Happy 4th Of July!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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Being Hard On Myself

     Hey! It’s another Saturday evening and no dinner parties to attend or host. I’m fine with that because it’s always nice to have a quiet Saturday evening at home. At this very moment as I am blogging I am sipping on some hot chocolate and kind of watching Lockup: Raw on MSNBC. 

    I will be honest with you at the moment I am frustrated with myself. I’m frustrated with myself because of how I am viewing myself. I view myself as a failure. I view myself this way because of how our society and culture view people with mental illness. American Culture views those who struggle with mental illness as the scum of the earth. Another reason why I view myself as failure is because I am a 30something with barely a high school education and no college education stuck in a dead in job. Come on, how many 30somethings do you know working as a courtesy clerk (bagger) at grocery store for the last 9 years. I just don’t want to go to my 20 year high school reunion in four years and have nothing to show for myself. Yes, I know I’m being hard on myself.

    I know what my therapist would tell me in this situation because I have discussed the above paragraph with her multiple times. She would tell me that many of my classmates didn’t have to fight their asses off to get stable from a mental illness and fight through the pain of a horrific childhood. (Side Note: Only parts of my childhood were horrific.) She would also ask me what my rational or wise mind would say. Diana, my therapist would also point out that many people my age may have a college education but they have not been at the same employer as long as I have.(Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym) I cant argue with that point because many of my friends in my age range haven’t been employed with the same employer as long as I have been with mine.

   I think American culture plays a major role in the stigma of mental illness. As much as I love being an American; the American way is quite frustrating at times. What does have the American Dream really mean? American society focus’s on individualism yet has unspoken rule of what the American dream is. That American Dream is to get an education and graduate from college in hope to land your “dream job” then get married and have children and own your own home

    Anyway, I’m getting off topic. I really want to get a college education. I hope to some day get an education and become a social worker. If you were to ask me what my current “American Dream” is. My response is: “To be able to work full time in a job I enjoy. Preferably in the mental health field starting as a Peer Support Specialist/Counselor. To get off disability. To be able to live in and afford a fare market value apartment. Some day get married and have family. A plus in my “American Dream” would be able to get a degree in Social Work and become a social worker.” I know that someday that part of my “American Dream” will come true.

   I just wish I wasn’t so hard on myself. I know that “normal” people are hard themselves. I also know that they don’t have the everyday struggles of mental illness that I and many other people deal with. Sometimes I wonder if “normal” people would be able to deal with a mental illness. I’m my own worst critic and my own worst enemy but aren’t we all. In my opinion people who struggle with mental illness are tougher on themselves than others because we so desperately strive to be whatever the hell normal is.

   Now that I’ve bored you with my frustrations I’m going to end this blog entry. I know some day that I will be on the career path that I desire. I know one day I will be able to get off of disability. One day I will have my “American Dream.” One day I wont be so hard on myself and with the help of my therapist I will eventually not be so hard on myself or at least not as often.

    Thank you for reading my blog. I am sorry that this one is so long and it seems to be more venting than anything else. I hope that this blog entry helps those who struggle with mental illness that recovery is possible because it is possible and you are not alone in your struggles. Now I’m going to end this entry and put my full attention in watching Lockup: Raw on MSNBC. Have good evening all. I hope to blog tomorrow before I go to work.

Book Review on: The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks

     Hey! I finally finished the book The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, by Elyn R. Saks. I am going to give you a book review on the book. I have never done a book review in my life unless of course if you count book reports that you had to do in elementary school and junior high. I hope that the following review gives some insight of mental illness and hope of some sort of recovery for those of us who struggle with mental illness.

     The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks in my opinion is an extremely good book. It kept my attention and that is difficult to do especially since one of my many struggles happens to be ADHD. Well, the book is a memoir of Ms. Saks life and her struggles with Schizophrenia. Ms. Saks is an accomplished woman. She graduated from Vanderbilt, Oxford and Yale Law School and doing all that in the height of her illness. She is a professor at USC school of law. The book is her journey to a life worth living for her and in her terms. Its very inspiring. She is what “society” views as a success. I hope that one day I can be a success in societies eyes like her even though my career path is not like hers and my educational path is nowhere close to hers. That’s okay because everybody’s path is different. I highly encourage you all to read it. It is my opinion that it would be a condition of employment if you work with people who struggle with mental illness. Ms. Saks gives insight that no text book can ever do. 

     This book gives me hope for my own recovery with my mental illness even though I don’t struggle with Schizophrenia. I hope that if a person who struggles with mental illness reads the book that they can get hope from it as well. It is also my hope that the book gives some insight about someone’s struggles with mental illness to those who don’t struggle with one as well as those who work with those who struggle with one. It’s not easy dealing with a mental illness and the stigma that goes along with that doesn’t make it any easier.

     I don’t think my book review is all that great but the book is absolutely amazing. It’s a must read. Now that I am done with the review I will end this blog entry for now. Have a good evening everyone and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. Peace out everyone.