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!!!

9/11 – 15Years Later

I realized that today may not be the best days to start my educational pieces on mental illness. I say this because today marks 15 years since the worst terrorist attack  on United States soil since Pear Harbor Day on December 7, 1941.

Everyone in my generation remembers where they were when they heard the news of the  terrorist attacks. I know exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was waiting to board an airplane to New York when myself and fellow passengers saw the second plane hit the  twin towers. Twenty minutes later we were informed that the FAA was halting all air travel in the United States.

Its a sad day for me because I was on my way to New York to be a maid of honor in my one of my best friends wedding. My best friend and her fiance were both firefighters and unfortunately they were both killed when the towers came down. There is not a day that doesn’t go by I don’t remember them. Please take a moment today to remember those lost in the terrorist attacks. Most importantly take the time to thank a first responder for all they do. Peace Out!!

Weekly Check-In

It is Saturday morning and that means its time for my weekly check-in. I enjoyed my three day weekend last week.

I unfortunately called in sick most of last week because I wasn’t feeling well. I was dealing with a migraine that just wouldn’t go a way. Missing work is not my favorite thing especially since I love my job. I did end up going to see my doctor yesterday. She agrees that it was a migraine. She suspects that my migraine was caused by a combination of weather change, allergies, the fluorescent lights in my work environment and my depression symptoms increasing.

My doctor prescribed  me some allergy and migraine meds as well as suggested ways to decrease my exposure florescent lights. For example go for two, ten minute walks to get some natural light which will also help with my depression symptoms. My doctor also informed me that she would be in communication with my therapist and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Long story short, my doctor did get a hold of my therapist who in return called me. Diana and I discussed on ways I can decrease my depression symptoms. We of course discussed the skills that help the most. The plan we came up with was to hang out with people from my natural support systems or at least call and talk to some of them on the phone. Other things on the list are, to blog, go on a walk, color, journal, read, and of course lots of chocolate.

Its amazing that I have health care professionals that are willing to communicate with each other. You don’t find that much now a days or at least here in the United States. I am grateful that I have people who look out for me. My therapist emailed Junior and Mama Bear to let them know what was going on even though they both already knew. Junior is working an overtime shift so he’s been checking up on me via text. Mama Bear took me out to breakfast and did some walking.

Yes, I still have my migraine but at least the pain is subsiding with meds and skills. I am grateful that I have health care professionals in my life that care. I am just as grateful that I have natural support system the love and care about me. Have a wonderful weekend everyone and peace out all.

The Perspective of the Fiancé

Once again Gertie has asked me to blog about what it is like from my perspective. A perspective that she is unable to give and desires to have on their blog. I do have perspective she does not have.

I see Gertie as this wonderful beautiful person. Something I wish Gertie would see in themselves. Gertie is quite enduring and has one the fiercest sense of humor I know. In fact Gertie’s sense of humor along with her smile is what ultimately caused me to fall in love with her.

My love for Gertie continues to go more and more each moment of everyday. I just wish I could write more. I am doing a twenty four shift as I am a firefighter and I would like more time to give my perspective on Gertie and her recovery and what it is like to be a support to her. I love her with all my heart.

I hope to post more next Friday when I am not at work. Have a Happy Friday all.

Two Years Since My Career in Mental Health Began

As I look back over the last two years its hard to wrap my head around that I have been working in the mental health field for two years today. Little did I know two years ago that I would be promoted to Peer Specialist within a year and a half of being hired as a Consumer Aide.

When I started the Consumer Aide position, I thought to myself, “I will be in this position for two years and then start applying for a part time Peer Specialist position.” I just didn’t realize that in the midst of planning out my future I would have a crisis that would leave me in despair. A despair that would leave me thinking about other things and then a major refocus on life. A refocus that got me to apply for my current position as a full time Peer Specialist with my employer. I never would have thought I would be working full time as Peer Specialist or at least at the beginning of my career as a Peer Specialist.

Becoming a Peer Specialist at the agency that ultimately gave me my start in the mental health field is in honor. My employer first gave me my start when I was a volunteer as meal assistant in a housing program and then was I asked is I wanted to volunteer in their main shelter as a coffee counter assistant. I of course jumped at that opportunity not realizing that it would actually get me a paying job within the agency.

I was informed by an employee of the main shelter that there was an opening for the Consumer Aide position I was hesitant to apply for it. Mainly, for the fact that I seemed overqualified for it and I had applied for multiple Peer Specialist positions waiting to see if I would get a job as a Peer. I got a lot of interviews but not any jobs. So I finally gave in and applied of the job as a Consumer Aide. I got the job as a Consumer Aide even though I was overqualified for it. Despite being overqualified for the job I am glad I got it because it helped me get my promotion as a Peer Specialist. If it wasn’t for me already being employed with the agency my supervisor would have gone with someone else.

Long story short, it never hurts to start at job that might be “beneath” you because it can actually give you the start in your career that you need. I was patient and determined to get a job as a Peer Specialist and was humbled many times before I got my job as a Peer Specialist. I am beyond grateful that my previous position as a Consumer Aide is what got me promoted to a Peer Specialist.

I want to thank you for reading. I have to get ready for work now. I hope you all have a nice day. Thank you for reading. Peace Out!!

Gertie Asked For A Different Perspective

It has been a while since my first contribution to Gertie’s blog. Before I go on, let me re-introduce myself. I am a friend and motherly figure to Gertie. Gertie lovingly refers to me as “Mama Bear” and that is what I will go by on their blog.

As I mentioned in the introduction I have taken Gertie under my wing. Gertie so desperately needed a motherly figure that I was willing to take that on. I didn’t meet Gertie till she was 21 when she was near death due to a serious suicide attempt. Over the years Gerties attempts on her life as well as self harm behavior became less and less. One day my crew and I were shopping at the grocery store where she use to work and that is how myself and Junior slowly got to know her and befriend her. As frustrating as Gertie can be at times it has been one of my greatest pleasures in my life being able to see her grow. Grow into the person she is now.

Yes, Gertie has had her struggles recently but I really think that the support system she has created has helped a great deal. I also think that Gertie’s new job position at work has helped as well.

I hope that over time I will discuss with you what it is like to not only be part of Gertie’s support system but what it is like to be a mother of two children who have a diagnosed mental illness. I also would like to talk about my role as a firefighter and the role mental health plays on my job description and the encounters I have experienced dealing with folks with mental illness. I have a many different views of mental illness in my own personal life that I hope I can bring to Gertie’s blog. I am part of her “journey” and can give you view that she is not able to give.

As I end this post, I would like to thank you for reading. I am giving a perspective that Gertie is wanting on her blog. I am glad to be able to give that perspective. Thank you for the willingness to read my perspective and read from someone else other than the main person who write on this blog.

Mama Bear

Two Years Since I Said Goodbye to One Career

It is difficult to wrap my head around that two years ago today, I was getting ready for my last day of work at as a courtesy clerk (bagger) at a national grocery store chain. In the last two years a great deal has happened both personally and professionally.

If you haven’t been reading my blog for long, I use to work as a courtesy clerk (bagger) at a grocery store. I was employed with this grocery store before finally getting a job at my current employer. See, I had been applying for Peer Specialist jobs and kept getting interviews but not jobs. So, I decided to apply for the Consumer Aide position at my current employer even though I knew I was overqualified for the position. I ended up getting the job for the Consumer Aide position despite being overqualified for it. The main reason I was offered the job was because the job position had been opened for quite some time and my employer need to fill it. I of course took the position because I knew it would give me the “paid experience” other agencies were desiring for me to have for a Peer Specialist position. It just so happened that I made the right decision with applying for and accepting the job as a Consumer Aide because it ultimately helped me get into my current position as Peer Specialist. In fact, the Peer Specialist position for me ended up being a promotion for me because I got hired within the agency I was already working for as a Consumer Aide.

I hope this particular post gives people hope that with hard work and determination that all things are possible. I also hope that this post gives my new readers and/or followers some background on how I got into my current position. I hope to post more about it in the next couple of day to couple of weeks. I appreciate all my regular readers and followers for reading. Thank you for reading everyone and peace out.