No Nap For Me

Good Evening, World!!! I couldn’t sleep. I was unable to take a nap and it sucks shit that I was unable to do so. Not sleeping or in this case napping is not fun. I just want to be able to get some sleep.

Not sure why I am unable to sleep but I am having some anxiety over my job interview on Wednesday. I am excited about it but I experiencing anxiety and know that it is completely normal.

I am also having anxiety over seeing my new clinician even though I have a good feeling about him with my limited interactions with him thus far. Maybe it is because I don’t do well with change especially within my mental health treatment.

I think I am going to do some art to help with the anxiety. It helped earlier today in art group. I think the type of art I’ll do is coloring as it is helpful and calming for me.

Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World!!!

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Time For A Nap

Good Afternoon, World!!! I am home from my mental health agency. I went to day treatment as well as art group. I of course am happy that I chose to go today.

As I mentioned earlier I briefly checked in with my clinician. I have a good feeling about him after my brief interaction with him today. I see him tomorrow one on one for our first “real” session with him.

It is beautiful day in Seattle today. I have been on a few walks to enjoy the weather.

After the enjoying the walks and getting no sleep last night, I am going to now take a nap. Having insomnia sucks shit.

Have a great day. Peace Out, World!!!

Pride Parade 2015

It has been a long, exhausting yet exuberating day. I marched in the pride parade today with my employer. It was awesome and an honor to march along side with my co-workers and clients. Many of the clients were quite surprised that many staff were not getting paid for their time marching in the parade. The cool thing about marching in today parade is that I had an option on who to march with. I could have marched with the Warm Line and Crisis Clinic staff and volunteers since I’m a volunteer with the Warm Line. I also had the opportunity to march with fellow volunteers as well as “guest” of the young adult homeless shelter I recently started volunteering at. In fact a couple of “guest” of the young adult shelter were disappointed I wasn’t marching with them however they understood why I would be marching with my employer.

My fiancé, Junior, even marched the pride parade. In fact he was with his employer. Junior is a firefighter and plays the bagpipes. Yes, that means he was marching in his rainbow colored kilt playing the bagpipe with the fire department pipes and drums. Junior, is quite the talented bagpiper. Unfortunately, I was unable to see Junior march in todays parade because I, too was marching in the parade.

Marching in todays pride parade had me thinking about my junior high and high school years. I was in marching band and loved it. Marching in todays parade had me realize how much I miss being in band.

Enough with my marching band days in junior high and high school and back to Pride Parade and its festivities. Today, was a warm, humid, cloudy day. In fact while marching in the parade, the weather decided to throw a thunder and lightning storm in the mix. In fact the rain felt good. The clients loved it. In fact they broke out into song. Not just any song. They sung “Dancing in the Rain.” Yes, they even started dancing. I wish I was able to get a picture of it however due to HIPPA laws I was unable to do so. In fact even some of my co-workers decided to join in the singing and dancing in the rain. I didn’t because I was enjoying the fact that the clients were enjoying the moment. It was a blast had by all.

After the parade I decided to go and volunteer at the booth my employer had set up. I volunteered for about an hour an half. It was nice to be able to educate the community about mental illness and homeliness and the effects it has on our community. The reason I decided to volunteer at my employers booth was not only to be able to educate the community but because Junior was farther down the parade route than I was and was wanting to do something productive as he was finishing up his portion of the parade.

When Junior was done with his portion of parade he stopped by my employers booth to come and “pick me up.” We then walked around the pride festivities and enjoyed our time together. In fact we discussed our wedding and how we are thrilled that one of his sister is now able to get married to the woman of her dreams anywhere in the United States as soon as she finds her. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing that now anyone can marry the person that they love despite their gender and the gender of their partner?

As we walked around the festivities we noticed some people holding up religious signs. In fact some of those signs were just plain ole hateful. I thought Christianity was a religion of love and compassion and not of hate and ignorance. Not only did the signs say hateful thing, the people holding the signs were saying hateful things. In fact one person told a little girl of 7 or 8 years old that not only are her daddies going to hell but she is as well. A nearby uniformed police officer stepped in and spoke up for that family. I just cant comprehend why people are so hateful especially to children.

Now that Junior and myself are home, we are relaxing. It has been a good day and am grateful that I was able to be alive during a part of a positive event in American History. I hope to blog again soon. Have good rest of your weekend. Peace out!!!

Mental Health Araweness Week; Day 7: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) & Recovery

It’s Day 7 of Mental Health Awareness Week. That means it is the last day and I struggled with what I wanted to discuss today. I really wanted to discuss another diagnosis as well as recovery. With much discussion and consideration with different people in my life, I have chosen to not only talk about Recovery but Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as well. I chose these two topics because I at one time was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and because I have worked so hard in recovery I no longer meet the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). So you can see the topics of Recovery and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can go hand and hand for me.

I will discuss Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) first. From here on out for the remainder of this blog, Borderline Personality Disorder will be written as BPD. The following information on BPD I got from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website at nami.org.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that can be challenging for everyone involved, including the individuals with the illness, as well their friends and family members. BPD is characterized by impulsivity and instability in mood, self-image, and personal relationships. The treatments and longer-term studies of BPD offer hope for good outcomes for most individuals who live with BPD. Ideas to name the condition in a manner that better describes the patter of concerns (e.g., Emotion Dysregulation Disorder) have been advanced but no name change to the condition is planned for the release of DSM-5.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and how is it diagnosed?

Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed by mental health professionals following a comprehensive psychiatric interview that may include talking with a person’s previous clinicians, review of prior records, a medical evaluation, and when appropriate, interviews with friends and family. There is no specific single medical test (e.g., blood test) to diagnose BPD and a diagnosis is not based on  a single sign or symptom. Rather, BPD is diagnosed by a mental health professional based on patterns of thinking and behavior in an individual. Some people may have “borderline personality traits” which means that they do not meet the criteria for diagnosis with BPD but have some of the symptoms associated with this illness.

Individuals with BPD usually have several of the following symptoms, many which are detailed in the DSM-IV-TR:

  • Marked mood swings with periods of intense depressed mood, irritability and/or anxiety last a few hours to a few days (but not in the context of full-blown episode of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder).
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger.
  • Impulsive behaviors that result in adverse outcomes and psychological distress, such as excessive spending, sexual encounters, substance use, shoplifting, reckless driving or binge eating.
  • Recurring suicidal threats or non-suicidal self-injurious behavior such as cutting on one’s self.
  • Unstable, intense personal relationships, sometimes alternating between “all good,” idealization, and “all bad,” devaluation.
  • Persistent uncertainty about self-image, long-term goals, friendships and values.
  • Chronic boredom or feelings of emptiness.
  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment.

Borderline Personality Disorder is relatively common – about 1 in 20 or 25 individuals will live with this condition. Historically, BPD has been thought to be significantly more common in females, however recent research suggest that males may almost as frequently affect by BPD. Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed in people from each race, ethnicity and economic status.

What is the cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?

The exact causes of BPD remain unknown, although the roles of both environmental and biological factors are though to play a role in people who develop this illness. While no specific gene has been shown to directly cause BPD, a number of different genes have been identified as playing a role in its development. The brain’s functioning, as seen in MRI testing, is often different in people with BPD, suggesting that there is a neurological basis for some of the symptoms associated with BPD.

Neuroimaging studies are not clinically helpful at this time to make the diagnosis and are research tools. A number of hormones (including oxytocin) and signaling molecules within the brain (e.g., neurotransmitters including serotonin) have been shown to potentially play a role in BPD. People who experience traumatic life events (e.g., physical or sexual abuse during childhood) are at increased risk of developing BPD, as are people with certain chronic medical illnesses in childhood.

The connection between BPD and other mental illnesses is well established. People with BPD are at increased risk for anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse. BPD is often misdiagnosed and many people find they wait years to get a proper diagnosis, which leads to a better care plan.

Many people with Borderline Personality Disorder have a first-degree relative with a serious mental illness (e.g., bipolar or schizophrenia). This is likely due to both genetic and environmental factors.

Now that I have bored you about BPD, I want to thank you for reading to this point. Again, I got the following information from NAMI’s website at nami.org.  I will now continue on with the next part of my blog.

The next part of the discussion is Recovery. According to the Webster’s dictionary Recovery is defined as following: noun: The process of combating a disorder (such as alcoholism) or a real or perceived problem. Now that you know the definition of Recovery, I can tell you how recovery looks to me especially when it comes to BPD.

Recovery has been a long and difficult process for me. In fact recovery is a lifelong process for people with any mental health diagnosis. For me, my recovery process in regards to my mental illness (not the eating disorders I struggled with) started 11 years ago this month (October or 2003) when I went into a two year intensive outpatient Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program. When I was in DBT I learned on ways to learn how to deal with my intense emotions. Most of the emotions I was dealing with and still deal with on occasion, I learn as a child to hold them in. So, holding in my emotions I ended up self-harming by cutting myself. I’m getting a little off topic, when I was in the DBT program I learned the proper skills or tools I needed to express my emotions appropriately. Because I learned how to express my emotions in an appropriate manner I was able to hold down a job at the same employer for 9 1/2 year as well take the training and examination to become a Certified Peer Support Specialist (aka Peer Counselor). Not only was I employed at the same employer for 9 1/2 years I was able to quit that job and become  Consumer Aide with Peer Counselor responsibilities at a mental health agency.

Yes, after I graduated the DBT program I continued with my previous job as well as sought out a new therapist. I have had my current therapist for 6 years this December. My current therapist Diana (pseudonym) and have worked endlessly with the pain of my past. She is the one that encouraged me to get my peer certification as well getting my new job as a Consumer Aide. Diana and the DBT program I graduated from in November of 2005 have played a key role in my recovery. In fact I have come to rely on myself as well as my friends and a select family members as well as people I consider family more than I do my own treatment team. Diana, my current therapist, is the one who declared me a recovered Borderline. As of the summer of last year (2013) I know longer meet the criteria of Borderline. My natural support system will see to that I will never get the diagnosis of BPD back. In fact my natural supports are a key to my recovery.

The reason why they are key to my recover is because like I said earlier recovery is a life long process. See I deal with other mental health diagnoses like the ones I have shared with you this past week. In fact I struggle with a few other diagnoses and will continue to educate you on those tomorrow. Going back to the topic, most mental illness’s are life long. Most of the personality disorders are the only mental health diagnoses you can eventually no longer meet the criteria for and Borderline is one of them. Yes, I will most likely struggle from time to time with my other mental health diagnosis however I have great friends and family as well as a therapist that are all invested in my recovery. They wont give up on me nor will they allow me to give up on myself.

Now that I have practically written a chapter or two of a book I better let you all go. I will continue to keep educating you on different diagnosis’s. I will continue with the ones that deal with. Have a great rest of your weekend I hope that I have educated you all on mental illness during Mental Health Awareness Week. I hope you all will continue to read and/or follow my blog. I hope I was able to convey to you this week that I was hoping to and hope to be able to convey more to you all in other blogs. Thanks for reading. Please do not hesitate to share my blog on social media site just as long as it is done in a respectful manner. Again thank you for reading. It means a great deal to me that you read my blog.

I should really let you go. I will blog again tomorrow and yes I will be blogging about another mental health diagnosis. It will be one that I have been diagnosed with. Again, thank you for reading. Peace out and enjoy your weekend.

A Blog Before Bed

     Well, I’m going to try to make this blog a short one since it’s 11:39pm (pacific time) on a Tuesday night. My dad was able to go home from the Emergency Room after having a seizure. I am so glad he was able to go home. He doesn’t do well in hospital. His doctors at the hospital were great as well as the nurses. My dad of course flirted with the nurses and it embarrassed the hell out of me.

     I of course updated my blog a few hours ago to let you all know about my dad while waiting in the E.R. with him. I also did a lot of reading. I read The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens as well as some Wonder Woman comics. Reading helps a great deal. I also listened to music. I listened to some Tori Amos, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix . I even listened to a little Country Music. Music has helped me a great deal with my recovery process.

    Speaking of my recovery process, I ended up sitting behind an old clinician on the bus home from the E.R. Due to laws she was unable to say hello to me tell I said hi. It took me some time to work up the nerve to say hello. In fact this particular person was one of the first clinician I had as an adult. She was shocked as hell that I’ve been working for 9 years with the same company. Hell, if I was her I would be shock as well. She asked how long it had been since I was last in the hospital for psych reasons as well as the last time I cut. I told her 2 1/2 years was the answer to both of those questions. She also commented on my weight and how healthy I looked. When she worked with me I was still struggling with Anorexia and Bulimia. I told her I haven’t done the eating disorder stuff in 15 years. She said she was proud of me. That’s the only two things we talked about regarding my mental health. The cool thing was that we talked about work. Not just about my job and my job seeking to become a peer counselor but her work as well. She is now the lead social worker on a one of the psych wards of the only Level 1 Trauma Center in my state. It was nice to see someone who once worked with me when I was at my worst and can now see how far I have come in my recovery. Recovery is not an easy process. In fact I think is will be life long process and I am fine with that.

     Well, it’s now 11:51pm(pacific time) on Tuesday night and I need to get to bed. I am a little tired. I have to get up early in the morning to have breakfast with a friend of mine. I am sure most of you are already in bed at the moment. Let me rephrase that, if you live in North America I am sure that most of you are asleep. If you are still up this time of night please enjoy the last 9 minutes of Tuesday. I hope to blog sometime tomorrow. Peace out and have a good nights sleep (and don’t let the bed bugs bite).

It’s Been An Interesting Day

     Good Monday Evening!!! Today has been an interesting day. On my bus ride to my appointment with my therapist, a fellow passenger passed out because he was so drunk. Of course the bus driver had to stop the bus and check on the dude. The bus driver had to call the police as well as the fire department. The police showed up as well as the fire engine and paramedics. As the firefighters were trying to help the drunk dude came to and hit one of them. The police then tackled the guy and with the help of the paramedics and other firefighters he was handcuffed to the gurney and put in the back of the ambulance. Of course myself and the other passengers had to give witness statements to the police. Finally after everyone gave their statement the bus was on its way again. I got off at my bus stop and walked about a half mile to my appointment. On the walk from the bus stop to my appointment I found $20. Finding money is a rare thing for me.

     I of course made it to my appointment with my therapist on time. In fact I was 45 minutes early. I’m usually an hour early due to OCD tendencies. While waiting for my therapy appointment the admin assistant got me my stuffed Eeyore that I have my therapist hold for me so when I am waiting to see her I can hold on to him. My stuffed Eeyore also sits in on my sessions with me because its easier to talk with a stuffed animal to hold. As I was holding Eeyore, in the waiting room I pulled out a Wonder Woman graphic novel to read. If you are a regular reader or follower of my blog you know I am a huge Wonder Woman fan. About 15 minutes before my session an old high school friend walks into the waiting room of the mental health clinic I see my therapist at. This high school friend was seeking therapy for the first time in her life. She of course was seeing a different clinician. It was nice to “catch up” with an old friend.

    My session with my therapist Diana was quite draining. We discussed what happened on the bus then I pulled out 3 copies of what I wanted to go into my treatment plan. Of course many of things I want to work on can be condensed and we did that. In fact it was getting a bit overwhelming for me. We had to take a break from it and we talked about why it was overwhelming. I had come to the conclusion that I’ve been defined by my mental illness so long that it scares me what it would be like to not be “crazy.” Diana my therapist says that I’ve dealt with my mental illness for so long that now that I am walking in recovery I’m learning what its like to not be “crazy.” She also says that I’m in the process of redefining on who I am. She is absolutely correct. I am redefining who I am. Recovery from a mental illness is difficult work. I still have a great deal to work through so I am no where done with needing treatment but I am an active participant in my treatment planning. I still have to work through all the trauma I’ve been through when I was a child as well as an adult. That’s going to be a long process. So Diana and I still need to finish working my treatment/recovery plan and we both hope that we can continue to work on in in the next session next Monday. I never knew how draining it would be. Working on changing for the better is not only draining and difficult but a good thing. (Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym for my therapist)

   So after my therapy appointment I took the bus home. Thankfully nothing eventful happened on my bus ride home. In fact on my bus ride home, I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I am really enjoying the book. It’s going to take me awhile to read it due to my dyslexia but that is okay with me. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy reading.

   As I am blogging right now, I am at my boyfriends house. He is fixing me dinner. He is a good cook. Not as good as my grandma but good enough. He cooks better than me and I love to cook. Hell, my boyfriend loves to cook as well. He learned to cook from his mom. I learned to cook from my dad and grandma. My paternal grandpa is not a very good cook. My maternal grandpa was an awesome cook. Anyway, my boyfriend is making me spaghetti. I love spaghetti. I should get going. I want to see if my boyfriend will let me help him finish cooking. After dinner we are going to watch a movie. Not sure what movie but it’s going to be a comedy.

   Well, I best be going. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a good rest of the evening. Enjoy the rest of your Monday. Well at least enjoy the 4 hours that’s left of Monday. Peace out and enjoy life. 

Happy Monday Morning!!!

     Happy Monday Morning!!! Yes, I know its Monday and its the start of work week but I am on vacation. The sad thing is that I woke up naturally at 5:00 am (Pacific time) and was about to get out of bed when I realized that I was on vacation. I hate when that happens. Oh well. I did try to get back to sleep but was unable to do so, so I got up and read a A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

     When I started A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens I did have trouble getting into it however it’s now starting to get good. I am enjoying it immensely. I think I had difficulty getting into it because of dyslexia but I’ve learned to deal with the dyslexia and enjoy reading. After reading for about 45 minutes I decided to watch the local news.

     As I was watching the morning news a story came on that not only angered me but made me laugh. A group of 3 teenagers stole the keys out of a 70something year old woman’s hand in a parking lot to steal her car. That’s what angered me. Why would you steal anybody’s car especially that of an elderly person? Now here comes the funny part. The teenagers got into the elderly woman’s car and realized it was a stick shift car and they couldn’t drive it. They didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. The elderly woman pulled them out of the car and the teenagers ran off. They still haven’t caught the teenagers but the elderly woman was just grateful that she wasn’t hurt. She was even laughing at the situation that they couldn’t drive a stick shift. I hope they find those teenagers because if that was my grandmother I would want them to be punished.

    Speaking of grandmothers, the news story reminded me to call my own grandmother. I talked to both my grandma and grandpa. The set of grandparents that I spoke to are my dad parents or paternal grandparents. My paternal grandparents help my dad out a great deal when I was growing up and helped raised me. They were very involved with my growing up years. My dad is grateful to my grandparents that they helped him out with raising me. I’m grateful that they are still alive. Unfortunately, my maternal grandparents (mom’s parents) are deceased. I miss them a great deal.

     Now that I’m done talking about my family let get back to other things. I am grateful that I am on vacation from work this week. Many people don’t realize how stressful working in a grocery store really is. I am grateful that I am able to work despite having a mental illness. One of the things I plan on doing this week is to look to see if there are in job openings as a Peer Support Specialist/Peer Counselor as well as look into getting involved with NAMI and other such organizations. I figured the more I get involved with mental health organizations the better it looks on the resumé. I’m sure my volunteer work looks good as well.

     Speaking of mental health, I need to get going. I need to get ready to go and see my therapist. Today, I plan on discussing my nightmares with my therapist, Diana. (Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym that I gave my therapist for her privacy and the protection of the her other clients.) Diana has helped me a great deal with my recovery. She is just as invested in my recovery as I am. I hope to tell you later on how my session with Diana went but no promises. It depends how difficult it was for me.

      I hope the rest of your morning goes well. In fact I hope the rest of your Monday goes well and that you have a good work week. I hope to blog again later today even if I don’t blog about my therapy session. Try to at least get out and enjoy the weather today to break up your workday. Peace out and enjoy the summer.