Everyday Inspiration; Day 2: Write A List; Things I’ve Learned (& Why)

  1. To play a musical instrument. – When I was in sixth grade I started playing the flute because my best friend started playing it. I stuck with it and played through to my senior year of high school. I was in the junior high and high school band. Being in band is what kept me from dropping out of high school. In fact I am teaching myself to play the harmonica and the recorder.
  2. To have sense of humor. – I learned to have a sense of humor about myself and the world as whole from my dad. My dad told me that the world can be a harsh place and without a sense of humor life would be a lot more difficult. Having a sense of humor has helped make life a lot easier to deal with.
  3. Recovery. – I learned about being in recovery from a number of individuals in my life. One person who gets more credit teaching me about recovery than others is my dad. If it wasn’t for his example of what recovery looks like, I don’t think I would have listened to or looked to the other individuals about recovery. If it wasn’t for being in recovery, I would be completely miserable. Being miserable twenty four hours a day, seven days a week isn’t a way to live life. A part of recovery I learned is that it is non-linear.
  4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills. – I learned DBT skills as part of my recovery process. I personally think DBT is what saved my life. Without learning these skills, I wouldn’t be in active recovery today.
  5. Meditation & Mindfulness. – I learned about meditation and mindfulness through my friends and DBT. I learned about them to help me be more aware of the present. Being aware of the present is what helps me be more effective in everyday life.
  6. Hope. – Hope is something I learned about throughout my life. In fact the above mentioned items in this list are not only some of the ways I learned about hope but things that help me continue to have hope. Without hope I wouldn’t be in recovery.

I want to thank you for reading. I hope you learned a little something more about me. As you can tell my recovery is highly important to me. Have good day. Happy Friday!!! Peace Out!!!

Ramblings About Therapy & Other Things

Hello, World!!! As I sit here on my couch with my laptop on my lap I can’t help but think how this week is dragging on. I’m not sure why this week seems so slow but it does.

Despite it being a slow week, thus far, I still went to my appointment to see my therapist. Todays session was not an easy one as we discussed what happened to me two weeks ago. I was noticeably “high anxiety” according to my therapist which is something I can’t deny or argue with her over. We discussed a little about what happened. We mainly talked about how it’s effecting my life at the moment. My therapist saw me react to a flashback for the first time even though I’m 99.5% sure she was (and is) unaware of it. I’m not sure what she was thinking because I’m unable to read minds however I’m sure she thought I was reacting to something by showing some anger by punching the pillow. She noticed me with my slight “anger” with hitting the pillow and she stated “Let’s take three deep breaths” which we both did. The thing that shocks me is I didn’t react the way I typically do when someone says “deep breath(e).” Yes, I did have a flashback and body memory however I just flowed with the flow. Taking nice good breaths helped a great deal. We continued with the rest of our session. We ended the session with me not holding the pillow and my therapist having me take “a few deep breaths.” Yes, this triggered me however, once again, I went with the flow.

I owe me not reacting to my therapist telling me to “take a deep breath” to the Calm app and it’s meditation. The lady that does the meditation practice’s I’ve done thus far says “take a deep breath.”  I feel this has been a type of exposure therapy for me. It’s something, I think I need to bring this up to my therapist as it’s a big deal for me and my recovery.

Now that we are on the topic of this particular app. I used it on my way home from therapy to help me get in a better head space. It helped a lot more than I thought it would. I am grateful to the person who informed me about the Calm app.

On that note, I’ll end this post for now. I realize that I need to attempt to eat something even if nothing sounds appetizing. I hope everyone has good rest of the evening. Peace Out!!!

Weekly Check-In

Good Afternoon, World!!! It has been a while since I last did a weekly check-in and have been encouraged to “make more of an effort to blog on the regular basis.” I agree with the multiple individuals who have pointed this out to me. The one way I can “blog on the more regular basis” is by doing the weekly check-ins.

In fact one of the individual’s that have encouraged me to start “blogging more” is my case manager. I saw her this past Monday (September 25th) for our regularly scheduled appointment. My case manager checked-in with me about what happened to me and am greatly appreciative for it. We spent most of our half hour session discussing ways to use my skills to help me through the not so good moments. One of those skills is blogging and that how the topic came up. We also discussed me doing some art work after I showed my case manager some of the art the I did in art group before our session. We also discussed how I can use other skills that I have in my tool box which I will bring up one that I’m surprisingly enjoying later on in this post. Before the session ended my case manager wanted to make sure I was going to attend my doctors appointment the next day (Tuesday). I reassured I would.

In fact as mentioned in my previous post, I did go to my doctors appointment. My doctor and I discussed how I was doing as well as checking in with me regarding my mental health. She is “concerned” that I’m “not receiving the proper mental health” that I need. I reassured my doctor that I am. I informed her that I am not only receiving both therapy and case management services but attending three groups. She inquired more about the groups and I happily obliged. My doctor appeared to be content with all this at least for a moment.

Since I’m on the topic of groups, I attended all three groups this past week. The first group I went to is held on Monday’s and is an Art group. I love attending the Art Group however I don’t attend every Monday but I did this past Monday. I highly enjoy attending it and both my case manager and doctor would like me “attending every week because being creative appears to be of help” to me. I can’t argue with that.

The second group I am attending is on Thursdays and about Sexual Health and Relationships. Primarily it’s about sexual health. In fact my case manager co-facilitates this group.  I’m not quite sure about this group yet because of what happened. I’ve only attended once and it has only been a group in existence for two weeks. My case manager recommended this group to me before I got sexually assaulted. I’m toying with the fact if its a good idea to continue with this group however it’s something to discuss with my therapist as well continue discussing with my case manager.

A group that needs no discussing for me to continue for me to attend is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) on Fridays. In fact attendance is a requirement of DBT and is one that has a waitlist to for is which why once I finally got into it, I make it a priority to attend DBT. I did attend yesterday. In fact I admitted to group and will admit to you that I was willful with not doing part of my homework. In fact I don’t want to do part of my homework that is due next Friday. I will however do the homework as I know it will ultimately help me. Validating others is easy. Self validation is not so easy and it’s something that would hopefully help me. In fact I am pretty sure self validation will be helpful.

Another thing that is helpful and a major part of DBT is mindfulness. In fact I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I would bring up a skill that I have found surprisingly enjoyable which is mindfulness and meditation. In fact a fellow peer (specialist) suggested an app that I have found quite helpful and is how I found out that mindfulness and mediation is enjoyable. The app is called Calm and I highly recommend using it if you have a smart phone. I have found it quite helpful. The longest stretch I’ve used the app is seven days in a row. Unfortunately, that stretch ended when I was assaulted. That’s why my case manager encouraged me to start using it again since I have found the app helpful and enjoyable. In fact she informed me that she will let my therapist know about the app. In fact I have a two day stretch as of today. Hopefully by the time I see my therapist it will be a five day stretch. I’m hoping that I can make mindfulness and meditation a daily habit.

Speaking of habits, I need to make blogging a habit. Which is why I am planning on making an effort to put it into my schedule to blog. That’s why I want to make I at least do my weekly check-in post.

As I end this post I want to thank you for reading. I hope that everyone has a great day and Peace Out!!!

Finding A Peaceful Way To Have Daily Structure

Hello, World!!! It’s just after eleven o’clock at night in my part of the world. Even though I haven’t accomplished much the last few days in the eyes of what society calls accomplishments, I feel like I have made some significant accomplishments.

Accomplishments that are a major deal for me. Lets start with something that is difficult for me to do and that is taking time out of my day to do a mindfulness meditation. A fellow peer specialist introduced me to an app called Calm. So I decided to get the app however I didn’t start using it until about ten days ago. I’ve been using the guided mindfulness meditation of the Calm app. In fact I’ve done it for, four days straight now. I’ve noticed over that last ten days especially the last four days straight that I’ve had a sense of calmness and peace I haven’t felt in a long while. I am making a conscience effort to do a guided mindfulness meditation each morning to start off my day in a good way.

Another way that I am starting off after my morning mindfulness meditation is having a nice cup of hot tea with honey and half & half in it while reading the local news paper. Yes, the news can be quite depressing at times however, I find that reading the news paper helps me with being less traumatized by the news. I can always put the paper down when it gets overwhelming and pick it up at a later time during the day. I do end up reading the entire paper without needing to put it down and I have both the mindful meditation I do before hand as well as what I do next.

What I do next is take a two mile walk while listening to my favorite music or my favorite podcast. Right now the podcast I’m listening to is Philosophize This. Its about philosophy as well as philosophers. I am finding listening to Philosophize This extremely educational for me.

Another thing I am finding educational for me is teaching myself how to play the musical interment the recorder. It is quite similar to playing the flute and since I know how to play the flute, I’ve decided to teach myself how to play the recorder. Part of the reason I’m teaching myself to play the recorder is its not only similar to playing the flute but my flute needs some major repairs to it and will take some time to get it repaired. Learning a new musical instrument also helps bring a peace and calmness that many other things are unable to do. Playing an instrument is also a type of mindfulness and a form of meditation for me.

I hope that when I see my therapist tomorrow that I can tell her what I am doing to help myself with all the mindfulness and meditation I am doing for myself. In fact I consider all what I discussed with you a form a self care for myself. Most of which is a new form of self care for me.  I just help that I can continue this good self care with the help of both the professionals in my life as well as the people in my natural support system (aka my friends).

As I end this blog post for the night, I hope this is a start that things are starting to look up for me in regards to my recovery. It’s going to take a great deal of effort on my part but am extremely hopeful that I will stick with it.

As always thank you for reading. I hope that with what I discussed in this post helps others realize that recovery is possible and that those who don’t struggle with a mental health condition or challenge that we  who do struggle want, desire and work hard to be well. Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World!!!

Making Life Decisions in a Crisis

The last few months have been a struggle for me. A struggle that has been more or less a constant crisis for me. Being in a constant crisis and not being able to  bounce back like I have been able to do in recent years.

Not being able to bounce back as quickly as I have been able to do as in recent years got me to thinking about my recovery. I realized as I was thinking that not being able to focus on my recovery due to working fulltime under a supervisor who would not allow me to take time off for appointments with my treatment team that I needed to make a huge life decision. A decision that was not easy for me to make but I needed make it as I need to focus on my recovery. That decision was to resign from my position as a Peer Specialist.

I put in my notice on Valentines Day and my supervisor wasn’t exactly the happiest of people at the moment. He didn’t want to go through the hiring process again which I wouldn’t want to do either however I feel like my recovery is more important than sticking at a job that was hindering my recovery. Yes, I love my job with a passion and really don’t want to quit but I realize that I am doing a disservice to the clients I serve if I am in a constant crisis and not focusing on my own recovery. One of my primary job duties is to be in recovery and well its a little wobbly at the moment I need to do what is best for both the clients I serve and myself and focus on my recovery. So, my last day at a job I love with a passion with be on March 24, 2017.

I know resigning from my job is the best decision for me at the moment. I can’t help others if I’m not able to help myself. As difficult as this decision was for me, I am at peace with my decision. In all honesty I can’t help but see the dialectics in my decision of resigning from my job. I think its because of both the dialectics and mindfulness is why I am at peace with my decision of quitting a job I love with a passion. My recovery is way too important.

I appreciate you all for reading. I hope to continue to share with you my journey of recovery with a mental health condition. I hope to continue to be an example of what recovery looks like. Thank you all again for reading. Have a wonderful weekend. Peace Out!!!

Thrown to the Wolves but Not Eaten by Them

Good Evening!! It’s been a month today since I started my new position as a peer specialist at work and I am still loving it. It’s been quite a month for a number of reasons.

When my supervisor informed me that he was throwing me to the wolves he thought it was only for my first week and not for my first month and beyond. A colleague  went on an  unexpected leave. A leave my supervisor was shocked as hell about and went to bat for him so he would be able to return to work. Thankfully, this colleague came back yesterday (Wednesday) and felt bad for leaving myself and my other colleague out of loop and out for so long. We may not know exactly why he was out but we understand more than others because of being Peer Specialist.

I am loving  my new position. It is quite challenging at times. Then there are times where it is fun and full of laughter. For instance today, I was called a butt loud names by client who is not doing so well and on the other end of the spectrum, I was able to joke and laugh with another client. I am learning to take things in stride as they come my way, weather is insults or laughter.

My new position can be stressful at times which leads me to the training I was able to attend called Mindfulness as Self-Care which was held by the crisis clinic. I was able to attend because of being a Warm Line call taker and the Warm Line is under the umbrella of the Crisis Clinic.

The training obviously was on Mindfulness as Self-Care. It was geared toward those of us who work in the mental health  field. It focused on mindfulness skills. Part of the training also gave some back history as well. Some of the history included the focus of how various religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism focus on mindfulness and how it is a major skill taught in Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT).  The training gave me some new ways to be mindful and more tools to add to my toolbox.

I am looking forward till tomorrow. Tomorrow in my three year anniversary with Junior. It’s difficult to wrap my mind around that Junior and I have been together for three years.  After I get off work tomorrow, we are going to go on a romantic get away for the weekend. It is a much needed get away for the both of us.

Well, I need to get going. I hope to blog again at some point this weekend. I am tired and think it is time for me to go to bed. Have a good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If I Could Turn Back Time.” If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?

I personally think we all have moments where we could turn back time to do over or even re-experience something good or joyous in our life. Who wouldn’t want to do an embarrassing day they experienced in junior high / middle school? Who wouldn’t want to experience a time in their life where it was a joyous or wonderful? I know for me that there are plenty of embarrassing moments from junior high I would love to do over again. I also know I would love to re-experience all the wonderful experiences I have had.

But truthfully, I don’t know if there is a time I would want to turn back. I say this because if we go back and change things then it would change the course of our lives. Despite all the pain and suffering I have experienced in my life; it has made me the person I am today. Granted if I could turn back time; I wouldn’t want to struggle with a mental illness. Then again, my mental health diagnosis has helped shaped on who I am as a person. I’m not my mental illness but it has shaped me and for the better. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t wish a mental illness on anyone but its helped make me realize who I am as a person and what direction my life is going. It’s just like I wouldn’t wish anyone to get hurt like I did as a child (including those who abused me) nor would I want to re-experience being hurt again but its helped me be the person I am today. As much as I don’t like some of the aspects of what I experienced in my life I am grateful that it has made me who I am today. Yes, the positive experiences have made me who I am today as well and I still wouldn’t want to relive them for the same reason as the negative experiences. Turning back time would just make me a different person and that is why I wouldn’t want to do it at all. I’ve learned that as much as I want to turn back time at times that there is no going back. Enjoy what you have in the moment.

For me enjoying what I have in the moment is the best way to live my life and not turn back time. I hope everyone takes the time today to enjoy the moment that they are living in. Life is too short to not enjoy the current moment. Have a wonderful day and peace out!!