Good Evening, World!!! Tomorrow, I am going to be attending a town hall regarding the Office of Consumer Partnerships and advocacy regarding peer support. It’s being put on in city where the state capital is which is about an hour and a half car ride from where I live. The Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) and The Department of Social and Human Service’s (DSHS) want to hear from the peer community. They want to hear what we have to say and how to better advocate for us.
I’m looking forward to it for many reasons. One reason I’m looking forward to it is that I get to spend time with people I consider my “tribe” or part of my community. Another reason I am looking forward to it is being able know what the state is doing to better serve the community I’ve been a part of most of my life. Hell, I’ve been a consumer of the mental health system since I was nine. I’ve been volunteering in the mental health field for the last five year. I also worked in the mental health field for two and a half years and plan on working in the field again. So, I guess what I am saying is that I am looking forward to the town hall because of the many aspects of mental health has had on my life and how I can better advocate for others as well as myself.
I hope to talk more about the town hall tomorrow evening when I get home from it. I can’t make any promise’s as I am not sure how drained I will be afterwards. I want to thank you for reading. Have a good evening. Peace Out!!!
Hello, World!!! It has been about a week since I last posted. Sadly, my last post was about me getting traumatized again. I apologize for not updating you sooner. I’m just attempting to get my baring’s back after what happened and its not an easy process to do so.
Updating you is one way I am attempting to get my baring’s back. As you may realize it hasn’t been the easiest of weeks after dealing with an assault. Not just any type of an assault but a sexual assault. An assault that I don’t remember much of due to the fact that I was knocked out by a rock or brick or something similar.
At this point in time I don’t know if its a good thing or a bad thing but I do know that detective is looking into it as that a stranger reported seeing the first part of the assault. The part of me getting knocked out was reported to the police. The fortunate part was someone not only called the police but took pictures as well. Unfortunately, by the time the police showed up, I had left the park unwillingly with the person who assaulted me. I don’t remember this and wish the detective didn’t tell me. I am however grateful that someone did call the police and took pictures. Anyway, the detective and I set up a time for me to “be interviewed” to share what I remember (or the lack there of) and put me in touch with the victim’s advocate.
The victim advocate contacted me shortly after the phone conversation with the detective ended. She told me what to expect next in the process of reporting. She will be in attendance when I talk with the detective in person. The victim advocate will me walking along side of me the entire way. The victim advocate also encouraged me to do “good self-care.”
Doing good self-care for me includes me going to my follow up appointment with my doctor. My doctor looked me over and she took my stitches out. The stitches that were located below the belt. She also helped me fill out some paper work that could help me pay for any future appointments regarding the assault. Knowing that I can have more help paying for any therapy or doctors appointments has given me some hope. My doctor has encouraged me to continue getting the support of my mental health treatment team as well as my friends and partner, Junior.
My friends as well as Junior have always been in my corner and they are continuing to do so. In fact my friends have been checking up on me on the regular basis. Junior continues to be the rock I need as well give me the love and support that is much needed at the moment. Junior and my friends are such a blessing to me in my life and am beyond grateful to have them in my life especially right now.
As I finish up this post I want to thank you for reading and being a support in your own way. I hope to post again soon however I do ask for your patience if I don’t blog for a while due to recent events. I plan on blogging in the next few days but the way things are at moment I don’t want to give in false hopes. Again, thank you for reading. I hope you have a good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!!
I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.
When I got today’s assignment, I thought of the above quote from Ms. Maya Angelou. I thought about it first because part of my blog includes being an advocate for myself and others who have similar struggles to me. In fact advocating for yourself is one of the main objectives of being in recovery.
As I quote Ms. Maya Angelou, it is my desire that I be an inspiration to others like she was to many people around the world. Ms. Maya Angelou is a person I would have loved to meet while she was still here but unfortunately she is no longer with us in person but thankfully she is with us in spirit. I will end with another quote from Ms. Maya Angelou.
Love is a beautiful thing. Today, I was the Best Woman (instead of the Best Man) in one of my closest friends wedding. She got married to her long time girlfriend. They are now Wife and Wife. My friend wore a white tux with a purple vest and bowtie while her now wife wore a white wedding dress. They were both beautiful. I was in a black tux with a purple comber bun and bowtie. Even though wearing black in 86 F degree weather is quite hot, its better than wearing a dress. I’m not a big dress fan. I’m a “tom boy.” Anyway it was a beautiful wedding. The reason why my friend and her now wife chose to get married today was because of the date, 7/7/14. They not only think its lucky but they are both math teachers. They chose today because 7+7=14 or if you look at it date wise 7/7/14. They said their I dos at 7:07pm and 14 seconds. I am so happy my friend was able to get married to the woman of her dreams.
Well, I worked this morning and it wasn’t a very good day at work. It wasn’t a good at work because I found out that one of my favorite elderly customers passed away. Her daughter came into the store this morning and told me and my co-workers. In fact I went to her 91st birthday back in May. I was told by this customer that I’m part of her family. That’s why her daughter and other children want me to give the eulogy at the funeral. I said yes. It’s going to be tough on me. Let’s get on a happier topic. I may not like my current job and it has nothing to do with death. I don’t like it because its not a career that I want to be in. Since I feel like I am in a dead in job, I’m going to review my resume’ tomorrow as well as look at jobs in the field that I want to be in. If I find a job opportunity to apply to I will not only apply but write a cover letter for that particular job.
Speaking of a job opportunity I finally heard back for an organization I applied to, to become a volunteer. That particular organization is American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I’m hoping things go well with becoming a Field Advocate for them. Not sure what’s in store. I’m still waiting on more information. They do a lot of work regarding suicide prevention as well as try to get laws passed to help those who struggle with mental illness. I’m now waiting to hear back from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I’m wanting to volunteer for them as well. In a couple of weeks I’m suppose to start training for a local Peer Support Warm Line. In all honesty, I fear that I might me taking too much on too quickly. I just want to not work a grocery store anymore. Nine years just seems way too long to be working at one and I feel like if volunteer in the mental health field then I’m more than likely to get a job as a Peer Counselor. You would think that volunteering at homeless shelter that specializes in mental illness is enough but I don’t think so. I’m hoping that I will be able to give of my time because I don’t have money to give. Plus giving of your time means much more than giving money a great deal of the time.
Any way another thing I did was go and see my therapist. I of course got there an hour early like I do a lot of the time. While waiting to see my therapist I read A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I’m enjoying the book immensely. Diana (my therapist) and I talked about the 5 year anniversary of the trauma I experienced. We talked about the increase PTSD symptoms and the self harm urges I’ve been having. We also discussed the minor urges regarding the eating disorders. Diana is a little concerned about the self harm urges as well as the eating disorder urges and we discussed ways on how I can continue to NOT harm myself my cutting or starving myself or binging and purging. We discussed on what skills I could do. We discussed what could help in conjunction with my DBT skills. I told her I can look over my WRAP. WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Thankfully she has enough confidence in me that I wont relapse with the cutting or the eating disorders that we didn’t have to do a safety contract. Diana says that I am making “Wise mind” decisions and that I don’t have to worry about becoming Borderline again. She says I’m still a recovered Borderline because I’m far from meeting the criteria again. She tells me just as long as I am doing what I am suppose to be doing in my recovery I don’t have to worry. Plus I am far from being Borderline again or least that’s what she tells me. I am extremely fearful of becoming Borderline again. Diana keeps reassuring me that I don’t have to worry about it. She also told me that she was proud of me for all the hard work I am doing with my recovery process. Its difficult to hear someone tell me that they are proud of me but its cool to hear at the same time.(Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym for her protection and the protection of her other clients.) Oh boy its 11:00pm pacific time.
Speaking of what time it is I better end this blog entry for now. I am a little tired. I’ve been up since 4am pacific time because of work. I hope I didn’t bore you all with this extremely long blog. Enjoy the last hour of your Monday. Oh yeah Happy 7/7/14. Goodnight and don’t let the bedbugs bite. Peace out everyone.
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.