Tag Archives: ptsd

Moody Monday: What I learned from my last NaNoWriMo about Writing

I’m still finding notes from earlier story and novel projects, and think it is a good idea to review lessons learned from drafting and editing my previous two practice novels, before I start drafting my next WiP, which I think (or hope) that I’m nearly finished planning.

My second practice novel, started on Wattpad,  was easier to track the deadline on the NaNoWriMo2015 website before I set up my own spreadsheet.  It taught me several things about managing Depression (actually PTSD -> anger->depression…).

First: Making a deadline feels good, even if it is Just/Only YOUR deadline. You DID it.
Second: Physical activity every day, like running  or dance, etc, is, at least for me, imperative (and also read, and have a sun lamp, if you live farther from the equator than the 35th parallel…).
Third: Making a deadline a second time, better than you did the first time, proves you can repeat the feat, thus showing discipline and perseverance. This helped me feel like less of a waste of oxygen while I can looked for a way to use that to help other folks.
Fourth,  the actual writing lessons:
Writing 1.) When writing your first/second/fifth practice novel, be sure to have a physical workout routine, preferably involving boxing gloves, AND several people to talk to about all of the crap your writing will drag out of you.  (Remember NOT to use the gloves on the people…)

Writing 2.) For me, at least, plan the ending first…
Writing 3.) Plan setting, time and weather for each scene, not just the plot!!
Writing 4.) Outline by scene, not by # of words (I outlined by 300wds, which ended up driving me nuts toward the end…)
Writing 5.) Do not write a chapter per file, it is a formatting nightmare to insert 18 files (one for each chapter) into one ‘book’ file on an exhausted day 28!
Writing 6.) Lay out the chapter plan on one large calendar in the same notebook (if at all possible) as the planning notebook (and resist the temptation to plan each chapter on small scraps of paper!! You cannot believe the number of scraps I now have floating around…).
Writing 7.) Start on day one, and don’t punish yourself for not planning ahead. A planner is not a pantser, and I, a planner, felt annoyed trying to write stream-of-consciousness just because I had 2000 words to finish That Day.

Better, I learned, to take the day to plan out the next two scenes and write them the next day, at least for me.

I found that when I knew the time of day and year and weather as well as what the MC was supposed to do in the next couple of scenes, I could just imagine the flow and zap, 2000 words came out of no where (I did NOT say 2000 Good Words, but that is for the next 3 or 4 re-writes!!!).

and

Writing 8.) Set a new notebook aside for the 30-Day 50k challenge, because it will turn into at least a year, and probably 80k words. Before it goes back down to 60k again.

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

modified from original 2015 post,

some Action Items in support of literacy and writing that you can take right now:

1.) Download some advice on novel writing, maybe from two different websites,

2.) Read about NaNoWriMo,

3.) Share your thoughts on the value of each person writing a book, perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a novel that references a classic book, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Other ideas welcome on how to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail, starting with improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:

1. #libraries,

2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,

3. #UniversalHealthCare, and

4. good #publictransport

Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

ShiraDest

 September 2020, High Holidays of 5781, 12020 HE

Can learning languages help local education? Libraries, nurses and mass transit certainly can…

Anna J. Cooper was a strong advocate for education, especially in Washington, DC, and one of the first Black women to earn a PhD. August 10th is her birthday, and as she fought to make the dreams of Black students possible, we must fight to make all of our collective dreams possible for a safer, kinder world.  So dream, and write your dreams in a language all your own, if you have to.   Then, expand your world by learning two more languages.

(My personal dream has always been to save and enrich all lives, and my dream for the world is to see a Tiny House or at least a small well-insulated room with kitchenette and bathroom, with potable water, green vegetables, brown rice and dried beans and solar/windpower with backup pedal power for every man, woman and child over maybe, the age of 10, world wide, free for that person’s use from birth to his/her death with no charge, no questions, and no way to lose that right.)  See four suggestions for ways that our Community Colleges can help all of us make the dream of a kinder world come true:

So, I journal in Spanish and Biblical Hebrew, which inspire me to look to examples like Amelia, of El Ministerio del Tiempo, and Ruth, of Biblical fame, as inspirations to persevere.

Spanish has always been my favorite language, especially in the bilingual South West. As an adult education instructor at the Continuing Education division of the San Diego Community College District, that proved helpful for me as an instructor, and also, of course, the ESL classes help our students from many nations contribute in the USA.

Every local educational institution has room for improvement, particularly when seen from both faculty and student perspectives. I posed some questions, recently, about ideas for implementing (on a shoestring budget ) projects that would have been helpful to our students when I taught in North campus involving

1.) a small library or study area,
2.) workshops by CA Promise Program graduates,
3.) an on-site nurse paid for by mediCal, and
4.) access to public transportation:

1.) Many of my students told me they didn’t have a quiet place to study.  While I know that space is in very short supply on the North campus, I wonder if a small area, possibly in the multipurpose room when it’s not being used, could be set aside with cubicles or movable small desks and a small movable lending library like the tiny libraries?

2.)   I wonder, on the assumption of course that having graduated and started a new career as a professional with a bachelor’s degree anyone can be found who will have time, if any students having graduated with a bachelor’s degree after getting their first two years of community college paid for through the California promise program or with the San Diego promise program, could be persuaded to come back either as tutors, mentors, or even just to give workshops in the areas in which they got their educations?  Particularly accounting majors or paralegal/pre-law majors who could give small workshops on dealing with debt in California including California statutes of limitations, or financial planning workshops or how to do your own taxes if you only need to do the 1040EZ, etc?  One-on-one tutoring, and also mentoring,  that supportive help, especially for our high school equivalency students, could be both useful and inspiring.  Seeing successfully graduated professionals with a bachelor’s degree who came through the community college system and are willing to spend individual time with them, even if only a couple of hours a week, could make a difference.  Could interns or SCORE volunteers put a program like this together?  Do we track or stay in touch with students who finish the California or San Diego promise program once they finish their bachelor’s degrees?

3.) Many of my students worked two jobs or for other reasons never had time to see a doctor even when they were ill. I wonder if it is possible to pay, through the Medi-Cal system, for a nurse to be on-site, perhaps based out of the office  of each campus, a couple of days/evenings a week?

4.)  One of the biggest problem areas that I saw for my car-free students was that neither the continuing ed, nor the  faculty Union was able to get the transit authority to enforce acceptance of continuing ed student IDs for the monthly bus and rail pass discount.  In planning for post-Covid-19 classes, will we have any resources to address public transportation discount and access issues?

I imagine that some of these ideas may be a little overwhelming, because I understand that time and resources are extremely limited, but once in a while, as Dr. Rivera-Lacey noted: we do have to dream.

Some possible action items that you can take right now include:
1.) Call your local City Council members, and ask them to increase library funding,
2.) Donate to ProPublica for probono legal and financial education for all,

or, please share your ideas for improving local libraries and education!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

Happy Birthday, Anna J. Cooper, & Can learning languages help when you are under stress? Yes! Write your Dreams in your favorite Languages!

Anna J. Cooper was a strong advocate for education, especially in Washington, DC, and one of the first Black women to earn a PhD. August 10th is her birthday, and as she fought to make the dreams of Black students possible, we must fight to make all of our collective dreams possible for a safer, kinder world.

Write your dreams in a language all your own, if you have too, and then expand your world by learning two more languages.

My personal dream has always been to save and enrich all lives, and my dream for the world is to see a Tiny House or at least a small well-insulated room with kitchenette and bathroom, with potable water, green vegetables, brown rice and dried beans and solar/windpower with backup pedal power for every man, woman and child over maybe, the age of 10, world wide, free for that person’s use from birth to his/her death with no charge, no questions, and no way to lose that right.

So, I journal in Spanish and Biblical Hebrew, which inspire me to look to examples like Amelia, of El Ministerio del Tiempo, and Ruth, of Biblical fame, as inspirations to persevere.

 
Spanish has always been my favorite language, especially in the bilingual South West. As an adult education instructor at the Continuing Education division of the San Diego Community College District, that proved helpful for me as an instructor, and also, of course, the ESL classes help our students from many nations contribute in the USA.

Every local educational institution has room for improvement, particularly when seen from both faculty and student perspectives. I posed some questions, recently, about ideas for implementing (on a shoestring budget ) projects that would have been helpful to our students when I taught in North campus involving

1.) a small library or study area,
2.) workshops by CA Promise Program graduates, 
3.) an on-site nurse paid for by mediCal, and
4.) access to public transportation:

1.) Many of my students told me they didn’t have a quiet place to study.  While I know that space is in very short supply on the North campus, I wonder if a small area, possibly in the multipurpose room when it’s not being used, could be set aside with cubicles or movable small desks and a small movable lending library like the tiny libraries?

  2.)   I wonder, on the assumption of course that having graduated and started a new career as a professional with a bachelor’s degree anyone can be found who will have time, if any students having graduated with a bachelor’s degree after getting their first two years of community college paid for through the California promise program or with the San Diego promise program, could be persuaded to come back either as tutors, mentors, or even just to give workshops in the areas in which they got their educations?  Particularly accounting majors or paralegal/pre-law majors who could give small workshops on dealing with debt in California including California statutes of limitations, or financial planning workshops or how to do your own taxes if you only need to do the 1040EZ, etc?  One-on-one tutoring, and also mentoring,  that supportive help, especially for our high school equivalency students, could be both useful and inspiring.  Seeing successfully graduated professionals with a bachelor’s degree who came through the community college system and are willing to spend individual time with them, even if only a couple of hours a week, could make a difference.  Could interns or SCORE volunteers put a program like this together?  Do we track or stay in touch with students who finish the California or San Diego promise program once they finish their bachelor’s degrees?

3.) Many of my students worked two jobs or for other reasons never had time to see a doctor even when they were ill. I wonder if it is possible to pay, through the Medi-Cal system, for a nurse to be on-site, perhaps based out of the office  of each campus, a couple of days/evenings a week?

4.)  One of the biggest problem areas that I saw for my car-free students was that neither the continuing ed, nor the  faculty Union was able to get the transit authority to enforce acceptance of continuing ed student IDs for the monthly bus and rail pass discount.  In planning for post-Covid-19 classes, will we have any resources to address public transportation discount and access issues?

I imagine that some of these ideas may be a little overwhelming, because I understand that time and resources are extremely limited, but once in a while, as Dr. Rivera-Lacey noted: we do have to dream.

Some possible action items that you can take right now include:
1.) Call your local City Council members, and ask them to increase library funding,
2.) Donate to ProPublica for probono legal and financial education for all,

or, please share your ideas for improving local libraries and education!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

August 10th, 12020 HE

How a missed trash can led to Formation Tortue, but learning languages can help treating childhood trauma

Why did that paper ball flying over my head make me dive for the floor?

Shortly after I turned 51 years of age, a young coworker launched a simple balled up bit of paper at the trash can in front of me. It missed. What I saw was not a mere bit of paper becoming litter, however. Out of the corner of my eye, something came flying at me from behind. I reacted instinctively: by ducking. Since this was not the normally appropriate behavior for a 51 year old woman in an office environment, you can well imagine my embarrassment. My coworker apologized profusely: the poor thing had simply missed a trash can with a tiny bit of paper. What he saw was a reaction out of an earthquake drill. I also apologized profusely, but the damage was already done. For the rest of the day, coworkers eyed me suspiciously and slowly walked over to place their trash in the bin. The awkwardness was palpable, and I was grateful when some of my Mexican coworkers began talking and joking in Spanish, drawing attention away from the incident.

As I sat on my afternoon break with a cup of hot water, I suddenly recalled a time I haven’t thought of in over 40 years. Another object was flying over my head from behind me, but it was not a simple bit of paper.
It was a belt buckle.
Pandemonium had broken loose as an old man bellowed his wrath, and swung his belt. I was the only person in the room not running away. For some reason, I could see the old man, the belt, and the other kids in the room. All looked either furious or frightened. But it all seemed to be happening somewhere else, with me simply frozen in place. The sounds were there, but muted as if in an old fashioned film.

It suddenly hit me that this event was from a time that I had worked very hard to forget. I’d been 9 years old, in the house overnight of a babysitter who was rather negligent. I told my mother, yet she did nothing. So, I forgot. But I never knew why objects flying over my head made me panic; until today.

Spanish, in particular Mexican Spanish, has always been my favorite language to switch into when I need to move my thoughts out of English. As a child, I’d always wished that I had magical powers to allow me to fight, or that I had a fairy sister to defend me, but the reality was that I was thrown back upon my own resources, so hiding or being ready to run usually seemed to be my best option. Hiding from my own thoughts was fairly easily accomplished, even in my dreams at times, by singing or thinking in Spanish.

It turned out that I could not hide from myself indefinitely. Things we’d rather not remember have a way of springing up, in the end. As I began to get therapy for events from my childhood it turned out that hiding and forgetting was not an effective way of dealing with those events. I had to relive them, again. This was probably more frustrating for my therapists than it even was for me, as I was told again and again that pushing away the memories would only make my #C-PTSD worse. But the focus on just being functional made it easy to ignore, once I was back in a job where I could pour my time and attention into something complex. (This 13-26 week cap that Medicaid puts on the number of sessions is yet another reason that we need full #UniversalHealthCare for everyone. Complex cases of many illnesses require long-term therapy that, when covered, will make for a healthier work force and population, not just the functional-to-panic-back-to-functionality roller coaster that kills so much time and so many people, in the end…)

The final straw arrived when the regional economy took a dive, sending myself and the vast majority of people I knew out of work. Some went to California, and I went overseas for work. In a new country and environment, stress flared up, and so did my panic anxiety. But this time I had to talk to a therapist in a language I was only just beginning to learn. As it turned out, I was finally able to access a good bit of the emotional content, while remaining present and able to stem the tide of anxiety during each session. As we began to unpack more of the childhood memories I’d been avoiding, being forced to express myself in a language I was still learning appeared to keep me emotionally distanced enough to prevent being pulled completely into the pain of the original event. When I came back to the USA, I found in California that having a Mexican therapist allowed us to switch from my native English, which was required to access the full emotion of the memory, into Spanish. So when she needed to lower the intensity level of the session, but keep me in the memory, she would switch into Spanish, distancing me just enough from the experience to process it. Who would have thought that #learning a #language could help in this case? But, it did.

So, what would Astérix do? He’d ask the Druid Panoramix, who would say: Il faut #ArreterdeFumer tout de suite !!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure & #‎StopSmoking for COVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Smoking: a public health Menace and a private Inferno

In an earlier blog article related to this global pandemic, the #coronavirus, also known as covid-19, I pointed out that allowing accurate news coverage of public health information is vital for public safety. This point is illustrated by season 2, episode 13 of Spanish Public Television series El Ministerio del Tiempo. But what is not mentioned in the episode is the danger posed by smokers to those who are either ill or recovering from a virus, particularly one like the current malady, which attacks the lungs, much like SARS. For anyone who has allergies, asthma, any sort of lung-based or respiratory illness, or even merely a common cold, cigar or cigarette smoke, or even marijuana for those who are also sensitive to it, creates further breathing difficulty, hampering recovery. Thus, a public health problem is aggravated by smoking anywhere within at least a 20 ft. But that does not take into account the other side of smoking: the personal side.

For many individuals, suffering from anything from emphysema to asthma, the hazards of smoking, both first and second-hand, are clear. But there is another side, which is not as often seen. For survivors of long term very early childhood abuse, cigarette or marijuana smoke can often trigger unwanted memories, flight/flight/freeze reactions, or even panic attacks. And to confuse the matter further, the very survivors may not even realize the source or the connection between smoke and their anxiety or panic reactions.

One survivor of very early and long-lasting childhood abuse explained it this way, when asked why the mere smell of cigarette smoke could make anyone panic:

“As long as I can remember, I have always flinched, or had the urge to run and hide (which we now call the fight, flight, or panic response), at the slightest smells of cigarette or marijuana smoke. As I sat in a place where there was strictly prohibited smoking, having been reassuring by a manager on the property that someone would find the source of the cigarette smoke right way, I relaxed for a moment and closed my eyes.

I suddenly found myself a 4-year old back in a place I never want to live again in a dark room sitting on the floor, hoping that the person with the cigarette would keep walking past the door. As the door opens can I come back to a memory of being asked for forgiveness many years later. Reasons for never given, but in my gut, I knew immediately.

What my gut knew, when I was in my late 20s, took me until I was 51 years old to come up to my conscious mind. It happened at 3 in the morning on a day when I finally feel reassured by someone that I would be protected. Not from the cigarette smoke, but from the person carrying the cigarette.”

So, please, for the good of those suffering with the novel Coronavirus, and also for the good of those suffering with buried memories triggered by smoke, please help all of us to be healthy, and stop smoking.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

March, 12020 HE

Persist: review of a good but difficult book

Stronger Than You KnowStronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This first person #YAlit novela (a bit short for a novel, I imagine) was both very hard-hitting in its accuracy, and very hope-giving, if a bit too much so, perhaps, in the ending. I find myself agreeing with another reviewer about the timeline being too short for certain things, but I can understand or imagine that the author wanted to give hope and encouragement, and teenagers have very short attention-spans and time-line perspectives, in general.

For me, this was a difficult read emotionally because it had me reliving events from my own early childhood and teenage years, and the earliest were the worst, as the ending of the book brought the external and internal conflicts together in ways that confirmed my own experiences very uncomfortably. But this is a very important work, and it is crucial to persist.

View all my reviews

Review of a book worth reading

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, #TheFemaleOfTheSpecies, written in first person and present tense for all three PoV characters, is a book which is both difficult to read, and also cathartic. There are also some really good zingers, funny lines and situations, believe it or not, and some really spot-on descriptions of the humanity of one of the main characters from whom you’d not expect human warmth. I can only hope that I can make such a contribution one day, but if I manage to publish a book half as good as this crucial work by @MindyMcGinnis, I will feel my writing career to have been worthwhile.

I noticed that this was not her debut novel, and that the author seems to have had a bit of a time getting her agent to push for this work, which spent 15 years in a drawer. That tells me that these types of books are either coming into their time, now, after the ME TOO movement, or that I’d best better start with more light and fluffy novels until I get established as a fiction author. Either way, I am grateful and glad that McGinnis kept this work, and got it to see the light of day after all those years in the dark. In publishing this book, she has also helped many of us to believe that we can come out of the dark, as well, if not entirely whole.

(Reminds me of the female MC of Purgatoire des innocents English review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show… )

View all my reviews

How crucial it is to believe in The Good

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Upon reading again, I see that she uses the omniscient story-tellers voice more than I thought, in the first book, to excellent effect.

I find it amazing that Rowling managed to include child neglect, child abuse or bullying, ptsd and drugs all in one book, without coming off as preachy, and even giving it a happy ending. Then, managing to get kids to read it!

I only hope that my WIP can accomplish half as much, one day.
Shira, of The MEOW Community Cooperation Blog,
William-James-MEOW Date: 16 September 12014 H.E. (Holocene/Human Era)

View all my reviews

Reasons to keep a journal…

particularly if you marry when under duressif you marry when under duress or suicidality: 

Never trust someone, even if you have known him for seven years, who tells you that “All I want is your trust,” and “I will be your doctor” in response to your plea for help with ptsd and nightmares, when you are ill and have no income.

first

 

FirstShakeJY16Nov
First time spouse shook me

Second:

2ndShake1Feb2016
second time spouse shook me, even more violently

Why work and walk, when being who you were born still hurts

This is an off-the-cuff post, as I need to get this off my chest in order to concentrate on the book (A-Train…) I am reviewing and the one I am writing, but this cuts into both like a hot rusty knife. The jagged edges left from the taunts of the kids in kindergarten and 1st grade of how I must be white because my mother is dating a White man, and my skin is so light, I look like a little wild indian.
Of dark-skinned girls saying how I had “that good hair” while not letting my play double dutch with them, and of feeling grateful to the one girl who “took up for me” in school for a short while.

And for another short while there was my mother’s Jewish roommate Susanna, the 18 year old who took me everywhere, while my mother was out with her White boyfriend every weekend, and often weekdays as well. The one adult who never said “stop asking so many questions!” Yet the one adult who really showed the fear I lived with: a NY police officer pulled us over and she looked at me

-don’t say anything smart alecy, because this cop is going to think you are my daughter, so he is going to think I’m dating a Black guy.

A that moment, I knew. There really was no place for me in this world, and there never would be.

Through all of the moves to different projects and evictions, through sleeping in cars, begging to be let back into the school program I’d been in before … then even while staying in a Black professor’s apartment as she traveled to Africa, grateful to have a place to stay that week before my internship, I knew I had no place in this world. And I knew that it would always be that way: too light-skinned to be included by most of my fellow Black people, even within my own family (“you know M. only tolerated your mother because she was so light-skinned” -thanks, Uncle…), but always reminded by the white folks, like my first day of school in VA, that I am a “nigger,” and nothing will change that constant outsider-ness. Not even fleeing to another religion.

But I can try to help make this world a place where skin color and connections matter less. A world where no one ever sleeps on the street or fears for his or her safety, and thus a world where who you were born only means who your friends might (or might not) be, but doesn’t mean you are out on the street or fear for your safety.

So I work and I walk: I work for the Universal Basic Income that Dr. Martin Luther King called for, so that no child, black or white, ever has to fear the police just because of skin color, and no person ever has to sleep on the street for any reason, or go hungry, or come with hat in hand to ask anyone else for food, clothing, shelter or money for basic needs (and yes, a basic phone is also a basic need, as is free decent Public Transpo and Universal Health Care).

And I walk because a car (which I will admit to having fears of driving due to my PTSD, but I could usually keep that under control enough to pull over, back when I used to drive) also divides us economically, and any car takes money from public transportation. Yes, I am also lucky to be able to walk. And grateful. Ok, back to reading and writing…
Peace,
Destinie (Shira… ? really?)
yes: Shira

Back-posting this so it shows only to my Readers… Written on Monday, March 11th, 12019 HE…