Grounding

Pretty much all of the work I do here is really stressful and I often feel very overwhelmed by emotions and get totally flooded.  Frequently, I end up dissociating, which does no good for working through issues in therapy.  Because of this, it is important for to me to have grounding techniques and tools. Basically, grounding brings me back into the present and changes my focus so that I can stop feeling flooded.  The goal is to calm myself enough to continue the work.  Examples of grounding techniques I use are 5,4,3,2,1 , ice pack/cool cloth, breathing, sensory input, hand fidget toys, reading book titles, counting things, etc.  Some of these I can do on my own, some end up being facilitated by my therapist if I am dissociated.

I do well with sensory input, like my stuffed rabbit, or the ice/cool washcloth, or things with texture or that fit in my hand.  I will automatically start rubbing the hem of my shirt, or fiddle with my socks.  I have some toys, putty, a baby teether with spinning beads, etc that give me something to do with my hands and give me sensory feedback.

 

 

However, I recently found the most amazing grounding tool for me!  I snagged it a local Goodwill.  It is a Crayola product, they call it Mess-Free Touch Lights.  It is basically finger painting, but without the mess.  Technically, the toy is supposed to have a stylus, but being at Goodwill, mine doesn’t.  But that’s okay. I much prefer the tactile input of just using my fingers to draw on it.  And the  best part is it is a light board, so the drawing is backlit and just looks really cool.  I use the board before bed if I am anxious and/or having a PTSD hard time.  I also use it at programming.  Actually, I was lucky enough to find a second one at Goodwill, so now I don’t have to tote my board back and forth.

Here’s what it looks like:

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And here’s what it looks like with some doodles and then with a hand print and some of the color options.

Anyway, I just adore this toy and it totally works for me.  Oh…and if I leave it by my chair at programming, sometimes I am lucky enough to come back to it and find messages from my peers; smiley faces, “I love you” and one time one of my group leaders was talking to me and reminding me to cut myself some slack and she wrote “Kind” on my board.

I have to say, if you like hands-on grounding things, I highly recommend this.

 

Butterflies in Late December

Yesterday, we visited a butterfly conservatory.  It was amazing.  We walked into the room and immediately, butterflies glided past us.  It was truly magical.  The room was hot and humid…a delicious treat from the winter temperatures.

As we wound through the paths, the butterflies would lift from the foliage, drift about and then flutter back down.  They circled in the air like birds.  It was peaceful and delightful.

At first I though that we would be there briefly, as the room was not too big.  But we sat on benches and watched the butterflies and we tried to photograph them…no easy task with the shutter delay on cellphone cameras!  We also talked a lot with one of the employees about the butterflies, which are imported from South America and Asia.  Actually, their chrysalides are imported and we saw many in their “incubator” that were ready to hatch.  We stayed for quite a while.

It was so. much. fun!!!

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Pictures

I feel like I don’t really have anything to say today…But I have a bunch of pictures I wanted to share a while back and I never got to.  These are from right after Christmas, before we got snow.  Dh and I took the dogs on a walk at nearby park.  Even though the park is pretty close to us, we have never taken the dogs there and haven’t been there in years.  The border of the park is a river and it is just amazingly beautiful. I love that we live in such a pretty place!

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(I love moss and lichen!)

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Yoga Poses and Nutritionist Homework and Art Therapy Homework and Pottery

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Yoga Poses

Yesterday was yoga.  I have to admit, I was anxious….And the whole time, I couldn’t settle my brain.  Well…maybe not the whole time, but I was easily distractible.  And when we hit the end for Savasana (which we did sitting) I was totally on edge.  But…I was sitting with the sun on me a little bit, and I just absorbed the feeling on the sun and its brightness through my closed eyes.  And the YI did the shortest Savasana ever…which was okay with me.

We started our session by talking.  She asked about my goals and I had printed out my blog from yesterday, so I handed it to her.  That way, she got the goals and the thinking process of how I arrived at the goals.  And then she talked about how certain poses, the ones that open up your chest and front can open up things inside your body, like trauma held in your body, feelings, etc.  She noted that last week we had done a lot of those poses and ended in a reclining Savasana which created that very open body posture.  So, while I had been thinking that yoga had nothing to do with the flashback…Maybe it did.  And you know what….that’s okay.  I will take it as feedback from my body that I need to apply myself more in therapy to express myself, because it looks like if I don’t, it will find a way out of me anyway. (And I would much rather have stuff come out on my terms rather than in flashback form.)

And speaking of feelings and stuff coming out…My YI made a point of telling me that whatever feelings that I want/need to express during yoga are okay, that she won’t be thrown by expression of feelings.

Nutritionist Homework

I have been making an effort with the things the nutritionist wanted me to work on.  I did have an afternoon snack 4/7 days this week.  I have been diversifying my food repertoire.  Initially it caused me a lot of anxiety…now it just causes me some anxiety.  I have been trying to bump up my calories some…That has been a lot harder.  At least when I see her this afternoon, I can say that I have been really trying and I won’t have to feel as ashamed.

Art Therapy Homework

Monday, the AT gave me a homework assignment to go with the dead-and-buried me picture. He wanted me to work on how I would get some nurturance and light into the darkness.  He gave an example of ventilation into mines, and how if a mine caves in the first thing they do is pump oxygen down to help the people.  So…what and how would I send nurturing down to my buried person?

I am working on the project, but it isn’t done today as it is in clay and the clay is still drying and then I have painting and gluing and such to do with it.

Pottery

And speaking of clay….I picked up my bowls last night.   I didn’t stay and do anymore work as there is only one session left and not enough time to really get a project going and finished.  I decided that three extra classes were enough and I will just take a break until the next session in January.  In January, I am going to work on honing my wheel skills.  I can’t wait!

Anyway…here are the bowls:

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