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!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good evening, world!!! I realize its been a couple of weeks since I posted a weekly check-in even though I have posted a couple of times since then.

If I’m honest with myself and I mean really honest with myself, I have to admit something that I really don’t want to but have to if I want my recovery to move forward. That is that I am retreating back to some old behavior. Behavior that I am not proud of. My behavior at the appointments I had on Monday was inappropriate no matter what the circumstances were. My behavior in recent weeks and even the last two or three months has not been the best. I can make excuses and have some good ones I could use for my behavior but I’m not going to because it will just allow me to give myself permission to continue the not so good behavior.

I’m sharing this with you because if I continue on the path I am on then I’m giving up on my recovery and all the work that myself and many others put into me doing well, will have been time wasted by everyone involved. I don’t want to give up on my recovery. In fact I am at that point that I need to make a major decision in what direction I’m going to go in. The direction, I want to go in will require me to make some major changes in my life as well as some help from both my treatment team and natural support system.  Help I know I’m going to get.

With the help I know I’m going to get, I hope you can tell that I am choosing to be in recovery. It’s not going to be easy and its going to take a lot of work on my part. Work that I am fighting against at the moment but am going to do. I am an extremely stubborn individual and I’m going to use that stubbornness to help me get myself back to a place where I want to be.

If my intuition is correct I know that my therapist will help me get to where I want to be. She has proven to be an advocate for me. In fact I’m pretty sure my case manager will help me with this process as well. Granted, I may feel like my voice isn’t being heard but I know from experience with both of these individuals have advocated for me regarding my recovery. In fact my case manager knows that one day I won’t need her for the extra support and she was asking what that would look like during our last session. Even though I know that it didn’t end well but it gave me something to think about and when I see her next I will let her know my thoughts on it. I know she will be appreciative that I did give it some thought. I’m thrilled that both of my clinicians appear to be recovery focused.

Speaking of being recovery focused, I need to get going. I need to do my DBT homework. I’ve been quite willful in doing it and need to be willing, so I’m going to work on it or at least look over it.  I really hope that my treatment team will help me with getting back into a good head space. Have a good evening everyone and peace out!!!

Hump Day Hopes & Difficulties

Good Evening, World!!! It is still Hump Day in my part of the world. Well, technically its still Wednesday but I like to call it Hump Day because its exactly in the middle of the week we are over the hump of the week.

The week thus far has been both filled with hopes and difficulties all wrapped up into the same event. So, yesterday (Tuesday) and Monday I went to the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) 1 seminar which is a two day seminar to be able to attend the WRAP 2 seminar to become a WRAP facilitator. The WRAP 2 seminar is a five day course and hope to be able to attend it next month. Anyway, doing your own WRAP can be emotionally exhausting but well worth it. The last two days I nearly finished updating my WRAP which I am proud of especially since its been almost a year since my last update. Taking the two day WRAP seminar has given me the hope that I’ve needed to turn my recovery around to be able to find a purpose in my life.

With the hope that the WRAP seminar has given me, I’ve realized that difficulties, I am still having in my life currently. In fact I discussed the hopes and difficulties with my relatively new therapist today in our session. I showed her my WRAP and looked over it. In fact she wanted to make copies of it so it could be my “crisis plan” since its more person and recovery focused than the crisis plans the agency I am a consumer at are. I told her I would be more than willing for her to do so once I am finished with updating my WRAP.

Not only did my therapist and I discuss WRAP, we discussed how my first Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group went. I told her it went well and showed her my diary card.  As we discussed DBT and WRAP I started crying as I was feeling inadequate because I am not in a place in my life I am desiring to be at due to trying to get back into a good space in my recovery. A place to where I can go back to work.

When my therapist and I got on the topic of work I discussed with her about the two main reasons I took the WRAP 1 seminar. The first reason was to update my WRAP and get back into a recovery state of mind. The second reason is so I could take the WRAP 2 seminar for five days so I could become a WRAP facilitator. Becoming a WRAP facilitator will be great on the résumé and will be quite helpful for me in my career plans on going back into the mental health field.

The cool thing about my session today with my therapist is I found out that she will be a strong advocate for me and my treatment just like Diana was before she got sick. I was even expecting my therapist to bring up the topic of advocacy and being an advocate for me. Just like Diana, she informed me that she will be an advocate for me no matter what however, I also need to advocate for myself appropriately as well as be able to empower myself. She used me updating my WRAP as both self-empowerment and self-advocacy.

As difficult as things are, I am starting to see some hope. Or at least a small tiny light at the end of the of the tunnel. As I end this post, I want to let everyone know that no matter how difficult things are at the moment, things will get better. It might take longer than you want it to, like in my case but things will get better. Things do take time and sometimes they are longer than expected. Have a good rest of your evening everyone and Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

I’m going to keep this weekly check-in brief. I’m not feeling all that well and don’t really feel like blogging at the moment. Lets start with why I am not feeling well. I woke up extremely early this morning with right flank pain. (That’s pain in my back on the right side in the kidney area.) So, I took the bus first bus of the morning to go to the hospital. To find out, I have a double kidney infection with kidney stones added on top of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). UTI’s and kidney infections are nothing new to me but this is only the second time I’ve had kidney stones.  Not my idea of a fun weekend but it reminds me that I need to drink more water.

Since we are on the topic of health, I say my doctor almost two weeks ago to get blood test done to make sure nothing medically is causing my depression. To find out that I’m lacking Vitamin D which isn’t exactly helping with the depression. Its not 100% why my depression is acting up but it part of the reason why it is acting up so I am taking a once weekly Vitamin D supplement of 50,000 units. Yes, you read right; 50,000 units

On a plus note in regards to my depression, I started Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) yesterday. I’m looking forward to what DBT has to bring. I love the fact that its strict. Not as strict as the two year intensive outpatient DBT program I was in several years ago but strict enough to what I need. I’m glad that homework is a requirement. It will give me something else to focus on when I am struggling.

Speaking of struggling, I am struggling a little bit with both my depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the moment. I’m realizing the I am hungry and need to eat something. Making sure I eat on the regular basis and at least semi-healthy foods always seem to help even if its only a tiny bit. After I eat, I will do some of my DBT homework.

As I end this post I want to thank you for reading. I appreciate each and everyone of you even if it seems that all I do as of lately is bitch and complain. Again thank you for reading my blog. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon!!! This week hasn’t been all that eventful despite it being a busy week for me. Busy and uneventful is always a good thing when things haven’t been going all that well.

I saw my doctor on Monday to get blood work done. Blood work that would see if there is anything health wise that could be causing my depression to not improve. All the blood test came back “normal” except my Vitamin D levels. I’m now going to be on a prescription strength dose of Vitamin D instead of the over the counter supplement. I’m hoping this does the trick with at least improving the depression enough to where using my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills will be slightly more easier to use than they currently are.

Now that we are on the topic of DBT, I received a call on Wednesday from one of the clinicians from the agency I am a consumer (client) at, that my name finally came up to be able to attend one of the DBT groups there.  It’s only taken way too long but hey I’m glad I’m going to be able to attend. I do have to go through a screening process which I am pretty sure is not all that difficult to do since I went through the screening process at another agency to get into their two year intensive outpatient DBT program which I graduated from. The DBT group at the agency I am a consumer of is not as challenging as the one I graduated from but I’m okay with that since I am in need of a refresher. Yes, I would like it to be challenging and from my understanding it is slightly more challenging that it was the last time I took it. Just as long as being in DBT helps me get back to doing well, I don’t care how challenging it is.

A DBT skill that is challenging for me to do is the Self-Soothing skill and my new therapist is attempting to have me use this particular skill. When I saw her on Tuesday we discussed things that happened since the last time I saw her which led to an uncomfortable conversation for me. We talked about how I feel like I don’t deserve to self soothe. Self soothing is not exactly easy for me.

In fact I’ve been think great deal about self soothing since seeing my therapist and the many ways I actually do self soothe but don’t do enough. Music is the main way I self soothe and actually do this everyday by listening to it. Now playing my flute is extremely self soothing and don’t do enough of it. Hopefully I will make more of an effort to play my flute more.

Another self soothing skill that I tend to do and didn’t realize it was self soothing for me is art. The type of art I tend to do is color and/or collage with some drawing. I color and collage to self soothe and express myself. I tend to draw to express myself; usually when I am angry, scared or feeling like a scared child. I’m not very good a drawing but it sure helps when I’m not doing well. Now coloring and collaging I think I’m pretty good at and am grateful that is soothes me.

Talking about art brings me up to another thing I did this week and that was hanging out with my friend Susan from https://bravelybipolar.wordpress.com/ and her husband on Thursday. Susan does glass art. Actually, she does stained glass and I had her make me a piece which is quite lovely. We met up so I could get the stained glass piece she made me and we hung out for a couple of hours. We went to lunch and had some pretty awesome food.

Food always seems to be a major part of getting together with friends which brings me up to what I did yesterday. I hung out with two friends that I’ve known for the last two decades. We ate some pretty good food and the main topic of discussion was the books we are reading and/or just finished reading. During this get together with my two friends we realized that starting a book club with ourselves and a few other friends would be a good way to get together. In fact we thought it is the perfect excuse to get together. My two friends and I are thinking about asking two to three other individuals to join in this book club and hope to start it up sometime in mid to late September as many people go on vacation this time of year due to it being summer in my neck of the woods. September seems like the perfect time to start a book club as kids go back to school and people tend to have a more of a regular schedule.

Speaking of schedule’s, I need to get going. I need to go and eat. In fact my doctor wants me to eat on a more regular basis. As I end this post I hope all of you have a great weekend and enjoy the nice weather outside. Peace Out!!!

Fighting Off A Ton Of Bricks

I’m feeling frustrated with myself. I’m feeling frustrated because anytime I see any type of progress or improvement it appears that I fall and fall hard. Depression is hitting me like a ton of bricks and with a vengeance yet people in my life are helping me fight like hell to make sure it doesn’t win the fight.

The reason why my friends as well as my treatment team are fighting like hell along side with me against the depression is because two weeks ago, I attempted suicide on two separate occasions. The scary thing in all of this is that I haven’t attempted suicide in nine years which is of course is why everyone is concerned. For whatever reason, I didn’t end up on an inpatient psych unit which if I really look back on it, is concerning in itself but am grateful that I didn’t end up on an inpatient unit.

I’m grateful that I didn’t end up an inpatient unit for many reasons. The main reason is that it helps me, help myself without having someone readily available to depend on at all hours of the day and night.  Being able to not have people readily available in an instant has me focus on my DBT skills. Skills, I know that will help me and able to do not being on an inpatient unit because if I was on an inpatient unit I wouldn’t be able to use some of the skill most useful to me due to “safety” which I understand. Being part of an inpatient unit is to learn new skills as well as to practice the healthy skills you already have. If one cannot not practice healthy coping skills due to safety reasons how can one be able to practice them.

One such skill is listening to music on my  smart phone or Discman because both will require headphones. Headphones can be use to strangle yourself or someone else and understand why it’s a safety issue. Listening to music is one of the most helpful and useful skills I have. Listening to music helps me get myself in a better head space especially if I am highly escalated. If I’m highly escalated, listening to music puts me into a better head space to where I can come up with other skills that help me. In fact those other skills are usually are skills that bring out the creative side of me.

One such creative outlet also involves music. I play the flute and have been playing it since I was 12. I have never been the best at playing the flute nor have I claimed being a good flautist but its something I love to do. Playing the flute gives me a sense of self-confidence, I normally don’t have when I’m not playing it or any other musical instrument. In fact learning to play the harmonica and recorder also gives that same sense of self-confidence the flute does. Granted, learning to play a musical instrument is challenging but if it helps me get outside of myself as well as help with my self-confidence, then I’m going to accept the challenge.

Art is another creative challenge I take on as yet another skill that helps a great deal. My art form right now is collaging and coloring or combination of both. There is something soothing about looking through magazines, news papers and such searching for the right picture or word to cut out. Pasting the chosen cut outs onto a piece of paper and seeing it come into a piece of art is a thrill in of itself. Another thrill I get is seeing a finish coloring page. Looking at a colorful piece of art and knowing you created gives a person a sense of accomplishment.

On the topic of accomplishment, I get sense of accomplishment whenever I write. Whether I write via blogging, journaling, or a newsletter, its another outlet for me to be creative. I love to write. My love for writing is what helped me make the decision to start my blog. One of my favorite genre’s to write is poetry. Poetry helps me get what I need to get out emotionally. Since it helps me emotionally and I didn’t finish the Intro to Poetry course WordPress offers. The poetry course will not only help me emotionally, it will help me get back into the swing of things regarding blogging on the regular basis. Blogging on the regular basis will also keep you the reader more interested in checking on my blog more regular to see what I have to say. Another thing I like to do in regards to writing is to do writing prompts. Writing prompts can help one be more open with what is going on emotionally as the prompt can be one that has you write about something in real life. Prompts can also cause one to be creative and imaginative. Something that I am highly considering to do again is to start my weekly writing prompt as part of my blog.

As you can tell being creative is what ultimately helps me and being on an impatient unit can hinder me be creative for a number of reasons and most of them are legit. I am not condoning needing to be on an impatient unit as they are helpful and maybe I should have been hospitalized especially after the second attempt in matter of three days but am grateful I was not. In the last two weeks since the second attempt I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul searching. I found that I need to start being more creative and honest with myself.

Since I’m needing to be honest with myself, I realize I’m needing to end this post to start my going to bed routine. That includes watching the eleven o’clock news and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with a cup of hot tea. Have a good night everyone and peace out!!!

SIDE NOTE: I want to make it clear that I am NOT currently suicidal. I also want to make it clear that I am currently NOT experiencing any suicidal thoughts or suicide ideation.

Being Future Oriented

Dealing with a mental health condition is a full time job in itself. Some days its like having two full time jobs. Today happens to be one of those days it feels like I have two full time jobs. Actually, it feels more like having three full time jobs at this particular moment in time.

When I’m having moments or days like I am having currently, it means that I am needing to focus on my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills. As, I focus on my DBT skills I realize that being in my current head space that I am needing to really focus on what I need to deal to get back to doing well.

When I am doing well, I am working. Preferably, in the mental health field as it’s the field I am most passionate about. As, I think about future employment, I realize I want to further my education as it will be helpful in the mental health field. I being a peer specialist really don’t need a college education but it is quite helpful if you have one. So, it is my hope to be able to get an Associates of Applied Science degree in Social and Human Service’s with a certificate in Chemical Dependency. Getting this will make me more employable. Employable as a Peer Specialist or as a Chemical Dependency Counselor or even both.

As I think about getting an education to further my career it has me realize not working at this present moment has helped me reevaluate my life and focus on my recovery. Its also made me realize how passionate I am in regards to people being in recovery. Of course people make the decision to be in recovery and want to help others through their recovery however it looks to them.

For me blogging is part of my own recovery and as I end this post I want to thank you for reading. Thank you for reading. Peace Out!!!