Creativity Is What Is Needed In A Time Of Struggles

I’m struggling at the moment with the symptoms of PTSD and Depression and it sucks shit. Struggling enough that I needed to call the afterhours crisis line of the agency I am a client of. I’m having strong urges to self-harm and needed to safety plan which is why I called the afterhours crisis line. I safety planned the person on the afterhours and happy with the plan we came up with.

One of the things that was suggested to me was to look over my DBT homework. Which I of course did and actually did some of it. See, I’ve been not so willing to do my DBT homework for a number of reasons. Many of which are excuses. Excuses that will only hinder me in my recovery.

Another thing that I informed the afterhours lady that I will do is blog. For me blogging helps me process. Process things that can be uncomfortable for me to deal with. Blogging has helped a great deal with starting to write poetry again.

Poetry is something that helps me process emotion and is another thing I’m going to do as part of my safety plan. I think I’m going to include art with my poetry. Something like I did last night with collaging words with pictures. I really enjoyed doing that. Or even collage some words on some of my finished coloring pages and creating a poem that way. I really thing poetry and art can go together.

One way to get all this creativity flowing is listening to music. Music helps with most everything. Music helps me be creative and helps me chill. In fact I’m listening to music now.

As I end this post listening to music, I want to thank you for reading. I know things are not good at the moment regarding self-harm, depression and PTSD but I know with me sharing my life with you will help others. Help others who struggle with a mental health condition know that they are not alone and that things do get better. Help others who don’t struggle know that people with a mental health condition can improve the quality of their lives and be productive members of society. Granted, I don’t view myself as being a productive member of society at the moment but I’m working on getting back there with help of my therapist. A therapist who appears to be in my corner. Again, thank you for reading.  Peace out!!!

The Fear of What I Might Do

At this point in time I am angry. I don’t like being angry and grew up told that I was not allowed to be angry. In fact showing any emotion while growing up was extremely frowned upon.

Unfortunately, due to not being able to show emotions growing up, I learned some unhealthy coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms that are creeping back into my life and am attempting to not let them do so.

Those coping mechanisms are me stuffing my anger to where I do one of two things. I either explode by screaming and yelling which is usually done in a place I feel at least somewhat safe. Safe meaning I know I won’t get hurt because of my unacceptable behavior of screaming and yelling. Or I end up self harming. Something else I don’t want to do.

I tell you this because I fear of what I might do today and its partly because of my own unacceptable behavior of screaming and yelling I had on Friday at the mental health agency I am a client of.  I fear that I’m going to yell at my psychiatric nurse practitioner for a number of reasons I might disclose in a later post. I also fear that I am going to yell at my new therapist for something that is beyond her control and not fair to her. Hell, yelling on my psychiatric nurse practitioner might not be fair to him either.

I tell you this in hopes that if I share with you what I fear I might do that I won’t do it. That fear is yelling at the people who are only trying help me. I’m sharing this in hopes that I can be accountable to someone and that someone is you the reader of my blog. I hope at this moment in time that I’m not asking too much of you my reader.

On a good note, I am quite positive that I won’t act on any potential self harm urges. At this point in time the urges are nothing to be concerned about. I have a safety plan in place as a “just in case” if self harm urges become unmanageable.  So just be aware that I will get help if self harm urges appear to be unmanageable.

I appreciate each one of you who read my blog. I hope each one of you have a good Monday and wonderful work week. Peace Out!!!

Gertie Asked For A Different Perspective

It has been a while since my first contribution to Gertie’s blog. Before I go on, let me re-introduce myself. I am a friend and motherly figure to Gertie. Gertie lovingly refers to me as “Mama Bear” and that is what I will go by on their blog.

As I mentioned in the introduction I have taken Gertie under my wing. Gertie so desperately needed a motherly figure that I was willing to take that on. I didn’t meet Gertie till she was 21 when she was near death due to a serious suicide attempt. Over the years Gerties attempts on her life as well as self harm behavior became less and less. One day my crew and I were shopping at the grocery store where she use to work and that is how myself and Junior slowly got to know her and befriend her. As frustrating as Gertie can be at times it has been one of my greatest pleasures in my life being able to see her grow. Grow into the person she is now.

Yes, Gertie has had her struggles recently but I really think that the support system she has created has helped a great deal. I also think that Gertie’s new job position at work has helped as well.

I hope that over time I will discuss with you what it is like to not only be part of Gertie’s support system but what it is like to be a mother of two children who have a diagnosed mental illness. I also would like to talk about my role as a firefighter and the role mental health plays on my job description and the encounters I have experienced dealing with folks with mental illness. I have a many different views of mental illness in my own personal life that I hope I can bring to Gertie’s blog. I am part of her “journey” and can give you view that she is not able to give.

As I end this post, I would like to thank you for reading. I am giving a perspective that Gertie is wanting on her blog. I am glad to be able to give that perspective. Thank you for the willingness to read my perspective and read from someone else other than the main person who write on this blog.

Mama Bear

Weekly Check-In

Good Morning, World!! It’s that time of week again. The time when I do my weekly check-in. Saturday mornings seem to work for me in regards to doing my weekly check-ins. I hope that weekly check-ins can become a part of my Saturday morning routine like Saturday morning cartoons and a big bowl of cereal were when I was a child.

The last week has been an uncomfortable one for me. Or at least it has been uncomfortable for me at work. There was a “staff retreat” at work and the Peers were invited. Which, I was happy about. I was then approached by a case manager (who was a peer at one time) and a supervisor. I was asked by both of them if I would be willing to co-present Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with the case manager. I opened my big mouth and said yes. I am NOT a big fan of public speaking or at least I don’t like to publically speak. Thankfully, my supervisor was not present for the retreat. Unfortunately for  me he heard through the grape vine on “how well” I did presenting the WRAP and wants me to start presenting more. He also wants me to start up a group sooner than later. He “likes” the fact that I’ve already have it “in the works.” Meaning that I have a case manager who will co-facilitate with me, a name for the group and what the group focus will be on.

The group focus will be for those who struggle with self harm. It will be half process group and half coping skills group. I worry on how well I will do co-facilitating a group. Partly because of the public speaking aspect of it. My supervisor likes the idea that the group will be focused on self harm because many agencies including mine don’t have groups specifically geared toward self harm and processing with learning skills. Many groups that have a focus on self harm are skills based without the processing part. My supervisor is “for” my group because it is both processing and skills based which is something that is needed for those who struggle with self harm. Being able to process and learn new skill is needed because it helps with recovery.

Recovery is not easy. I know in terms for my own recovery, I need to process stuff. Processing things is not easy. I know for me processing both the trauma I have experienced as well as the miscarriages has been quite helpful for me despite it being difficult. Even though processing is difficult, I wouldn’t be in recovery without processing stuff that has been hard to deal with throughout my life.

Overall my life has been going well. Yes, I have had some severe anxiety lately but I have been able to use my skills to help me through. Skills and my wonderful support system have helped me.

On that note, I would like to thank you for reading my blog. I hope that all  my blog is helpful to you all in some one or another. Have a wonderful day  and peace out!!

Tattoo of Hope

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Good Morning!! I hope everyone is having a good weekend. If you regularly read my blog you know that I got a new tattoo yesterday. In fact the tattoo I got yesterday evening is pictured above.

I have wanted to get a butterfly tattoo for several years now for several reasons. The main reason is that a butterfly is a sign of hope. Hope that all the struggles one goes through that beauty is on the other side. Think of the caterpillar and the darkness it goes through when it is in a cocoon and out from the cocoon the beauty of the butterfly emerges.

This is how I view recovery. Not just my recovery but other’s recovery. Knowing that the beauty of recovery looks differently  to each person and each person is in recovery from different issues.

For me my recovery is from a mental illness and cutting as well as eating disorders. Granted I have been in recovery from the eating disorders longer than my mental health issues but it is still recovery. I also am in recovery from cutting.

As you can see in the picture, I have scars from the cutting and that the butterfly covers up some of those scars. Scars that may look fresh but are not.  I purposely had the butterfly placed where it is because I wanted to show the beauty of what recovery looks like despite the scars I have, both visible and invisible to the eye.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate each and everyone of you and hope that what I blog about has meaning to someone just like my both my tattoos have meaning to me. Have a great weekend and peace out.

Looking Forward To Tomorrow

It’s been a long day and continues get longer. I, of coursed worked today and now I am waiting to start a Warm Line shift. I decided that I would fill in for someone who needed to take the day off from their shift. Others have done it for me so I will do it for others. I know I’m going to be tired by the end of my volunteer shift since I worked today as well but I am looking forward to tomorrow.

I am looking forward to tomorrow because at this time tomorrow I will be getting my second tattoo. I am going to be getting a butterfly on my right shoulder. I emailed an idea of the butterfly tattoo I desire to my tattoo artist informing him that the image I sent him was an idea of how I want the butterfly and would like his artistic style to the butterfly as well. From my understanding he is grateful for the idea and is “thrilled” to be able add his own style to the butterfly tattoo I emailed him. It was and is just an idea of how I would like the idea.

The placement of my tattoo will be covering up some scars on my shoulder. Scars that people always assume that are “fresh” when they are not. They just happened to be keloid scars. If you regularly read my blog you know that I have had issues with cutting myself in the height of my mental illness.

It seems that all the tattoo’s I plan on getting including the one I have and the butterfly I am getting tomorrow all have some meaning to me in regards to my mental illness. Most if not all I am going to get will be recovery related. Two or three will help bring awareness to mental illness like the semi-colon tattoo I already have. The butterfly has meaning to me as well and yes it involves my recovery dealing with mental illness. I will share with you the meaning behind it, tomorrow evening or Saturday morning when I do my weekly check in. Hell, I might just do an entire post on just my new tattoo after I get it. Yes, I will put up a picture of it on my blog.

I need to get going. My Warm Line shift is about to start. Have a wonderful evening. I hope to do another post tomorrow evening, weather it’s my weekly check in or about my butterfly tattoo. Peace Out!!!

Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You?

1030151853In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Tattoo….You?.” Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?

I just wanted to share with you all my first tattoo. In fact I got it yesterday, Friday, October 30, 2015. I got the semi-colon for a multitude of reasons and all of them are in regards to mental health. As some of you may or may not know that there is a project out there call Project Semi-Colon. It was created, if I’m not mistaken, to bring awareness to the stigma of cutting even in the mental health world. It was also created to bring awareness to those who deal with depression, anxiety and other such mental health diagnoses as well as those who lost their life to suicide. Another thing is that life is similar to a semi-colon; A semi-colon is used when a sentence could have been ended but wasn’t.

I personally got the semi-colon to remind myself how far I have come in my recovery and how many times I could have ended my life. In fact I have tried to take my life on many different occasions yet those attempts weren’t successful. Thankfully those attempts were intercepted by a semi-colon because clearly my story isn’t over. It isn’t over because I can share my recovery story with others. My story isn’t over because I can discuss how my life has been affected by mental illness to not only help others but to help lessen the stigma of mental illness.

Now on to why I chose the color I did. As you can tell from the picture my semi-colon tattoo is outlined in black and in filled in with purple. The purple has special meaning to me. When I was struggling a few years back my therapist reminded me to not think in black or white but shades of gray. I informed her that shades of gray weren’t exactly easy to do because it was gray out and it was depressing. She then suggested white and red would come up with shades of pink and she quickly remembered I’m not exactly a pink kind of woman. I then came up with red and blue which make purple. Long story short the purple is to help me think in shades of gray but only in color. Purple also has other meanings to me.

As you can tell, I basically got the semi-colon tattoo to help start a conversation about mental health issues. If just one conversation about my tattoo helps lessen the stigma with mental illness then it’s done its job.

Thank you for reading. Have a good day. Stay safe out there today and have fun. Happy Halloween.