Everyday Inspiration; Day 4: A Story In A Single Image

The above image invokes some very pleasant childhood memories. A good portion of my childhood was spent playing in and around water. In fact, I was either at the beach surfing or in the woods camping near a lake a good portion of summer vacations as a child.

Not only does the above image invoke pleasant childhood memories it invokes positive memories for me as an adult as well. I’ve spent my entire life near water. I have trouble comprehending not living near water due to the fact I’ve lived no more than thirty minutes away from it via public transportation.

In fact water is the one thing that gives me a sense of peace. A sense of peace that I rarely have. Peace that I usually only get when I am near water. Even in the midst of the most severe symptoms of my mental health diagnosis acting up, water can calm those symptoms.

I realize that what a wrote about the above image isn’t exactly a “story” but I just wanted to share with you the power water has on me. The power of giving me peace. Water is my happy place.

Now that I’ve share with you that my happy place is water and the pleasant childhood memories that water brings up, I’m going wish you a good Sunday. I hope that everyone has a good day. Peace Out!!!

Ted, Through Thick & Thin

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Good Morning, World!!! I think it’s time that I introduce the world to my best friend; Ted. Ted is pictured above and YES, he is stuffed Teddy Bear. Ted is a 38 year old stuffed animal that I’ve had since the day I was born.

This means he has been with me in both the good and the bad times. He has seen me through the trauma’s I’ve experienced as well as witnessed the triumphs in my life. For me Ted has been there when no human has. So, I guess you can say Ted has been with me through thick and thin.

I bring up Ted because he is the one thing I do to self soothe. As I mentioned in a previous post (https://gertiesjourney.com/2017/09/05/poor-air-quality-therapy-challenging-day/) my therapist and I talked about self soothing and how I feel like I don’t deserve to self soothe. During the discussion about self soothing, I brought up Ted and how he is the one thing I self soothe with. According to my therapist, as I talked about Ted, my body language changed to “being relaxed and comfortable.” She also brought up the fact that it was the first time she had seen me smile when discussing a part of my childhood. I can’t deny the fact that when discussing Ted, I’m relaxed as well it is most likely the first time she had seen me smile while talking about my childhood since she has been my therapist for only five months.

I, of course avoid talking about me like the plague. In fact, I rather have the plague than discuss my childhood. My therapist picked up on this quite quickly am grateful for it. She just like Diana, doesn’t push to talk about things I’m not ready to discuss. She might ask me questions but she respects how much or how little I tell her, just like Diana did.

I miss Diana and hope that she is getting better however I am happy with my new therapist. In fact I think my new therapist is realizing how beneficial stuffed animals are for me regarding therapy just like did. The reason I think this is because she saw how “relaxed and comfortable” I was when I talked about Ted. I’m hoping that when I have my next session with my therapist that she will be okay with me bringing a stuffed animal to therapy as it helps me discuss painful memories of my childhood.

As, I finish up this blog post, I realize that I’m holding Ted as write. If I think back to the start of my blog, I’ve held Ted during most of my blog post. So, yes, Ted has been a part of most aspects of my life including blogging. I hope that everyone has a great day and Peace Out all.

The Simple Things In Life

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come to realize that I am needing to focus on the simple things in life. Simple things that many people tend to forget due to their busy lives or just stopped doing because they “grew out” of them.  Things I think as adults we need to learn from children and that’s to enjoy the little and simple things in life.

I may not have had the easiest of childhoods but I do remember some of the simple things I enjoyed as a kid. One, such thing I never stopped doing and seems to be “all the craze” now for adults is coloring.  Coloring is one of those activities that is a makes you think brainless activity. What I mean is that you have to think about what color you are going to use but not really have to do any other brain activity while coloring. Another such simple thing I enjoy is Play-Doh.

Yes, I did say Play-Doh.  Play-Doh helps a great deal with my anxiety. I rediscovered Play-Doh a few years ago when I was at a continuing education class for Peer Counselors. The trainer put out Play-Doh so the attendees could play with it. Needless to say, I had some fun at that training and quickly realized that I learned a great deal from that training, partly due to the Play-Doh. I tend to focus better and learn more when my hands are busy.  I always carry a little thing of Play-Doh with me.

A simple thing I wish I could carry with me everywhere is something I can not carry with me for various reasons. That simple thing is my morning tea with honey and milk in it while reading the news paper in quiet. Yes, I can do this anytime of the day or night but there is something peaceful about drinking tea and reading the paper in the morning.

Mornings as well as evenings are also perfect times to do something else simple. That is taking walks. I attempt to go for a walk both in the morning and the evening as it helps a great deal with both depression and anxiety.

Music is another simple thing that people tend to forget about. A simple thing that has helped me through some extremely difficult times in my life. Music is the one simple thing that I can rely on no matter what is going on and whether or not I am doing well in regards to my mental health conditions.

If it weren’t for the difficulties I have had the last seven or so months as things slowly start to improve, I wouldn’t have been focusing on getting to the point where I am at right now which focusing on the simple things in life. Yes, some of the simple thing in life I enjoy maybe considered “childish” or “just joining the craze” but if it weren’t for those simple things I don’t think things would be improving as they are now. Granted I’m improving as fast as I would like but I am improving.

As things slowly start to improve for me, focusing on the simple things will help out a great deal. As I end this post please take time out and focus on the simple things in your life and how it could help you out. Thank you for reading. Peace out!!!

6 Years Of Progress Which Equals Success

Today, marks six years since my therapist Diana and I had our first session. Working with Diana the last six years have been tough because we worked on some tough shit. Shit that has needed to be dealt with and that continues to be dealt with. Its been a long difficult process for both myself and Diana.

When Diana started working at the community mental health agency I receive my services at she was freshly out grad and I wasn’t the easiest client to deal with. Despite Diana already being familiar with me due to her being an intern at the agency before getting hired on after graduating from grad school and me graduating from an intensive two year outpatient DBT program at different mental health agency, I still pushed the boundaries of our clinical relationship. Diana held her ground no matter how much I tried to push.

No matter how hard I pushed, Diana vowed to never give up on me. When I realized that Diana wasn’t going to give up on me, that’s when I realized I could open up to her with my deepest darkest secrets. Those deep dark secrets were due to some pretty traumatic events that I suffered as a child. Those secrets were and still full of pain. Pain that I have trusted Diana to see as well as to help me through. Allowing Diana to help me through the pain has allowed me to start to trust others in my life.

Being able to not only trust Diana but other people in my life has helped a great deal in my life. It has helped not only to not walk of the job at my previous employer but helped me realize what I wanted to do career wise. In fact I got motivated to get my peer certification and my current employment at mental health agency as consumer aide.  See, being able to trust people in my life I would have not been able to do the above mention with the career stuff. Most importantly, me being able to trust other people has help me be able to depend more on them (my natural support system) than my therapist, Diana and other professionals. If it weren’t for me trusting my natural support system, I would not have started dating Jr. In fact I would still just be friend with Jr. due to trust issue. Trusting Jr. enough to date him is amazing.

Amazing because, I was and am able to be intimate with him. For someone who has endured such a horrific childhood being intimate is difficult. Difficult for not only me but for Jr. as well. Its difficult for Jr. because he feels like it is his fault for the PTSD when my symptoms act up in the middle of intimate moments. If it wasn’t for those intimate moments with Jr. I would not be in the “delicate condition” I am in. If you have been reading my blog on the regular basis you know that I am pregnant with twins. It is an amazing feeling knowing that you are going to be a parent with person you love with all your heart. Even more amazing is being able to trust that person, knowing that he won’t harm you or your children. I know Jr. will be an awesome papa to his son and daughter. Yes, that means I am having one of each. Jr. is gloating over being a papa as well as gloating over me and how I am the mama of his children.

If it wasn’t for Diana, I wouldn’t be able to gloat over being a mama to be because I would have been able to trust Jr. enough to even date him much less be intimate with him. Diana has helped me great deal in many ways. No, Diana is NOT a sex therapist however if it wasn’t for her determination for NOT giving up on me I would have not been able to trust someone to be intimate with. Diana has help me gain self confidence as well helped me find what a life worth living means to me. Most importantly, Diana is the one who helped me to no longer meet the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and become what I like to say a Recovered Borderline. So, what I am saying is Thank You to Diana, my therapist for helping me. If it wasn’t for all the progress the last six years that you helped me with, I would not be a success. I know Diana may not read my blog because she is a busy lady however I still wanted to thank her.

Well, I am done with this blog for now. I just wanted to let you know how much progress I have had because of Diana. Have a great evening. Enjoy the rest of you week. Peace out!!

(SIDE NOTE: Diana is a pseudonym for my therapist protection as well the protection for her past, current and future clients.)

A Child’s Christmas Wish; William’s Mail

As, a mama to be I know a mother’s love for her child (or children in my case since I am having twins) starts the moment when one finds out they are pregnant. Another thing I have come to realize is that I will do just about anything to make my children’s lives as happy and enjoyable as possible and protect them to the best of my ability. So, when I saw a news story on a local news station about a mom wanting to fulfill her 12 year old Autistic son, Williams Christmas wish I knew I had to help spread the word. All, William wants for Christmas is mail. I meant to blog about this earlier but life got busy. (Side Note: Links to the Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as the address is at the end of the this particular post.) The following is a letter that William’s mother wrote on a Facebook account she set up to make her sons Christmas wish come true:

Williams Mail

I have never done, or asked anything like this before, but I felt the need to. That need that comes from being a mom and wanting to do everything in your power to make your child happy. It seems like such a small thing but it is the few things that drive a mothers soul. The need to protect and the need to bring joy to your kids faces.

My son, William is 12 years old. He is an amazing kid. He rarely asks for much. He is full of love, joy and happiness. William is smart, funny and awesome. William also has Autism (severe) and is also non verbal. (he can not talk). During Christmas time (his absolute favorite time of the year) he always asks me for the things he wants, and they are always the same. He wants Mr.Sketch Markers, Copy Paper, Lays Regular Chips, and whatever Blu Ray is on his mind for his collection. (His “thing” is movies). He is the easiest and hardest to shop for. I am always looking for new things to add to the list but he usually is not interested and just wants what he wants

This is where my request comes in. This year he asked for something new! I almost fell over when he added it to the box (his Christmas wish list box) and the new item is……….. MAIL! Mail. Mail. He LOVES getting mail. Half of our family lives in Northern Canada and the other half lives in Southern USA so he gets mail from family a couple times a year. I always knew he loved getting his mail but when he asked for it, I cried. I actually sat here and cried. Both happy and sad tears. Happy because he was expressing his wants and sad because of how I was going to figure out how to get him what he wants. He is such an amazing kid and he rarely wants for anything, I really want to make something special for him.

Let me tell you why I was sad. William has never had people come to his birthdays or has he been invited to any. No one asks William to come over for playdates or sleep overs. There are a small handful of kids in his class with needs of their own so I understand why. It is not anyone’s fault, it just is what it is. My family lives 1000 miles in one direction and my kids other family (fathers side) lives 1000 miles in the other so there is no family here for us. My teenage daughter is always out, socializing, hanging with friends and sometimes it just breaks my heart. I wish William had that too, but life has other plans for this amazing kid.

Many people assume since he can not talk that he does not understand. Well, let me tell you, this kid understands. He understands a lot. He understands too much. He just can not communicate the way we do, but he is sharp as a tack. He feels love and affection and I think he finds mail from others as affection. He carries around the last box that was sent to him. He covets the post cards. He wants me to read mail to him (even though he is an excellent reader) he wants to send mail. He LOVES mail and asks me for it now (the past couple weeks) multiple times a day. He writes MAIL on his drawings, he brings me the key to check the mail. I think he truly appreciate mail.

Now to my request. I have been racking my brains for a couple weeks. I want to make this year special for this most special boy. He has nothing but love in him and I want him to feel the love from others. If you want to help a kind soul this year, I am asking for strangers to send him mail. I want him to know the world loves and values him in a way that he understands and feels. I have been buying stamps and have been “creating” mail for Christmas. I have enlisted my small family (there is only a handful) to send mail to him for Christmas. I was hoping someone out there would want to sit down and send mail to William. He deserves to feel the love from the world like the rest of us do because he makes this world a better place. He deserves all the mail in the world according to me , but I am his mommy so I am bias.

I know, it may seem strange to ask strangers for mail but this is the only way I can think of to fulfill my sons Christmas wish. I am starting a page, and if people write letters to him on it, I will print the letters off and turn them into mail. If you feel inclined to send this amazing kid a piece of mail, I will save it until Christmas morning and when he wakes up, he will wake up to his beloved mail.

He loves his mail so much that his weekly treat is to visit the Post Office so he can get a Mail Box (a priority mail box) and when we get home he wants me to put Mail in it (usually just one of his BluRays) and he gets so happy to open it. He also carries around this Christmas USPS flier thingy they sent out a while ago with their Christmas stamps.

Please take the time to consider my request. It would mean the world to a very special young boy whose only real wish this year is to open MAIL It would mean the world to this Momma , William and his big sister Victoria too, we just want to make it a very special Christmas for a very special boy

https://www.facebook.com/pag…/Williams-Mail/1575623412666921

If you would like to learn more about what to write or what William likes to talk about please read this link. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1576474325915163&id=1575623412666921

Twitter @mail4william
‪#‎mail4william‬

Williams Mail
PMB# 175
816 Peace Portal Dr.
Blaine, Washington
98230
USA

Is Thanksgiving Over With Yet?

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Yes, it’s still Thanksgiving. I am absolutely beat tired. I have pretty much have been on the go with Thanksgiving Day stuff since yesterday morning.

My boyfriend and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner and it turned out fairly well. Yes, there was a little family from my side however it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately, it isn’t a true holiday gathering without a little drama when it comes to my family. All I can say is that my boyfriends family is pretty much a drama free family which I am so thankful for. The family drama started when Jr.(my boyfriend) and I made an extremely special announcement.

The special announcement is that I am expecting twins. Yes, you read right twins. For the most part everyone was happy for Jr. and I. Well, that is everyone but my mother who started drama and well she was eventually asked to leave due to the stress she was causing me. I don’t need the added stress due to being a high risk pregnant woman. I am high risk for several reasons which I will discuss in another blog entry. Jr. and myself are thrilled we are going to be parents. I have always wanted to be a mama and I am looking forward to being one. I just wish my own mama was thrilled with me becoming one. Thankfully, I have another person I consider a mom whom I call Mama Bear as well as Jr.’s mom. (Side Note: Today marks me being 14 weeks pregnant.)

Now lets get on to other events of today. People started arriving around 11am (pacific time) because of The Turkey Bowl. The Turkey Bowl is a football game where people play football with an uncooked turkey. The game starts with a turkey and at some point in the game an actual football is replaced with the turkey. No, the turkey is not cooked after it is done being played with. Yes, the turkey get thrown out in the garbage at some point during the game. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t play this year. I obviously couldn’t play today due to being 14 weeks pregnant. I am proud to say that the women slaughtered then men in the annual Turkey Bowl. The final score 24 -3. No the men did NOT let the women win.

The best part of the day for me was the food. Oh how I love being pregnant during the holidays. I’m sure the babies are enjoying it as well. I love to eat even when I am not pregnant. Dinner turned out pretty good considering all the preparing of food and cooking I had to do. Thankfully, I had a lot of help and others brought side dished and baked good that is traditional for them to eat on Thanksgiving.

After dinner we played some board games as well as some card games. We all had a blast playing the games. No not everyone stayed for the games but that was okay with me. Everyone seemed to really enjoy playing the game Apple to Apples. That is an extremely fun and entertaining game.

About two hours after everyone started playing various types for board and card games we turned on the television to watch the Seahawk vs. 49er game. Yes, some people continued to play games but most of us watched the football game. The Seahawks beat the 49ers 19-3. I was kind of hoping for a closer and more competitive game but it didn’t happen. The Seahawks played a great game and the 49ers not so much. I am both a 49er fan and a Seahawk fan. Yes, I know they have intense rivalry and that it is an oxymoron to be a fan of both teams but I don’t give a flying rats ass.

Now that the game is over with and everyone is gone, my boyfriend Jr. and I had some private intimate moments. After the intimate moments, Jr. and myself watched M*A*S*H to help the both of relax after an overwhelming day. In fact Jr. is now in bed because he has to work his regular work shift tomorrow. In fact his shifts are 24 hours which sucks but I am proud to be his girlfriend and the mama of his children. He loves his career and I am grateful that he does what he does. Since he is in bed I continued watching M*A*S*H. I am actually going to end this particular blog entry for now because I want to watch the 11 o’clock news.

Have a continued Happy Thanksgiving or at least the hour that is left of Thanksgiving. Have a good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!!

1,000 Days

     Happy Monday, Everyone!!! Today, marks 1,000 days since I was last discharged from a inpatient psych unit. Hence, the reason why I titled this blog entry 1,000 Days. For me 1,000 days is a major accomplishment. This is the longest that I have been out of the hospital for psych reasons since I was a teenager. Being out of the hospital for 1,000 days just shows on how much I have accomplished in my recovery and of course I had many people who have helped with this process.

     I guess if I really look back my recovery process started back in 1999. Yes, my recovery process started 15 years ago. I may have not been in recovery with my mental health for 15 years but I have been in recovery from the eating disorders for that long. In my late teens and early twenties I considered myself a Christian. In fact I was highly involved in the Christian community. I share this with you because its part of my story of how I am in recovery with both Anorexia and Bulimia. Being active in the church I was attending and being a huge “Christian” music fan at the time, I had heard of this place called Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries is a place for “troubled young women” with all sorts of issues including eating disorders. The thing that drew me to Mercy Ministries at the time was that it is Christian and free. At the time it was the best choice I made. In fact to this day I don’t regret making the decision to go all the way to Nashville from the West Coast of the United States. I did graduate from Mercy Ministries and it is one of the greatest accomplishments in my life. I as a thirty-something may not consider myself as Christian anymore and am happy that as a twenty-something Christian, I made one of the best decisions in my life. I may not agree that I was healed from Anorexia and Bulimia but I do believe that because of Mercy Ministries I am in recovery from both eating disorders. I haven’t had any relapses with either eating disorder but I do struggle on occasion with the urges of the eating disorders. I believe that both eating disorders are a life long struggle and it is a choice I make to give in to those urges or not. I choose to not give in to those urges.

     Now that you know where I my recovery started or at least with the eating disorders, now let me tell you about my mental health recovery. My mental health recovery is much more of a rollercoaster ride than my eating disorder recovery. My mental health recovery started October 2003 when I entered an intensive two year out patient Dialectical Behavior (DBT) program. At the time I entered the  DBT program I had been in and out of inpatient psych wards and hospitals more than 40 times. That’s more times than my current age. While being in the DBT program I was required to get a job which I am beyond grateful that I was required to do. In fact the job was a requirement for the second year of the DBT program I was in. If it wasn’t a requirement for me to get job I wouldn’t haven’t gotten a job and I am forever grateful that it was a requirement because I have been employed with same employer now for 9 years. The two years I was the program I only ended up in an inpatient unit once. I graduated from both years of the DBT program (first and second years).

      After I graduated from the DBT program in November 2005 I decided to go back to the current mental health agency I seek services at. Since going back to the current mental health agency in February of 2006, I have had a high turn over of clinicians and many more hospitalizations. In fact if it wasn’t for my last clinician switching to a different team in the agency, I wouldn’t have gotten my current therapist. I have had my current therapist since December of 2008. In fact Diana is the therapist I have had the longest in all the years I have been in therapy. Diana has helped me a great deal in the last 5 1/2 years. In fact if it wasn’t for  Diana helping me through the pain I have struggled with and still struggle with I wouldn’t have been able to stay out of the hospital for 1,000 days. Diana is one of many people who have helped me in the last 11 years. 

     Over last the last 11  or so years of mental health recovery I have found out a lot about myself. For instance when I was in DBT I realized that I am passionate about politics and got involved with it. I stopped for a long while when I started working and now I am wanting to get back into it. I also realized with one clinician I had that I am bi-sexual. I thank the universe that I figured out I was bi. Yes, my boyfriend know I am bi. I have also realized how much I love music and collecting comic books. I love Wonder Woman comic books. I got into collecting comic books. I am not only collecting Wonder Woman but Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and X Men. When I was in the height of my mental illness I stopped playing the flute and decided about 2 years ago to pick it back up and to start teaching myself to play the harmonica again. I also realized that I not only love rap and alternative music but country music as well. I also enjoy jazz. I also realized that I really enjoy reading and that I love reading Classic Literature. I tend to read memoirs and autobiographies of those who struggle or have struggled with mental  illness. I also enjoy reading mysteries, horror, sci fi and fantasy. I am telling you all this because when you are struggling with a mental illness you don’t realize what you like or enjoy and if you do know what you like or enjoy you forget about it because mental illness sucks the life out of you. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to educate myself about my particular diagnosis as well as the latest research regarding mental illness, therapies and meds. Another major thing I have learned or come to realize is to depend on my natural support system.

     Speaking of my natural support system they are throwing me a barbeque because of being out of the hospital for 1,000 days. They know its a big deal for me. I just wish they weren’t making it out to be a bigger deal than it really is. This small barbeque is turning out to be a party. I just wanted it to be about 12 or so people. Apparently there are more than twenty people coming because they want to celebrate my success of 1,000 days. I know its a big deal but I wish they weren’t making it out to be a big deal.

     I better get going. I need to get ready for the barbeque. I am suppose to be there at 5:30(pacific time) and its now 4:22pm. I should get going and allow my support system to celebrate this day with me. Peace Out Everyone!!