Being Proactive About My Future

     Happy Friday!!! I have enjoyed my vacation immensely. It was great to see my brother for his birthday. Hell, I had fun seeing my brother. I always have fun seeing my brother. I’ve also been having fun with my boyfriend. In fact my boyfriend and I went hiking today and we both had a blast. We both enjoy going out in nature. It was nice that both my boyfriend and I had our vacations together and spent in it with each other. My boyfriend goes back to work on Thursday and I go back on Monday.

     I may not like my job but I am looking forward to go back to work. I am looking forward to going back to work because at the end of the day (no matter how good or bad it was) I have a sense of accomplishment. That is a big deal for someone who deals with a mental illness. Working at a grocery store is not easy and it is a thankless job a good portion of the time. Another unfortunate part about working in a grocery is that your schedule changes every week. I just wish the schedule didn’t change week to week. I’ve been working in the grocery store business and at the same employer for 9 years now its it time for a change.

    In fact I hope that change comes soon. I have a job interview on Wednesday for the agency that runs the homeless shelter I volunteer at. I really hope I get the job. Its a set schedule. I would only have to work two days a week which would be 15 hours plus get paid at least $2 more an hour than I do now. If I do get the job I will be a little nervous about changing jobs because I have been at my current employer for 9 years. Another thing is that if I do get the job I will miss my co-workers and some of my customers. My co-workers have become like family. I really want this job. I am trying to not get my hopes up because I haven’t even had the interview yet. I know the job I have an interview for is only a Consumer Aide and not Peer Counselor position, its at least a step in the right direction to get a job as a peer counseling.

   Speaking of a step in the right direction I am going to be starting training to be a volunteer call taker at local peer run Warm Line. The training is four weeks long, two days each week and five hours each day which equals to 40hours. I am wanting to volunteer on the Warm Line for many reasons. The first and main reason is that I want to help others. The second reason is that it looks good on a résumé. The third reason is that if I do get the job as a Consumer Aide that means I have to quit my volunteer job at the homeless shelter. You cant be employed and a volunteer at the same agency due to the job description and legal reasons with liability. I can understand that. I have really wanting to volunteer for the Warm Line for quite some time now and haven’t felt ready to do till now.

    Another thing I got involved in this past week is that I became a volunteer advocate for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). A field advocate for AFSP basically emails there senators and congressperson(s) to encourage them to support or not support bills regarding mental health as well be a resource for the politicians. I figure that I want to be involved with politics some how that this a good way to get involved plus it regarding another thing that I am passionate about which is mental health. I am still debating weather or not to put this on my résumé. I know it will look good on one but not sure how future employers would take to it since it involves politics. Its something to consider. In fact I sent my first emails to my congressman and both of my senators introducing myself. I hope I can be a good resource for them.

    Another good resource is NAMI. I am a little frustrated with them right now because the just cancelled the peer to peer class I was suppose to take. This is the second time they cancelled it and both time they cancelled it was because the lack of interest. I find that difficult to believe because I live in major metropolitan area. Actually, I live in a major city. Another reason why I am I am frustrated with NAMI is because I am still waiting to hear back about volunteer with them. I sent them a volunteer application a month ago. I don’t know how long I should wait on about becoming volunteering with them. I think when Monday comes around I will call them to see if they even got my volunteer application. I know that if I do eventually start volunteering for NAMI that I will put it on my résumé.

     Well, now that I bored you all with about being proactive about mental health I will end this particular blog entry. Plus I want some intimate time with my boyfriend. Well, have a good rest of you Friday everyone. Peace Out.

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Love Is A Beautiful Thing

     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.

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.