Tuesday, December 26, 2017

One Word

I've been thinking about my word for 2018, something to resonate with where I see myself needing to grow, and to focus on. This has taken a fair amount of thought. Then it hit me recently.


I've been struggling with the depressive episodes of my cyclothymia. Along with a challenging situation. The day I bought this journal I ran into a particularly rough spot in dealing with the situation.

Last week I was reading through old blog posts of mine, and this one struck a chord. Seeing Joy Through the Eyes of My Toddler . With the way things have been I need to find these moments of Joy. The post was a good reminder of that.

So I'm going to be more mindful of enjoying what I can. In order to not loose myself in the sea of negative.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

ADD - hyperfocus

With attention deficit disorder comes hyperfocus. At least for me. When engaged properly this can be a powerful tool for productivity.

Fairly recently I realized that it is also a way for my overactive mind to let out some of that extra mental energy. Which in turn helps my mood. This isn't only a productivity asset but a necessary outlet for me. Writing is a hyperfocus activity for me, and I'm feeling the positive impact on my mood since writing daily for national novel writing month.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mental illness and community

I recently wrote about my mental health and disability for my professional newsletter. The article is linked below. This is a short summary of my Cyclothymia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in my professional career. I also included how campus resources have helped me start to move from the medical model of disability to the social model 1. This means seeing myself as differently abled instead of broken. My article also included the Institutional Research community. Sharing stories can help grow community connections.

This sense of community connection is important. For at least the past several months when my depressive episodes hit I have been struggling with my sense of belonging where I am in my campus community. I know depression lies. But it can be hard to keep sight of that when in the worst moods.

This has gotten me thinking more about what an inclusive community looks like. Campus resources have been helpful, and I do have some wonderful colleagues, both on and off campus. In those times when I feel like I don’t belong I have thought about if I could feel a stronger sense of belonging elsewhere. In thinking further, I realized that I can help with the community I’m currently in. Part of it is managing my own mental health, being intentional in spending time with others helps there. I can also help build support for others as well. I chair the assessment subcommittee of our campus Diversity Committee. I’m also leading our newly formed faculty and staff with disabilities interest group. Both of these together can help grow connections between colleagues along with assessing our progress. System change doesn’t happen with one person, this is a collaborative effort of people working together. I’m not just building my own support network, but also helping our community.

There is still stigma around mental illness. In sharing my story, I’m doing my part to help break the stigma. In thinking about disability as a social construct, versus an impairment 2, I was wondering if the stigma around mental health could be seen as contributing towards a disabling environment. Like how a building with stairs can be harder to navigate then one with ramps for someone with a physical impairment. A social environment where one feels less worthy because of their mental illness could make one feel more disabled.  

My ask eAIR article:

1 “Disability and Ableism in Higher Education,” Jennifer Ashton, Ph.D. and Milo Obourn, Ph.D.

2 “Disability as an Intersectional Social Identity,” Milo Obourn, Ph.D. and Jennifer Ashton, Ph.D.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Building Bridges

As an artist I like symbolism. How something can be face value and also something more.

Take bridges for example. They span physical spaces to make connections and facilitate transportation.

Symbol wise we can focus on the idea of connection. Beyond the physical space I like to also think about bridges as connecting people. Allowing ideas to cross spaces. Perhaps these spaces are organizational. Or identity.

We have two covered bridges on campus. Both of which converge at the administration building & library plaza. One bridge crosses a main campus road to our special event and recreation spaces. The other bridge crosses railroad tracks and connects to an academic building.

Our campus is walking distance to a village of the same name, Brockport. Some mornings I drive through the village instead of using our main campus entrance. Turning from Main Street to Adams, while still in the village, the one bridge is visible in the distance.

While working on a cross departmental project this past semester the term building bridges came up. I still think of that conversation when looking at our campus bridge from the village.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A To Z: story a week

So I signed up for a story a week challenge. This one follows the alphabet so each week is the next letter. We started this month, and I wrote a Drabble for A.
Today is the first day for week B. Today I was at a work retreat at the lake. So I'm going with "Beach" for a theme. Going to ponder a story idea a bit before diving in.