Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration; Day Twenty: The Future

Today is the last day of Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration. I am a wee bit sad that it is the last day. I have learned a great deal from this course. One of the many things I have learned from this course is the many ways I am able to find inspiration to write, weather it is for my blog or personal writings.

Speaking of writing, todays assignment is to write about the future. We were given many different prompts to choose from to write about the future. I am choosing to not pick one of those prompts to discuss the future. I have chosen my own topic to discuss in regards to the future. I have chosen to discuss about my career and its future.

As many of you know I work in the mental health field as a Consumer Aide. I have had this position for the last year. Part of the reason why I am a Consumer Aide is because I was unable to get a job as a Peer Specialist last year (2014) due to the fact that I didn’t have enough paid experience. Don’t get me wrong I love my job with a passion. I just really want to be a Peer Specialist.

Now that I have worked a year in the mental health field, I figure that I have enough paid experience. Plus it looks better on a résumé the longer you are at an employer. I have been thinking a great deal about my future in regards to my career the last several years and the last year has confirmed that I am meant to work in the mental health field. I love being able to help people.

Yesterday, I took another step in making my dream come true in regards to moving up in the mental health field. I applied for a Peer Specialist job yesterday with my supervisors “blessing.” She said that she would be more than willing to be a reference for me “even if it is for a different agency.” In fact my previous supervisor said something similar in an email. It feels good knowing that I am good at what I do and that I have the “blessings” of both my current and previous supervisors. Unfortunately, the agency I currently work for, don’t have any Peer Specialist openings at the moment. If they did I would have applied to them first instead of a different agency. I really want the job as a Peer Specialist and hope I get the job but at this moment in time, I just want a call saying that I got an interview.

The one thing I have learned about applying for jobs is to not put your life on hold waiting for a call to see if you got a interview much less the job especially the interview. I have found out from experience that if employers like your résumé  and/or your cover letter they will call you within two weeks to set up an interview. In most cases, employers will let you know if you got the job or not within two weeks. I did have one agency interview me last year that never got back to me even when I emailed them inquiring weather or not I got the job. That’s okay because I now realize maybe its not an agency I want to work for anyway and for a multitude of reasons. I am happy with the experience I have gotten with how various agencies work in regards to their hiring process.

As I end this last assignment of Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration can you all please send out positive energy and vibes that I get an interview. It will be much appreciated. Have a Happy Friday and Peace Out!!

Advertisements

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Happy Friday everyone. It is another Friday and that means it is time for my educational blogging feature. Today’s topic is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I got the following information from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. In 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III) listed BPD as a diagnosable illness for the first time. Most psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use the DSM to diagnose mental illnesses.

Because some people with severe BPD have brief psychotic episodes, experts originally thought of this illness as atypical, or borderline, versions of other mental disorders. While mental health experts now generally agree that the name “borderline personality disorder” is misleading, a more accurate term does not exist yet.

Most people who have BPD suffer from:

  • Problems with regulating emotions and thoughts
  • Impulsive and reckless behavior
  • Unstable relationships with other people.

People with this disorder also have high rates of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders, along with self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides.

Causes

Research on the possible causes and risk factors for BPD is still at a very early stage. However, scientists generally agree that genetic and environmental factors are likely to be involved.

Studies on twins with BPD suggest that the illness is strongly inherited. Another study shows that a person can inherit his or her temperament and specific personality traits, particularly impulsiveness and aggression. Scientists are studying genes that help regulate emotions and impulse control for possible links to the disorder.

Social or cultural factors may increase the risk for BPD. For example, being part of a community or culture in which unstable family relationships are common may increase a person’s risk for the disorder. Impulsiveness, poor judgment in lifestyle choices, and other consequences of BPD may lead individuals to risky situations. Adults with borderline personality disorder are considerably more likely to be the victim of violence, including rape and other crimes.

Signs & Symptoms

According to the DSM, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a person must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
  • A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

Seemingly mundane events may trigger symptoms. For example, people with BPD may feel angry and distressed over minor separations—such as vacations, business trips, or sudden changes of plans—from people to whom they feel close. Studies show that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.

Suicide and Self-harm

Self-injurious behavior includes suicide and suicide attempts, as well as self-harming behaviors, described below. As many as 80 percent of people with BPD have suicidal behaviors, and about 4 to 9 percent commit suicide.

Suicide is one of the most tragic outcomes of any mental illness. Some treatments can help reduce suicidal behaviors in people with BPD. For example, one study showed that dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) reduced suicide attempts in women by half compared with other types of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. DBT also reduced use of emergency room and inpatient services and retained more participants in therapy, compared to other approaches to treatment.

Unlike suicide attempts, self-harming behaviors do not stem from a desire to die. However, some self-harming behaviors may be life threatening. Self-harming behaviors linked with BPD include cutting, burning, hitting, head banging, hair pulling, and other harmful acts. People with BPD may self-harm to help regulate their emotions, to punish themselves, or to express their pain. They do not always see these behaviors as harmful.

Who Is At Risk?

According to data from a subsample of participants in a national survey on mental disorders, about 1.6 percent of adults in the United States have BPD in a given year.  BPD usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood. Some studies suggest that early symptoms of the illness may occur during childhood.

Diagnosis

Unfortunately, BPD is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

A mental health professional experienced in diagnosing and treating mental disorders—such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or psychiatric nurse—can detect BPD based on a thorough interview and a discussion about symptoms. A careful and thorough medical exam can help rule out other possible causes of symptoms.

The mental health professional may ask about symptoms and personal and family medical histories, including any history of mental illnesses. This information can help the mental health professional decide on the best treatment. In some cases, co-occurring mental illnesses may have symptoms that overlap with BPD, making it difficult to distinguish borderline personality disorder from other mental illnesses. For example, a person may describe feelings of depression but may not bring other symptoms to the mental health professional’s attention.

Women with BPD are more likely to have co-occurring disorders such as major depression, anxiety disorders, or eating disorders. In men, BPD is more likely to co-occur with disorders such as substance abuse or antisocial personality disorder. According to the NIMH-funded National Comorbidity Survey Replication—the largest national study to date of mental disorders in U.S. adults—about 85 percent of people with BPD also meet the diagnostic criteria for another mental illness. Other illnesses that often occur with BPD include diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. These conditions are associated with obesity, which is a common side effect of the medications prescribed to treat BPD and other mental disorders.

No single test can diagnose BPD. Scientists funded by NIMH are looking for ways to improve diagnosis of this disorder. One study found that adults with BPD showed excessive emotional reactions when looking at words with unpleasant meanings, compared with healthy people. People with more severe BPD showed a more intense emotional response than people who had less severe BPD.

Treatments

BPD is often viewed as difficult to treat. However, recent research shows that BPD can be treated effectively, and that many people with this illness improve over time.

BPD can be treated with psychotherapy, or “talk” therapy. In some cases, a mental health professional may also recommend medications to treat specific symptoms. When a person is under more than one professional’s care, it is essential for the professionals to coordinate with one another on the treatment plan.

The treatments described below are just some of the options that may be available to a person with BPD. However, the research on treatments is still in very early stages. More studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of these treatments, who may benefit the most, and how best to deliver treatments.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is usually the first treatment for people with BPD. Current research suggests psychotherapy can relieve some symptoms, but further studies are needed to better understand how well psychotherapy works.

It is important that people in therapy get along with and trust their therapist. The very nature of BPD can make it difficult for people with this disorder to maintain this type of bond with their therapist.

Types of psychotherapy used to treat BPD include the following: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help people with BPD identify and change core beliefs and/or behaviors that underlie inaccurate perceptions of themselves and others and problems interacting with others. CBT may help reduce a range of mood and anxiety symptoms and reduce the number of suicidal or self-harming behaviors.

  1. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This type of therapy focuses on the concept of mindfulness, or being aware of and attentive to the current situation. DBT teaches skills to control intense emotions, reduces self-destructive behaviors, and improves relationships. This therapy differs from CBT in that it seeks a balance between changing and accepting beliefs and behaviors.
  2. Schema-focused therapy. This type of therapy combines elements of CBT with other forms of psychotherapy that focus on reframing schemas, or the ways people view themselves. This approach is based on the idea that BPD stems from a dysfunctional self-image—possibly brought on by negative childhood experiences—that affects how people react to their environment, interact with others, and cope with problems or stress.

Therapy can be provided one-on-one between the therapist and the patient or in a group setting. Therapist-led group sessions may help teach people with BPD how to interact with others and how to express themselves effectively.

One type of group therapy, Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS), is designed as a relatively brief treatment consisting of 20 two-hour sessions led by an experienced social worker. Scientists funded by NIMH reported that STEPPS, when used with other types of treatment (medications or individual psychotherapy), can help reduce symptoms and problem behaviors of BPD, relieve symptoms of depression, and improve quality of life. The effectiveness of this type of therapy has not been extensively studied.

Families of people with BPD may also benefit from therapy. The challenges of dealing with an ill relative on a daily basis can be very stressful, and family members may unknowingly act in ways that worsen their relative’s symptoms.

Some therapies, such as DBT-family skills training (DBT-FST), include family members in treatment sessions. These types of programs help families develop skills to better understand and support a relative with BPD. Other therapies, such as Family Connections, focus on the needs of family members. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of family therapy in BPD. Studies with other mental disorders suggest that including family members can help in a person’s treatment.

Other types of therapy not listed in this booklet may be helpful for some people with BPD. Therapists often adapt psychotherapy to better meet a person’s needs. Therapists may switch from one type of therapy to another, mix techniques from different therapies, or use a combination therapy. For more information see the NIMH website section on psychotherapy.

Some symptoms of BPD may come and go, but the core symptoms of highly changeable moods, intense anger, and impulsiveness tend to be more persistent. People whose symptoms improve may continue to face issues related to co-occurring disorders, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, encouraging research suggests that relapse, or the recurrence of full-blown symptoms after remission, is rare. In one study, 6 percent of people with BPD had a relapse after remission.

Medications

No medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat BPD. Only a few studies show that medications are necessary or effective for people with this illness. However, many people with BPD are treated with medications in addition to psychotherapy. While medications do not cure BPD, some medications may be helpful in managing specific symptoms. For some people, medications can help reduce symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or aggression. Often, people are treated with several medications at the same time, but there is little evidence that this practice is necessary or effective.

Medications can cause different side effects in different people. People who have BPD should talk with their prescribing doctor about what to expect from a particular medication.

Other Treatments

Omega-3 fatty acids. One study done on 30 women with BPD showed that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce symptoms of aggression and depression. The treatment seemed to be as well tolerated as commonly prescribed mood stabilizers and had few side effects. Fewer women who took omega-3 fatty acids dropped out of the study, compared to women who took a placebo (sugar pill).

With proper treatment, many people experience fewer or less severe symptoms. However, many factors affect the amount of time it takes for symptoms to improve, so it is important for people with BPD to be patient and to receive appropriate support during treatment.

Living With

Some people with BPD experience severe symptoms and require intensive, often inpatient, care. Others may use some outpatient treatments but never need hospitalization or emergency care. Some people who develop this disorder may improve without any treatment.
How can I help a friend or relative who has BPD?
If you know someone who has BPD, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with your friend or relative to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment or to seek different treatment if symptoms do not appear to improve with the current treatment.
To help a friend or relative you can:
Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement—change can be difficult and frightening to people with BPD, but it is possible for them to get better over time
  • Learn about mental disorders, including BPD, so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing
  • With permission from your friend or relative, talk with his or her therapist to learn about therapies that may involve family members, such as DBT-FST.

Never ignore comments about someone’s intent or plan to harm himself or herself or someone else. Report such comments to the person’s therapist or doctor. In urgent or potentially life-threatening situations, you may need to call the police.

How can I help myself if I have BPD?

Taking that first step to help yourself may be hard. It is important to realize that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment.

To help yourself:

  • Talk to your doctor about treatment options and stick with treatment
  • Try to maintain a stable schedule of meals and sleep times
  • Engage in mild activity or exercise to help reduce stress
  • Set realistic goals for yourself
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can, as you can
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or family member
  • Tell others about events or situations that may trigger symptoms
  • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately
  • Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people
  • Continue to educate yourself about this disorder.

Thank you for reading this long post. Again the above information is from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml Have an awesome weekend. Happy Friday. Peace out!!

The Day My Career Changed

Today marks one year since I found out I got my current job as a consumer aide. I was ecstatic that I got my current job. It took all my might to not stick it on Facebook till I had put in my two weeks notice at my previous employer. I thought I owed it to my previous employer to not announce it to the world before they found out I was leaving. They did help me with the job experience I needed as well as giving me some life long friends.  I realized that no matter where I work I’m still going to be part of my previous employers “family” and am beyond grateful for that.

As I look back over the last year, I have realized a great deal about myself not just personally but professionally as well. I learned on how tight nit the mental health community is and how much we really need to rely on each other. The mental health community is also quite small. That is why we need to take care of each other. There is always something to learn in my current career. I think the learning new things is one of the many reasons why I enjoy my career in the mental health field. I have always enjoyed learning and am looking forward to the learning opportunities I will be able to access. Learning opportunities I might not have been able to receive due to the lack of funds. Most importantly, I am able to be an example of what recovery looks like.

As I look forward to what my future looks like in my career, I hope that this time next year I will be a peer specialist. It is the most logical step in my career path. It is what I have been wanting the last two or so years. Now that I have experience, I think it would be a good idea to apply to be a peer specialist. If I get a peer job outside of the agency I currently work at, I will be a little sad. My current agency gave me the break I needed, career wise. I started with them as a volunteer and now I am employed with them and hope that I will be able to get a peer position within the agency. Even if I get employed elsewhere as a peer my current employer will have a soft spot in my heart. The did give me my start in the field.

Now that I told you how today was the day my career changed, I’m going to call it an evening and relax. I hope that everyone has a wonderful and relaxed weekend. Peace out everyone!!!

Thinking About My Career

It is hard to believe that this time last year, I was waiting to hear back from my current employer if I got my current job. I am more than thrilled that I got it. It is giving me the paid experience some other mental health agencies desire in a peer specialist candidate. I not only love my job as a consumer aide, I also love the agency I work for.

Loving my job and the employer I work for is why I am finding it difficult to do be looking for a job as a peer specialist. Yes, I am looking for peer specialist jobs in the agency I work for but that doesn’t always mean I will get the job. Once, I hit my one year anniversary in my current position, I plan on applying for peer specialist jobs. The reason why I am waiting for my one year anniversary is because it looks better on the résumé when I apply for jobs outside the agency I currently work at.

One thing I find amazing when comes to the entire job search process, including the interview process is on how much experience future employers desire. I’m bringing up this particular issue is because how are you suppose to get experience when nobody will hire you due to the lack of experience. I chuckle at this because I had one mental health agency turn me down for a peer specialist position early last year because I didn’t have enough “paid experience” while other agencies told me the reason I got an interview was because, I have “great deal of experience, whether it is paid or volunteer.”  I don’t think it should matter about the type of experience you have if you have the experience. I realize that some career paths don’t necessarily have ways to volunteer in which leads me to, how in the hell does one gain experience.

I am just grateful that my volunteer experience is one of the many reasons I got my current job as a consumer aide. It goes to show you that what you have in your résumé does count. I just hope that my current position at work as well as my current and former volunteer jobs help me get a peer a support position especially one that would be fit my personality as well the personalities of the future clients that I would be helping.

Another thing that I worry about in regards to looking for a job as a peer specialist are the clients I currently help in the consumer aide position I am in at the moment. I worry about how it will affect them when I leave to a peer specialist position especially since its only been just under a year when I started. I just don’t want it to do more harm than good especially since we have had an extremely high turnover in staff the last three to four months for the particular program I work in. It has been quite difficult for the clients. I know realistically on how resilient my clients are, it’s just a concern of mine that having another staff member leave so soon after so many other staff left around the same time. I know I will have to leave and move on eventually and there is never a good time to leave when it comes to dealing with people who struggle with a mental illness. It is something to think about as I update my résumé and cover letters.

I do know as I update my résumé and cover letters that I will have to do a salary history letter as well. I am not sure if I am comfortable doing a salary history if I’m not 100% sure I am going to at least get an interview. I don’t even know how to do a salary history letter despite my efforts in looking for examples online. I will be asking my therapist the next time I see as well as asking one of the peer specialist that I talk to on occasion when I go to my appointments at the mental health agency I seek my services at. I do know that before I apply anywhere I have to first update everything as well as ask people to be references. Asking for references will not be the difficult part. The difficult part will be the salary letter and I am okay with that.

I think I have bored you all enough with my career and how I am wanting to move up in the world. I best be going because I have an overnight shift at the young adult shelter I volunteer at. In fact it is my first overnight shift. I usually do evenings but think it would be a good experience for me. I hope to do one overnight shift a month and three evening shifts a month. Any way before I get more off topic I will end this entry for now. I hope to blog again tomorrow and tell you how my first overnight shift went. Have a good night all. Peace Out!!

11 Months

Today, marks eleven months since I started my wonderful job as a Consumer Aide at a local mental health agency. I love my job. I know it is not exactly the position I desire to be in but its a foot in the door. When, I applied and interviewed for my current job, I knew that I would start looking for jobs as a Peer Specialist (or Peer Counselor) once I hit my one year anniversary. Not because that’s how long the job last because it doesn’t but because the longer you are at a job (or employer) the better it looks to hiring managers. Yes, that means in a month from now, I will be looking for Peer positions. I will be looking within the agency I am employed with as well as outside the agency.

To be honest with you, I am a little apprehensive to start looking for a peer position. I am apprehensive because I fear I will not be what people expect, desire or worse a let them down. Another reason why I am apprehensive is that I have become fond of my clients. Even though it is highly discouraged to have “favorite clients,” it naturally happens. I am also a little nervous that I will get lots of interviews but no job offers. That is what happened when I was looking for peer jobs that last time, which led me to my current position. As you can tell, I am lacking in self-confidence and that is something I am working. on.

I hope that when I do start applying for Peer Specialist positions that it doesn’t take long for me to get a job a peer. It took sending six résumés and cover letters, five interviews and one job offer over a matter of five months before I got my current job. I’m not going to let that get in the way because, I know what hiring managers a looking for now and I have “paid” experience in the field. Not only that, I have been volunteering at the Warm Line for eleven months now and at the young adult shelter for two and half months. I’m sure that all my work and volunteer experience will help me at least get an interview.

I am just thrilled that I am working in the mental health field even if its not my desired position. I love and enjoy what I do. I am grateful that I am able to be an example of recovery looks like to the clients I serve. I am a little sad that as soon as I get a position I desire I will have to say goodbye to my clients.

I best be going now. I need to get ready for the day. I am looking forward to volunteering at the Warm Line this evening. Have an awesome weekend and have some good ole fashioned fun. Peace Out!!!

Daily Prompt: Grand Slam

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Grand Slam.” In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a walk-off home run? (For the baseball-averse, that’s a last-minute, back-against-the-wall play that guarantees a dramatic victory.)

It being the middle of the baseball season, this particular (past) daily prompt grabbed my attention and rightfully so. I love analogies especially ones that involve sports. This particular analogy, if its what you call it, strikes close to home from. (Pardon, the pun in regards to baseball.)

I have had my share of walk-off home runs that have lead to victory, even if I don’t necessarily want to admit it.  It is difficult for me to pick one so I will choose one if its not a long post and I’m not tired, I might share a second one.

The walk-off home run that led to a victory that comes to mind is when I entered the two year intensive outpatient Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program. My back was literally getting against the wall with being able to get the proper treatment I needed because, I was starting to wear out some pretty good clinicians with my behavior, frequent self-harm and multiple suicide attempts. I was not the easiest of clients and new that if I didn’t accept the fact that, I needed to go into DBT, I would either be a lifer at the state hospital or six feet under (dead). I have the Peer Counselor to thank for sharing their recovery story with me because if it wasn’t for that, I honestly, don’t think  would have gone into the DBT program. The victory of all this is when I not only graduated from the first year but the second year as well.

I will share with you another walk-off home run that led to victory. This one was of the most difficult decisions I had to make in my life and am beyond grateful that I did. This one victory happened a few years before the DBT program I was in. I was nineteen years old and barely out of high school when I was told by my doctor at the time that if I didn’t seek treatment for the eating disorders I was struggling with I would be dead by my 21st birthday. Considering that my 20th birthday was three months away when I was told this, it hit extremely close to home. I didn’t know where to begin to look. I ended up going to a Christian concert where the group who was performing supported a program that helped young women with any number of problems. The program appealed to be for two reasons, it was free and it was Christian. At that point in time in my life I considered myself a Christian. I applied to the program and was in it a month after my 20th birthday. This decision was difficult for me because, at that time they only had to homes, I could go to, one in Nashville, Tennessee and the other Monroe, Louisiana. I had not been so far from home or family. I ended up going to the Nashville home where I graduated in ten months. The average stay is six months. Granted it took me longer to graduate from the program than most of the other girls and women but it was well worth it. It was worth it because, I knew I made the first “real” adult decision in my life and it was a great decision at that. Graduating was the first victory, I felt like I accomplished myself and with out the help of my family.

As you can tell, the two above stories were walk-off home runs that were both victories that ultimately saved my life. I am grateful that, I was able to make these choices because, I wouldn’t have been able to be enjoying life and sharing it with you fine folks. Recovery is a choice and in both examples, I chose recovery.

Now that I told you about my back-against-the-wall victories, I best be going. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of you Saturday. Good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. 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.