Weekly Check-In

It is Saturday morning and that means its time for my weekly check-in. I enjoyed my three day weekend last week.

I unfortunately called in sick most of last week because I wasn’t feeling well. I was dealing with a migraine that just wouldn’t go a way. Missing work is not my favorite thing especially since I love my job. I did end up going to see my doctor yesterday. She agrees that it was a migraine. She suspects that my migraine was caused by a combination of weather change, allergies, the fluorescent lights in my work environment and my depression symptoms increasing.

My doctor prescribed  me some allergy and migraine meds as well as suggested ways to decrease my exposure florescent lights. For example go for two, ten minute walks to get some natural light which will also help with my depression symptoms. My doctor also informed me that she would be in communication with my therapist and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Long story short, my doctor did get a hold of my therapist who in return called me. Diana and I discussed on ways I can decrease my depression symptoms. We of course discussed the skills that help the most. The plan we came up with was to hang out with people from my natural support systems or at least call and talk to some of them on the phone. Other things on the list are, to blog, go on a walk, color, journal, read, and of course lots of chocolate.

Its amazing that I have health care professionals that are willing to communicate with each other. You don’t find that much now a days or at least here in the United States. I am grateful that I have people who look out for me. My therapist emailed Junior and Mama Bear to let them know what was going on even though they both already knew. Junior is working an overtime shift so he’s been checking up on me via text. Mama Bear took me out to breakfast and did some walking.

Yes, I still have my migraine but at least the pain is subsiding with meds and skills. I am grateful that I have health care professionals in my life that care. I am just as grateful that I have natural support system the love and care about me. Have a wonderful weekend everyone and peace out all.

Writing 201: Finding Your Story; Day One: What’s Your Angle

As many of you are well aware of I am taking yet another WordPress course. It starts today and todays assignment is on what my angle is. Like many other courses I have taken it is how one interprets the assignment on how that person does the assignment. Or at least that is my understanding. The following is my first assignment:

What’s my angle? My angle has always been geared toward sharing my story with recovery with the mental illness I struggle with. I have done this to help educate others who do not struggle mental illness as well as to give others hope that recovery is possible for those of us who struggle with mental illness. Don’t worry, this is still going to be a part of my angle, I have just recently added more angles to my blog.

I have realized over the last year, that people don’t really discuss (or write about) miscarriage and the pain that comes along with it or how to deal with the grief and loss one experience’s when they have a miscarriage. So, I am adding a couple of more angles to my blog. They are to share my journey through my grief and loss with my both my miscarriages. That means the added angles to my blog are miscarriage and grief and loss.

On a side note for those who are new to reading my blog I miscarried January of last year (2015). I miscarried my second set of twins in fourteen months.  Over the last year I have struggled greatly with both miscarriages and realized no one ever talks about grief and loss and how to deal with it or even miscarriage.

Now that you are now aware of what my new added angles are, I am going to end this post in a moment. I am grateful that I was able to take my lunch break today. Most importantly I am grateful I haven’t been called back early so I could do todays assignment. Well, I need to get back to work. Have a wonderful day. Most importantly have a great work week. Peace out!!!

Mental Illness Basics

Happy Friday!! I am happy to announce that today is my first blogging feature. It is hope that when I do my blogging feature every Friday, that I not only educate people without a mental illness to lessen the stigma that goes along with having one but hopefully to gain a bigger blog following. My primary goal is to educate people on mental illness. The stigma needs to stop which is why I am doing an “educational” piece every Friday.

Now that I have told you about my blogging feature; lets get going. Today’s blogging feature is about mental illness basics. I got the following information from http://www.webmd.com/. Here is that information:

Mental illness is any disease or condition that abnormally influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, or relates to others and to his or her surroundings. Although the symptoms of mental illness can range from mild to severe and are different depending on the type of mental illness, a person with an untreated mental illness often has difficulty coping with life’s daily routines and demands.

What Causes Mental Illness?

The exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known. It is, though, becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors — not personal weakness or a character defect — and recovery from a mental illness is not simply a matter of will and self-discipline.

  • Heredity (genetics): Many mental illnesses run in families, suggesting they may be passed on from parents to children through genes. Genes contain instructions for the function of each cell in the body and are responsible for how we look, act, think, etc. However, just because your mother or father may have or had a mental illness doesn’t mean you will have one. Hereditary just means that you are more likely to get the condition than if you didn’t have an affected family member. Experts believe that many mental conditions are linked to problems in multiple genes — not just one, as with many diseases — which is why a person inherits a susceptibility to a mental disorder but doesn’t always develop the condition. The disorder itself occurs from the interaction of these genes and other factors — such as psychological trauma and environmental stressors — which can influence, or trigger, the illness in a person who has inherited a susceptibility to it.
  • Biology: Some mental illnesses have been linked to an abnormal functioning of brain circuits that connect different brain regions that control thinking, mood, and behavior. Nerve cells within those brain circuits pass information along from one cell to the next through brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Scientists think that by altering the activity of certain neurotransmitters (through medicines, psychotherapy, brain stimulation, or other treatments), those faulty brain circuits may work more efficiently, thereby controlling symptoms. In addition, defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain also have been linked to some mental conditions. Also, recent studies show inflammation may have a role in the development of mental illness.
  • Psychological trauma: Some mental illnesses may be triggered by psychological trauma suffered as a child or teenager, such as
    • Severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
    • A significant early loss, such as the loss of a parent
    • Neglect
  • Environmental stressors: Certain stressors — such as a death or divorce, a dysfunctional family life, changing jobs or schools, and substance abuse — can trigger a disorder in a person who may be at risk for developing a mental illness. This effect is not the same as and goes beyond the grief and other normal emotional responses such events cause.

Can Mental Illness Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, most mental illnesses are caused by a combination of factors and cannot be prevented.

How Common Is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses are very common. In fact, they are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 25% of American adults (those ages 18 and older) and about 13% of American children (those ages 8 to 15) are diagnosed with a mental disorder during a given year.

Major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are among the U.S.’s top 10 leading causes of disability.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect people of any age, income or educational level, and cultural background. Although mental illness affects both males and females, certain conditions — such as eating disorders or depression — tend to occur more often in females, and other disorders — such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — more commonly occur in male children.

How Is Mental Illness Treated?

A mental illness, like many chronic illnesses, requires ongoing treatment to control symptoms. Fortunately, much progress has been made in the last two decades in treating mental illnesses. As a result, many mental conditions can be effectively treated with one or a combination of the following therapies:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy, such as individual or group therapy
  • Day treatment or partial hospital treatment
  • Specific therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and behavior modification

Other treatments available include:

  • Alternative therapies, such as water therapy, massage, and biofeedback
  • Creative therapies, such as art therapy, music therapy, or play therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

What Is the Outlook for People With Mental Illness?

When diagnosed early and treated properly, many people fully recover from their mental illness or are able to successfully control their symptoms. Although some people become disabled because of a chronic or severe mental illness, many others are able to live full and productive lives. In fact, as many as eight in 10 people suffering from a mental illness can effectively return to their normal activities if they receive appropriate treatment.

I am grateful for the information I used from http://www.webmd.com/. I hope that the information I shared was hopeful. We need to start educating ourselves as well as others about mental illness. Then that way ignorance and naivety can not play a role in the stigmatizing of people with mental illness. For those of us who struggle with a mental illness will no longer tolerate the stigma with having a mental illness.

Now that I have completed my first blogging feature, I am going to end this post. It is an extremely long post and hope that I have “educated” people some. Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!! Peace Out!!!

Daily Prompt: Let’s Go Crazy

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Let’s Go Crazy.” Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?

This (past) daily prompt angers me. It angers me because the prompt is named “Let”s Go Crazy” and is extremely disheartening and discriminating for those who struggle with mental illness. It adds to the stigma that goes with having a mental illness. I understand what the prompt “is asking” but it’s not funny and maybe I am taking it too seriously but it’s demoralizing to those of us who struggle with a mental illness.

No one really wants to “go crazy.” Life is difficult enough without having a mental health diagnoses. It is not an easy thing to go through day to day living and if you have a mental illness on top of that, it is a constant struggle. A struggle that many people do not over come due to the fact that their symptoms are so unbearable that they choose to die by suicide. Unforantenly, it is the only way that some who struggle with mental illness can get any relief from their symptoms.

Living with a mental illness is a constant struggle and choosing to live in recovery is not easy either. Imagine dealing with a sadness that does not go away or having to relive a traumatic experience everyday even when the trauma ended decades ago or worse yet hearing or seeing things that no one else is able to see or hear. Most people can not and/or will not try to comprehend what people like myself and many others experience everyday and a daily prompt’s title saying “Lets Go Crazy” just dehumanizes what those of us who struggle with mental illness go through on the daily basis. It adds to the stigma of dealing with a mental illness.

Not only does stigma effect those who are diagnosed with a mental illness, it effects their friends and family as well. There are great deal of people out there in the world including here on WordPress trying to eliminate the stigma that goes with having a mental health diagnosis. I know it wasn’t the intention of WordPress to stigmatize or discriminate against any particular population they serve but hope that the fine folks who work for WordPress will think about how certain words and/or phrase can affect certain populations.

Before I end this particular entry, I know I may be taking this “title” too seriously and that WordPress wasn’t trying to discriminate but just wanted to share with you the world on how I felt about it. I started blogging to help end the stigma that goes with having a mental illness. Now that I have been on my soapbox, I am going to end this entry for now. Have a wonderful day and peace out!!!

Daily Prompt: In the Summer Time

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.” If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

It’s definitely summer in my neck of woods and I am loving it. The weather has been awesome all summer and am grateful for the beautiful weather. Having beautiful weather during vacation always makes it that much more enjoyable.

Junior and myself are currently staying in a hotel in the town where both my brother and mother live. We came to their town because of my brothers birthday and wanted to be here to celebrate it with him. In fact as part of my brothers birthday gift we took him to the fair that always happens around his birthday that is in the area he lives in. Thankfully, we were able to take him on his actual birthday which was on Friday. The cool about coming to see my brother was we were able to stay at his place on Thursday and Friday nights. We could have stayed at my brothers last night and tonight but Junior and I wanted time to ourselves before the next part of our vacation which I will tell you about later in this particular post. About an hour after Junior and I checked into our hotel, we watched the parade. We watched it because my brother was in it. My brother was in the parade because he is a part of the Special Olympics. After the parade, Junior and I came up and had a much need intimate moment that last more than an hour. The best part of our hotel room is it looks over a lake and the state capital building. We can also look down at the local fair that is going on and we will be able to watch the fireworks from our room that end the fair tonight.

Tomorrow, Junior and I take the train to go to see my grandparents. I am looking forward to seeing them. They live right on the Columbia River. Being at their place is very peaceful. One of the things I’m looking forward to when I’m at my grandparents is fishing. Yes, this city girl enjoys to fish. Being able to relax is a great thing and that is what I plan on doing when I am at my grandparents.

In fact Junior and myself not only plan on relaxing at my grandparents, we are relaxing now in the town my brother lives in. We are going to go and do a few more fun things before the fireworks tonight.  So far my highlights for the summer are spending time with my brother and the beautiful weather. Now that you know what my summer highlights are, I am going to get going so I can relax with Junior. Perhaps we might have more intimate moments before we head out for the day. Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone. Enjoy your summer and peace out all!!!

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!!

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!!!