Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon, World!!! If you been reading my blog on the regular basis you know that I have been struggling with the symptoms of my mental health condition. You may have noticed that I have making an effort to blog on the more regular basis. I’m doing this for a multitude of reasons. One is to keep you, the reader, interested in continuing to read my blog. Two, is more of the selfish part of me blogging and an unexpected bonus I didn’t realize was going to happen when I started is that its helping me with my recovery. I have many other reasons I am making an effort to blog more regularly however I am sure those reasons will bore you.

As you are aware that this past week has been a challenging one for me. Challenging in many ways yet I managed to get through some of them with creativity. Creativity in the ways of art and poetry. The main way I did both my art and poetry this past week was collaging and I really enjoyed it. I think its something I’ll continue to do on the regular basis.

Something that appears to be happening on the regular basis for me especially over the last two weeks and I haven’t even been trying is advocating. I’ve had several people inform me in the past two weeks is that I am really good at advocacy including self-advocacy. I don’t know about being good at advocacy especially when it comes to self-advocacy, I just do and say what I think needs to be done. If that’s advocacy then so be it.

I bring up the self-advocacy up because I was signed up to take a continuing education training for peers. A continuing education course I signed up for several months ago. I was informed yesterday (Friday) that I was waitlisted due to the fact that I’m not employed as a peer currently and priority goes to employed peers. I understand this full well and would have let it go and not advocated for myself if I was informed sooner. See, the continuing education training is this Monday and I made arrangements and rearranged appointments to be able to attend it. So, since I was informed on such short notice I thought it would be best to email the folks putting on the training. Since I advocated for myself and the training ending up in a “slightly bigger room” the folks doing the training said I could attend. I realize they couldn’t do this for everyone on the waitlist and won’t be able to this for me in the future however I am grateful that they made an exception for me. In fact the folks putting on the training informed me on who was doing the training happens to be someone I did a continuing education training with a few years ago. A person I have become friends with. I am looking forward to seeing them on Monday.

Now that we are on the topic of friends, two of my friends decided that I needed a girls night out. Or in this case a girls night in. They decided this because I’ve been isolating myself due to an increase of symptoms in my depression. I’m thrilled that they were persistent in their efforts to get me out of my apartment. We ended up at one of my friends places to watch the Seattle Mariners play against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I did have a good time with my friends even though they were rooting for the wrong baseball team. Actually, I’m just living in the wrong city but I love this city I’m living in. I just have to deal with getting a hard time on occasion when I root for particular sports teams.

Looks like I’ve pretty much told you how my week has gone. That means I’m at the end of my blog post. I hope to blog again tomorrow however if I don’t, I’ll make sure I do on Monday evening. I want to share with you how the continuing education training goes. I hope that everyone has a good rest of their weekend. Peace Out!!!

 

Nightmares Suck Shit; In Need of Being Creative

Ugg!!! Its 1:59 in the morning and I woke up from a stupid ass nightmare. A nightmare that scared the shit out of me.

After the nightmare I made me some tea and decided to blog. Blog about the struggle of having a nightmare. In fact I hope that blogging helps me get into a creative space.

A creative space that helped me several times in the last twenty-four hours. Creativity that helps me get into a better head space that I am currently in. I think I’m going to be collaging once again. Collaging pictures and words. Words that end up in poems. I’m really enjoying the collaging aspect of art.

As I create art and poetry I will of course be listening to music. Music that helps soothe me. Music that helped save my life. In fact if it wasn’t for music, I would have dropped out of high school. I was in the marching and concert band in high school. If it wasn’t for band I would have dropped out. As you can tell, music has helped me in many aspects of my life. Its helped me stay in school so I could graduate as well as helped me stay alive by not dying by suicide and to stay in recovery.

On that note, I should get going  so I can be creative. Hopefully,  I will be able to get some sleep. I hope everyone is sleeping well or at least did sleep well. Have a good night. Peace Out!!!

Creativity Is What Is Needed In A Time Of Struggles

I’m struggling at the moment with the symptoms of PTSD and Depression and it sucks shit. Struggling enough that I needed to call the afterhours crisis line of the agency I am a client of. I’m having strong urges to self-harm and needed to safety plan which is why I called the afterhours crisis line. I safety planned the person on the afterhours and happy with the plan we came up with.

One of the things that was suggested to me was to look over my DBT homework. Which I of course did and actually did some of it. See, I’ve been not so willing to do my DBT homework for a number of reasons. Many of which are excuses. Excuses that will only hinder me in my recovery.

Another thing that I informed the afterhours lady that I will do is blog. For me blogging helps me process. Process things that can be uncomfortable for me to deal with. Blogging has helped a great deal with starting to write poetry again.

Poetry is something that helps me process emotion and is another thing I’m going to do as part of my safety plan. I think I’m going to include art with my poetry. Something like I did last night with collaging words with pictures. I really enjoyed doing that. Or even collage some words on some of my finished coloring pages and creating a poem that way. I really thing poetry and art can go together.

One way to get all this creativity flowing is listening to music. Music helps with most everything. Music helps me be creative and helps me chill. In fact I’m listening to music now.

As I end this post listening to music, I want to thank you for reading. I know things are not good at the moment regarding self-harm, depression and PTSD but I know with me sharing my life with you will help others. Help others who struggle with a mental health condition know that they are not alone and that things do get better. Help others who don’t struggle know that people with a mental health condition can improve the quality of their lives and be productive members of society. Granted, I don’t view myself as being a productive member of society at the moment but I’m working on getting back there with help of my therapist. A therapist who appears to be in my corner. Again, thank you for reading.  Peace out!!!

Creativity Fights Off Dissociation

Good Morning, World!!! I am sitting here tired as hell. I’m tired because I had several intense nightmares last night. The severity of them was so intense, I feared dissociation. I still fear the dissociation however I am thankful that I have therapy today.

Knowing that I have therapy today helped somewhat with the dissociation however it was the creativity that ultimately helped me fight off Dissociation. In fact Junior was the one that suggested doing something creative. Junior even helped me in the creative process despite having to work a 48hour shift as a firefighter today and tomorrow.

As I created new poems as well as art I listened to music. Music helps me get the creative juices going. The piece that I am most proud of is a collage I created with cut out picture and words. Words that ended up creating a poem. A poem that helped me realize that I am still depressed yet have some hope.

As depressed as I am, I’m thrilled that I have some hope left in me. Hope that helps me accept the love my partner has for me. A love that I never thought I would have due to having a mental health condition. Love doesn’t have limits nor does it see the flaws in people. A love that I am happy Junior has.

I just wish that I could be surrounded by Juniors love today however he is working a 48hour shift for the next. Knowing that he is helping others as well as the love he has for me helps me through the next two days.

As much as I would love talking about the love I have for and receive from Junior, I need to end this post. I need to get going as I have an appointment with my therapist. An appointment I don’t want to be late for. Have a good day all. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon!!! This week hasn’t been all that eventful despite it being a busy week for me. Busy and uneventful is always a good thing when things haven’t been going all that well.

I saw my doctor on Monday to get blood work done. Blood work that would see if there is anything health wise that could be causing my depression to not improve. All the blood test came back “normal” except my Vitamin D levels. I’m now going to be on a prescription strength dose of Vitamin D instead of the over the counter supplement. I’m hoping this does the trick with at least improving the depression enough to where using my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills will be slightly more easier to use than they currently are.

Now that we are on the topic of DBT, I received a call on Wednesday from one of the clinicians from the agency I am a consumer (client) at, that my name finally came up to be able to attend one of the DBT groups there.  It’s only taken way too long but hey I’m glad I’m going to be able to attend. I do have to go through a screening process which I am pretty sure is not all that difficult to do since I went through the screening process at another agency to get into their two year intensive outpatient DBT program which I graduated from. The DBT group at the agency I am a consumer of is not as challenging as the one I graduated from but I’m okay with that since I am in need of a refresher. Yes, I would like it to be challenging and from my understanding it is slightly more challenging that it was the last time I took it. Just as long as being in DBT helps me get back to doing well, I don’t care how challenging it is.

A DBT skill that is challenging for me to do is the Self-Soothing skill and my new therapist is attempting to have me use this particular skill. When I saw her on Tuesday we discussed things that happened since the last time I saw her which led to an uncomfortable conversation for me. We talked about how I feel like I don’t deserve to self soothe. Self soothing is not exactly easy for me.

In fact I’ve been think great deal about self soothing since seeing my therapist and the many ways I actually do self soothe but don’t do enough. Music is the main way I self soothe and actually do this everyday by listening to it. Now playing my flute is extremely self soothing and don’t do enough of it. Hopefully I will make more of an effort to play my flute more.

Another self soothing skill that I tend to do and didn’t realize it was self soothing for me is art. The type of art I tend to do is color and/or collage with some drawing. I color and collage to self soothe and express myself. I tend to draw to express myself; usually when I am angry, scared or feeling like a scared child. I’m not very good a drawing but it sure helps when I’m not doing well. Now coloring and collaging I think I’m pretty good at and am grateful that is soothes me.

Talking about art brings me up to another thing I did this week and that was hanging out with my friend Susan from https://bravelybipolar.wordpress.com/ and her husband on Thursday. Susan does glass art. Actually, she does stained glass and I had her make me a piece which is quite lovely. We met up so I could get the stained glass piece she made me and we hung out for a couple of hours. We went to lunch and had some pretty awesome food.

Food always seems to be a major part of getting together with friends which brings me up to what I did yesterday. I hung out with two friends that I’ve known for the last two decades. We ate some pretty good food and the main topic of discussion was the books we are reading and/or just finished reading. During this get together with my two friends we realized that starting a book club with ourselves and a few other friends would be a good way to get together. In fact we thought it is the perfect excuse to get together. My two friends and I are thinking about asking two to three other individuals to join in this book club and hope to start it up sometime in mid to late September as many people go on vacation this time of year due to it being summer in my neck of the woods. September seems like the perfect time to start a book club as kids go back to school and people tend to have a more of a regular schedule.

Speaking of schedule’s, I need to get going. I need to go and eat. In fact my doctor wants me to eat on a more regular basis. As I end this post I hope all of you have a great weekend and enjoy the nice weather outside. Peace Out!!!

Fighting Off A Ton Of Bricks

I’m feeling frustrated with myself. I’m feeling frustrated because anytime I see any type of progress or improvement it appears that I fall and fall hard. Depression is hitting me like a ton of bricks and with a vengeance yet people in my life are helping me fight like hell to make sure it doesn’t win the fight.

The reason why my friends as well as my treatment team are fighting like hell along side with me against the depression is because two weeks ago, I attempted suicide on two separate occasions. The scary thing in all of this is that I haven’t attempted suicide in nine years which is of course is why everyone is concerned. For whatever reason, I didn’t end up on an inpatient psych unit which if I really look back on it, is concerning in itself but am grateful that I didn’t end up on an inpatient unit.

I’m grateful that I didn’t end up an inpatient unit for many reasons. The main reason is that it helps me, help myself without having someone readily available to depend on at all hours of the day and night.  Being able to not have people readily available in an instant has me focus on my DBT skills. Skills, I know that will help me and able to do not being on an inpatient unit because if I was on an inpatient unit I wouldn’t be able to use some of the skill most useful to me due to “safety” which I understand. Being part of an inpatient unit is to learn new skills as well as to practice the healthy skills you already have. If one cannot not practice healthy coping skills due to safety reasons how can one be able to practice them.

One such skill is listening to music on my  smart phone or Discman because both will require headphones. Headphones can be use to strangle yourself or someone else and understand why it’s a safety issue. Listening to music is one of the most helpful and useful skills I have. Listening to music helps me get myself in a better head space especially if I am highly escalated. If I’m highly escalated, listening to music puts me into a better head space to where I can come up with other skills that help me. In fact those other skills are usually are skills that bring out the creative side of me.

One such creative outlet also involves music. I play the flute and have been playing it since I was 12. I have never been the best at playing the flute nor have I claimed being a good flautist but its something I love to do. Playing the flute gives me a sense of self-confidence, I normally don’t have when I’m not playing it or any other musical instrument. In fact learning to play the harmonica and recorder also gives that same sense of self-confidence the flute does. Granted, learning to play a musical instrument is challenging but if it helps me get outside of myself as well as help with my self-confidence, then I’m going to accept the challenge.

Art is another creative challenge I take on as yet another skill that helps a great deal. My art form right now is collaging and coloring or combination of both. There is something soothing about looking through magazines, news papers and such searching for the right picture or word to cut out. Pasting the chosen cut outs onto a piece of paper and seeing it come into a piece of art is a thrill in of itself. Another thrill I get is seeing a finish coloring page. Looking at a colorful piece of art and knowing you created gives a person a sense of accomplishment.

On the topic of accomplishment, I get sense of accomplishment whenever I write. Whether I write via blogging, journaling, or a newsletter, its another outlet for me to be creative. I love to write. My love for writing is what helped me make the decision to start my blog. One of my favorite genre’s to write is poetry. Poetry helps me get what I need to get out emotionally. Since it helps me emotionally and I didn’t finish the Intro to Poetry course WordPress offers. The poetry course will not only help me emotionally, it will help me get back into the swing of things regarding blogging on the regular basis. Blogging on the regular basis will also keep you the reader more interested in checking on my blog more regular to see what I have to say. Another thing I like to do in regards to writing is to do writing prompts. Writing prompts can help one be more open with what is going on emotionally as the prompt can be one that has you write about something in real life. Prompts can also cause one to be creative and imaginative. Something that I am highly considering to do again is to start my weekly writing prompt as part of my blog.

As you can tell being creative is what ultimately helps me and being on an impatient unit can hinder me be creative for a number of reasons and most of them are legit. I am not condoning needing to be on an impatient unit as they are helpful and maybe I should have been hospitalized especially after the second attempt in matter of three days but am grateful I was not. In the last two weeks since the second attempt I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul searching. I found that I need to start being more creative and honest with myself.

Since I’m needing to be honest with myself, I realize I’m needing to end this post to start my going to bed routine. That includes watching the eleven o’clock news and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with a cup of hot tea. Have a good night everyone and peace out!!!

SIDE NOTE: I want to make it clear that I am NOT currently suicidal. I also want to make it clear that I am currently NOT experiencing any suicidal thoughts or suicide ideation.

Looking Forward To Tomorrow

It’s been a long day and continues get longer. I, of coursed worked today and now I am waiting to start a Warm Line shift. I decided that I would fill in for someone who needed to take the day off from their shift. Others have done it for me so I will do it for others. I know I’m going to be tired by the end of my volunteer shift since I worked today as well but I am looking forward to tomorrow.

I am looking forward to tomorrow because at this time tomorrow I will be getting my second tattoo. I am going to be getting a butterfly on my right shoulder. I emailed an idea of the butterfly tattoo I desire to my tattoo artist informing him that the image I sent him was an idea of how I want the butterfly and would like his artistic style to the butterfly as well. From my understanding he is grateful for the idea and is “thrilled” to be able add his own style to the butterfly tattoo I emailed him. It was and is just an idea of how I would like the idea.

The placement of my tattoo will be covering up some scars on my shoulder. Scars that people always assume that are “fresh” when they are not. They just happened to be keloid scars. If you regularly read my blog you know that I have had issues with cutting myself in the height of my mental illness.

It seems that all the tattoo’s I plan on getting including the one I have and the butterfly I am getting tomorrow all have some meaning to me in regards to my mental illness. Most if not all I am going to get will be recovery related. Two or three will help bring awareness to mental illness like the semi-colon tattoo I already have. The butterfly has meaning to me as well and yes it involves my recovery dealing with mental illness. I will share with you the meaning behind it, tomorrow evening or Saturday morning when I do my weekly check in. Hell, I might just do an entire post on just my new tattoo after I get it. Yes, I will put up a picture of it on my blog.

I need to get going. My Warm Line shift is about to start. Have a wonderful evening. I hope to do another post tomorrow evening, weather it’s my weekly check in or about my butterfly tattoo. Peace Out!!!