Therapy + Comics = Good Session

Good Afternoon, World!!! I realize I already told you little about my session today with my therapist in my last post (https://gertiesjourney.com/2018/04/17/thankfully-not-hospitalized/) but I would like to share a little more about it as I think it helped my therapist build a rapport with me. Besides talking about my parents and their addictions we discussed comics. We discussed comics because I wore a Wonder Woman t-shirt and hat today. I told my therapist that I collect Wonder Woman comics and then we ended up talking about comic book universes. My therapist is more into Marvel and I am more into DC even though we both like a little of both universes. My therapist asked if reading comics was in my crisis plan and something I do end stead of self harming and I said yes to both. We discussed how comics have played a major role in my recovery and he assigned me to read one comic book a day as part of some homework. Another part of my homework he wants me to create a coping skills tool box out of a shoe box even though I more or less have my backpack full of coping skills I use. He even gave me a shoe box to start it. He is having me do this because he knows I enjoy doing art and to help me think about my coping skills. He also wants me to write a page on how making the coping skills box made me feel and what my experience was making it.

I am grateful that my new therapist is coming up with creative ways to help me help myself. I may not like having therapy homework but I am grateful to have it as it gives me an opportunity to grow and continue with my recovery.

Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World!!!

Advertisements

1,000 Days

     Happy Monday, Everyone!!! Today, marks 1,000 days since I was last discharged from a inpatient psych unit. Hence, the reason why I titled this blog entry 1,000 Days. For me 1,000 days is a major accomplishment. This is the longest that I have been out of the hospital for psych reasons since I was a teenager. Being out of the hospital for 1,000 days just shows on how much I have accomplished in my recovery and of course I had many people who have helped with this process.

     I guess if I really look back my recovery process started back in 1999. Yes, my recovery process started 15 years ago. I may have not been in recovery with my mental health for 15 years but I have been in recovery from the eating disorders for that long. In my late teens and early twenties I considered myself a Christian. In fact I was highly involved in the Christian community. I share this with you because its part of my story of how I am in recovery with both Anorexia and Bulimia. Being active in the church I was attending and being a huge “Christian” music fan at the time, I had heard of this place called Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries is a place for “troubled young women” with all sorts of issues including eating disorders. The thing that drew me to Mercy Ministries at the time was that it is Christian and free. At the time it was the best choice I made. In fact to this day I don’t regret making the decision to go all the way to Nashville from the West Coast of the United States. I did graduate from Mercy Ministries and it is one of the greatest accomplishments in my life. I as a thirty-something may not consider myself as Christian anymore and am happy that as a twenty-something Christian, I made one of the best decisions in my life. I may not agree that I was healed from Anorexia and Bulimia but I do believe that because of Mercy Ministries I am in recovery from both eating disorders. I haven’t had any relapses with either eating disorder but I do struggle on occasion with the urges of the eating disorders. I believe that both eating disorders are a life long struggle and it is a choice I make to give in to those urges or not. I choose to not give in to those urges.

     Now that you know where I my recovery started or at least with the eating disorders, now let me tell you about my mental health recovery. My mental health recovery is much more of a rollercoaster ride than my eating disorder recovery. My mental health recovery started October 2003 when I entered an intensive two year out patient Dialectical Behavior (DBT) program. At the time I entered the  DBT program I had been in and out of inpatient psych wards and hospitals more than 40 times. That’s more times than my current age. While being in the DBT program I was required to get a job which I am beyond grateful that I was required to do. In fact the job was a requirement for the second year of the DBT program I was in. If it wasn’t a requirement for me to get job I wouldn’t haven’t gotten a job and I am forever grateful that it was a requirement because I have been employed with same employer now for 9 years. The two years I was the program I only ended up in an inpatient unit once. I graduated from both years of the DBT program (first and second years).

      After I graduated from the DBT program in November 2005 I decided to go back to the current mental health agency I seek services at. Since going back to the current mental health agency in February of 2006, I have had a high turn over of clinicians and many more hospitalizations. In fact if it wasn’t for my last clinician switching to a different team in the agency, I wouldn’t have gotten my current therapist. I have had my current therapist since December of 2008. In fact Diana is the therapist I have had the longest in all the years I have been in therapy. Diana has helped me a great deal in the last 5 1/2 years. In fact if it wasn’t for  Diana helping me through the pain I have struggled with and still struggle with I wouldn’t have been able to stay out of the hospital for 1,000 days. Diana is one of many people who have helped me in the last 11 years. 

     Over last the last 11  or so years of mental health recovery I have found out a lot about myself. For instance when I was in DBT I realized that I am passionate about politics and got involved with it. I stopped for a long while when I started working and now I am wanting to get back into it. I also realized with one clinician I had that I am bi-sexual. I thank the universe that I figured out I was bi. Yes, my boyfriend know I am bi. I have also realized how much I love music and collecting comic books. I love Wonder Woman comic books. I got into collecting comic books. I am not only collecting Wonder Woman but Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and X Men. When I was in the height of my mental illness I stopped playing the flute and decided about 2 years ago to pick it back up and to start teaching myself to play the harmonica again. I also realized that I not only love rap and alternative music but country music as well. I also enjoy jazz. I also realized that I really enjoy reading and that I love reading Classic Literature. I tend to read memoirs and autobiographies of those who struggle or have struggled with mental  illness. I also enjoy reading mysteries, horror, sci fi and fantasy. I am telling you all this because when you are struggling with a mental illness you don’t realize what you like or enjoy and if you do know what you like or enjoy you forget about it because mental illness sucks the life out of you. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to educate myself about my particular diagnosis as well as the latest research regarding mental illness, therapies and meds. Another major thing I have learned or come to realize is to depend on my natural support system.

     Speaking of my natural support system they are throwing me a barbeque because of being out of the hospital for 1,000 days. They know its a big deal for me. I just wish they weren’t making it out to be a bigger deal than it really is. This small barbeque is turning out to be a party. I just wanted it to be about 12 or so people. Apparently there are more than twenty people coming because they want to celebrate my success of 1,000 days. I know its a big deal but I wish they weren’t making it out to be a big deal.

     I better get going. I need to get ready for the barbeque. I am suppose to be there at 5:30(pacific time) and its now 4:22pm. I should get going and allow my support system to celebrate this day with me. Peace Out Everyone!!

Blogging With Burned Fingers

     Well its another Wednesday and unfortunately was unable to go to my volunteer job today. I was unable to go because I accidently burned three fingers last night cleaning my stove. The attending physician that saw me last night in the ER called me to see how my fingers were. I told her that they hurt like hell but seem to be doing well. Even the nurse that took care of me last night called to see how my fingers are doing and I told her the same thing I told the doctor. Speaking of doctors I made an appointment to see my doctor tomorrow for a follow from the ER visit regarding my burned fingers.

     Since I didn’t go to my volunteer job today, I continued reading A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I am really surprised that I am enjoying the book. I have to admit that I am a little disappointed with the school district that I graduated from because they didn’t require the students in Special Ed English to read the classics like the rest of the students. I was a mainstreamed Special Ed student. That means that most of my classes were regular classes. The only Special Ed class I was in was English because of my dyslexia and other “reading issues.” Don’t get me started on the lack of education I got from the school district I graduated from. The school district I spent most of my school years in was absolutely great but the school district I ended up graduating in was lacking quite a bit. Getting back on topic of reading, I am really enjoy A Tale of Two Cities.

     I also read some comic books. I read four Wonder Woman comics, two Superman comics, two Batman comics, two Spiderman comics and three X-Men comic. . I love comic books. Just like reading “normal” books, reading comics distracts me from a lot of things. It distracts me from the every day stress of life and at times distracts me from the symptoms of my mental illness. I collect all sort of comic books but I mainly collect Wonder Woman. I am a big Wonder Woman fan. I don’t discriminate between the comic book universes because both universes have there great characters.

     After I am done blogging for the evening my boyfriend and I are going to watch documentaries on homelessness. If you have been reading my blog you know that I volunteer at a homeless shelter and that I am passionate about ending homelessness. I really missed going to my volunteer job today at the homeless shelter. I can relate a great deal to most of the clients in the shelter because most of them have a mental illness. Plus at one point in time I was homeless. Thankfully it was only a short amount of time. Yes, I have my favorite clients even though we are not suppose to. A lot of the clients do seek out mental health help as well as help with addictions from alcohol and/or drugs. Unfortunately, some don’t get treatment. Getting treatment or not getting treatment is an entire different blog entry in itself.

     I better get going. My fingers are hurting like hell at the moment. I wasn’t expecting to blog so much today. Word to the wise make sure your burner is completely off when you clean your stove. I really thought I turned the burner of all the way last night when I started cleaning the stove. Well, I need to get going.

     Have a great Wednesday evening everyone. Now it’s time spend time with my boyfriend. Peace out and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.