First Time Attendee to Emerald City Comicon

I attended the Emerald City Comicon for the first time and had a blast. I know its now Wednesday but wanted to share my experience with you all I had the weekend we just had (March 2 – March 5).

It being my first ever time attending any form of such event, I didn’t know what to expect. Thursday, I ended up just taking it all in by wondering around. I did a lot of people watching but met up with a friend to attend a panel  focusing on the women side of comic books. Mainly the panel was on women superhero’s or the lack there of. Wonder Woman was brought up a great deal at this panel and rightfully so.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, I did some cosplay and dressed as Wonder Woman on Friday. I attended many cosplay events on Friday that I attended with friends. As fun as cosplay was, it was a bit overwhelming for me.

Despite Friday being overwhelming for me, I think I had the most fun on Saturday. I attended many panels. In fact all the panels I attended were publishers and authors of Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. My favorite panel of the entire event happened on Saturday and it was Women in fantasy with authors Callie Bates, Kristen Britain and Robin Hobb with editor Anne Groell moderating.  I had a blast being able to hear them speak and talk with them one on one.

I did attend on Sunday but that was the day, I really got overwhelmed and only stayed a couple of hours. I did get a lot down in the two to three hours I was there. I ended up buying five Wonder Woman magnets  and a Wonder Woman bathrobe. I also was able to get nine book Sci-Fi/Fantasy books. Four of which I received for free and seven of the nine books I did get I was able to get signed by the authors.

I may had have had my struggles regarding my lived experience with a mental health condition at Emerald City Comicon but I am thrilled I went. Overall, attending ECCC ultimately helped with the symptoms of my mental health diagnosis. I am definitely  attending next year but I will be staying in a hotel in downtown as I think it will ultimately be easier for everything.  Have a wonderful rest of your week. Peace Out!!!

Making Life Decisions in a Crisis

The last few months have been a struggle for me. A struggle that has been more or less a constant crisis for me. Being in a constant crisis and not being able to  bounce back like I have been able to do in recent years.

Not being able to bounce back as quickly as I have been able to do as in recent years got me to thinking about my recovery. I realized as I was thinking that not being able to focus on my recovery due to working fulltime under a supervisor who would not allow me to take time off for appointments with my treatment team that I needed to make a huge life decision. A decision that was not easy for me to make but I needed make it as I need to focus on my recovery. That decision was to resign from my position as a Peer Specialist.

I put in my notice on Valentines Day and my supervisor wasn’t exactly the happiest of people at the moment. He didn’t want to go through the hiring process again which I wouldn’t want to do either however I feel like my recovery is more important than sticking at a job that was hindering my recovery. Yes, I love my job with a passion and really don’t want to quit but I realize that I am doing a disservice to the clients I serve if I am in a constant crisis and not focusing on my own recovery. One of my primary job duties is to be in recovery and well its a little wobbly at the moment I need to do what is best for both the clients I serve and myself and focus on my recovery. So, my last day at a job I love with a passion with be on March 24, 2017.

I know resigning from my job is the best decision for me at the moment. I can’t help others if I’m not able to help myself. As difficult as this decision was for me, I am at peace with my decision. In all honesty I can’t help but see the dialectics in my decision of resigning from my job. I think its because of both the dialectics and mindfulness is why I am at peace with my decision of quitting a job I love with a passion. My recovery is way too important.

I appreciate you all for reading. I hope to continue to share with you my journey of recovery with a mental health condition. I hope to continue to be an example of what recovery looks like. Thank you all again for reading. Have a wonderful weekend. Peace Out!!!

New Years Eve 2016

As I sit here at my laptop, I realize it is now 2017 in most of the world. Well, in my neck of the woods, it is still 2016.

As 2016 comes to an end, I am not sure what to think of how this year was. It has been a year of both trials and triumphs. Some of my trials have been quite sad as my triumphs have been quite joyous.

Lets start off with the trials, I have dealt with this year. At the start of 2016 I was dealing with the one year anniversary of my the loss of my second set of twins due to a miscarriage. Dealing with the grief of loosing a second miscarriage has been quite difficult and as any parent knows loosing a child is the most difficult thing a person can deal with. Little did I know at the beginning of the year an on how much grief and loss I would be dealing with. In October I lost three clients and a colleague which hit me quite hard. It hit me hard because the deaths happened within a month of the third anniversary of the loss of my first set of twins due to miscarriage. Due to the grief I was dealing I ended up in crisis mode and landed in the hospital for psych reasons. Shortly after I got out of the hospital I found out that my therapist of eight years, Diana, was in the hospital with the dreaded diagnosis of cancer and won’t be coming back. Yes, that means I will be getting a new therapist and will talk about her at a later date.

Now on my triumphs of 2016, which I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for Diana’s help with my recovery. I finally got a job as Peer Specialist and a plus is that it being a fulltime position. If it weren’t for all the help Diana gave me I wouldn’t be working as a Peer much less working fulltime. As much as I struggled this year with grief, work fulltime as Peer is well worth it. I hope that with me continuing being employed as a Peer gives Diana some encouragement that she played a major role in my current position.

I know realistically, Diana is probably not reading this as she is dealing with a cancer diagnosis and getting treatment for it as well as raising a family, I want to thank her for everything she has done for me. Diana, if you are reading, Thank You from the bottom of my heart for helping me with my recovery. Just know a lot of people who are in my corner know how much you have helped me with my recovery and are keeping you in their thoughts and prayers. I hope someday you can be my therapist again.

There is roughly twenty-five minutes left of 2016. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. Have a good New Year and hope to see you in the New Year.

Crisis & Not Being Able To Say Goodbye

I don’t know where to begin. Lets begin with how difficult things have been lately. In October I lost three clients and a colleague. This put me in an unexpected whirlwind of a crisis. Dealing with four deaths so close to the third anniversary of the first miscarriage put me into a major crisis. A crisis that got me the “extra support” I had been advocating for since I got promoted to a Peer Specialist. The “extra support” came too late as was I was already quickly approaching hospitalization.

I met with my “extra support” and she made an already volatile situation worse. This person informed me that she “would not be able to use humor in sessions as it is unprofessional and wont abide by not using the two terms” that trigger me. Needless to say two days later I ended up in the hospital for fifteen days.  While in the hospital I found out that Diana, my therapist, wont be back till December due to medical issues. Okay, everyone deals with health issues. I was in the middle of a health issue at the moment myself. Granted it was a mental health crisis but I understood.

Dealing with a personal health crisis is not an easy thing to go through which is why when I was discharged from the hospital, I would be a chemo-buddy to friend of mine who was on an oncology unit. An oncology unit that my therapist was on. I being the person I am quickly walked past her room to see my friend. A friend who knew something that was up. I informed my friend that I would let her know more when I was able to get more information.

I was able to get some information the next day at the mental health agency, I see Diana at. They were “surprised” that I found out and “find it odd” that I had a friend on the same unit as my therapist. I found the statement “find it odd” a little odd because why would I spend my time and energy to figure out if my therapist was in the hospital especially since I was and am in a crisis dealing with my mental health and grief of a butt load of recent and past loss. Long story short I was given an appointment with Diana’s supervisor who informed me that Diana does have cancer and it is unlikely that she will be returning. To make matters worse, I have been put on the waiting list for another therapist. This makes no sense to me as they had given me a person to be of “extra support” in addition of Diana and now I have to wait till at least February to get a therapist. To make matters worse my extra support is going to be out till mid-January.

It really bothers me that I not only don’t get to say goodbye to Diana but I am not going to get any support till mid-January. Seriously, someone who recently got out of a psych ward is going to have little to no support. I feel like I am not being heard. What part of I am not doing well don’t people understand and to make matters worse my therapist of eight years is not around to help due to cancer. If Diana knew what was going on I am sure she would advocate for me or at least have a “goodbye” session like she promised. I know realistically I won’t have that “goodbye” session and I feel like my treatment team is just putting me on the shelf in hopes everything will resolve itself because “she is strong, has skills and resiliency” but that’s who they should be most concerned about. Those of us who “appear to be doing well” despite some major struggles at the moment.

The only reason why I am not going to do anything is because I am going back to work on Monday after being on FMLA for a month. Yes, I am going to only be working a limited schedule due to partial FMLA but at least its something to look forward to. Another reason why I am not going to do anything is because my clients don’t need to lose another staff member and if I leave my current employer I would like to give my clients some closure with at least being able to say goodbye. Something I won’t be able to do with Diana. As far as I know she is still alive but not coming back.

I should get going before the tears on my face short out my laptop. Have a good weekend everyone.

Mental Illness by the Numbers

Good Morning, World!!! As, I informed you Sunday that I want to start blogging on the regularly basis. Like, I stated in Sunday’s post, Tuesday’s post will be an educational piece about mental illness or something related to mental illness. I got the following information from National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI (for short).

Prevalence of Mental Illness

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—10 million, or 4.2%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.4
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.5
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.8

Social Stats

  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.9
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.10
  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.11
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.8
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.12
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.14

Consequences of Lack of Treatment

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.15
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.16
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.17 Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.18
  • Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.19
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–2421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.22
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.23
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.24

Citations

  1. Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml
  2. Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/serious-mental-illness-smi-among-us-adults.shtml
  3. Any Disorder Among Children. (n.d.) Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml
  1. Schizophrenia. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/schizophrenia.shtml
  2. Bipolar Disorder Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/bipolar-disorder-among-adults.shtml
  3. Major Depression Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml
  4. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-50, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4927. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Retrieved October 27, 2015 from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf
  6. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development. (2011). The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2010HomelessAssessmentReport.pdf
  7. Glaze, L.E. & James, D.J. (2006). Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Washington, D.C. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/mhppji.pdf
  8. National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. (2007). Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System. Delmar, N.Y: Skowyra, K.R. & Cocozza, J.J. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.ncmhjj.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2007_Blueprint-for-Change-Full-Report.pdf
  9. Use of Mental Health Services and Treatment Among Children. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/use-of-mental-health-services-and-treatment-among-children.shtml
  10. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2010). 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Retrieved January 2013, from http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/nhdr10/index.html.
  11. Kessler, R.C., et al. (2005). Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of 12-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbitity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593–602. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208671
  12. Insel, T.R. (2008). Assessing the Economic Costs of Serious Mental Illness. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 165(6), 663-665
  13. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, The Department of Health & Human Services. (2009). HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/factsandfigures/2009/pdfs/FF_report_2009.pdf
  14. Colton, C.W. & Manderscheid, R.W. (2006). Congruencies in Increased Mortality Rates, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Causes of Death Among Public Mental Health Clients in Eight States. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy, 3(2), 1–14. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1563985/
  15. National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Council. (2006). Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness. Alexandria, VA: Parks, J., et al. Retrieved January 16, 2015 from http://www.nasmhpd.org/docs/publications/MDCdocs/Mortality%20and%20Morbidity%20Final%20Report%208.18.08.pdf
  16. U.S. Department of Education. (2014). 35th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2013. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep/2013/parts-b-c/35th-idea-arc.pdf
  17. Suicide Facts at a Glance 2015 (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/suicide-datasheet-a.pdf
  18. Suicide Prevention. (2014, January 9). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/youth_suicide.html
  19. U.S.A. Suicide: 2013 Official Final Data. (2015, January 22). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from http://www.suicidology.org/Portals/14/docs/Resources/FactSheets/2013datapgsv2alt.pdf
  20. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999). Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/access/NNBBJC.pdf
  21. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Mental Health Services Suicide Prevention Program. (2012). Suicide Data Report, 2012. Kemp, J. & Bossarte, R. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Suicide-Data-Report-2012-final.pdf

Thank you for reading. I hope this helps. Thank you to NAMI for that statistics. Have a wonderful day!!!

The Tale of Blogger Woes

Good Evening, World!!! I want to apologize for not following through with what I had planned to do with my blog. As you all know life can get in the way at times. It also doesn’t help that I have been a little discombobulated.

The last few weeks haven’t been the easiest for me but I realized once again how important it is for me to be blogging. As, I have said many times before I need to keep a regular schedule when it comes to blogging. I am also needing to get on both my contributing authors for writing on their scheduled days. For me setting up a schedule for my blog will be helpful especially since I want to keep you the reader reading.

My rough idea’s for a schedule is as follows:

Sundays: Nothing in particular scheduled for this day.

Mondays: Nothing in particular scheduled for this day.

Tuesdays: Educational Piece. This will be dedicated to educating you my reader on mental health related stuff. It might be on a specific diagnosis or a treatment that is specific to a diagnosis or even a news article regarding the topic of mental illness or recovery.

Wednesdays: Junior. Junior will be writing on this particular day. For those of you who may not know, Junior is my fiancé. He will be writing from his point of view what it is like to be a support person of someone who lives with a mental illness as well as the first responder point of view. He is a firefighter.

Thursdays: Weekly Writing Prompts. This will be writing prompts that I have from a Writers Magazine and a Journal or any other source I am able to access writing prompts. The prompts might be pieces of fiction or based on my life.

Fridays: Mama Bear. Mama Bear is a woman who works with Junior and who has taken me under her wing. She has taken on the mother role in my life. She will be writing from the point of view on that of a support system to someone who lives with a mental illness. She will also be writing from the point of view as mother who has children who lives with mental illness as well that of a first responder. She too, is firefighter.

Saturdays: Weekly Check-In. This will be a where I check-in with you my reader to tell you how my week went and how I am doing over all.

I will also be having a friend of mine doing a monthly contribution. Of course, I will be blogging on the two days I have nothing scheduled as well when there is something scheduled. It is my hope that this will keep you reading my blog as well as keep you following my blog if you follow it. Have a wonderful evening everyone. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Morning, World!!! It’s hard to put a word or an emotion on how this week has been. I just know that this week has made me realize that I am where I am suppose to be in my life in regards to my career and place of employment.

This past week at work has been a week of accomplishments for me. On Tuesday, September 20th, myself and the two other members of my team at work found out that we are receiving the team of the year award. Apparently, we had more than one colleague nominate us for the team of the year award according to our supervisor. We will be receiving the Team of the Year Award at a breakfast we have once a year for our donors in a couple of weeks. The funny things I found all this out the day before my six month anniversary in my current position as a Peer Specialist. That means my six month anniversary was on Wednesday, September 21st. Hitting the sixth month mark at my employer is a major deal because your first six months is the probationary period. I am not sure if I “passed” my probationary period but I’m sure if I didn’t I would have been informed by my supervisor by now.  I love my job.

The love of my job brings me to the next topic of conversation of education. I have been thinking a great deal about going back to school to get a degree even if it is only an Associates degree. I finally made the decision this past week that I will be going back to school in September 2017 and what educational route I would take.  I plan on getting both my Associates Degree and Bachelors Degree at a local community college. Granted the Bachelors Degree isn’t a Bachelors of Social Work/Welfare degree but I can always get a MSW later on. So the educational path I am taking is getting an Associates of Applied Science in Social and Human Services with a certificate in Child & Family Studies and then get my Bachelors of Applied Science in Applied Behavior Science. I am going this route because 1) its cheaper because both degrees are at a community college and 2) I don’t know how realistic it is for me be able to get  a MSW. Yes, a MSW is something to aim for and is the goal I am shooting for but at this point in time I need focus on the smaller goals first to get to the big goal.

At this point in time, I realize that will need to not only focus on the big goal of getting a MSW but really need to focus on the smaller goals to get me there. I realize that in the coming months I will need to have something to focus on for a multitude of reasons. The reasons why I need to focus on my goals are as follows: 1) My depression tends reappear later on in the Autumn, 2) November 18th marks the third anniversary of me miscarrying my first set of twins, 3) the holidays are coming and is time where my depression not only acts up but my PTSD as well and 4) January 12th (2017) will be the second anniversary of me miscarrying my second set of twins. As you can see, I will need to have something to focus on. If I can focus on my goals then maybe the coming moths will not be so difficult for me. I hope to share with you my goals that I need to focus on between now and September of 2017 in regards to getting ready to attending school once again in another post.

On that note, I will need to end this post for now. Have a great weekend and Peace Out!!!