Speaking Of…..

     Well, it another Monday evening and am reflecting on my day. Overall, it has been a good day. Today was my first day back to work after being on vacation for a week. I realized walking through the doors of my job this morning on how much I desperately needed my vacation last week despite the lack of structure. I guess maybe that lack of structure every once in awhile is a good thing.

     Speaking of structure, this current week is full of it. Today, worked and went to see my therapist. Tomorrow (Tuesday), Wednesday, and Thursday I am going to be in a training regarding Co-Occurring Disorders. I then work again on Friday and Saturday. I am looking forward to the training that I will be going to the next three days. I’m looking forward to it because it’s a subject that I am passionate about. Anything that has to with mental health and/or alcohol & drug addiction is something that I am passionate about. Maybe its because of my own issue with mental illness and witnessing my parents struggle with both metal illness and drug & alcohol addictions. My parents have co-occurring disorders. The difference between my dad and my mom is that my dad is seeking treatment and unfortunately my mom is not. It is tough on a family member when the person is choosing to not seek treatment especially when the family is in recovery themselves.

      Speaking of recovery, I saw my therapist today. We worked a little on my treatment plan. I wish the mental health system as a whole would change the wording from treatment plan to recovery plan. I wish this because it makes recovery more real to those who don’t think recovery is possible. When I was a teenager and young adult I struggled with the fact that recovery was possible. I struggled with working with my treatment today because of how I was feeling today. I was being hard on myself and felt like a failure because of where I am in life and where I think I should be in life. Diana (my therapist) being the stubborn woman she had me dig deep into myself which is quite difficult for me to do. She had me dig deep within myself because she knows I am capable of doing so. I am so grateful that Diana is just as stubborn as I am because I need that stubbornness at times such as today. She also has a fierce sense of humor like I do. I don’t know if my humor is as fierce as hers but I’m grateful non the less. Diana used that fierce sense of humor today during our session. Diana has been extremely invested in my recovery. It’s always nice to have a therapist invested in your recovery. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a therapist invested in your recovery especially in the community mental health system. In fact my therapist and I talked about my blog today. She doesn’t follow my blog but reads it daily even on her days off. In fact I was shocked when she said she read it everyday including her days off. I had asked her if she could read it every once in while to see if she can see how I am doing. We had talked about me starting a blog for a few months because I was so hesitant to start one. We talked about why I was so hesitant and how blogging could not only help others in their recovery process but could help in my recovery process as well. If it wasn’t for her encouragement as well as the encouragement of others I wouldn’t have started this blog.

     Speaking of blogging I think I should end this particular blog entry for now. Before I end this blog for now I want to say a few things regarding blogging. I am truly hoping that this blog is reaching the people I hope its reaching. I hope its reaching those struggling with mental illness because I want them to know that there is hope and recovery is possible. I also hope that it’s reaching “normal” (whatever the hell “normal” means) people because it is my hope that this blog can show them (“normal” people) that people with mental illness are living productive lives like they are. I hope that when “normal” people read this it lessens the stigma of mental illness. Well, I need to get going. I need to get up at 5:30 am pacific time to get ready for my training tomorrow. Enjoy the remaining 1 hour and 24 minutes that is left of your Monday. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and enjoy the summer heat.

Missed Pride Parade

     Hey, everyone!! I am feeling like a failure of a friend. I have several friends who were in the Pride Parade today and I missed it. I missed because of my own stupid issues. I missed it because of my symptoms of PTSD acting up. These friends have been supportive of me and have helped me through the rough moments with my mental illness. The least I can do is go Downtown and watch them in the Pride Parade and support them. Unfortunately, my symptoms got in the way. I did text the apologizing and explained why I missed it. My friends said they understood and not to worry about it because I’ve been there in other ways for them. Two of them even mentioned to me that I stuck up for them in high school when they where being bullied and that means a lot more than missing one pride parade.

     The reason why I am beating myself up over missing the pride parade is because I know what its like to be discriminated against. In my case its because of various disabilities including mental illness. My friends of the LBGTQ community of been discriminated because of their sexual orientation. God made them that way. They didn’t choose their sexual orientation. That’s why I get upset that people of faith think people choose to be homosexual. That’s like saying I choose to have mental illness or to have asthma. They cant help who they fall in love with. I want to support all my friends in the LBGT community because they deserve to be supported like everyone else.

    So, I as sorry to my friends out there that I didn’t go out and support you today even though you all said it was okay especially since it was my first time missing the Pride Parade. I’m glad they were so understanding. I just wish I could have been there to support them since they have been there to support me and my struggles with mental illness.

    I guess I will end this blog entry for now. I will blog again tomorrow after work and my appointment with my therapist. I hope everyone enjoyed your Sunday and if you went to any pride activities this weekend I hope you all enjoyed those activities. Peace out!!

Happy Sunday!!

     Happy Sunday, to everyone out there!! I am looking forward to this next week. Yes, I am actually looking forward to go back to work tomorrow even though there is a chance that I might feel differently tomorrow when I have to get up at 5 in the morning. I think part of the reason why I’m looking forward to work tomorrow is because I didn’t have much structure last week because I was on vacation. For me structure is good thing. In fact for most people who struggle with a mental illness structure is a good thing.

     I am also looking forward this next week because I am going to a three day training regarding Co-Occurring Disorders. I am hoping that this training will give me some insight on those who struggle with Co-Occurring Disorders. I’m also hoping that will look good on my resume’ because I am still looking for a job as a peer counselor. In all honesty, I enjoy learning new things and I think that is why I am looking forward to this training. Any type of education and/or training in the field I desire to be in is a good thing. In fact any type of education is a good thing.

     I have to admit as much as I am looking forward to going back to work as well as going to the training, I am getting a bit stressed out by how busy I am going to be this week. Even though I am get a bit stressed out by this week, I am looking at it in a positive way. I am looking at it in away that if I am able to make it through this next week without a day off then I know am meant to be a Peer Counselor. See, I work on Monday, Friday and Saturday and then on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I have the training. I most likely will have to work next Sunday and Monday as well so that means I wont have a day off till Tuesday, July, 8, 2014. But then again I wont get my work schedule for next week till Friday so I wont know if I have to work next Sunday or Monday till then. Even though I am bit stressed out I am using some relaxation skills as well as meditating. In fact I will be using relaxation technique’s through out the week as well as meditating. Relaxation techniques and meditation is not an easy thing for me to do. I figure they can only help throughout this next week no matter how difficult they are for me to do.

     I am hoping to blog about my training each day. If I am unable to blog each day regarding the training I will definitely blog about it at the end of the week. I just hope that this blog is reaching people. All, I want is to lessen the stigma of mental illness as well as show those who struggle with one that hope is out there and recovery is possible. I’m also trying to figure out how to reach more people with this blog. I should give this blogging thing more time. I have only been doing it for a month now.

     I should really get going and end this blog entry for now. I hope to blog again tomorrow after work and my therapy session. I hope everyone has a good week. Peace out and enjoy your week.

Comfort

     Hey, it’s still Saturday and its been good day. I did end up having a picnic by myself at my neighborhood park. The PB&J sandwich was absolutely delicious and comforting. Their something comforting about eating a PB&J sandwich. Not sure why PB&J sandwiches are so comforting but they are. In fact eating the sandwich helped me through a rough moment. The rough moment was dealing with the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD sucks a great deal. After eating my PB&J, I read some of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I am enjoying the book a great deal. 

      As, I was reading in my neighborhood park my mother called. My mom is not a very comforting person in my life. She says some pretty harsh and mean things to me in almost all of our conversations. In fact with my mom I have had to set boundaries with her calling me. In fact that day and time is Tuesday at 6pm. I did decide to pick up today when she called. Don’t get me wrong I love my mom but she is not a very nice person when she has been drinking and/or using. She is an alcoholic and drug addict. My moms parenting skills when I was growing up weren’t exactly the best. I answered the phone in hopes that maybe that she might be some comfort to me because of my PTSD symptoms acting up. Unfortunately, like usual, she was unable to comfort me like I’ve desired her to do my entire life. Sometimes you just need your mommy even as grown adult. She told me to “get over it because it happened decades ago.” Sorry but I wish I could “get over it.” When she told me to “get over it” I told her, “Mom, I love you and need to go. I will talk to you Tuesday.” Thankfully, she respected my boundaries and didn’t call me back.

     After getting off the phone with my mom I decided to call my boyfriend because I know he is comforting person. So I talked to him for about 15 minutes when we decided that I come over to his place. When I got here he held me for about 45 minutes. Sometimes being held is all I need. It helped a great deal. After being held my boyfriend cooked me my favorite dinner of mac & cheese, ham and corn on the cob. The meal he fixed me is my comfort meal. As he fixed me dinner, I called my little brother. We talked for about 20 minutes before he had to go and meet up with some of his friends. My brother is a sweet heart.

     My boyfriend finally finished making dinner and we of course ate it. After we ate we put on some music and ended up dancing. Dancing with my boyfriend in house is comforting. I’m thinking its because of the being held thing. Slow dancing requires being held in a way. I felt comforted by slow dancing with my boyfriend.

     When my boyfriend and I decided to stop dancing we put on some Nirvana and did a jigsaw puzzle. We both love music and jigsaw puzzles. Music is quite comforting to me. Their something quite comforting about Nirvana’s music and the lyrics to the songs. In fact we had the music up loudly because in our opinion Nirvana deserves to be played loudly. We finished the puzzle and decided to watch a movie.

      We watched the movie Finding Nemo. Watching a Disney movie is always comforting for some reason. We finished the movie at about 11:15pm when I turned on the 11 o’clock news and started this particular blog. My boyfriend is baking some chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. My boyfriend know that chocolate is quite comforting to me. Hell, chocolate is quite comforting to many women if not all women. He also knows that homemade chocolate chip cookies are comforting to me. He is baking them because he knows that I need all the comfort I can get today due to my PTSD symptoms acting up.

      Well, the 11 o’clock news is now over and Saturday Night Live is now on. I love SNL because its hilarious. Humor brings me comfort as well. Can you tell that I’ve been talking about comfort in this blog. I needed all the comfort I could get today because of my stupid PTSD. Sometimes all we need is comfort and today was one of those days I needed it. I still do.

      I best be ending this blog entry for now. I want to cuddle with my boyfriend while watching SNL as the cookies and cupcakes finish baking. Cuddling with my boyfriend is also comforting. I hope you all enjoy the last 15 minutes of your Saturday. Peace out and goodnight all.

Good Afternoon, Saturday!!

     Good Afternoon, Saturday!! It’s 12:39 pm pacific time and I actually slept in till 10:15 am. For me that’s a rare thing. I am usually up no later than 8 o’clock am. Maybe I needed the extra sleep for this next week with all the stuff that I am doing. It does feel a lil weird sleeping in till past 10 o’clock am.

     Since I have gotten off to a late start I am trying to figure out what I am going to have to eat. Do I want breakfast or do I want lunch? Actually, to tell you the truth a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sounds good to me. There is nothing better than a good PB&J sandwich. I of course will be putting strawberry jam on my PB&J sandwich because I love strawberries. Plus, I’m a picky eater. According to family, I always have been. I say that because at times I wonder if has anything to do with the eating disorders I use to struggle with. It’s been 15 years this summer since I last struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia and I am grateful I’m no longer struggling with. Yes, I get those rare occasions of urges for the eating disorders but as time goes on those urges get easier to deal with. Well, I’ve noticed I have gotten of topic once again in a blog. Go figure.

     I also need to figure out what to today besides laundry. I know that later on today my boyfriend and I are going to hang out. He is going to be making me dinner again. He is a really awesome cook. His cooking isn’t as good as my grandma’s cooking but its still good. Nobodies cooking is as good as your grandma’s cooking. I think I’m going to go to the neighborhood park and read A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I might even take that PB&J sandwich with me to the park. Hey, that’s a good idea; to have a small picnic by myself. I really like the idea. I think I will do that. In fact I know I will do that. I will go to the neighborhood park to read and eat my PB&J sandwich. I will even take a can of Pepsi with me. I just hope it doesn’t start raining again. If does then it does. Its not like I haven’t been rained on before.

     Before I end this particular blog entry, I want to share with you a frustration of mine at the moment. I am frustrated with myself that my blog is not where I would like it to be right now. I was hoping that I would have more followers by now. I know I should not be so hard on myself because I am new to this blogging thing and I’ve only been at it for a month now. I just so badly want to stomp out the stigma of mental illness as well as show those who struggle with one that there is hope and that recovery is possible. Like I said I’m just being hard on myself again. I hope that somehow this blog makes a difference in this world. All I want is to make a difference.

      Well, it’s now 12:58 pm and I am hungry and I am thinking I should get going now. I will end this blog entry for now and of course I will blog again later. I am going to go now and have my picnic. Peace out and enjoy the day.

The Return Of Reality

     Happy Friday everyone!! The return of reality is here. What I am trying to say is my vacation is about over. Yes, I am little sad its about over however I am quite happy to be getting back into the swing of things. Structure is key for many people who struggle with mental illness. That what my job does for me; it gives me structure even though I do not like my current employment. I am not a big fan of my schedule next week. I only get 13.5 hours next week and am not scheduled for Sunday. I normally work 20 hours a week so I’m a little frustrated that I get so few hours. Since I have Sunday off that means I don’t get Sunday pay. If you work Sunday you get time and a third. It sucks that I don’t work Sunday but at least I work on Friday which happens to the 4th of July. I get holiday pay for work the 4th of July. For me that means I get double time. I guess the silver lining in my schedule is that I get holiday pay and extra day off. I am hoping that they ask me to work longer on one of the days I work. I will take them up on it if they do.

     Another reality is that I am going to be extremely structured this week. More structured than I normally am. I am going to a three day training regarding co-occurring disorders. This training if for those already certified as peer counselors. Even though I am not employed as a peer counselor yet, I figure going to this training will look good on a job resume’. Plus when I do get a job as a peer counselor this training will help me better to help those who struggle with co-occurring disorders. I am looking forward to this training and hope that I have time to breathe this next week.

    Yes, this next week will quite busy for me but am quite grateful to be getting back into the swing of things. Getting back to reality is how I like to say it because its true. When I have too much time on my hands like this week my reality is making sure I plan things to do or the lack of structure can lead to symptoms of my mental illness acting up. Thankfully, I had some structure to not have my symptoms act up.

     I am grateful that my mental illness is stabilized. I am beyond grateful that I am recovery. I will continue to do the recovery thing no matter how difficult it may be. Recovery is a lifelong journey. My reality is strongly connected to my recovery. The reality of being in recovery means the world to me.

     Speaking of reality, I need to get going. It’s 10:00 pm (pacific time) and haven’t had much to eat today. So, my boyfriend is reheating leftovers for the both of us to eat. The food is almost done being reheated and I should go and eat. I will end this blog entry for now. Enjoy the remaining 3 hours of Friday. Peace out and enjoy your weekend.

Becoming an Advocate For Mental Illness

     Today, I’ve been thinking a great deal about advocacy and mental illness. How does one become an advocate for those who struggle with a mental illness. Usually it’s because the person themselves struggles with mental illness or has a friend or loved one with a mental illness. Then their are those people who choose to be advocates for the mentally ill out of the kindness of their hearts. Most of those who do it out of the kindness of their hearts are usually the professionals like Social Workers, Therapist, Psychologists, etc.. Advocacy for mental health has been out there in world for a while now

     I’ve always been an advocate for myself and my mental health struggles even if I wasn’t aware of it especially in the early years of the diagnosis’s as well as in the height of my struggles with mental illness. It wasn’t until the last two or three years that I’ve realized that I was advocating for other with mental illness and was good at it. In fact the being good at it part was pointed out to me. The realization of advocating for those with mental illness is part of the reason why I started volunteering at a homeless shelter that specializes in those who struggle with mental illness and/or drug & alcohol addictions. Plus the advocating realization is the reason why I got my Peer Counselor certification. Being a peer counselor is basically being an advocate for them and showing your fellow peer who is struggling how to advocate for themselves. I may not be employed as a peer counselor yet but that doesn’t mean I cant still advocate for those who are not able to advocate for themselves yet.

    That is why I have decided to embark on a new journey. Well it’s not so much a new journey but a continuation of the journey I’m already on. I mailed in a volunteer application to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I also emailed a volunteer application to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I did this because I want to speak up for those who are not able to speak up for themselves. I know it might sound like I am taking a lot on especially since I got an email about an hour ago saying that my volunteer application for a local peer run Warm Line was received and asked to attend a training for it in late July through August but all this feel right for me at the moment. Yes, I’m working at a job I don’t like and am looking for a job as a peer counselor however all this that I am doing feels like its what I am suppose to be doing. Maybe it is a lot to take on at one time and its something to think about as well as discuss it with my therapist and other people in my life that support me. Yes, my boyfriend thinks I’m doing what is right for me and what is right for those who struggle with mental illness.

     Another thing I am going to be doing is writing the politicians who represent me and the area I live in. I’m hoping that the politicians I write or email will listen to what I have to say in regards to mental illness and treatment or in a lot of cases the lack of treatment. Lack of treatment is a big issue. Boarding in E.R’s have become a major issue for those who have been involuntarily committed because there are not enough beds. See, now I am getting on a soap box. This is why it is my hope that someone listens to people like me who want better mental health care for those struggling with mental illness.

     Now that I have bored you with my hopes regarding becoming an advocate for those who struggle with mental illness I am going to end this particular blog entry. I am sorry it is so long. It is my desire that some day the stigma that goes along with having a mental illness with be eliminated. Well, have a good rest of your Thursday evening and hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out all.