Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!! I hope everyone out there in the world who celebrates Christmas had a good holiday. Despite the typical family drama on both sides of my family it went fairly well. Time with Jr.’s family went well like always.

Jr. and I are in a hotel room in the town my mother and a brother live in. In fact it feels nice to have a small get away for a couple of days. Jr. and I are going to be spending some much quality time with each other the next couple of days. Our hotel room is looking over the lake and I am loving it. As I am blogging Jr. is taking a much need nap because the both of us have a long couple of days due to the Christmas holiday.

I cant help but think that next year and this time, Jr. and myself are going to have our hands full with two precious little babies. Jr. and I have been thinking on what types of Christmas traditions we want as a family. Of course many of our traditions seemed to be more geared toward when our little ones are older and I think its a good thing to plan for such traditions. Yes, we both are well aware that they will change as the kids grow older and we get to know what their personalities are like.

I am so excited that I am going to be a mama. Feeling my babies kick in my belly is the most amazing feeling in the world. Knowing that I am going to be a mama is an exciting event yet extremely overwhelming at the same time. Jr. is just as excited about becoming a papa as I am becoming a mama. He reads to my belly everyday so he can feel a connection to our children. Connection to our children is extremely important to both Jr. and myself because of the horrific past that I had as a child.

When I was a child I was severely and horrifically abused by my little brother’s father. Unfortunately, the abuse started at Christmas time and in fact was the worst at Christmas time. Christmas time is quite difficult for me due to the abuse however the holidays are slowly getting better as time goes on due to the fact of me working on the pain of the abuse in therapy. I am grateful that I have an awesome therapist that has helped me learn how to deal with the pain. I am also grateful to Jr. and my other natural supports for helping me when times get tough especially around the holidays.

The holiday season may not be easy for me however I realize that it is not easy for many people including those who do not struggle with a mental illness. I’m one of those people that wishes that the holidays were not such a difficult time for many people out there.

One thing that I do every year to make sure my holidays are good one is to read the comic books Christmas With The Superhero’s Volume One and Two.  I also watch A Charlie Brown Christmas as well as Polar Express. I do want I need to do to keep myself healthy and to build positive Christmas memories. Not only that I hope that when my twins are born that I and Jr. will give the positive and happy Christmas memories.

Well, I am going to let you all go for now so you all can have good positive Christmas memories. Not only that I want to give Jr. a good memory by being intimate with him. Peace out and Merry Christmas!!!

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100th Blog

Writing this particular blog is a major milestone; a milestone in the fact that it is my 100th blog. Blogging on the subject of Mental Illness hasn’t been an easy feat. It hasn’t been easy for me to write on the topic of mental illness due to my own struggles with it and the lack of education. I have the lack of education to convey what I desire to tell you in regards to mental illness. Due to my struggles with mental illness I was unable to go to college and now it’s the lack of funds that I am unable to attend college. On the flip side, I am able to convey how one feels as well as how one deals when one struggles with a mental illness. I am however able to convey something on mental illness that and “educated” person cannot because I live with one. Who better to educate others on mental illness than those who struggle with one? Well, maybe those who not only struggle with a mental illness but have an education in field that deals with mental illness.

Dealing with a mental illness is not an easy thing to deal with because of the struggles one must have to endure when it comes to symptoms.  Learning to deal with the symptoms of a mental health diagnosis in a positive way is a start in  the recovery process. Recovery is not only a difficult journey as well as process but a difficult choice. Yes, recovery is a choice, a choice which one must be a willing participant. Of course being in recovery is an effort that others must be included in because going the journey alone just makes the journey not worth the effort to do. Once a person chooses the road to recovery that person will need all the support they can receive.

The support that one receives looks different to everyone’s own recovery. For me and my own recovery my support system is continuing to grow and be more supportive. My support system includes professionals (such as my therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, primary care physician, etc.) as well as natural supports (such as my boyfriend, friends, current and past co-workers, selected family members, etc.). If it wasn’t for the continued support of the people I consider my support system, I would not be able to enjoy my life or even be in recovery. Yes, it is choice that I must make and choose to make however without the support I would not be able to continue on the road of recovery.

The point I am trying to make is that one who struggles with a mental illness needs all the positive support they can get especially when they choose to walk in recovery. Choosing recovery is a personal decision not a forced decision. Being forced into recovery (and in most cases treatment) does more harm than good. The last thing we who struggle with mental illness is to be forced to go into treatment. Yes, in some cases it is a good idea to be put into involuntary treatment but in most cases it is NOT a good idea.

My recovery means the world to me. Yes, there might be relapses and bumps in the road but I will have the support of my support network as well as all the skills I have learned throughout the years. If it wasn’t for my recovery I would not have been able to be employed at my previous employer much less get my current job as a consumer aide at a mental health agency. I have worked endlessly to get where I am at and I owe it all to those who have helped me through out the years. It is to those who have helped me through out the years that this blog is dedicated to. If it wasn’t for the help of many people I would have not been able to be posting my 100th blog much less been able to start this blog to share my recovery as well as to educate those who do not have a mental illness. It is my hope that this blog continues to educate people as well as give hope to those who are struggling and that recovery is possible.

I want to thank you for reading and/or following my blog. It means a great deal to me. I hope that with the next hundred blogs that I will able to continue to convey hope and recovery as well as educate on mental illness. Yes, I know I am not a teacher however some of the best educators in my life  were NOT teachers.

I hope to blog again in the next day or so. I am thrilled that I am able to share my life with you as well as be able show people that there is hope and recovery is possible and that people with mental illness are fully capable human beings. Have a good rest of your weekend all. Peace Out and have fun!!!

1,000 Days

     Happy Monday, Everyone!!! Today, marks 1,000 days since I was last discharged from a inpatient psych unit. Hence, the reason why I titled this blog entry 1,000 Days. For me 1,000 days is a major accomplishment. This is the longest that I have been out of the hospital for psych reasons since I was a teenager. Being out of the hospital for 1,000 days just shows on how much I have accomplished in my recovery and of course I had many people who have helped with this process.

     I guess if I really look back my recovery process started back in 1999. Yes, my recovery process started 15 years ago. I may have not been in recovery with my mental health for 15 years but I have been in recovery from the eating disorders for that long. In my late teens and early twenties I considered myself a Christian. In fact I was highly involved in the Christian community. I share this with you because its part of my story of how I am in recovery with both Anorexia and Bulimia. Being active in the church I was attending and being a huge “Christian” music fan at the time, I had heard of this place called Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries is a place for “troubled young women” with all sorts of issues including eating disorders. The thing that drew me to Mercy Ministries at the time was that it is Christian and free. At the time it was the best choice I made. In fact to this day I don’t regret making the decision to go all the way to Nashville from the West Coast of the United States. I did graduate from Mercy Ministries and it is one of the greatest accomplishments in my life. I as a thirty-something may not consider myself as Christian anymore and am happy that as a twenty-something Christian, I made one of the best decisions in my life. I may not agree that I was healed from Anorexia and Bulimia but I do believe that because of Mercy Ministries I am in recovery from both eating disorders. I haven’t had any relapses with either eating disorder but I do struggle on occasion with the urges of the eating disorders. I believe that both eating disorders are a life long struggle and it is a choice I make to give in to those urges or not. I choose to not give in to those urges.

     Now that you know where I my recovery started or at least with the eating disorders, now let me tell you about my mental health recovery. My mental health recovery is much more of a rollercoaster ride than my eating disorder recovery. My mental health recovery started October 2003 when I entered an intensive two year out patient Dialectical Behavior (DBT) program. At the time I entered the  DBT program I had been in and out of inpatient psych wards and hospitals more than 40 times. That’s more times than my current age. While being in the DBT program I was required to get a job which I am beyond grateful that I was required to do. In fact the job was a requirement for the second year of the DBT program I was in. If it wasn’t a requirement for me to get job I wouldn’t haven’t gotten a job and I am forever grateful that it was a requirement because I have been employed with same employer now for 9 years. The two years I was the program I only ended up in an inpatient unit once. I graduated from both years of the DBT program (first and second years).

      After I graduated from the DBT program in November 2005 I decided to go back to the current mental health agency I seek services at. Since going back to the current mental health agency in February of 2006, I have had a high turn over of clinicians and many more hospitalizations. In fact if it wasn’t for my last clinician switching to a different team in the agency, I wouldn’t have gotten my current therapist. I have had my current therapist since December of 2008. In fact Diana is the therapist I have had the longest in all the years I have been in therapy. Diana has helped me a great deal in the last 5 1/2 years. In fact if it wasn’t for  Diana helping me through the pain I have struggled with and still struggle with I wouldn’t have been able to stay out of the hospital for 1,000 days. Diana is one of many people who have helped me in the last 11 years. 

     Over last the last 11  or so years of mental health recovery I have found out a lot about myself. For instance when I was in DBT I realized that I am passionate about politics and got involved with it. I stopped for a long while when I started working and now I am wanting to get back into it. I also realized with one clinician I had that I am bi-sexual. I thank the universe that I figured out I was bi. Yes, my boyfriend know I am bi. I have also realized how much I love music and collecting comic books. I love Wonder Woman comic books. I got into collecting comic books. I am not only collecting Wonder Woman but Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and X Men. When I was in the height of my mental illness I stopped playing the flute and decided about 2 years ago to pick it back up and to start teaching myself to play the harmonica again. I also realized that I not only love rap and alternative music but country music as well. I also enjoy jazz. I also realized that I really enjoy reading and that I love reading Classic Literature. I tend to read memoirs and autobiographies of those who struggle or have struggled with mental  illness. I also enjoy reading mysteries, horror, sci fi and fantasy. I am telling you all this because when you are struggling with a mental illness you don’t realize what you like or enjoy and if you do know what you like or enjoy you forget about it because mental illness sucks the life out of you. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to educate myself about my particular diagnosis as well as the latest research regarding mental illness, therapies and meds. Another major thing I have learned or come to realize is to depend on my natural support system.

     Speaking of my natural support system they are throwing me a barbeque because of being out of the hospital for 1,000 days. They know its a big deal for me. I just wish they weren’t making it out to be a bigger deal than it really is. This small barbeque is turning out to be a party. I just wanted it to be about 12 or so people. Apparently there are more than twenty people coming because they want to celebrate my success of 1,000 days. I know its a big deal but I wish they weren’t making it out to be a big deal.

     I better get going. I need to get ready for the barbeque. I am suppose to be there at 5:30(pacific time) and its now 4:22pm. I should get going and allow my support system to celebrate this day with me. Peace Out Everyone!!

Stuffing Equals Explosion

     Hello! Its another Monday and it was a tough one. If you regularly read my blog or follow it you are aware that I work Monday mornings and see my therapist in the afternoons. Work went as well as can be expected when you are dealing with the public.

     The rough part of the day came when I saw my therapist Diana. When Diana came out to get me she asked me to wait so she could refill her coffee then we had to wait for the room she signed up for because it was still being used. I got frustrated because we started late again. I was already frustrated that last Wednesday my appointment with my shrink started ten minutes late and lasted only ten minutes when its suppose to last 20 minutes. I told Diana that I didn’t have the patients to wait for our session to start late again. See the last two month our sessions had been starting late and some of them being cut short by five to ten minutes and I finally had it. I tend to stuff things to where I explode. If I explode I end up doing one of two things. I either cut myself (which I DID NOT DO) or get angry and yell at the person if I feel safe with that particular person. That’s what I did. Once we finally got into the room I went off on her. When I said I went off, I started to cry and then I ended up yelling. Diana calmly told me to stop yelling and I eventually did after about 7 or 8 minutes. To tell you the truth I am extremely ashamed that I yelled at Diana. Diana realized that I had been stuffing this anger regarding starting our sessions late and felt bad that she didn’t realize how bad it bothered me when I briefly brought it up a few weeks ago. Diana acknowledged that it took a great deal of strength on my part to not cut in-between sessions and to be able to feel safe enough with her that I could yell at her. We discussed how we could fix starting on time and how some things are beyond ones control. We also discussed how I felt that I and my time were not being respected. Most importantly we discussed how my yelling could be considered Borderline behavior. We discussed how I’m fighting with myself internally on not giving up on myself and making sure the Borderline doesn’t appear again. More or less it old Gertie verses Gertie in recovery. I don’t want to be old Gertie or “crazy” Gertie. I have worked so hard to not meet the criteria for Borderline that its a fight against myself to continue to not meet the criteria. Diana assured me that this one “explosion” is not  going to qualify  me to meet the criteria for Borderline. It will take a lot more to meet the criteria for Borderline again. Honestly, I am grateful that we were able to talk it out so I don’t hold any resentment toward her. We have bee working together for five and half years and she has helped a great deal in my recovery process. With all that being said our session ended a lot better than it started.

    On the bus ride home I read a Wonder Woman graphic novel. For some reason when I have a rough moment with my anger I tend to read Wonder Woman. Maybe its because reading Wonder Woman gets me out of my own head. Maybe it chills me out.

    When I got home I contacted a friend to see if she would have time tomorrow or Wednesday to help me write a cover letter for a Consumer Aide position. It’s not exactly what I am looking for but it is a step in the right direction to become a Peer Support Specialist. She said she would be more than willing to help me.

   After talking to my friend regarding helping me with a cover letter I came to my boyfriends place where he made me dinner. He barbequed some hamburgers and put lots of cheddar cheese on them.  We also had strawberry short cake for dessert. Now we are watching the 10 o’clock news as I blog and he emails a friend of his.

    I should get going. I just wanted to let you all know that I still struggle a bit from time to time. I just want to show those really struggling with a mental illness that recovery is possible and there is hope. Well have a good rest of your Monday. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and good night.

A Blog Before Bed

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

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

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

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

YIPPEE, I’m On Vacation!!

     It’s Friday and I would normally be complaining that its my Monday but I am not because I am officially on vacation as of today. Yes, I did work today and it felt like the never ending shift. It always seems that your last day of work before vacation takes forever and a day to finally get over with.

     One thing I plan on doing on my vacation is watching the World Cup. I of course am rooting for my home country of the U.S.A. Tomorrow (Saturday) I am going to watch the Germany/Ghana match. I am rooting for Germany in this particular match because I have a little German in me. On Sunday, my boyfriend and I are going to host a World Cup party at his place when The U.S.A plays Portugal. Of course I will be rooting for the U.S. I will also watch the U.S vs. Germany game on Thursday. I will be rooting for the U.S. Realistically, I’m not sure if the U.S can even beat Portugal much less Germany but will be rooting my heart out for the U.S. I was quite surprised that we (the U.S) beat Ghana especially since Ghana beat us the last two times.

     Another thing I plan on doing is cleaning my apartment. It’s not up to my standards. I will be doing other chores as well. I plan on cleaning my apartment and doing my laundry as well as my other household chore tomorrow when my boyfriend is at work. Plus I just want to get my chores out of the way so I can relax and enjoy my vacation.

     I also plan on going to a baseball game. Baseball is one of my favorite games. My all time favorite baseball teams are The Angles and The Dodgers. Even though I no longer live in California I still follow the Angels and Dodgers and whenever they come and play the team I reside in, I always root for the L.A teams. Even though the Angels and the Dodgers are not going to be in the city I reside in this next week I still plan on going to a baseball game. Yes, I will be rooting for the team in which I currently reside in. I am forever an Angel fan. Yes, I am forever a Dodger fan as well.

    Besides watching some World Cup matches, cleaning my apartment and maybe going to a Mariners game I plan on reading. Of course I will be reading A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I am enjoying the book. I told one of my paternal Uncles that I am reading A Tale of Two Cites and he was shocked that I am reading it. I think he shocked because I usually read Science Fiction, Fantasy and Mystery books because they are easier for me to read due to having dyslexia. Sometimes I like shocking people with the things I read. Just wish that reading A Tale of Two Cities wasn’t a shock to my uncle.

    I will also be working on my cross-stitching. I love cross-stitching. It can be frustrating at times but is extremely relaxing. Cross-stitching is one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoy it immensely. Every time I finish a cross-stitching project, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

    Speaking of sense of accomplishment, doing a jigsaw puzzles do that for me as well. My boyfriend and I will be working on jigsaw puzzles this next week. I am hoping that we can get two or three puzzles of 750 pieces or more this week. I’m sure he and I can do it. Doing jigsaw puzzle is another hobby I enjoy doing and its something I enjoy doing with my boyfriend.

    I also hope to catch up on what’s going on with Wonder Woman since I am so far behind at the moment. I really do enjoy collecting and reading comic books especially Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is a good role model to little girls even though she is only a superhero and not a real person.

    Another thing I a plan on doing is contacting National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Also known as NAMI. I’m going to see if I can get involved with there peer to peer group as well as get information on in Our Own Voice. I am really hoping that they get me the information I ask for because the last time I did they never sent it to me. 

Since this blog entry is getting a little long I am going to end it for now. I hope I didn’t bore you all. Have a good Friday evening all.