Therapy + Comics = Good Session

Good Afternoon, World!!! I realize I already told you little about my session today with my therapist in my last post (https://gertiesjourney.com/2018/04/17/thankfully-not-hospitalized/) but I would like to share a little more about it as I think it helped my therapist build a rapport with me. Besides talking about my parents and their addictions we discussed comics. We discussed comics because I wore a Wonder Woman t-shirt and hat today. I told my therapist that I collect Wonder Woman comics and then we ended up talking about comic book universes. My therapist is more into Marvel and I am more into DC even though we both like a little of both universes. My therapist asked if reading comics was in my crisis plan and something I do end stead of self harming and I said yes to both. We discussed how comics have played a major role in my recovery and he assigned me to read one comic book a day as part of some homework. Another part of my homework he wants me to create a coping skills tool box out of a shoe box even though I more or less have my backpack full of coping skills I use. He even gave me a shoe box to start it. He is having me do this because he knows I enjoy doing art and to help me think about my coping skills. He also wants me to write a page on how making the coping skills box made me feel and what my experience was making it.

I am grateful that my new therapist is coming up with creative ways to help me help myself. I may not like having therapy homework but I am grateful to have it as it gives me an opportunity to grow and continue with my recovery.

Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World!!!

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Thankfully, Not Hospitalized

Hello, World!!! There was an hour or two where I thought I could be hospitalized due to hitting a brick wall with my hand and thankfully it is NOT going to happen. Everyone was in agreement with me that the hospital would not be beneficial to me this time around. So, with everyone in agreement, I am not going to be admitted to the hospital.

My therapist and I discussed my self harm actions this morning and did what is called a chain analysis. If you’re familiar with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) then you know what I am talking about. It is hard for me to describe what one is but it is extremely helpful. My therapist and I also discussed my family. Specifically, my parents and their addictions to drug and alcohol. My dad is in active recovery while my mom is not in recovery whatsoever. We talked about how I learned from their mistakes and chose not to drink or use drugs. I told my therapist that I don’t need more issues on top of the ones I already have.

I’ll write more later. I am just really tired and in pain from hitting a brick wall. Thank you so very much for reading. It is very much appreciated. Peace Out, World!!!

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!!!

Mental Illness, Miscarriage and Recovery

Happy Friday!!! It’s the start of another weekend and not just any weekend; Superbowl weekend. Like many other people in America, Junior and myself are preparing to watch the Superbowl with friends. In fact we are hosting a Superbowl party. As stressful it is to prepare for such an event, I am looking forward both preparing for it and being a part of the party.

I am looking forward to it, not only because the Seattle Seahawks are going back to the Superbowl but because it is going to be an enormous distraction for both Junior and I. It’s going to be a distraction because, I miscarried. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for both Junior and myself. We were looking forward to becoming parents. We were really hopeful that I would carry to term this pregnancy because I had made it to 20 week mark and ended up miscarrying at 20 1/2 weeks. The reason why Junior and I thought I was in the clear was because I miscarried another set of twins at 19 weeks and were told that once I hit the 20 week mark that the risk of miscarriage goes down substantially. Loosing a child is the greatest pain a person can endure. I know this because, I’ve lost children through miscarriage and have dealt with some severe childhood trauma.

Grieving is not an easy thing to do especially when it comes to loosing a child however it is something I will be able to work through with the help of others. Asking help from others is not an easy thing for me to do, however it is a sign that I am in recovery. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t struggling with the miscarriage because I am struggling with my miscarriage big time. Suicide has even crossed my mind the last couple a weeks. Don’t worry I am NOT going to attempt or commit suicide because I have too much to live for plus I have the skills and support that I need to help me through this pain. Part of my recovery is letting people who love and care about me, help me through this difficult time of my life.

Recovery looks differently to everybody and part of my recovery is this blog. Blogging about the miscarriage is a difficult thing to do. I think miscarriage, just like mental illness is something that people don’t really discuss. I am not really sure why people don’t discuss miscarriages but I know why people don’t discuss mental illness. Mental illness has a lot of shame and stigma attached  to it. It is for that shame and stigma with mental illness is why I share myself with you all (and try to educate). If I wasn’t in recovery, I really don’t think I would be able to keep myself safe from self-harm or suicide in dealing with the miscarriage. It is because of my recovery I am able to be doing as well as I am after loosing a set of twins due to miscarriage.

I was hoping that I would be able to blog more however it is getting a little difficult for me to do so at the moment. I need to go and allow myself to grieve. I hope to be able to blog sometime on Superbowl Sunday. Have good weekend everyone. Peace out and GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Is Thanksgiving Over With Yet?

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Yes, it’s still Thanksgiving. I am absolutely beat tired. I have pretty much have been on the go with Thanksgiving Day stuff since yesterday morning.

My boyfriend and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner and it turned out fairly well. Yes, there was a little family from my side however it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately, it isn’t a true holiday gathering without a little drama when it comes to my family. All I can say is that my boyfriends family is pretty much a drama free family which I am so thankful for. The family drama started when Jr.(my boyfriend) and I made an extremely special announcement.

The special announcement is that I am expecting twins. Yes, you read right twins. For the most part everyone was happy for Jr. and I. Well, that is everyone but my mother who started drama and well she was eventually asked to leave due to the stress she was causing me. I don’t need the added stress due to being a high risk pregnant woman. I am high risk for several reasons which I will discuss in another blog entry. Jr. and myself are thrilled we are going to be parents. I have always wanted to be a mama and I am looking forward to being one. I just wish my own mama was thrilled with me becoming one. Thankfully, I have another person I consider a mom whom I call Mama Bear as well as Jr.’s mom. (Side Note: Today marks me being 14 weeks pregnant.)

Now lets get on to other events of today. People started arriving around 11am (pacific time) because of The Turkey Bowl. The Turkey Bowl is a football game where people play football with an uncooked turkey. The game starts with a turkey and at some point in the game an actual football is replaced with the turkey. No, the turkey is not cooked after it is done being played with. Yes, the turkey get thrown out in the garbage at some point during the game. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t play this year. I obviously couldn’t play today due to being 14 weeks pregnant. I am proud to say that the women slaughtered then men in the annual Turkey Bowl. The final score 24 -3. No the men did NOT let the women win.

The best part of the day for me was the food. Oh how I love being pregnant during the holidays. I’m sure the babies are enjoying it as well. I love to eat even when I am not pregnant. Dinner turned out pretty good considering all the preparing of food and cooking I had to do. Thankfully, I had a lot of help and others brought side dished and baked good that is traditional for them to eat on Thanksgiving.

After dinner we played some board games as well as some card games. We all had a blast playing the games. No not everyone stayed for the games but that was okay with me. Everyone seemed to really enjoy playing the game Apple to Apples. That is an extremely fun and entertaining game.

About two hours after everyone started playing various types for board and card games we turned on the television to watch the Seahawk vs. 49er game. Yes, some people continued to play games but most of us watched the football game. The Seahawks beat the 49ers 19-3. I was kind of hoping for a closer and more competitive game but it didn’t happen. The Seahawks played a great game and the 49ers not so much. I am both a 49er fan and a Seahawk fan. Yes, I know they have intense rivalry and that it is an oxymoron to be a fan of both teams but I don’t give a flying rats ass.

Now that the game is over with and everyone is gone, my boyfriend Jr. and I had some private intimate moments. After the intimate moments, Jr. and myself watched M*A*S*H to help the both of relax after an overwhelming day. In fact Jr. is now in bed because he has to work his regular work shift tomorrow. In fact his shifts are 24 hours which sucks but I am proud to be his girlfriend and the mama of his children. He loves his career and I am grateful that he does what he does. Since he is in bed I continued watching M*A*S*H. I am actually going to end this particular blog entry for now because I want to watch the 11 o’clock news.

Have a continued Happy Thanksgiving or at least the hour that is left of Thanksgiving. Have a good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!!

Happy 4th Of July!!!

     Happy 4th of July!!! Today is Independence Day here in the United States of America. I am grateful for our Military Personal because if it wasn’t for them fighting for my freedom’s I wouldn’t be living in one of the best countries in the world. Thank you all for your service!!! 

     I worked today. Yes, that’s the unfortunate thing about working at a grocery store, having to work holidays, even Christmas and Thanksgiving. At least I get paid double time for working today. Today at work we weren’t just busy with our regular customers and customers preparing for their holiday celebrations but busy with a Jehovah Witness convention at a near by college/university football stadium. I guess it is a 3 day event. I didn’t realize this until I wished one of them a Happy 4th of July and it offended them. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. Sometimes I get frustrated with Political Correctness. See Jehovah Witness’s don’t celebrate holidays or birthdays and I can respect that because its a part of their religious beliefs. In fact I told on myself to my manager when I was told that I offend the person I was helping. My manager told me not to worry about it because we cant make everyone happy and that we cant know everyone’s religious beliefs unless they tell us or they wear a sign someone on their person.

     Yes, I will be celebrating the 4th of July. In fact I’m at my boyfriends parents house for a 4th of July party they are putting on. Their a lot of people here. Lots of food, fun, games and swimming. In fact my boyfriends parents house has a great view of where the fireworks are going to be shot off. My favorite part is always the fireworks. I do have to say that the firework show in the city I currently reside in is not as good as Disneyland’s fireworks. I grew up in Anaheim and was able to watch the Disneyland fireworks from my backyard, roof and even my front yard. I miss being able to watch the Disneyland fireworks every weekend. Disneyland’s firework show for the 4th of July is always their best firework show. Like I said I’m at my boyfriends parents house at the moment. I’m just taking a break from the crowd. It gets overwhelming at times especially since the symptoms of my PTSD are acting up. I figure that blogging will help ease the overwhelming feeling I am having at the moment. I am enjoying the food. I’m all about being All American when it comes to food on the 4th of July. Just give me a hot dog and I am happy. I had 3 hot dogs and plan on having a steak later on. I cant wait for the fireworks.

     Enough about the 4th of July for moment. I want to discuss the Co-Occurring Disorders training I attended for 3 days. We (me and the other trainee’s) learned about the science of the effects of addiction on the body and brain. I found the science part of it interesting. We also learned a new skill in the training called OPA. OPA stands for Organize. Prioritize. Act. It was created and copyrighted by Martin K. Abdo. To learn more about OPA I encourage you to go to his website http://www.opamentalhealth.com. I  have to say a disclaimer and that is if  that you want to do an OPA group in your practice or mental health agency that you contact Martin K. Abdo yourselves so he can train you to do it properly. In fact I can see myself doing the OPA skill in my everyday life. I learned so much from the training that I’m still trying to process everything I have learned. I guess you can say that I’m still on information overload. I’m grateful that now I can put the training on my resume’.

     Now that I have bored you with my day at work and celebration of the 4th of July as well as the 3 day training I attended, I’m going to end this blog for now. I hope I didn’t bore you with the events of my day and week. I am going to apologize for not blogging yesterday. I feel bad when I don’t blog everyday because I feel like if I don’t then I’m not helping fight the stigma of mental illness nor am I helping those who I struggling with a mental illness. I want to show those who struggle with a mental illness that there is hope and recovery is possible. I also want to show “normies” (normies is just term that means normal people) that people with mental illness live productive lives and are people just like them. I want to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. Well I better end this blog entry for now because I need to go show my face at the party again. Happy 4th of July everyone. Peace out and enjoy the fireworks.

Speaking Of…..

     Well, it another Monday evening and am reflecting on my day. Overall, it has been a good day. Today was my first day back to work after being on vacation for a week. I realized walking through the doors of my job this morning on how much I desperately needed my vacation last week despite the lack of structure. I guess maybe that lack of structure every once in awhile is a good thing.

     Speaking of structure, this current week is full of it. Today, worked and went to see my therapist. Tomorrow (Tuesday), Wednesday, and Thursday I am going to be in a training regarding Co-Occurring Disorders. I then work again on Friday and Saturday. I am looking forward to the training that I will be going to the next three days. I’m looking forward to it because it’s a subject that I am passionate about. Anything that has to with mental health and/or alcohol & drug addiction is something that I am passionate about. Maybe its because of my own issue with mental illness and witnessing my parents struggle with both metal illness and drug & alcohol addictions. My parents have co-occurring disorders. The difference between my dad and my mom is that my dad is seeking treatment and unfortunately my mom is not. It is tough on a family member when the person is choosing to not seek treatment especially when the family is in recovery themselves.

      Speaking of recovery, I saw my therapist today. We worked a little on my treatment plan. I wish the mental health system as a whole would change the wording from treatment plan to recovery plan. I wish this because it makes recovery more real to those who don’t think recovery is possible. When I was a teenager and young adult I struggled with the fact that recovery was possible. I struggled with working with my treatment today because of how I was feeling today. I was being hard on myself and felt like a failure because of where I am in life and where I think I should be in life. Diana (my therapist) being the stubborn woman she had me dig deep into myself which is quite difficult for me to do. She had me dig deep within myself because she knows I am capable of doing so. I am so grateful that Diana is just as stubborn as I am because I need that stubbornness at times such as today. She also has a fierce sense of humor like I do. I don’t know if my humor is as fierce as hers but I’m grateful non the less. Diana used that fierce sense of humor today during our session. Diana has been extremely invested in my recovery. It’s always nice to have a therapist invested in your recovery. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a therapist invested in your recovery especially in the community mental health system. In fact my therapist and I talked about my blog today. She doesn’t follow my blog but reads it daily even on her days off. In fact I was shocked when she said she read it everyday including her days off. I had asked her if she could read it every once in while to see if she can see how I am doing. We had talked about me starting a blog for a few months because I was so hesitant to start one. We talked about why I was so hesitant and how blogging could not only help others in their recovery process but could help in my recovery process as well. If it wasn’t for her encouragement as well as the encouragement of others I wouldn’t have started this blog.

     Speaking of blogging I think I should end this particular blog entry for now. Before I end this blog for now I want to say a few things regarding blogging. I am truly hoping that this blog is reaching the people I hope its reaching. I hope its reaching those struggling with mental illness because I want them to know that there is hope and recovery is possible. I also hope that it’s reaching “normal” (whatever the hell “normal” means) people because it is my hope that this blog can show them (“normal” people) that people with mental illness are living productive lives like they are. I hope that when “normal” people read this it lessens the stigma of mental illness. Well, I need to get going. I need to get up at 5:30 am pacific time to get ready for my training tomorrow. Enjoy the remaining 1 hour and 24 minutes that is left of your Monday. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and enjoy the summer heat.