Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If I Could Turn Back Time.” If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?

I personally think we all have moments where we could turn back time to do over or even re-experience something good or joyous in our life. Who wouldn’t want to do an embarrassing day they experienced in junior high / middle school? Who wouldn’t want to experience a time in their life where it was a joyous or wonderful? I know for me that there are plenty of embarrassing moments from junior high I would love to do over again. I also know I would love to re-experience all the wonderful experiences I have had.

But truthfully, I don’t know if there is a time I would want to turn back. I say this because if we go back and change things then it would change the course of our lives. Despite all the pain and suffering I have experienced in my life; it has made me the person I am today. Granted if I could turn back time; I wouldn’t want to struggle with a mental illness. Then again, my mental health diagnosis has helped shaped on who I am as a person. I’m not my mental illness but it has shaped me and for the better. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t wish a mental illness on anyone but its helped make me realize who I am as a person and what direction my life is going. It’s just like I wouldn’t wish anyone to get hurt like I did as a child (including those who abused me) nor would I want to re-experience being hurt again but its helped me be the person I am today. As much as I don’t like some of the aspects of what I experienced in my life I am grateful that it has made me who I am today. Yes, the positive experiences have made me who I am today as well and I still wouldn’t want to relive them for the same reason as the negative experiences. Turning back time would just make me a different person and that is why I wouldn’t want to do it at all. I’ve learned that as much as I want to turn back time at times that there is no going back. Enjoy what you have in the moment.

For me enjoying what I have in the moment is the best way to live my life and not turn back time. I hope everyone takes the time today to enjoy the moment that they are living in. Life is too short to not enjoy the current moment. Have a wonderful day 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!!

Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration; Day Nine: Reinvent The Letter Format

Todays writing assignment is to write a letter. We have several choices to choose from. I am going to write a letter to my brother’s dad. My brother’s dad is the one the severally abused me as a child. For my abusers “protection” I am going to call him “D.” I know he doesn’t deserve protection. I will be calling my brother Jay in this letter. In fact some people do call him Jay. I am writing this letter to ultimately help me in my healing process.

Dear D,                                                      Thursday, September 17, 2015

I am pretty sure you don’t remember me but I sure in the hell remember you. I remember how you forced me to “have sex” with you at the age of nine for the first time. I remember how you use to sell me to others so they can have “their fun” with me. I remember how you would spike my drinks with alcohol and sometimes drugs. I remember how you would give me home baked goodies with a variety of drugs in them. You did this so  I wouldn’t fight back or scream when you r*p*d me. You made sure my mom was passed out drunk and/or high when you brutally r*p*d me. I remember when Jay was born. You weren’t there because you were in jail. I remember when you got out, you gave mom a ton of drugs so she wouldn’t know what you were doing to me. You put me in a position at the age of 11 that nobody should be put in. You made me choose to either have Jay get abused and have me watch and then get r*p*d myself or have me take his abuse along with mine which made it a hundred times worse. Me being the only sister by 11 years, I am of course going to make sure Jay wouldn’t get abused. How dare you abuse anyone especially your on child. Most importantly how dare you put an 11 year old to make a decision like that. How could you abandon your own disabled son at the age of one? I am beyond angry with you. I wish I could type more but I need to end this letter for the sake of my own mental health. I just wish I didn’t have to re-experience all the shit you did to me 25 plus years later. I need to stop this letter. You are a fucken asshole.

Gertie

Thanks for reading my letter. This was a tough assignment for me to do. I have a lot more to say to D but for my own mental health I had to end it. Yes, I will be okay. Thankfully, I have Junior by my side to help me through. Have a good night and peace out all!!

Nightmares Suck

As I sit here typing this particular post, I am trying to get myself in a better space than I am at the moment. I woke up from a more horrifying nightmare than usual. It happened to be a screaming nightmare and the only reason I know this is because one of my neighbors called the police. I don’t do well with police for a multitude of reasons and some of it is trauma related. I respect police officers because they don’t have the easiest of jobs but I don’t trust them. Thankfully, the two police officers that showed up tonight are officers that I trust. I trust them because I have known them for awhile and they worked hard to earn my trust. Since it was a “slow night” according to them they were able spend some time with me talking. It was quite helpful to be able to talk about it.

After the two police officers left I turned on the radio to listen to music. I read a Wonder Woman comic book and then decided to blog. Listening to music is quite helpful. Music has been one useful skill for me to use especially when it comes to dealing with my PTSD symptoms.

Since I am getting into a better space, I am going to end this blog and read another Wonder Woman comic book. I love Wonder Woman comic books. I am hoping that the music and continued reading of Wonder Woman that I will be able to get back to sleep. Good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. 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!!

Emotionally Drained

I saw my therapist, Diana, today, after not seeing her for three weeks because she was on a well deserved vacation. Todays, session was particularly more difficult than usual. One reason being that my normally one hour session lasted two hours. Yes, two hours. The client who had the time right after me had cancelled and I had the rare option of having an extra long session.

An extra long session that was needed which leads to the other reason why it why it was more difficult than usual. Diana and I first talked about my sadness in regards to the miscarriages I had. We discussed how grief works and how at times its demanding my attention and other times, “its not quite front and center but certainly there, a layer down or two.”  We also discussed how processing my emotions in doses that I am able to manage is one of the best I can do so I am better able to come to terms about the miscarriages. While discussing the miscarriages, I cried and as I cried, I noticed that Diana had tears in her eyes. I am grateful that I have a caring and empathetic therapist that isn’t afraid to show her emotions on occasion. It makes me realize that she is human and that it is okay to cry.

Crying is difficult for me because as a child I was “discouraged” from crying. In fact if I cried, I would get severely abused by my brothers father. In fact, Diana and I also discussed the trauma I suffered as a child. Not only did I cry as we discussed some of the abuse I suffered, I allowed  myself to be angry. Being angry was something else I was not allowed to do as a child. In fact the abuse was worse when I showed any type of anger.  Diana reassured me that it was not only okay to cry but more than okay to be angry.

Of course before Diana and I ended our session we did some breathing techniques. Diana is making sure that I am in a “good space” when we end our sessions. That is one of the many reasons why she is a good therapist. I am beyond grateful that I have her as a therapist and that I have had her for over six and a half years. Having a good therapist like Diana in my corner has helped a great deal in my recovery.

I need to get going. I am doing an evening shift at the young adult shelter I volunteer at. I know when I go volunteer there I have to make sure I am in a good space which I am. I am aware that when I get home from volunteering, I will be more emotionally drained but at least I have the skills to keep myself healthy. Have a wonderful evening everyone and peace out all.

Common Sense Training

If you regularly read my blog you know I am Consumer Advocate at a local mental health agency. What you may not be aware of is that the agency I work for requires all full time direct service staff go to monthly trainings. Me being part-time I technically don’t have to go however my new supervisor wants be to attend especially if it is a day I normally work. In all honesty, I am quite happy to attend the trainings even if it is a normal day off for me.

The problem I have is that the trainings that I have attended is that most of the trainings are common sense trainings, especially if you have a degree of some sort in the mental health field and/or have worked in the field for a while. For instance, todays training was on Trauma Informed Care. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased I went to the training, its that I don’t understand why my employer puts on a training that seems like common sense and I don’t even have a college education. Yes, I have been through trauma and have been a client or consumer of the mental health system for most of my life and maybe its because of my experience that it seems like common sense. My co-workers who I directly work with even thinks its a common sense thing if you have the education and/or working in the field for a while. Maybe, I am just being too hard on my employer.

I am grateful for my job and the trainings I am able to attend through my employer as well as trainings I am able to attend through my volunteer jobs. Any training I am able to attend despite on common sense it may be, I am beyond thrilled to attend because it broadens my “education” and am able to stick it on my résumé.

Now that I have bored you with my complaining about the training I attended, I am going to end this particular for now. Have a good evening all. Peace Out!!!

Awe-Inspiring Growth Spurts In Recovery

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog. Unfortunately, not only have I been busy with life, I have had writers block. With much discussion with both supportive and inspiring people in my life, it finally occurred to me on what to write about. The topic I desire to convey to you is growth spurts in respects with continued recovery with mental illness.

Despite some difficulties over the last few months I’ve come to the conclusion that my recovery is constantly changing and evolving. Evolving into who knows what, but whatever it is I know it has to be valuable and beyond what words can describe. It has been my experience that whenever I experience some challenges or difficulties along the way in regards to my recovery, it usually means that I am about to have a growth spurt.

As many of us know from childhood, growth spurts can be quite painful. Growth spurts are usually an awe-inspiring moment once the growth spurt is complete or nearly complete. As my current growth spurt comes to an end (or at least I think it is), I can’t help but think how it has reshaped who I am and what I am to accomplish before the next growth spurt.

Before, I continue let me explain what I consider a growth spurt in regards to recovery or at least to my recovery. A growth spurt to me in my recovery is when I learn something. Something that needs to be learned and sometimes that learning something involves being in a crisis.

Unforantenly, for me the current growth spurt that is finally coming to an end, involved me being in crisis. An intensely painful crisis at that. A crisis that made me acutely aware of who I am and how far I have come in my recovery as well as knowing who is truly in my corner and who I am able to count on.

Knowing who is in my corner and who I am able to count on has helped me a great deal. If it wasn’t for those in my corner, I would have not learned as much as I have during this current growth spurt because they were there for me when I needed them the most (and they still are) when I was (and still am)  grieving  over the loss of miscarry twins. Nothing hurts more than loosing a child or in my case a set of twins.

Acutely aware, that loosing the pregnancy is what put me into a mental health crisis makes it that much more difficult recover from for me. I am also aware that I have I have the skills, the people in my life to help me when necessary and most importantly hope that I did not have in the height of my struggles with the mental illness’s I suffer with.

Over the years, I have come to recognize that regardless of what the cause of a crisis, I can make certain that its a growth spurt that has a positive learning experience attached to it. I have learned a considerably good amount of how others deal (or don’t deal) when someone has a crisis when it involves the loss of a child. Unfortunately, discussing a miscarriage (and still born babies) is quite taboo which makes the grieving process that much more difficult. The one thing that I have learned and still am learning that its not only okay to talk about the miscarriage but to cry over the loss of my children. Yes, I still struggle a great deal with not only the miscarriage I had in January of this year (2015) but the miscarriage I had in November of 2103 however that doesn’t mean I stop living my life.

The living life as I slowly recover from my crisis due to a devastating life event is what is awe-inspiring to me. The reason being is because the farther apart my crisis’s are, the more I realize that I want to be involved with life despite the pain and/or chaos the crisis brings. Having this awe-inspiring moment in my recovery has been a work in process. In fact it’s been years in the making with mounds of difficult yet challenging work and effort on my part (as well as many clinicians doing their part).

If I had not put in so much effort into my recovery with the help of other, I wouldn’t be working at all especially at job I absolutely love. Being a peer support specialist is all about being living proof that recovery is possible. Another way, I am able to show that recovery is possible is volunteering on the Warm Line. My clients at work as well the callers on the Warm Line inspire me a great deal. They inspire me to keep going  and continue with my recovery even though they are unaware of it.

I am beyond grateful for having this awe-inspiring growth spurt in my recovery and being able to share it with you fine folks out there in this wonderful world of ours. Thank you so much for allowing be share my recovery with you. I’m going to call it a night a spend some time with my wonderful partner, Junior. Good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!!

What Can I Say, It’s Mothers Day

As many of you know it’s Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a source of pain for many us out there in this world of ours. The cause of the pain of Mother’s Day is as different and unique as each of us are as human beings.

For me Mother’s Day has been a source of pain since childhood. A source of pain I wish I could forget or at least no longer be as painful as it has been and currently is. I guess now is as good of time as any to bring up the source of many years of pain, my own mother.

The first memory I have of my childhood was not exactly the happiest and you guessed it, it involves my mother. I was the tender age of three when my mom did what many mothers would not even give a thought; she abandoned me. She didn’t just abandon me, she abandoned my dad. A dad that wasn’t exactly the worlds most perfect dad but a dad that loved me and tried the best of his ability to raise me. With my dad being a single father, that made realize how truly special my own grandmother was in my life.

If it wasn’t for my grandparents helping my dad, my dad wouldn’t have gotten custody of me when my mom decided to reappear into our lives two years late when I was five. At this point in time my dad had already gotten divorced my mom and got custody of me due to the fact that my mom abandoned me. In fact the lawyer that my wonderful grandparents got for my dad to make sure he remained the primary caregiver pointed out to the judge that if mother could leave her sick three year old alone at night as her husband was working didn’t deserve to have custody. Unforantenly, the judge to granted my mother visitation. The visitation was a complicated thing due to the fact that my dad and myself lived in Southern California and my mother lived in Western Washington.

Due to the visitation I spent my summers and Christmas’s in Washington State and the rest of the year in California. That meant as Mother’s Day rolled around, I was going to mother/daughter tea’s with my  grandmother. As I got older it got that much more difficult.

It got more difficult because mother started dating a guy who wasn’t exactly prince charming. He not only beat my mom but decided to take out his anger on me as well. He not only took out his anger me but also desired me in a way grown adults shouldn’t desire children of any age. Yes, that means I was sexually abused. Actually, I was raped by this man. I was put through years of it before he just upped and left my mom and brother.

In fact if it wasn’t for my brother, I would have asked to go to court to ask the judge to take away my mother’s visitation rights away from her. In fact I would have asked the judge to take away her parental rights away. If I would have that means my brother would have ended up in foster care  again and me no longer being able to see him. In fact my brother and I are close and we both call our mother, our egg donor because that is what she ultimately is to the both of us.

Despite all the pain my mother caused me throughout my life, there is a different pain I struggle with. That is the pain of loosing a child. In fact in my case, it’s children. I miscarried two sets of twins within 14 months of each other. This year Mother’s Day is more difficult for me than last year because we (myself, my fiancé, doula, and doctor) were more hopeful and encouraged about how my last pregnancy was progressing verses how my first pregnancy had progressed. I cant help but think how big my first set of twins would be if I didn’t miscarry them. I also cant help but think about my last pregnancy, if I didn’t miscarry back in January (of this year). I wonder if I would still be pregnant or if I would have delivered the twins because this set of twins were due on May 29th (of this year). As any parent knows, there is no greater pain a person can endure than loosing a child. I unfortunately, lost two sets of twins. As much pain I endured as child, the pain of miscarrying two pregnancies is a much great pain to me. The children I miscarried will always be a part of me.

As you can tell by this lengthy blog, Mother’s Day is quite painful for me for many different reasons. As you celebrate your mother’s or are being celebrated as a mother please take a moment of gratitude for the mother you have and/or the child(ren) you have. Not everyone has the blessing of having mother who cares or (a) child(ren) to take care of and love.

Before I end this blog, I would like to take the time out and wish all the Mother’s out there a Happy Mother’s Day. I would especially like to thank my grandma as well as others in my life to stepping into the mother role when I needed it the most. Happy Mother’s Day.

100th Blog

Writing this particular blog is a major milestone; a milestone in the fact that it is my 100th blog. Blogging on the subject of Mental Illness hasn’t been an easy feat. It hasn’t been easy for me to write on the topic of mental illness due to my own struggles with it and the lack of education. I have the lack of education to convey what I desire to tell you in regards to mental illness. Due to my struggles with mental illness I was unable to go to college and now it’s the lack of funds that I am unable to attend college. On the flip side, I am able to convey how one feels as well as how one deals when one struggles with a mental illness. I am however able to convey something on mental illness that and “educated” person cannot because I live with one. Who better to educate others on mental illness than those who struggle with one? Well, maybe those who not only struggle with a mental illness but have an education in field that deals with mental illness.

Dealing with a mental illness is not an easy thing to deal with because of the struggles one must have to endure when it comes to symptoms.  Learning to deal with the symptoms of a mental health diagnosis in a positive way is a start in  the recovery process. Recovery is not only a difficult journey as well as process but a difficult choice. Yes, recovery is a choice, a choice which one must be a willing participant. Of course being in recovery is an effort that others must be included in because going the journey alone just makes the journey not worth the effort to do. Once a person chooses the road to recovery that person will need all the support they can receive.

The support that one receives looks different to everyone’s own recovery. For me and my own recovery my support system is continuing to grow and be more supportive. My support system includes professionals (such as my therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, primary care physician, etc.) as well as natural supports (such as my boyfriend, friends, current and past co-workers, selected family members, etc.). If it wasn’t for the continued support of the people I consider my support system, I would not be able to enjoy my life or even be in recovery. Yes, it is choice that I must make and choose to make however without the support I would not be able to continue on the road of recovery.

The point I am trying to make is that one who struggles with a mental illness needs all the positive support they can get especially when they choose to walk in recovery. Choosing recovery is a personal decision not a forced decision. Being forced into recovery (and in most cases treatment) does more harm than good. The last thing we who struggle with mental illness is to be forced to go into treatment. Yes, in some cases it is a good idea to be put into involuntary treatment but in most cases it is NOT a good idea.

My recovery means the world to me. Yes, there might be relapses and bumps in the road but I will have the support of my support network as well as all the skills I have learned throughout the years. If it wasn’t for my recovery I would not have been able to be employed at my previous employer much less get my current job as a consumer aide at a mental health agency. I have worked endlessly to get where I am at and I owe it all to those who have helped me through out the years. It is to those who have helped me through out the years that this blog is dedicated to. If it wasn’t for the help of many people I would have not been able to be posting my 100th blog much less been able to start this blog to share my recovery as well as to educate those who do not have a mental illness. It is my hope that this blog continues to educate people as well as give hope to those who are struggling and that recovery is possible.

I want to thank you for reading and/or following my blog. It means a great deal to me. I hope that with the next hundred blogs that I will able to continue to convey hope and recovery as well as educate on mental illness. Yes, I know I am not a teacher however some of the best educators in my life  were NOT teachers.

I hope to blog again in the next day or so. I am thrilled that I am able to share my life with you as well as be able show people that there is hope and recovery is possible and that people with mental illness are fully capable human beings. Have a good rest of your weekend all. Peace Out and have fun!!!