Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Blogger With a Cause.” If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?

This daily prompt is an easy one for me and if you regularly read my blog the causes I am would be completely behind would be a no brainer. The causes I would be behind are causes I am currently behind. They are mental health issues, recovery and ending homelessness.

As many of you know I have a passion when it comes to mental health and recovery. Everyone has the right to get the treatment they deserve if they choose to seek out help. The first thing about recovery is that you have to choose to want to be in recovery. Sadly, not everyone decides that recovery is for them and that is their choice. Not only is recovery a choice, it looks differently to each individual.

Another one of my passions is ending homelessness. Everyone deserves to have a home if they choose to accept housing. Again accepting housing is a choice just like choosing recovery. Becoming homeless is as uniquely and circumstantial as the person. As you may know some people who become homeless is because the came on hard times and lost a job. Then their are those individuals who are homeless and have a serious mental illness. Many individual’s who are struggle with both mental illness and homelessness have difficulty keeping housing due to their mental illness. In return if you are struggling with a mental illness while homeless it’s difficult to get to your appointment because you are too busy trying to get shelter for the night.

As you can tell housing can be a major part someone’s recovery. That is why I work at mental health agency that houses those who are the most vulnerable in regards to mental illness. They help house those who have a serious mental illness in hopes that once they get help then they will seek help for their mental illness. Only about have who get housed through the agency agree to seek mental health treatment and we are fine with that. It is their choice to seek treatment. Getting housing is a major deal and if we can get them treatment then that is a major plus.

As you can tell, I am already a blogger with a cause and I don’t need to quit my day job to do so. I love my job and I love blogging. I love the causes that I am involved in. I will call it a day in regards to blogging. Have a good weekend all. Peace out!!

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Daily Prompt: State of Your Year

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “State of Your Year.” How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

It’s the third day of July and that means the year is half over. The year now being officially half over is why I decided to do this particular past daily prompt.

The year didn’t start off on the happiest of notes. If you are a regular reader and/or follower you are aware that I had miscarried a set of twins in January. It was a devastating start to the new year. I was looking forward to being a mama. Needless to say the miscarriage has had me wanting this year to end two weeks into it.

As January turned into February, I realized that I not only wanted the year to be over, I wanted to end my life. I wanted to end my life due to miscarrying. That is when I realized I needed to get help by putting myself into the hospital twice. The first time for two weeks and then a week after I was discharged had to go back in for another five days. I was disappointed in myself that I needed to be hospitalized for psych reasons because it had been nearly three and half years since my last discharge from my last psych hospitalization. The miscarriage hit me harder than a bag of bricks hitting the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Despite being hit by a bag of bricks, I realized that this particular crisis was different from the rest; I didn’t harm myself in any way. Yes, that means I didn’t attempt suicide nor self-harm. If one thing could come from the sadness of loosing a set of twins and the crisis that came after it, is that I don’t need to self harm nor do I need to go through it alone.

The major thing I have learned this year is that I am not alone and most importantly I know who is truly in my corner. Don’t get me wrong, I have known who has been in my corner for quite some time, I just fully realized on who is in my corner. I also realized that, those of who I thought were in my corner when it came to me being in a crisis weren’t able to do so, like I once thought. Now I know that it doesn’t matter how long you have known someone or how you met that person, it matters that they step up to the plate when a crisis arises.  Sometimes it’s a person you don’t necessarily expect.  An example of someone like that is my friend Susan over at https://bravelybipolar.wordpress.com/.

As the year continues on and the help of many people like Susan, my fiancé, Junior and many others, it is slowly but surely better. Yes, I still have my difficult moments but realize that the initial crisis of the miscarriage is over. It has taken quite some time for it to be over however I have accomplished the fact that I not only not harmed myself in the crisis, I was able to allow others in my life to help me in one of the most darkest hours of my life.

Looking back on my year thus far, I would say that one of my major accomplishments is continuing to live my life as I would have before miscarrying. That means, I continued on going to work, going to my volunteer job at the Warm Line and most importantly spending time with friends and select family members. I also allow myself to grieve over the loss of my children. Amongst the major accomplishment of living my everyday life in the middle of a crisis, I decided to volunteer other places.

Yes, I’m now volunteering not only at the Warm Line and the Mental Health Clubhouse I am a member of but a young adult shelter. I’m doing this because, I not only miss volunteer at the main shelter of the mental health I agency I am now employed at but I want to eventually work with young adults struggling with a mental illness. The reason being is because, I’ve been there. I was a young adult seeking treatment and felt like nobody understood because everyone else to start getting treatment till their late twenties and early thirties if not older. Volunteering at the young adult (18-25) shelter is a way to make sure I want to work with particular age group in the profession sense. What’s the worse thing that can happen? I realize its not the age group I am meant to work with and another thing to put on my résumé. So far I’m loving the fact that I am not only volunteering in a homeless shelter but volunteering with the age group that I am wanting to work with professionally.

As the year continues on, I am looking forward to what it brings professionally. I love my job as a Consumer Advocate however I want to be a Peer Support Specialist. I have been looking at Peer Specialist positions within the agency I work for as well as other agencies however I realize I am more likely to get hired on, if it is at another agency, if I have been at my current employer for at least a year. My one year anniversary at my current employer is September 8, 2015. Since my anniversary is in September, I have decided to wait to late November, early December to apply for Peer Specialist positions due to the fact that I will have been employed for an entire calendar year (January to December) by the time I find out if I get hired for a job. The longer you are at an employer the better it looks to future employers. Not only that, I also need to do a few things done to ensure I will able to get a job as a Peer. They are to get my teeth fixed as well as to get a drivers license. Yes, you read right, I don’t have a drivers license. I have always lived in area’s that have pretty good public transit. Another reason why I want to get a drivers license is because many positions require one. Not only will having a drivers license be helpful to me professionally, so will getting my teeth fixed. People do tend to look at ones smile when it comes to an interview as well as in everyday encounters and that is why I want to get them fixed. Plus it will make me feel better about myself.

Overall, I am feeling better about myself as 2015 continues. Yes, it has not been the best of years so far however, I am going to make sure it ends on a higher note than it did when it started or at least try. We all know that there are things beyond our control. The year may have started badly but I know as it continues, I am making sure there are positives in it. One way I am making it positive besides professionally is by hanging out with awesome people. That is what I am about to do after I end this particular post. I do apologize for it being so long. I hope to blog again tomorrow for the 4th of July. If I am unable to do so, have a Happy 4th of July. Be safe and Peace Out!!!

Pride Parade 2015

It has been a long, exhausting yet exuberating day. I marched in the pride parade today with my employer. It was awesome and an honor to march along side with my co-workers and clients. Many of the clients were quite surprised that many staff were not getting paid for their time marching in the parade. The cool thing about marching in today parade is that I had an option on who to march with. I could have marched with the Warm Line and Crisis Clinic staff and volunteers since I’m a volunteer with the Warm Line. I also had the opportunity to march with fellow volunteers as well as “guest” of the young adult homeless shelter I recently started volunteering at. In fact a couple of “guest” of the young adult shelter were disappointed I wasn’t marching with them however they understood why I would be marching with my employer.

My fiancé, Junior, even marched the pride parade. In fact he was with his employer. Junior is a firefighter and plays the bagpipes. Yes, that means he was marching in his rainbow colored kilt playing the bagpipe with the fire department pipes and drums. Junior, is quite the talented bagpiper. Unfortunately, I was unable to see Junior march in todays parade because I, too was marching in the parade.

Marching in todays pride parade had me thinking about my junior high and high school years. I was in marching band and loved it. Marching in todays parade had me realize how much I miss being in band.

Enough with my marching band days in junior high and high school and back to Pride Parade and its festivities. Today, was a warm, humid, cloudy day. In fact while marching in the parade, the weather decided to throw a thunder and lightning storm in the mix. In fact the rain felt good. The clients loved it. In fact they broke out into song. Not just any song. They sung “Dancing in the Rain.” Yes, they even started dancing. I wish I was able to get a picture of it however due to HIPPA laws I was unable to do so. In fact even some of my co-workers decided to join in the singing and dancing in the rain. I didn’t because I was enjoying the fact that the clients were enjoying the moment. It was a blast had by all.

After the parade I decided to go and volunteer at the booth my employer had set up. I volunteered for about an hour an half. It was nice to be able to educate the community about mental illness and homeliness and the effects it has on our community. The reason I decided to volunteer at my employers booth was not only to be able to educate the community but because Junior was farther down the parade route than I was and was wanting to do something productive as he was finishing up his portion of the parade.

When Junior was done with his portion of parade he stopped by my employers booth to come and “pick me up.” We then walked around the pride festivities and enjoyed our time together. In fact we discussed our wedding and how we are thrilled that one of his sister is now able to get married to the woman of her dreams anywhere in the United States as soon as she finds her. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing that now anyone can marry the person that they love despite their gender and the gender of their partner?

As we walked around the festivities we noticed some people holding up religious signs. In fact some of those signs were just plain ole hateful. I thought Christianity was a religion of love and compassion and not of hate and ignorance. Not only did the signs say hateful thing, the people holding the signs were saying hateful things. In fact one person told a little girl of 7 or 8 years old that not only are her daddies going to hell but she is as well. A nearby uniformed police officer stepped in and spoke up for that family. I just cant comprehend why people are so hateful especially to children.

Now that Junior and myself are home, we are relaxing. It has been a good day and am grateful that I was able to be alive during a part of a positive event in American History. I hope to blog again soon. Have good rest of your weekend. Peace out!!!

Mental Health Awarness Month: Schizophrenia

May is mental health awareness month. When I started this blog in late May of last year (2014) it was in response to how I as an advocate, am going do my part to help stomp out the stigma of mental illness. In fact, it still is the goal of this blog to educate other’s on mental illness in hopes that it will reach enough people to make a dent in the stigma that mental illness brings.  I’ve realized over the last year that I haven’t done much educating on mental illness with the exception of me blogging about my personal experience with a mental illness and how those with a mental illness are productive members of society.

With that being said, I decided that today’s educational topic will be Schizophrenia. Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional and am unable to diagnosis people if you think you have Schizophrenia or another mental health diagnosis please seek out professional help from a doctor or mental health professional. The information I am about to share on Schizophrenia, with you is info I got from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website at https://nami.org/.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness, affecting about 1% of Americans. Although schizophrenia can occur at any age, the average age of onset tends to be in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. It is uncommon for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in a person younger than 12 or older than 40. It is possible to live well with schizophrenia.

Symptoms

It can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia in teens. This is because the first signs can include a change of friends, a drop in grades, sleep problems, and irritability—common and nonspecific adolescent behavior. Other factors include isolating oneself and withdrawing from others, an increase in unusual thoughts and suspicions, and a family history of psychosis. In young people who develop schizophrenia, this stage of the disorder is called the “prodromal” period.

With any condition, it’s essential to get a comprehensive medical evaluation in order to obtain the best diagnosis. For a diagnosis of schizophrenia, some of the following symptoms are present in the context of reduced functioning for a least 6 months:

Hallucinations. These include a person hearing voices, seeing things, or smelling things others can’t perceive. The hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it, and it may be very confusing for a loved one to witness. The voices in the hallucination can be critical or threatening. Voices may involve people that are known or unknown to the person hearing them.

Delusions. These are false beliefs that don’t change even when the person who holds them is presented with new ideas or facts. People who have delusions often also have problems concentrating, confused thinking, or the sense that their thoughts are blocked.

Negative symptoms are ones that diminish a person’s abilities. Negative symptoms often include being emotionally flat or speaking in a dull, disconnected way. People with the negative symptoms may be unable to start or follow through with activities, show little interest in life, or sustain relationships. Negative symptoms are sometimes confused with clinical depression.

Cognitive issues/disorganized thinking. People with the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia often struggle to remember things, organize their thoughts or complete tasks. Commonly, people with schizophrenia have anosognosia or “lack of insight.” This means the person is unaware that he has the illness, which can make treating or working with him much more challenging.

Causes

Research suggests that schizophrenia may have several possible causes:

  • Genetics. Schizophrenia isn’t caused by just one genetic variation, but a complex interplay of genetics and environmental influences. While schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the general population, having a history of family psychosis greatly increases the risk. Schizophrenia occurs at roughly 10% of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent or sibling. The highest risk occurs when an identical twin is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The unaffected twin has a roughly 50% chance of developing the disorder.
  • Environment. Exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth, particularly in the first and second trimesters has been shown to increase the risk of schizophrenia. Inflammation or autoimmune diseases can also lead to increased immune system
  • Brain chemistry. Problems with certain brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to schizophrenia. Neurotransmitters allow brain cells to communicate with each other. Networks of neurons are likely involved as well.
  • Substance use. Some studies have suggested that taking mind-altering drugs during teen years and young adulthood can increase the risk of schizophrenia. A growing body of evidence indicates that smoking marijuana increases the risk of psychotic incidents and the risk of ongoing psychotic experiences. The younger and more frequent the use, the greater the risk. Another study has found that smoking marijuana led to earlier onset of schizophrenia and often preceded the manifestation of the illness.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing schizophrenia is not easy. Sometimes using drugs, such as methamphetamines or LSD, can cause a person to have schizophrenia-like symptoms. The difficulty of diagnosing this illness is compounded by the fact that many people who are diagnosed do not believe they have it. Lack of awareness is a common symptom of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and greatly complicates treatment.

While there is no single physical or lab test that can diagnosis schizophrenia, a health care provider who evaluates the symptoms and the course of a person’s illness over six months can help ensure a correct diagnosis. The health care provider must rule out other factors such as brain tumors, possible medical conditions and other psychiatric diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder.

To be diagnosed with schizophrenia, a person must have two or more of the following symptoms occurring persistently in the context of reduced functioning:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • Negative symptoms

Delusions or hallucinations alone can often be enough to lead to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Identifying it as early as possible greatly improves a person’s chances of managing the illness, reducing psychotic episodes, and recovering. People who receive good care during their first psychotic episode are admitted to the hospital less often, and may require less time to control symptoms than those who don’t receive immediate help. The literature on the role of medicines early in treatment is evolving, but we do know that psychotherapy is essential.

People can describe symptoms in a variety of ways. How a person describes symptoms often depends on the cultural lens she is looking through. African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be misdiagnosed, probably due to differing cultural or religious beliefs or language barriers. Any person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia should try to work with a health care professional that understands his or her cultural background and shares the same expectations for treatment.

Treatment

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be treated and managed in several ways.

With medication, psychosocial rehabilitation, and family support, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be reduced. People with schizophrenia should get treatment as soon as the illness starts showing, because early detection can reduce the severity of their symptoms.

Recovery while living with schizophrenia is often seen over time, and involves a variety of factors including self-learning, peer support, school and work and finding the right supports and treatment.

Medication

Typically, a health care provider will prescribe antipsychotics to relieve symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations. Due to lack of awareness of having an illness and the serious side effects of medication used to treat schizophrenia, people who have been prescribed them are often hesitant to take them.

First Generation (typical) Antipsychotics

These medications can cause serious movement problems that can be short (dystonia) or long term (called tardive dyskinesia), and also muscle stiffness. Other side effects can also occur.

Second Generation (atypical) Antipsychotics

These medications are called atypical because they are less likely to block dopamine and cause movement disorders. They do, however, increase the risk of weight gain and diabetes. Changes in nutrition and exercise, and possibly medication intervention, can help address these side effects.

One unique second generation antipsychotic medication is called clozapine. It is the only FDA approved antipsychotic medication for the treatment of refractory schizophrenia and has been the only one indicated to reduce thoughts of suicide. However, it does have multiple medical risks in addition to these benefits. Read a more complete discussion of these risk and benefits.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for some people with affective disorders. With more serious conditions, including those with psychosis, additional cognitive therapy is added to basic CBT (CBTp). CBTp helps people develop coping strategies for persistent symptoms that do not respond to medicine.

Supportive psychotherapy is used to help a person process his experience and to support him in coping while living with schizophrenia. It is not designed to uncover childhood experiences or activate traumatic experiences, but is rather focused on the here and now.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) works to promote cognitive functioning and confidence in one’s cognitive ability. CET involves a combination of computer based brain training and group sessions. This is an active area of research in the field at this time.

Psychosocial Treatments

People who engage in therapeutic interventions often see improvement, and experience greater mental stability. Psychosocial treatments enable people to compensate for or eliminate the barriers caused by their schizophrenia and learn to live successfully. If a person participates in psychosocial rehabilitation, she is more likely to continue taking their medication and less likely to relapse. Some of the more common psychosocial treatments include:

  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) provides comprehensive treatment for people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Unlike other community-based programs that connect people with mental health or other services, ACT provides highly individualized services directly to people with mental illness. Professionals work with people with schizophrenia and help them meet the challenges of daily life. ACT professionals also address problems proactively, prevent crises, and ensure medications are taken.
  • Peer support groups like NAMI Peer-to-Peer encourage people’s involvement in their recovery by helping them work on social skills with others. The Illness Management Recovery (IMR) model is an evidence-based approach that emphasizes setting goals and acquiring skills to meet those goals.

Complementary Health Approaches

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil, have shown some promise for treating and managing schizophrenia. Some researchers believe that omega-3 may help treat mental illness because of its ability to help replenish neurons and connections in affected areas of the brain.

Additional Concerns

Physical Health. People with schizophrenia are subject to many medical risks, including diabetes and cardiovascular problems, and also smoking and lung disease. For this reason, coordinated and active attention to medical risks is essential.

Substance Abuse. About 25% of people with schizophrenia also abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse can make the treatments for schizophrenia less effective, make people less likely to follow their treatment plans, and even worsen their symptoms.

Helping Yourself

If you have schizophrenia, the condition can exert control over your thoughts, interfere with functioning and if not treated, lead to a crisis. Here are some ways to help manage your illness.

  • Manage Stress. Stress can trigger psychosis and make the symptoms of schizophrenia worse, so keeping it under control is extremely important. Know your limits, both at home and at work or school. Don’t take on more than you can handle and take time to yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Try to get plenty of sleep. When you’re on medication, you most likely need even more sleep than the standard eight hours. Many people with schizophrenia have trouble with sleep, but lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise and avoiding caffeine can help.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. It’s indisputable that substance abuse affects the benefits of medication and worsens symptoms. If you have a substance abuse problem, seek help.
  • Maintain connections. Having friends and family involved in your treatment plan can go a long way towards recovery. People living with schizophrenia often have a difficult time in social situations, so surrounding yourself with people who understand this can make the transition back into daily social life smoother. If you feel you can, consider joining a schizophrenia support group or getting involved with a local church, club, or other organization.

If you live with a mental health condition, learn more about managing your mental health and finding the support you need.

Helping a Family Member or Friend

Learning about psychosis and schizophrenia will help you understand what your friend or family member is experiencing and trying to cope with. Living with schizophrenia is challenging. Here are some ways you can show support:

  • Respond calmly. To your loved one, the hallucinations seem real, so it doesn’t help to say they are imaginary. Calmly explain that you see things differently. Being respectful without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior.
  • Pay attention to triggers. You can help your family member or friend understand, and try to avoid, the situations that trigger his or her symptoms or cause a relapse or disrupt normal activities.
  • Help ensure medications are taken as prescribed. Many people question whether they still need the medication when they’re feeling better, or if they don’t like the side effects. Encourage your loved one to take his or her medication regularly to prevent symptoms from coming back or getting worse.
  • Understanding lack of awareness (anosognosia). Your family member or friend one may be unable to see that he or she has schizophrenia. Rather than trying to convince the person he or she has schizophrenia, you can show support by helping him or her be safe, get therapy, and take the prescribed medications.
  • Help avoid drugs or alcohol. These substances are known to worsen schizophrenia symptoms and trigger psychosis. If your loved one develops a substance use disorder, getting help is essential.

Related Conditions People with schizophrenia may have additional illnesses. These may include: Substance abuse Posttraumatic stress disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder Major depression Successfully treating schizohprenia almost always improves these related illnesses. And successful treatment of substance abuse, PTSD or OCD usually improves the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Thank you for reading. I know today’s blog is quite long. I felt like it is necessary to give the above information to better educate myself as well as you the reader and/or follower. Please remember I am not qualified to diagnosis anyone of any physical or mental health condition. I hope to blog more about other diagnoses as well as various treatments for mental health conditions as time goes on. Well, I’m going to end this blog for now. Have a good day and Peace Out!!

Ramblings About New Job & Other Stuff

It’s Tuesday and that means I worked today. Today, I did my shelter orientation. My boss tried to get me out of most of it due to me being a volunteer at the shelter however he couldn’t because its a requirement. He knew I had to be there for some of it but tried to out of the stuff I already knew. I am glad I did the entire orientation today. I saw a great deal of the clients that I miss dearly. When we had to do the coffee counter I dove right in because that’s what I mainly did when I was a volunteer. I also dove right in when I did the lobby office however I got to do employee stuff as well. Unfortunately, a fight broke out between two female clients and I was one of two orienteer’s that were allowed to step in. The only reason why I was allowed to step in was because I was familiar with both clients due to my volunteer work at the shelter. The other orienteer who was allowed to step in was allowed to due to her job title. She is basically on the crisis team. Thankfully, no one got hurt but the aggressor got barred till next Tuesday when the next Bar Review Committee (BRC) happens. Everyone involved had to write a log about it. It was my first time having to write a log and it was a log I really didn’t want to write.   I am really enjoying my job. I am feeling more confident with my new job.

I wish I was as confident with my new volunteer job at the Warm Line as I do with my new job. I’m like a deer in headlights. I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a call taker on the Warm Line. Yes, I know I’ve only had two shifts on the Warm Line but I’m not very good at it. My first night I only took one call and I panicked. My second shift I took three calls. One I didn’t do very well on and the other two I did okay on but need improvement. I’m hoping I do a better job tomorrow evening. The mentor on duty tomorrow is extremely humorous and tells me like it is. I’m happy with that. I really want to do a great job tomorrow. In fact I want to be able to impress mentor however I’m not there to impress him, I’m there to help the callers. My boyfriend told me to not worry about it and that I will get in the grove of things.

Speaking of my boyfriend, when I got home (to his place) he had dinner made for me. He made me enchiladas. I love enchiladas. Its one of my favorite meals. In fact my boyfriend made the tortilla’s for scratch. My boyfriend is an awesome cook. I enjoy cooking however he enjoys it more than I do so I let him cook. His cooking is almost as good as my grandma’s cooking.

I’m getting a little tired and have to get up early to go to appointments and wont be home till late due to my volunteer job at the Warm Line. I’m going to call it a night. Have a goodnight everyone and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!!

Woo Hoo!!!

     Woo Hoo!!! I got the job as a Consumer Aide at the agency the runs the homeless shelter I volunteer at. The sad news is that I will have to quit volunteering at the homeless shelter due to not being able to be a volunteer and employee at the same time. As much as it saddens me that I have to quit the my volunteer job at the homeless shelter, I am absolutely thrilled that I got the job. It is not exactly a peer counseling job but at least it is a step in the right direction. I’m a little apprehensive about quitting one job and starting a new one.

      The cool thing about everything is that my last day volunteering at the homeless shelter will be my first evening volunteering as a call taker at the Warm Line. In fact the volunteer stuff all happens the first week of September. Everything that is happening is falling right into place. I start one volunteer job as another one ends. Of course one volunteer job is ending because of a new job beginning. All this also means that I will be saying goodbye to some really cool people at my current employment at the grocery store I work at. My co-workers and customers have become family to me. I am going to miss them dearly even the one or two co-workers and hand full of customers who don’t like me. Hell, no family is going to like each other 100% of the time.

     Well, I am putting my two weeks notice in tomorrow at my current employment when I go into work. As I stated above I’m going to be sad to leave and say goodbye to people I’ve become close with. As of right now according to my new boss I will starting on September 8th. They wanted me to start this Monday (8/25/2014) however I have to put in two weeks notice at my current employment and I am glad that they respect that.

      I found out I got the job at about 9 this morning (pacific time). Its now 2:52pm(pacific time) The reason why I waited a few hours to blog about the new job is because I wanted to let the people in my inner circle know first. I haven’t even posted on Facebook yet. In fact I am not going to post it on Facebook until I put in my two weeks notice at my current employment. I also wrote (typed) my two weeks notice letter to my current employment. I know what you are about to read will seem kind of humorous or leave you scratching your head wondering why I did what I am about to mention but there is method to my madness. I updated my résumé with job descriptions of both my new volunteer job and new paid job. I did this so when I decide to get another job I am better prepared. Just so you all know I plan on being at my new employer for at least a year because it looks better on the résumé and I told them I would be with them for at least a year. I’m hoping that I can eventually become a Peer Support Specialist/Peer Counselor at the agency I got the job at.

     Well, enough about my new job and everything. I need to get  going and get ready for my volunteer training at the Warm Line. I am sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days. I hope to blog again tomorrow but the way I’ve been blogging lately I’m not sure if I will. I hope to. I want to. Anyway, as of right now I hope to blog tomorrow. Peace out.

Struggling A Little Bit

     It’s another Thursday and I have been struggling a bit for about a week or two now. I didn’t realize how badly I was struggling till this past Monday (8/11/2014) when I dissociated. The unfortunate part of the dissociated state it that I ended up cutting. I am so disappointed that I cut. I hadn’t cut in three years. When I started coming out of the dissociated state and realized what I had done, I freaked out and called 911. Of course the fire department came and checked me out and then I was taken to the emergency room.

      My experience in the emergency room wasn’t the best I have had in the 14 years I have been going to this particular ER for both psych and medical reasons. On the positive side both of the physicians were caring and sincere in wanting to help me. It was both the nurse and the social worker that didn’t make my experience all that great. The nurse was just negative with me the entire night. She told me that I needed to get my act together and that if it wasn’t for the HIPPA law that she would tell my boss’s about what happened. (Side note: The nurse shops at the grocery store I work at on the regular basis). When the social worker finally talked to me her demeanor was as if she didn’t want to be at work or got the short straw to talk to me. I told the social worker what the nurse said and the social worker told me that the nurse would never say that and I that I was being “hostile.” The question I have is how can I be hostile if I am sitting on the floor in a corner of the room with a blanket around me and sucking my thumb holding a stuffed animal. If that’s “hostile” then I would hate to think what her (the social workers) point of view is on violent behavior. The social worker then had the guts to tell me that she didn’t believe me that I dissociated. As she told me this one of the doctors came in to check on me and well he didn’t seem too happy with the social worker at the moment. The doctor asked how I was doing and I said I was doing better (which I was) and then said that he believed me. This doctor has treated me before and knows that I dissociate. Well, to make a long story short the doctor talked to the social work who in return said, I’m only apologizing because I was asked to. I really don’t like it when people are forced to apologize to me or others when they don’t mean it but am grateful that doctor cared enough to talk to her. His heart was in the right place. Thankfully, I wasn’t hospitalized. I was sent home.

    For me being sent home was a good thing. It means that I am far enough in my recovery process that I can continue to do what I need to do in my everyday life. For me going on with my life is what I need to do. That means continue going to my volunteer training at the Warm Line as well as going  to my volunteer job at the homeless shelter. That also mean I will go to work tomorrow as well as on Saturday and any shifts I have next week. For me if I wasn’t in recovery I wouldn’t have bothered going to the Warm Line training this past Tuesday as well as my listening shift last night nor would have I gone to my volunteer job at the homeless shelter. I consider this episode as a relapse. I am picking up where I left off before I dissociated and harmed myself. Another thing I am waiting on is my therapist to call me back. She was sick on Tuesday and doesn’t work on Wednesdays and hoping she is back in the office today. If she is still out today I will just see her at my regularly scheduled appointment. As much as I am beating myself up over what happened I have to get up and dust myself up and make the choice to continue my recovery process.

     I debated whether or not to share this with you because I didn’t want to trigger anyone nor did I want to worry anyone. I decided to blog about after I discussed it with my natural support system and they said it would be a good idea because it will show that I am human (which I am) and that I can pick up with my life even though its a little difficult at the moment. Yes, I know I blogged on Tuesday but I didn’t have my mind wrapped around what happen the night before and needed some space before I blogged about it. Now there is enough space and decided blog about what happened with the encouragement from the people who care about me. I am hoping that me blogging about this shows that people with mental illness can work through there issues as they continue with their everyday life. For me to continue with my everyday life is key to my recovery. It is my hope that this blog entry can show others struggling with mental illness that recovery is possible even if you relapse and that hope is out even if you relapse. I am worried about what my therapist is going to say on Monday but I will deal with that when it comes. As much as I don’t like my job I am looking forward to work tomorrow. I am grateful that I am able to work. Continuing to go on with my everyday life is something I’ve learned to do to not go farther backwards.

     Speaking of continuing with everyday life I need to get going. I need to eat and get my work clothes ready for tomorrow before I go to my volunteer training at the Warm Line. Have a good rest of your Thursday. I hope I didn’t trigger or worry anyone. Peace out!!