I’m Dreaming of Sleep

Good Morning, World!!! It’s nearly two thirty in the morning in my neck of the world. Right now, I’m dreaming of sleep. I haven’t been sleeping very well since I was assaulted nearly a month ago.

Having a good nights sleep is crucial to ones overall health especially for those of us who have a mental health diagnosis. Something I have learned over the years is to have a sleep schedule or what people in the mental health field call sleep hygiene.

For me sleep hygiene means going to bed at the same time as well as getting up at the same time. For me, I tend to go to bed at 11:30pm on week nights (Sunday – Thursday) and get up at 7:30ish in the morning on week days (Monday – Friday). Unfortunately, I toss and turn and unable to sleep so I get up. I tend to get up and stay up at the same time week days and wish my sleep hygiene schedule would work right now.

Now that I have rambled on and on about my sleep hygiene and the lack of sleep I am getting, I might as well as end this blog post and try to sleep. I hope you have an awesome day. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Evening, World!!! It’s that time of the week where I check-in with you, my reader. As some of you may know, this past week has been dragging on for me. As you may not know its been a week of high anxiety for me. Anxiety that is most likely due to the recent trauma I experienced.

Anxiety that was extremely high at times this week yet lessened by the things I did. One of the things I did throughout this week was art. I did a lot of art. The type of art I did this week was coloring and collaging. In fact I made an effort to do some art everyday this week as I missed attending Art Group on Monday. I really dislike when I miss any group and I feel like I need to figure out a way to attend Art Group every week or at least on a more regular basis. This is something to discuss with my therapist about.

Speaking of my therapist, I saw her this past week. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I was full of anxiety in during my session with my therapist. Anxiety that was (and is) trauma related. In fact the trauma is what was being discussed or at least how the recent trauma is affecting my life. Therapy is never easy and am grateful to be able to be in it as it’s helped me become a better person. A person in recovery.

A person in recovery that is now not a hundred percent afraid to discuss sexuality. In fact I am now attending a Healthy Sexuality Group. My case manager is one of the co-facilitators of the group. As difficult as the topic of sexuality is for me because of my trauma history, I am glad I’m in place where I able to discuss it. Not just in group but with my partner and close friends.

Since we are on the topic of groups, I also attended Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group. As usual attending DBT group was quite helpful. It was helpful as it normally is. Yes, practicing the skills are difficult yet most of them have become second nature to me. Fortunately yet unfortunately, I have extra homework to do for DBT group. I have extra homework regarding self-validation because of the difficulties I have with validating myself. My therapist is in agreement with this. I may not want to do the homework for DBT group and/or my therapist regarding the self-validation, I realize it’s going to be helpful for me in in the long run.

Another thing that will be helpful for me is something regarding my blog. That is to start getting back in the regular habit blogging. Getting back in the habit of blogging will help me get back the structure I desperately need at the moment. The other reason why I’m attempting to get back in the habit of blogging is to keep you the reader interested in following my blog. One way of getting back in habit of blogging is something I started this week. That thing is I started a course that WordPress puts on for free. The course I am taking is Finding Everyday Inspiration. In fact my last three post were part of the course I am taking.

Before I end this post, I want to update you on my friend who was a victim in the Las Vegas shooting. They are still in critical condition but slowly improving. They are now breathing on their on. Something that myself and many others are thrilled about.

As, I end this post I want to thank you for reading my blog. I hope you all have a wonderful evening and a good rest of your weekend. Peace Out!!!

 

Everyday Inspiration; Day 2: Write A List; Things I’ve Learned (& Why)

  1. To play a musical instrument. – When I was in sixth grade I started playing the flute because my best friend started playing it. I stuck with it and played through to my senior year of high school. I was in the junior high and high school band. Being in band is what kept me from dropping out of high school. In fact I am teaching myself to play the harmonica and the recorder.
  2. To have sense of humor. – I learned to have a sense of humor about myself and the world as whole from my dad. My dad told me that the world can be a harsh place and without a sense of humor life would be a lot more difficult. Having a sense of humor has helped make life a lot easier to deal with.
  3. Recovery. – I learned about being in recovery from a number of individuals in my life. One person who gets more credit teaching me about recovery than others is my dad. If it wasn’t for his example of what recovery looks like, I don’t think I would have listened to or looked to the other individuals about recovery. If it wasn’t for being in recovery, I would be completely miserable. Being miserable twenty four hours a day, seven days a week isn’t a way to live life. A part of recovery I learned is that it is non-linear.
  4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills. – I learned DBT skills as part of my recovery process. I personally think DBT is what saved my life. Without learning these skills, I wouldn’t be in active recovery today.
  5. Meditation & Mindfulness. – I learned about meditation and mindfulness through my friends and DBT. I learned about them to help me be more aware of the present. Being aware of the present is what helps me be more effective in everyday life.
  6. Hope. – Hope is something I learned about throughout my life. In fact the above mentioned items in this list are not only some of the ways I learned about hope but things that help me continue to have hope. Without hope I wouldn’t be in recovery.

I want to thank you for reading. I hope you learned a little something more about me. As you can tell my recovery is highly important to me. Have good day. Happy Friday!!! Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon, World!!! It has been a while since I last did a weekly check-in and have been encouraged to “make more of an effort to blog on the regular basis.” I agree with the multiple individuals who have pointed this out to me. The one way I can “blog on the more regular basis” is by doing the weekly check-ins.

In fact one of the individual’s that have encouraged me to start “blogging more” is my case manager. I saw her this past Monday (September 25th) for our regularly scheduled appointment. My case manager checked-in with me about what happened to me and am greatly appreciative for it. We spent most of our half hour session discussing ways to use my skills to help me through the not so good moments. One of those skills is blogging and that how the topic came up. We also discussed me doing some art work after I showed my case manager some of the art the I did in art group before our session. We also discussed how I can use other skills that I have in my tool box which I will bring up one that I’m surprisingly enjoying later on in this post. Before the session ended my case manager wanted to make sure I was going to attend my doctors appointment the next day (Tuesday). I reassured I would.

In fact as mentioned in my previous post, I did go to my doctors appointment. My doctor and I discussed how I was doing as well as checking in with me regarding my mental health. She is “concerned” that I’m “not receiving the proper mental health” that I need. I reassured my doctor that I am. I informed her that I am not only receiving both therapy and case management services but attending three groups. She inquired more about the groups and I happily obliged. My doctor appeared to be content with all this at least for a moment.

Since I’m on the topic of groups, I attended all three groups this past week. The first group I went to is held on Monday’s and is an Art group. I love attending the Art Group however I don’t attend every Monday but I did this past Monday. I highly enjoy attending it and both my case manager and doctor would like me “attending every week because being creative appears to be of help” to me. I can’t argue with that.

The second group I am attending is on Thursdays and about Sexual Health and Relationships. Primarily it’s about sexual health. In fact my case manager co-facilitates this group.  I’m not quite sure about this group yet because of what happened. I’ve only attended once and it has only been a group in existence for two weeks. My case manager recommended this group to me before I got sexually assaulted. I’m toying with the fact if its a good idea to continue with this group however it’s something to discuss with my therapist as well continue discussing with my case manager.

A group that needs no discussing for me to continue for me to attend is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) on Fridays. In fact attendance is a requirement of DBT and is one that has a waitlist to for is which why once I finally got into it, I make it a priority to attend DBT. I did attend yesterday. In fact I admitted to group and will admit to you that I was willful with not doing part of my homework. In fact I don’t want to do part of my homework that is due next Friday. I will however do the homework as I know it will ultimately help me. Validating others is easy. Self validation is not so easy and it’s something that would hopefully help me. In fact I am pretty sure self validation will be helpful.

Another thing that is helpful and a major part of DBT is mindfulness. In fact I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I would bring up a skill that I have found surprisingly enjoyable which is mindfulness and meditation. In fact a fellow peer (specialist) suggested an app that I have found quite helpful and is how I found out that mindfulness and mediation is enjoyable. The app is called Calm and I highly recommend using it if you have a smart phone. I have found it quite helpful. The longest stretch I’ve used the app is seven days in a row. Unfortunately, that stretch ended when I was assaulted. That’s why my case manager encouraged me to start using it again since I have found the app helpful and enjoyable. In fact she informed me that she will let my therapist know about the app. In fact I have a two day stretch as of today. Hopefully by the time I see my therapist it will be a five day stretch. I’m hoping that I can make mindfulness and meditation a daily habit.

Speaking of habits, I need to make blogging a habit. Which is why I am planning on making an effort to put it into my schedule to blog. That’s why I want to make I at least do my weekly check-in post.

As I end this post I want to thank you for reading. I hope that everyone has a great day and 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.

Poor Air Quality + Therapy = Challenging Day

Good Evening, World!!! Today, hasn’t been the easiest of days for me but overall its been a good day. I have two main reasons why it hasn’t been the easiest of days and plan telling you about it in this post.

Let’s start with what is hitting close to home for a lot of folks here in the Seattle area; the air quality. Or maybe I should say poor air quality. The air quality is the worst I’ve personally experienced here in Seattle. I’ve had personally experienced worse air quality due to the fact I spent the majority of my childhood in Southern California however today was bad even for California standards. The poor air quality is due to the wild fires from across the state.

The wild fire smoke is so bad here in Seattle that many across the city have experienced their first time seeing it “rain ash” instead of actual water. It is an eerie experience seeing “rain ash” here in Seattle. I’ve experienced it before when I when I grew up in California but never here in Seattle. The picture below is suppose to be looking south at Downtown Seattle but you can’t see it because of all the smoke and ash in the air. On a clear day you would be able to see Downtown Seattle. I wish I had a picture to show a comparison however I don’t. So, I guess you’re going to have to take my word on that you can see Downtown Seattle from this vantage point. No, its not the usual “Seattle Gloom.” Yes, it is all ash and smoke from the wild fires from the wild fires.

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As difficult as it was for me with my breathing due to asthma because of the poor air quality, therapy was just as difficult for me. See, at my request from my last session my therapist and I discussed today about the Self-Soothing skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The Self-Soothe skill is not an easy skill for me. In fact its one of two skills that aren’t second nature to me yet in regards to DBT skills. In fact its the skill I find the most difficult to do at the moment. Actually, its the skill I have found most difficult for me to do throughout my experience with DBT.

While my (relatively) new therapist and I discussed the self-soothing skill, it brought up a lot of other shit. Shit I don’t necessarily want to discuss on my blog or even am ready to discuss on it but shit that was difficult to talk to my therapist about. While discussing all the shit, my therapist decided to give me homework. My homework is to come up with five to ten affirmations. She let me set the number of affirmations I could write and I chose five to ten because I sort of wanted to challenge myself. Little did I know that this was going be an on going assignment. My therapist informed me that there is a second part to this assignment however I won’t get the second part of the assignment till our next session in two weeks. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of homework as part of therapy but I have found it quite helpful to me. Therapy homework has helped me with my recovery which is why I attempt to not complain about it much.

I have found throughout the years that many of the “assignments” that I have received from therapist its to help me. Most of the assignments have ultimately helped me. I’ve had a handful that haven’t helped but that’s because I wasn’t exactly in the right space to have them assigned to me at that time. I do have to say that this assignment of having to write five to ten affirmations will help me. I might even share them with you when I am done with them. It won’t be easy for me to do but am looking forward to doing the assignment.

I’m looking at the time and realize that I’m a little hungry and am needing to eat. I also looked at how much I have written thus far and realize it might be getting a bit long for some of you. So, this is the point of my blog post to tell you, thank you for reading. I am truly grateful that you read my blog. Peace Out!!!

Creativity Is What Is Needed In A Time Of Struggles

I’m struggling at the moment with the symptoms of PTSD and Depression and it sucks shit. Struggling enough that I needed to call the afterhours crisis line of the agency I am a client of. I’m having strong urges to self-harm and needed to safety plan which is why I called the afterhours crisis line. I safety planned the person on the afterhours and happy with the plan we came up with.

One of the things that was suggested to me was to look over my DBT homework. Which I of course did and actually did some of it. See, I’ve been not so willing to do my DBT homework for a number of reasons. Many of which are excuses. Excuses that will only hinder me in my recovery.

Another thing that I informed the afterhours lady that I will do is blog. For me blogging helps me process. Process things that can be uncomfortable for me to deal with. Blogging has helped a great deal with starting to write poetry again.

Poetry is something that helps me process emotion and is another thing I’m going to do as part of my safety plan. I think I’m going to include art with my poetry. Something like I did last night with collaging words with pictures. I really enjoyed doing that. Or even collage some words on some of my finished coloring pages and creating a poem that way. I really thing poetry and art can go together.

One way to get all this creativity flowing is listening to music. Music helps with most everything. Music helps me be creative and helps me chill. In fact I’m listening to music now.

As I end this post listening to music, I want to thank you for reading. I know things are not good at the moment regarding self-harm, depression and PTSD but I know with me sharing my life with you will help others. Help others who struggle with a mental health condition know that they are not alone and that things do get better. Help others who don’t struggle know that people with a mental health condition can improve the quality of their lives and be productive members of society. Granted, I don’t view myself as being a productive member of society at the moment but I’m working on getting back there with help of my therapist. A therapist who appears to be in my corner. Again, thank you for reading.  Peace out!!!