Words to the Emotions

Hello, World!!! I didn’t do much of anything for a good portion of the day. I did go in for a meeting with the supervisor for the peer run help line I volunteer for. They wanted to “check in” with me because they got information from the crisis line that I had been calling frequently as well as the peer run help line I volunteer on. They said “it sound a lot like you.” I informed this person it was not me and asked him seriously, “why would I call the crisis line or this line when I have a distinctive and unique voice?” He replied “I don’t know why you would.” I informed him that I did not call the crisis line the peer run help line however I did call the after hours crisis team of the agency I am a client of on Valentines Day due to the anniversary of my grandma’s death. I went to show him my phone to prove to him I didn’t and I offered to sign an ROI for him to talk to my therapist. He declined both and said “I am at a loss of what to day.” More or less I validated him that he was in a tough spot no knowing who to believe. So, he is “cautiously” letting me back to volunteering on the help line for a handful of reasons. I guess, I am bothered that he thinks that I have been calling both lines but I understand him wanting to “check in” to make sure I was doing well. I just can’t get out of my head that I am being told that I am call helps lines when I am not but this is something I need to stop ruminating over as I was told I could go back to volunteering.

When I got home from my meeting I decided to paint. I decided to paint due to the mixture of emotions I was dealing with in regards to the meeting. It helped me get the emotion out that needed to get out. It helped me realize that I needed to find the words for my emotions.

That is when I decided to journal. Granted, I am still trying to find the right words to put to my emotions but journaling did help. In fact it helped a great deal just like the painting did.

I do not have much more to say except I am grateful that the supervisor is letting me back to volunteer. I hope everyone has a great rest of their evening and night. Peace Out, World!!!

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It’s Friday and that means it is time for my blogging feature. Today, I choose the topic of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because it is the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I choose this topic in honor of both who perished in the attacks and those who survived it. The information I am about to give you is found at:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/. Please remember that myself and the Mayo Clinic are just giving you the facts. I am not a professional so if you need help please don’t hesitate to call your local crisis line or the national suicide hotline that will be included. Again I got the following info from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but they don’t have PTSD — with time and good self-care, they usually get better. But if the symptoms get worse or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.

Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.

Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within three months of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative feelings about yourself or other people
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

When to see a doctor

If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your health care professional. Get treatment as soon as possible to help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources:

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor, mental health provider or other health care professional.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

If you know someone who’s in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Causes

You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation.

Doctors aren’t sure why some people get PTSD. As with most mental health problems, PTSD is probably caused by a complex mix of:

  • Inherited mental health risks, such as an increased risk of anxiety and depression
  • Life experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you’ve gone through since early childhood
  • Inherited aspects of your personality — often called your temperament
  • The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress

Risk factors

People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. However, some factors may make you more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event, such as:

  • Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
  • Having experienced other trauma earlier in life, including childhood abuse or neglect
  • Having a job that increases your risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military personnel and first responders
  • Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
  • Lacking a good support system of family and friends
  • Having biological (blood) relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD or depression

Kinds of traumatic events

The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:

  • Combat exposure
  • Childhood neglect and physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Physical attack
  • Being threatened with a weapon

Many other traumatic events also can lead to PTSD, such as fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life-threatening events.

Complications

Post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life: your job, your relationships, your health and your enjoyment of everyday activities.

Having PTSD also may increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Issues with drugs or alcohol use
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions

Preparing for your appointment

If you think you may have post-traumatic stress disorder, make an appointment with your primary care provider or a mental health provider. Here’s some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and for how long.
  • Key personal information, especially events or experiences — even in your distant past — that have made you feel intense fear, helplessness or horror. It will help your doctor to know if there are memories you can’t directly access without feeling an overwhelming need to push them out of your mind.
  • Your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you’ve been diagnosed. Also include any medications or supplements you’re taking and the dosages.

Take a trusted family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you.

Make a list of questions to ask so you can make the most of your appointment. For PTSD, some basic questions include:

  • What do you believe is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine my diagnosis?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or long term?
  • What treatments do you recommend for this disorder?
  • I have other health problems. How best can I manage these together with PTSD?
  • How soon do you expect my symptoms to improve?
  • Does PTSD increase my risk of other mental health problems?
  • Do you recommend any changes at home, work or school to encourage recovery?
  • Would it help my recovery to tell my teachers or work colleagues about my diagnosis?
  • Are there any printed materials on PTSD that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions anytime you don’t understand something.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did you or your loved ones first notice your symptoms?
  • Have you ever experienced or witnessed an event that was life-threatening to you or someone else?
  • Have you ever been physically, sexually or emotionally harmed?
  • Do you have disturbing thoughts, memories or nightmares of the trauma you experienced?
  • Do you ever feel as if you’re reliving the traumatic event, through flashbacks or hallucinations?
  • Do you avoid certain people, places or situations that remind you of the traumatic experience?
  • Have you lost interest in things or felt numb?
  • Do you feel jumpy, on guard or easily startled?
  • Do you frequently feel irritable or angry?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping?
  • Is anything happening in your life right now that’s making you feel unsafe?
  • Have you been having any problems at school, work or in your personal relationships?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use illegal drugs? How often?
  • Have you been treated for other psychiatric symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most helpful?

Tests and diagnosis

Post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. Your health care provider will likely ask you to describe your signs and symptoms and the event that led up to them. You may also have a physical exam to check for medical problems.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must meet criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM criteria for PTSD

Diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an event that involved or held the threat of death, violence or serious injury. Your exposure can happen in one or more of these ways:

  • You experienced the traumatic event
  • You witnessed, in person, the traumatic event
  • You learned someone close to you experienced or was threatened by the traumatic event
  • You are repeatedly exposed to graphic details of traumatic events (for example, if you are a first responder to the scene of traumatic events)

You experience one or more of the following signs or symptoms after the traumatic event:

  • You relive experiences of the traumatic event, such as having distressing images and memories.
  • You have upsetting dreams about the traumatic event.
  • You experience flashbacks as if you were experiencing the traumatic event again.
  • You experience ongoing or severe emotional distress or physical symptoms if something reminds you of the traumatic event.

In addition, for more than one month after the traumatic event you may:

  • Try to avoid situations or things that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Not remember important parts of the traumatic event
  • View yourself, others and the world in a negative way
  • Lose interest in activities you used to enjoy and feel detached from family and friends
  • Feel a sense of emotional numbness, feel irritable or have angry or violent outbursts
  • Engage in dangerous or self-destructive behavior
  • Feel as if you’re constantly on guard or alert for signs of danger and startle easily
  • Have trouble sleeping or concentrating

Your symptoms cause significant distress in your life or interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

For children younger than 6 years old, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Reenacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Treatments and drugs

Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment can help you regain a sense of control over your life. The primary treatment is psychotherapy, but often includes medication. Combining these treatments can help improve your symptoms, teach you skills to address your symptoms, help you feel better about yourself and learn ways to cope if any symptoms arise again.

Psychotherapy and medications can also help you if you’ve developed other problems related to your traumatic experience, such as depression, anxiety, or misuse of alcohol or drugs. You don’t have to try to handle the burden of PTSD on your own.

Psychotherapy

Several types of psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, may be used to treat children and adults with PTSD. Some types of psychotherapy used in PTSD treatment include:

  • Cognitive therapy. This type of talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking (cognitive patterns) that are keeping you stuck — for example, negative or inaccurate ways of perceiving normal situations. For PTSD, cognitive therapy often is used along with exposure therapy.
  • Exposure therapy. This behavioral therapy helps you safely face what you find frightening so that you can learn to cope with it effectively. One approach to exposure therapy uses “virtual reality” programs that allow you to re-enter the setting in which you experienced trauma.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help you process traumatic memories and change how you react to traumatic memories.

All these approaches can help you gain control of lasting fear after a traumatic event. You and your health care professional can discuss what type of therapy or combination of therapies may best meet your needs.

You may try individual therapy, group therapy or both. Group therapy can offer a way to connect with others going through similar experiences.

Medications

Several types of medications can help improve symptoms of PTSD:

  • Antidepressants. These medications can help symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can also help improve sleep problems and concentration. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD treatment.
  • Anti-anxiety medications. These drugs also can improve feelings of anxiety and stress for a short time to relieve severe anxiety and related problems. Because these medications have the potential for abuse, they are not usually taken long term.
  • Prazosin. If symptoms include insomnia or recurrent nightmares, a drug called prazosin (Minipress) may help. Although not specifically FDA-approved for PTSD treatment, prazosin may reduce or suppress nightmares in many people with PTSD.

You and your doctor can work together to figure out the best treatment, with the fewest side effects, for your symptoms and situation. You may see an improvement in your mood and other symptoms within a few weeks.

Tell your health care professional about any side effects or problems with medications. You may need to try more than one or a combination of medications, or your doctor may need to adjust your dosage or medication schedule before finding the right fit for you.

Coping and support

If stress and other problems caused by a traumatic event affect your life, see your health care professional. You also can take these actions as you continue with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder:

  • Follow your treatment plan. Although it may take a while to feel benefits from therapy or medications, treatment can be effective, and most people do recover. Remind yourself that it takes time. Following your treatment plan will help move you forward.
  • Learn about PTSD. This knowledge can help you understand what you’re feeling, and then you can develop coping strategies to help you respond effectively.
  • Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, exercise and take time to relax. Avoid caffeine and nicotine, which can worsen anxiety.
  • Don’t self-medicate. Turning to alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings isn’t healthy, even though it may be a tempting way to cope. It can lead to more problems down the road and prevent real healing.
  • Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or jump into a hobby to re-focus.
  • Talk to someone. Stay connected with supportive and caring people — family, friends, faith leaders or others. You don’t have to talk about what happened if you don’t want to. Just sharing time with loved ones can offer healing and comfort.
  • Consider a support group. Ask your health professional for help finding a support group, or contact veterans’ organizations or your community’s social services system. Or look for local support groups in an online directory or in your phone book.

When someone you love has PTSD

The person you love may seem like a different person than you knew before the trauma — angry and irritable, for example, or withdrawn and depressed. PTSD can significantly strain the emotional and mental health of loved ones and friends.

Hearing about the trauma that led to your loved one’s PTSD may be painful for you and even cause you to relive difficult events. You may find yourself avoiding his or her attempts to talk about the trauma or feeling hopeless that your loved one will get better. At the same time, you may feel guilty that you can’t fix your loved one or hurry up the process of healing.

Remember that you can’t change someone. However, you can:

  • Learn about PTSD. This can help you understand what your loved one is going through.
  • Recognize that withdrawal is part of the disorder. If your loved one resists your help, allow space and let your loved one know that you’re available when he or she is ready to accept your help.
  • Offer to attend medical appointments. If your loved one is willing, attending appointments can help you understand and assist with treatment.
  • Be willing to listen. Let your loved one know you’re willing to listen, but you understand if he or she doesn’t want to talk.
  • Encourage participation. Plan opportunities for activities with family and friends. Celebrate good events.
  • Make your own health a priority. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, being physically active and getting enough rest. Take time alone or with friends, doing activities that help you recharge.
  • Seek help if you need it. If you have difficulty coping, talk with your doctor. He or she may refer you to a therapist who can help you work through your emotions.
  • Stay safe. Plan a safe place for yourself and your children if your loved one becomes violent or abusive

Prevention

After surviving a traumatic event, many people have PTSD-like symptoms at first, such as being unable to stop thinking about what’s happened. Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt — all are common reactions to trauma. However, the majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting support can help you recover. This may mean turning to family and friends who will listen and offer comfort. It may mean seeking out a mental health provider for a brief course of therapy. Some people may also find it helpful to turn to their faith community.

Getting timely help and support may prevent normal stress reactions from getting worse and developing into PTSD. Support from others may also help prevent you from turning to unhealthy coping methods, such as misuse of alcohol or drugs.

Thank you for reading. I realize that this is an extra long post and apologize for its length. I got the above information at the Mayo Clinic at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/. If you need immediate help please call 911. Have a wonderful day. Please don’t forget to take a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in 9/11 as well as for those who survived it.

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!!!

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.

Mental Illness, Miscarriage and Recovery

Happy Friday!!! It’s the start of another weekend and not just any weekend; Superbowl weekend. Like many other people in America, Junior and myself are preparing to watch the Superbowl with friends. In fact we are hosting a Superbowl party. As stressful it is to prepare for such an event, I am looking forward both preparing for it and being a part of the party.

I am looking forward to it, not only because the Seattle Seahawks are going back to the Superbowl but because it is going to be an enormous distraction for both Junior and I. It’s going to be a distraction because, I miscarried. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for both Junior and myself. We were looking forward to becoming parents. We were really hopeful that I would carry to term this pregnancy because I had made it to 20 week mark and ended up miscarrying at 20 1/2 weeks. The reason why Junior and I thought I was in the clear was because I miscarried another set of twins at 19 weeks and were told that once I hit the 20 week mark that the risk of miscarriage goes down substantially. Loosing a child is the greatest pain a person can endure. I know this because, I’ve lost children through miscarriage and have dealt with some severe childhood trauma.

Grieving is not an easy thing to do especially when it comes to loosing a child however it is something I will be able to work through with the help of others. Asking help from others is not an easy thing for me to do, however it is a sign that I am in recovery. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t struggling with the miscarriage because I am struggling with my miscarriage big time. Suicide has even crossed my mind the last couple a weeks. Don’t worry I am NOT going to attempt or commit suicide because I have too much to live for plus I have the skills and support that I need to help me through this pain. Part of my recovery is letting people who love and care about me, help me through this difficult time of my life.

Recovery looks differently to everybody and part of my recovery is this blog. Blogging about the miscarriage is a difficult thing to do. I think miscarriage, just like mental illness is something that people don’t really discuss. I am not really sure why people don’t discuss miscarriages but I know why people don’t discuss mental illness. Mental illness has a lot of shame and stigma attached  to it. It is for that shame and stigma with mental illness is why I share myself with you all (and try to educate). If I wasn’t in recovery, I really don’t think I would be able to keep myself safe from self-harm or suicide in dealing with the miscarriage. It is because of my recovery I am able to be doing as well as I am after loosing a set of twins due to miscarriage.

I was hoping that I would be able to blog more however it is getting a little difficult for me to do so at the moment. I need to go and allow myself to grieve. I hope to be able to blog sometime on Superbowl Sunday. Have good weekend everyone. Peace out and GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Mental Illness and Evangelical Christians

It’s Sunday and that means a number of people around the world went to their place of worship to celebrate their particular entity. It being Sunday, I decided to take a friend up on her invite to attend the church that she is a member of. The reason why I took my friend up on the invite was because she had a solo. Going to church is a major deal to me because I rarely go.

I rarely go  to church for many reasons and one those things happened today at the church I visited today. To give you a back story I use to self harm by cutting myself and that means I have scars and some of those scars are on my arms. Whenever I go and visit a church and wear short sleeves I get a lot of stares and some questions and that’s okay with me. It’s a way to educate others. The thing I have an issue with and is one of the reasons I choose to not attend church is when those in attendance of the church telling me various things in regards to my scarred up arms. Things like “You need Jesus because if you had Jesus you wouldn’t have those,” as they point to my arms or “The Devil must be inside of you because you cut yourself,” or “I think you should attend our healing service to be healed of your mental health issues. You obviously have one or you wouldn’t have scars on your arms.” All three of these statements were told to me today. Unfortunately, my friend didn’t hear the people who told me these statements because she was getting ready for her solo with the choir. My friend attends an Evangelical Christian church and I have found that with all the Evangelical Churches I have been to, I have at least five or six people make similar comments like the ones I shared with you above. When people of faith tell me comments like above or similar ones it has me feeling less than human and undeserving. I do have to say I was able to stand up for myself when I had people make comments to me today. The comments my friend was around to hear she backed me up and helped me convey my message and ultimately stood up for me. In fact, she even stood up for me when the senior pastor of her church made the comment, “Oh another lost soul that allowed Satan to take over so he could make you crazy.” Yes, he said crazy. I am so grateful that my friend stuck for me and gave her senior pastor a lesson on God, faith, compassion and mental illness.

My friend was in disbelief when she not only heard her friends make discriminatory and “un-Christ-like” comments but the comments her senior pastor said. When I told her I was hesitant to go to her church for reason such as I just described to you she told me it wouldn’t happen. I find my friend being a little naïve when it came to this issue. In fact many Evangelical Christians are naïve and ignorant toward mental illness. Many Evangelical Christian feel and think that we chose to have a mental illness or allowed the devil to give us one. Why would we choose to have a mental illness? I would wish a mental illness on my worst enemy.

I am not posting this blog to pass judgment on any particular person, religion or faith but to educate those who may not be aware that their comments and actions hurt and turn away potential Christians to believe what they believe or attend their church. I know some of the comments are well intended but not helpful. A great deal of the comments I receive today in regards to my scarred up arms were quite ignorant, discriminatory, judgmental and just plain ole continued the stigmatizing of mental illness.

The goal of this blog and blog entry is to educate those on mental illness. Stigma has no place anywhere especially in a place of worship. Everyone need to feel safe when they are worshiping their particular entity.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest I will call it an evening and night. Have a good rest of your Sunday evening. Peace Out!!

Thinking About Advocacy And Mental Illness

Good Afternoon! So far today has been an uneventful day. Usually on days that are uneventful I start to think about things. Well, todays thoughts are on advocacy and mental illness and how I am lacking.

I feel like I am lacking because I am not reaching as many people as I have hoped I would be. I only have 19 followers on my blog and 21 followers on my twitter. Granted I just started my twitter account not even a month ago but I was hoping that it would help increase my blog following. See, at the end of this month (November) it will mark six months since I started my blog.

As many of you know, I started this blog for three reasons. The first reason is because I consider myself an advocate for those who struggle with a mental illness. That leads me to the second reason I stared this blog which is to educate those who do not have a mental illness in hopes to lessen the stigma of mental illness. Those who have a mental illness or take care of someone with a mental illness know all too well how stigma and mental illness go hand and hand. Trust me when I say stigma is part of the reason why people who struggle a mental illness don’t seek out the help of their friends and family which can lead them to not seeking out professional help. I know this because I not only have family members who struggle with mental illness but I too struggle with a mental illness. This leads to the third reason why I started this blog and this is to show those who struggle with mental illness that recovery is possible and their is hope. Recovery is not an easy process. I do know that many of my followers are people who struggle with mental illness are working on their recovery. I am grateful for them. I’m just hoping that I’m showing those followers that recovery is possible. Its trying to get people who don’t struggle with a mental illness to follow my blog. I just really want to be an advocate for those who struggle with mental illness and feel like I’m not reaching people who don’t struggle with one. I feel like my voice isn’t being heard because of this. I want to lessen the stigma of mental illness. Well, at least I know that part of my goal is being accomplished because I’m hoping that I am showing you my followers that recovery is possible and that their is hope.

Speaking of recovery and hope I need to get going because I have to go to my volunteer job at the Warm Line. I talk to people with mental illness and help them along their recovery. Everyone’s recovery looks different. Well, have a good Saturday afternoon. Peace out!!