Mental Health Awarness Month: Schizophrenia

May is mental health awareness month. When I started this blog in late May of last year (2014) it was in response to how I as an advocate, am going do my part to help stomp out the stigma of mental illness. In fact, it still is the goal of this blog to educate other’s on mental illness in hopes that it will reach enough people to make a dent in the stigma that mental illness brings.  I’ve realized over the last year that I haven’t done much educating on mental illness with the exception of me blogging about my personal experience with a mental illness and how those with a mental illness are productive members of society.

With that being said, I decided that today’s educational topic will be Schizophrenia. Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional and am unable to diagnosis people if you think you have Schizophrenia or another mental health diagnosis please seek out professional help from a doctor or mental health professional. The information I am about to share on Schizophrenia, with you is info I got from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website at https://nami.org/.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness, affecting about 1% of Americans. Although schizophrenia can occur at any age, the average age of onset tends to be in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. It is uncommon for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in a person younger than 12 or older than 40. It is possible to live well with schizophrenia.

Symptoms

It can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia in teens. This is because the first signs can include a change of friends, a drop in grades, sleep problems, and irritability—common and nonspecific adolescent behavior. Other factors include isolating oneself and withdrawing from others, an increase in unusual thoughts and suspicions, and a family history of psychosis. In young people who develop schizophrenia, this stage of the disorder is called the “prodromal” period.

With any condition, it’s essential to get a comprehensive medical evaluation in order to obtain the best diagnosis. For a diagnosis of schizophrenia, some of the following symptoms are present in the context of reduced functioning for a least 6 months:

Hallucinations. These include a person hearing voices, seeing things, or smelling things others can’t perceive. The hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it, and it may be very confusing for a loved one to witness. The voices in the hallucination can be critical or threatening. Voices may involve people that are known or unknown to the person hearing them.

Delusions. These are false beliefs that don’t change even when the person who holds them is presented with new ideas or facts. People who have delusions often also have problems concentrating, confused thinking, or the sense that their thoughts are blocked.

Negative symptoms are ones that diminish a person’s abilities. Negative symptoms often include being emotionally flat or speaking in a dull, disconnected way. People with the negative symptoms may be unable to start or follow through with activities, show little interest in life, or sustain relationships. Negative symptoms are sometimes confused with clinical depression.

Cognitive issues/disorganized thinking. People with the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia often struggle to remember things, organize their thoughts or complete tasks. Commonly, people with schizophrenia have anosognosia or “lack of insight.” This means the person is unaware that he has the illness, which can make treating or working with him much more challenging.

Causes

Research suggests that schizophrenia may have several possible causes:

  • Genetics. Schizophrenia isn’t caused by just one genetic variation, but a complex interplay of genetics and environmental influences. While schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the general population, having a history of family psychosis greatly increases the risk. Schizophrenia occurs at roughly 10% of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent or sibling. The highest risk occurs when an identical twin is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The unaffected twin has a roughly 50% chance of developing the disorder.
  • Environment. Exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth, particularly in the first and second trimesters has been shown to increase the risk of schizophrenia. Inflammation or autoimmune diseases can also lead to increased immune system
  • Brain chemistry. Problems with certain brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to schizophrenia. Neurotransmitters allow brain cells to communicate with each other. Networks of neurons are likely involved as well.
  • Substance use. Some studies have suggested that taking mind-altering drugs during teen years and young adulthood can increase the risk of schizophrenia. A growing body of evidence indicates that smoking marijuana increases the risk of psychotic incidents and the risk of ongoing psychotic experiences. The younger and more frequent the use, the greater the risk. Another study has found that smoking marijuana led to earlier onset of schizophrenia and often preceded the manifestation of the illness.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing schizophrenia is not easy. Sometimes using drugs, such as methamphetamines or LSD, can cause a person to have schizophrenia-like symptoms. The difficulty of diagnosing this illness is compounded by the fact that many people who are diagnosed do not believe they have it. Lack of awareness is a common symptom of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and greatly complicates treatment.

While there is no single physical or lab test that can diagnosis schizophrenia, a health care provider who evaluates the symptoms and the course of a person’s illness over six months can help ensure a correct diagnosis. The health care provider must rule out other factors such as brain tumors, possible medical conditions and other psychiatric diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder.

To be diagnosed with schizophrenia, a person must have two or more of the following symptoms occurring persistently in the context of reduced functioning:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • Negative symptoms

Delusions or hallucinations alone can often be enough to lead to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Identifying it as early as possible greatly improves a person’s chances of managing the illness, reducing psychotic episodes, and recovering. People who receive good care during their first psychotic episode are admitted to the hospital less often, and may require less time to control symptoms than those who don’t receive immediate help. The literature on the role of medicines early in treatment is evolving, but we do know that psychotherapy is essential.

People can describe symptoms in a variety of ways. How a person describes symptoms often depends on the cultural lens she is looking through. African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be misdiagnosed, probably due to differing cultural or religious beliefs or language barriers. Any person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia should try to work with a health care professional that understands his or her cultural background and shares the same expectations for treatment.

Treatment

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be treated and managed in several ways.

With medication, psychosocial rehabilitation, and family support, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be reduced. People with schizophrenia should get treatment as soon as the illness starts showing, because early detection can reduce the severity of their symptoms.

Recovery while living with schizophrenia is often seen over time, and involves a variety of factors including self-learning, peer support, school and work and finding the right supports and treatment.

Medication

Typically, a health care provider will prescribe antipsychotics to relieve symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations. Due to lack of awareness of having an illness and the serious side effects of medication used to treat schizophrenia, people who have been prescribed them are often hesitant to take them.

First Generation (typical) Antipsychotics

These medications can cause serious movement problems that can be short (dystonia) or long term (called tardive dyskinesia), and also muscle stiffness. Other side effects can also occur.

Second Generation (atypical) Antipsychotics

These medications are called atypical because they are less likely to block dopamine and cause movement disorders. They do, however, increase the risk of weight gain and diabetes. Changes in nutrition and exercise, and possibly medication intervention, can help address these side effects.

One unique second generation antipsychotic medication is called clozapine. It is the only FDA approved antipsychotic medication for the treatment of refractory schizophrenia and has been the only one indicated to reduce thoughts of suicide. However, it does have multiple medical risks in addition to these benefits. Read a more complete discussion of these risk and benefits.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for some people with affective disorders. With more serious conditions, including those with psychosis, additional cognitive therapy is added to basic CBT (CBTp). CBTp helps people develop coping strategies for persistent symptoms that do not respond to medicine.

Supportive psychotherapy is used to help a person process his experience and to support him in coping while living with schizophrenia. It is not designed to uncover childhood experiences or activate traumatic experiences, but is rather focused on the here and now.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) works to promote cognitive functioning and confidence in one’s cognitive ability. CET involves a combination of computer based brain training and group sessions. This is an active area of research in the field at this time.

Psychosocial Treatments

People who engage in therapeutic interventions often see improvement, and experience greater mental stability. Psychosocial treatments enable people to compensate for or eliminate the barriers caused by their schizophrenia and learn to live successfully. If a person participates in psychosocial rehabilitation, she is more likely to continue taking their medication and less likely to relapse. Some of the more common psychosocial treatments include:

  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) provides comprehensive treatment for people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Unlike other community-based programs that connect people with mental health or other services, ACT provides highly individualized services directly to people with mental illness. Professionals work with people with schizophrenia and help them meet the challenges of daily life. ACT professionals also address problems proactively, prevent crises, and ensure medications are taken.
  • Peer support groups like NAMI Peer-to-Peer encourage people’s involvement in their recovery by helping them work on social skills with others. The Illness Management Recovery (IMR) model is an evidence-based approach that emphasizes setting goals and acquiring skills to meet those goals.

Complementary Health Approaches

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil, have shown some promise for treating and managing schizophrenia. Some researchers believe that omega-3 may help treat mental illness because of its ability to help replenish neurons and connections in affected areas of the brain.

Additional Concerns

Physical Health. People with schizophrenia are subject to many medical risks, including diabetes and cardiovascular problems, and also smoking and lung disease. For this reason, coordinated and active attention to medical risks is essential.

Substance Abuse. About 25% of people with schizophrenia also abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse can make the treatments for schizophrenia less effective, make people less likely to follow their treatment plans, and even worsen their symptoms.

Helping Yourself

If you have schizophrenia, the condition can exert control over your thoughts, interfere with functioning and if not treated, lead to a crisis. Here are some ways to help manage your illness.

  • Manage Stress. Stress can trigger psychosis and make the symptoms of schizophrenia worse, so keeping it under control is extremely important. Know your limits, both at home and at work or school. Don’t take on more than you can handle and take time to yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Try to get plenty of sleep. When you’re on medication, you most likely need even more sleep than the standard eight hours. Many people with schizophrenia have trouble with sleep, but lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise and avoiding caffeine can help.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. It’s indisputable that substance abuse affects the benefits of medication and worsens symptoms. If you have a substance abuse problem, seek help.
  • Maintain connections. Having friends and family involved in your treatment plan can go a long way towards recovery. People living with schizophrenia often have a difficult time in social situations, so surrounding yourself with people who understand this can make the transition back into daily social life smoother. If you feel you can, consider joining a schizophrenia support group or getting involved with a local church, club, or other organization.

If you live with a mental health condition, learn more about managing your mental health and finding the support you need.

Helping a Family Member or Friend

Learning about psychosis and schizophrenia will help you understand what your friend or family member is experiencing and trying to cope with. Living with schizophrenia is challenging. Here are some ways you can show support:

  • Respond calmly. To your loved one, the hallucinations seem real, so it doesn’t help to say they are imaginary. Calmly explain that you see things differently. Being respectful without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior.
  • Pay attention to triggers. You can help your family member or friend understand, and try to avoid, the situations that trigger his or her symptoms or cause a relapse or disrupt normal activities.
  • Help ensure medications are taken as prescribed. Many people question whether they still need the medication when they’re feeling better, or if they don’t like the side effects. Encourage your loved one to take his or her medication regularly to prevent symptoms from coming back or getting worse.
  • Understanding lack of awareness (anosognosia). Your family member or friend one may be unable to see that he or she has schizophrenia. Rather than trying to convince the person he or she has schizophrenia, you can show support by helping him or her be safe, get therapy, and take the prescribed medications.
  • Help avoid drugs or alcohol. These substances are known to worsen schizophrenia symptoms and trigger psychosis. If your loved one develops a substance use disorder, getting help is essential.

Related Conditions People with schizophrenia may have additional illnesses. These may include: Substance abuse Posttraumatic stress disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder Major depression Successfully treating schizohprenia almost always improves these related illnesses. And successful treatment of substance abuse, PTSD or OCD usually improves the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Thank you for reading. I know today’s blog is quite long. I felt like it is necessary to give the above information to better educate myself as well as you the reader and/or follower. Please remember I am not qualified to diagnosis anyone of any physical or mental health condition. I hope to blog more about other diagnoses as well as various treatments for mental health conditions as time goes on. Well, I’m going to end this blog for now. Have a good day and Peace Out!!

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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.

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.

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.

It’s Hump Day (aka Wednesday)

     Happy Hump Day!!! Well, I didn’t go to my volunteer job today because I am on vacation from work. I make it a policy that if I am on vacation from work I am on vacation from my volunteer jobs. I do have to say that I missed going to my volunteer job because it gives me a sense of purpose that my paid job doesn’t. Of course most anything has more meaning and purpose than bagging groceries at grocery store as a paid job. I love my volunteer job, serving coffee and handing out hygiene/shower items at a homeless shelter. I missed volunteering today. I wish I would have gone today because I missed last week because of burning my fingers a week ago and I’m going to miss next week. In fact missing my volunteer shift next week is going to be a good thing.

     The reason why missing my volunteer shift next week is because I am taking a training in Co-Occurring Disorders. In fact this training for those who have already been Certified as Peer Counselors and since I am Certified as a Peer Counselor, I qualify to take the training. Even though I’ve been officially certified for 9 1/2 months now I still don’t have a job as a peer counselor. I figure that taking this training in Co-Occurring Disorders will be beneficial for me in many ways. One of those ways it will beneficial to me is that in will increase my knowledge. Another way it will be beneficial to me is that it will look good on a resume’. Yes, I know working at my current employer for the last 9 years as bagger at grocery store looks good on a resume’ but I’m hoping that taking this Co-Occurring Disorders training will help my resume’ look better.

     Lets get on another topic before I get frustrated with myself with feeling stuck at the same job for 9 years that seems to be going nowhere for me. Hmm…I want to get on the topic of soccer (football to the rest of the world). Tomorrow my boyfriend and I are going to watch the USA play against Germany in the World Cup. In fact my boyfriend is going to make me breakfast tomorrow morning to eating during the World Cup. He keeps asking me what I want to have for breakfast tomorrow and I am not sure at the moment. My boyfriend is so sweet because he wants to make a “date” out of watching the World Cup tomorrow morning. That’s partly why he wants to make me breakfast; to make it more “date like.”  He makes me feel so special. He makes me feel like I’m the only person in the world. Getting back on topic of the World Cup. I am crossing my fingers that the USA beats Germany tomorrow.

     Well I best be going because my boyfriend just finished up with making me dinner. He also baked some chocolate cupcakes. Yummy!! I love chocolate. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a great rest of your Wednesday. Peace out and enjoy your summer!!

It’s Been An Interesting Day

     Good Monday Evening!!! Today has been an interesting day. On my bus ride to my appointment with my therapist, a fellow passenger passed out because he was so drunk. Of course the bus driver had to stop the bus and check on the dude. The bus driver had to call the police as well as the fire department. The police showed up as well as the fire engine and paramedics. As the firefighters were trying to help the drunk dude came to and hit one of them. The police then tackled the guy and with the help of the paramedics and other firefighters he was handcuffed to the gurney and put in the back of the ambulance. Of course myself and the other passengers had to give witness statements to the police. Finally after everyone gave their statement the bus was on its way again. I got off at my bus stop and walked about a half mile to my appointment. On the walk from the bus stop to my appointment I found $20. Finding money is a rare thing for me.

     I of course made it to my appointment with my therapist on time. In fact I was 45 minutes early. I’m usually an hour early due to OCD tendencies. While waiting for my therapy appointment the admin assistant got me my stuffed Eeyore that I have my therapist hold for me so when I am waiting to see her I can hold on to him. My stuffed Eeyore also sits in on my sessions with me because its easier to talk with a stuffed animal to hold. As I was holding Eeyore, in the waiting room I pulled out a Wonder Woman graphic novel to read. If you are a regular reader or follower of my blog you know I am a huge Wonder Woman fan. About 15 minutes before my session an old high school friend walks into the waiting room of the mental health clinic I see my therapist at. This high school friend was seeking therapy for the first time in her life. She of course was seeing a different clinician. It was nice to “catch up” with an old friend.

    My session with my therapist Diana was quite draining. We discussed what happened on the bus then I pulled out 3 copies of what I wanted to go into my treatment plan. Of course many of things I want to work on can be condensed and we did that. In fact it was getting a bit overwhelming for me. We had to take a break from it and we talked about why it was overwhelming. I had come to the conclusion that I’ve been defined by my mental illness so long that it scares me what it would be like to not be “crazy.” Diana my therapist says that I’ve dealt with my mental illness for so long that now that I am walking in recovery I’m learning what its like to not be “crazy.” She also says that I’m in the process of redefining on who I am. She is absolutely correct. I am redefining who I am. Recovery from a mental illness is difficult work. I still have a great deal to work through so I am no where done with needing treatment but I am an active participant in my treatment planning. I still have to work through all the trauma I’ve been through when I was a child as well as an adult. That’s going to be a long process. So Diana and I still need to finish working my treatment/recovery plan and we both hope that we can continue to work on in in the next session next Monday. I never knew how draining it would be. Working on changing for the better is not only draining and difficult but a good thing. (Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym for my therapist)

   So after my therapy appointment I took the bus home. Thankfully nothing eventful happened on my bus ride home. In fact on my bus ride home, I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I am really enjoying the book. It’s going to take me awhile to read it due to my dyslexia but that is okay with me. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy reading.

   As I am blogging right now, I am at my boyfriends house. He is fixing me dinner. He is a good cook. Not as good as my grandma but good enough. He cooks better than me and I love to cook. Hell, my boyfriend loves to cook as well. He learned to cook from his mom. I learned to cook from my dad and grandma. My paternal grandpa is not a very good cook. My maternal grandpa was an awesome cook. Anyway, my boyfriend is making me spaghetti. I love spaghetti. I should get going. I want to see if my boyfriend will let me help him finish cooking. After dinner we are going to watch a movie. Not sure what movie but it’s going to be a comedy.

   Well, I best be going. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a good rest of the evening. Enjoy the rest of your Monday. Well at least enjoy the 4 hours that’s left of Monday. Peace out and enjoy life.