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Miller November 2023 Update

Goodbye November and Hello December! We are in the final month of the year!!

We are definitely gearing down for the winter with less time to function and needing more time to rest. No matter how hard we try to push through it...once you get to where you cannot read anymore you just have to stop. Self-care is important and we are wanting to take more steps in being aware of when we need to stop. (I say that but doing it has been the biggest hurdle the past 3 years)

We are still so proud of the trade display at Who Gives a SCRAP!

Made 109 Kits for November!

This month is always a weird one. We are always so panicked when it turns dark at 5 pm thinking it's 10 pm. "Where did the day go!?" Which then is followed by guilt, worthlessness, and shame. We never feel like we have accomplished enough that day to feel like we have worth. We are well aware there is no need to feel that...but that's something we have been trying to unravel our whole lives. We also aren't sure if the dark is an 'am' dark or a 'pm' dark since we are awake for both about the same amount of time. We don't automatically know and can only really align ourselves with daylight outside being 'daytime'. It won't solve itself overnight. This year we are lessening the amount we have to do outside of the home and just focus on fixing this.


Side bar: It's still so weird that we are told by therapists and specialists to 'rest' and focus on 'resting'. For everyone else around's generally pretty easy. You can sit in front of the TV, go to bed at night and wake up at a set time (or sleep in), go out to events or to see people...and then you are recharged to take on work? What happens when focusing on 'rest' IS the work? Then where can you find the rest TO work? How can you tell you need to rest before you collapse if the alert system is overridden by disassociation? Are you seeing the catch-22 here? We've been on high-alert mode for so long that 'rest' is a dangerous position to be in. Things slip and danger is always within range. So we are working month by month to unravel this coping mechanism too well-ingrained. With winter here, our barriers are weakened and memories much heavier.

Sun + Warmth = us happier and more adjusted to keep emotionally regulated. Can keep some sort of pattern if no time crunch emergencies pop up. Longest we kept: 3 months

(This based in CO only; In Ecuador we could've lasted all year)

No Sun + Cold = more depressed and less regulated; more sensitive to triggers. Can keep NO patterns as disassociation disrupts anything started. Longest we kept: 2 weeks

Our self-care is always the first to be ignored when 'important tasks' pop up (This also includes eating or drinking anything). Which then pushes us into burnout. We are done with living in burnout week after week being unable to function outside of work (and even barely at work). So new tactic! How about take care of ourselves so we CAN take on tasks? Easier said than done. But to get it done we need to 'do'.

I'm trying to be positive here ok?


Soooo with that little recap. This month we were probably zoned out for about a 1/2 either due to being asleep or disassociated. I've been able to 'pre-program' set tasks while being disassociated but the executive dysfunction of pressing start or timing in our day can still allude me. So tasks that should take 15 mins to complete can take about 3 hours. During these periods, I have tried to also 'pre-program' side tasks to input in those blank areas to try to keep up with what is needed. I'm also triggered by 'flags' (if I notice them) when I notice John's behavior or reaction and know what to do. (i.e. the room temp dropped and we both haven't moved for 2hrs. Need to turn up heat.) Mind you, this is based off of 10 years of focused and daily intent. I have managed to keep us going but we are by no means 'doing fine'.

Don't let our words fool you. By a healthy human standard, we are not able to check 'fine' in ANY area of life. When we say 'we are fine', we are saying that in comparison to where we were even just when we met.

When we say we are 'fine' we are saying:

-we are not being physically abused

-we are not in constant fear

-we are not in danger

-we have access to food

-we are not tied to certain family members and their emotional whims

-we are not being used by certain family members

-we are no longer suicidal

-we are no longer paralyzed for days due to depression/anxiety

-we are able to get some sleep and may have time to nap

-we are not alone

-we are no longer going into the ER or hospital once a year

But shouldn't these be the norm? Aren't these things you don't typically worry about? We worried about them daily (and still comes up through memories) and The Body Keeps The Score. So now that we have created a stable home for ourselves, the pulling apart of what has been our defense response is now a focus that takes a lot of time and energy.

I'd go over our odd patterns but there is just so many and they are quite...convoluted unless we tell you the stories of how we came to this process. If not done in a specific process we either glitch and forget everything or run into some distressing consequences that could have been avoided with the set process (especially things related to temperature, wetness, physical pain, and vertigo).

Ah I shouldn't get too much into this here. So sorry. I'm writing more in-depth about this topic as some information we came across this month has been extremely eye-opening. With more dead-ends when talking to not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR therapists. As well as a few tests we tried during our marriage among various people. It just became more prominent these past few months but the info we gathered kind of is weaving them together. So more on that later. (This stuff excites much to learn about the brain! How much of an impact does nurture vs nature have? Well nurture is having a MUCH bigger impact that both John and I are seeing first hand being on the other side. So we are using our own stories as kind of 'case studies' in learning the different directions our brains can go.) How are John and I so similar yet so different?

The exploration continues!

Oh right. More on our monthly update. Though that really is what do most of our time. We contemplate, research, study, observe and discuss daily. Both John and I are working in overlapping topic areas. John covers more of the hard sciences: chemistry, anatomy, physics etc while I cover the soft sciences: psychology/sociology. John can read a 800 page book in a day. But I can pick out the patterns, meanings, and some connections better. Due to our upbringing, we each are missing a part of our brain that did not form/connect properly. BUT, due to our parents hyper-focusing on one aspect, we became extremely proficient in it. Luckily, that is why we fit perfectly. I cover where he lacks and he covers where I lack. So together we make one whole functional person!

This is why we need to constantly be near each other to take and process information...Whoever said that 'you only need yourself to be happy' is lying. Without John nearby, I would immediately drop into a depressive spiral and not come to for hours. I already kind of do that when he plays games with this siblings and I'm waiting for him to finish so I can talk with him. When we no longer have control over how my internal system works...that doesn't apply. Our existence is very dependent on one another but we may be a pretty close example of a 'healthy dependence' outside of needing to be with each other 24/7/365. Hey, from where we were to where we are now, this is great fun news! (I get to be with my best friend 24/7/365 and we can make the best jokes.)

I do want to get into more writing, especially with what we discover and cover. I apologize again for my ramblings. I'm still working on the summarizing part. (And many other aspects...) Many of our research/observations have gone for years with new info every few months! But I think I'll have to work up to that. You know how I said I was going to work on writing this month? Especially NanoWrimo that I have been trying to do for 10 years? Well...that didn't really happen. There was so much visually around the house I had to do, I just couldn't focus. So I spent a good two weeks moving the apartment around. We have a very small apartment where our lasercutter machine sits in our laundry room floor, by the garbage can for the kitchen because it is the ONLY space we can put it. Oh it takes up that whole tiny room too. So for any task we do, there is a before task to clear the space, find the items, collect them, THEN use them. While using that spot, items are carefully stacked everywhere around until it's their turn to be shuffled. Those steps aren't always within the same day. So...not a lot of writing done. (I also have to sort through papers to find the right notes for the right many projects and piles of papers of 15 years!!)

I'm both extremely organized and not. I tend to set a reference standard one day and then come back and have to rewrite because I already forgot what it all meant and the structure it was supposed to follow. So a lot of backtracking and erasing wasted time. I don't finish many tasks and pop in another 3 in its place.

Soo....I ran off on a tangent didn't I? How many?

Ok ok I'm sorry here we go.

Quite excited about last month's Artist Trading Card (ATC) Event! Our original date was changed due to snow and moved to Tuesday. Everyone who said they would try to make it did! We had a lot of fun and focused on Chonky ATCs! Focusing on layers and depth with some non-traditional items.

There were so many little items to play with we were all so focused on what we were making, having fun seeing everyone else's methods, techniques and results! We even showed them how to make easy and cheap embellishments with 3 squares of clean toilet paper, water, and silicon molds. You see the card with the face, second row down, second from the left? That face was made from toilet paper and then painted white & blue.

Next month's focus will be Storage and Displays on December 29th from 3:30pm-5:30pm in F1. While supplies last, you can pick an option for storage and one to display your art. We will also have a craft for you to make your own! You'll be able to decorate your binders and get a free card page insert to start collecting. Or you can make as many ATCs as time allows. We also want to offer a specialty ATC kit with goodies as a thanks for joining the fun!

Plans for this continuing in 2024?

We shall see!

Next is the ATC curation~ Due to no space to actually make the kits, the two weeks of cleaning the apartment were also necessary. I now have a table I can work on. (We have a very bad habit of stacking things WHEREVER there is a flat surface. We will stack 5 different projects on top of each other if they are flat because we need its' space to work on a different project. Copy+paste everywhere. Though sorting through the chaos is very therapeutic and enjoyable for me. Despite having a negative AND overhead cost.

But Ta-Dah! A sneak peak at a new fave I'm going to try. My last attempt failed and took too long to fix. So I had to make adjustments and luckily had still held onto some old dry watercolor paints we could fix up. Going to send out a few watercolor ATC kits at Who Gives a SCRAP. Also going to try and switch from sending out tons of paper instructions to a small QR code to go to the page with even a short how-to video! We just don't have the time and energy or finances to keep getting thse papers printed and cut. So we will be using up the last of what we have! Changes coming soon.

Now that I have space, I have about 7 different sets of kits ready and needing to be filled into bags. I'm also needing bags. ._. If anyone wants to donate some small lunch paper bags that would be great! Thanks!

Once I think we tweak some final adjustments on what direction we wanted to go with this, this summer we will take advantage of the sunshine and start contacting businesses! I'm excited to get more trade displays up and have more kits to encourage people to create. =) It just makes me happy!

Ok so...hear us out on this next one...

We have been testing different options to substitute food when we HAVE to eat but we are so stressed and disconnected that the thought of any food makes us want to vomit? Well early last year we were working with our OT to figure out some options. We tried chewy bars and to keep it in my bag with me so I could snack on it. However, for some reason being in there for more than a day made it 'disgusting' and I would never consider it when hungry. IT no longer existed. I would take it out TWO MONTHS LATER because I decided to clean my bag out. I have to wait a month for it on our counter for me to even consider it being 'edible' again. John's appetite is worse than mine so I sometimes have to eat to get him to want to eat. It's an odd struggle that we know is ridiculous but mentally understanding it doesn't eliminate an underlying problem. It's a symptom that in order to remove, needs to be solved as to WHY. We kinda know but not in any position to make those adjustments.

But I digress. (I'm sorry that's very common with me isn't it?)

The picture yes the picture. That Whey Protein has had a huge impact in giving us quick nutrition that bypasses a lot of those issues. There are also multiple ways you can prepare it to adjust to those *specific* disgusts. We either have ours in chocolate milk or just make it a spiced milk. It keeps our energy levels steady without a sugar spike or the drop. Best part? If you get one with the nutrition label, it's covered by SNAP benefits. We got this 5lb container because it has been consistent for us with significant results after our 1lb test. Also once the container is empty...we think Sherlock would love to play in it!

If she doesn't...I love containers to store things.

(Also purchase stuff in packaging you'll keep and reuse!! Make it a win-win!)

John also got his Psych Eval! He is both excited and shocked by the results. I mean it's an eval about your childhood. So "yay" for answers but "boo" for bad memories. I can't get into his info and that's up to him to reveal any of it. Feel free to talk to me about mine. If John feels willing, he may chime in. Otherwise, you may learn more through our future posts we work on together. His recap of the eval highlighted a topic we are exploring now and may have to ask experts with that specialty. We are going to work on more writing collabs together! Yay!

(Oh, we were going to apply for disability but apparently there is only 6 people working at the DHS who help with disability papers. They only do it through calls and have no one available who can do it in person. So we may get a call within 30-90 days for help...What a wait!)

My Mary Kay Launch Party went well! Had a lot of fun working on being social in more of a controlled setting. I had been so busy & exhausted last month I barely had the energy to do much. I did manage to earn my Advanced Skin Care Consultant badge though!

The real test is seeing if I can remember ANY of this when in the spotlight. I tend to forget to even breathe so remembering words is gonna be another ball game. John has been very encouraging and by the phone to help as soon as I need it. Since I may never escape this anxiety, time to see if there are other ways to adapt...or take the challenge to come up with something BETTER to completely avoid it! Isn't how some genius inventions are made?

Well that really does kind of summarize our month. I may or may not flip into the "I'm no longer following any set schedule and will work based on my 'awakeness' whether at 2pm or 2am". So to not be negatively be affected by the dark times of the day, I just won't care about it until it's daytime and we have appointments or businesses are open. There will be ONE consistent day a week that will have no schedules to be our 'reset' day to make sure things don't get too out of hand. As long as our main bills are covered, we want our businesses to succeed.

I gotta be more positive . But not to where it's not genuine. Just pushing it a little more than where it's currently at. Keep going and I should get there at actually feeling better. For every negative, I always try to match a positive. Even if it's as simple as "I really liked that color".

Well I'm finally drawing to a close. Thanks for going on this crazy verbal ride with me. I didn't succeed in that YouTube Post being sent out...that one was set for Nov 4th and I WAY missed that. (It was planned out back in Dec of 2022...) Well it happens.

So what are our plans for December? I hope you are as excited as we are!

See you in the next post! <3

I really had fun doing shoots of Mary Kay products. It's a bit much but still pleasing yes?

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