A Reminder of Where I Want To Be, Again

Good Evening, World!!! It has been a long yet rewarding day. As I have been writing about with you, my reader, I attended a continuing education training. Most of it was common sense stuff while some was review from other trainings. Even though most of it was a refresher for me however I did learn a couple of new things.

Most of what I learned that was new to me was what other agencies do in regards to ethics and boundaries when it comes to a Peer Specialist. Another thing that wasn’t much of surprise to me but just confirmed what already knew what that there isn’t a “set in stone” code of ethics for Peer Specialist nationally. Mainly because there is a massive gray area being a Peer Specialist.

Attending today was bittersweet because it reminded me of what I am currently at which is not a good space to be working with people who to, are struggling with their own mental health struggles. However, it also got me to thinking about my future. A future that will help further my career in the mental health field. I’m hoping to go back to school. I want to get my Associates Degree in Social and Human Services and hope to get a Bachelors Degree in Applied Behavioral Science. In order to do this I  need to do a few things first and hopefully when those are done I can be back in school in Spring of 2018.

As hopeful as I am toward my future at the moment, I need to focus on the here and now. The here and now means I need to eat and spend time with Junior. Yes, that means I’m ending this blog post for now. I hope that everyone had a good Monday. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon, World!!! If you been reading my blog on the regular basis you know that I have been struggling with the symptoms of my mental health condition. You may have noticed that I have making an effort to blog on the more regular basis. I’m doing this for a multitude of reasons. One is to keep you, the reader, interested in continuing to read my blog. Two, is more of the selfish part of me blogging and an unexpected bonus I didn’t realize was going to happen when I started is that its helping me with my recovery. I have many other reasons I am making an effort to blog more regularly however I am sure those reasons will bore you.

As you are aware that this past week has been a challenging one for me. Challenging in many ways yet I managed to get through some of them with creativity. Creativity in the ways of art and poetry. The main way I did both my art and poetry this past week was collaging and I really enjoyed it. I think its something I’ll continue to do on the regular basis.

Something that appears to be happening on the regular basis for me especially over the last two weeks and I haven’t even been trying is advocating. I’ve had several people inform me in the past two weeks is that I am really good at advocacy including self-advocacy. I don’t know about being good at advocacy especially when it comes to self-advocacy, I just do and say what I think needs to be done. If that’s advocacy then so be it.

I bring up the self-advocacy up because I was signed up to take a continuing education training for peers. A continuing education course I signed up for several months ago. I was informed yesterday (Friday) that I was waitlisted due to the fact that I’m not employed as a peer currently and priority goes to employed peers. I understand this full well and would have let it go and not advocated for myself if I was informed sooner. See, the continuing education training is this Monday and I made arrangements and rearranged appointments to be able to attend it. So, since I was informed on such short notice I thought it would be best to email the folks putting on the training. Since I advocated for myself and the training ending up in a “slightly bigger room” the folks doing the training said I could attend. I realize they couldn’t do this for everyone on the waitlist and won’t be able to this for me in the future however I am grateful that they made an exception for me. In fact the folks putting on the training informed me on who was doing the training happens to be someone I did a continuing education training with a few years ago. A person I have become friends with. I am looking forward to seeing them on Monday.

Now that we are on the topic of friends, two of my friends decided that I needed a girls night out. Or in this case a girls night in. They decided this because I’ve been isolating myself due to an increase of symptoms in my depression. I’m thrilled that they were persistent in their efforts to get me out of my apartment. We ended up at one of my friends places to watch the Seattle Mariners play against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I did have a good time with my friends even though they were rooting for the wrong baseball team. Actually, I’m just living in the wrong city but I love this city I’m living in. I just have to deal with getting a hard time on occasion when I root for particular sports teams.

Looks like I’ve pretty much told you how my week has gone. That means I’m at the end of my blog post. I hope to blog again tomorrow however if I don’t, I’ll make sure I do on Monday evening. I want to share with you how the continuing education training goes. I hope that everyone has a good rest of their weekend. Peace Out!!!

 

Girls Night In

Good Evening, World!!! As, I sit here blogging, I’m with two of my closest friends watching a baseball game on television even though its being played in the city we live in. My friends decided to have a girls night to help me get from isolating myself and I am grateful for them for it.

As I mentioned my friends and I are watching a baseball game on television. We are watching the Seattle Mariners play at home against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I am rooting for the Angels because they are my home team while my two friends are rooting for their home team, the Mariners (fondly known as the M’s). Its the top of the 9th inning and the Angels are a head 6 to 5 at the moment.  Well, now its the bottom of the 9th inning. Same score as stated earlier.

As part of girls night we had the typical ballpark favorites. We had hot dogs, cracker jacks, peanuts, popcorn, Pepsi and lets not forget Seattle’s favorite at any sporting event of garlic French fries. We are now eating ice cream sundaes. Oh how I love ball park food.

Mariners are now up at the bottom of the 9th. Two outs and the score is Angels 6 and Mariners 5. I really want the Angels to win. Baseball is my one of my favorite sports to watch. It actually helps me get outside of my head.

And the Angels WIN. Woo Hoo!!! I am so happy they won.

Like I was saying watching baseball helps me. It helps me get out of my head. It helps me be able to not isolate. For instance, my friends I may not have attended the game tonight but it helped me not isolate because my friends and I watched on television.

I need to get going so I can spend time with my friends to continue girls night in. Have waonderful night everyone. Peace Out, World.

Fighting With Myself

I’m fighting within myself. Fighting against the old behavior creepy back in (as mentioned in my last post). Fighting against urges to self-harm. Fighting to stay alive.

A fight I feel all alone in yet I’m not fighting alone. I’m not fighting this alone because I have a partner that loves me and friends that care about me that are by my side. Having people in my life that are helping me fight this fight is what is helping me make the limited good choices I am making in my life. Choices that I wish were easy for me to make but are difficult to do so due to the fact my symptoms are high.

As I deal with difficulties with my symptoms I realize that there are only so much Junior and the rest of my natural supports are able to do. I feel like I am burden to them and my treatment team even though I’m sure I am not a burden to them. I just don’t want to be in constant crisis or have those closest to me worry about me regarding weather or not I’m going to act on urges to self-harm.

Speaking of safety and urges to self-harm, I want to make you aware that if I was going to act on those urges, I would be taking myself to the Emergency Room (E.R) instead of blogging about it.  Yes, I might blog about having urges to self-harm and maybe even blog about acting on self-harm urges but I will never put you my reader (or even WordPress) in a place to where you feel the need to contact someone (WordPress, the police, fire department, etc.) because you fear I might be a danger to myself. If I am ever a danger to myself, I promise I will go to an E.R or call 911 and not put that responsibility on you or the folks at WordPress. Currently, I am NOT a danger to myself and won’t harm myself in any way.

Since you my reader know that I won’t put the burden of needing to contact someone due being a danger to myself, lets get back to the topic at hand. The topic of fighting with myself and those who are helping with that fight. In fact one of those people who are helping with the fight is Junior. The way he is helping me fight the fight is he is making me a late lunch. I really haven’t been eating much lately and since food is the key to being healthy, Junior is making me a late lunch. He is a great cook. Not exactly sure what Junior is making me but I am pretty sure it will be good.

With people like Junior in my life helping fight this fight to get better gives me some hope. Not much hope but some. Enough to give me the strength to carry on. Part of recovery is having hope even if its the slightest hope. Sometime that hope comes from the love of a partner or caring friends or a tattoo. Yes, I said tattoo in giving me hope.

I currently have two tattoo’s. Both of my tattoo’s are related to my recovery and give me hope. My semi-colon tattoo is reminder that my story isn’t over yet. My butterfly is a reminder of no matter how dark things are at the moment things will become beautiful again. The butterfly is also a symbol of hope that not matter how dark things are, things will get better. So, yes my tattoo’s give me hope and help me fight the fight.

Another thing that is helping fight off the urges of self-harm and other old behaviors is music. Music is the one thing that has helped me throughout my life. Music has always given me hope. A hope to carry on.

Even though I have some hope, I am getting sick of fighting off the old behavior, self-harm urges and the symptoms of Depression and PTSD. I hope that the food Junior is done making for me will help me fight the fight when I am finished eating it.

Yes, that means I should get going so I can get something to eat. Hopefully, the food helps even just a little. I will keep you updated on how things are. If I am unable to do so then Mama Bear and/or Junior will post on how I am doing. I hope that everyone has a good day. Don’t forget to take the time to appreciate the folks you have in your life. I know I appreciate Junior and my friends as they have been a major support to me especially in recent months. Peace out!!!

(SIDE NOTE: I’m NOT currently as risk of self-harming despite having urges to do so. I’m NOT currently suicidal.)

Feeling Unheard by Those In My Corner

Good Evening, World!!! Today, was not as productive as I was hoping it would be. Or at least in regards to being heard by my treatment team. See, I two appointments today with my mental health treatment team. One was with my new psychiatric nurse practitioner and the other was with my case manager.

Let’s start with the first appointment which was with my new nurse practitioner. I was informed on Friday to show up 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. I show up to my one o’clock appointment 20 minutes early realizing that the program I am a part of goes to lunch at 12noon and well, I had a one o’clock appointment so how was I suppose to fill out this “paperwork” they wanted. Turns out the dude calling me “miscommunicated” with me because he is “new and a fill-in” for the regular admin. asst. So, when the office opened back up after lunch, I informed the admin. asst. (who was a fill-in) that was there to see the psychiatric nurse practitioner. She didn’t inform him till 1:17pm when he walked through the front door apologizing for being late. The admin. asst. failed to call earlier saying the ARNP was going to be running late and failed again to communicate this with me when I checked-in. I was noticeably upset and told him that being late is not a great first impression. He then informed me that I was suppose to be notified about it. Long story short he is a no nonsense person and this is what I need for my treatment and recovery. The appointment ended on a positive note.

I then saw my case manager and it started on a positive note while it ended on a negative note. It end on a negative note because of not what my crisis plan says regarding not being able to use Mama Bear or Junior as part of my safety planning. I was trying to understand why I am unable to use them yet able to use others. Her response made me even more confused yet I know she was only abiding what the “supervisors” informed her on why its there. She really is trying but I’m feeling like I’m not being heard. I may feel like a lot of my treatment plan and crisis plan is crossing my personal boundaries but I understand why some what’s in my treatment and crisis plans are in place and that is boundaries. Its just that when it comes to not being able to use Junior or Mama Bear as part of my safety planning, it crosses too much over my boundary lined when it comes to my recovery. I literally asked “Why is it that I’m not allowed to cross your boundaries or the boundaries of other staff but you guys are allowed to cross mine?” The look she gave me when I asked that question was priceless. It showed of great point, empathy and compassion. I was upset that she said that if her supervisor was available that I could talk to him about it. She checked and he was not available due to dealing with an emergency. I left him an angry voicemail and then came home.

I’m still fairly angry over the situation and am grateful that I have friends that give me reality checks. Reality checks that helped me realize that my case manager’s look was that of her hearing my point even in the slightest. Having friends that care and partner that loves me is helping me get through this feeling of being unheard.

Despite feeling unheard my treatment team I know that my both my case manager and relatively new therapist are in my corner. The both have proven this to me by advocating for me. Advocating me in different ways for me but still advocating. If it wasn’t for my case manager I would have gotten stuck with a female psychiatric nurse practitioner instead of a male. I have nothing against female prescribers, I just want a male prescriber so I can start trusting men in a therapeutic relationship. My therapist has advocated for me regarding something regarding my treatment plan. So, I may feel unheard and unsupported by a couple of things at the moment by my treatment team, I know they are in my corner.

As I end this post, I hope it doesn’t sound like I am bad mouthing my treatment team because that’s not my intent. My intent is to share my frustration of not being heard and not being about to comprehend a couple thing right now. 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!!!

4th of July, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!!! Today, is Independence Day here in the United States. Independence Day in the United States is where we celebrate the birth of our country after declaring our independence from England.

As Americans celebrate Independence Day, I can’t help but think about the contentious political climate especially with the current administration. Many Americans are quite passionate about many things including their views on politics. Unfortunately, many Americans fear that this could be one of the last Impendence Day celebrating their freedom (and independence) due to the current administration.

With the current political climate that’s why the 4th of July celebration I am going to at a friends house, politics won’t be discussed today. This coming from a friend who loves to discuss politics. Anyway, I’m going to be going my friend’s 4th of July celebration later on today with Junior. Like any summer holiday, there will be food and lots of it. I’m looking forward to it because it will get me out of my head as well as spending time with good friends. Friends who have been there for me during this very long patch of distress.

Friends who will help me through today. The 4th of July is usually difficult for me in regards to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to trauma I experienced as a child. My friends are awesome and have helped be through some tough moments. Some of those moments have been severe depressive episodes while other have been during PTSD flashback or after nightmares. I have some pretty supportive friends who won’t give up on me or let me give up on myself. I just wish everyone had a good support system like I have.

As I end this post, I would like to thank you all for being a part of that support system. You all are a support even if you don’t realize it. You’re a support because you read and/or follow my blog which means a great deal to me. Have a good 4th of July. Peace Out!!!