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!

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The miracle of the night: My 2013 year in review.

Before I talk candidly about this year, I want to share with you all what my resolution was from last year.  You see, I had just been a month removed from moving in to where I reside currently.  I wanted to do something really cool and different for a resolution, as due to the circumstances gathered to why I moved in the first place, I felt like that I had been given a way to get out of the perpetual cycle that I had been stuck in.

So with that, I decided to learn how to become a gentleman.  Now when I say this, I don’t mean just like holding doors for women, doing all the woman like things, but I meant the whole shebang.  I wanted to learn how to become someone respectable, and with this, perhaps I could become a better man.

Then, about a month or so after I started this blog, my mindset changed from wanting to be a gentleman.  I saw a lot of things living in the downtown area of my city.  These things wanted to me to do more.  Thus, I wrote an entry in this very blog about instead of being a gentleman, striving to be the best human being that I can be.  And now, I’m still working toward that goal.  The beauty of it is that this is ongoing.  It requires a lot of actions, and learning how to think a different way.  Being bipolar, this at first was very difficult for me.

I went through a 3 month period where I was completely depressed.  I also wrote about this when I came out of it.  I told my mentor, and my psychiatrist about it when it started, which was before my birthday.  I guess in that period, I was completely lost.  I knew that I was dangerously close to death on at least two occasions during those three months, but somehow, I got through it, and recovered.

Shortly afterwards, I got to work with a counselor through my psychiatrist’s office.  I am still working with her to this day.  At the same time that I started working with her, I got more involved with mental health awareness, and becoming more aware of my illness as a whole.  I had one big dissociation episode in this time, but with the help of my mentor and counselor, I coped, and recovered quickly from it.

Here we are now, on New Year’s Eve.  I would say that I have transformed a great deal this year.  I’m starting to figure out what I want to do with my life, and with the help and support of a lot of people, I am managing my Illness very well.  As those of you who read this blog know, I changed the direction of this blog to try and do my part to help those with illnesses like mine in some way.  I also will talk about feelings and my struggle.  I know that I have this for the rest of my life, and there is no way that I can cure it, or anything of the sort.  I can do things to manage it, and be able to control myself, and my moods better.

2014 is the year in which I turn 30.  I’ve said this on many occasions, but I never thought that I would make it this far in my life.  I think a lot of people believed in the me that is right now, or maybe, the me that is coming.  I know that everyday I am doing things to grow stronger.  I feel like heading into this next year, I need to be careful in doing too much.  I need to plan ahead as much as I can, as well as invest in my future in some sort of way in this year.  If I do things correctly, and time everything carefully and cautiously, I can put myself in a position to change a lot of lives in every aspect of my life.  It starts with me however, and being as objective, realistic, and empathetic as I can be to take advantage of the lucky opportunity that is my life.

There is one thing though that I do have to do tonight.  It’s sort of a hidden challenge of mine I guess.  During the course of this year, I did not date at all.  I knew that mentally I was not ready for anything that had to do with having a girlfriend.  However, I did develop 7 crushes on 7 different women I met over this year.  These crushes I’ve had have for the most part dissipated now.  However, for this one night, one of the magical nights that happens every year, I’m going to actually tell one of the women the moment in which the crush developed.  Again, the feelings I had back then have pretty much left, but I think I owe it to myself for when I date in the future to do this.

I also toyed with taking a backseat to my downtown life, as it has been a big part of my life for the past few years.  I don’t get drunk as much as the people who head down there(which probably drives the bartenders bonkers hahaha), but I just got known because I could dance, and I was someone who was genuinely nice.  I got severely depressed after a friend of mine visited during the Thanksgiving holiday, but I think my depression was displaced.  I was severely lonely.  I think the feelings that came with that had to do with my perception being skewed about my popularity in the nightlife in the area.  Now that I have a clearer view about this, I don’t have to change anything as of this moment.  As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for the nightlife, I think I would have been worse off than I am right now.  Therefore, moving into this next year, I’m going to look to strengthen my influence in the nightlife of my city, for future endeavors.  The momentum I can gain because of the way I carry myself is something that I can use to get a message of hope to more people.

Anyway, this is a sort of it.  I just want to get stronger I guess.  I don’t really have a New Year’s resolution this year.  But I do have this poem from the TWLOHA blog to leave with you guys:

Five.
Four.
Three.
Two.
One.

The ball drops and fireworks. Resolutions are made.
People scream and people kiss and is it possible to change?
Is it really truly possible to leave the past behind?

Welcome to Midnight.

Another year comes to a close. Another year begins.
With a moment in between.
Why the fuss?
Why the fame and fireworks?
Is it more than hype? More than something else to sell us?
Is there something to this holiday? Something true inside it?
Because isn’t there something inside us that aches for change…
Dreams it to be possible…
To let go.
To hold on.
To leave it behind.
To start again.
To be new.
Is it possible?

If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs, then you’re alive today tonight right now.
And who can know how long we have here…
And is it a gift? Was it ever a gift? Did that ever feel true or could that one day feel true?
Are there things to fight to live for?
Moments and people… Weddings and children and all your different dreams…
Love…
Is your life more than just your own?
And are there broken things you were made to fight to fix?
Broken families, broken friends… Injustice.
Will you move for things that matter?

Wouldn’t it be nice if change took just a moment?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Midnight and we’re new. Midnight and the past erased. Midnight and we’re free.

It seems to come slow. It seems to be a surgery.
Forgiveness. Healing. Sobriety. Letting go. Starting over.
It seems to happen slowly over time.
One day at a time, the choice made new each morning.
Will you fight?
Will you fight to be healthy?
Will you fight to be free?
Will you fight for your story?
Will you fight to get the help you need?

Change takes more than a moment, but maybe there’s also something to this celebration of a moment, something to the way it speaks to us, something to the way we fear it, and dream it to be true. Maybe it’s the most honest moment of the year.

It’s possible to change.

Welcome to Midnight.

Here’s to the possibilities.

Peace to You.
jamie

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!

Some words that I remembered from the past.

In 1992, my great grandfather died.  I was 8 at the time, and I do remember about a few weeks(maybe a month) before he passed, he was at the hospital which I now live 3 blocks away from.  We went to visit him often, and I remember there was one instance where I was in the room with him by myself while everyone was getting food.  He told me something which, because I was 8, I would not really acknowledge, but now today, it probably has some merit to it.  He told me to come to the bed, and he told me these words:

It ain’t gon’ be now, but one day you gonna lead some people out of some mess ya hear?

Today was the first time I actually remembered what he said to me.  I don’t really think of myself as a leader type even now.  I think the best thing I can say about myself is that I’m learning how to cope with my illness as best as I can.  Then, maybe when I get strong enough, perhaps I can put myself in a position to bring those like me out of the dungeons of their minds.

And it isn’t just my great grandfather who has said these types of things to me.  Over my life since that quote people have said things like that to me.  I didn’t really understand for a long time why people would say things like that to me.  Perhaps it wasn’t so much that I didn’t understand, as so much as that all these people were believing in a future self of me in which in the past, I didn’t think existed.  For a long time, I did not think I would make it to the age that I am at now(I’m 29).  Since then though, I guess I understand what they are all saying now.

I guess the only thing I can do now is to just become stronger, and for the cause that I want to focus on, carry the souls that suffer from the mental illnesses, the loss from it, and those who don’t understand it like they should with me.  I watched an anime shortly before writing this, and there was a scene where an old man was talking about how a plant loses it’s leaves in the colder seasons, and gains them back in the warmer seasons.  He tied this cycle to the generations.  He said that eventually, each generation must become stronger than the previous.

If you tie this to today, you can say this is true in some cases, but not in others I guess.  Speaking clearly for me, I guess what all these people are saying is that I have something that could do a lot of good I guess.  I don’t really know if I do or not.  All I know right now is to get stronger.  Then we will see what happens.

The One Who Colors Everything.

I’m looking this morning at the river near my apartment, and the view I see is the water in front of me.  The sun is shining to the east, and the moon is faintly glowing to the west.  This image is a perfect for the types of things I’ve come to realize this past weekend.

Last Friday, after a night out with friends, I realized something very serious.  I went to clear my head.  I sat at the very same river that I just mentioned, with the veil of confusion in my mind.  I eventually went home, and slept.  The next morning, I entered a tournament.  At this tournament, I was still reeling from last night.  The result was I could not focus, and I ended up getting dead last in the tournament.  I wasn’t really phased about it.  I was still on the thing that I realized the night prior.

I sit here now, still thinking about it.  I’m completely in a state of confusion right now.  I would even say that I have been depressed since about 3:30 on Saturday morning.  You might be asking, what is it that I realized?  What could be bugging me so much that it would eat me alive for this long?

Well, that reason is because of two separate items.  One of which, I already knew about since the beginning of this year.  The second is a more recent thing.

On Tuesday, I took a small peak into the bipolar disorder subreddits (I am really new to reddit so I just clicked on what was available).  There were two topics that really caught my interest.  The first of which, was a post from three years ago that an anonymous person asked about how to cope with his then girlfriend having bipolar disorder.  The answers varied from the ignorant to the insightful.  There was comment that really stuck out to me.  Here is that comment:

Patience, Pride, and Perspective.

1) Be patient.  There is NOTHING you can do to calm her down once she cycles.  You just have to let the chemicals, that are in her brain causing the state, pass.  Just weather the storm of insults patiently.  Be quiet.  Be calm.  Be ready to call the cops if she starts seriously threatening to harm herself.  Don’t provoke.  Don’t antagonize.  Don’t take it personally.  Which leads to…

2)  Have enough pride to not let your feelings get hurt by the meaningless insults being flung your way.  Insulting back will only worsen and escalate the situation.  Understand that once the mood has passed she will regret what she said and be remorseful of her actions–even if she doesn’t show it.  She would stop the outbursts if she could, but she can’t, and neither can…

3)  You.  Put it into perspective.  This will be lifelong for her.  You may be the recipient of the insults, but she has to live with a condition that will often self-destruct most of her relationships, friendships, and other opportunities for the rest of her life.   She has it much worse off than you do.  You can walk away from the situation.  She can’t.  What you can do is be there to show patience when she’s cycling, and forgiveness later when she’s looking for understanding.

 

Reading this reminded me of the last girl I actually fell, or was falling for.  She had the same disorder that I did which gave her an insight as to what I was going through.  She had all three of the things that were mentioned in this comment.  However, I was not at that point to where I could do the same for her.  As a result, I broke contact.  Since her, I have not fallen for anyone else since.  As a matter of fact, even though I dated someone briefly last year, I still have not let my heart be wooed by anyone in the way that this one person did.  Even though now I am mentally stronger than I was back then, I don’t know if anyone can handle me the way that she did.  As unfair as that sounds, I truly do feel like that at this point.  I am a very complex person, who has to think two steps ahead most of the time because if I don’t, I may mess up and ruin a life.  I don’t want to ruin lives like back then.

That is the first thing I realized.  I have to open up to more people.  This blog is always open, and for the few followers that I do have, they get an open view of how my mind works.  That’s not what I mean though.  It isn’t enough.  The above there is one example, but I don’t really mean in the context of finding love.  I mean in the context of healing myself first and foremost.

I have started counseling, but even the counseling I’m getting is going to be finite.  So, eventually, I will have to be able to be open with people outside of this blog, and counseling.  I’ve gotten a false sense of security  because of my popularity in the area that I live in.  As I’ve said in the past,, most of those people I believe see me as a clown or entertainment, and the big thing is that for some reason I thought that would be something I enjoyed.  It turns out that I am a lot more than that.  I really have to open to the world, and perhaps share my story to people outside this blog and outside of the area I’m in.  In the circles I’m in, it isn’t appropriate to really pour my heart out or anything, but in more intimate settings, I would like to find people to really share some of my fears, insecurities, and my heart with.

Also, there was another post on reddit that struck me.  This one asked from the perspective of people who do not suffere from mental illnesses, how do those who suffer from depression look to you?  There is one comment and one quote that stuck completely out to me.  The comment tackled the well known saying that you hear a lot in mental health circles.  Actually, perhaps this is heard in all parts of life.  “You are in control of your own happiness”.  I don’t think this is true for the majority of people that have any type of mental illness.  However, I can actually say that perhaps one day, I can be happy. Speaking purely for myself, I can take the medicine that I’m on, and I can go to all of the counseling that I can, but even now, it does not stop.  I cycle just like any other person with bipolar disorder.  The cycles may be less severe, but they are definitely still there.  They don’t stop, but the things that I do in the cycles are minimal.  I’ll never be able to tame them full.  I’ve learned to be objective about things lately, so I can at least rationalize things to a point where I can try and stop some of the severe thoughts, but I do know that that statement doesn’t apply to everyone.  Everyone’s illness affects them differently, and some don’t have the means to cope with them like I do.  So, it can be rough for people.

Then I saw this quote which gave me a new goal to strive for:

“The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality – the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings. It is part of the kaleidoscope of life that these feelings are not only happy, beautiful, or good but can reflect the entire range of human experience, including envy, jealousy, rage, disgust, greed, despair, and grief.”  – Alice Miller

This leads me to explain the title of this post.  If you are into anime, you know that the title is part of a meaning of the “Ring Of The Sky” worn by Tsunayoshi Sawada, the main protagonist in the anime Katekiyo Hitman Reborn.  I relate greatly to his character in the sense that he eventually got over his shortcomings to protect his friends and family.  When Reborn hits him with the deathparation bullet early in the anime, he starts becoming more confident (well he had no choice, he’d die if he regreted anything).  Eventually, he rises up and becomes someone who he never thought he’d would ever become.  But I relate to him because I’m at a point now where I can fight the regrets that I have in my life.  I also have no clue what my best form looks like whatsoever.  This is because I always hold back something now.  Thus, I have a lot of regret in my heart.  I have to get over it somehow, and perhaps I have the tools to do just that.  I want to be able to have those spontaneous feelings, and not have to curse it on being bipolar for once.  I’ll fight to get there too.

Even now, though I do feel like a clown to the majority of people that I’ve interacted with since I’ve experienced downtown and the bar scene, I guess some people really do feel like I make their nights better.  Also, now, because of the high volume of people that I know, other people network and such, and that’s a cool thing that perhaps I can do.

I guess the big thing I want now, is to grow.  I was very careful with my words in this one, because I wanted my message to get out.  Even then, I’m still fighting.  I know that perhaps I’ll do something great someday, but I know that maybe getting out things like this, is a key step into doing those.