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    Monika Sudakov

    How Un-Nesting Can Help You Cope With Trauma and Loss

    Nesting is a phenomenon documented in pregnant women where they develop an impulse to clean, organize and otherwise prepare for the birth of their babies. While it manifests differently from one woman to the next, the sudden burst of Marie Kondo joy-seeking is common enough to warrant its own label. Reasons for nesting may vary, although according to Science Daily, there may be an evolutionary significance to the behavior, notably “providing a safe environment helps to promote bonding and attachment between both the mother and infants.” This evolutionary adaptation piqued my interest, particularly in reference to what I’ve been experiencing lately in my own life. For context — after almost 18 years of doing my dream job, my husband and I have had to make the unbearable decision to sell our bed and breakfast. Along with that sale goes my dream of being a chef and frankly, it’s got me feeling very untethered. I already have attachment anxiety from childhood trauma which gets triggered by uncertainty, but not knowing when we will sell, where we will go, and what I’m going to do is a whole new level of loss of control that I am not entirely sure how to deal with. Frankly, I’m angry, resentful, and scared and I can’t express this in any kind of meaningful way that anyone will truly understand. It’s a familiar feeling — one I learned to push away with busyness and hyperfunctioning as a child who knew her mother couldn’t tolerate her discomfort and who determined that productivity could distract her from her painful feelings. It’s something I’m ashamed of and deeply unsettled by. Cue what I can only describe as “un-nesting” impulses. I have become obsessed with purging things — clothes, books, papers, kitchen appliances — anything I can just to feel like I’m doing something. But it’s deeper than that. If nesting is about creating an environment where a mother and child can bond, my instincts to rid my environment of things that make me feel attached or bonded to this job or this place is a way of easing the impending sense of grief and loss I expect to experience when the business does sell. For all intents and purposes, since I never had children, this house and this job have been my proverbial baby. I planted roots here for us to thrive and grow in a symbiotic relationship. And now, after almost 18 years, I feel somewhat betrayed by the world and life for robbing me of what has been deeply fulfilling and given me a powerful sense of my identity. As I write this, the irony is not lost on me that in a way I’m like an empty nester whose child has grown into an adult and is leaving for college. The only difference is that typically a parent will continue having a new adapted relationship with their adult child. In my case, it’s like my child is dying and I’m experiencing one funeral after another as people question me endlessly about what I’m going to do for a living and where I’m going to go. I don’t know what the future holds, but for now, I shall continue purging things, sorting things, and otherwise ridding myself of stuff as I attempt to cope with the not knowing. As my therapist noted yesterday (in jest), as long as I haven’t started tossing any of my cherished Céline Dion memorabilia she’s not overly concerned with this coping mechanism. If you see Céline hoodies in the garbage bin, alert my therapist to stage an intervention. And please… rescue the hoodies.

    Tips to Make Moving a Little Easier When You Have Anxiety

    Moving, especially when you have anxiety, is hard. I recently moved apartments, and no part of it is fun. There is the packing, lifting boxes, unpacking, and it never seems to end. It was made easier by being with my partner and the fact that we are moving in together for the first time. This is a big step in our relationship and in my adult life, and I’m excited. Nonetheless, the process of moving is still a beast. Here are five tips for moving when you have anxiety. 1. Give yourself time. Sometimes time between leases or closing is tight, but if possible, build in several days or even weeks for the move. There is a lot to do, from packing, to actually moving everything out, and then cleaning. Having to rush any of these steps only adds stress. I gave myself a full week, and I was just moving to the other side of town. I was even able to mostly unpack as I went, load by load. If I had been moving farther, I would have tried to give myself even more time. 2. Remember to rest and eat meals. It can be easy to get hyper-focused and want to finish moving. I am guilty of just wanting it done, even if that means not taking time to eat or sleep. But I am also aware that only makes me miserable, and not to mention, less effective at moving. When I plan time for these basic self-care tasks as part of my day, moving goes smoother and easier, and I feel better. Then, after we unloaded all my stuff into the kitchen, we created space, and my partner cooked us our first dinner in our new place. That was especially filling, and now I have leftovers too, for as I finish unpacking. 3. Ask for help, directly. You do not have to move alone. Recruit friends, family, or pay a moving company if needed. Of course, these can be expensive, but there are usually neighbors with trucks who are willing to help. It’s OK to ask for help. For me, it can be hard to let others touch my things. This stems from OCD and anxiety, but it’s worth it to face that discomfort in order to save time and my back. And make sure to ask directly! People can’t always know you want and need help, unless you ask. 4. Allow yourself to be neurodivergent. As I’m unpacking, my things will always go on the right side. This applies to the sink top, closet, bedding, etc. My boyfriend thankfully takes the left without a complaint. I don’t have a good reason for why my things have to be on the right, except for that it feels correct and the consistency is comforting. I need to be careful to not let OCD compulsions get out of check, but during this time of the high stress of moving, I allow myself this neurodivergence. It brings a little ease. 5. Practice mindfulness. Through all of this, find little moments. There are plenty of structured mindfulness exercises out there, or it can be more indirect. For me, some ways I practiced mindfulness was taking time to enjoy hanging my artwork or sitting on the floor on a break to pet my cat. Mindfulness comes in all shapes and sizes. Your body and brain will thank you for these times of rest and attention.

    Micaela El Fattal

    Tips for Moving Houses With Your Loved One With Traumatic Brain Injury

    Moving houses can be extremely challenging for anyone, but how can you have a successful move while also accounting for a loved one’s traumatic brain injury (TBI)? The first place to start is by analyzing the safety of the person with TBI. When you look at available housing options, you may need to consider how wide the doorway frames are. It is essential that a person with TBI have wiggle room if they regularly use a wheelchair. When looking at houses, you also may need to consider if there are any stairs in the house. This may eliminate some housing options, but many people with TBI are not stable enough to walk up and down full stairways. If a house has steps, you might question whether you need to buy a ramp or whether you can make serious changes to a house. Ramps can range between $100-500 dollars, so planning accordingly is best. Then, account for your loved one’s personal challenges. For some, this may mean uncontrollable outbursts or a lack of impulse control. Is this new house in close quarters with other neighbors? Would there be a noise complaint? Are there any shared walls that may make noise travel even further? Is there any way to change your loved one’s routine so that they will still get their daily needs met in a new home setting? For example, if someone with TBI is used to having physical or occupational therapy outside, would it be possible to move your loved one’s workout inside the house? If the person with TBI is used to having physical activity outside, is there a way to time their new outside routine to avoid interfering with their new neighbors’ routines? Another thing to consider is that when there are massive changes for any individual, there may be periods when people with traumatic brain injury need to adjust to their new environment. This may cause someone with TBI to regress in their healing journey, and they may have more incontinence, less balance when walking, or more physical or vocal outbursts. It may be wise to plan for this and to also be aware that this time period may last a few days to a few months — depending on how much your loved one can adapt. If your loved one with traumatic brain injury is known to puncture walls or accidentally damage cabinets, it would be best to be proactive in your new home setting by setting up new standards and solutions before moving your loved one in. That may mean having an overlap between one house to the next. For example, when moving from a bedroom with carpet to a bedroom with linoleum, it may be easier for someone with TBI to scoot their bed away from the wall and unintentionally get hurt. To prevent an accident from occurring you may need to find a simple fix — like putting furniture sliders under an item or even removing a doorway to make a room more accessible. Do not forget that individuals with traumatic brain injury are extremely resilient. Make sure you tell them how much you notice them adapting to their new home. These tips can make their healing journey easier when they move houses.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices


    Sometimes I just wanna disappear for a little. Also just wasn't falling apart #Life #over doses #moving on

    3 Packing and Organization Moving Tips for People With ADHD

    “I love moving!” Says no one ever. OK, maybe someone out there loves moving, but I for one do not. There’s so many things to organize and pack, and on top of that you have to go through every single drawer, nook and cranny in your apartment to figure out what’s worth keeping and what’s worth throwing out. For someone like me with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this is a hellscape unlike any other. ADHD is known to impact processes and functionality. Additionally, usually an ADHD brain needs some form of dopamine reward to actually find things worth doing. Pair all that with the whole procrastination thing that ADHD folk tend to do sometimes…it’s a perfect storm. That being said, as this is my fifth time moving in four years, I’ve learned a few things about making life a little bit easier when you’re moving with ADHD. 1. Turn your ADHD clutter boxes from enemies to friends. Where is your ADHD clutter box? You know, that one box where all the random knick knacks and doo dads have wound up? All the times you were cleaning and said “Oh I’ll just put this here and figure it out later,” and you put something in a box, drawer, cabinet, or some other area that you never actually sorted through and organized? On an average day, that ADHD clutter box can be a little stressful to look at, but there’s a way to make it work for you, especially when moving and organizing your life . First, get more boxes. Yep, you heard me. More! Cardboard boxes or plastic bins work the same depending on your preference. Put one in every major area. Think bedroom, office, living room, etc., From there use those boxes as your clutter boxes. Yes, it won’t be cute or pretty, but the idea is when you clean those spaces or you’re organizing, or when you’re simply looking at your counter at something random (which for me was a sentimental wine bottle) instead of trying to find a new place for it, you just throw it in the box. Out of site, out of mind (in a way that works for us)! The key is to set the boxes out as early as possible. If you wait to do this, there’s less of a point because then you can just physically pack things the typical way. So go get that worm, early bird! 2. Color coded sticky note flags. Trust me. If you have ADHD, you may be a visual person like me. Depending on how much furniture you have in your apartment or home, it could be a little mind-boggling keeping it all together on a list (or a bunch of scattered receipts if you’re me). Introducing: The Stick Note Organizing Method 3,000! Yes, that name is fake, but the benefits to this method aren’t. The goal is to visibly see every single day what you’re throwing away or selling and what you’re keeping, without having to store it on a list or just in your mind. That way there’s a lesser chance of you getting overwhelmed trying to sort through it. Get a pad of multicolored sticky notes. You need at least two colors, three preferred. Make a color key for the sticky notes based off of the following: Keeping Selling Throwing Away If you’re only using two colors, you can do: Keeping Getting rid of As you go through your place, just start putting sticky notes on things. You’re literally keeping tabs on your home inventory, in a visual and up front way. Right now in front of me I’m staring at a plethora of sticky notes, and while it’s not the cutest, I immediately know I’m keeping my guitar, french paintings, and reef, while getting rid of the TV stand in front of it. 3. Accountability buddies who will actually keep you on task. Which one of your friends is the best at consistently being organized and productive? Call them and bring them in for help. Moving can be so overwhelming that we go into ADHD paralysis, a state where nothing gets done because there’s either so much to get done or our brains simply can’t compute the task due to overwhelm. Having a buddy there to help you process, sort, and figure out the moving process is so critical. I have about two people helping me figure this out as I go, and will have more people here in person on the heavy lifting days. We don’t have to do it alone, and besides, the only thing that brings people together more than reunions, birthdays, and family gatherings, is someone moving. Be that person and phone a friend. This is what works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, but it may not! At the end of the day, play to your strengths. You know your condition more than anyone else. Figure out how your brain works, and work in a way that aligns to it. If you can’t beat your brain, join it.

    Moving to a Different State With a Disability: 5 Things to Consider

    When you have a physical disability, moving to another state or part of the country is complicated. There are so many reasons why we can’t just pick up and move to another place that able-bodied people don’t think about, and so many things we have to consider when we do have a possibility of moving. And yet, our lives as people with disabilities are often fundamentally shaped by where we live. Moving can bring us closer to loved ones and give us access to better disability services and supports — but it can also do the opposite. As a wheelchair user who has moved eight times to and within four different states, here are five things to consider before moving to a different U.S. state and/or region when you have a disability. 1. How will moving to a new state affect my Medicaid health care and home and community-based services? Many people with physical and/or developmental disabilities receive home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid, such as in-home care, respite, day programs, group home placement, job training, and funding for home modifications. Most of these services are only available through Medicaid — they are not covered by private insurance or Medicare (federal insurance). Medicaid is a state program that provides health care to people who are low-income and/or disabled. Medicaid exists in every state, but it’s different in every state, often drastically different. Some states even call it something different, such as Medi-Cal in California. Medicaid does not transfer from state to state. If you move to another state, you have to apply for Medicaid in that state, and will inevitably experience a gap in services. So if you need in-home care, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for the months it will take to establish services in a new state. Getting Medicaid disability-related services, or services of the quality you had in a different state, is not guaranteed. States are required by the federal government to offer Medicaid, but they have a lot of choices about the home and community-based services they offer and how many people are eligible for those services. Each state has its own Medicaid waivers with different rules and limitations. This means you could qualify for in-home care in one state but not another — or you might qualify, but the new state has limited funding set aside for home care, and you’ll be put on a years-long waiting list. I run a Facebook group for discussing Medicaid home care waivers and have had many people join seeking help when they moved to another state and found themselves or a loved one unable to get services they previously received. Although the “best” and “worst” states depend somewhat on the type of services you need, you should be aware that the currently-popular destinations Texas and Florida both have decade-plus waiting lists for home care and developmental disability waivers. If you need Medicaid HCBS, please do lots of research before you move. Join online communities and talk to people with disabilities/family members who live in the state and find out what services are like there. Some people choose to move to a different state specifically for access to better Medicaid HCBS. If you or a loved one has been stuck on a waiting list for years or can’t get adequate services where you are, moving may be the only solution. 2. Will I have access to quality health care and medication in the city/state where I want to move? Moving to a new city or state often means changing health insurance, too. It’s essential to check before changing plans to make sure your doctors and prescriptions will be covered. If you currently have health care under a Medicaid expansion program, or think you or a loved one might need Medicaid in the future, be aware that not all states have expanded Medicaid. You can see an updated list with a map here. Although not all states with expanded Medicaid have excellent disability services, the reverse is generally true — the states with the longest waiting lists and least-funded programs are the non-expansion states. If you live with a rare or complex medical condition, access to specialists is critical. Connect online with others who have the same condition as you to see which doctors they recommend in the new city/state. Be sure to call those doctors before you move to make sure they are accepting new patients and that they take your insurance. 3. Will I be able to find disability-accessible housing in a new city if I move? Housing is often the most critical and limiting factor for people with disabilities who want to move to another city or state. There is a nationwide shortage of affordable, accessible housing — but that doesn’t mean moving is impossible. You just need to plan carefully. If you need affordable housing, a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher can enable you to rent from a landlord — including a family member, if you have a disability. There is typically a waiting list for vouchers, but it can range from weeks to decades depending on the area. If you need a voucher, find out if the waiting list in the new area is open, and how long people typically wait to receive a voucher. You may even want to consider moving to an area with a short waiting list rather than waiting 5+ years for a voucher in a big city. Once you receive a voucher, you must live in that jurisdiction for one year — but after that, you can port your voucher anywhere else in the country. See this guide for more information. Whether you’ll be renting or buying, make a list of everything you require for housing to be accessible to you. This will be different for each person. Do you need to live close to public transportation, or do you prefer a quiet rural or suburban area without bright city lights and noise? Do you need a yard for a service dog, or a condo or apartment with no yard to maintain? Do you need a roll-in shower or an adapted kitchen? If you have a mobility disability and are planning to buy a home, research the common styles of residential architecture in the area to see whether they lend themselves to accessibility. For example, in California, many houses are single-story with just a step or two, and have fairly open floor plans. These houses could be made wheelchair-accessible fairly easily. However, in the Midwest, multi-story homes are popular; these are difficult and costly to remodel for accessibility. Often, styles vary by neighborhood as well, so once you determine which parts of town have the housing type you need, you can narrow your search. 4. How accessible and inclusive are schools and universities in the area? If you have a child with a disability, you want the best educational opportunities for them — which often means inclusion in classrooms with their typical peers. Although IDEA requires that children with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment, in practice, many kids are segregated and many parents must fight for their right to inclusion. In some areas, these battles have been won and lasting change has been at least somewhat achieved, while in others, there’s still a long way to go. Before you move, do some research on the school districts and neighborhood schools. The usual measurements for good schools may be less relevant in your situation, so find parents of kids with disabilities who live in the area to get their recommendations. Then narrow down your home search to neighborhoods in those districts. If you or your child may pursue higher education in the future, look into accessibility at local colleges and universities. Is the campus wheelchair accessible? Do they offer online classes? Do they have a robust program to provide support to students with learning and/or physical disabilities? Although some young adults with disabilities do move away for college, it’s nice to have a local option. 5. How will the weather and future effects of climate change affect disability accessibility and my health? If you’re not sure of the best place to move for your disability, or you’re trying to choose between a couple of options, the weather could be a deciding factor. Weather can have a direct impact on our health, reducing or exacerbating symptoms. For example, many people with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions find that they have more mobility and less pain living in a dry, warm climate such as Southern California, Arizona, or New Mexico. Cold tends to increase pain, but barometric pressure changes in warm, humid climates such as the U.S. South can also contribute to chronic illness flare-ups. Weather can also affect the accessibility of our environment. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, it may be difficult to leave your home in the winter — or for family or caregivers to get to you if you need help. Some cities and towns do a better or worse job shoveling sidewalks; be sure to look into this before moving if you use a wheelchair or other mobility aid and need to get around without a car during the winter. Every place in the U.S. is prone to natural disasters of some kind, so it’s important to know the hazards in a new area before you move. Often, there are ways to minimize or reduce your risk. When looking at a home to buy or rent, check to see if it is in a hurricane, flood, or fire zone. You may want to live near the beach in Florida, but considering the time and cost of finding and/or remodeling a home for accessibility, choosing an apartment or house several miles inland is a safer option. Develop a safety plan in case you need to evacuate or shelter in place due to a natural disaster. If you can’t drive, who will help you leave? Do you have non-perishable food on hand and a backup battery to charge or power your essential medical equipment? If you are unable to prepare or protect yourself in the event of a disaster that is common in an area, you may want to consider a different place to live. And finally, consider the potential impact of climate change. Hurricanes and thunderstorms are becoming more severe as temperatures increase, and scientists predict that sea levels will rise, flooding many coastal areas. This may sound like a far-off nightmare, but it could happen within the lifetimes of many young and middle-aged people with disabilities. Previous disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have demonstrated that people with disabilities and seniors are often forgotten, neglected, and left behind in a crisis. We have to think about the future, because the future won’t think about us. Resources for Moving With a Disability How to Get On — a self-advocacy guide for getting the disability services you need Medicaid Consumer-Directed Home Care Waivers State by State Guide Medicaid Waiver Waiting List State by State Chart Status of State Medicaid Expansion Decisions: Interactive Map How to Port Your Section 8 Voucher Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies — organization advocating for better emergency services for people with disabilities As someone with a disability who has spent the past six years wanting to move and weighing different options, I know that there is no perfect place to live, no fully-accessible and affordable disability paradise. But if we set priorities and work steadily towards our goals, we can improve the quality of our lives by moving to a place that better meets our needs.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Going home

    <p>Going home</p>
    Community Voices

    Goodbyes and worries

    I’ve been saying goodbyes. To the people I’ve worked for for 5 years, my ex’s parents (or so I had thought), and in a few days my colleagues. And next week, my home town (though I have already moved in, I am having to finish work up in my home town first).

    I gave up the one-sided efforts with my ex. I finalised them on Monday, when I went to deliver him a letter. It explained that I couldn’t be his friend, with the reasons being things that were down to him. Because I couldn’t blame myself for any of it, and I explained the ways I tried to in the letter.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on the way you view it), my faith and my personality make me a very forgiving person. Add in the fact I’m supposed to be living with him, I was never exactly able to cut him off.

    I had a message from E (my ex) after I left, which was more of an apology than the “sorry” I got in person. And he said he would do whatever it takes to make up for the wrong he did and the hurt he caused. I acted cold but he was insistent. So the next day I messaged him extending an olive branch, but I warned him that if things didn’t change that it was going to go back to what led to the letter. But so far, things are no different and I’m the only one bothering. I know it’s not fair of me to say that given it’s only been a few days, but from dating him I know him. I don’t believe things will change. But I’m giving him the opportunity all the same.

    In other news, I’ve had other stuff going on.

    I lost another 5 pounds. I’m back to the same weight I was 4 years ago, and it takes the total weight loss to 10 pounds in less than a month. It’s a lot to weight to lose to illness and depression (10% of my body weight). I’m hoping it is just that, but I guess I will find out when I have my blood test in a few weeks.

    I haven’t heard back from ENT since I had my hearing test, so I called them today. Apparently they hadn’t passed on the results to the doctor that saw me, and it took me calling them for them to do that. So I have some extra waiting time now because of that, and also worry because I have been in this situation before and they’ve discharged me. Surely they shouldn’t this time with hearing loss though?

    I’ve also been feeling really burnt out as of late. It feels like all I do is work, eat, sleep. I’ve just got to get through this week and things should be easier though, but then also busier so I can’t really win either way.

    Anyway, here’s to hoping things will settle down soon. And I wish the same for anyone else who feels like they just have everything going on.

    #Depression #MentalHealth #illness #WeightLoss #Ex #ent #HearingLoss #underweight #goodbye #moving #Forgiveness #Burnout #burntout #breakup