I’m Dreaming of Sleep

Good Morning, World!!! It’s nearly two thirty in the morning in my neck of the world. Right now, I’m dreaming of sleep. I haven’t been sleeping very well since I was assaulted nearly a month ago.

Having a good nights sleep is crucial to ones overall health especially for those of us who have a mental health diagnosis. Something I have learned over the years is to have a sleep schedule or what people in the mental health field call sleep hygiene.

For me sleep hygiene means going to bed at the same time as well as getting up at the same time. For me, I tend to go to bed at 11:30pm on week nights (Sunday – Thursday) and get up at 7:30ish in the morning on week days (Monday – Friday). Unfortunately, I toss and turn and unable to sleep so I get up. I tend to get up and stay up at the same time week days and wish my sleep hygiene schedule would work right now.

Now that I have rambled on and on about my sleep hygiene and the lack of sleep I am getting, I might as well as end this blog post and try to sleep. I hope you have an awesome day. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon, World!!! It has been a while since I last did a weekly check-in and have been encouraged to “make more of an effort to blog on the regular basis.” I agree with the multiple individuals who have pointed this out to me. The one way I can “blog on the more regular basis” is by doing the weekly check-ins.

In fact one of the individual’s that have encouraged me to start “blogging more” is my case manager. I saw her this past Monday (September 25th) for our regularly scheduled appointment. My case manager checked-in with me about what happened to me and am greatly appreciative for it. We spent most of our half hour session discussing ways to use my skills to help me through the not so good moments. One of those skills is blogging and that how the topic came up. We also discussed me doing some art work after I showed my case manager some of the art the I did in art group before our session. We also discussed how I can use other skills that I have in my tool box which I will bring up one that I’m surprisingly enjoying later on in this post. Before the session ended my case manager wanted to make sure I was going to attend my doctors appointment the next day (Tuesday). I reassured I would.

In fact as mentioned in my previous post, I did go to my doctors appointment. My doctor and I discussed how I was doing as well as checking in with me regarding my mental health. She is “concerned” that I’m “not receiving the proper mental health” that I need. I reassured my doctor that I am. I informed her that I am not only receiving both therapy and case management services but attending three groups. She inquired more about the groups and I happily obliged. My doctor appeared to be content with all this at least for a moment.

Since I’m on the topic of groups, I attended all three groups this past week. The first group I went to is held on Monday’s and is an Art group. I love attending the Art Group however I don’t attend every Monday but I did this past Monday. I highly enjoy attending it and both my case manager and doctor would like me “attending every week because being creative appears to be of help” to me. I can’t argue with that.

The second group I am attending is on Thursdays and about Sexual Health and Relationships. Primarily it’s about sexual health. In fact my case manager co-facilitates this group.  I’m not quite sure about this group yet because of what happened. I’ve only attended once and it has only been a group in existence for two weeks. My case manager recommended this group to me before I got sexually assaulted. I’m toying with the fact if its a good idea to continue with this group however it’s something to discuss with my therapist as well continue discussing with my case manager.

A group that needs no discussing for me to continue for me to attend is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) on Fridays. In fact attendance is a requirement of DBT and is one that has a waitlist to for is which why once I finally got into it, I make it a priority to attend DBT. I did attend yesterday. In fact I admitted to group and will admit to you that I was willful with not doing part of my homework. In fact I don’t want to do part of my homework that is due next Friday. I will however do the homework as I know it will ultimately help me. Validating others is easy. Self validation is not so easy and it’s something that would hopefully help me. In fact I am pretty sure self validation will be helpful.

Another thing that is helpful and a major part of DBT is mindfulness. In fact I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I would bring up a skill that I have found surprisingly enjoyable which is mindfulness and meditation. In fact a fellow peer (specialist) suggested an app that I have found quite helpful and is how I found out that mindfulness and mediation is enjoyable. The app is called Calm and I highly recommend using it if you have a smart phone. I have found it quite helpful. The longest stretch I’ve used the app is seven days in a row. Unfortunately, that stretch ended when I was assaulted. That’s why my case manager encouraged me to start using it again since I have found the app helpful and enjoyable. In fact she informed me that she will let my therapist know about the app. In fact I have a two day stretch as of today. Hopefully by the time I see my therapist it will be a five day stretch. I’m hoping that I can make mindfulness and meditation a daily habit.

Speaking of habits, I need to make blogging a habit. Which is why I am planning on making an effort to put it into my schedule to blog. That’s why I want to make I at least do my weekly check-in post.

As I end this post I want to thank you for reading. I hope that everyone has a great day and Peace Out!!!

An Update From My Last Post

Hello, World!!! It has been about a week since I last posted. Sadly, my last post was about me getting traumatized again. I apologize for not updating you sooner. I’m just attempting to get my baring’s back after what happened and its not an easy process to do so.

Updating you is one way I am attempting to get my baring’s back. As you may realize it hasn’t been the easiest of weeks after dealing with an assault. Not just any type of an assault but a sexual assault. An assault that I don’t remember much of due to the fact that I was knocked out by a rock or brick or something similar.

At this point in time I don’t know if its a good thing or a bad thing but I do know that detective is looking into it as that a stranger reported seeing the first part of the assault. The part of me getting knocked out was reported to the police. The fortunate part was someone not only called the police but took pictures as well. Unfortunately, by the time the police showed up, I had left the park unwillingly with the person who assaulted me. I don’t remember this  and wish the detective didn’t tell me. I am however grateful that someone did call the police and took pictures. Anyway, the detective and I set up a time for me to “be interviewed” to share what I remember (or the lack there of) and put me in touch with the victim’s advocate.

The victim advocate contacted me shortly after the phone conversation with the detective ended. She told me what to expect next in the process of reporting. She will be in attendance when I talk with the detective in person. The victim advocate will me walking along side of me the entire way. The victim advocate also encouraged me to do “good self-care.”

Doing good self-care for me includes me going to my follow up appointment with my doctor. My doctor looked me over and she took my stitches out. The stitches that were located below the belt. She also helped me fill out some paper work that could help me pay for any future appointments regarding the assault. Knowing that I can have more help paying for any therapy or doctors appointments has given me some hope. My doctor has encouraged me to continue getting the support of my mental health treatment team as well as my friends and partner, Junior.

My friends as well as Junior  have always been in my corner and they are continuing to do so. In fact my friends have been checking up on me on the regular basis. Junior continues to be the rock I need as well give me the love and support that is much needed at the moment. Junior and my friends are such a blessing to me in my life and am beyond grateful to have them in my life especially right now.

As I finish up this post I want to thank you for reading and being a support in your own way. I hope to post again soon however I do ask for your patience if I don’t blog for a while due to recent events. I plan on blogging in the next few days but the way things are at moment I don’t want to give in false hopes. Again, thank you for reading. I hope you have a good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!!

Poor Air Quality + Therapy = Challenging Day

Good Evening, World!!! Today, hasn’t been the easiest of days for me but overall its been a good day. I have two main reasons why it hasn’t been the easiest of days and plan telling you about it in this post.

Let’s start with what is hitting close to home for a lot of folks here in the Seattle area; the air quality. Or maybe I should say poor air quality. The air quality is the worst I’ve personally experienced here in Seattle. I’ve had personally experienced worse air quality due to the fact I spent the majority of my childhood in Southern California however today was bad even for California standards. The poor air quality is due to the wild fires from across the state.

The wild fire smoke is so bad here in Seattle that many across the city have experienced their first time seeing it “rain ash” instead of actual water. It is an eerie experience seeing “rain ash” here in Seattle. I’ve experienced it before when I when I grew up in California but never here in Seattle. The picture below is suppose to be looking south at Downtown Seattle but you can’t see it because of all the smoke and ash in the air. On a clear day you would be able to see Downtown Seattle. I wish I had a picture to show a comparison however I don’t. So, I guess you’re going to have to take my word on that you can see Downtown Seattle from this vantage point. No, its not the usual “Seattle Gloom.” Yes, it is all ash and smoke from the wild fires from the wild fires.

IMG_0002

As difficult as it was for me with my breathing due to asthma because of the poor air quality, therapy was just as difficult for me. See, at my request from my last session my therapist and I discussed today about the Self-Soothing skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The Self-Soothe skill is not an easy skill for me. In fact its one of two skills that aren’t second nature to me yet in regards to DBT skills. In fact its the skill I find the most difficult to do at the moment. Actually, its the skill I have found most difficult for me to do throughout my experience with DBT.

While my (relatively) new therapist and I discussed the self-soothing skill, it brought up a lot of other shit. Shit I don’t necessarily want to discuss on my blog or even am ready to discuss on it but shit that was difficult to talk to my therapist about. While discussing all the shit, my therapist decided to give me homework. My homework is to come up with five to ten affirmations. She let me set the number of affirmations I could write and I chose five to ten because I sort of wanted to challenge myself. Little did I know that this was going be an on going assignment. My therapist informed me that there is a second part to this assignment however I won’t get the second part of the assignment till our next session in two weeks. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of homework as part of therapy but I have found it quite helpful to me. Therapy homework has helped me with my recovery which is why I attempt to not complain about it much.

I have found throughout the years that many of the “assignments” that I have received from therapist its to help me. Most of the assignments have ultimately helped me. I’ve had a handful that haven’t helped but that’s because I wasn’t exactly in the right space to have them assigned to me at that time. I do have to say that this assignment of having to write five to ten affirmations will help me. I might even share them with you when I am done with them. It won’t be easy for me to do but am looking forward to doing the assignment.

I’m looking at the time and realize that I’m a little hungry and am needing to eat. I also looked at how much I have written thus far and realize it might be getting a bit long for some of you. So, this is the point of my blog post to tell you, thank you for reading. I am truly grateful that you read my blog. 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!!!

Consistency is a Necessity for Recovery

Over the years I have learned that consistency with who my treatment team is key to my recovery. Unfortunately, as of lately that hasn’t been happening for me.

I learned on St. Patrick’s Day that my new therapist, was leaving the agency I seek services at for my mental health treatment. This loss hits me hard as this therapist was the direct supervisor of Diana and was updating me on her health at Diana’s request. Not only that, I was just starting to feel comfortable with her style of therapy as it was slightly different from Diana’s therapy style.

As difficult as it is to loose another therapist so close to Diana’s sudden departure due to cancer, I appreciate her effort in making sure she found the right fit. A fit I am unsure of at the moment and realize the uncertainty of a new therapist is causing some anxiety.

To lessen my anxiety of having a new therapist, my therapist thought it would be a good idea for me to meet the new therapist during our last session together at the location I will be now going to. No, I’m not changing mental health agencies, its that my new therapist is at different location than the one leaving and Diana were at. I am really appreciative of my therapist doing this for me as I know she didn’t have to do so.

My last session with my therapist has come and gone and tears shed on both ends which was quite unexpected for the both of us since our therapeutic relationship had only been for four months. Of course having therapist who was the direct supervisor of your previous therapist (Diana) was helpful to building trust with her. Even though I only met with my new therapist of all of seven minutes for an introduction and to set up a first appointment, I found it quite helpful.

As helpful as I found meeting my new therapist, no matter how briefly, I still have anxiety regarding my first appointment with her. As with any first appointment, I have with anyone, my anxiety usually increases however this time the anxiety is higher than it usually is. Not sure why but it is and if I continue to ask why I notice my anxiety start to rise.  I’ve also realized as my first appointment with my new therapist quickly approaches, there is an increase in the anxiety.

The increase of anxiety is where the use of my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills come in handy to help even if I don’t want to use them. See, DBT skills have helped me through some tough moments as an adult. Even though seeing a new therapist isn’t the toughest thing I have experienced in my life, it’s anxiety provoking enough needing to use my skills.

As I use my skills, I realize that there is a number of reason why to my anxiety is so high regarding my first appointment with this new therapist. Actually, there a roughly a handful of reasons. All those reasons lead to both the grief I have for Diana’s sudden departure due to cancer and having a new therapist leave in less than five months which leads to the consistency I need for my own recovery. Consistency that I fear I won’t have with my new therapist as she appears to be close to retirement age but then again that might not be an issue either but its an issue I have to wait till deal with in my first session with her. For me consistency is key for me to start to trusting people and hope that my new therapist sticks around for a good eighteen months. I don’t that doesn’t sound long but I don’t want to ask for too much as I am seeing her at a community mental health agency and know realistically that people don’t stick around for as long as Diana did. I trusted Diana and still do and hope she is doing well. Most importantly, I hope I can trust my new therapist.

Before, I end this particular post I want share something positive. I am slowly starting to trust my case manager. I see she is trying really hard and to me that shows that she cares. She cares enough to try to build a good rapport and to me that is a sign I can trust her. When I first wrote about her I didn’t give her such a positive light and its not any of her fault. I was angry at needing a case manager and that anger showed through in that particular post. My care manager does care and does want to help me. For me trusting her is a big thing.

It looks like this post is coming to an end and before it ends, I want to tell you all thanks for reading. I am grateful for each one of you. Have a wonderful Sunday evening all and Peace Out!!!