ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some friends of mine have asked about resources for self-care, so here are some of my favorites in a big Bucket'O'Cope:

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
"Essential for Human Survival" is now open for microfunding.  Groundhog suggests going to the Kwan Yin House of Compassion.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
As I've been developing storylines with characters who have a wide range of self-destructive behaviors (Shiv, Cassandra, Keane, Turq, etc.) I've looked over many resources and talked with readers who have previously or are currently struggling with similar issues. I'm particularly interested in what helps, what doesn't, and what makes matters worse. Also, I'm aware that Terramagne-America handles a lot of things in community which have only clinical resources in local-America, or more often, nothing at all.

What I found was this totally awesome place ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted the story "Connecting Paths" which follows Drew's pasta-making expedition.  Read Part 1 and Part 2.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] rix_scaedu tipped me to this page about coping with traumatic news.  It's an illustrated guide, but they get bonus points for inclusivity because the written instructions appear in text below the pictures.  \o/  This ties into the excellent advice from Mr. Rogers, "Look for the helpers."

Newspaper and news broadcast sites in Terramagne-America customarily have some kind of EFA section like this, and video instructions are often tacked onto the end of reports about a major tragedy.  They have more materials though -- theirs is usually broken down into subsections like "I am upset by a tragedy," "I don't like the politics," "I am offended by a scandal," "I am scared of a soup incident," etc. with a general "I am unhappy about the news" for everything else.  Under the symptoms and basic coping skills is a set of tips on how you can help.  For instance, the tragedy section would have information on aid organizations, fundraisers, volunteering, etc. while the scandal one would have stuff about virtues and gossip.  This modular format makes it easy to add individual pages for current events, like folks did with the Berettaflies in Easy City, which is how they managed to raise money and acquire butterfly-indifferent plants so quickly.  Then all they have to do is link the individual pages at the bottom of the topical pages under "Current Events." Citizens always know where they can go for help on these issues; it stays in the same place and format so it's easy to find.

This concept is replicable here for anyone who works with a vulnerable population easily upset by distressing news, any large organization that has a public relations office, any kind of emergency response organization, etc.  If you deal in things that upset people or people who get upset, then it helps to have a resource for healthy coping.  This can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend repeating the same information and the amount of stress caused by people freaking out.  It also engages one of the most important resilience factors: restoring a sense of control.  Helplessness causes traumatic stress.  Giving people a gentle nudge toward self-help and citizen response materials will get most of them moving forward again.  The ones who don't budge are the ones you really need to worry about, and you'll have more resources to handle the one or two people who flip into acute stress disorder if you've successfully routed the others into solving their own problems.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the January 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [livejournal.com profile] paantha. It also fills the "chance" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Calliope thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Hankie warning for personal growth and domestic situations. Highlight to read the more detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. It involves trying to get over things without much luck, frustration with slow progress, awkward couples therapy, boundary issues, communication issues, whole magazine racks full of issues in every color and theme, impaired bond dynamics, negotiation and compromise, mismatched stages of development, and other angst. Overall, though, the tone is hopeful. If these are sensitive subjects for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before moving onward.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A friend is going through a rough patch, so I put together some resources for what to do when your life blows up in your face.  You can also use these for supporting someone else.

Here are the most basic steps of self-care in the form of question prompts.

Know how to deliver Emotional First Aid for yourself and for others.  Make an EFA kit stocked with things you find soothing. You can even make a portable, pocket-sized EFA kit that fits into an Altoids tin.

Soothe yourself with stress relief activities for the 5 senses.

Explore the categories of coping skills with their pros and cons.  Here is a list of 99 coping skills.

Grounding techniques can relieve anxiety and other unpleasant emotions.

Try some relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation.

Many herbs can ease anxiety and promote calm.  Consider aromatherapy or dreampillows if you're not into herbal tea. Note: if you have issues with intrusive memories or a fresh trauma, do NOT use rosemary, which enhances memory.  Save that to study for tests or address lost/fading memories.

Stressful experiences often interfere with sleep.  Take extra care with your sleep.

Acute stress reaction is a normal response to an abnormal event.  Most people will freak out or freeze up for a few days, then gradually recover.  Treatment typically consists of common sense comforts.  The most important point is to listen if someone wants to talk about what happened, but don't pressure  them to do so.

Preventing PTSD is important, but caregivers are just beginning to identify things that help.  First, understand that PTSD is fundamentally a sorting error: the brain can't file traumatic memories properly, so they replay over and over again.  Playing a stacking-and-sorting game such as Tetris can activate the brain's sorting function.  Making a care diary, timeline, or trauma scrapbook can help place memories in context as part of the life story.

Bad stuff happens to everyone sometimes.  You can cope with it.  You can help other people cope with it.  Learn the skills to be a hero.  The world needs more of those.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Fandom Snowflake Challenge

Day 7

In your own space, create a fanwork. Make a drabble, a ficlet, a podfic, or an icon, art or meta or a rec list. Arts and crafts. Draft a critical essay about a particular media. Put together a picspam or a fanmix. Write a review of a Broadway show, a movie, a concert, a poetry reading, a museum trip, a you-should-be-listening-to-this-band essay. Compose some limericks, haikus, free-form poetry, 5-word stories. Document a particular bit of real person canon. Take some pictures. Draw a stick-figure comic. Create something. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so
.


Fandom Snowflake Challenge banner


Well, this ran slow due to me having a ton of fishbowl work to do, but I managed to squeak out something. It's tough going because Hulk is working through some serious trauma from the fast, but he's found a clever way to do that and Uncle Phil is awesome.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the January 3 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alatefeline. It also fills the "trust" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains intense topics. HANKIE WARNING! If it makes you cry, then I wrote it right. Highlight to read more detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. This poem is positive overall, as it reunites Turq with his foster parents, but inevitably that makes it an emotional roller-coaster. Turq flibbers all morning until they arrive. He has hot-and-cold running skin hunger and touch aversion. Some of his trauma complicates things he used to do with his family. His memory is a mess. Ansel provides emotional support. Dao and Mingxia handle it by using some of the first-day rules for foster children as a familiar base for interaction. They talk about possible plans for the future, which is awkward because Turq doesn't feel he deserves anything good, and doesn't know about all the options in foster care. Mingxia also has a copy of Turq's memory book. They talk about adding to that. Turq doesn't want to put all the traumatic stuff in there, so Mingxia suggests starting a trauma scrapbook instead. Turq makes a valiant effort but runs out of cope and resorts to shapeshifting. His parents are startled by the transformations, but welcoming of his abilities. Much progress is made, but the whole day is just really rough for everyone. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. However, this is a major plot point, so skipping it would destabilize much that comes afterwards.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
While researching for poetry today, I found this amazing page that explains how to measure trauma. It gives a bunch of scales to indicate how much or how long things affected a trauma survivor.  It covers the event, internal experience, and support.  Some factors are static, while others could change over time.  If you don't know why you (or someone else) feel terrible about something, this might help.

EDIT: A later, expanded version is here.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
For those of you celebrating the Gregorian New Year, I wish you a happy one.  :D

Here are some safety tips for partying tonight

Because not everyone follows safety tips, you never know when they might need a hero.  Know the signs of alcohol poisoning and what to do for a drunk friend.  Have a designated driver if people will be drinking alcohol, collect funds to hire a ride, or keep tipsy people overnight.  Watch for sexual harassment and be prepared to intervene.  Think about holiday party hazards and be ready to provide first aid.

If you are a designated driver, party monitor, or host of a party with similar safety protocols, then you can reveal a verse in any open perk poem:
"Spirit of Truth"
"Testing the Metal"
"Dangerous Refuges"
"From Silica to Silk"
"The Marble and the Sculptor"
"Picking Up the Litter"
"The Golden Peaches of Peace"

For a peek at how people in Terramagne handle someone who's had too much to drink, see "Through the Haze" and "The World Keeps Spinning." Similarly, "Down New Paths" does not involve actual alcohol but does feature a similar level of disorientation.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the October 4, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alatefeline and [personal profile] sweet_sparrow. It also fills the "scars" square in my 6-1-16 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem was sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Cassandra thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem touches on some intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes mixed feelings, references to past abuse, self-injury, asking for help and getting it, worry, minor medical details, awkward conversations, references to prejudice, poor self-image, scars, nonsexual intimacy, references to lousy counseling, stress, and other challenges. Current environment is safe. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the November 8, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] sweet_sparrow. It also fills the "excitement" square in my 11-1-16 card for the Fall Festival Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Cassandra thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the May 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "public places" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Cassandra thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  It has also inspired the story "For Every Action..." by [personal profile] siliconshaman.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the September 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman and [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron. It also fills the "situational Awareness" square in my 8-1-16 card for the Survival Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] clockworklady and EdorFaus. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is my card for the iPod Shuffle Music Fest hosted by [personal profile] kiramaru7 and [personal profile] spiralicious  on [community profile] allbingo.  It uses song titles for inspiration, divided into separate batches.  No minimum word counts or exclusions this time, and fills can be anything inspired by the prompts; they don't have to be songfics. (See all my 2016 bingo cards.)

If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out. This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. I may still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl.

Underlined prompts have been filled.


iPod Shuffle Music Fest Card

I’ll be ThereHard WorkHomeThe TruthSmile
In the MallMoneyFighterColder WeatherFriends in Low Places
Must be Doin’ Somethin’ RightEverybody HurtsWILD CARDGives You HellThrift Shop
Pictures of YouTake it EasyWhyCloserBlack Mollies
All of YouHappy HolidaysNeed you NowBreatheThe Scientist
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the October 4, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] gingicat and other readers under "Through Infirmity of the Flesh" regarding changes in CPR practice; and folks with whom I've discussed how to modify first aid training for people with disabilities. Note that it takes serious digging to unearth solid references for the latest practices: I have now done this for you, with help from those recently-trained readers. This poem also fills the "successes" square in my 8-1-16 card in Group Dynamics and Character-Building. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] daisiesrockalot, and [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Extra perk: Anyone with a current CPR card, or now in training, speak up and you can reveal a verse of any open linkback poem.

Warning: This poem contains graphic descriptions of CPR training, and other intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features messy medical discussions and demonstrations, disability issues including the awkward process of adapting to a new one, poor self-esteem, educational challenges, struggling with learning modes, frustration, self-recrimination, body dysphoria, flashbacks, reference to previously losing someone to a drug overdose, discussion of sensitive issues about skin tone and first aid, challenges of soup care, minor physical overstrain, and other issues. For the most part, though, it's an upbeat poem and it takes a close look at how an adept teacher modifies a class to accommodate the learning needs of a diverse student body. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the June 2016 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman and [personal profile] alatefeline. It also fills the "vicious" square in my 4-19-16 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] daisiesrockalot and [personal profile] technoshaman. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This poem contains graphic and controversial material. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It's about Dr. Bloch's response to the incident in which Jimar got sick from contaminated drugs. Many people have debated the best way to discourage anyone from using or selling drugs. Those all having failed, Dr. Bloch decides to try describing the medical effects and how to treat them. It's a logical consequence; it's intended to teach, not to humiliate or to harm. But it is meant to make them uncomfortable, and some people may consider that a gray area in the spectrum of discipline and punishment or of medical ethics. Other challenging content includes involuntary education, of people who probably already have educational trauma, awkward attitudes about disability, discussions of loss, vulgar language, graphic description of messy medical details, mental combat against largely unarmed opponents, in which Dr. Bloch cleans everyone's clock, terror weapons, graphic descriptions of their results, nausea and vomiting, harassment, not-so-veiled threats, remorse, painfully honest discussions about addicts, and other mayhem. Folks with a history of substance issues, medical abuse, or school trauma may want to think twice about this one. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you want to read. It does develop Dr. Bloch's activities and there's a later poem that builds on it, but it's not in Shiv's main line, so skipping it shouldn't leave a huge gap.

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