Woo Hoo; 200 Followers!!!

WOO HOO!!! I finally got my 200th follower. It has taken three years and three months to get my 200th follower. I know it might not be a big deal to you but is to me. It means that I’m actually reaching people who want to read what I have to say.

If you are new to reading my blog, WELCOME!!!! This blog was started to help educate individuals who do not struggle with a mental health condition that people like myself who do struggle can live productive and fulfilling lives in hopes to lessen the stigma that goes with having a mental health condition. I did at one point in time have an education piece of my blog regarding mental health and hope to get that started back up again.  The other aspect of my blog was and is to give those who do struggle with a mental health condition hope that there is recovery. Recovery is not an easy process and is non-linear. There will be bumps in the road and relapses in symptoms of mental health conditions. I hope that I can be of some encouragement to those who have mental health conditions. Again, I want to thank you all for following my blog.

I hope everyone has a good rest of the week. I appreciate each on everyone of you. Peace Out!!!

Not Good Start; The Rest Will Be Good

Good Morning, World!!! I’m up at 4:09 in the morning because of a nightmare. A nightmare that is a symptom of PTSD. I highly dislike having PTSD and would not wish this on my worst enemy.

Waking up from a nightmare is never a great start to any day. I did have Junior by my side helping me through the after effects of the nightmare. Junior sat with me as I cried through the pain. The emotional and physical pain the nightmare brought. Yes, PTSD symptoms can cause not just emotional pain but physical pain as well. As I allow myself to cry, Junior held me to help me feel safe.

After I finished crying, I gave myself a few moments to recompose myself. As I recomposed myself I decided I will blog. Blog about what!?!? Nobody knows not even me.

I am looking forward to what today has to bring. I will be attending a continuing education training for Peer Support Specialist. Its on Ethics and Boundaries in Peer Support. Ethics and boundaries is something we all need in our personal and professional lives. This continuing education training I am attending will help me with my career when I get back into being a Peer Specialist.

Having a career as a peer specialist is know when to step away from things to focus on ones recovery. That’s what I am doing. As much as I would love to be working as a Peer at the moment, I realize focusing on my recovery is important. I just hope that me focusing on my recovery will help me grow as a person and as a Peer Specialist.

Anyway, I’m thinking that I should end this particular blog post for now. I need to get ready for the day ahead. I want be in a good space when I attend the continuing education training I will be attending. If I’m not too tired when I get home from the continuing education training, I hope to blog about what I learned I hope everyone has a great work week. Happy Monday and Peace Out!!!

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!!!

 

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!!!

The Reawaking of Weekly Check-Ins

Good Afternoon!!! About a year and a half ago or so, I joined a blogging event through WordPress that occurred on the weekly basis. This event focused on how your week went and when the event ended I decided to continue to do it but on a different day. I chose Saturdays as Saturday is the last day of the week.

Unfortunately, due to a relapse in my not so lovely depression symptoms as well as symptoms of other mental health diagnosis’s, I ended up stopping the weekly check-ins. It’s something I wish I didn’t stop and wish I started the weekly check-ins sooner than now. The weekly check-ins, ultimately helped me with my mental health symptoms and it also kept you the reader update date on what was going on in my life as well as keeping you interested in reading my blog.

Now that you are aware that the weekly check-ins are now being awoken; I guess, I will do my weekly check-in for this week. I pretty much isolated most of this week with a couple of exceptions. The first exception was on the 4th of July when I went to celebrate it at a friends picnic at their house. I’m glad I went because attending the 4th of July celebration helped me get out of my head as well as helped me forget even for a few moments that I have a mental health condition. Plus, I had fun spending time with people who truly care about me.

The second exception is when I went to an appointment to see my case manager’s supervisor on Thursday. I saw him this past week instead of my therapist or case manager because they both happened to be on vacation at the same time for week of their vacations. Normally, I would be “okay” with not seeing someone on my treatment team for a week or two but due to, two recent suicide attempts as well as not improving as quickly as I have in recent years from a crisis. My case managers supervisor is a nice dude and is quite helpful. He is concerned about “the lack of progress as well as the lack of purpose” I have in my life at the moment. He has every right to be concerned about the lack of progress as well as the lack of purpose of my life. As I mentioned in my last post that work gave me sense of purpose and the supervisor knows all to well of the purpose work gave me. I discussed with him about wanting go back to school and he appeared to be of support of this. Having the support of going back to school gives me hope.

Hope that I want to give to others, which is why I am needing to end this post. I am needing to get ready to go so I can volunteer to give others hope. Before I go to give hope to others, I need to eat. I hope everyone has a good rest of their weekend. I will be making every effort to do weekly check-ins every Saturday. Have a wonderful day everyone. 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.

Poetry, Day Four: Journey

Fork in the Road

by Gertie

There is a fork in the road

Which way to go.

Continue on the miserable journey you already know

or choose the one less traveled one.

What the hell?

It couldn’t be any worse than the journey,

I’m already on.

Turns out that fork in road changed

my life I would have never imagined.

A life worth living.

A life in recovery.

Something that wouldn’t have happened if

I didn’t have that fork in the road

to choose what recovery journey I wanted to take.