Consistency is a Necessity for Recovery

Over the years I have learned that consistency with who my treatment team is key to my recovery. Unfortunately, as of lately that hasn’t been happening for me.

I learned on St. Patrick’s Day that my new therapist, was leaving the agency I seek services at for my mental health treatment. This loss hits me hard as this therapist was the direct supervisor of Diana and was updating me on her health at Diana’s request. Not only that, I was just starting to feel comfortable with her style of therapy as it was slightly different from Diana’s therapy style.

As difficult as it is to loose another therapist so close to Diana’s sudden departure due to cancer, I appreciate her effort in making sure she found the right fit. A fit I am unsure of at the moment and realize the uncertainty of a new therapist is causing some anxiety.

To lessen my anxiety of having a new therapist, my therapist thought it would be a good idea for me to meet the new therapist during our last session together at the location I will be now going to. No, I’m not changing mental health agencies, its that my new therapist is at different location than the one leaving and Diana were at. I am really appreciative of my therapist doing this for me as I know she didn’t have to do so.

My last session with my therapist has come and gone and tears shed on both ends which was quite unexpected for the both of us since our therapeutic relationship had only been for four months. Of course having therapist who was the direct supervisor of your previous therapist (Diana) was helpful to building trust with her. Even though I only met with my new therapist of all of seven minutes for an introduction and to set up a first appointment, I found it quite helpful.

As helpful as I found meeting my new therapist, no matter how briefly, I still have anxiety regarding my first appointment with her. As with any first appointment, I have with anyone, my anxiety usually increases however this time the anxiety is higher than it usually is. Not sure why but it is and if I continue to ask why I notice my anxiety start to rise.  I’ve also realized as my first appointment with my new therapist quickly approaches, there is an increase in the anxiety.

The increase of anxiety is where the use of my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills come in handy to help even if I don’t want to use them. See, DBT skills have helped me through some tough moments as an adult. Even though seeing a new therapist isn’t the toughest thing I have experienced in my life, it’s anxiety provoking enough needing to use my skills.

As I use my skills, I realize that there is a number of reason why to my anxiety is so high regarding my first appointment with this new therapist. Actually, there a roughly a handful of reasons. All those reasons lead to both the grief I have for Diana’s sudden departure due to cancer and having a new therapist leave in less than five months which leads to the consistency I need for my own recovery. Consistency that I fear I won’t have with my new therapist as she appears to be close to retirement age but then again that might not be an issue either but its an issue I have to wait till deal with in my first session with her. For me consistency is key for me to start to trusting people and hope that my new therapist sticks around for a good eighteen months. I don’t that doesn’t sound long but I don’t want to ask for too much as I am seeing her at a community mental health agency and know realistically that people don’t stick around for as long as Diana did. I trusted Diana and still do and hope she is doing well. Most importantly, I hope I can trust my new therapist.

Before, I end this particular post I want share something positive. I am slowly starting to trust my case manager. I see she is trying really hard and to me that shows that she cares. She cares enough to try to build a good rapport and to me that is a sign I can trust her. When I first wrote about her I didn’t give her such a positive light and its not any of her fault. I was angry at needing a case manager and that anger showed through in that particular post. My care manager does care and does want to help me. For me trusting her is a big thing.

It looks like this post is coming to an end and before it ends, I want to tell you all thanks for reading. I am grateful for each one of you. Have a wonderful Sunday evening all and Peace Out!!!

New Years Eve 2016

As I sit here at my laptop, I realize it is now 2017 in most of the world. Well, in my neck of the woods, it is still 2016.

As 2016 comes to an end, I am not sure what to think of how this year was. It has been a year of both trials and triumphs. Some of my trials have been quite sad as my triumphs have been quite joyous.

Lets start off with the trials, I have dealt with this year. At the start of 2016 I was dealing with the one year anniversary of my the loss of my second set of twins due to a miscarriage. Dealing with the grief of loosing a second miscarriage has been quite difficult and as any parent knows loosing a child is the most difficult thing a person can deal with. Little did I know at the beginning of the year an on how much grief and loss I would be dealing with. In October I lost three clients and a colleague which hit me quite hard. It hit me hard because the deaths happened within a month of the third anniversary of the loss of my first set of twins due to miscarriage. Due to the grief I was dealing I ended up in crisis mode and landed in the hospital for psych reasons. Shortly after I got out of the hospital I found out that my therapist of eight years, Diana, was in the hospital with the dreaded diagnosis of cancer and won’t be coming back. Yes, that means I will be getting a new therapist and will talk about her at a later date.

Now on my triumphs of 2016, which I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for Diana’s help with my recovery. I finally got a job as Peer Specialist and a plus is that it being a fulltime position. If it weren’t for all the help Diana gave me I wouldn’t be working as a Peer much less working fulltime. As much as I struggled this year with grief, work fulltime as Peer is well worth it. I hope that with me continuing being employed as a Peer gives Diana some encouragement that she played a major role in my current position.

I know realistically, Diana is probably not reading this as she is dealing with a cancer diagnosis and getting treatment for it as well as raising a family, I want to thank her for everything she has done for me. Diana, if you are reading, Thank You from the bottom of my heart for helping me with my recovery. Just know a lot of people who are in my corner know how much you have helped me with my recovery and are keeping you in their thoughts and prayers. I hope someday you can be my therapist again.

There is roughly twenty-five minutes left of 2016. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. Have a good New Year and hope to see you in the New Year.

Crisis & Not Being Able To Say Goodbye

I don’t know where to begin. Lets begin with how difficult things have been lately. In October I lost three clients and a colleague. This put me in an unexpected whirlwind of a crisis. Dealing with four deaths so close to the third anniversary of the first miscarriage put me into a major crisis. A crisis that got me the “extra support” I had been advocating for since I got promoted to a Peer Specialist. The “extra support” came too late as was I was already quickly approaching hospitalization.

I met with my “extra support” and she made an already volatile situation worse. This person informed me that she “would not be able to use humor in sessions as it is unprofessional and wont abide by not using the two terms” that trigger me. Needless to say two days later I ended up in the hospital for fifteen days.  While in the hospital I found out that Diana, my therapist, wont be back till December due to medical issues. Okay, everyone deals with health issues. I was in the middle of a health issue at the moment myself. Granted it was a mental health crisis but I understood.

Dealing with a personal health crisis is not an easy thing to go through which is why when I was discharged from the hospital, I would be a chemo-buddy to friend of mine who was on an oncology unit. An oncology unit that my therapist was on. I being the person I am quickly walked past her room to see my friend. A friend who knew something that was up. I informed my friend that I would let her know more when I was able to get more information.

I was able to get some information the next day at the mental health agency, I see Diana at. They were “surprised” that I found out and “find it odd” that I had a friend on the same unit as my therapist. I found the statement “find it odd” a little odd because why would I spend my time and energy to figure out if my therapist was in the hospital especially since I was and am in a crisis dealing with my mental health and grief of a butt load of recent and past loss. Long story short I was given an appointment with Diana’s supervisor who informed me that Diana does have cancer and it is unlikely that she will be returning. To make matters worse, I have been put on the waiting list for another therapist. This makes no sense to me as they had given me a person to be of “extra support” in addition of Diana and now I have to wait till at least February to get a therapist. To make matters worse my extra support is going to be out till mid-January.

It really bothers me that I not only don’t get to say goodbye to Diana but I am not going to get any support till mid-January. Seriously, someone who recently got out of a psych ward is going to have little to no support. I feel like I am not being heard. What part of I am not doing well don’t people understand and to make matters worse my therapist of eight years is not around to help due to cancer. If Diana knew what was going on I am sure she would advocate for me or at least have a “goodbye” session like she promised. I know realistically I won’t have that “goodbye” session and I feel like my treatment team is just putting me on the shelf in hopes everything will resolve itself because “she is strong, has skills and resiliency” but that’s who they should be most concerned about. Those of us who “appear to be doing well” despite some major struggles at the moment.

The only reason why I am not going to do anything is because I am going back to work on Monday after being on FMLA for a month. Yes, I am going to only be working a limited schedule due to partial FMLA but at least its something to look forward to. Another reason why I am not going to do anything is because my clients don’t need to lose another staff member and if I leave my current employer I would like to give my clients some closure with at least being able to say goodbye. Something I won’t be able to do with Diana. As far as I know she is still alive but not coming back.

I should get going before the tears on my face short out my laptop. Have a good weekend everyone.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy May Day!!! It is officially the first day of May and that means it is mental heath awareness month. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that May is mental health awareness month. It saddens me that the media (as whole) does not make it a major deal like they (the media) do in October when it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Don’t get me wrong we need education on Breast Cancer as well as other cancers however mental health deserves just as much attention as other health issues, such as cancer.

People like myself fight the stigma of mental illness on the daily basis. Discrimination is a major issue for those of who struggle with a mental illness and it is also something our loved ones have to deal with as well. No one and I mean no one deserves to be discriminated against because of an illness they struggle with or loved one struggles with.

Here are some facts I got from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website:

Prevalence of Mental Illness

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.7 million, or 18.6%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—13.6 million, or 4.1%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder in a given year. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.4
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.5
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
  • Among the 20.7 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 40.7%—8.4 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.8

Social Stats

  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.9
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.10
  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.11
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.8
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.12
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.14

Consequences of Lack of Treatment

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.15
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.16
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.17 Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.18
  • Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.19
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–2421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.22
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.23
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.

I hope that I will be able to continue to educate people on mental illness for the rest of May and beyond. I hope to share more of my personal story to give hope to those who a struggling with mental illness and show them that recovery is possible. Recovery is not easy but it is possible.

I also hope to discuss current laws in regards to mental health and pending bills that are being discussed in the House as well as the senate. One of which is Murphy’s Bill. All of what I hope to discuss is dependent on how busy life gets. Life being busy is partly why I haven’t  been able to blog the last month and half. I love blogging and sharing my recovery with others as well as educating others. I hope to blog again at some point this weekend with more educational material if not more of my personal recovery story.

Have a good weekend! Please do not forget to educate people on mental illness and make people aware that May is mental health awareness month. Peace Out!!

I Would Have Laughed In Your Face & Told You………

It’s difficult to wrap my mind around that it is the First Day of December. That means that we only have one more month left of 2014. Where has the year gone?

I may not know where this year has gone but I do know how fast it has gone by. This year has taught me a great deal about myself and how much strength I actually have. It also has taught me how persistent I am and how much I really do know how to persevere. It has been an amazing year despite the deep sorrow I had at the beginning of the year that I am still dealing with. I am grateful for all the things I have endured this year, both the good, the bad and the ugly.

In fact the last two years (2013 and 2104), have been the best two years of my life thus far. If you would have told me back on December 1, 2012, what my life was going to be like the next two years, I would have honestly laughed in your face and told you that you belong in a state hospital. My life has had an amazing turn of events the last two years.

Lets start with last year, 2013. 2013 started like any other year, with me wondering what the year was going to bring. Little did I know what 2013 was going to bring. In April of 2013 I trusted my gut and started dating my boyfriend Jr. July was a pretty a pretty big month for me. July was the first time I had sexual intercourse willingly. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that someone in their mid-thirties having sex for the first time willingly however I was afraid of sex due to severe childhood trauma and never trusted anyone to have sex with till I met Jr. July was also the month I took the week long 40 hour peer specialist/counselor training so I could be able to take the exam and become certified. I also found out that July that I was pregnant with my first set of twins. Last but not least, July was the month my therapist, Diana, told me that I no longer meet the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). August was a month full different emotions. I was getting use the idea of being pregnant with twins while studying for the peer specialist/counseling exam at the end of August. August was also the month a dear childhood friend of mine died at the age of 31 from an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. That was difficult for me especially since I couldn’t get time off from my previous employer to attend her funeral. September brought good news despite grieving over the death of a friend. That good news was I passed my peer specialist/counseling exam. I passed it with a 92% and needed an 80% to pass. I was beyond thrilled that passed in the 90’s. November was an extremely sad time for both myself and Jr. I miscarried twins at 19 weeks. In fact I miscarried while my own therapist had only been on maternity leave for two weeks. Yes, I was seeing a temporary therapist at the time however its not the same as your own therapist.  Needless to say the rest of 2013 was spent in grief of not only my childhood friend but the twins I had lost. Despite the loss’s I had in 2013, it was still an amazing year. A year I never thought would happen. I never thought I would be far along in recovery to become certified as peer specialist/counselor much less have a loving boyfriend that I was (and still am) intimate with and madly in love with. 2013 was a year I could say was full of recovery.

As you can imagine 2014 started out with some difficulty. In fact I held a great deal of my pain in, till my therapist got back from maternity leave in February. Once, Diana got back from maternity leave it took me a few more months to allow myself to grieve over the loss of the twins. I finally broke down in April of 2014 and ended up cutting myself on two different occasions. I cut myself because the pain of miscarrying was just way too much for me. Both times I ended up in the E.R to get the cuts checked out as well as be evaluated for my mental illness. Thankfully, I was able to convince the social workers and doctors that I didn’t need hospitalization.  See, in the past I would have taken the opportunity to be hospitalized for mental health issues even though the reason why I cut was due to grief. To me that’s a major step in my recovery. Part of the reason why I fought so hard to stay out of the hospital was because I was waiting to hear back from two potential employers to get a job as a peer. I didn’t get either job I had an interview for in April however, May turned out to be pretty good.  I found out that I would be able to take the training in August to be a call taker at the Warm Line. June and July of this year I had two more interviews for a peer specialist/counseling job which again I didn’t get either job. August was bumpy. At the beginning of August I ended up in the E.R again due to cutting over the grief of miscarrying twins. Thankfully, I wasn’t hospitalized because if I was, I wouldn’t have been able to continue you with the Warm Line training much less become a call taker in September. August was also the month I had an interview for as well as found out that I got my current job. It was also the month I put in my two weeks notices at my previous employer. The ending of August and the beginning of September were quite difficult because I thought I was going to loose my father. I had to make the decision to put him on life support and a tracheotomy which saved his life. He is no longer on life support and he got his trachea out. September was when I ended my previous employment and started my current employment as a Consumer Aide at a local mental health agency. I also started being a call taker at the Warm Line. In fact at the end of September I found out I was not only pregnant again but pregnant with twins. October was a month of adjustment for me. I was getting adjusted to not only a new job and volunteer job but another pregnancy.  November 1st marked three years since I was last discharged from an inpatient psych ward. I never would have thought I would be out three years. I guess that means that as of today I have been out three years and one month. This is the longest I have been out of the hospital for psych reasons. Now you can see why the last two years have been amazing despite all its difficulties.

I honestly would have never thought I could fall in love with the most amazing man much less be able to trust him to have sex with him. I never thought possible that I would ever be a recovered Borderline cause I was so severely Borderline. I also never thought I would be out of a psych ward for more than three years. That is why I said that I would have laughed in your face and told you that you belong in the state hospital. Recovery is a choice. I chose to convince the social workers and doctors in the E.R to not admit to a psych ward. I chose to pick myself up and wipe myself off due to all the loss I have dealt with. For me, dealing with my problems head on including the symptoms of my mental illness is key to my recovery.

Well, I think this blog entry is long enough. I think you get the idea what I’m trying to convey; that recovery is well worth it despite bumps in the road. I love my life and everything that come with it and yes that even means the pain. I may not like dealing with pain but I rather be able to deal with it like a “normal” person than be stuck in and out of hospitals due to psych reasons.

I really need to get going now. I hope to blog again in the next day or two. Have a good night all. Peace out!!

Why I Dread October

I could have not have said it any better. I as a woman take breast cancer seriously however, I as a person who struggles with a mental illness takes mental illness and advocacy just as seriously if not more seriously.

Embracing life: 4/29/10

Disclaimer: This is not a bashing on those whom have experienced breast cancer or lost a loved one to breast cancer. My prayers and thoughts go out to those impacted. Breast cancer is real and touches a number of lives. However, if you will read this post, you will see it does not touch near as many lives as mental illness yet gets so much more attention.

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Well, it’s started…the onslaught of pink. Pink ribbon work gloves for men. A number of pink ribbon items for sale at my workplace. Pink ribbon items in EVERY mainline store you enter. Profile pictures gone pink left and right. Pink is on the football fields of all levels. The only way to NOT see pink ribbons all month (and all year) is to crawl under the blankets and never come out. All of this is done in the name of Breast Cancer Awareness…

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