Holiday Season

I want to write about the holiday season.

At my Left of the Dial blog you can read about my experience with the United States Postal Service.

In here I want to talk about how the holidays are often hell-idays for a lot of us living with a diagnosis.

I lost my father in January 2016. I lost a beloved aunt in March of this year.

You are not alone if you are actually depressed at this time of year and not in a good mood during the festivities.

What can help us feel better when we’ve lost our loved ones or otherwise don’t feel like celebrating?

A modest amount of retail therapy could help. Doing a bout of spring cleaning now might seem counter-intuitive yet it might help too. Helping others by volunteering at a soup kitchen could help you.

My friend who is a soul mate to me I really think he is told me:

“Just be a good person and do good.”

That was his advice for helping yourself overcome having a hard time.

Just be a good person and do good is what I urge my loyal blog readers to adopt as a life ethic.

When all else fails, strive to get at least 7 hours of sleep straight through every night as often as you can.

I will end this blog entry by thanking you for reading this blog.

I’ve reached 5,000 visitors so far which is a great thing.

Gracias. Merci. Grazie.

A million thanks.


Ongoing Psychiatrist Questions

Questions to Ask Your Psychiatrist (Ongoing)

  1. What is my diagnosis and how did you come to that conclusion?
  2. What medication do you propose to use? (Ask for the name and dosage level.)
  3. What is the biological effect of this medication, and what do you expect it to accomplish?
  4. What are the risks associated with this medication?
  5. How soon will we be able to tell if the medication is effective, and how will we know?
  6. Are there other medications that might be appropriate? If so, why do you prefer the one you have chosen?
  7. What are the side effects of the medication? How long should I “wait out” any side effects before calling you?
  8. Are there other medications or food that I should avoid while taking this medication?
  9. How long do you expect me to be on this medication?
  10. How often will I be seeing you until the medication takes effect?
  11. If I’m taking more than one drug, when and how often should I take each one?
  12. How do you monitor medications, and what symptoms indicate that the dosage should be raised, lowered or changed?
  13. Are you currently treating other patients with this illness?
  14. What are the best times and what are the most dependable ways for getting in touch with you?
  15. What do you consider an emergency if I have to call you after hours?

Feel free to add your own questions.

New Psychiatrist Questions

New Doctor Questions

  1. If I need to call you, how long do you usually take to respond?  Do you have another doctor on-call if you’re on vacation?
  2. If I ask you questions, will you give me detailed information about why you think I need a certain treatment? I need to know the rationale behind your suggestions.
  3. What drugs do you frequently prescribe to your patients? Have you had success with these drugs?
  4. How much experience have you had with atypicals?
  5. Will you prescribe drugs “off-label” if you think it will benefit me?
  6. Will you discuss any side effects of the medication you’re treating me with, and do you have a plan in case I develop a side effect?
  7. Is your focus on mental illness treatment and recovery, or do you have a general clientele? Are you willing to be creative in custom-tailoring solutions to my treatment needs?
  8. If my parents or a third-party person needed to speak on my behalf or talk to you about my treatment, how would you handle that?
  9. What would a typical session with you be like?
  10. Do you have an area of expertise with certain illnesses?
  11. Where did you get your degree? Are you Board Certified?  How long have you been in practice?
  12. What do you feel challenges and inspires you as a doctor? [This could tell you a lot about their personal work ethic.]
  13. What hospitals do you have admitting privileges with?
  14. Are you willing to coordinate my treatment with my primary care doctor or get the results of blood work or tests from this doctor to integrate my whole health care outlook?
  15. Do you have evening or morning or weekend hours?
  16. Do you test for tardive dyskinesia? Have you ever had a patient who developed this, and what has been your experience with treating TD?
  17. Do you take my insurance? Will you bill my insurance company or do you expect me to pay up front and then submit my own claim form for reimbursement?
  18. Do you believe someone can recover from a mental illness? [This question is the gold standard. If at all you get the idea that this doctor doesn’t believe recovery is possible it will benefit you to keep looking until you find a professional who is interested in seeing his or her patients succeed in life.]

Feel free to ask any other questions that come to you that aren’t listed above and when you begin treatment also develop your own questions in addition to the ones listed below.

On the Calendar for 2017

I want to talk about something I refer to in the second book I’m trying to get published.

It’s linked to the blog entry I published Thursday on the Left of the Dial blog.

The last I checked the calendar in my apartment it was 2017. Check the calendar where you live. Does it say 2017? Good.

I refer in the book to the idea that you should think before you speak and think before you act. It related to how you interact with coworkers on a job.

I’ve had the experience of having a person offload onto an audience their experience with a microaggression.

Google the term. It’s unbelievable to me that these kinds of hateful and hurtful comments go on circa today 2017.

May I ask why it seems a lot of people think they’re better than other people who are viewed as different?

What I write in the second book refers to how to act on the job and in the workplace.

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about job topics.

In this blog entry now I’ll end by reiterating that there’s no excuse for the hate in the world.

Each of us can do the right thing regardless of how our family acted. We can break the chain of any hate that was passed down over the years. We do not have to continue in the vein of our families.

I urge readers to think before you speak. Think before you act.

What people living in the world need now more than anything is love.

What’s Happening

I’ve just printed up four copies of a manuscript and been editing the copies since two weeks ago.

The book is now skeletal in a good way: it’s shorter and has competitive information for mental health peers.

I’m keeping the title and the specifics under wraps. I hope to publish this book in one year–in October 2018 in time for Disability Employment Awareness Month.

My literary agent is confident that I should take a break from this book project and enjoy the coming weekend.

This weekend I would like to publish another Meal Plan here.

I’ll also publish in this Flourish blog  a complementary version of a blog entry linked to the blog entry I published today at the Left of the Dial blog.

Really when I titled my memoir Left of the Dial it was a prescient tactic. Now I’ve immortalized in print what I think is a healthier way to live your life.

I’ll be talking more about this in the two blogs in the coming days.

Disability Employment Awareness Month 2017

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Five years ago in October I was trained on job search techniques for people with disabilities.

Really a lot of the job search methods aren’t unique to those of us with a mental health challenge.

It’s often simply that we’ve not had access to career counseling of any kind.

Today it’s exponentially better for a lot of peers because career services are now part of a wraparound therapy plan.

We should expect to be given career counseling. It should go without saying that peers are given this kind of treatment as an adjunct to medication and talk therapy or other therapy.

It’s a victory that peers today have better options in this regard.

I’m going to write in here on weekdays about careers and alternate with writing about nutrition.

I’ve set myself down my own Food Spending Challenge.

It’s a modified version of the one Gwyneth Paltrow tried to live on to mimic the budget of a person collecting food stamps.

Stay tuned.

Dental Health

Forget mental health, I want to talk about dental health now.

Getting a cleaning is mandatory every six months that is twice a year. Your health insurance will often cover this if you have a dental plan.

Do I like the drilling? No, of course not yet I time it every time because there’s a clock on the wall to the left in front of the chair.

It should take only twenty minutes for the cleaning though of course it feels like a century.

Going every six months is no joke. Like with other medical appointments this can be an area where mental health peers fall down on.

Luckily, or proactively, I hardly ever have a cavity. You should be able to get the x-rays at every other visit which will cut down on costs if you have to pay out of your own pocket.

Yet I can’t say it’s luck, because I rarely eat chocolate or sugary foods that can cause tooth decay. Yet it could be the luck of the draw because I know plenty of people who have heartache with their teeth.

I was at MoMa years ago eating a piece of cheese in the museum cafe. My tooth chipped. It cost $422 out of my own pocket to get two teeth bonded after that. No kidding.

I don’t have the greatest teeth, they’re not an added attraction. Though I do have a great smile, my teeth aren’t white. And I’m not keen to obsess over having gleaming white teeth.

No–I won’t spend money to get my teeth sparkling. I’m not that kind of girl.

It’s true that I have fangs, not perfectly straight teeth. Luckily you can’t seem them when I smile. Yet I also haven’t had the urge to get my teeth bonded so that they look immaculate.

Please–get an x-ray at every other visit and get a cleaning twice a year at the dentist’s.

Your dental health is just as important as your mental health.