Weekly Check-In

Good Morning, World!!! The last few weeks hasn’t been the easiest for me especially since therapy services was abruptly pulled from my mental health treatment. Which is something many people on my treatment team are “not too thrilled about.” Yes, it’s been two and a half since therapy services were abruptly pulled from my mental health treatment yet my case manager, her supervisor, my group leaders have been giving me the support I need through this. In fact my case manager’s supervisor is now seeing me three times a week for an hour each time I see him. Granted, it’s not exactly the therapy I need however, I think he realizes with the rest of my treatment team that what the program manager did was unethical and in my opinion he is trying to smooth things over. He does appear to care.

Speaking of caring he suggested that I take the advice of some of my friends (and fellow peers) in getting a recovery coach at local peer run community center. So, I did. I met with my recovery coach for the first time this past week. I will be meeting with my recovery coach weekly for about six months. It’s a time limited service which is a good thing or at least I think its a good thing.

The same place I get the recovery coach from does an annual fund raising event by selling Christmas Trees. This peer run origination ask for folks to volunteer at the Christmas Tree lot so, I’ve decided I would volunteer at the lot as I think it will be helpful to my recovery. Especially to my recovery regarding trauma around the holidays; specifically, Christmas.  I did my first volunteer shift at the Christmas Tree lot yesterday evening. I really enjoyed myself despite having wet, cold feet at the end of my volunteer shift.

I informed Mama Bear about me volunteering at the Christmas Tree lot and she stated that she is “proud” of me. She also gave me a much need reality check. A reality check I desperately needed regarding my recovery. Having friends like Mama Bear in my life is a blessing for me. A much needed blessing. Friends who are able to tell you like it is and keeps it real is something everyone in this world needs.

Speaking of needs, I need to get going so I can get ready for my volunteer job at a help line. A volunteer job I’ve been at for just over three years now and love with a passion.

I hope to blog again in the next few days to let you all know how things are going.  I hope you all have a wonderful day. Peace Out!!!

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!!!

Fulfilling Day

Despite being full of anxiety with the upcoming start of a promotion, I’m sitting here at my laptop looking back on my day. A day that was fulfilling in many different ways.

I started off my day with doing some errands which nobody really like to do. Unfortunately, I was unable to do laundry due to the lack of time. So, instead of doing laundry, I decided to blog as I was waiting for time to pass for the next event in the day.

As I finished my last post, Junior came over and we went out to eat. We chitchatted as we ate. After eating we walked around a local lake which helped a great deal with my anxiety. It helped because I was near water as well as the physical activity of walking.

After spending time with Junior, I went a got my hair cut. I got it cut really short. It’s kind of professional punk style cut if there is such a style. An easy to take care of punk style cut. I’m not sure what to think about it yet but I know I like the fact that it is out of my face and easier to take care of.

When I was done getting my hair cut, I hung out with a friend of mine. A friend that I met through my volunteer job at the Warm Line. We hung out for about two hours before we went and volunteered at the Warm Line.

Little did I know when I went to volunteer on the Warm Line tonight that the people I volunteer with decided to throw me a party for getting a promotion at work. Being acknowledged like may not be something I think I deserve but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it helped with my anxiety. Of course once five o’clock came around we started taking calls. During the “quiet moments” we still celebrated my promotion. (Just so you know there was no alcohol involved with the celebration of my promotion.) When the shift ended the friend who I hung out with earlier brought me to Juniors place.

I thanked my friend for the ride and went inside where Junior was waiting for me with a Sunflower and a balloon with the word “Congratulations” on it. I gave Junior a hug which end with having some adult fun if you get what I am saying.

Now, I am at my laptop blogging once again. Blogging is fulfilling in itself. In fact it is also therapeutic for me to do. I don’t have much else to say at the moment. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and peace out!!!

Writing 101: Finding Your Inspiration; Day Eighteen: A Map As Your Muse

The above map resembles the path I have chosen for my career. It has taken some time and energy to get where I am at, both personally and professionally. If it wasn’t for the growth I have had in personal life, I would be where I am professionally.

As many of you already know, I am in recovery from a mental illness. The journey with my recovery from a mental illness has not been an easy process. A process that was and still well worth all the work. It is because of my journey with a mental illness, I am choosing the field of mental health as my career path.

Three years ago (2012), is when I truly started my career path. In fact, that is when I started volunteering at my current employer. Then a year later, back in 2013, is when I took the forty (40) hour, one week, peer support specialist training and exam. I of course passed the exam. Then last year (2014), is when I not only got employed with my current employer as a Consumer Aide but started volunteering at the Warm Line as a caller taker. Earlier this year I started volunteering at a local young adult homeless shelter because I ultimately want to work with young adults who struggle with a mental illness. Now that I have been at my current employer for a year, I plan on applying for jobs as a peer support specialist.

I realized last year when I was applying and interviewing for peers support specialist jobs that many mental health agencies wanted people who had paid experience. That is one of the reasons why I applied, interviewed and accepted my current job. I also know from experience that many employers, know matter the company, what people who have been at their current employer for at least a year.

Now that I have the year paid experience, I have been working on updating my résumé and working on cover letters. Like many others, I don’t like writing cover letters because I don’t like “bragging” about myself. Even though I don’t like “bragging” about myself, I try to look at it this way; if it gets me the job I want along my career path then I am getting from point A to point B on my career map.

I may not be getting to point A to point B the way I thought I would career wise, I like the fact that my life has been a journey of self acceptance and resilience. A resilience that only a few know if they choose to be in recovery.

Thank you for reading about my career path and the road I have travelled to get to it. Have a wonderful day and Peace Out!!

Trainings, Work, Volunteering & Other Related Stuff

Good morning everyone!! Yes, It is still morning in my neck of the woods. I am looking forward to this afternoon. I am going to a training about youth specific suicide prevention. The best part of this training is that it is being offered by the Crisis Clinic and I am able to attend for free because I am a Warm Line volunteer. (Side Note: The Warm Line is under the umbrella of the Crisis Clinic.) Being able to attend training for free at the Crisis Clinic is one of the many awesome benefits I have for being a Warm Line Volunteer. I love being able to attend the various trainings because it helps me learn new skills that I not only need for my volunteer jobs but my career. It also looks good on the résumé.

Speaking of careers and résumés, I am going to be working on my résumé tomorrow. I have to update it with a couple of things including my volunteer job at the young adult shelter and the training I am going to today. I am updating my résumé  because once my one year anniversary is up at work, I am going to apply to peer specialist positions. Like I have said in previous post, I applied and accepted my current position as a Consumer Aide to get my foot in the door. Yes, I will be applying within the agency I work for but there is only one position posted at this point in time and it is not a guarantee that it wont be already filled when my year is up. I am hoping it will still be up so I can apply for it. I will also be applying at other mental health agencies. No need to be picky on where I apply at this particular time in my career because I am just starting out in the whole grand scheme of things.

I am looking at the time and realize I need to cut this post short. I need to cut it short because of the training I am attending this afternoon. I have to take the bus and am planning on eating lunch near by the training before it starts. I hope to blog about the training later on today. Have a wonderful day everyone. Peace out!!!

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!!

Daily Prompt: State of Your Year

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “State of Your Year.” How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

It’s the third day of July and that means the year is half over. The year now being officially half over is why I decided to do this particular past daily prompt.

The year didn’t start off on the happiest of notes. If you are a regular reader and/or follower you are aware that I had miscarried a set of twins in January. It was a devastating start to the new year. I was looking forward to being a mama. Needless to say the miscarriage has had me wanting this year to end two weeks into it.

As January turned into February, I realized that I not only wanted the year to be over, I wanted to end my life. I wanted to end my life due to miscarrying. That is when I realized I needed to get help by putting myself into the hospital twice. The first time for two weeks and then a week after I was discharged had to go back in for another five days. I was disappointed in myself that I needed to be hospitalized for psych reasons because it had been nearly three and half years since my last discharge from my last psych hospitalization. The miscarriage hit me harder than a bag of bricks hitting the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Despite being hit by a bag of bricks, I realized that this particular crisis was different from the rest; I didn’t harm myself in any way. Yes, that means I didn’t attempt suicide nor self-harm. If one thing could come from the sadness of loosing a set of twins and the crisis that came after it, is that I don’t need to self harm nor do I need to go through it alone.

The major thing I have learned this year is that I am not alone and most importantly I know who is truly in my corner. Don’t get me wrong, I have known who has been in my corner for quite some time, I just fully realized on who is in my corner. I also realized that, those of who I thought were in my corner when it came to me being in a crisis weren’t able to do so, like I once thought. Now I know that it doesn’t matter how long you have known someone or how you met that person, it matters that they step up to the plate when a crisis arises.  Sometimes it’s a person you don’t necessarily expect.  An example of someone like that is my friend Susan over at https://bravelybipolar.wordpress.com/.

As the year continues on and the help of many people like Susan, my fiancé, Junior and many others, it is slowly but surely better. Yes, I still have my difficult moments but realize that the initial crisis of the miscarriage is over. It has taken quite some time for it to be over however I have accomplished the fact that I not only not harmed myself in the crisis, I was able to allow others in my life to help me in one of the most darkest hours of my life.

Looking back on my year thus far, I would say that one of my major accomplishments is continuing to live my life as I would have before miscarrying. That means, I continued on going to work, going to my volunteer job at the Warm Line and most importantly spending time with friends and select family members. I also allow myself to grieve over the loss of my children. Amongst the major accomplishment of living my everyday life in the middle of a crisis, I decided to volunteer other places.

Yes, I’m now volunteering not only at the Warm Line and the Mental Health Clubhouse I am a member of but a young adult shelter. I’m doing this because, I not only miss volunteer at the main shelter of the mental health I agency I am now employed at but I want to eventually work with young adults struggling with a mental illness. The reason being is because, I’ve been there. I was a young adult seeking treatment and felt like nobody understood because everyone else to start getting treatment till their late twenties and early thirties if not older. Volunteering at the young adult (18-25) shelter is a way to make sure I want to work with particular age group in the profession sense. What’s the worse thing that can happen? I realize its not the age group I am meant to work with and another thing to put on my résumé. So far I’m loving the fact that I am not only volunteering in a homeless shelter but volunteering with the age group that I am wanting to work with professionally.

As the year continues on, I am looking forward to what it brings professionally. I love my job as a Consumer Advocate however I want to be a Peer Support Specialist. I have been looking at Peer Specialist positions within the agency I work for as well as other agencies however I realize I am more likely to get hired on, if it is at another agency, if I have been at my current employer for at least a year. My one year anniversary at my current employer is September 8, 2015. Since my anniversary is in September, I have decided to wait to late November, early December to apply for Peer Specialist positions due to the fact that I will have been employed for an entire calendar year (January to December) by the time I find out if I get hired for a job. The longer you are at an employer the better it looks to future employers. Not only that, I also need to do a few things done to ensure I will able to get a job as a Peer. They are to get my teeth fixed as well as to get a drivers license. Yes, you read right, I don’t have a drivers license. I have always lived in area’s that have pretty good public transit. Another reason why I want to get a drivers license is because many positions require one. Not only will having a drivers license be helpful to me professionally, so will getting my teeth fixed. People do tend to look at ones smile when it comes to an interview as well as in everyday encounters and that is why I want to get them fixed. Plus it will make me feel better about myself.

Overall, I am feeling better about myself as 2015 continues. Yes, it has not been the best of years so far however, I am going to make sure it ends on a higher note than it did when it started or at least try. We all know that there are things beyond our control. The year may have started badly but I know as it continues, I am making sure there are positives in it. One way I am making it positive besides professionally is by hanging out with awesome people. That is what I am about to do after I end this particular post. I do apologize for it being so long. I hope to blog again tomorrow for the 4th of July. If I am unable to do so, have a Happy 4th of July. Be safe and Peace Out!!!