Poetry, Day Three: Friend

Untitled Poem

by Gertie

Looking back on life,

its the friends that helped me through the rough moments.

Friends that have become family

and accepted me as me;

no matter what life throws at us

our friendship will always

be strong.

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Introduction: Mama Bear

Hello! Let me introduce myself. I am who Gertie refers to as Mama Bear. As you know, Gertie has asked me to be a contributor to her blog. I will be sharing my personal experience on what it is like to be a support system to someone who struggles  with a mental illness.

I have been asked to also share my experience on what it is like to be a parent of two children who are diagnosed with a mental illness. I may consider Gertie like a daughter, I have four other children. Two of which I had biologically and two of which I adopted. It is my adopted children that have a diagnosed mental illness. Not only will I be sharing my experience of what its like to be the support system of someone who struggles with a mental illness and being the parent of two children with a mental illness, I will be discussing what it is like to be a first responder who deals with the mentally ill.

I have known Gertie for nearly 16 years and have seen her grow. Grow in ways that many of us didn’t think could happen. We didn’t think it could happen because Gertie was so close to death due to multiple suicide attempts that we didn’t think should would make it. Gertie’s will and determination to start recovery and to remain in recovery is what has helped to get to the place she is in now. She is doing awesome. She is following her dreams of being in a romantic relationship with my colleague, Junior as well as working as a Peer Specialist to help show others recovery is possible.

I thank you for reading. I hope to post as often as I am able with being a working mother to four children and a motherly figure Gertie needs.

Mama Bear

It’s Been An Interesting But Good Wednesday

     It’s been an interesting but good Wednesday. Today didn’t start out all the pleasant. I woke up with a nightmare. Waking up to nightmares sucks big time.

     Shortly after I woke up from a nightmare this morning I got a call from a childhood friend. My friend ended up calling me at 4:30 in the morning pacific time. She forgot that she is three hours ahead of me. That means it was 7:30 her time. Anyway it was good to talk to her. Its always good to reminisce. She updated me with her life as I updated her with my life.

     As I told you all yesterday, I applied for a position as Consumer Aide. Well, I got a call this morning asking if I could come in for an interview tomorrow. The thing is I got the call for the interview 23 hours after I sent the email. It’s extremely rare to get call back for an interview so soon much less get an interview 48 hours after sending in a résumé’ and cover letter. I am a little nervous about the job interview but I am confident that it will go well even if I don’t get the job. I know that a Consumer Aide isn’t exactly a Peer Specialist position but its a start in the right direction. Maybe it will help me eventually get a Peer Specialist job in the future. I just  hope that I am not getting my hopes set too high. I am just frustrated that I’m in a job that I don’t like and am eager to move on to another job. I really hope I get the job because I’ve been employed at the same employer for nine years now and it getting a little old and boring at times. The cool thing is that I already know what I am going to wear to my interview because I have an outfit that I wear to most of my interviews.

     Enough about my job interview. I volunteered today. I told the staff at the homeless shelter that I have an interview tomorrow and they wished me luck. If I get the job I will have to quit my volunteer job because the agency that runs the shelter  runs the transitional/supportive housing site I applied to. That’s okay because I believe in what the agency does. The staff are happy for me and the hope I get the job even though it means I will not be able to volunteer at the shelter. If I get the job I will miss the clients in the shelter but I know that I will get to know and enjoy the clients at the transitional housing site I might be employed at. Part of the reason why I got the interview is because I volunteer at the agency and have been employed at my current employer for nine years. I really enjoy working with the homeless population. I was able to talk with one of my favorite clients for about a half an hour today. I know we aren’t suppose to have favorites but its kind of difficult not to at times. I really enjoy volunteering at the homeless shelter.

     Speaking of volunteering, I start training for another volunteer job in about two weeks. Its for a local peer run Warm Line. I am looking forward to it. The training is two days week for four hours each day for about six weeks. They want to make sure we get the proper training if we are going to be taking calls for a peer run Warm Line. Talking with people who struggle with mental illness is not an easy thing especially if there is the potential that the caller might be suicidal.

    Anyway I need to get going. My boyfriend is barbequing for a goodbye party for one of my elderly neighbors who is moving in with one of her children in a different state. My boyfriend said he would be willing to come over and barbeque for the going away party. I need to help out before others start showing up to say goodbye the elderly neighbor.

    I hope to blog again tomorrow and tell you how my job interview went. I really hope I get the job. Like I said I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and enjoy the rest of you Wednesday evening.

Stuffing Equals Explosion

     Hello! Its another Monday and it was a tough one. If you regularly read my blog or follow it you are aware that I work Monday mornings and see my therapist in the afternoons. Work went as well as can be expected when you are dealing with the public.

     The rough part of the day came when I saw my therapist Diana. When Diana came out to get me she asked me to wait so she could refill her coffee then we had to wait for the room she signed up for because it was still being used. I got frustrated because we started late again. I was already frustrated that last Wednesday my appointment with my shrink started ten minutes late and lasted only ten minutes when its suppose to last 20 minutes. I told Diana that I didn’t have the patients to wait for our session to start late again. See the last two month our sessions had been starting late and some of them being cut short by five to ten minutes and I finally had it. I tend to stuff things to where I explode. If I explode I end up doing one of two things. I either cut myself (which I DID NOT DO) or get angry and yell at the person if I feel safe with that particular person. That’s what I did. Once we finally got into the room I went off on her. When I said I went off, I started to cry and then I ended up yelling. Diana calmly told me to stop yelling and I eventually did after about 7 or 8 minutes. To tell you the truth I am extremely ashamed that I yelled at Diana. Diana realized that I had been stuffing this anger regarding starting our sessions late and felt bad that she didn’t realize how bad it bothered me when I briefly brought it up a few weeks ago. Diana acknowledged that it took a great deal of strength on my part to not cut in-between sessions and to be able to feel safe enough with her that I could yell at her. We discussed how we could fix starting on time and how some things are beyond ones control. We also discussed how I felt that I and my time were not being respected. Most importantly we discussed how my yelling could be considered Borderline behavior. We discussed how I’m fighting with myself internally on not giving up on myself and making sure the Borderline doesn’t appear again. More or less it old Gertie verses Gertie in recovery. I don’t want to be old Gertie or “crazy” Gertie. I have worked so hard to not meet the criteria for Borderline that its a fight against myself to continue to not meet the criteria. Diana assured me that this one “explosion” is not  going to qualify  me to meet the criteria for Borderline. It will take a lot more to meet the criteria for Borderline again. Honestly, I am grateful that we were able to talk it out so I don’t hold any resentment toward her. We have bee working together for five and half years and she has helped a great deal in my recovery process. With all that being said our session ended a lot better than it started.

    On the bus ride home I read a Wonder Woman graphic novel. For some reason when I have a rough moment with my anger I tend to read Wonder Woman. Maybe its because reading Wonder Woman gets me out of my own head. Maybe it chills me out.

    When I got home I contacted a friend to see if she would have time tomorrow or Wednesday to help me write a cover letter for a Consumer Aide position. It’s not exactly what I am looking for but it is a step in the right direction to become a Peer Support Specialist. She said she would be more than willing to help me.

   After talking to my friend regarding helping me with a cover letter I came to my boyfriends place where he made me dinner. He barbequed some hamburgers and put lots of cheddar cheese on them.  We also had strawberry short cake for dessert. Now we are watching the 10 o’clock news as I blog and he emails a friend of his.

    I should get going. I just wanted to let you all know that I still struggle a bit from time to time. I just want to show those really struggling with a mental illness that recovery is possible and there is hope. Well have a good rest of your Monday. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and good night.

Just A Brief Blog For Now

     As I am blogging this Tuesday evening I am sitting in the Emergency Room waiting room because my dad had a seizure. Right now he is getting a MRI. I have had many MRI’s and they are not fun. I’m in the waiting room of the E.R because it’s the only place I can get Wi-Fi. I told my dad that when he gets back to the room to let his nurse know so she can come get me. In fact his nurse if friend of mine from the high school I graduated from. She was one of the few people who stuck up for me in high school when I got bullied. She also helped me with my homework. More or less she tutored me. Now back to my dad. I think he will be okay. Their is the possibility that he might have to stay overnight for observation. He usually does stay over for observation when he has a seizure. My dad has had a multitude of test so far this evening due to his seizure. I hope they just make up their minds if they are going to keep or let him go.

     In fact I was suppose to go to a baseball game this even with a friend but my dad ended up in the E.R and well he is more important than a baseball game. My friend understands and was able to find someone else go with her on such short notice. I am grateful that she was able to find someone on such notice because then her money isn’t wasted.

     Well I best be going. I hope to blog later on when I am home. I hope to let you know how my dad is doing. I love my dad so much. He raised me with the help of my grandparents. I will blog again later. Peace out and enjoy the summer.

It’s Been An Interesting Day

     Good Monday Evening!!! Today has been an interesting day. On my bus ride to my appointment with my therapist, a fellow passenger passed out because he was so drunk. Of course the bus driver had to stop the bus and check on the dude. The bus driver had to call the police as well as the fire department. The police showed up as well as the fire engine and paramedics. As the firefighters were trying to help the drunk dude came to and hit one of them. The police then tackled the guy and with the help of the paramedics and other firefighters he was handcuffed to the gurney and put in the back of the ambulance. Of course myself and the other passengers had to give witness statements to the police. Finally after everyone gave their statement the bus was on its way again. I got off at my bus stop and walked about a half mile to my appointment. On the walk from the bus stop to my appointment I found $20. Finding money is a rare thing for me.

     I of course made it to my appointment with my therapist on time. In fact I was 45 minutes early. I’m usually an hour early due to OCD tendencies. While waiting for my therapy appointment the admin assistant got me my stuffed Eeyore that I have my therapist hold for me so when I am waiting to see her I can hold on to him. My stuffed Eeyore also sits in on my sessions with me because its easier to talk with a stuffed animal to hold. As I was holding Eeyore, in the waiting room I pulled out a Wonder Woman graphic novel to read. If you are a regular reader or follower of my blog you know I am a huge Wonder Woman fan. About 15 minutes before my session an old high school friend walks into the waiting room of the mental health clinic I see my therapist at. This high school friend was seeking therapy for the first time in her life. She of course was seeing a different clinician. It was nice to “catch up” with an old friend.

    My session with my therapist Diana was quite draining. We discussed what happened on the bus then I pulled out 3 copies of what I wanted to go into my treatment plan. Of course many of things I want to work on can be condensed and we did that. In fact it was getting a bit overwhelming for me. We had to take a break from it and we talked about why it was overwhelming. I had come to the conclusion that I’ve been defined by my mental illness so long that it scares me what it would be like to not be “crazy.” Diana my therapist says that I’ve dealt with my mental illness for so long that now that I am walking in recovery I’m learning what its like to not be “crazy.” She also says that I’m in the process of redefining on who I am. She is absolutely correct. I am redefining who I am. Recovery from a mental illness is difficult work. I still have a great deal to work through so I am no where done with needing treatment but I am an active participant in my treatment planning. I still have to work through all the trauma I’ve been through when I was a child as well as an adult. That’s going to be a long process. So Diana and I still need to finish working my treatment/recovery plan and we both hope that we can continue to work on in in the next session next Monday. I never knew how draining it would be. Working on changing for the better is not only draining and difficult but a good thing. (Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym for my therapist)

   So after my therapy appointment I took the bus home. Thankfully nothing eventful happened on my bus ride home. In fact on my bus ride home, I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I am really enjoying the book. It’s going to take me awhile to read it due to my dyslexia but that is okay with me. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy reading.

   As I am blogging right now, I am at my boyfriends house. He is fixing me dinner. He is a good cook. Not as good as my grandma but good enough. He cooks better than me and I love to cook. Hell, my boyfriend loves to cook as well. He learned to cook from his mom. I learned to cook from my dad and grandma. My paternal grandpa is not a very good cook. My maternal grandpa was an awesome cook. Anyway, my boyfriend is making me spaghetti. I love spaghetti. I should get going. I want to see if my boyfriend will let me help him finish cooking. After dinner we are going to watch a movie. Not sure what movie but it’s going to be a comedy.

   Well, I best be going. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a good rest of the evening. Enjoy the rest of your Monday. Well at least enjoy the 4 hours that’s left of Monday. Peace out and enjoy life.