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!!

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Nightmare Leftovers

     Hey! I guess I can say it’s officially Friday since it is 1:34 in the morning (pacific time). Its been Friday for an hour and thirty four minutes now. I guess a Happy Friday is in order. Happy Friday, everyone!!!

     I have been up for about an hour and a half now due to a stupid ass nightmare. Thankfully, I’m at my boyfriends house and he is helping me through what I call the nightmare leftovers. Sometimes the nightmare leftovers are difficult to deal with. Depending on what type of nightmare I had, I can wake up in little girl mode. Most of the time when I am in little girl mode after a severe nightmare like tonight I don’t realize that I’m in it because the nightmare felt like the trauma was happening all over again. It can take quite awhile for me to get out of little girl mode. Tonight it only took an hour for me to out of little girl mode. According to my boyfriend, I was 9 year old Gertie for that hour. Apparently 9 year old Gertie thinks my boyfriend is a safe person and that is a good thing. My boyfriend is a safe person. I have stuffed animals at my boyfriends house to help me through rough moments even if the rough moments are not when I am in little girl mode. My therapist says that its a common thing for people to dissociate after a severe nightmare or PTSD symptom. The dissociation is getting less and less as well as farther apart as I continue to work through the pain of my past with my therapist. Well, I’ve gotten off track. Back to the nightmare leftovers. My boyfriend is a strong man (both emotionally and physically) and is able to handle the nightmare leftovers pretty well. When I become little Gertie my boyfriend gives me one of my stuffed animals to hold and puts on a Disney movie. I guess tonight 9 year old Gertie wanted to watch The Jungle Book so my boyfriend put it in for her to watch. When I get out of little girl mode I usually put on some music to help get grounded again. I put on Nirvana to help me get grounded and it helped me. See, another part of the nightmare leftovers is that it takes a while for me to recuperate from the nightmare especially if I was in little girl mode. The part that is most difficult for my boyfriend is when he wants to cuddle with me (when I am not in lil girl mode) to try to comfort me and I cant because its difficult for me to be touched. That part is difficult for me as well however its quite difficult for him and I wish I stand being touched after a nightmare. I am extremely grateful that my boyfriend is patient with me and whatever symptoms any of my mental heath diagnoses may bring. I just wish I had the patients with the symptoms that he has with them. Nightmare leftovers suck because being intimate with my boyfriend isn’t going to happen when we go back to bed. Cuddling maybe but not sex. I am getting really sleepy.

     I am thinking should get going so I could get some sleep. I might even have my boyfriend cuddle with me so I can feel a little bit safer. He always makes me feel safe. I should get going and try to get some sleep. Hopefully, I can get some sleep. I know my boyfriend will stay up with me if need be. It is now 2 o’clock in the morning and I really need sleep. Peace out!

Comfort

     Hey, it’s still Saturday and its been good day. I did end up having a picnic by myself at my neighborhood park. The PB&J sandwich was absolutely delicious and comforting. Their something comforting about eating a PB&J sandwich. Not sure why PB&J sandwiches are so comforting but they are. In fact eating the sandwich helped me through a rough moment. The rough moment was dealing with the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD sucks a great deal. After eating my PB&J, I read some of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I am enjoying the book a great deal. 

      As, I was reading in my neighborhood park my mother called. My mom is not a very comforting person in my life. She says some pretty harsh and mean things to me in almost all of our conversations. In fact with my mom I have had to set boundaries with her calling me. In fact that day and time is Tuesday at 6pm. I did decide to pick up today when she called. Don’t get me wrong I love my mom but she is not a very nice person when she has been drinking and/or using. She is an alcoholic and drug addict. My moms parenting skills when I was growing up weren’t exactly the best. I answered the phone in hopes that maybe that she might be some comfort to me because of my PTSD symptoms acting up. Unfortunately, like usual, she was unable to comfort me like I’ve desired her to do my entire life. Sometimes you just need your mommy even as grown adult. She told me to “get over it because it happened decades ago.” Sorry but I wish I could “get over it.” When she told me to “get over it” I told her, “Mom, I love you and need to go. I will talk to you Tuesday.” Thankfully, she respected my boundaries and didn’t call me back.

     After getting off the phone with my mom I decided to call my boyfriend because I know he is comforting person. So I talked to him for about 15 minutes when we decided that I come over to his place. When I got here he held me for about 45 minutes. Sometimes being held is all I need. It helped a great deal. After being held my boyfriend cooked me my favorite dinner of mac & cheese, ham and corn on the cob. The meal he fixed me is my comfort meal. As he fixed me dinner, I called my little brother. We talked for about 20 minutes before he had to go and meet up with some of his friends. My brother is a sweet heart.

     My boyfriend finally finished making dinner and we of course ate it. After we ate we put on some music and ended up dancing. Dancing with my boyfriend in house is comforting. I’m thinking its because of the being held thing. Slow dancing requires being held in a way. I felt comforted by slow dancing with my boyfriend.

     When my boyfriend and I decided to stop dancing we put on some Nirvana and did a jigsaw puzzle. We both love music and jigsaw puzzles. Music is quite comforting to me. Their something quite comforting about Nirvana’s music and the lyrics to the songs. In fact we had the music up loudly because in our opinion Nirvana deserves to be played loudly. We finished the puzzle and decided to watch a movie.

      We watched the movie Finding Nemo. Watching a Disney movie is always comforting for some reason. We finished the movie at about 11:15pm when I turned on the 11 o’clock news and started this particular blog. My boyfriend is baking some chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. My boyfriend know that chocolate is quite comforting to me. Hell, chocolate is quite comforting to many women if not all women. He also knows that homemade chocolate chip cookies are comforting to me. He is baking them because he knows that I need all the comfort I can get today due to my PTSD symptoms acting up.

      Well, the 11 o’clock news is now over and Saturday Night Live is now on. I love SNL because its hilarious. Humor brings me comfort as well. Can you tell that I’ve been talking about comfort in this blog. I needed all the comfort I could get today because of my stupid PTSD. Sometimes all we need is comfort and today was one of those days I needed it. I still do.

      I best be ending this blog entry for now. I want to cuddle with my boyfriend while watching SNL as the cookies and cupcakes finish baking. Cuddling with my boyfriend is also comforting. I hope you all enjoy the last 15 minutes of your Saturday. Peace out and goodnight all.

A Blog Before Bed

     Well, I’m going to try to make this blog a short one since it’s 11:39pm (pacific time) on a Tuesday night. My dad was able to go home from the Emergency Room after having a seizure. I am so glad he was able to go home. He doesn’t do well in hospital. His doctors at the hospital were great as well as the nurses. My dad of course flirted with the nurses and it embarrassed the hell out of me.

     I of course updated my blog a few hours ago to let you all know about my dad while waiting in the E.R. with him. I also did a lot of reading. I read The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens as well as some Wonder Woman comics. Reading helps a great deal. I also listened to music. I listened to some Tori Amos, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix . I even listened to a little Country Music. Music has helped me a great deal with my recovery process.

    Speaking of my recovery process, I ended up sitting behind an old clinician on the bus home from the E.R. Due to laws she was unable to say hello to me tell I said hi. It took me some time to work up the nerve to say hello. In fact this particular person was one of the first clinician I had as an adult. She was shocked as hell that I’ve been working for 9 years with the same company. Hell, if I was her I would be shock as well. She asked how long it had been since I was last in the hospital for psych reasons as well as the last time I cut. I told her 2 1/2 years was the answer to both of those questions. She also commented on my weight and how healthy I looked. When she worked with me I was still struggling with Anorexia and Bulimia. I told her I haven’t done the eating disorder stuff in 15 years. She said she was proud of me. That’s the only two things we talked about regarding my mental health. The cool thing was that we talked about work. Not just about my job and my job seeking to become a peer counselor but her work as well. She is now the lead social worker on a one of the psych wards of the only Level 1 Trauma Center in my state. It was nice to see someone who once worked with me when I was at my worst and can now see how far I have come in my recovery. Recovery is not an easy process. In fact I think is will be life long process and I am fine with that.

     Well, it’s now 11:51pm(pacific time) on Tuesday night and I need to get to bed. I am a little tired. I have to get up early in the morning to have breakfast with a friend of mine. I am sure most of you are already in bed at the moment. Let me rephrase that, if you live in North America I am sure that most of you are asleep. If you are still up this time of night please enjoy the last 9 minutes of Tuesday. I hope to blog sometime tomorrow. Peace out and have a good nights sleep (and don’t let the bed bugs bite).