Introduction: Junior

Hello! I want to introduce myself; I am Junior. I am Gertie’s fiancé. I was asked by Gertie to be a contributor of her blog from time to time. To share my experience on what it is like to be a partner and loved one of a person who struggles with a mental illness. I am not sure what exactly to say except that I love Gertie with all my heart, soul and mind.

My love for Gertie grows everyday and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Yes, it can be quite challenging at times when Gertie is in the height of a mental health relapse yet I have seen her grow in recovery over the last several years.

I first met Gertie when she had attempted suicide and my engine company as well as a Medic One Unit responded to the 911 call nearly sixteen years ago. Myself and the rest of the crew didn’t think she would make it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time I had responded to Gertie attempting suicide however over the last sixteen years I have seen Gertie grow in strides.

Gertie has been focused on her recovery for quite some time now. She has struggled some and despite her struggles she gets more determined with her recovery as well as more resilient.

As time goes on I will share my experiences with being a partner of someone who struggles with a mental illness and how I take care of myself in the process especially when Gertie is in a mental health relapse. Thankfully, she is not in a relapse at the moment.

I will be sharing my experience as a first responder and how as I first responder I interact with those who have a mental illness and in crisis. I hope to share more with you soon

Junior

An Idea or Two

Good morning, everyone!! Or at least it’s still morning for another twelve minutes in my neck of the woods. I have come up with an idea or two for my blog. As many of you know that I recently acquired a writers magazine that has fifty-two writing prompts for every week of the year starting in on the first Monday in June. You may know that I have decided that I am going to do the weekly writing prompts here on my blog for the next year (52 weeks) starting in June. Of course this is an idea that I have had for a week or two and that  may or may not be new to you.

The idea or two that are new to you is that I was thinking about doing a weekly check-in with you all. I would do this weekly check-in with you all on Friday evening or Saturday morning or afternoon. It is my hope to engage you my reader a little bit more as well as to let you all know how things are going with me. Part of the reason why I am wanting to do this is I am realizing I am not blogging as much as I would like to and this will help me with being more regular about blogging.

The other idea of the idea or two is to have contributors to my blog. They would be people in my support network. For instance, I have Junior my fiancé to be a contributor and he thinks it’s a wonderful idea. Another contributor would be a friend of mine who has taken me under her wing and is a second mother to me. In fact she has been more of a mom to me than my own mother. I call her my Mama Bear and that’s how I will refer to her by here on my blog. Anyway Junior and Mama Bear both think its an “awesome idea.” They will both be posting at least once a month and posting from the perspective of having a loved one that struggles with a mental illness. They might even give the perspective of being first responders and dealing with the public and those of the public who struggle with mental illness. I am hoping with having contributors that it will give my reader and/or follower a different perspective on the side of mental illness and how it effects them and the stigma they to deal with.  I am not sure when my contributors will start but I will inform you when they do.

Before I go I hope that you like the idea’s I have come up with to keep you my reader and/or follower to continue to want to read my blog. I know when other bloggers I follow don’t post much, I start to loose interest and I hope that you all aren’t loosing interest in my blog.

Well, it is now exactly 12noon. So have a good afternoon everyone. I hope you all have a good weekend and Peace Out!!

Beautiful, Sunny Yet Crisp Sunday

It is a beautiful, sunny yet crisp Sunday where I live. To make this day even more beautiful than it already is, is when Junior came home from work this morning and made me breakfast in bed. Junior is so romantic. After breakfast in bed, we had some intimate moments and then took a nap.

After the nap, Junior and myself went to a local park with a lake and walked around the lake holding hands. We held hand and talked. We talked about everything. When we walked around the lake twice, we decided to have lunch a nearby restaurant. As we ate we discussed how our love continues to grow for each other and how cool (and romantic) it is to do spontaneous things that we were doing.

Now that we are home and it is three o’clock in the afternoon, Junior and I are relaxing and taking it easy. Junior is reading a book as I sit here at my laptop blogging. Junior just started a book called Into The Storm by Taylor Anderson. So far he says it is a good book. The book is a Science Fiction book that is based on a Navy Ship in World War II. After I am done blogging I tend to read. Not sure if it will be Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card or Trauma Stewardship; An Everyday Guide for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk. I will probably read the latter of the two books.

I love days like today where I can be with the person I love. Most importantly, I love the fact that I can be at peace and be content with who I am despite still not feeling well. I am content with how my life is going and the people I have in my life.

With all that being said, I am going to end the post. Have a wonderful Sunday and Peace Out!!

Can I Have Just One Night Without Nightmares

I woke up about an hour ago with a nightmare. A nightmare that could have possibly turned into a screaming nightmare if Junior didn’t gently wake me up. The above picture is not me but that’s how I tend to end up after a horrific nightmare like the one I had tonight.

Like the loving partner, Junior is, he comforted me. As I was curled up in the fetal position, Junior asked if it was okay to rub my back and I shook my yes. As Junior rubbed my back I slowly felt safe enough to get out of the fetal position to allow myself to be held by Junior. As Junior held me I cried. I cried out the emotions that have haunted me for years.

After a nice long, good cry with Junior, we are now up. Junior put in a movie and decided to bake some chocolate cupcakes as I blog and watch the movie. I know it is going to take some time to recover from the nightmare I had tonight and I am radically accepting that moment.

For those who are not familiar with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), radical acceptance is a skill. A skill that is defined as: complete and total acceptance of something; accepting reality. Radical acceptance is one of the key components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Radical acceptance is not the easiest of skills to master. I am speaking from experience. It is something that I will need to continue to practice so I can master it or at least come close to. It is a skill that I find difficult for many reason that I hope to explain at a later date.

I know I am needing to go so I can continue to radically accept the nightmare. I also want to focus on the movie and spend time with Junior. I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday. Have a great weekend and peace out!!

Daily Prompt: Home Turf

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Home Turf.” Name five things in your house that make it a home.

I currently live in an apartment in a major city. Not only do I have my own apartment, I stay with my fiancé at his house about half the time. With that being said I will say what five things make my apartment home and what five things make Juniors house home.

GERTIE’S APARTMENT: 

1)     Having Junior around. Who wouldn’t want their loving partner around to may their home a home.

2)     Having friends over. Being able to have an “open door policy” helps with having my place feel like a home. Of course the “open door policy” isn’t always an “open door.”

3)     Pictures of family and friends. It always makes any home feel homey when there are pictures of loved ones around.

4)     Stuffed animals. I love having stuffed animals around.

5)     Art work. I have art work around that my brother, Junior’s niece and nephew, various friends kids and myself have done. I hang it up around my apartment because having artwork and craft projects up makes it feel more welcoming in my opinion.

JUNIOR’S HOUSE

1)     Having Junior around. Of course I would want Junior around especially his own house.

2)     Having Junior’s family around. I love his family. They have become my family. They are welcomed at my place anytime as well.

3)     Pictures of family and friends. It always makes any home feel homey when there are pictures of loved ones around.

4)     Junior’s Awards and Medals. Junior has a lot of medals and awards from the Nave, Fire Department and College.

5)     Framed Puzzle’s. Yes, Junior has frame puzzles up around his house. Some of those puzzle’s we have done together and some he has been helped by others while some he has done by himself.

As you can tell both places have some of the same homey things while others are completely different. There is one that is similar. I love how both his place and my place feel home in the same yet very different ways. Have a great day. Peace Out!!

We Deserve Supportive People Too

Last night was not an easy night for me in regards to my PTSD symptoms acting up. As you may have read in my previous post, I struggled with a nightmare last night. It was not exactly the worst nightmare I have had but it shook me up enough that it took a few hours for me to get back to be able to try to get back to sleep. Thankfully, I was able to do so.

As you may have read in last night’s post, Junior was a pretty major support to me. Having a supportive partner in my life has been a blessing to me. Junior isn’t the only supportive person I have in my life. I have built a family of supportive people in my life. People who aren’t afraid to tell me how it is with firmness when I am being a stubborn ass mule. These same people also know when it is time to intervene and be compassionate when I am struggling. For me having people like Junior in my life has been quite beneficial to me and my recovery.

What most  people don’t realize is that those who struggle with a mental illness, having a supportive support system is key to a person’s recovery. So many of us who struggle with mental illness loose many friends just for the fact that others don’t understand mental illness and are fearful that they themselves might “catch it” or “get killed” if we go off our meds. This is a dilemma many of us have. Those of us who struggle with mental illness cant keep the friends we have because of our symptoms and/or their fear. It is because of this loss that many people who struggle with mental illness are scared to meet others and start a friendship.

Having a supportive people in our lives such is friends play a major part in our recovery. We deserve supportive people too, just like everyone else. That is why it angers me when I hear stories of “normal” people not wanting be friends with those who struggle with a mental illness when they find out that someone has a mental illness.

Knowing that many others who struggle mental illness don’t have supportive people in their lives makes me that much more grateful for my support system. I worked my ass off to build my support system and consider myself lucky to have the people I have in my life.

Speaking of support systems, I need to go and be a support to those who need it. This evening I have a shift on the Warm Line and need to get something to eat before I go. Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Peace Out!!!!

A Nightmare & A Loving Partner

It’s the middle of the night and I am wide awake. I am wide awake because of a stupid ass nightmare. A nightmare that needs to be dealt with the next time I see my therapist. Thankfully, I see my therapist on Thursday and will discuss the nightmare with her then.

Junior, like always was supportive. We talked a little bit about what it the nightmare was about but didn’t go in depth because it is not always helpful to do so. We cuddled on the couch watching An American Tail as I held one of my favorite stuffed animals. It helped me a great deal. Junior fell asleep before the movies was over which was no surprise to me. Of course when the movie was over I woke him up and he put in another movie and we are now watching The Mighty Ducks. Junior is now baking chocolate cupcakes as I blog and watch the movie. At this moment I am still struggling with the nightmare but am getting close enough to recovering from it that I could go to bed soon. Of course I am going to finish blogging and watching the movie as the cupcakes finish baking and then cool. Having the support of Junior and doing my skills are helping me with the recovery from the stupid ass nightmare.

Okay, Junior is a little too quiet for his own good in the kitchen. I need to go see what he is up to. I will end this particular blog post for now. Have good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace out everyone!!

Back To Reality

I am going to try to keep this particular post a short one. It is now back to reality. The reality of having to get back to the swing of things, now that my vacation is over with. I am fairly close to being done with unpacking. Yes, I do have some laundry to do but it can wait a couple of days.

I am looking forward to going back to work. I do have to say that going back to work at my current employment is a much different feeling than going back to work after a vacation at my previous employer. My previous employer I would be dreading going back to work. My current employer, I’m not dreading going back after a much needed vacation. Loving your job helps a great deal in the transition of going back to work after a vacation.

Junior and I are grateful to be home and be able to sleep in our own beds. We spent most of last night having some intense and pleasurable intimate moments. I am beyond blessed that I have a man who treats me right and does not hurt me. Junior and I our grateful for our intense love we have for each other.

Before I end this post for now, I have to say that I am a little jealous of Junior right now. He doesn’t have to be back to work to Wednesday. He deserves the extra few days off. He doesn’t have the easiest of jobs. He is a firefighter. Well, I should get going and make dinner. Have a wonderful week everyone. Peace Out!!!

Daily Prompt: In the Summer Time

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.” If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

It’s definitely summer in my neck of woods and I am loving it. The weather has been awesome all summer and am grateful for the beautiful weather. Having beautiful weather during vacation always makes it that much more enjoyable.

Junior and myself are currently staying in a hotel in the town where both my brother and mother live. We came to their town because of my brothers birthday and wanted to be here to celebrate it with him. In fact as part of my brothers birthday gift we took him to the fair that always happens around his birthday that is in the area he lives in. Thankfully, we were able to take him on his actual birthday which was on Friday. The cool about coming to see my brother was we were able to stay at his place on Thursday and Friday nights. We could have stayed at my brothers last night and tonight but Junior and I wanted time to ourselves before the next part of our vacation which I will tell you about later in this particular post. About an hour after Junior and I checked into our hotel, we watched the parade. We watched it because my brother was in it. My brother was in the parade because he is a part of the Special Olympics. After the parade, Junior and I came up and had a much need intimate moment that last more than an hour. The best part of our hotel room is it looks over a lake and the state capital building. We can also look down at the local fair that is going on and we will be able to watch the fireworks from our room that end the fair tonight.

Tomorrow, Junior and I take the train to go to see my grandparents. I am looking forward to seeing them. They live right on the Columbia River. Being at their place is very peaceful. One of the things I’m looking forward to when I’m at my grandparents is fishing. Yes, this city girl enjoys to fish. Being able to relax is a great thing and that is what I plan on doing when I am at my grandparents.

In fact Junior and myself not only plan on relaxing at my grandparents, we are relaxing now in the town my brother lives in. We are going to go and do a few more fun things before the fireworks tonight.  So far my highlights for the summer are spending time with my brother and the beautiful weather. Now that you know what my summer highlights are, I am going to get going so I can relax with Junior. Perhaps we might have more intimate moments before we head out for the day. Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone. Enjoy your summer and peace out all!!!

Daily Prompt: State of Your Year

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “State of Your Year.” How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

It’s the third day of July and that means the year is half over. The year now being officially half over is why I decided to do this particular past daily prompt.

The year didn’t start off on the happiest of notes. If you are a regular reader and/or follower you are aware that I had miscarried a set of twins in January. It was a devastating start to the new year. I was looking forward to being a mama. Needless to say the miscarriage has had me wanting this year to end two weeks into it.

As January turned into February, I realized that I not only wanted the year to be over, I wanted to end my life. I wanted to end my life due to miscarrying. That is when I realized I needed to get help by putting myself into the hospital twice. The first time for two weeks and then a week after I was discharged had to go back in for another five days. I was disappointed in myself that I needed to be hospitalized for psych reasons because it had been nearly three and half years since my last discharge from my last psych hospitalization. The miscarriage hit me harder than a bag of bricks hitting the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Despite being hit by a bag of bricks, I realized that this particular crisis was different from the rest; I didn’t harm myself in any way. Yes, that means I didn’t attempt suicide nor self-harm. If one thing could come from the sadness of loosing a set of twins and the crisis that came after it, is that I don’t need to self harm nor do I need to go through it alone.

The major thing I have learned this year is that I am not alone and most importantly I know who is truly in my corner. Don’t get me wrong, I have known who has been in my corner for quite some time, I just fully realized on who is in my corner. I also realized that, those of who I thought were in my corner when it came to me being in a crisis weren’t able to do so, like I once thought. Now I know that it doesn’t matter how long you have known someone or how you met that person, it matters that they step up to the plate when a crisis arises.  Sometimes it’s a person you don’t necessarily expect.  An example of someone like that is my friend Susan over at https://bravelybipolar.wordpress.com/.

As the year continues on and the help of many people like Susan, my fiancé, Junior and many others, it is slowly but surely better. Yes, I still have my difficult moments but realize that the initial crisis of the miscarriage is over. It has taken quite some time for it to be over however I have accomplished the fact that I not only not harmed myself in the crisis, I was able to allow others in my life to help me in one of the most darkest hours of my life.

Looking back on my year thus far, I would say that one of my major accomplishments is continuing to live my life as I would have before miscarrying. That means, I continued on going to work, going to my volunteer job at the Warm Line and most importantly spending time with friends and select family members. I also allow myself to grieve over the loss of my children. Amongst the major accomplishment of living my everyday life in the middle of a crisis, I decided to volunteer other places.

Yes, I’m now volunteering not only at the Warm Line and the Mental Health Clubhouse I am a member of but a young adult shelter. I’m doing this because, I not only miss volunteer at the main shelter of the mental health I agency I am now employed at but I want to eventually work with young adults struggling with a mental illness. The reason being is because, I’ve been there. I was a young adult seeking treatment and felt like nobody understood because everyone else to start getting treatment till their late twenties and early thirties if not older. Volunteering at the young adult (18-25) shelter is a way to make sure I want to work with particular age group in the profession sense. What’s the worse thing that can happen? I realize its not the age group I am meant to work with and another thing to put on my résumé. So far I’m loving the fact that I am not only volunteering in a homeless shelter but volunteering with the age group that I am wanting to work with professionally.

As the year continues on, I am looking forward to what it brings professionally. I love my job as a Consumer Advocate however I want to be a Peer Support Specialist. I have been looking at Peer Specialist positions within the agency I work for as well as other agencies however I realize I am more likely to get hired on, if it is at another agency, if I have been at my current employer for at least a year. My one year anniversary at my current employer is September 8, 2015. Since my anniversary is in September, I have decided to wait to late November, early December to apply for Peer Specialist positions due to the fact that I will have been employed for an entire calendar year (January to December) by the time I find out if I get hired for a job. The longer you are at an employer the better it looks to future employers. Not only that, I also need to do a few things done to ensure I will able to get a job as a Peer. They are to get my teeth fixed as well as to get a drivers license. Yes, you read right, I don’t have a drivers license. I have always lived in area’s that have pretty good public transit. Another reason why I want to get a drivers license is because many positions require one. Not only will having a drivers license be helpful to me professionally, so will getting my teeth fixed. People do tend to look at ones smile when it comes to an interview as well as in everyday encounters and that is why I want to get them fixed. Plus it will make me feel better about myself.

Overall, I am feeling better about myself as 2015 continues. Yes, it has not been the best of years so far however, I am going to make sure it ends on a higher note than it did when it started or at least try. We all know that there are things beyond our control. The year may have started badly but I know as it continues, I am making sure there are positives in it. One way I am making it positive besides professionally is by hanging out with awesome people. That is what I am about to do after I end this particular post. I do apologize for it being so long. I hope to blog again tomorrow for the 4th of July. If I am unable to do so, have a Happy 4th of July. Be safe and Peace Out!!!