A day in the PTSD life…

I wrote this on my Facebook a few days ago, but figured it would be appropriate here!

[cw explanation of PTSD symptoms]

Hey friends as many of you know I was diagnosed with PTSD in January. Because June is National PTSD month and June 27th is National PTSD day (in the States, but we can recognize it up North here too) I wanted to give y’all a bit of an idea of what my day-to-day is like living with PTSD. Right now I have some other health issues going on (that I’m hoping to gain some more insight to with an all-day-test-day this Friday!), and that definitely informs how my PTSD symptoms present. A lot of the time people want mental and physical health to be separate beasts, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Because of that I’m not going to specify which symptoms inform which, as I don’t see that as a useful way to metric things.

But without any further preample: A Day In The Life! (this is actually taken from a few days, but none more than a week ago because my memory is shot lol)

0000 Been in bed for 2 hours, still awake. Had a rough convo with a friend and I can’t stop thinking about a single phrase they used, because it’s a phrase my abuser used to use.
0100 Having bouts of dissociation that roll into a panic attack that roll into dissociation and back again. I feel unsafe at night to begin with, but it’s especially bad when I’ve experienced a trigger.
0200 Still not asleep. I might try playing an app game, watching a YouTube video, or petting Sushi but they’re only temporary distractions.
0300 I honestly begin wondering how expensive it would be to replace my door with something that locks. In fact, I wonder HOW MANY locks I could possibly fit on the same door. I’m handy! I can install a bunch!
0400 FINALLY I fall asleep. Unfortunately I experience nightmares every night, and night terrors more often than not, so falling asleep is more bittersweet than anything else.
1600 I wake up! I’m still absolutely exhausted!
1700 I need to go pick up prescriptions (because I’m totally that person who anti-med people warn you about, and I take a fuck tonne) and lo there’s one of my major triggers at every pharmacy. Because of that I’m going to make sure I spend some quality time with Sushi before I leave the house (he’s a relaxing guy!), and this is usually when I decide to do his brushing/walking/etc.
1800 Shocking to no one the pharmacy trigger is still there, but despite my best prep I’m still caught having a panic attack in public. Because I could anticipate this would happen I’ve already mapped out where the closest bathrooms are in case I start crying in public.
1900 If I have the money I’ll grab myself a Starbucks or something for the way home to distract myself from the fear of having a panic attack in public. If I’m broke (like I am right now because I can’t work lol) I’ll flip through Sushi pics.
2000 Maybe I eat, maybe I don’t. Because I’m nauseated pretty much always my appetite is shot, so sometimes I forget.
2100 This is usually when my limbs get too heavy to move, so I’ll go lay down with an audiobook. If it’s been a trigger-heavy day I’ll re-listen to something I’ve heard a few times before so I can anticipate my reactions.

And then it repeats the next day!

I tried to pick situations that are fairly standard/average, so even though I’ve based this mostly off of yesterday/today for those in-the-know you’ll see that I’ve actually made this hypothetical day a lot easier than the last few days have actually been lol I hope this gives a bit of an idea of what PTSD can mean though (for me, anyways).

Wanna help me save up for my service dog? https://www.youcaring.com/briealmoireabhtetlock-1120298

Remember: not all disabilities are visible. Be kind.

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Surprise! Pearls with the Shucking Mama | #shuckyeah!

Making money while in university is tough. Making money while in university with disability? For me it’s been near-impossible. I’ve always known that freelancing is/would be the best fit for me in the long run, but when my mum and sisfriend approached me with an idea for a Facebook Live business I was still wary. Shucking oysters live? It honestly sounds ridiculous (maybe because it is!), but eventually I agreed to come in with them as a social media admin.

Let’s start with some introductions first!

Who are we?

Existential contemplation time (jk but kinda not).

My sisfriend, Deanna, is the Shucking Mama!

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Deanna wearing a single pearl in a swirly heart pendant!

With 3 kids going on at home Deanna super enjoys the flexibility being her own boss affords her. She’s able to wear Elliott for the most part during shows, and Jordyn and Ryleigh have made guest appearances on the show when they’re not too busy playing! She also loves the community being built around our shows, and really enjoys seeing the same names pop up on her screens week to week!

My mum, Annette, is the Shucking Grandmama!

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My mum wearing a single pearl in a cube pendant (also just generally lookin’ super cute with my dad)!

Mum especially appreciates the flexibility offered to her as well (see the theme forming?). Being able to pop on and off tasks as she has the opportunity is lovely, because it makes more time to hang out and play with the grandkids! With two kids already raised of her own being able to sit back and relax with her grandkids is one of her favourite things to do. She especially loves to see how excited people get over their pearls!

I’m the Ban Hammer!

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Brieal (me!) wearing 4 pearls in a tube pendant!

Working for myself, with family, has been so rewarding. Even on days where I can’t seem to get any editing work I know that I can throw a message into our Shuck Squad group chat to renew my resolve for the coming Tuesday. Because I’m always responding to messages and comments in-show I’m so appreciative of the community that’s forming around our shows! That said: because we’re an entirely independent business the part that I’ve struggled with the most is getting people to really understand what exactly our business is all about!

So what do we do, exactly?

Short-form: Deanna shucks oysters over Facebook Live, and people get to keep the pearls!

Long-form: We work as a team to tailor a consistent experience of fun and community around the shucking of pearls over Facebook Live where people order lovely pearls and pearl cage jewelry!

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One of the many unconventional projects that Deanna’s taken on for Surprise! Pearls.

We’re an entirely independent business which means that all of our planning, ordering, photographing, messaging, inventory-ing, sorting, shucking, etc is done by one of the three of us. While other people choose to go the MLM route through a larger company we wanted to be entirely our own bosses! While this has resulted in some extra work (… A LOT of extra work) it’s been worth it for us because we can tailor our business to meet not only our needs but also the needs of our fanbase!

Because we’re a Facebook-only business all of our show preorders are done through Facebook messaging. This means that one of us needs to have our phone on us at all times in order to keep track of inventory! Although I work as the social media admin due to my school schedule the person who most often responds to messages and makes posts throughout the week is Deanna, while my responsibilities are primarily in-show. My mum, Annette, works hard to keep track of our inventory and book keeping, and works as Deanna’s assistant in-show! She makes sure that Deanna knows who gets their oyster opened next, and keeps track of shipping everyone’s orders! But all of that would be for nought if Deanna didn’t shuck oysters Live! Right now we have a weekly show every Tuesday at 7pm PST/8pm MST during which Deanna shucks individual and giant oysters to reveal the awesome pearls inside!

All that said: our positions are made up and the points don’t matter! We all work all of the positions based on our abilities and time available. Everyone has done everything at this point, regardless of if it’s their wheelhouse or not!

How do we get our awesome pearl colours?

A lot of the fun of our shows is that you never know what colour you’ll get until Deanna shucks the oyster. Every oyster contains a pearl, so the only risk is colour result! This also means that although there are jewelry options for pearls a lot of people end up collecting the pearls as-is.

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A great example of just some of the colour options available!

A couple people on Facebook wanted to know more specifically about how our pearls get their colour as well! Our single pearls are beautiful Akoya pearls. This means that each cultured oyster is implanted with an irritant or two (a graft of mantle shell–otherwise known as the pearl nucleus), around which nacre forms evenly to create a fairly consistent round pearl. We also sometimes order oval shaped pearls as well! This method of culturing means that we’re able to get pearl colours which (perhaps obviously) don’t exist outside of this method.

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Source

We additionally have begun ordering cultured giant oysters! These huge oysters hold 20+ natural ivory/cream/white pearls! Because of the number of pearls being implanted and cultured at once we’ve stuck to the natural colours as the “rainbow” giant pearls are implanted with coloured plastics as opposed to mantle grafts. This results in a less resilient pearl, which doesn’t hold up to our high standards (yet! anyways).

Why does all this matter?

We LOVE being our own bosses, and are so looking forward to taking our business further! As people just starting out we’re striving to be as upfront about ourselves and our business practices as possible! We’re three people who have come together to work hard, and we hope that others are interested in said hard work!

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The entire Surprise! Pearls team!

I hope this has cleared up some of the more common questions we get about our business! If you figure I’ve left something out please don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook!

Investing in a #SelfcareSunday 

We are our own best investments. Time for some self care!

On Thursday I was a panelist speaking on Linguistic Violence at Macewan University, and it got me thinking about self care. Too often I don’t take care of myself. With the hustle and bustle of school, freelancing, and Just Being sometimes I need a reminder to slow down!

So with all that in mind I made a short list of things I do/can do to practice self care for myself:

  • talking about it
  • reconnecting with community 
  • reaching out to people
  • doodling
  • painting
  • doing readings on-time
  • taking meds on-time
  • petting Sushi 
  • journaling 
  • meditating 
  • putting on pants
  • playing a videogame
  • having a bath
  • getting out of bed
  • listening to music
  • playing with putty
  • listening to audiodrama 
  • looking at family pics
  • writing
  • hugs
  • doing my hair
  • high fives 
  • looking at pictures of cute animals
  • smiling 
  • brushing my teeth
  • doing my brows
  • reading about cool shit
  • listening to podcasts 

What are some strategies you have to practice self care?

5 things understanding my PTSD has given me:

There isn’t a whole lot redeeming about mental illness. That being said I’ve made it my mission the last couple of weeks to try to figure out some good/neutral things that my mental illness allows me.

Continue reading “5 things understanding my PTSD has given me:”