107 Questions With 107 Answers

I got the idea for this post from another blog, which I of course follow. Thank you Marci over at http://marcimentalhealthmore.com/  It means a great deal to be able to share ideas (and sometimes even still them with permission of course) with other bloggers. Yes, I did add, change not include some questions so I could make it geared more to my blog. .

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging for two reasons: 1) to educate those who don’t have a mental illness in hope to lessen the stigma that goes along with it. 2) to show others who do struggle with mental illness that recovery is possible and there is hope.

2. How did you come up with the title of your blog?

I came up with the title, Gertie’s Journey because Gertie is my nickname and I would be discussing my journey along the way.

3. Why not use your real name in your title?

I originally didn’t use my real name because of the stigma that goes with having a mental illness. I now don’t use my real name because I work in the mental health field and need to protect my privacy.

4. Does that mean you have a mental illness?

Yes!!

5. What are your diagnoses?

As of right now my diagnoses are Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), PTSD, OCD and ADHD. So, I’m an Alphabet Soup.  At one point in time I was diagnosed  with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I no longer meet the criteria of BPD and consider myself a Recovered Borderline.

6. Do you consider yourself in recovery?

Yup, I do!!!

7. What do you do to stay in recovery?

Most importantly, I make sure I see my therapist and psychiatric nurse practitioner (ARNP) on the regular basis. I take my meds as prescribed daily. I make sure I go about my regular routine even if I’m struggling. I exercise on the regular basis.

8. How are you, really?

Overall, I am doing pretty good despite having high anxiety due to PTSD symptoms.

9. How are you feeling right now? What are you thinking about?

Umm….I think I just answered this. If you can’t remember go back to the previous question (as I say sarcastically). I’m thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner. I’m also thinking about working on scrapbooks I’m making for people for their holiday gifts. Yes, I know the holidays are six months away.

10. What is your favorite color?

Purple

11. What is your favorite food?

Mac & Cheese, Strawberries, Mexican Food

12. What is your favorite dessert?

Strawberry short cake and peach cobbler

13. How old are you?

Somewhere between 30 and 39. (Said sarcastically) Honestly, I am in my mid-30’s.

14.  What have you learned today?

I learned about Buddhism and meditation from a book I am reading about Buddhism.

15. What do you do?

I am a Consumer Advocate in a supportive housing program at local mental health agency.

16. What are some of your favorite books?

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card; The Stand by Stephen King and J.A Jance books. I also like many poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Emily Dickenson

17. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, J.A Jance, Emily Dickenson, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou

18. What are some of your favorite movies?

BIG, Speed, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, comedies, horror, and many movies Robin Williams is in.

19. Who are some of your favorite actors?

Robin Williams, Winona Ryder, Betty White, and Will Smith

20. What kind of music are you into?

I like 80’s and 90’s music and I also like Punk Rock, Grunge, and alternative.

21. Who are some of your favorite musicians?

Nirvana, Tori Amos, K.D. Lang, Kurt Cobian, Amy Grant, Tears for Fears, Journey, Queen, AC DC, and I can continue on my favorite musicians but wont.

22. If you’re going to write a book, what would it be about?

It would be memoir of my life with a mental illness and my recovery.

23. What’s the scariest thing you have ever done?

I think it would have to be starting my recovery with both the eating disorders and my mental health diagnoses.

24. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Graduating high school, getting my peer specialist certification and being in recover with my mental illness.

25. How did you meet your fiancé?

I don’t remember meeting my fiancé but will tell you how we met. We first met when I had attempted suicide and one of my housemates found me unresponsive and called 911. He was one of the firefighters on duty who responded to the call.

26. Do you have any children?

Sadly, no

27. Have you thought about fostering or adopting?

Yup, Junior and myself want to do foster care in hope of adopting the foster child/ren.

28. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a teacher.

29. What profession are you currently in?

I am in the mental health field.

30. How did you get into your profession?

I got into the field because I have my own mental health issues and want to be an example of what recovery looks like. Plus, I have a peer specialist certification.

31. Would you recommend your profession to other people? Why / Why not?

Honestly, it depends who the person would be because not everyone is fit to work in the mental health field.

32. What do you do for fun?

Camp, hike, rollerblade, walk, read, blog, watch movies, do jigsaw puzzles, do Sudoku puzzles, scrapbook, go to sporting events especially baseball games, going to concerts, listening to music, hang out with friends and select family members, and volunteer.

33. Do you like traveling?

I love it.

34. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?

Its a tie between Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. I would like to go to Ireland because I am half Irish and its part of my heritage. I want to go to Australia and New Zealand because I learned about it summer school between the 3rd and 4th grades and grew fascinated with both countries.

35. Who are some people you’d like to meet someday?

President Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Sigmund Freud

36. If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?

Refer to the previous question with the exception of President Obama since he is still alive.

37. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?

The future belong to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt

38. What’s one of your favorite habits you have?

Going for a daily walk listening to music.

39. What are some things that make you really happy?

Sunny days, humor, my brother, my fiancé, nature, water, and my job

40. What are some things that make you really sad?

My miscarriages, most of my childhood, and how I have treated people in the height of my mental illness.

41. What are some things that scare you?

My PTSD symptoms I deal with on the daily basis. The mental health symptoms I deal with when I’m in crisis.

42. Do you like to plan things out in detail or be spontaneous?

I like both planning things and out and being spontaneous.

43. Are you a religious person?

No but I do consider myself Spiritual. I am on a Spiritual journey and looking into various faiths at this particular stage in my life.

44. Would you rather live in the country or in the city?

I am a city person. I love living in the city.

45. What was your life like growing up?

It wasn’t the best of childhoods.

46. What were you like in high school?

Depends on who you ask.

47. Do you have any brothers or sisters? How many?

Yes, I do. I have one half brother.

48. What’s your favorite part about today, so far?

The sunny weather, the strawberry shortcake I had and reading about Buddhism.

49. Who in your life has influenced you the most? How did they do it?

I’ve had many people who have influenced my life throughout my life and how those people did it is as unique as they are as people.

50. Have you ever tried sushi? (Did you like it?)

No, I have not tried sushi and never plan on trying it.

51. Do you like spicy food?

The spicier the better!!!!

52. How do you like your steak cooked?

Some pink but not a lot of pink.

53. If you were a type of animal, what would you be and why?

I think I would like to be an Orca because they are beautiful, intelligent animals and they get to be in the water all day.

54. What’s one of the strangest things you’ve ever done?

What are you talking about? Everything I do is strange because I am strange.

55. What kind of vacations do you like?

I love camping and any vacation I can learn something new.

56. What are some of your major goals in life?

To continue on my journey of recovery with mental illness.

57. What are some of your smaller goals in life?

To update my résumé and apply for peer support specialist jobs.

58. What do you like least about yourself?

The scars on my arms, legs and torso due to when I use to self harm.

59. What embarrasses you?

My speech impediment especially the stuttering (Its pretty much under control now but it acts up when I am under stress), being in little kid mode and being in a dissociated state.

60. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

Being a psychiatrist.

61. What’s your earliest memory?

When I was three and my mom abandoning me.

62. What’s the best decision you ever made?

Being in recovery and choosing to stay in recovery. Trusting my gut with being in a romantic relationship with my fiancé, Junior.

63. Who’s your best / closest friend?

My fiancé, and three people I grew up with and/or went to high school with.

64. What do you think people think of you?

I don’t want to think what others think of me.

65. What were your grades like in school?

They weren’t the best in the world, mainly because of learning disabilities and/or mental health issues.

66. If you could learn one random skill, what would you learn?

To learn American Sign Language (ASL), Spanish and German.

67. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m a little of both.

68. Have you ever taken a personality test? (How did the results turn out?)

Honestly, I’m not sure because, I’ve I had so many different test throughout my life that they all kind of run together. I must have if I was diagnosed for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I am really grateful I no longer meet the criteria for Borderline.

69. Do you enjoy the particular sexual pose of what the number of this question is?

Very much so!!!!!

70. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

I notice both a persons eyes and smile.

71. Do you think people can control their own destiny?

To a degree, yes.

72. Do you think all people are equally valuable, or do you think some people in certain situations might be more valuable than others (say, a severely mentally ill patient vs. a doctor who could potentially save hundreds of lives)?

Define value!!

73. Do you think people are basically bad or basically good?

This is a difficult question for me to answer due to the fact that there are many factors to consider.

74. Do you think morals are universal or relative to the beliefs, traditions, and practices of individuals or groups?

I think it I need to know more before I could answer this question.

75. Do you think God exists?

Another complicated question. Yes, I do think that there is a spiritual being out there. I just don’t know who he, she or they are.

76. Do you think any kind of afterlife exists?

Yup, I am positive there is an afterlife.

77. Do you vote? Why / Why not? If you do vote, how do you usually vote?

Yes, I vote and I don’t disclose how I vote.

78. Do you think gay people choose to be gay? Do you think straight people choose to be straight?

I don’t think we choose our sexual orientation.

79. Is torture ever a good option? If no, why not? If yes, when?

Torture is NEVER a good option for any reason.

80. Would you kill an innocent person if you thought it might mean saving a dozen other people?

I would never kill an innocent person.

81. What’s the most money you’ve ever given away?

I rather not disclose. The amount I give away to a charity or person is between me and the charity or person.

82. What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

Choosing to be in recovery.

83. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

I’ve done many stupid things that I cant just name one thing.

84. What do you think would be one of the best steps we could take toward ending poverty around the world?

This is a loaded question and difficult to answer. It is something I will have to ponder about.

85. What do you think we could do to best improve the education system?

Pay teachers more, smaller class sizes and bring back fine and preforming arts.

86. In general, what do you think about art?

I love it.

87. What are some of your favorite websites?

Any website that I am able to learn something on.

88. What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?

That my ex-step dad wasn’t abusing me when he actually was.

89. What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I cry myself to sleep because I miss the babies I lost through miscarriages.

90. What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?

I love being able to help others.

91. What are some of the first things you do in the morning?

Go to the bathroom, take a shower, eat and take my meds.

92. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?

Loosing two sets of twins within 14 months of each other due to miscarriage.

93. Do you cry easily?

No.

94. How do you feel about public speaking?

I hate it.

95. Do you like to talk on the phone?

Its better than texting.

96. How many emails do you get each week, roughly?

Depends what account. I have a work email, a personal email, a professional email and an email for this blog.

97. If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you hope would play you?

I wouldn’t want my life made into a movie so I hope nobody plays me.

98. What’s one of your favorite questions to ask new friends or to get a conversation going?

It depends on the situation I am in.

99. Would you ever sky dive or bungee jump?

I have always wanted to sky dive. When I was younger I wanted to bungee jump but as I get older it becomes less appealing.

100. Have you ever been in a fist fight?

Yup, in junior high.

101. What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled?

My senior prank in high school.

102. What did you do on your 16th birthday?

My friends had a surprise party for me.

103. What do you think is one of the most undervalued professions right now?

Teaching and any profession in the mental health field.

104. How would you explain your basic life philosophy?

When I look back on my life I rather regret the things I do than the things I don’t do.

105. Would you rather be hated or forgotten?

Neither

106. If you knew you would die tomorrow, would you feel cheated today?

I don’t want to know when I am going to die.

107. Now, how do you honestly feel after answering all these questions?

Exhausted but overall still doing well.

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Looking Forward To Volunteering Today!!

     It’s Wednesday and that means I go to my volunteer job today. I usually don’t go to my volunteer job when I am vacation from my paid job however I have decided to go today even though I am on vacation. The main reason why I am going is because I miss it if I don’t go. I really enjoy my volunteer job. The employees of the homeless shelter I volunteer at are very appreciative of how much help I am to them and the clients. I don’t think they really know how much volunteering at the homeless shelter actually helps me. I know that last sentence sounds selfish and conceded however volunteering actually helps me in my recovery process. Another reason why I am going today is that my depression is slightly acting up. I realized this yesterday while in session with my therapist. Since my depression is acting up a little bit and it is raining (which doesn’t help my depression), I’ve decided to go to my volunteer job. It gives me something to do and get out of my own head. This is why I say it helps me with my recovery process.

     Well, I better get going. I need to finish getting ready for my volunteer job. I hope to blog again this evening. I’ve come to realize that this blogging thing is helping me in my recovery process more than I thought it would. In fact I didn’t realize that it would actually help me in my recovery process. I started this blog to help those who struggle with mental illness as well as to educate those who don’t struggle with a mental illness. In all reality I don’t think I’m doing much helping or educating. I only have 11 followers. I wish I knew how to reach more people with the blog. Oh well.

     I really need to get going. Like I said earlier I need to finish getting ready for my much loved volunteer job. Have a good Wednesday everyone. Peace out.

Looking Forward To Work This Afternoon

     Well, it is a beautiful Sunday morning and I have to work later on today. I’m not sure if I am wanting to go to work today because its so nice today. I will go to work because it gets me out of my own head. No matter had difficult or bad my shift may be I always have a sense of accomplishment at the end of my shift. The reason being is because I made it through another shift with out quitting because of the stress that comes with dealing with the public. Working at a grocery store is not always that easy but it something to do with my time. Even on my good days at work I feel a sense of accomplishment. Something I am looking forward is my lunch because I will be having left overs from dinner last night. Overall, I am looking forward going to work.

     I really enjoy being in mental health recovery. Being in recovery I am able to enjoy things a little more. I am able enjoy a good hard day at work no matter how difficult or easy it might be for the particular day. Being in recovery is more fun. I realize that people are more likely to want to be around me if I am choosing to be in recovery even on my difficult days.

     I best be going. I need to get ready for work. I hope you all enjoy your day. Have a good Sunday and peace out.

Hmmm….Just A Saturday Evening Rambling

     Its another beautiful day in the neighborhood. My boyfriend is barbequing steaks as I am watching the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Ranger game. Right now its in between eighth and ninth innings and the Angels are up 5 to  2. I of course am rooting for the Angels since I am originally from Anaheim. I miss California. Tonight’s game happens to be in Texas.  

     Well, I worked earlier today. I actually had a good day a work today. I worked with one of my favorite checkers today. The checker I worked with today is like a second father to me. He has taken me under his wing. The cool thing about this particular co-worker is that he is very non-judgmental of me and my mental health issues. He can usually tell when things are acting up without me even having to tell him. When things are acting up he makes sure that I get my breaks because I usually don’t take my breaks. I take my lunches but not my breaks. Its always nice to have people that have your back. My schedule for this next week is okay. I only work 15 hours but I work Sunday which means I get Sunday pay. That’s a good thing. After my shift on Friday I will be on vacation again.  

     I will be going to see my little brother on my vacation. It just so happens his birthday happens that every year his birthday falls the same week/weekend of the local fair in his town. I will treat him to the fair like I always do when I happen to be around on his birthday. I love him so much. My boyfriend will be going as well. My boyfriend and brother get along great. I’m looking forward to going the rides, playing the rigged games and most importantly the fair food. Oh how I love fair food.

     The Angel vs. Ranger game is now over. The Angels won 5 to 2. I am proud of my Angels. Its a four game series and the have won the last 3 games against the Rangers and have one more game against them tomorrow.

     Now back on to my brother. I am looking forward to seeing him and spending time with him. Its hard to believe that he is going to be 24 years old. I am proud of him and everything that he is accomplishing in his life.

     As I have told you in earlier blog entries I am reading a psychology text book to better myself as well as to educate myself. I figure since I cant afford to go to college at the moment I might as well as buy and read text books from a used book store. If you know where and when to buy a text book you can get them pretty cheap. In fact you can usually get them under $20. I love educating myself. I love it when I shock the hell out of people when I know what I’m talking about especially when its on a subject that you have to go “to school for.” People assume when they look at me that I don’t know what I am talking about but they soon realize that when I know something I know something.

    Well, my boyfriend is almost done with the steaks and I should get going. I am love meat. I love food. I need to help get the rest of the food out and on the table. My boyfriend and I are going to eat on his patio because its another beautiful day out. I love hot weather like today.

     I best be going. Have a good rest of your Saturday evening everyone. I hope you have a good weekend. Peace out and have fun.

 

Becoming an Advocate For Mental Illness

     Today, I’ve been thinking a great deal about advocacy and mental illness. How does one become an advocate for those who struggle with a mental illness. Usually it’s because the person themselves struggles with mental illness or has a friend or loved one with a mental illness. Then their are those people who choose to be advocates for the mentally ill out of the kindness of their hearts. Most of those who do it out of the kindness of their hearts are usually the professionals like Social Workers, Therapist, Psychologists, etc.. Advocacy for mental health has been out there in world for a while now

     I’ve always been an advocate for myself and my mental health struggles even if I wasn’t aware of it especially in the early years of the diagnosis’s as well as in the height of my struggles with mental illness. It wasn’t until the last two or three years that I’ve realized that I was advocating for other with mental illness and was good at it. In fact the being good at it part was pointed out to me. The realization of advocating for those with mental illness is part of the reason why I started volunteering at a homeless shelter that specializes in those who struggle with mental illness and/or drug & alcohol addictions. Plus the advocating realization is the reason why I got my Peer Counselor certification. Being a peer counselor is basically being an advocate for them and showing your fellow peer who is struggling how to advocate for themselves. I may not be employed as a peer counselor yet but that doesn’t mean I cant still advocate for those who are not able to advocate for themselves yet.

    That is why I have decided to embark on a new journey. Well it’s not so much a new journey but a continuation of the journey I’m already on. I mailed in a volunteer application to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I also emailed a volunteer application to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I did this because I want to speak up for those who are not able to speak up for themselves. I know it might sound like I am taking a lot on especially since I got an email about an hour ago saying that my volunteer application for a local peer run Warm Line was received and asked to attend a training for it in late July through August but all this feel right for me at the moment. Yes, I’m working at a job I don’t like and am looking for a job as a peer counselor however all this that I am doing feels like its what I am suppose to be doing. Maybe it is a lot to take on at one time and its something to think about as well as discuss it with my therapist and other people in my life that support me. Yes, my boyfriend thinks I’m doing what is right for me and what is right for those who struggle with mental illness.

     Another thing I am going to be doing is writing the politicians who represent me and the area I live in. I’m hoping that the politicians I write or email will listen to what I have to say in regards to mental illness and treatment or in a lot of cases the lack of treatment. Lack of treatment is a big issue. Boarding in E.R’s have become a major issue for those who have been involuntarily committed because there are not enough beds. See, now I am getting on a soap box. This is why it is my hope that someone listens to people like me who want better mental health care for those struggling with mental illness.

     Now that I have bored you with my hopes regarding becoming an advocate for those who struggle with mental illness I am going to end this particular blog entry. I am sorry it is so long. It is my desire that some day the stigma that goes along with having a mental illness with be eliminated. Well, have a good rest of your Thursday evening and hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out all.

Boyfriend, Breakfast & Soccer (Football)

     At this very moment I am watching the USA play Germany in the World Cup with my boyfriend at his place. It doesn’t look to good for the USA at the moment. I of course am rooting on the United States. I so hope that the USA ties the game up.

     Like I said a moment ago I am at my boyfriends house. He made me breakfast. He made me scrambled eggs, French toast and bacon. He of course had cut up banana’s and strawberries to be included with the rest of the food. I ended up putting the fruit on my a couple of pieces of my French toast. Oh yeah I cant forget the chocolate milk. Oh how I love my boyfriend and food.

     My brother just texted me saying that he loved me. I of course responded back “I love you too, lil bro.” He is obviously watching Soccer match between the USA and Germany because after I responded to his text he texted me back “GO USA!!! Are you watching the USA play cause I am.” I of course responded back “Yes!” He then asked me to call him later on today. I of course will call him back.

      Well its official the soccer match between Germany and the USA is over. Final score 1-0. Germany won. Good game Germany!! If I am not mistaken, the USA might have a chance to move on now because Ghana lost.

      I should get going and enjoy the rest of my day. Not sure what I’m going to do for the rest of the day but I plan on enjoying it. I will try to blog later on today. If I don’t blog later on today I will most likely blog again tomorrow. Peace out!

It’s Hump Day (aka Wednesday)

     Happy Hump Day!!! Well, I didn’t go to my volunteer job today because I am on vacation from work. I make it a policy that if I am on vacation from work I am on vacation from my volunteer jobs. I do have to say that I missed going to my volunteer job because it gives me a sense of purpose that my paid job doesn’t. Of course most anything has more meaning and purpose than bagging groceries at grocery store as a paid job. I love my volunteer job, serving coffee and handing out hygiene/shower items at a homeless shelter. I missed volunteering today. I wish I would have gone today because I missed last week because of burning my fingers a week ago and I’m going to miss next week. In fact missing my volunteer shift next week is going to be a good thing.

     The reason why missing my volunteer shift next week is because I am taking a training in Co-Occurring Disorders. In fact this training for those who have already been Certified as Peer Counselors and since I am Certified as a Peer Counselor, I qualify to take the training. Even though I’ve been officially certified for 9 1/2 months now I still don’t have a job as a peer counselor. I figure that taking this training in Co-Occurring Disorders will be beneficial for me in many ways. One of those ways it will beneficial to me is that in will increase my knowledge. Another way it will be beneficial to me is that it will look good on a resume’. Yes, I know working at my current employer for the last 9 years as bagger at grocery store looks good on a resume’ but I’m hoping that taking this Co-Occurring Disorders training will help my resume’ look better.

     Lets get on another topic before I get frustrated with myself with feeling stuck at the same job for 9 years that seems to be going nowhere for me. Hmm…I want to get on the topic of soccer (football to the rest of the world). Tomorrow my boyfriend and I are going to watch the USA play against Germany in the World Cup. In fact my boyfriend is going to make me breakfast tomorrow morning to eating during the World Cup. He keeps asking me what I want to have for breakfast tomorrow and I am not sure at the moment. My boyfriend is so sweet because he wants to make a “date” out of watching the World Cup tomorrow morning. That’s partly why he wants to make me breakfast; to make it more “date like.”  He makes me feel so special. He makes me feel like I’m the only person in the world. Getting back on topic of the World Cup. I am crossing my fingers that the USA beats Germany tomorrow.

     Well I best be going because my boyfriend just finished up with making me dinner. He also baked some chocolate cupcakes. Yummy!! I love chocolate. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a great rest of your Wednesday. Peace out and enjoy your summer!!