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.

Enjoying Training

     Happy Wednesday!!! I want to apologize for not blogging yesterday. I got busy yesterday. I went to the training yesterday then went to a barbeque at friends place with my boyfriend. It got warm yesterday and was more than grateful that the barbeque my boyfriend and I went to had a swimming pool. It got warm yesterday and I loved the warm weather.

      Well I’m learning a great deal in the co-occurring disorders training I am attending. I feel like I’m on information overload. I am enjoying the training a great deal. I’m making new friends as well. I am grateful that I am able to go to this training. Yesterday we learned about the science of addiction as well as how it effects the brain. Today we learned a good way to help those with co-occurring disorders. Tomorrow I think we are learning group techniques.

      I’m a little tired and want to share more about my training but like I said I am on information overload regarding what I am learning in the co-occurring disorders training. Plus the way the change to the way it looks when you are typing the blog has thrown me for a loop and I’m not sure why. Maybe its cause I am so tired. Anyway, I don’t have much more to say. I just hope that all the tags I put in appear. I’m still trying to get a hang of this blogging thing. Have a good night all. Enjoy the last 2 hours and 14 minutes of your Wednesday. Peace out!!

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.

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.