Mar. 19th, 2016

ysobel: (Default)
There is an iOS app that I've been using for about a month now, and it may be of interest to some of y'all. It's called BoosterBuddy, and it is a free (and ad-less!) app created by Vancouver Island Health Authority to "help teens and young adults improve their mental health".

The premise is this: you check in every day with how you are feeling (broadly speaking -- the options are great, not greasy, struggling, and crisis), and then you have a cartoonish animal buddy that you wake up by doing three quests. (The nature of the quests depend on how your mood is at check-in, and can be anything from "look up pictures of beach scenes" to "figure out something you need to do, break it down into steps as small as possible, and write down the first step" to "take a picture of something beautiful" to various other things. Nothing that takes long, and many come with an "I can't do this now" option that switches to a different quest.

Once the animal buddy is awake, it gives you an inspirational quote of some sort, and you can play dress-up with various hats, neck things, belts, etc. You unlock new clothing items with in-game coins that you get for doing quests, taking medications, adding to-do items to the in-game calendar, completing said tasks, etc. There is also a list/collection of coping strategies that you can go to at any time, with a Favorites list so that you can flag your favorite strategies.

Setup involves marking the issues that you have problems with (out of a list including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, initiation/motivation, oversleeping, under sleeping, drug or alcohol use, nicotine use, and other things I can't remember), which I think are used by the app to select what quests it gives you; how many times a day you take medications and whether you would like a reminder to do so; and crisis contact info like the address/number of the nearest hospital (and, iirc, the option of listing the name and phone number of someone such as a therapist or friend that you can call in an emergency).

There is the option of sending in anonymized usage data -- nothing personal, not the contents of what you write, but things like minutes spent in the app, which coping mechanisms you use, how often you check in, how often you complete the daily quests, etc -- but this is opt-IN, which I love, and permission can be revoked at any time.

I find it super helpful both for the daily quests (small daily coping reminders) and for when I'm struggling with brainweasels and need one of the on-demand coping mechanisms. You can also see a monthly calendar view that shows among other things which days you checked in *and what mood*, which is a very granular look at my emotion trends (the mood is selected once per day and can't be changed). It also shows when you took your meds, or at least when you told it you took your meds (and this *can* be changed after the fact; even if it's a different day you can go back and mark the med as taken).

The only gripes I have are a) you can't look at previous answers to fill-in-the-blank coping methods (which I suspect is because the app doesn't even store them; good for privacy, and the primary point is mindfulness rather than dwelling on the past), b) you can change settings (like which issues are issues for you) but you can't see what the current settings are, and c) it is occasionally physically ableist (one daily quest was "take three steps" and unlike most, it didn't have the "I can't do this now" option). But overall I would give it an A, especially for a free app. (And it is actually legitly free; no ads, no in-app purchases, just plain free.)

Sorry for the teal deer. If you've read this far, you deserve a kitty pic:

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Miscellany

Mar. 19th, 2016 09:08 pm
ysobel: (nyah)
* Because I am a big dork, I decided to start learning Welsh on Duolingo. I am very amused that one of the sentences in the second lesson grouping is "I am a dragon" (draig dw i). I also got a Les Mis earworm with "pwy dw i" (who am I), which even scans. A welsh version of Les Mis would be awesome.

* my Inner Critic had a moment of "wtf why are you learning Welsh" -- the other languages I've done have made sense, because Spanish is useful in California, German and Russian are both languages I've learned previously (albeit to vastly different fluency levels), Russian has the additional benefit of being the native language of one of my aides, but Welsh??? -- but I was able to stifle that quickly. Can I use Welsh in my life? No, not really. But I like learning things, not just to be useful but purely for the sake of learning.

* I realized recently that a Mystery Knitting Object I've had for fifteen-odd years, which I got as part of an eBay purchase of yarn and knitting tools and so I thought was some weird large U-shaped stitch holder, is actually a look for hairpin crochet. Which I am utterly captivated by. (Summary version: the loom has parallel inflexible sides, and you hold the yarn behind and to one side. Flipping the loom over loops the yarn around one side; you crochet in the middle to stabilize it; flip the same direction to loop around the other side; crochet in the middle to stabilize; and you end up with a strip of crochet up the middle with loops on either side kind of like fringe.) I have, however, come to the conclusion that it requires three hands (one for yarn, one for hook, one for loom).

* Speaking of crochet, I made a video showing how I crochet (and babbling rather a lot). I will embed it here once I look up how to do that (I'm on my iPad, and I can't find embed code on the YouTube app) but for now here's a link: http://youtu.be/v4P2pK0joHk It's 16 minutes long, and fully captioned. I hope to make more videos showing other things. It's pretty basic and amateur-looking, but eh.

* Also speaking of crochet, I (re)discovered tonight that switching immediately from a project using thicker yarn and a 5.5mm hook to one with thinner yarn and a 4mm hook? Really throws off muscle memory for a bit.

* random icon ftw \o/

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masquerading as a man with a reason

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