Excited as Hell

Good Evening, World!!! I realize it has been awhile since I last blogged. A lot has happened and will attempt to catch you up in another blog post as this post is about something I am way excited for.

Every year for the last five years there has been a conference specifically for folks who are Peer Specialist aka Peer Counselors. This year is the fifth annual Peer Pathways Conference in Washington (State). I have been attending since the second annual Peer Pathways Conference. In fact I have been volunteering every year I have attending including this year. The only difference about this conference versus previous years is that it is all virtual due to the pandemic. Anyway, I am looking forward to the conference.

I am looking forward to the conference more so this year as one of the people who has inspired me will be one of the keynote speakers. That person is Elyn Saks the author of The Center Cannot Hold. A friend of mine suggested to me about eight to ten years ago to read the book and I did. Since after reading Elyn Saks memoir she has been an inspiration to me ever since. I am so excited. I am looking forward to it.

I do not have much more to say in this post. I do want to thank you for reading my blog. It is greatly appreciated from my end of things that you do read my blog. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog. I hope everyone has a great week ahead of them. Peace Out, World!!!

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!!

Book Review on: The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks

     Hey! I finally finished the book The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, by Elyn R. Saks. I am going to give you a book review on the book. I have never done a book review in my life unless of course if you count book reports that you had to do in elementary school and junior high. I hope that the following review gives some insight of mental illness and hope of some sort of recovery for those of us who struggle with mental illness.

     The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks in my opinion is an extremely good book. It kept my attention and that is difficult to do especially since one of my many struggles happens to be ADHD. Well, the book is a memoir of Ms. Saks life and her struggles with Schizophrenia. Ms. Saks is an accomplished woman. She graduated from Vanderbilt, Oxford and Yale Law School and doing all that in the height of her illness. She is a professor at USC school of law. The book is her journey to a life worth living for her and in her terms. Its very inspiring. She is what “society” views as a success. I hope that one day I can be a success in societies eyes like her even though my career path is not like hers and my educational path is nowhere close to hers. That’s okay because everybody’s path is different. I highly encourage you all to read it. It is my opinion that it would be a condition of employment if you work with people who struggle with mental illness. Ms. Saks gives insight that no text book can ever do. 

     This book gives me hope for my own recovery with my mental illness even though I don’t struggle with Schizophrenia. I hope that if a person who struggles with mental illness reads the book that they can get hope from it as well. It is also my hope that the book gives some insight about someone’s struggles with mental illness to those who don’t struggle with one as well as those who work with those who struggle with one. It’s not easy dealing with a mental illness and the stigma that goes along with that doesn’t make it any easier.

     I don’t think my book review is all that great but the book is absolutely amazing. It’s a must read. Now that I am done with the review I will end this blog entry for now. Have a good evening everyone and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. Peace out everyone.

A Wonderful Tuesday With My Boyfriend

     Hey! It’s another Tuesday and I’ve pretty much figured out ways to keep myself busy. My boyfriend of course has been and is included with those plans. For instance we went to the movies. We ended up seeing the movie Neighbors. I highly recommend it. I just wouldn’t take my grandparent to it. If you a person of faith you might get offended easily. It is funny as hell. I definitely need a good laugh and seeing the movie Neighbors helped a great deal. I didn’t realize how much I needed a good laugh until the movie was over. Laughter has been a great stress relief for me in my everyday life as well as dealing with my mental illness. I’m glad that the ticket dude at the movie theater suggested that we see Neighbors. I encourage you all to go see it.

     After the movie was over my boyfriend wanted to pick up a couple of books that he ordered a few weeks ago. While at the bookstore I picked up a box set of jigsaw puzzles. The box set has four 500 piece jigsaw puzzles in it. I love to do puzzles. The funny thing is that my boyfriend and I didn’t realize that the other enjoyed jigsaw puzzles until we started dating and at that point in time we had known each other for 13 years. (Side Note: We have now known each other for 14 years and that includes dating that last year.) Doing jigsaw puzzles with my boyfriend is one of the things we do on the regular basis. When we do puzzles we end up making it a date night and have dinner as well. If we do a puzzle at his place then he makes dinner and if we do a puzzle at my place then I make dinner. Anyway after we picked up books for him and ultimately puzzles for the both of us we headed back to his place.

     Now that we are at his place I am blogging as he fixes us dinner. He is fixing ham, homemade mac & cheese, and corn on the cob with freshly squeezed lemonade. For dessert I made brownies. Oh how I love chocolate. After dinner we are going to watch a couple of documentaries I rented from a mom and pop video store. My boyfriend and might even start on one of the puzzles I bought today. I love the fact that my boyfriend and I have so much more in common that we both realized.

     I have been long winded with this particular blog entry and am going to finish it here shortly. Everything I have mentioned in this particular blog entry are things that help me maintain my mental illness. To tell you the truth in the height of my struggles with my mental health issues I don’t think I would have been able to truly enjoy myself and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn’t personally be able to handle being in a romantic relationship. My boyfriend is extremely supportive of my and my mental health issues.

     Like I said earlier I have been long winded with this blog entry. Since dinner is not quite finished yet I am going to read the book I am still reading; The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks. I am really enjoying this book. Well I am going to end now. Have a good evening all.

Boyfriend, Brother and Books

     Hey! It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday where I live. After I got home from work I received a text from my boyfriend, seeing if I wanted to do something. I of course said yes. He came and picked me up and we went to a local park that has a lake and we had a picnic. He made some fried chicken, potato salad and chocolate chip cookies for us to eat our picnic. It was all really delicious. After we ate we walked around the lake which 3.3 miles. We of course held hands. I honestly thought I would never fall in love because of the struggles I have with having a mental illness. My boyfriend a normie. A normie is a normal person. In my opinion it takes a great deal of strength on his part to be my partner. I’ve known my boyfriend for 14 years now but we have only been dating for a year. He has been a great support for me over the years and is a pretty amazing dude. I know without a shadow of doubt that if I didn’t choose to be in recovery I would not be in a positive romantic relationship at the moment.

     After our time at the park my boyfriend dropped me off at my place where I decided to call my lil brother. He is a sweet kid even though he is a grown man. Despite our 11 year age difference we are close. I like to call him two or three times a week to check up on him. I check up on him because he has his own struggles with a disability or two. I still haven’t asked him if I can tell you all what his disabilities are. I think the reason why I haven’t is because I am being the protective older sister. That’s why I haven’t shared his name with you. I’m debating if I want to use his real name if I have his permission or a pseudonym. In all honesty I probably will end up using a pseudonym for his protection. My brother means the world to me. He is the only family member I trust with my life. My brother is one of the funniest people I know. He should be a stand up comedian.

     So after talking with my lil brother, I picked up the book I am currently reading and read a couple of chapters. I’m still reading the memoir, The Center Cannot Hold; My Journey Through Madness, by Elyn R. Saks. It’s about her struggle with schizophrenia and how she managed to get her education at three of the most prestigious colleges in the world. I don’t want to give too much away. I’m almost done with the book. I have only about a hundred pages left and am kind of sad that I am almost finished with it. Whenever I end a book if feel like I’m saying goodbye. I’m not to keen on goodbyes. For me reading helps me a great especially if I am struggling. Thankfully I am not struggling at the moment but I do read on the regular basis because I enjoy it immensely. Elyn R. Saks story is extremely inspirational.

     I hope that someday I can be an inspiration to others like Elyn R. Saks is to me and many others. Elyn R. Saks is also in recovery from mental illness. I started this blog in hopes that I can show others struggling with mental illness that recovery is possible. I also hope that normies (or “normal” people) can see that people with mental illness are just like. I hope that I can change someone’s negative thoughts toward the mentally ill to become neutral or positive because I was to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

    I’m wanting to get back to reading so I’m going to end this blog entry for now. I hope you have a good Saturday evening and enjoy whatever you are doing at the moment. Peace Out.

It’s Been A Good Tuesday

Hey!! It’s another Tuesday!! Today, didn’t start off in the most desirable way. I woke up with a nightmare. Not the way anyone wants to start off their day. Apparently and unfortunately it was a screaming nightmare. I found this out when the police showed up at my door. Once again, I was highly embarrassed that they were called and that I disturbed my neighbors again due to the PTSD I struggle with on the daily (and nightly) basis. The police did their jobs and thanked me for understanding. When the police left, I decided to stay up and get ready for the day.

As I was getting ready for my day my boyfriend called me to make plans for the day. I was more than pleased that we made plans because having such a rude awaking from a nightmare can cause my day to be rocky. We made plans to meet up Downtown to have lunch after his doctors appointment. So I met up with my boyfriend and we decided to go to Johnny Rockets. I love the atmosphere of Johnny Rockets and their food is absolutely awesome. I had the Houston while my boyfriend had the Smoke House Double and we shared a Chocolate Shake. As, we ate we made plans to do with the rest of our day.

After we ate we walked around the Downtown area of the city we live in. We decided to go into Barnes & Noble to look around. There I bought three books. In fact all three book are classics and I personally think they are books that I should have been assigned to read in school despite being in a special education English class. (Don’t get me started on the education I received in high school or the lack there of it.) It is my humble opinion that even though I was in a Special Ed English class I should have been required to read the three books that I bought today. The books I bought today are: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I love to read and enjoy it immensely despite having dyslexia and other reading issues. After buying books we decided to come home to his place.

When we arrived to his place we worked on a jigsaw puzzle together. We both love to do jigsaw puzzles. After that we both decided to read. I of course picked up the book that I am currently reading. The that I am reading is The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks. The book is a memoir of Elyn R. Saks life. She writes about her struggle with Schizophrenia and her struggle with the illness as well as her recovery and how her education helped her through her struggle. While I was reading my mom called from my little brother’s place.

When my mom calls that means it’s 6pm on Tuesday. I had to set a specific time for her to call because she would (and still tries to) call me multiple times a day. I talked with her. Thankfully, she wasn’t as full as drama as she usually is. I think the reason being is because she was over at my little brother place. My little brother and I extremely close despite our 11 year age difference. He is my hero. He too struggles with his own disabilities but I wont share them here unless I have his permission. Since my mom was at my brothers place I talked to him as well. I love his sense of humor. After about an hour of talking to my mom and brother I decided to call my dad and talked with him for about a half an hour.

After my conversation ended with my dad at 7:30pm (Pacific Time), Josh asked what I wanted to eat. We agreed on Spaghetti, so he is started fixing dinner as I blog. The spaghetti sure smells great. My boyfriend is an awesome cook. His food is almost as good as my grandmas food. Of course nobodies food is ever as good as grandmas food. Well I better end this entry and help my boyfriend finish dinner since it is now 8:07pm (Pacific Time). Have good rest of your evening, night or day wherever you maybe in the world.