Happy 4th Of July!!!

     Happy 4th of July!!! Today is Independence Day here in the United States of America. I am grateful for our Military Personal because if it wasn’t for them fighting for my freedom’s I wouldn’t be living in one of the best countries in the world. Thank you all for your service!!! 

     I worked today. Yes, that’s the unfortunate thing about working at a grocery store, having to work holidays, even Christmas and Thanksgiving. At least I get paid double time for working today. Today at work we weren’t just busy with our regular customers and customers preparing for their holiday celebrations but busy with a Jehovah Witness convention at a near by college/university football stadium. I guess it is a 3 day event. I didn’t realize this until I wished one of them a Happy 4th of July and it offended them. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. Sometimes I get frustrated with Political Correctness. See Jehovah Witness’s don’t celebrate holidays or birthdays and I can respect that because its a part of their religious beliefs. In fact I told on myself to my manager when I was told that I offend the person I was helping. My manager told me not to worry about it because we cant make everyone happy and that we cant know everyone’s religious beliefs unless they tell us or they wear a sign someone on their person.

     Yes, I will be celebrating the 4th of July. In fact I’m at my boyfriends parents house for a 4th of July party they are putting on. Their a lot of people here. Lots of food, fun, games and swimming. In fact my boyfriends parents house has a great view of where the fireworks are going to be shot off. My favorite part is always the fireworks. I do have to say that the firework show in the city I currently reside in is not as good as Disneyland’s fireworks. I grew up in Anaheim and was able to watch the Disneyland fireworks from my backyard, roof and even my front yard. I miss being able to watch the Disneyland fireworks every weekend. Disneyland’s firework show for the 4th of July is always their best firework show. Like I said I’m at my boyfriends parents house at the moment. I’m just taking a break from the crowd. It gets overwhelming at times especially since the symptoms of my PTSD are acting up. I figure that blogging will help ease the overwhelming feeling I am having at the moment. I am enjoying the food. I’m all about being All American when it comes to food on the 4th of July. Just give me a hot dog and I am happy. I had 3 hot dogs and plan on having a steak later on. I cant wait for the fireworks.

     Enough about the 4th of July for moment. I want to discuss the Co-Occurring Disorders training I attended for 3 days. We (me and the other trainee’s) learned about the science of the effects of addiction on the body and brain. I found the science part of it interesting. We also learned a new skill in the training called OPA. OPA stands for Organize. Prioritize. Act. It was created and copyrighted by Martin K. Abdo. To learn more about OPA I encourage you to go to his website http://www.opamentalhealth.com. I  have to say a disclaimer and that is if  that you want to do an OPA group in your practice or mental health agency that you contact Martin K. Abdo yourselves so he can train you to do it properly. In fact I can see myself doing the OPA skill in my everyday life. I learned so much from the training that I’m still trying to process everything I have learned. I guess you can say that I’m still on information overload. I’m grateful that now I can put the training on my resume’.

     Now that I have bored you with my day at work and celebration of the 4th of July as well as the 3 day training I attended, I’m going to end this blog for now. I hope I didn’t bore you with the events of my day and week. I am going to apologize for not blogging yesterday. I feel bad when I don’t blog everyday because I feel like if I don’t then I’m not helping fight the stigma of mental illness nor am I helping those who I struggling with a mental illness. I want to show those who struggle with a mental illness that there is hope and recovery is possible. I also want to show “normies” (normies is just term that means normal people) that people with mental illness live productive lives and are people just like them. I want to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. Well I better end this blog entry for now because I need to go show my face at the party again. Happy 4th of July everyone. Peace out and enjoy the fireworks.

Speaking Of…..

     Well, it another Monday evening and am reflecting on my day. Overall, it has been a good day. Today was my first day back to work after being on vacation for a week. I realized walking through the doors of my job this morning on how much I desperately needed my vacation last week despite the lack of structure. I guess maybe that lack of structure every once in awhile is a good thing.

     Speaking of structure, this current week is full of it. Today, worked and went to see my therapist. Tomorrow (Tuesday), Wednesday, and Thursday I am going to be in a training regarding Co-Occurring Disorders. I then work again on Friday and Saturday. I am looking forward to the training that I will be going to the next three days. I’m looking forward to it because it’s a subject that I am passionate about. Anything that has to with mental health and/or alcohol & drug addiction is something that I am passionate about. Maybe its because of my own issue with mental illness and witnessing my parents struggle with both metal illness and drug & alcohol addictions. My parents have co-occurring disorders. The difference between my dad and my mom is that my dad is seeking treatment and unfortunately my mom is not. It is tough on a family member when the person is choosing to not seek treatment especially when the family is in recovery themselves.

      Speaking of recovery, I saw my therapist today. We worked a little on my treatment plan. I wish the mental health system as a whole would change the wording from treatment plan to recovery plan. I wish this because it makes recovery more real to those who don’t think recovery is possible. When I was a teenager and young adult I struggled with the fact that recovery was possible. I struggled with working with my treatment today because of how I was feeling today. I was being hard on myself and felt like a failure because of where I am in life and where I think I should be in life. Diana (my therapist) being the stubborn woman she had me dig deep into myself which is quite difficult for me to do. She had me dig deep within myself because she knows I am capable of doing so. I am so grateful that Diana is just as stubborn as I am because I need that stubbornness at times such as today. She also has a fierce sense of humor like I do. I don’t know if my humor is as fierce as hers but I’m grateful non the less. Diana used that fierce sense of humor today during our session. Diana has been extremely invested in my recovery. It’s always nice to have a therapist invested in your recovery. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a therapist invested in your recovery especially in the community mental health system. In fact my therapist and I talked about my blog today. She doesn’t follow my blog but reads it daily even on her days off. In fact I was shocked when she said she read it everyday including her days off. I had asked her if she could read it every once in while to see if she can see how I am doing. We had talked about me starting a blog for a few months because I was so hesitant to start one. We talked about why I was so hesitant and how blogging could not only help others in their recovery process but could help in my recovery process as well. If it wasn’t for her encouragement as well as the encouragement of others I wouldn’t have started this blog.

     Speaking of blogging I think I should end this particular blog entry for now. Before I end this blog for now I want to say a few things regarding blogging. I am truly hoping that this blog is reaching the people I hope its reaching. I hope its reaching those struggling with mental illness because I want them to know that there is hope and recovery is possible. I also hope that it’s reaching “normal” (whatever the hell “normal” means) people because it is my hope that this blog can show them (“normal” people) that people with mental illness are living productive lives like they are. I hope that when “normal” people read this it lessens the stigma of mental illness. Well, I need to get going. I need to get up at 5:30 am pacific time to get ready for my training tomorrow. Enjoy the remaining 1 hour and 24 minutes that is left of your Monday. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and enjoy the summer heat.

Happy Sunday!!

     Happy Sunday, to everyone out there!! I am looking forward to this next week. Yes, I am actually looking forward to go back to work tomorrow even though there is a chance that I might feel differently tomorrow when I have to get up at 5 in the morning. I think part of the reason why I’m looking forward to work tomorrow is because I didn’t have much structure last week because I was on vacation. For me structure is good thing. In fact for most people who struggle with a mental illness structure is a good thing.

     I am also looking forward this next week because I am going to a three day training regarding Co-Occurring Disorders. I am hoping that this training will give me some insight on those who struggle with Co-Occurring Disorders. I’m also hoping that will look good on my resume’ because I am still looking for a job as a peer counselor. In all honesty, I enjoy learning new things and I think that is why I am looking forward to this training. Any type of education and/or training in the field I desire to be in is a good thing. In fact any type of education is a good thing.

     I have to admit as much as I am looking forward to going back to work as well as going to the training, I am getting a bit stressed out by how busy I am going to be this week. Even though I am get a bit stressed out by this week, I am looking at it in a positive way. I am looking at it in away that if I am able to make it through this next week without a day off then I know am meant to be a Peer Counselor. See, I work on Monday, Friday and Saturday and then on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I have the training. I most likely will have to work next Sunday and Monday as well so that means I wont have a day off till Tuesday, July, 8, 2014. But then again I wont get my work schedule for next week till Friday so I wont know if I have to work next Sunday or Monday till then. Even though I am bit stressed out I am using some relaxation skills as well as meditating. In fact I will be using relaxation technique’s through out the week as well as meditating. Relaxation techniques and meditation is not an easy thing for me to do. I figure they can only help throughout this next week no matter how difficult they are for me to do.

     I am hoping to blog about my training each day. If I am unable to blog each day regarding the training I will definitely blog about it at the end of the week. I just hope that this blog is reaching people. All, I want is to lessen the stigma of mental illness as well as show those who struggle with one that hope is out there and recovery is possible. I’m also trying to figure out how to reach more people with this blog. I should give this blogging thing more time. I have only been doing it for a month now.

     I should really get going and end this blog entry for now. I hope to blog again tomorrow after work and my therapy session. I hope everyone has a good week. Peace out and enjoy your week.

Comfort

     Hey, it’s still Saturday and its been good day. I did end up having a picnic by myself at my neighborhood park. The PB&J sandwich was absolutely delicious and comforting. Their something comforting about eating a PB&J sandwich. Not sure why PB&J sandwiches are so comforting but they are. In fact eating the sandwich helped me through a rough moment. The rough moment was dealing with the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD sucks a great deal. After eating my PB&J, I read some of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I am enjoying the book a great deal. 

      As, I was reading in my neighborhood park my mother called. My mom is not a very comforting person in my life. She says some pretty harsh and mean things to me in almost all of our conversations. In fact with my mom I have had to set boundaries with her calling me. In fact that day and time is Tuesday at 6pm. I did decide to pick up today when she called. Don’t get me wrong I love my mom but she is not a very nice person when she has been drinking and/or using. She is an alcoholic and drug addict. My moms parenting skills when I was growing up weren’t exactly the best. I answered the phone in hopes that maybe that she might be some comfort to me because of my PTSD symptoms acting up. Unfortunately, like usual, she was unable to comfort me like I’ve desired her to do my entire life. Sometimes you just need your mommy even as grown adult. She told me to “get over it because it happened decades ago.” Sorry but I wish I could “get over it.” When she told me to “get over it” I told her, “Mom, I love you and need to go. I will talk to you Tuesday.” Thankfully, she respected my boundaries and didn’t call me back.

     After getting off the phone with my mom I decided to call my boyfriend because I know he is comforting person. So I talked to him for about 15 minutes when we decided that I come over to his place. When I got here he held me for about 45 minutes. Sometimes being held is all I need. It helped a great deal. After being held my boyfriend cooked me my favorite dinner of mac & cheese, ham and corn on the cob. The meal he fixed me is my comfort meal. As he fixed me dinner, I called my little brother. We talked for about 20 minutes before he had to go and meet up with some of his friends. My brother is a sweet heart.

     My boyfriend finally finished making dinner and we of course ate it. After we ate we put on some music and ended up dancing. Dancing with my boyfriend in house is comforting. I’m thinking its because of the being held thing. Slow dancing requires being held in a way. I felt comforted by slow dancing with my boyfriend.

     When my boyfriend and I decided to stop dancing we put on some Nirvana and did a jigsaw puzzle. We both love music and jigsaw puzzles. Music is quite comforting to me. Their something quite comforting about Nirvana’s music and the lyrics to the songs. In fact we had the music up loudly because in our opinion Nirvana deserves to be played loudly. We finished the puzzle and decided to watch a movie.

      We watched the movie Finding Nemo. Watching a Disney movie is always comforting for some reason. We finished the movie at about 11:15pm when I turned on the 11 o’clock news and started this particular blog. My boyfriend is baking some chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. My boyfriend know that chocolate is quite comforting to me. Hell, chocolate is quite comforting to many women if not all women. He also knows that homemade chocolate chip cookies are comforting to me. He is baking them because he knows that I need all the comfort I can get today due to my PTSD symptoms acting up.

      Well, the 11 o’clock news is now over and Saturday Night Live is now on. I love SNL because its hilarious. Humor brings me comfort as well. Can you tell that I’ve been talking about comfort in this blog. I needed all the comfort I could get today because of my stupid PTSD. Sometimes all we need is comfort and today was one of those days I needed it. I still do.

      I best be ending this blog entry for now. I want to cuddle with my boyfriend while watching SNL as the cookies and cupcakes finish baking. Cuddling with my boyfriend is also comforting. I hope you all enjoy the last 15 minutes of your Saturday. Peace out and goodnight all.

The Return Of Reality

     Happy Friday everyone!! The return of reality is here. What I am trying to say is my vacation is about over. Yes, I am little sad its about over however I am quite happy to be getting back into the swing of things. Structure is key for many people who struggle with mental illness. That what my job does for me; it gives me structure even though I do not like my current employment. I am not a big fan of my schedule next week. I only get 13.5 hours next week and am not scheduled for Sunday. I normally work 20 hours a week so I’m a little frustrated that I get so few hours. Since I have Sunday off that means I don’t get Sunday pay. If you work Sunday you get time and a third. It sucks that I don’t work Sunday but at least I work on Friday which happens to the 4th of July. I get holiday pay for work the 4th of July. For me that means I get double time. I guess the silver lining in my schedule is that I get holiday pay and extra day off. I am hoping that they ask me to work longer on one of the days I work. I will take them up on it if they do.

     Another reality is that I am going to be extremely structured this week. More structured than I normally am. I am going to a three day training regarding co-occurring disorders. This training if for those already certified as peer counselors. Even though I am not employed as a peer counselor yet, I figure going to this training will look good on a job resume’. Plus when I do get a job as a peer counselor this training will help me better to help those who struggle with co-occurring disorders. I am looking forward to this training and hope that I have time to breathe this next week.

    Yes, this next week will quite busy for me but am quite grateful to be getting back into the swing of things. Getting back to reality is how I like to say it because its true. When I have too much time on my hands like this week my reality is making sure I plan things to do or the lack of structure can lead to symptoms of my mental illness acting up. Thankfully, I had some structure to not have my symptoms act up.

     I am grateful that my mental illness is stabilized. I am beyond grateful that I am recovery. I will continue to do the recovery thing no matter how difficult it may be. Recovery is a lifelong journey. My reality is strongly connected to my recovery. The reality of being in recovery means the world to me.

     Speaking of reality, I need to get going. It’s 10:00 pm (pacific time) and haven’t had much to eat today. So, my boyfriend is reheating leftovers for the both of us to eat. The food is almost done being reheated and I should go and eat. I will end this blog entry for now. Enjoy the remaining 3 hours of Friday. Peace out and enjoy your weekend.

Becoming an Advocate For Mental Illness

     Today, I’ve been thinking a great deal about advocacy and mental illness. How does one become an advocate for those who struggle with a mental illness. Usually it’s because the person themselves struggles with mental illness or has a friend or loved one with a mental illness. Then their are those people who choose to be advocates for the mentally ill out of the kindness of their hearts. Most of those who do it out of the kindness of their hearts are usually the professionals like Social Workers, Therapist, Psychologists, etc.. Advocacy for mental health has been out there in world for a while now

     I’ve always been an advocate for myself and my mental health struggles even if I wasn’t aware of it especially in the early years of the diagnosis’s as well as in the height of my struggles with mental illness. It wasn’t until the last two or three years that I’ve realized that I was advocating for other with mental illness and was good at it. In fact the being good at it part was pointed out to me. The realization of advocating for those with mental illness is part of the reason why I started volunteering at a homeless shelter that specializes in those who struggle with mental illness and/or drug & alcohol addictions. Plus the advocating realization is the reason why I got my Peer Counselor certification. Being a peer counselor is basically being an advocate for them and showing your fellow peer who is struggling how to advocate for themselves. I may not be employed as a peer counselor yet but that doesn’t mean I cant still advocate for those who are not able to advocate for themselves yet.

    That is why I have decided to embark on a new journey. Well it’s not so much a new journey but a continuation of the journey I’m already on. I mailed in a volunteer application to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I also emailed a volunteer application to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I did this because I want to speak up for those who are not able to speak up for themselves. I know it might sound like I am taking a lot on especially since I got an email about an hour ago saying that my volunteer application for a local peer run Warm Line was received and asked to attend a training for it in late July through August but all this feel right for me at the moment. Yes, I’m working at a job I don’t like and am looking for a job as a peer counselor however all this that I am doing feels like its what I am suppose to be doing. Maybe it is a lot to take on at one time and its something to think about as well as discuss it with my therapist and other people in my life that support me. Yes, my boyfriend thinks I’m doing what is right for me and what is right for those who struggle with mental illness.

     Another thing I am going to be doing is writing the politicians who represent me and the area I live in. I’m hoping that the politicians I write or email will listen to what I have to say in regards to mental illness and treatment or in a lot of cases the lack of treatment. Lack of treatment is a big issue. Boarding in E.R’s have become a major issue for those who have been involuntarily committed because there are not enough beds. See, now I am getting on a soap box. This is why it is my hope that someone listens to people like me who want better mental health care for those struggling with mental illness.

     Now that I have bored you with my hopes regarding becoming an advocate for those who struggle with mental illness I am going to end this particular blog entry. I am sorry it is so long. It is my desire that some day the stigma that goes along with having a mental illness with be eliminated. Well, have a good rest of your Thursday evening and hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out all.

It’s Hump Day (aka Wednesday)

     Happy Hump Day!!! Well, I didn’t go to my volunteer job today because I am on vacation from work. I make it a policy that if I am on vacation from work I am on vacation from my volunteer jobs. I do have to say that I missed going to my volunteer job because it gives me a sense of purpose that my paid job doesn’t. Of course most anything has more meaning and purpose than bagging groceries at grocery store as a paid job. I love my volunteer job, serving coffee and handing out hygiene/shower items at a homeless shelter. I missed volunteering today. I wish I would have gone today because I missed last week because of burning my fingers a week ago and I’m going to miss next week. In fact missing my volunteer shift next week is going to be a good thing.

     The reason why missing my volunteer shift next week is because I am taking a training in Co-Occurring Disorders. In fact this training for those who have already been Certified as Peer Counselors and since I am Certified as a Peer Counselor, I qualify to take the training. Even though I’ve been officially certified for 9 1/2 months now I still don’t have a job as a peer counselor. I figure that taking this training in Co-Occurring Disorders will be beneficial for me in many ways. One of those ways it will beneficial to me is that in will increase my knowledge. Another way it will be beneficial to me is that it will look good on a resume’. Yes, I know working at my current employer for the last 9 years as bagger at grocery store looks good on a resume’ but I’m hoping that taking this Co-Occurring Disorders training will help my resume’ look better.

     Lets get on another topic before I get frustrated with myself with feeling stuck at the same job for 9 years that seems to be going nowhere for me. Hmm…I want to get on the topic of soccer (football to the rest of the world). Tomorrow my boyfriend and I are going to watch the USA play against Germany in the World Cup. In fact my boyfriend is going to make me breakfast tomorrow morning to eating during the World Cup. He keeps asking me what I want to have for breakfast tomorrow and I am not sure at the moment. My boyfriend is so sweet because he wants to make a “date” out of watching the World Cup tomorrow morning. That’s partly why he wants to make me breakfast; to make it more “date like.”  He makes me feel so special. He makes me feel like I’m the only person in the world. Getting back on topic of the World Cup. I am crossing my fingers that the USA beats Germany tomorrow.

     Well I best be going because my boyfriend just finished up with making me dinner. He also baked some chocolate cupcakes. Yummy!! I love chocolate. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a great rest of your Wednesday. Peace out and enjoy your summer!!