Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You?

1030151853In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Tattoo….You?.” Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?

I just wanted to share with you all my first tattoo. In fact I got it yesterday, Friday, October 30, 2015. I got the semi-colon for a multitude of reasons and all of them are in regards to mental health. As some of you may or may not know that there is a project out there call Project Semi-Colon. It was created, if I’m not mistaken, to bring awareness to the stigma of cutting even in the mental health world. It was also created to bring awareness to those who deal with depression, anxiety and other such mental health diagnoses as well as those who lost their life to suicide. Another thing is that life is similar to a semi-colon; A semi-colon is used when a sentence could have been ended but wasn’t.

I personally got the semi-colon to remind myself how far I have come in my recovery and how many times I could have ended my life. In fact I have tried to take my life on many different occasions yet those attempts weren’t successful. Thankfully those attempts were intercepted by a semi-colon because clearly my story isn’t over. It isn’t over because I can share my recovery story with others. My story isn’t over because I can discuss how my life has been affected by mental illness to not only help others but to help lessen the stigma of mental illness.

Now on to why I chose the color I did. As you can tell from the picture my semi-colon tattoo is outlined in black and in filled in with purple. The purple has special meaning to me. When I was struggling a few years back my therapist reminded me to not think in black or white but shades of gray. I informed her that shades of gray weren’t exactly easy to do because it was gray out and it was depressing. She then suggested white and red would come up with shades of pink and she quickly remembered I’m not exactly a pink kind of woman. I then came up with red and blue which make purple. Long story short the purple is to help me think in shades of gray but only in color. Purple also has other meanings to me.

As you can tell, I basically got the semi-colon tattoo to help start a conversation about mental health issues. If just one conversation about my tattoo helps lessen the stigma with mental illness then it’s done its job.

Thank you for reading. Have a good day. Stay safe out there today and have fun. Happy Halloween.

Brief Check-In Before Work

I just wanted to do a brief check in before work. No particular reason why. I enjoy going to work. In fact I look forward going to work. Many people out there in the world don’t like their jobs. I love my job and what I do.

As much as I love my job, I wish I could be asleep at the moment. I didn’t get much sleep last night due a handful of nightmares. Of course nightmares are par for the course for me. Junior, of course was helpful after the nightmares. He doesn’t have to get up for work today so he is asleep, drooling like a baby.

I should end this post for now. I need to finish getting ready for work. Have a wonderful day everyone. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Goals

Happy Monday!!! Its a start of another work week and we all know what that means; time for me to do another set of weekly goals. So I will say how I did with last weeks goals.

1)  Read Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. I was able to spend about an hour in one sitting this week to read which is a rare occurrence. I was able to read twice for an hour so I am a happy camper.

2)  Work on jigsaw puzzle. Spent about fifteen minutes a day doing the puzzle. It is taking some time to do.

3)  Color. Did some coloring but not much.

4)  Finish Writing 201: Poetry. I finished the course and hope that you all enjoyed my poems.

5)  Work on a self-help workbook; The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, PhD., Jeffery C. Wood, PSY.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. Yup I worked on an entire chapter.

Now on to this weeks goals.

1)  Read Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. I will finish this book eventually.

2)  Work on jigsaw puzzle. The jigsaw puzzle is getting done slowly but surely.

3)  Color. Looks like I could be finishing up one coloring page here in the next week or two.

4)  Work on a self-help workbook; The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, PhD., Jeffery C. Wood, PSY.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. I’m hoping to get another chapter done this week.

5) See my therapist. I see my therapist on Wednesday. We will most likely be discussing ways to cope with getting my yearly done.

6)  Go to my doctor’s appointment. I have my annual female exam on Thursday. I have a difficult time with these particular appointments because of all the trauma I have been through.

Well, those are my weekly goals for this week. Please don’t hesitate to take a look at the blogging event over at: http://greenembe.rs/2015/10/19/building-rome-week-42-for-2015/ Have a wonderful week. Peace Out!!!

Lazy Sunday

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon. Junior and myself have been taking it easy all day. The day started when Junior got home from work and I had a candle lit breakfast waiting for him. The candle lit breakfast put us in the mood for some serious yet pleasurable intimate moments that exhausted the both of us. We took a nap after pleasurable intimate moments.

When we woke up from our nap we realize it was time for some football. Just not any football but Seahawk football. As I sit here blogging we are watching the game and Seahawks just scored in the third quarter. It is now 17 – 7, Seahawks. It’s been said that ear plugs are nesasary when you go see the Seahawks play at home but earplugs are nesasary when you watch the Seahawks with Junior.

I think I am going to go for now. I want to watch the game with Junior. Have a great Sunday. Go Seahawks!!!

Self-Injury, Self-harm, Cutting & Other Such Info

I realize it is Saturday and that I forgot to do my Friday Feature on educating you all. I apologize for it being late. I have decided to get the info from Mental Health America at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/self-injury  I have decided to do cutting and other self harm.

Self-injury

What is it?

  • Self-injury, also known as cutting or self-mutilation, occurs when someone intentionally and repeatedly harms herself/himself. The method most often used is cutting but other common behaviors include burning, punching, and drinking something harmful, like bleach or detergent.

Who does it?

  • It’s estimated that about two million people in the U.S. injure themselves in some way.  The majority are teenagers or young adults with young women outnumbering young men. They are of all races and backgrounds.

Why?

  • Often, people say they hurt themselves to express emotional pain or feelings they can’t put into words.
  • It can be a way to have control over your body when you can’t control anything else in your life. A lot of people who cut themselves also have an eating disorder.
  • Although they usually aren’t trying to kill themselves, sometimes they’re unable to control the injury and die accidentally.

How can I help a friend with this?

  • Ask about it. If your friend is hurting herself, she may be glad to have you bring it up so she can talk about it.  If she’s not injuring herself, she’s not going to start just because you said something about it.
  • Offer options but don’t tell him what he has to do or should do.  If he is using self-injury as a way to have some control, it won’t help if you try to take control of the situation.  Helping your friend see ways to get help – like talking to a parent, teacher, school counselor or mental health professional- may be the best thing you can do for him.
  • Seek support.  Knowing a friend is hurting herself this way can be frightening and stressful. Consider telling a teacher or other trusted adult. This person could help your friend get the help she needs. You may feel that you don’t have the right to tell anyone else.  But remember, you can still talk to a mental health professional about how the situation is affecting you, or you can get more information and advice from any number of organizations.
  • Remember you’re not responsible for ending the self-abuse.  You can’t make your friend stop hurting himself or get help from a professional. The only sure thing you can do is keep being a good friend.

How can I help myself?

  • Know that help is available.  Treatment is available for people who injure themselves. To learn about it, try talking to a professional person around you, someone like your school counselor.  If you’re not comfortable with that, think about contacting your local mental health association or checking out the S.A.F.E Alternatives website.
  • Know you are not alone.  Because so many people are self-injurers, it’s likely that there are people around who can understand and can help.
  • Know you can get better.  This is a difficult time in your life.  However, with help, you can get to the point where you don’t hurt yourself anymore.
  • Get help. Now is the best time to get help with this problem. If you wait, the problem will only get bigger and soon everyone will know about it.  But if you find a way to meet it head on today, you’ll be free of it and free to get on with your life. Free! A good way to be.
  • Your school’s counseling center

Warning Signs

Self-Injury is also termed self-mutilation, self-harm or self-abuse. The behavior is defined as the deliberate, repetitive, impulsive, non-lethal harming of one’s self. Self-injury includes: 1) cutting, 2) scratching, 3) picking scabs or interfering with wound healing, 4) burning, 5) punching self or objects, 6) infecting oneself, 7) inserting objects in body openings, 8) bruising or breaking bones, 9) some forms of hair-pulling, as well as other various forms of bodily harm. These behaviors, which pose serious risks, may by symptoms of a mental health problem that can be treated.

  • Warning Signs. Warning signs that someone is injuring themselves include: unexplained frequent injury including cuts and burns, wearing long pants and sleeves in warm weather, low self-esteem, difficulty handling feelings, relationship problems, and poor functioning at work, school or home.
  • Incidence & onset. Experts estimate the incidence of habitual self-injurers is nearly 1% of the population, with a higher proportion of females than males. The typical onset of self-harming acts is at puberty. The behaviors often last 5-10 years but can persist much longer without appropriate treatment.
  • Background of self-injurers. Though not exclusively, the person seeking treatment is usually from a middle to upper class background, of average to high intelligence, and has low self-esteem. Nearly 50% report physical and/or sexual abuse during his or her childhood. Many report (as high as 90%), that they were discouraged from expressing emotions, particularly anger and sadness.
  • Behavior patterns. Many who self-harm use multiple methods. Cutting arms or legs is the most common practice. Self-injurers may attempt to conceal the resultant scarring with clothing, and if discovered, often make excuses as to how an injury happened.
  • Reasons for behaviors. Self-injurers commonly report they feel empty inside, over or under stimulated, unable to express their feelings, lonely, not understood by others and fearful of intimate relationships and adult responsibilities. Self-injury is their way to cope with or relieve painful or hard-to-express feelings, and is generally not a suicide attempt. But relief is temporary, and a self-destructive cycle often develops without proper treatment.
  • Dangers. Self-injurers often become desperate about their lack of self-control and the addictive-like nature of their acts, which may lead them to true suicide attempts. The self-injury behaviors may also cause more harm than intended, which could result in medical complications or death. Eating disorders and alcohol or substance abuse intensify the threats to the individual’s overall health and quality of life.
  • Diagnoses. The diagnosis for someone who self-injures can only be determined by a licensed psychiatric professional. Self-harm behavior can be a symptom of several psychiatric illnesses: personality disorders (esp. borderline personality disorder); bipolar disorder (manic depression); major depression; anxiety disorders (esp. obsessive-compulsive disorder); as well as psychoses such as schizophrenia.
  • Evaluation. If someone displays the signs and symptoms of self-injury, a mental health professional with self-injury expertise should be consulted. An evaluation or assessment is the first step, followed by a recommended course of treatment to prevent the self-destructive cycle from continuing.
  • Treatment. Self-injury treatment options include outpatient therapy, partial (6-12 hours a day) and inpatient hospitalization. When the behaviors interfere with daily living, such as employment and relationships, and are health or life-threatening, a specialized self-injury hospital program with an experienced staff is recommended.

The effective treatment of self-injury is most often a combination of medication, cognitive/behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy, supplemented by other treatment services as needed. Medication is often useful in the management of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and the racing thoughts that may accompany self-injury. Cognitive/behavioral therapy helps individuals understand and manage their destructive thoughts and behaviors. Contracts, journals, and behavior logs are useful tools for regaining self-control. Interpersonal therapy assists individuals in gaining insight and skills for the development and maintenance of relationships. Services for eating disorders, alcohol/substance abuse, trauma abuse, and family therapy should be readily available and integrated into treatment, depending on individual needs.

In addition to the above, successful courses of treatment are marked by 1) patients who are actively involved in and committed to their treatment, 2) aftercare plans with support for the patient’s new self-management skills and behaviors, and 3) collaboration with referring and other involved professionals.

I’m sorry for it being so long. Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful weekend and Peace Out!!!

Writing 201: Poetry; Day Ten: Pleasure, Sonnet, Apostrophe

 Untitled Poem

(for now)

by Gertie

You see the scars on my arms.

You just stare without question,

Yet somehow the scars send out alarms.

More than willing to share without hesitation.

You just don’t want to listen.

Writing 201: Poetry; Day Nine: Cold, Found Poetry, Epistrophe/Anaphora

Untitled Poem

(for now)

by Gertie

There is a chill in the air.

Easier to cover up arms full of scars.

No need to feel the urge to explain to those who don’t care.

Wish they didn’t judge cause they are the ones trying to get warm in bars.