A Ray of Hope

Good Evening, World!!! I haven’t had the opportunity to blog for the last week due to the fact I was voluntarily admitted to a local psych hospital. I went and saw my Psychiatric ARNP as well as my temporary Therapist on Wednesday, January 3rd and everyone, including myself, agreed that I needed to be hospitalized. I desperately needed that help I received at the hospital and am grateful for it.  I got discharged Thursday, January 11th and am feeling quite hopeful.

After spending one week and one day in the hospital I have a ray of hope even two days after discharge. For me having some hope is better than having no hope at all. I started off this year with no hope and after a short stay in a psych hospital, I finally have the hope I’ve been searching for since late 2016ish.

Before I end this post, I am beyond grateful that 2018 is starting out better than last year. Yes, I had to spend a week in the hospital due to being severely depressed while having hallucinations of voices that nobody else could hear and being suicidal however I have hope. Hope that will help me get through this year.

I hope that you all have good rest of your evening. Have a great weekend! Peace Out, World!!!

How Much Death Can One Person Take?

This is a difficult post to write. It’s difficult to write because it is going to be a post about death. The death of friends and family as well as having to look into putting my grandma into hospice.

This year has not been the easiest of years for me regarding people passing away. It started out when I found out that a close friend died by suicide and was found on New Years Day. I lost a total of eight friends, one cousin and three clients. How much death can one person take?

On top of that I found out my grandma’s doctor’s informed my grandpa that hospice care for my grandma might the best option for her. I was told that she only has six to nine months to live due to Parkinson’s related stuff. It’s never easy to hear that your grandma doesn’t have long to live especially if she helped raise you.

I’m hoping that with the help of my mental health treatment team, I can learn to deal with the grief. Grief of loosing so many people over the last few years.

Thanks for reading my depressing post. Have a great day!!! Peace Out, World!!!

Everyday Inspiration; Day 19: Feature A Guest

Good Evening, World!!! today’s assignment for Finding Everyday Inspiration is to feature a guest. I have two very special guest I’ve interviewed. They are my partner, Junior, and the person who is a motherly figure to me, Mama Bear.

Do you remember the first time we “met?”

Junior: Yes, I remember our first interaction. Although, I’m pretty sure you don’t remember it.

Mama Bear: How in the hell can I forget our first interaction. I’m with Junior on this regarding you most likely don’t remember.

What was our first interaction?

Junior: Our first interaction was when I was apart of the crew that got called out to your place. You had attempted to take your own life. We (the crew) really didn’t think you were going to make it as you were so close to death.

Mama Bear: I might as well as say refer to Junior’s answer as I was apart of the same crew Junior was on. You did surprise the hell of us a few weeks later when we saw you walking around the neighborhood.

When you say “crew” what do you mean?

Junior: When I say crew I mean the crew that I work with. I am a firefighter.

Mama Bear: Refer to Junior’s answer as we are both firefighter. In fact we are still on the same shift at the same station. Most of the crew has changed.

How long have we “known” each other if you count our first in encounter?

Junior: Seventeen very interesting years.

Mama Bear: Again, refer to Junior’s answer.

Out of the last 17 years what have you learned from me?

Junior: I’ve learned that recovery is possible when dealing with a mental health condition. I learned a great deal of patients.

Mama Bear: To not be so judgmental especially toward individuals in a mental health crisis. More empathy and compassion.

Is there anything else you would like to say that I didn’t ask?

Junior: I love you with all my heart and am so grateful that you weren’t successful with your attempting to take your own life. I will always be here for you.

Mama Bear: Hmmm….Boy, you’re sure trusting with this question. I love you like you are my own daughter (even though I’m not officially old enough to my you mom). I, too am grateful that you weren’t successful with your (many) attempts with dying by suicide. This world would not be the same without you.

I interviewed Junior and Mama Bear as I hope that starting in the next couple of weeks to have them start posting on the monthly basis. I’m hoping for this so you all can get a different perspective on mental health conditions. Thank you to both Junior and Mama Bear for answering my questions.

I hope that everyone has a great evening. Peace Out, World!!!

The Reawaking of Weekly Check-Ins

Good Afternoon!!! About a year and a half ago or so, I joined a blogging event through WordPress that occurred on the weekly basis. This event focused on how your week went and when the event ended I decided to continue to do it but on a different day. I chose Saturdays as Saturday is the last day of the week.

Unfortunately, due to a relapse in my not so lovely depression symptoms as well as symptoms of other mental health diagnosis’s, I ended up stopping the weekly check-ins. It’s something I wish I didn’t stop and wish I started the weekly check-ins sooner than now. The weekly check-ins, ultimately helped me with my mental health symptoms and it also kept you the reader update date on what was going on in my life as well as keeping you interested in reading my blog.

Now that you are aware that the weekly check-ins are now being awoken; I guess, I will do my weekly check-in for this week. I pretty much isolated most of this week with a couple of exceptions. The first exception was on the 4th of July when I went to celebrate it at a friends picnic at their house. I’m glad I went because attending the 4th of July celebration helped me get out of my head as well as helped me forget even for a few moments that I have a mental health condition. Plus, I had fun spending time with people who truly care about me.

The second exception is when I went to an appointment to see my case manager’s supervisor on Thursday. I saw him this past week instead of my therapist or case manager because they both happened to be on vacation at the same time for week of their vacations. Normally, I would be “okay” with not seeing someone on my treatment team for a week or two but due to, two recent suicide attempts as well as not improving as quickly as I have in recent years from a crisis. My case managers supervisor is a nice dude and is quite helpful. He is concerned about “the lack of progress as well as the lack of purpose” I have in my life at the moment. He has every right to be concerned about the lack of progress as well as the lack of purpose of my life. As I mentioned in my last post that work gave me sense of purpose and the supervisor knows all to well of the purpose work gave me. I discussed with him about wanting go back to school and he appeared to be of support of this. Having the support of going back to school gives me hope.

Hope that I want to give to others, which is why I am needing to end this post. I am needing to get ready to go so I can volunteer to give others hope. Before I go to give hope to others, I need to eat. I hope everyone has a good rest of their weekend. I will be making every effort to do weekly check-ins every Saturday. Have a wonderful day everyone. Peace Out!!!

Fighting Off A Ton Of Bricks

I’m feeling frustrated with myself. I’m feeling frustrated because anytime I see any type of progress or improvement it appears that I fall and fall hard. Depression is hitting me like a ton of bricks and with a vengeance yet people in my life are helping me fight like hell to make sure it doesn’t win the fight.

The reason why my friends as well as my treatment team are fighting like hell along side with me against the depression is because two weeks ago, I attempted suicide on two separate occasions. The scary thing in all of this is that I haven’t attempted suicide in nine years which is of course is why everyone is concerned. For whatever reason, I didn’t end up on an inpatient psych unit which if I really look back on it, is concerning in itself but am grateful that I didn’t end up on an inpatient unit.

I’m grateful that I didn’t end up an inpatient unit for many reasons. The main reason is that it helps me, help myself without having someone readily available to depend on at all hours of the day and night.  Being able to not have people readily available in an instant has me focus on my DBT skills. Skills, I know that will help me and able to do not being on an inpatient unit because if I was on an inpatient unit I wouldn’t be able to use some of the skill most useful to me due to “safety” which I understand. Being part of an inpatient unit is to learn new skills as well as to practice the healthy skills you already have. If one cannot not practice healthy coping skills due to safety reasons how can one be able to practice them.

One such skill is listening to music on my  smart phone or Discman because both will require headphones. Headphones can be use to strangle yourself or someone else and understand why it’s a safety issue. Listening to music is one of the most helpful and useful skills I have. Listening to music helps me get myself in a better head space especially if I am highly escalated. If I’m highly escalated, listening to music puts me into a better head space to where I can come up with other skills that help me. In fact those other skills are usually are skills that bring out the creative side of me.

One such creative outlet also involves music. I play the flute and have been playing it since I was 12. I have never been the best at playing the flute nor have I claimed being a good flautist but its something I love to do. Playing the flute gives me a sense of self-confidence, I normally don’t have when I’m not playing it or any other musical instrument. In fact learning to play the harmonica and recorder also gives that same sense of self-confidence the flute does. Granted, learning to play a musical instrument is challenging but if it helps me get outside of myself as well as help with my self-confidence, then I’m going to accept the challenge.

Art is another creative challenge I take on as yet another skill that helps a great deal. My art form right now is collaging and coloring or combination of both. There is something soothing about looking through magazines, news papers and such searching for the right picture or word to cut out. Pasting the chosen cut outs onto a piece of paper and seeing it come into a piece of art is a thrill in of itself. Another thrill I get is seeing a finish coloring page. Looking at a colorful piece of art and knowing you created gives a person a sense of accomplishment.

On the topic of accomplishment, I get sense of accomplishment whenever I write. Whether I write via blogging, journaling, or a newsletter, its another outlet for me to be creative. I love to write. My love for writing is what helped me make the decision to start my blog. One of my favorite genre’s to write is poetry. Poetry helps me get what I need to get out emotionally. Since it helps me emotionally and I didn’t finish the Intro to Poetry course WordPress offers. The poetry course will not only help me emotionally, it will help me get back into the swing of things regarding blogging on the regular basis. Blogging on the regular basis will also keep you the reader more interested in checking on my blog more regular to see what I have to say. Another thing I like to do in regards to writing is to do writing prompts. Writing prompts can help one be more open with what is going on emotionally as the prompt can be one that has you write about something in real life. Prompts can also cause one to be creative and imaginative. Something that I am highly considering to do again is to start my weekly writing prompt as part of my blog.

As you can tell being creative is what ultimately helps me and being on an impatient unit can hinder me be creative for a number of reasons and most of them are legit. I am not condoning needing to be on an impatient unit as they are helpful and maybe I should have been hospitalized especially after the second attempt in matter of three days but am grateful I was not. In the last two weeks since the second attempt I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul searching. I found that I need to start being more creative and honest with myself.

Since I’m needing to be honest with myself, I realize I’m needing to end this post to start my going to bed routine. That includes watching the eleven o’clock news and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with a cup of hot tea. Have a good night everyone and peace out!!!

SIDE NOTE: I want to make it clear that I am NOT currently suicidal. I also want to make it clear that I am currently NOT experiencing any suicidal thoughts or suicide ideation.

Crisis & Not Being Able To Say Goodbye

I don’t know where to begin. Lets begin with how difficult things have been lately. In October I lost three clients and a colleague. This put me in an unexpected whirlwind of a crisis. Dealing with four deaths so close to the third anniversary of the first miscarriage put me into a major crisis. A crisis that got me the “extra support” I had been advocating for since I got promoted to a Peer Specialist. The “extra support” came too late as was I was already quickly approaching hospitalization.

I met with my “extra support” and she made an already volatile situation worse. This person informed me that she “would not be able to use humor in sessions as it is unprofessional and wont abide by not using the two terms” that trigger me. Needless to say two days later I ended up in the hospital for fifteen days.  While in the hospital I found out that Diana, my therapist, wont be back till December due to medical issues. Okay, everyone deals with health issues. I was in the middle of a health issue at the moment myself. Granted it was a mental health crisis but I understood.

Dealing with a personal health crisis is not an easy thing to go through which is why when I was discharged from the hospital, I would be a chemo-buddy to friend of mine who was on an oncology unit. An oncology unit that my therapist was on. I being the person I am quickly walked past her room to see my friend. A friend who knew something that was up. I informed my friend that I would let her know more when I was able to get more information.

I was able to get some information the next day at the mental health agency, I see Diana at. They were “surprised” that I found out and “find it odd” that I had a friend on the same unit as my therapist. I found the statement “find it odd” a little odd because why would I spend my time and energy to figure out if my therapist was in the hospital especially since I was and am in a crisis dealing with my mental health and grief of a butt load of recent and past loss. Long story short I was given an appointment with Diana’s supervisor who informed me that Diana does have cancer and it is unlikely that she will be returning. To make matters worse, I have been put on the waiting list for another therapist. This makes no sense to me as they had given me a person to be of “extra support” in addition of Diana and now I have to wait till at least February to get a therapist. To make matters worse my extra support is going to be out till mid-January.

It really bothers me that I not only don’t get to say goodbye to Diana but I am not going to get any support till mid-January. Seriously, someone who recently got out of a psych ward is going to have little to no support. I feel like I am not being heard. What part of I am not doing well don’t people understand and to make matters worse my therapist of eight years is not around to help due to cancer. If Diana knew what was going on I am sure she would advocate for me or at least have a “goodbye” session like she promised. I know realistically I won’t have that “goodbye” session and I feel like my treatment team is just putting me on the shelf in hopes everything will resolve itself because “she is strong, has skills and resiliency” but that’s who they should be most concerned about. Those of us who “appear to be doing well” despite some major struggles at the moment.

The only reason why I am not going to do anything is because I am going back to work on Monday after being on FMLA for a month. Yes, I am going to only be working a limited schedule due to partial FMLA but at least its something to look forward to. Another reason why I am not going to do anything is because my clients don’t need to lose another staff member and if I leave my current employer I would like to give my clients some closure with at least being able to say goodbye. Something I won’t be able to do with Diana. As far as I know she is still alive but not coming back.

I should get going before the tears on my face short out my laptop. Have a good weekend everyone.

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