have to say that the cheeseburger was very juicy and the bun was bursting with flavor. While we all ate and enjoyed our meals, we let the conversations bounce from one topic to another. From clothes to health…

To be honest, even though I was enjoying the day my mind was preoccupied with all the problems that I have been facing lately. I had to work hard to try to push them aside. Soon it was time to get back home. My friend took a longer way to get me home. It was so nice to look out the window and see all the pretty fall colors the countryside had to offer.

When I got home, I let Duke outside to play. Then I went and watched a movie on Netflix. It was nice to sit and just not worry about anything for a while.

When my grandpa came home, from the party he went to, he told me about his afternoon and he told me about the dinner plate that he had brought me. Even though I was still full from my lunch I took a small taste of everything on my plate. I had green bean casserole, mac and cheese, and turkey. It all tasted fresh!

I am really thankful for my family and friends. What are you thankful for? What did you do for Thanksgiving? Tell me in the comments below.

My Mental health journey…Let’s talk about Anxiety

Anxiety is a condition that I didn’t want to admit that I had. In fact, I didn’t know that I had anxiety until I started talking about my symptoms with my therapist during my first therapy session.

According to The Centre for Clinical Interventions worksheet What is Anxiety?, “The experience of anxiety is very similar to the experience of fear-the main difference is that anxiety occurs in the absence of real danger. That is, the individual may think that they are in danger but the reality is they are not.”

According to Mayo Clinic, there are two different kinds of factors that can cause anxiety. Those factors can either be external such as being worried about grades at school, work,  or relationships. Some of the factors can be internal such as having genetic links from other close family members who have similar mental health issues and physical symptoms from the misuse of drugs that are either illegal or prescription, etc.

I know that there are several factors that can influence me to have anxiety. I have close family members that either had or have mental health issues, my mother unexpectedly died of a heart attack when I was 16, when I was in high school and college I worried about my academic performance, and now I have anxiety about trying to get my business started.

I remember the first time I had an anxiety attack. It was after my mother died. I was struggling with grief. I was sitting in my rocking chair at my grandparent’s house, and I was thinking about my mother’s sudden passing. I remember taking deep breaths without realizing it. My grandpa asked if I was okay. I responded that I was probably just tired. I struggled with sleeping that night. I remember waking up very early in the morning. I needed a drink of water, so I went into the kitchen and got a drink. While I was drinking, I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe. My breathing started to increase and I started having chest pains. I started to panic. I had a fear that I was going to die. I remember crying out. This was one of my first of many panic attacks.  After that major panic attack, I had several stomach aches. My grandparents took me to several doctor appointments to try to find out what was causing all the issues. In October of 2005, I had a kidney infection and several viral infections. After those cleared up, I still had issues with my stomach. The doctors stated that it was due to stress and anxiety, and they suggested that I try therapy.

I had such painful anxiety and panic attack symptoms that I took the doctor’s advice. I went to an outpatient trauma therapist.  Because I was still in high school, I saw the therapist during the school day. We talked about the loss of my mother and other events, from my childhood, that affected me. I felt like the therapist was pushing me to talk about things that I did not want to talk about, so I stopped the sessions. I buried myself into my studies. Even though this helped push my anxiety aside I still had symptoms.

I still have physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America-Understand the Facts Symptoms, some symptoms of anxiety may include the following: “…Sweating, Trembling or shaking, nausea or abdominal distress, chills or heat sensations, etc.”

When I have anxiety some of my main symptoms are headaches, tight muscles, stomach cramps, and shortness of breath. I constantly have negative thoughts during this time period. I feel that nothing good will come out of my problems.

To help me cope with my anxiety and negative thoughts I use the following self-care techniques:

  • I challenge my negative thoughts to become positive ones. Here is an example, last weekend my cable for my hard drive went out. I kept thinking that my business would fail even before I launch it. Then my friend reminded me that she, my business coach or caseworker may have copies of my work. I have learned that sometimes lost work can lead to even better work.
  • I write in my journal. Writing for me isn’t just for my profession, I write for personal reasons too. I can just let my feelings fall onto the page. By the time I finish writing I feel more relaxed. I can see what the main problem is and how I can fix it.
  • I can take a warm bath with my favorite bath salts or bath bombs. I love the smell of lavender. The warmth of the water helps with my achy muscles.  The bath makes me tired. After I get into my PJ’s I go to sleep. I wake up with a relaxed body and a fresh mindset.
  • I can call a friend. When I am in a deep attack and I can’t get a hold of myself I call a friend. Usually a quick chat about the problem(s) and finding solutions to those problem(s) calm me down.

These are just some self-care techniques that work for me, and they may not work for everyone. Everyone is different when it comes to managing their anxiety.

I did not learn these coping skills on my own. In 2015 I checked myself into outpatient therapy. My therapist helped me start a list on how to deal with my anxiety and depression. I have read many other blogs that deal with mental health and I find some of their suggestions to be helpful.

Do you struggle with anxiety? What coping skills do you use to help? Tell me in the comments below.

Author’s Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. If you are having problems with either your physical or mental health please seek proper medical care from a health care professional. I am just sharing my own experiences so you know you are not alone.

Learning to be thankful for the vision you do have

In November many people stop and reflect on what they are thankful for. I have been thankful for many different things in my life such as my grandpa, my dog, the technology I use and even the vision that I do have.

I wasn’t always like this, back when I first met my best friend, I was going through the grieving process for my visual impairment. According to NOVO Renewing Joy In Life/ Grieving a disability, “There are five stages of grieving. The five stages are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.” When I step back and look at these five stages, I can see that I went through them at different times in my life. Which according to the NOVO website is normal.

My best friend saw me go through stages of anger, sadness, depression and eventually acceptance

When I was going through the anger stage, I used to tell my best friend, “I wish I could just lose it all. That way, I can get a guide dog and get more help.” My best friend was kind but firm with me. She told me that I needed to be thankful for the vision that I had. At the time I was going through my first round of training for how to use a long white cane. One day my Orientation and Mobility teacher had me put on a blindfold and she had me do several daily living skills tasks such as walking down to the cafeteria and back to my dorm, find an outfit, and brush my teeth and hair. I found most of those tasks very hard to complete. When she had me take off my blindfold, I felt thankful for the sight that I did have. I asked my teacher, “How can my best friend, who is totally blind, do all this so easily?” Her answer was simple. “Training. But why don’t you ask your friend that question.”

Later that day, when my friend and I were talking about my lesson, I asked, “How do you do all the daily tasks that I did today? I was so frustrated.” Her reply was simple. I’ve been blind so many years that I’ve learned to cope. Then she went on to say something that has stuck with me for so many years. “When you get done with your lesson you get to take the blindfold off and your vision that you have gets to come back. I never have that chance.”

There are times that I feel sadness, for example, when the Paratransit doesn’t show up to take me to an appointment. During the time that I was going through the denial stage I started to focus on the things that I couldn’t do. I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t use a computer without the help of a screen reader and magnifier. When I started focusing on the things that I couldn’t do, I fell into a depression. Other things in my life such as the loss of my beloved pet sent me into a time period of depression. I knew that I wasn’t getting better on my own, so I checked myself into outpatient counseling.

My therapist and my support network of friends and family helped me realize how lucky I am to be able to do a lot of things despite my visual impairment. I had to learn to see the positives in life. I cannot drive, and sometimes the paratransit services does not show up on time, but at least I can use the service. I have read on some support group posts that some people do not have such a service and they do not have a very supportive network therefore they are stuck. I am lucky to have a grandfather that is willing to take me to places as long as we make arrangements in advance.

I haven’t had many job interviews and when I do many employers haven’t heard of the word, Nystagmus. This has given me the opportunity to educate others on the condition. Another opportunity I have gained from this is I am in the process of trying to start my own business. My aim of my business is to help others with sight loss including parents of children who have Nystagmus. I hope to educate the general population about sight loss and help them understand that even though we have sight loss we can achieve a lot.

It breaks my heart hearing parents that are worried about their child’s future and then they post things such as, “My child’s life is over!” To me it isn’t over. You are just grieving. I had to go through the grieving process. I had to learn that it is normal to go through this process. The problem is when you get stuck on an emotion and you stay there instead of working through it. Believe me I was once there; I felt angry at my visual impairment, I wanted things to be different. I felt that if I wasn’t born this way I would be married, have children of my own, and I would be in the middle of a great career. However, I had to learn to accept that I am not that person. I do have a disability and there is nothing I can do to change that physically. What I can do is to learn to adapt things so I can do something that I couldn’t do before.

All of these things have helped me reach the level of acceptance. I no longer mention to my friend that I want to lose all the sight I have. I take pride in the fact that I am a proficient ZoomText and Kurzweil user. I have skills that can help the visually impaired community. I am happy. I feel that that is one of the most important things I can feel. I am happy with the person that I have become.

 

Sun Shine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger award (2019)

I was nominated for the Sunshine blogger award by Ski who runs the blog, Outdoorswiththeskis.

As always there are rules that have to be posted:

The Award Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate (at least) 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog. (You can make your own award logo)

Here are the questions she asked me:

  1. Why do you love blogging? Because I get to inspire others.
  2. What is your favorite hobby besides blogging? Reading.
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? England
  4. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your blog? My name is Amanda Gene. I am 31 years old. My blog was started as a college project and I never stopped blogging. Now my blog’s focus is on mental health, vision loss, other fun tags.
  5. What is your favorite season and why? Fall because of the cooler weather.
  6. How often do you post in your blog? I post every Saturday.
  7. Do you love blogging? Love it!
  8. What is your favorite type of food? Hamburgers.
  9. What got you started in blogging? A college project that I had to do as part of my grade.
  10. How did you choose your blog name? I chose to use my first and middle name because of the unique spelling of my middle name.
  11. What is your least favorite chore? I would have to say yard work.

Here are my 11 questions:

  1. What is your favorite app?
  2. What is one thing that can make you cry?
  3. What is one thing that can make you laugh?
  4. What is one of your least favorite foods?
  5. What is one piece of technology that you can not go without using?
  6. Are you a inside or outside kind of person?
  7. What was your major in college?
  8. Did you get a job with the degree you earned?
  9. What was the last thing you had to drink?
  10. What was the last thing you ate?
  11. Why did you start blogging?

 

My nominations:

  1. @maxwellivey
  2. @LiveAccessible
  3. @WeRCaptivating
  4. @bvwdreamer
  5. @blindlikeus
  6. @BeckieWrites
  7. @lukesamsowden
  8. @BlogbyAilsa
  9. @TIVP_Official
  10. @JoyRossBlind
  11. @BoldBlindBeauty

 

 

 

 

How I am going to spend Veteran’s Day

Happy Veteran’s Day everyone! Thank you to all our current and past serving military that have served and continue to serve to keep our country safe. For those of you who don’t know my father was in the Air Force.  I grew up as a military dependent for the first few years of my life.

 

It feels so nice to get an extra day off in addition to the weekend. I will be taking the day to rest. To be honest I haven’t taken an official day off in a while. I have been working hard on all of my projects. I have plans to read and take some naps. Right now, I am reading, Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke. If you have not checked out this author, I highly recommend her.

 

What are your plans for Veteran’s Day? Tell me in the comments below. 😊

2019: More Movement, Patience and Positivity October Edition

Another month has come and gone. I am so shocked with how fast the year has been coming and going. Soon I will be telling you about the next theme for 2020.

Movement I have been making some positive movement with life. I continue to exercise. This has helped me with my weight management and with my mental health. I had a meeting with my new Vocational Rehabilitation caseworker and business coach. We are going through step four of my business plan. I was nervous about the outcome of the meeting. I am happy to report that I was able to get a lot of questions answered about my business plan. I am waiting to hear about my technology needs.  I have plans to share a special YouTube video on an update on how my meeting went.

Patience has really been tested this month. I have been having some anxiety about the changes with my caseworker. Two of my past caseworkers were not very helpful. Now that I have talked to my new caseworker, I have learned that she wants to help me when it comes to reaching my career goals. I have to remind myself that it takes time to reach your career goals.

Positivity has been pretty good for me this month. My editor and I have made even more progress on my book. I know that I keep saying I want to have it published by a certain date that has already come and gone. I just need to get this book right before everyone sees it. I have to keep reminding myself that the more positive thoughts and feelings that I feel the more positive things will happen to me.

What has been going on with your lives? Has anything positive been going on? Tell me in the comments below.