PT And OT: Keeping It Relevant

When it comes to retraining your body to move and function as it should you need to remember to keep the activities you use for therapy relevant. Just as my original team stated,” you need to get back to the things you used to do to see the best recovery results”. Instead of focusing on the same activities chimpanzees in labs have to do start using your hobbies to your advantage. Playing with blocks and tongs is not going to help very much, I’m sorry. It is for this reason that I have been making an attempt at Painting with the hand/side that was originally paralyzed.

It has been an eye-opening experience to say the least. It turns out that if i want to paint anything in a minimalistic style I should just use my affected side. I haven’t been doing much for writing, but there has been a decent amount of retraining lately. I have always been artistic so this is probably one of the best ways for me to fine tune my fine motor skills in that hand over the next several years.

I present to you: Welcome to The Darkness

Do What Makes You Happy

Notice how the title is not do what makes others happy? This is because despite what you may think you cannot control how others feel about any given thing. genuine happiness generally comes from within so you should be focusing on doing the things that make you happy. Note that the things that bring you happiness also may change as you grow and develop as a person. You also may be thinking that this sounds a little selfish, but taking care of your own needs is an important thing we should all be doing.

Nothing is less satisfying than doing something to meet someone else’s expectations or standards of you. As Someone who tried to meet someone’s expectations of me for many years nothing feels better than just doing things to reach my goals and make myself happy. This was another way having half my body paralyzed positively benefited my life. I had to change my focus from making everyone else happy to focusing on my needs. I do not doubt that if it had not happened I would still not be a priority in my own life.

No matter the medium throughout my entire life art has always been one of those things that centers me and brings me to my happy place. That being said art has been my biggest focus during my latest writing hiatus. Whether it’s drawing, or something else It’s one of those versatile things that I can also use to retrain my affected hand. It is nice to be able to hit two birds with one stone yet again. Side note: I’m sorry I have been absent as of late I haven’t been able to make the words work so I’m taking a break.

Back To Basics: Honour The Process

For the last couple months I have been trying to modify and minimize my writing process; no wonder I have not accomplished what I had aimed to. My pre writing process can take over an hour before I get to the writing stage so as you can imagine there are times when I wish it was shorter. Unfortunately my creative process is a step by step process that can only occasionally be ignored.

  1. attempt to get strung out on caffeine-getting to the strung out stage with coffee can be a little difficult so after a pot of coffee I’ll switch to instant espresso and or chocolate covered coffee beans for a little extra kick.
  2. initiate solo dance party– Just as I have probably mentioned countless times solo dance parties are one of the biggest keys to productivity. This has just been the way since before college. every essay and assignment I have completed since my grade twelve year started with dancing it out. One would think that getting moving and increasing energy levels would make it harder to focus, but it does the opposite to me.
  3. dance until I start to crash or the ideas start flowing – Depending on mood and mindset this can  take ten minutes or over an hour each day is a little bit different. Sometimes the music makes a difference, but I have a series of playlists tailored to each emotion I try to portray when writing. Each playlist could be named all the feels numbers one through ten haha.
  4. Write until frustrated with story itself or until falling asleep –Yes sometimes I get mad at the characters in my own stories, and yes sometimes it gets to the point where I rewrite a scene or chapter a few times in one day. At this point if I get stuck there are usually multiple seated solo dance parties repeated until I can finish the scene.
  5. repeat- depending on the day I can repeat the entire cycle up to three or four times depending on how productive the day has been and how long I attempt to be awake and functioning.

Finding Strength

One never really knows how strong they are until you have no other choice. I believe that strength comes from within, yes we all have some sort of support through trying times, but the ability to keep pushing forward and not giving up comes from you. Personally I have been through two detrimental events that truly set the bar for the stronger person I am today. These two events were the stroke and losing one of the most important people in my life. I doubt that anything else will ever compare in difficulty and at times am still amazed that I got through the worst of it. Yet on top of this adversity made me the strongest.

I am so thankful that I grew up being different and being the kid that was more of a lone wolf than anything else. Yes being the outcast in school made things a little more difficult at times, but I think it made me stronger. I enjoyed being the nerd that did homework at recess and lunch so that I had less to take home at night. I was like that from grade school up into college, but in college us nerds got together during spares and all wrote papers and studied like big nerds. This I’d one of those situations where being very focused on the end goal and not having much of a desire to socialize came into play.

If nothing else losing someone very close to me taught me to function with a piece of my heart and soul missing and still conquer each task at hand. Grief is a roller coaster just as everyone says, you never know when it will hit and it can be one heck of a ride. To this day I’m surprised that I got through the worst of it.

Most people I encounter pity me when they find out in still recovering from my stroke 3.5 years later. Flat out I wouldn’t be able to see the light in each situation and have more good days than bad if the stroke and major loss had not happened in the sane year. It is also due to both these events that I understand people who say,” you have to know the darkness to see the light”. It took me years to understand what they meant but I never would have believed it without the events of 2014. With the bad comes the good, make sure to remember this through the tougher chapters of life.

Tajwar Fatma

Ipuna Black

Jane Love

Jothish Joseph

Barb Caffrey

Nicolle K

Ajibola Sunday

Sonyo Estavillo

Mylene Orillo

Camilla Motte

Cutting out Coffee… Failed Attempt

As some of you previously read I was trying to cut out my reliance on coffee. Yes I can cut it out and even started to feel okay, but it turns out that I do not get anything done during the day without it. It may have taken an entire hour off of my morning routine, but was not worth my lack of productivity. two weeks away did reset my tolerance a little bit though. Ultimately I wanted to go cold turkey, but clearly that was not going to work at this point in time.

The worst part of no coffee was my productivity levels… as you probably noticed I have not posted more than one blog post during this entire time. I think it’s time I tried to shift my focus onto my next novel and only posted for you guys once or twice a week. I feel fairly indifferent towards my blog right now and need to go focus on something bigger until this passes. If nothing else right now I need to go back to turning coffee into books and not just doing occupational therapy all day. One day I managed to write for most of a day, but out of a couple of weeks a single day is nothing. haha

Today I finally broke the coffee fast and not only did I write a blog post but I wrote over a thousand words of my current project. Apparently without coffee my daily routine is completely broken haha. Looks like I will be going back to a pot of coffee a day if I want to meet my personal first draft deadline. I think this experiment proved that some things just aren’t meant to be changed.

Make Peace With The Past

No matter your background or you come from we all have a part or parts of our journey we are not proud of. Instead of dwelling on the past and wishing you had done something differently accept that the past is the past and try to make sure you do not end up there again. I promise that no matter how much you think about it you won’t change anything so chin up and keep moving forward. Try to remember that those rough patches likely helped shape you into the stronger person you are today. If you don’t like who you are today start taking steps towards being the person you’ve always dreamed of being.

Focusing on your past is just as bad as focusing on the future without being able to see the present moment for its entirety. I guess between having a stroke and losing my best friend within the same year taught me that nothing is guaranteed. Personally certain things in the past just make me sad and that’s enough of a reason to focus on the present with a relatively positive outlook. Life happens and then it either breaks us or changes us. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, if something happens more than once you obviously didn’t learn the lesson. That being said everyone you meet comes into your life for a reason, not everyone is going to be a blessing. Some people only come into your lives to treat you a lesson.

If you continue to dwell on the past instead of reflecting, assessing and moving on you are not giving yourself a chance. Instead of chaining yourself to the past and any mistakes or situations let yourself move forward. Give yourself a chance to change and move forward maybe even building something better. You may not think you deserve it, but you are also the only one setting limits on yourself from making the future better for yourself.

Staying Motivated

If you have large goals that are going to take years to achieve it can be very easy to get deflated and feel like you aren’t making any progress. Personally I prefer to have a rough ten-year plan with steps I need to achieve each year to meet all the goals  on time. In most cases I get distracted by trying to complete all the smaller steps that I lose track of time and forget about how far away the final goal is. Most People call these S.M.A.R.T. goals, but I prefer to call them my tada list.

I call these my Tada lists because after I print it up and format it into a list with ticky boxes, when I cross things out I shout tada. Not only do sound effects make everything better, but having that check mark beside each thing as I go through the list is visually rewarding, but yes I realize how much of a nerd/dork I am and I have no shame in it whatsoever. I’m one of those people who needs to see that things are getting done, so this method works wonders for me.

The second biggest part of me staying motivated is truly making my goals a priority and making an effort to slowly chip away at them each day. I say try because I know that some days life just gets in the way and I do not have the time or the energy to work on the next thing on the list. Then there are those days where the desire to roll out of bed is nonexistent, this has gotten worse since I switched from a spring bed to a memory foam mattress haha. Those days I have myself half an hour to an hour to get it together and start the day, because laying in bed all day solves nothing.