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!!!

Daily Prompt: Thank You

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Thank You.” The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).

As I was searching through the past daily prompts today, I came a crossed this daily prompt. I thought it would be a good one to do just because I have a lot to be thankful for.

First things first I am thankful for my dad. There are so many reasons I am thankful for my dad. Granted he may not have won the father of the year but I’m okay with that. My dad had to take on the role of mom when my own mother abandoned the both of us in the middle of the night. He not only raised me (with the help of my grandparents) in the 80’s and 90’s but showed me what it meant to persevere despite his developmental delays, Traumatic Brain Injury (TPI), mental illness and alcoholism. Most importantly, my dad showed me what recovery looked like. He showed that recovery isn’t an easy process but is well worth it. He also taught me that the road to recovery is uniquely individualized to each person.

Secondly, I am thankful for my grandparents for helping my dad raise me. I was not the easiest of children to raise especially when I was a teenager dealing with an eating disorder, mental illness and self-harm issues. My grandparents weren’t perfect but at least I know they tried to the best of their abilities and most importantly they love me with all their heart.

Another person I am thankful for is my fiancé, Junior. I am thankful for Junior for many different reasons. I am extremely thankful that he not only chose to ask me out and date me but asked me to marry him. The reason being is because he knew what he was getting into when we started dating. He knew how difficult it could and can be with my mental illness and that didn’t scare him. I thankful for Junior’s love for me and his encouragement with my recovery.

I have yet another person I am thankful for. This person has played a significant role in my recovery and am forever grateful to her for it. The person is my own therapist, Diana. (Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym to protect her, her family as well as her past, current and future clients.) Diana has been an incredibly formable person for me in my recovery. She has been in my corner, encouraging me, challenged me (when needed), listening to me and most importantly believing me when I tell her stuff that happened to me as a child. Diana has helped me grow as a person since she is a person who believes that recovery is possible despite how differently it looks to each person.

Last but not least I am thankful for my recovery with my mental illness as well as my eating disorders. I am thankful for my recovery because I am able to enjoy my life despite what difficulties I encounter. If I wasn’t in recovery I wouldn’t haven’t been able to get my certification as a Peer Support Specialist much less have my current job as a Consumer Advocate. I also wouldn’t be able to volunteer at the Warm Line or the young adult homeless shelter I just started volunteering at. Being in recovery means that I am now living a life worth living.

A life worth living also means finding out what you enjoy. That what I am going to do now. I am going to go and enjoy this beautiful summer day. I am going to go and eat at my favorite restaurant on the water front. Yes, that means I am ending this blog post for now. Peace out and enjoy your day.

Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Teacher’s Pet.” Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

Here I am again, doing another daily prompt. In fact yesterday was the first time I ever used WordPress’s daily prompt and I like having the option of a specific “topic” ready for me to choose from. In fact I’m loving having the option to not only have a daily prompt but having the option to do todays daily prompt or a past daily prompt. Just like the daily prompt I use yesterday, today, I chose a past daily prompt.

It is an extremely difficult choice for me to pick just one teacher who has had an impact on my life because, there isn’t a teacher that I haven’t had who hasn’t made and impact on my life at one time or another. Since all my teachers have had an impact on my life, I have decided to only discuss three teachers in this particular post. Two of the three teachers happen to be two of my most favorite teachers. I have decided to use their real names due to the fact I want to give them all credit for what they have done. I know maybe that may not be a wise choice on my part but they do deserve credit even if what one teacher angers you (like it does me) they all are worthy of credit.

Before I begin telling you about the three teachers who have had the most impact on my life let me tell you a thing or two first. All through my school years I was a main streamed special education student. That means I was in “normal” classes with other kids in my grade with the exception of one subject and sometimes two subjects. The reason being is because at an early age I was diagnosed with not only ADHD but dyslexia and other reading and writing disabilities. The only subject I was not main streamed in was English and on occasion other subjects when needed.

Now that we are on the topic of both Special Education and English, lets talk about my seventh grade Special Ed English teacher, Ms. Phelps. Ms. Phelps wasn’t the best of teachers nor was she one of my favorite teachers. She was not always the most sensitive of people and unfortunately wasn’t afraid to speak her mind especially when it came to hurting a students feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I actually prefer people to speak their minds but when it could harm someone especially a child then its not always exactly the best thing to do. Ms. Phelps was getting fed up with me because she didn’t think I was putting much effort into my homework.  In all actuality, I was spending two hours a day just doing homework for her class alone. I had six other classes that I needed to do homework for (including marching/concert band). I spent three hours doing homework from my other classes and that includes me practicing my flute for an hour for band. I spent more time doing homework for class than my other classes. Since Ms. Phelps didn’t think I was putting much effort into my homework for her class she kept giving me detention which was nothing new for me since I was always in trouble. It was one of those detentions where she spoke her mind and spouted out her anger on me. She told me “You will never graduate high school much less make it through you freshman year of high school. You most likely will drop out your freshman year. You will be a high school drop-out just like your parents.” It was because of what she said is what made me determined to graduate high school and prove her wrong. If it wasn’t for those words echoing through my head, I think I wouldn’t have cared so much about graduating high school as I did. Yes, I did graduate high school and it made me feel good that I not only proved her wrong but I proved myself wrong as well. I still haven’t been able to show her my high school diploma and I’m okay with it because it doesn’t matter so much to me any more.

The next teacher, I’m about to tell you about was one that inspired me to be the best at what I was able to do despite my disabilities and had him throughout my junior high years. For me the junior high I attended was only seventh and eighth grades. Mr. Hahn was my band teacher. He had a sense a humor that related to every kid he taught. Mr. Hahn taught me how to persevere through difficult sections in a specific piece of  music which could be a potential metaphor for life. Mr. Hahn put a great deal of effort into me and helped me improve playing the flute. He taught me various things in regards to the flute as well as being able to use them in life now and not just in regards to playing the flute. Mr. Hahn’s constant encouragement, sense of humor and love for music is why I continued playing the flute through high school even though I wasn’t exactly the best flute player in the world.

This next teacher I am about to tell you about is one who encouraged me to get help for both my eating disorders as well as the depression I was in. Ms. Casey taught me Earth Science my sophomore year of high school and Biology my junior high of high school. She was also the class advisor for my graduating class. She taught me how to love science and that it was more than okay to be a woman who loves science. Not only did she help me get the help I needed for the eating disorders and mental illness, she helped me with my homework for her class(es) as well as other classes. Ms. Casey put the effort into me to make sure that I graduated high school. Ms. Casey was one of those teachers (just like Mr. Hahn) who put in extra hours to make sure all her students succeeded in school and beyond.

If it wasn’t for the above three teachers, I wouldn’t have graduated high school nor been the success I am today. They all taught me the power of determination in their own way and that once you put your mind to something, stay strong and most importantly keep the determination.

I wish I could write more on this particular post especially about Mr. Hahn and Ms. Casey, I am unable to do so because I have to go to work. I love my job and if it wasn’t for all my teachers throughout my life I would have it. Thank you to all the teacher who have taught me. Well, off to work I go. Peace out!!

Daily Prompt: Strike a Chord

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Strike a Chord.” Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.

As I was searching through past topics of the Daily Prompts, this particular topic caught my eye instantly. It caught my eye for a multitude of reasons and decided that I would do this daily prompt before heading out to work today.

Yes, I do play an instrument. I play the flute. I’ve been playing the flute since the sixth grade. That was back in September of 1991. Holy shit, that was 24 years ago. The story around why I started playing the flute is quite humorous. I originally started playing the trombone and my arm was to short to slide to the fifth and sixth positions and even with the extension I was still unable to slide to the sixth position. Since I was unable to play the trombone due to short arms, I had to choose another instrument. I was debating between the oboe and the flute and was ultimately persuaded into choosing the flute by my best friend, who was learning to play the flute at the same time as well. I am beyond grateful that I was talked into playing flute but part of still wishes I picked up the oboe. The oboe has a beautiful yet unique sound and is an instrument that catches my ear.

I find many musical instruments quite pleasing to my ear besides the above mentioned instruments. One of the instruments I find particularly pleasing is the bagpipe. Yes, the bagpipe. People tend to laugh at the fact that I not only enjoy the sound of the bagpipes but want to learn how to play them as well. Over the years I’ve come to study the history of the bagpipe. The reason being is because it is a part of my heritage. I am half Irish and identify as Irish. Yes, I do know it’s also a part of Scottish heritage however, I don’t have any Scottish in my blood. A cool side note about bagpipes is my fiancé, Junior can play the bagpipes quite well. In fact he is a part of the pipes and drums with the fire department. He in fact is a firefighter and paramedic. The cool thing that I find about Junior playing the bagpipes is that he is Mexican and isn’t afraid to do so. (Junior is also able to play the trumpet and plays in a Mariachi Band).

Playing the flute has been a life safer to me in many ways. Playing the flute in the high school marching (and concert) band is what helped stay in school and prevented from dropping out. That’s why I am so passionate about keeping both the performing and fine arts in schools. The arts keep people like me in school.

Not only did playing the flute keep me in school, it has helped me enormously in my recovery with mental illness. Playing the flute helps with my mental illness in several ways. It helps keep me distracted at times. It relaxes me. Most importantly it helps me focus on my breath and breathing well. When I am dealing with severe PTSD symptoms I tend to forget to breath and the “normal” breathing techniques and exercises don’t help me much. The “typical” breathing techniques and exercises tend to make my PTSD symptoms worse due to some trauma. That is where the flute comes in to helping me focus on my breath. You need to breathe well to be able to play the flute properly. That means, me being able to breathe well not only helps me with playing the flute helps with the symptoms of my PTSD. You can say that playing the flute has been a type of therapy for me; music therapy. Unforantenly, not many places offer music therapy despite how helpful it is to many different people in this world.

When I chose this particular daily prompt, I had absolutely no idea where it would lead. I honestly didn’t think I would be discussing how the flute helped (and still helps) with my PTSD. I thought I would me discussing more how band kept me in school and how I now have life long friends because of band. In all honesty, I have my best friend since the third grade to not only to join band by picking an instrument but persuading me to choose the flute over the oboe when I was not able to play the trombone. Playing a musical instrument gives one a community that they will always be a part of.

Now that I’ve done this daily prompt, it brings joy to my soul that I was able to share one community I belong to, to you the blogging community in which I to belong to. Thank you for allowing me to share all this. I am going to have to end this blog for now because I have to go to work now. Have a wonderful work week everyone. Happy Monday and peace out everyone!!!!