A story about a frog…

Soooo it has been a very hard weekend although I had a lovely day of relaxing with my adult children….

I volunteered at our local farm and met a frog (or two). I even took a picture of Harold (yes I named him and Harry for short) but because of technical issues with my new laptop can’t post it. I was so happy to be gardening with froggies. I enjoyed it so much that I am going back Tuesday to finish what I started…

Back to the frog. I have been obsessed with Jason Mraz and pretty much only listen to him. Well I found a new old singer that I am listening to right now singing “Sweet Caroline”, yes it is Neil Diamond and he sings about a frog becoming a king or prince. I am blown away again by a God shot like this. Thank you Neil Diamond for so many years of great music and I just found you! He is still alive, I think he is 80. I need a vinyl but I love his concerts the most. I am sending him a picture of the frog I met; he has a whole room dedicated to frogs called his frogatorium! One more is on the way.

So why did this mean so much? Because I know I need help and yes it is on the way but I am here now and the only thing that helps is to be busy and music. And I really needed a break from Jason, sorry man, I’m your biggest fan but need a bit of a break. Neil Diamond is providing that along with a few others, Simon & Garfunkel too! Music helps me so much.

So Harry I hope you are well and will visit me again on Tuesday.

For now I am simply doing the very best I can with what God has given me.

I am traveling this week so don’t think I will be blogging much but back by Friday for my assessment with my new therapist.

peace llove light and joy

Victoria

Quote of the day… —

I love getting these quotes in my email every day. I always have to look at the pic below and often imagine my favorite quotes above my sofa… This one means a lot to me. Robin Williams in I forget the movie (help someone) encourages his students with this phrase in such an impactful way. It brings tears to my eyes or might be from seeing my dad today. Thinking about those who have passed or may in the near future. Makes me want to hold all my loved ones close…Not suicidal happy to report and house to myself tonight! Going to garden, clean and write! pax Victoria

Quote of the day… —

May Joys…

There is so much joy in the month of May for me. I enjoy being in my garden late in the day with my doggies at my side relaxing and enjoying the hard work of me and my daughter with a full veggie section and planting the flower part tomorrow!

I am working on the depression piece for May series 2021 but I’m not gonna lie it’s kind of depressing to write about depression especially when one finds themselves situationally depressed although I am coming out of it because I found my therapist after 3 consults. The consults themselves wiped me out so I took a long bath tonight and am choosing to write about things that bring me joy.

Be back in a sec…

Because I choose to be like Scarlett O’hara and think about tomorrow tomorrow…

I am taking a lot of me time. Realizing huge gaps in my memory about my childhood because of what it was like for an empath to grow up feeling unloved due to heavy criticism and some verbal abuse from my mother. I sought love everywhere, other families would sort of adopt me, I enjoyed spending time with the elderly and I excelled in school although not to my full potential but I did damn good.

May is not only Mental Health Awareness Month but it is also the month of Mary! I have a Mary garden and it is blooming nicely just for her. Ivy has grown around her statuette and the rose bush is blooming partially.

I am forcing myself to keep positive right now. As I type I think of all the things wrong in any given topic with my life, gardens hell life. Yet I choose because I want to to look on the bright side. I’m not all about rainbows and butterflies but I do try to keep it real and that is why I love blogging…

But as for tomorrow, we, my mom and I, are going to visit my dad, which we always know may be the last time…

I have the morning planned out to get shit done and then the afternoon to just chill and go to bed as early as I want! The house is prepped today, there is food ready to eat in the fridge and all is well.

I know that finding a therapist that I can connect with and who has expertise in both DID and Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder is bringing much relief. She did question my diagnosis as DID and Schizophrenia can be confused but in DID one dissociates (which I have since an early age) and Schizophrenia (no dissociatinng). I am already learning from her and I like her. But I know I have both and am seeking integration of all my different parts.

So taking a break after the visit with my mom and dad tomorrow and have my grief therapist on Friday afternoon. If I feel up to it I am going to volunteer that morning at Growing Grounds a farm that supports the mental health program I am involvevd in. But only if I can get to bed early…

What are some things that bring you joy in May?

peace, love and light and joy

Victoria

Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder May Series 2021…

Welcome to the first blog of this year’s way I am celebrating May Mental Health Awareness Month by doing a series on the many facets to my disorder, some of which is questionable, but alas that it for another day.

My name is Victoria Marie Alonso and I diagnosed myself with Schizophrenia later to be confirmed by a team of doctors at UCLA in 2008 (my delusions said it had to be a team because I was so special) with the first psychotic break at age 36 in 2006. If you want to read about how I received the gift of Schizophrenia click here. Meds helped stop the messages I was receiving daily (from I thought to be from heaven) right away. I sought help because the messages were interfering with my daily functioning as a mother and wife. I actually thought my husband was going to die later that year. It was quite a distressing and scary time. Gratefully he did not die! I was wrong about many prophecies and messages but not all so it is still a confusing 2 years of very strange occurrences, voices, messages, thought insertion and grandiose delusions plus paranoia after leaving UCLA.

My psychiatrist who I saw after 7 day terrible stay at UCLA (but met some cool friends) is the same one I have had since being diagnosed. He and I questioned the validity of the need for meds because I was doing so well, so I went off them under his care after a few months. Things did not go well; I became suicidal and severely depressed so was rehospitalized for 3 days at a great psychatric ward under my pdoc’s care who fine-tuned my diagnosis to Schizoaffective Disorder. I restabilized and have not tried to go off my meds again. I have not heard voices since 2007 and very rarely any messages except when God wants to touch down.

Post-diagnosis I received my Bachelor’s in Sociology 2010 and Master’s in Psychology in 2012. School was easy but working proved difficult in the mental health field. I suppose I was still in some sort of denial about my abilities to manage stress but did end up helping many families while I worked as therapist intern from 2011 till 2015. Stress took me out though and I have been on permanent disability since 2015. I have tried to work a few times but having a boss does not agree with me, so I write and manage a few properties we own (buying).

2018 was my third and last hospitalization. Stress in my marriage and suicidal again. Things are good now thank goodness!

For the most part my Schizoaffective Disorder is managed quite well. Still some delusions and false prophecies so I don’t try anymore and am able to just ignore messages if they involve prophecies. Depression has crept back in though but willl be adressing that in another blog this month.

A few readers have asked me what the difference is between Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorder. Basically Schizoaffective Disorder is Schizophrenia (loss of touch with reality with positive, negative and cognitive symptoms) plus mood disorder, manic (which I love when it comes mostly) or depressive (currently in this phase).

What does the DSM have to say about these disorders for those interested in the latest developments in research? It is controversial in some arenas due to its empahasis on medicinal intervention but I feel that it has much value due to the combined effort of experts.

First, what is the DSM and what is it used for? ” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health.” America Psychiatric Association. “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the handbook used by health care professionals in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. DSM contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders.” resource here.

Here is what the DSM-5 says about Schizophrenia- The presence of 2 (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated), with at least 1 of them being (1), (2), or (3): (1) delusions, (2) hallucinations, (3) disorganized speech, (4) grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, and (5) negative symptoms

In referring to the positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms, positive symptoms include 1- delusions 2- hallucinations (auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory (smell)); while negative symptoms are the more neglected symptoms that people with either disorder, Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective, deal with.

I have already written much about negative symptoms so feel free to search this blog using search feature to left of my title and a bunch of blogs will come up but this one stands out the most to me- Dealing with the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia which explains in more detail what they are. I am taking gingko now and have seen a tremendous difference in negative symptoms especially with completing tasks. Things are much clearer and helps me to get shit done!!!

Now for Schizoaffective Disorder and the DSM-5. The specific DSM5 criteria for schizoaffective disorder are as follows[1]: A. An uninterrupted duration of illness during which there is a major mood episode (manic or depressive) in addition to criterion A for schizophrenia; the major depressive episode must include depressed mood.

I qualify!

Hope this was helpful! For an informational video about Schizophrenia by CureSZ my favorite Schizophrenia non-profit check it out here!

Next exploring, explaining depression.

peace, love light and joy

Victoria

May Series 2021 line up…

It is still April here but excited to start working on my May series 2021. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month so it is appropriate for May to be my theme month for a series. Kinda cool to me:) For last years May series 2020 you can click here. It is about how to survive the pandemic at home…At the end of the lineup I will include a short summary of what mental health awareness means to me. Feel free to chime in also. Safe Haven where I receive services asked me to type something up and send it to her to share anonymously of course.

Each day I will blog about one aspect of my diagnosis- I am including some descriptions and will tag all posts in case you miss one. I plan to use the newest DSM manual. Allow me to get some use out of my Master’s in psychology and dazzle you ha ha. Not sure yet but will probably be my typical storytelling along with information gathering to share.

  • Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorder- I have been diagnosed with both, originally Schizophrenia but when depression set in was finetuned to Schizoaffective Disorder and fighting depression again lately…
  • Depression- will discuss the intricacies of my personal experience with hard to treat depression and stories of others I have known since 2008 who have also suffered from it.
  • Bipolar tendencies- my many moods or is it something else?
  • Anxiety- how I cope on a day to day basis
  • OCD DID disorder/OSDD
  • The importance of a care team
  • Fighting the stigma right now!

I’m very open to topics and nuances others may wish explored along these titles. Feel free to email with any suggestions (see below for email).

Mental Health Awareness to me means being heard and having doctors and therapists, friends and family and sometimes strangers realize they are not in our head and can never be. For them to understand that sometimes it is super hard to put into …words what is going on with me. It also means fighting the stigma. We are not to be feared but respected and treated in a way that is not condescending or dismissive. It really means so much. I have been on the other side and have done my share of judging. But no more…

Please feel free your thoughts on Mental Health Awareness Month to share in the comments or I can be reached at victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com I respond to all emails so far. Might take me a few days but I think about it and answer when I feel like I can.

I had my “big appointment” today but sadly he didn’t know much about DID disorder and had never heard of OSDD disorder. He did refer me to a specialist (for me to find which I did) and basically when do I want to see him again? I am a little disappointed as he knew what I was seeing him for but it is what it is. I am throwing myself into my gardening, writing and cooking this weekend.

peace, love light and joy

Victoria

Tips on Preparing for a mental health appointment…

I am set tomorrow to see my psychiatrist about my noted recent mental health concerns at 7am. I don’ t get up till 9am usually, so this preparation is already starting with my caffeine intake and plans to get to bed by 11. I do not do well without sleep as do most of us so this is important. I can always go back to bed if needed I suppose so we shall see.

Last night I wrote out my brief points I wish to discuss with my psychiatrist tomorrow. I only get 15-20 minutes for the appointment and there is much to cover so although when I am doing well I don’t always do this, I felt it was extremely important to write things down for this and past crucial appointments. I included past times of dissociation prior to being diagnosed with Schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder and when others had noticed it.

I also have had to think much about my privacy at that time as my husband is scheduled to leave for a trip around 6am so hopefully he will be gone and everyone else will still be asleep. I do have a plan B though to just go on my phone in my car if others are around. I do miss in person appointments with the safety of being in his office. I have tested all my new equipment and it is all working.

Wonderful today I received a message from my psychiatrist to complete a specific how I am doing the past two weeks assessment, which I did. This made me very happy as it shows that he is prepping as well for this appointment. I have been with the same psychiatrist for the past 13 years so we know each other well and the best part is that I feel heard when I speak to him of my concerns and never judged. He values my insight into my conditions and is very respectful of wherever I am at. So high hopes tomorrow!

Will blog tomorrw hopefully and give an update.

Wishing you all a wonderful day and weekend ahead:)

peace love light and joy

Victoria

Upcoming May 2021 series…

Last year one of my greatest accomplishments by far was May series 2020 and how I learned to navigate being at home while having a serious brain mental health disorder. This May I find myself at a much different place than last year in terms of my mental health.

So I have decided to blog about these many changes. Ideas are welcome but the focus is on dealing with the many facets of having multiple disorders within my system. My official diagnosis so far is Schizoaffective Disorder (Schizophrenia plus depression) with bipolar tendencies, OCD and anxiety and now DID disorder or OSDD disorder.

I will be blogging as much as I can to have a compodium of information relevant to anybody interested.

I have put writing the books on hold for now but they are there when I have the desire to work on them some more. Shifting always.

peace love light and joy

Victoria

Navigating recognizing mental health changes…

When changes or recognizing patterns that have always been there concerning my mental health occurrs what should one do for the easiest transition?

For me it is in this order~

Checking in with my care team starting with my psychiatrist who I have had for 13 years now since being diagnosed with Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder in 2008. I trust him with my mental health. Have never felt judged. But I know I must be honest with him to my best ability for that is the only way I will get answers.

Next checked in with my adult daughter who has been my mental health support since 2008 also. She is always a good ear and I mostly agree with her feedback but not always. We have a great relationship though so it is not the easiest to discuss with her until I speak to my psychiatrist anyway. She needs that validation I suppose.

Finally, I just had a session with my therapist of old because she knows me. It was ok but I felt I was teaching her more about the disorder than her. But it was good practice to be able to explain how these changes came about or recognition of the symptoms that have been present since I was little.

Lastly, I have been receiving support from my group called Safe Haven where I began to learn about DID and OSDD disorders. They don’t have it but are supportive.

I’m having a rough week and it’s barely Monday. The concert distracted me at a fabulous level but now back to feeling discombobulated. But I know the best way for me to cope with the unknown condition of my mental health which I would call unraveling is to be busy. So off I go to clean the house. Well at least after I listen to my fave Jason MRaz song ” I won’t give up”.

peace love light and joy

Victoria

Guest article~Career-Friendly Tech Tools for People with Disabilities…

Thank you Ed Carter a retired financial planner (click here to learn more about his serrvices), for another helpful article this blog this time on working for the disabled. Using these apps can be helpful. Feel free to share this blog on your own platform. This is Ed’s second guest piece and very appreciative for this great information. pax v


Image via Pexels

Career-Friendly Tech Tools for People with Disabilities

Are you looking for ways to give your career a boost, or to just make your workday a little easier? Technology is loaded with solutions these days. Regardless of what concern you have, there are tools and ideas that can help. Read on for some of the most affordable and accessible gadgets and apps that can help you achieve your goals.

Phone Accessibility

As Scope explains, most of today’s phones are loaded with accessibility features that can be helpful to users with disabilities. Turning on text-to-speech, using dictation, and just using the built-in voice assistant can make communication and surfing easier for both work and pleasure. Many phones come with a magnification option, and you can adjust things like your screen’s brightness and text size for your comfort. Be sure to explore the tools already at your disposal before adding new apps to your device.

There are also simple ways to improve the quality of your experience, like adding Popsockets. These gripping accessories make holding your phone more comfortable, and they come in a wide range of styles to suit your personal and professional preferences.

A carrying case can also be a boon. Being able to keep your phone clipped to your belt, slipped into an arm band or looped around your neck means being able to use it comfortably while on the go, so you can always connect with clients or coworkers.

JAWS(R) screen reader

As the American Foundation for the Blind explains, screen readers read the text on your device using a speech synthesizer or braille display. JAWS(R) is one of the top screen readers now available for blind and vision-impaired users. It’s also helpful for individuals with learning disabilities. The JAWS program provides Braille and speech output for the most common apps used with a PC. You can use JAWS to write a document, surf the web, create presentations, and read an email. Plus, it’s a tool you can use anywhere — when you’re working at home, at the office, or from a remote desktop.

ZoomText screen magnifier and reader

People with low vision can also turn to the screen magnification and reading program ZoomText. This technology is a fully integrated reading and magnification program for low-vision users. It enlarges and enhances everything displayed on the computer screen. Then, it automatically reads out loud your documents, web pages, and email instantly after hovering. 

VRS – video relay services

VRS (video relay service)  is an option for assisting workers with low hearing.  A video relay service is a type of telecommunications relay service provided by the US federal government in all fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico.

With VRS, people who are hearing impaired communicate with video technologies using sign language instead of typed text. The person in need of assistance contacts the telecommunications relay center, and works with a communications assistant or CA who is certified in American sign language. The CA then calls the person who the user needs to reach out to, relaying messages back and forth between the two parties using American sign language and voice. There are also services like Purple that use top technology and interpreters for improved efficiency and accuracy in VRS communication.

AVA – voice transcription app

The voice transcription app Ava is designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. Your mobile device picks up voices in a conversation, and Ava converts those words into text which shows up on the mobile phone or tablet display. In addition, there’s a keyboard in Ava for deaf and speech-impaired users. The person uses the keyboard to type out what they want to say, and the words are projected through speakers on the phone.

These are just a few of the assistive technologies available today. In addition to technologies for the hard-of-hearing- the speech impaired, or blind / visually impaired which we highlighted here, there are also apps for individuals who are cognitively impaired and for physically disabled individuals. 

Connect with mypersonalrecoveryfromschizophrenia for more worthwhile information, ideas and information that can help with facing life’s challenges.  

Ongoing drama with identities..and some fun 🤩

It’s all making sense now as my different alters emerge and as I am able identifying them. Kinda fun yet tedious. There are ten so far. They are competing tonight between tidying and writing ✍️.

Now for the fun! Me and my daughter are going to see Jason mraz in love concert this Saturday!!!!! So excited and found my new track to listen to! That’s why I’m staying up late.🙃🦋

Gardening 🧑‍🌾 is coming along nicely. I do enjoy it immensely. Must trim roses 🌹 tomorrow. It’s been cold 🥶 lately and that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!😃

I do have an appointment with my psychiatrist soon; been with him for 13 years now so thinking 🤔 it will go ok.

Ordered new glasses today on zenni optical online. Had to get my new prescription from Walmart though. I hate wearing glasses 🤓 but that’s just me.

Laptop arrived today. My son is setting it up and bringing it over Saturday! So excited 😆

Well that’s all for now! Wish us well as we all integrate…

Peace love light and joy

Victoria