Thursday, July 31, 2014

Big Apple Vacation!

Big Apple Vacation!
Top Row:  Lane Bryant Neon Pink Striped V-neck Tee, Pink and White Striped V-neck Tee, Black and White Striped V-neck Tee, White V-neck Tee.  Woman Within Violet V-neck Tee.  Middle Row:  J. Jill Tried & True Slim Fit Ankle Jeans, Black Linen Pants, Rose Crinkle Scarf.  Ultrafino Panama Fedora,  Bottom Row: Propet White and Blue Athletic Shoes, Chaco Sandals, Pink and White Canvas Tote. 

I'm planning a stay-cation in New York City, from Monday, August 18 to Sunday, August 24.  I know it sounds ridiculous to say I need a vacation, when I'm on disability, and theoretically I "don't work," but the fact is I'm doing some kind of mental health advocacy work on a daily basis, and I'm "on call" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

On Mondays, I write the events article for the following week for NAMI NYC Staten Island, for the local paper, the Staten Island Advance.  Then I have to make sure it gets into the paper (sometimes despite my best efforts, it doesn't, which is always disappointing).  I also plan and arrange the monthly information meetings for NAMI NYC Staten Island, so on Mondays I try to make my initial contacts for the upcoming month's information meeting, and then the rest of the week I follow through on that with phone calls and e-mails, and personal meetings, if necessary (which are rare).  

I also do outreaches with my friend Patty and other volunteers, where we go to different events in the community, set up a table with our literature, and talk to the public.  We also refer people to different resources in the community, and other tables at the event which can help them with their particular concern.  Patty's really good at what she does, and I learn a great deal from watching her in action.  We also meet with elected officials at these events, which is why I try to dress neatly and respectably, even though they are usually casual outdoor events.  

My friend Dwight and I also run a support group every other Tuesday at a partial hospital program.  Partial hospital is a day program for people who have just been discharged from the psychiatric inpatient units of the local hospitals, and it runs from 10 AM to 2:30 PM.  It gives people structure to their day, and helps with support and education after being in the hospital, while transitioning back into their role in the community, whatever that may be.  

Then I sometimes get calls from people who are in crisis, or just want to talk to someone, and that can happen anytime of the day or night.  So ... yeah, I have my hands full, even though it's not a full-time paying job.  

But!  For one week I'm going to be on vacation - no calls, no articles to write, I will not e-mail anyone, I will not run any support groups - I will be free, free, free!!!  I will also be poor, poor, poor for the first two days of my vacation, so I won't be going very far.  I hope to do the following things, though, when I do get some money:

  1. Visit the Fashion Institute of Technology's Museum exhibit, Exposed: A History of Lingerie
  2. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian
  3. Visit the Staten Island Botanical Gardens at Sailors' Snug Harbor Cultural Center
  4. Visit The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  5. I'd also like to visit some friends, too, if they'll have me.  

I think I'll need a vacation to recover from my stay-cation!  As you can tell, those sneakers and sandals will come in handy.  As will the hat, to keep the sun from baking my head.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Going for a Pedicure!

Going for a Pedicure!
Lane Bryant Pink & White Striped V-neck Tee, J. Jill Tried & True Slim Fit Ankle Jeans, Pink & White Tote, Chaco Sandals. 

Well, really I went to the podiatrist, but I did get a pedicure, so that's glamorous, right?  Right!  

I really didn't feel like going, and my anxiety level was through the roof, but I got it together and went to the appointment, and I got home OK, so I was worried for no reason.  Wearing a cute outfit helped me get my butt in gear and get out of the house.  Yes, how could I possibly keep all that delicious PINK goodness to myself?  No, my friends, I could not! 

The actual tote bag was this:

I don't know ... is that PINK enough for you???

In Our Own Voice Presentation

In Our Own Voice Presentation
Sealed With A Kiss Designs Lulu Chiffon Skirt in Black, Lane Bryant Striped V-neck Tee in Black & White Stripe, Chaco Sandals.  Ralph Lauren Pink & White Canvas Tote. 

Last Wednesday, 7/23/2014, I did an In Our Own Voice presentation at a Jewish Community Center here on Staten Island.  My friend Dwight and I presented to an audience of health care staff who worked in the JCC's social work program.  Most of the staff were social workers and case managers, and some were home health aides who worked directly with the clients in their homes.  

In Our Own Voice is a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Signature Program, where people who are living with a diagnosis of a mental illness go out into the community and speak to various groups.  So far we've spoken to college students, health care professionals, family members and other peers living with a diagnosis, and audiences at health fairs.  We talk about our experiences living with a diagnosis, from the beginning of the illness, when we were first diagnosed, to accepting our condition and learning to live with it, treatment options we've employed, and coping skills we've learned to manage our symptoms and live well in recovery.  The last part is my favorite:  Successes, Hopes and Dreams.  That's the time to talk about the good things that have happened in life since becoming diagnosed, and our hopes and plans for the future. 

The group Dwight and I spoke to on Wednesday asked excellent questions and were very attentive during the presentation.  

I enjoy doing these presentations, even though they can sometimes be nerve-wracking when speaking to large audiences, because I know I'm getting the word out that it's possible to live well and take care of yourself and have a productive life, even though you may have a psychiatric condition, and even though you may be disabled.  It's a very positive experience, and I know my co-presenters and I are reaching out to people and connecting with the wider community, and educating the public.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hot, Hot Summer Night

Hot, Hot Summer Night
Dressing to Stay Cool:  J. Jill Black V-Neck Elbow Sleeve Tee, Ulla Popken Shorts, SWAK Designs Lulu Black Chiffon Pleated Skirt, Birkenstock Arizona Birko Flors in Silver.   Body Care for a Hot Night:  EOS Lip Balm, Body Glide, The Body Shop Moringa Shower Gel, Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Facial Moisturizer, The Body Shop Moringa Body Butter.  

Last Monday night, I was asked to speak at a NAMI Family-to-Family meeting.  It's been hot here lately, so I decided to wear my new pleated chiffon skirt from Sealed With A Kiss Designs.  It was so deliciously cool and light!  It's longer than it looks in the picture - more of a midi-length than knee length, so it provides good coverage without being heavy.  Proper undergarments were necessary, of course, so the Ulla Popken shorts were called into service, and they did the job of keeping me cool and dry without revealing too much skin.  The black J. Jill V-neck elbow sleeve tee kept me cool and covered up, which was necessary later in the evening, when we were in an air-conditioned room.  The silver Arizona Birko Flors are good for short walks, but uncomfortable for long distances. 

Family-to-Family is a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Signature Program.  It's an education class where family members and loved ones of someone living with a psychiatric diagnosis can learn to improve their communication skills, self-care skills and coping skills when helping their loved one.  It has helped countless families and improved the lives of the family members and the people living with the diagnosis.  Towards the end of the class, peers living with a psychiatric diagnosis come to speak to the class about their experiences with their families - what helped, what didn't help, what their family members could have done better, and what made a difference in their recovery.  That's where I come in - I talk about how my family helped me through my difficult times.  Sometimes they provided tough love when I needed it, and sometimes they provided gentle, loving support.  My family, as well as my friends, have definitely made the difference for me, and I'm grateful for that. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Coach tote bag

Coach Poppy Small Tote In Signature C Metallic Outline Fabric

Coach Poppy Small Tote In Signature C Metallic Outline Fabric (see more coach handbags)

I bought this tote yesterday online at the Coach semi-annual sale.  50% off!  I need a professional-looking tote bag for my work days and for the winter months.  One can get away with carrying around a canvas beach bag only at certain times of the year.