Where the wind flows: A new direction on the horizon?

Well as I said before in my last post, I wanted to try and write more regularly.  I think that in the almost 7 years that I started keeping a personal blog, I think that I have grown to love writing a bit.  As you may know, I actually at one point wanted to become a writer, but that didn’t really come to pass, or maybe not yet?

Let me tell you about the reason that I haven’t been able to write.  It is surprising to say this because, I shifted the focus of this blog to informing folks about mental health issues, all while being a log for me to have an outlet to sound off about them, and maybe other things in my life.  Heck, I even have a job in the field that I am receiving services in….right….about that.

That is what I wanted to air out today in this post.  I have worked for a year this month in the mental health field, while being a mental health patient myself.  I even started full time this past summer, and that is when the troubles started.

If you remember a post I posted back then, when I started full time work, I had a lot of issues with things then, and it caused me to go into near crisis state of depression, and I started to isolate (more on this word later).  As the months went by, I did what I could, but something still wasn’t right.  And then there was this past January, when I went to the TEDxAugusta conference here in my town.

I looked at all of the speakers, and they were so passionate about what they were proposing to all of us in the audience. I completely felt really excited about just networking, and talking to other people who were as passionate about just improving themselves.  Then, two weeks later, I rented a car, and went to Macon and WHAM! Training, and again, I was in a situation where everyone was completely into absorbing all of the information they could to apply it in their lives, and in their respective agencies.  After that, I went and visited people.

Then, I came back to work.  Do not get me wrong when I say what I’m about to say.  I am extremely grateful, and thankful that I have a stable job, and I do work really hard.  However, picture yourself with a serious mental illness, which, while it has a good remission period, you will always have symptoms.  You work in a place where you are always having to talk about your past, to people, who also have serious mental illnesses, and you have to teach them how to get to an elevated state of recovery.

One of the things that I have never liked to this day is to be consistently be reminded of my past.  As a matter of fact, if something happened in my past and I haven’t dealt with it, I try and deal with it to the point, and learn what I can from it.  I’ve done this for years, and it has helped me to get through a lot of things.  However, I lost that when I was going to through my worst years when I was in my mid 20s.

And that is the reason why I will have to eventually leave the mental health field as a profession.  It melds together in two ways.  The first, is that there is this impression that you always have to be this model of “recovery”, all of the time.  That, in and of itself, means that you have to be on a pedestal, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’ve come to find over these years that I really don’t like the spotlight anymore, and that being put on this “pedestal” of modeling recovery, I can’t live at all.  I guess I feel like this because, I’m lucky in a sense when it comes to my recovery.  I have always had a good support system around me.  My mom worked in the field for 10+ years, and I have had a lot of support in my community, and I lucked out on who my gives me services during me increasing my state of recovery.  In that sense, I do not relate to the majority of the people I serve, at all.  In contrast, a lot of them come from worse environments than I came from, and a lot of them didn’t get a lot of the chances that I got, or, if they did, they did not take advantage of them like I did.

The second is that, I think it is in these past 3 months, that I have honestly thought about what I see as a patient and a provider.  I do try my best here, and I think for me, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to commit to it, and try and improve it the best I can.  There are too many egos, grandstanding, unaware, and uncaring people in this industry.  While I got lucky and got people who do care about where I’m going and want me to reach greater heights, there are too many that do not get access to quality folks like that.  And perhaps it isn’t just on them.  The reality of it is, that it goes both ways from what I’ve seen.  The people with the illness have essentially given up, and since it was easy to just give up, they did that.  Because it was easy, they want more easy things.  So they manipulate, they lie, they cheat, putting themselves into worse situations than before.

At one point I was like this too.  But I wanted more.  I’ve always wanted more.  I’ve been reading a book from Dr. Carol Dweck called, “Mindset, The New Psychology of Success”.  It helped me to remember things that I lost.  I remember when I learned how to play percussion instruments, I worked and worked at it.  When I learned fighters, I worked.  It helped me to learn to enjoy the challenge more.  I use the word “yet” a lot now, because I’m never where I want to be yet, and there are new challenges to be faced.

It is because of this that I can tolerate what I do, and it is because of this that I will change professions.  One thing I learned is to really stay true to myself.  I can’t be somewhere where I have to be reminded of my past all the time.  And I don’t want to be around anyone who don’t want to work to move forward around their pasts.  Also, I can’t work on my current biggest flaw, which is my isolation issues.  I want to actively work on this in earnest.  Perhaps it will enhance my view on this job, perhaps not.  But, I want to really be able to open up and share my feelings with a few people.  I don’t want to hold things in, or shut myself out while trying to figure out things myself.  I learned that, from going out and doing things, is very important to me, and I think that this job hiders me from doing this.  I go home and I sleep for 12 hours because I’m so physically and emotionally drained from this work.  I’m 30 years old.  That is not supposed to be at the prime of my life.

So there is where I am.  I need to write this because I didn’t want to hold back anymore.  I can’t express my feelings verbally yet, but I am working on it.  This is the only way I can really do that, and that is getting harder because since my phone got stolen, I can’t find my back up codes to disable my authentication stuff.  But, I will say this, I am formulating a plan that will get me to a place where I can do some good work, do what I want for mental health (which is really blogging about the main issues), and have the freedom of living I want to have.  But yeah, this is 7 months of frustration that I wrote about here, and I’m glad I did.

Introduction to the new you.

“Make more promises
and don’t let fear keep you from
always keeping them.”– Tyler Knott Gregson

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve written in here, or shared anything. As you guys know who have been following this regularly, June was my birth month. Normally, it is almost always usually a bad month for me. These could be for various, selfish reasons of mine, or legitimate ones for me. This time around, I think back on this birth month, and I find it a victory.

As I said in the last entry, I have kept consistent with everything that I had said. I have been adapted a light workout, went to the CPS training, and continuing to plan for a comeback in the fighters that I do play. This is also being done while also reshaping how I want to spend my time.

Also, this month, I attended one of the new premier recovery models in Georgia for training: The CPS Project. CPS stands for Certified Peer Specialist. This is an individual with a mental health or dual diagnosis that is trained to go into mental health and/or medical facilities to work with those people that have severe mental health or dual diagnosis (individuals that not only have a severe mental health diagnosis, but also a substance or drug abuse problem).

There are many roles for this this position, but the main purpose of this position is to be a guide to those that have severe diagnoses. Think about some of the things that I’ve said before as I was volunteering and now employed at. The types of people that I see on a daily basis have been completely broken by the aspects of life in some way, shape, or form. It’s the CPS’s job to guide theme back to a reality that they want, so that they can lead fulfilling lives.

As I entered the training, I looked at the schedule to when and what we were learning on what day and what time it was. I was delighted to see that a good bit of the material on the second week of this was already covered in my paraprofessional courses that I took prior to coming here. There were people from all over the state here. All these people at some point in their lives were once broken, like myself. Hell, you could say that they were broken multiple times with the ages of some of the people in there. I truly think that for everyone who attended that training, they got something out of it. It didn’t matter what their comprehension of the material was, or if they were a good reader or not, even if they didn’t know all the answers, everyone got something out of it.

I actually had a tough time in the second week of the training. I was really close to 30 years old, and as a 20 something, it was so strange. Here I was, about to start a new career, in the mental health field, when last year, I was broken, and not really ready for it. Also, on my actual birthday, I got an email from someone that I have not heard from in a good amount of years, and that triggered some thoughts in me that stuck through me not only through the end of the training, but also into the birthday weekend. I don’t really want to go into it here (maybe another entry I’ll go in depth in it), but in short the impact of that email really messed with me.

And as I entered the week of the 4th, I had something still bothering me, but I couldn’t just place it. As the week went on, I just started having serious feelings of loneliness. It came to ahead on the weekend of the 4th. It seemed that everything made me that lonely. And because of this, I went back to some of my past behaviors.

And this is where this training helped me. A lot of the core concepts of this training revolve about a consistent path to recovery. In my job, and thanks to the help of this blog, I’ve pushed myself to a level of functioning where I can help others. However, I think that I wasn’t really continuing with mine fully. I sort of felt like this throughout the training and after it. Personally, I think you have to have the time to be able to process the emotions and feelings that come about when symptoms or feelings come about. After all, feelings are very natural to all people, thus they have to process and then ultimately move on from them.

So from the loneliness I felt, it lead me to withdrawal, and from there, it lead to an unshakable anger. I never vented my anger like in a completely serious fashion before, and I decided to do such for once. I’ve always held back when it comes to anger, and not so much when it came to my depression. I know in the past, I would have serious tantrums and on occasion become extremely violent. So as a result, I would just always suppress it.

So I vented out, how lonely I felt, and why I felt that way. And it got better, then, yesterday, I figured out the product of where those feelings came from. I had a problem with narcissism when I was in my late teens and early 20’s. I could actually make an argument that this manifested a lot sooner than that in my early teens, back to when I was initially diagnosed. For some of you that aren’t familiar with narcissism, it’s a severe interest in yourself. Some of the things that can stem from being narcissistic is a bit o sociopathic behaviors. I’m not proud to admit this, but I feel like that I have not addressed this very thing before yesterday. It’s not like I’m a bad person or anything like that, because I’m not. It’s just that the correlation from how I act when I do have symptoms and this very thing I failed to seriously address will keep me from the next levels of a good life that I want. It keeps me from the future bonds, hopes, and dreams that I am now going to pursue.

I would have just continued how I was doing, but the training taught me that there are many people like me, who are leading successful, fruitful lives. Sure, they have their struggles, and symptoms along the way, but the thing is that mental illness is just a small part of then, and ultimately a small part of me. Something else that this has taught me is that this training, in using your own struggles of recovery to change lives, is that this can be used in everyday life. Take a look at this blog. This is one example (though at the time I can’t write as much as I used to) of this. This weekend, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about mental health and recovery itself. Also, you meet people where they are is a big thing in this training. Some people are at the point that they just aren’t ready to accept that they really need help to get their life back together. So, a big part of my job is to hold on the hope for them, until they can hold on to it themselves.

This is not just in the places I’m employed, this is also in everyday life. People all over suffer somehow. I think the ultimate thing about this training is that I get a chance to show the world that people with mental illnesses CAN recover. They can lead great lives, and they can be productive people in the community from being broken. Just by my experience alone, because of this training, I can now counter the one thing I hate being: inconsistent. People in my fighting game circles say this, friends, and probably family say this. However, while I am fully aware of my parts in it, I also don’t think they understand why things were like this. I was generally ill, just like someone with cancer or the flu. I wanted to do things and in a consistent manner, but I wasn’t there mentally yet.

Now I am at that point. I want to say that this training is a big part of that. Sure, I can’t really fix all that the past that I’ve messed up, but realistically, I don’t want to. It has all been a part of my experience. And, it is that experience, that will change a life or two. The quote that I put up is something that I will be doing big time moving forward. I hope you continue reading too!

The perfect struggle in being, imperfect.

I wanted to write what I’m about to write early in this week.  Due to me living in Georgia however, I did not get a chance to do this.

Going into this past week, I was more irritated, and angry of sorts.  At the same time, this cycled me into a severe depressive state.  As you may have seen in the past few post, I have been struggling with the notion that while I am not by any means in a bad position right now, I know that I can do more with my life.

For example, I went to a tournament this past Saturday.  I did obscenely well in one tournament as I entered two of them.  In each of the matches I played up until I lost and got 3rd place, I played against people who more and more people who were way more hungry for improvement that I was.  As I played through the tournament, it fired me up a bit.  So much so, that I even enjoyed playing all of them. 

As that next day went on, a person in the SC fighting game group came and asked for the results, then after the results were shared, he said that he would have won this tournament easily.  This raised me up, because of what I mentioned prior.  I wasn’t going to let some person degrade the good work and the fire in the players’ hearts on that day, especially if he was not at the event.  This may have been the catalyst in the boiling agitation. 

This boiled over throughout the next few days, where I figured it out something that was unrelated to the actual goings on of the event.  The agitation brewed over to other things in my life, and at one point, I was getting to the point where I would be disgusted at photos on Instagram.  Then after a bit of reflection, I figured it out.

My greatest flaw, which affects my whole life currently, was more there than anything.  I have a huge problem with being perfect.  There are a lot of issues which stem from my childhood that play into this.  However, with the newfound control over my illness that I have, I am able to tackle this head on.  This affects every aspect in my life currently.  I can’t ever see the person that most people probably see.  I procrastinate and become apathetic about things because I try and wait for the right moment.  I get frustrated when I can’t execute something quickly.  I get severely depressed when a perfect plan hits a horrible snag that I didn’t see coming.  The list goes on.

Now, you can imagine how this and being in recovery with bipolar type 2 can be hell a times, and it really is.  I think though, that the important thing to note is that though I always knew about this flaw, I could not identify how it was affecting my life.  Now, that I’m doing the right things recovery wise, I can now understand how perfectionism is keeping me completely down.

My hypothesis is if I focus really hard on not striving for the perfect situation, and instead practice optimizing situations as much as I can, this will unlock the next level of my personal growth and recovery with my illness.  I’m thankful that I’m strong enough now to be able to realize this, or rather, I now have the wisdom to recognize, and do something about this.

Amazing #3: The Tribute.

This morning, while I was heading home from a failed excursion, I got news that shattered a dream of mine. On top of that, I found out that someone close to me has died.

I’m going to tribute to this person for the next two weeks. It is Halloween, right? Normally, I usually tend to have the better costumes out of the bunch. This year however, I think I’m not going to dress up. In addition, I’m going to wear a ribbon on my arm of my friend’s favorite color, blue.

This is not only to mourn my friend, but also to mourn the people who are fighting, just like me, to one day become stable. Normally, I would rock green because that is the color for bipolar disorder, and who knows I may rock that with the blue ribbon. However, I think that this is the best I can do since I can’t go to the funeral.

To my friend, you take care. You lived a good life for sure dude. Sucks you can’t listen to this song, because there was something about you that brings hope to a lot of us in the community we were a part of.

The Ever Changing Phases Of The Moon.

There are moments in your life where you think about it, and everything is going in a blur.  These past two weeks were a great example of this very thing.

I’ve been saying that I’m in a very long period of transition in every portion of my life.  I’ve found a small glimmer of a dream, that perhaps one day will lead me to become a person that many people will know.  But, I think that in these past two weeks, and even beyond that, I actually forgot something.

I let myself be taken over by the speed of life.  I let myself, become very undisciplined, and very sloppy with everything.  I know, that this has happened and will happen again in the future quite possibly.  The consequence in this is that I started writing without clarity in my heart, and thus, the words that came out of me weren’t the greatest I felt like I could be.

I went back to re read the first few entries that I wrote two months ago.  I believe that I forgot what the original reason that I started this blog was.  It isn’t for the followers, the likes, or the comments(good or bad).  It’s for me, and for my one shot at doing something great, and then living the simple life afterwards. 

I admit, that I’m not the best person in the world.  I have my share of skeletons, as does anyone else.  I will say, that I am doing the best that I can.  I do fully realize, that I have a lot of work to do in bringing my life to an optimal place, and I am making the strides to do this very thing as we speak.

I know that one day however, I will have everything put together.  I’ll be able to grasp the dreams that I hold deep inside, and I will not forget those who are with me along the way.