I’ve been healthy for the most part for a couple of months. I got to see one of my best friends a couple weeks ago. It was hard to say goodbye. But she’s not too far away from where I am living so I will probably see her again. I talked to someone who also had an atypical college experience today. It was interesting hearing about it from someone else who has issues. I didn’t give her details I just told her I was also diagnosed when I was in college. She went to a liberal arts school when she had her first breakdown. I love hearing college stories from people. I can’t write anymore about the individual here but it reminds me that sometimes we don’t choose the obvious plan in life. Sometimes we have to let go of what we think we are [or what we really want] in order to become who we are meant to be.
My favorite poem is Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. “Two Roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all of the difference.” I quoted that poem when I gave my valedictory address in college. It took me about four years to accept my diagnoses. I had my first breakdown in the fall of 1999 but I didn’t get the right diagnosis until the fall of 2002. I used to think why didn’t they let me finish the school I started? Why didn’t they accommodate me better? But now I know it wasn’t meant to be.
So many wonderful things in my life happened during college. Sometimes I dwell on the past too much. It was still a very difficult road and I experienced some discrimination but I don’t have any regrets except that I didn’t keep in touch with some of the friends I made. I only have some contact with a former professor. Life has taken us in all different directions. My first chapter of my book is about prom and graduation then it dives right into the heart of the stories, the ways my illness unfolded in the four and a half years I was in college. Maybe I could put some of my book up here but I don’t want my ideas to be taken. I’ve worked on this book for ten years. I changed it to fiction because there are so many memoirs.
The second is that 988 will be up and running in two months. It is just for individuals in crisis or have severe mental illness. I think it’s a great thing. Some folks are not sure about it but I am. Two different times when I was sick, I called 911. I promised my parents I would never do it again but both times I was psychotic and not sleeping enough. There really is no other place to call except for the national suicide hotline and a few warm lines scattered around. You may remember my past post about warm lines saving my life several times.
Well, thanks for reading guys and gals. Have a blessed day.
I sometimes still get depressed when I hear certain songs or watch movies that are sad. I have found that I am particularly vulnerable if I have trouble sleeping. Someone can say something critical and I will want to cry. I have been doing well lately for the most part but there are some things that still really bother me. I just wish I didn’t keep moving forward in life but feeling like I’m going backward at the same time.
Charity March 22, 2022
Big Dream & Hopes For A Stronger Healthier Me
I started another draft for my dream presentation. My focus is Concurrent Severe Mental Illness/es and Autism: Improving Employment Opportunities for this special population. Unfortunately, when I told someone I met at a conference about this idea, I got sick. I was sick for a long time. So now I’m just doing it for me and trying to make it less personal in case I ever have enough sources to present it in a formal setting. A friend in a dream warned me I shouldn’t put my life on display. I have got a lot of great resources but I don’t know where to start. I like to think my friend would be proud of my book. He said keep writing just be careful. My book is about my atypical college experience. I made it fiction and added a few scenes that never happened. It was going to be a memoir but I changed my mind.
It’s just that life got so complicated after I graduated college. Some things I will never be able to write and share with the world. They are still thorns in my side. I also have had many blessings. I really am fortunate it just seems like lately I’m taking a lot of big steps into trying to be my best self mentally. But even though mentally I am better, physically I’m messed up because I am overmedicated. I have even less confidence on the stairs than I did and I used to just have trouble going down. I need help getting off curbs unless I go out of the building the handicapped way. It’s really frustrating. Also I am very overweight and every day is a struggle of hiding my bulging stomach.
Have you ever heard of the song Brave By Sara Bareilles? It is an encouraging song and it’s on my Let Go Let God list on my Spotify account. ./~ “Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do when they settle ‘neath your skin. ./~ Absolutely true!!!!! I hope that everyone is well. I will continue more on this topic another time.
I will continue to pray for Ukraine. I wish I could do more. I am hopeful.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the best source I know for individuals who are considering committing suicide, survivors, and loved ones. It is a non profit. I apologize if I have talked about this before but I think it’s so important it’s worth mentioning again. If you are suicidal you should contact AFSP and they will direct you to call the National Hotline 18002738255. If you’re just looking for a patient listening ear or to get more resources, or want to get involved in walks and fundraisers, AFSP is the right place for you to contact. The website is https://afsp.org/. You can use this site to obtain links to contact individuals in your state. The walks are really encouraging and fun place to meet inspiring encouraging people. Check out these two sites within ASFP. They are excellent. https://afsp.org/im-having-thoughts-of-suicide and https://afsp.org/about-afsp. AFSP helps researchers too! Check out this great free resource. You’ll be glad you did.
Some quotes by famous people.
Demi Lovato said, “I wish that people could understand that the brain is the most important organ in your body. Just because you can’t see it like you could see a broken bone doesn’t mean its not as detrimental or devastating to a family or an individual.”
A. A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh
Here is more information I recently looked at the National Suicide Hotline’s website. I did not realize you can actually talk to counselors there online and text counselors. They have a lot of great resources including how to find a good therapist. I am searching again because I like mine but I haven’t seen her that much. I’ve decided to keep her as long as she doesn’t get really sick again for like a month or so. She and I both have had health issues. She just recently told me that she has a lot of anxiety. This is the site for the national line that has links to many important resources. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/.
This is just a fraction of information what is available from the national hotline. When you call they can give you more resources. You can also call 211 and 411 for more. Just remember if you call the national hotline tell them you’re not suicidal you just need resources. Because if you really are suicidal, they have to take action right away to getting you to the hospital. This is why AFSP is important because sometimes the national line will put you on hold forever. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people much worse off that need intervention. That’s why when I’ve wanted to give up in the past but didn’t have a plan, I always have contacted AFSP first. Sometimes that means you’ll only get to talk for five minutes to the national line so be prepared for that. I had a nice online chat with one of the counselors but it was hard because I’m not suicidal, just stressed and frustrated about some of the issues in my life.
I have been very fortunate but there are so many things in my life that I will always struggle with no matter how I feel. Even when I feel my best, it doesn’t take much to get me to get triggered and fall apart again. One resource that has helped me a great deal is American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. They have walks called Out Of The Darkness. Some universities have walks too. I did two walks in northern CA when I still lived there and I enjoyed them very much. I still have my t-shirt and I’m hoping it will spread awareness. They also have a lot of great resources for supporting family and survivors.
Broken shells teach us not to look at our imperfections…but to look at the beauty…the great beauty…of what is still left.
Help me to truly accept myself just as I am, Lord, so that I may sing the song in my heart…for no one else has my song to sing…my gift to give.
An important free advocacy event is going to take place starting this Tuesday. It’s running from November 15-18th. I’m very hopeful my friends, former colleagues, important acquaintances. Next summer there is going to be another # people with mental health issues can call in crisis or suicidal emergency. It’s 988. It should be live in July 2022, https://lnkd.in/g8i4QcT2. I don’t know if I will be able to attend this event so I am sharing this on Linkedin and here. #advocacy#mentalhealthawareness#event Please help me spread the word.
Last Sunday I was inspired by the assistant priests sermon. This was the story. A young man is in a concentration camp with his father and all they get to eat is bread that’s almost stale and lard. The father takes the lard and uses it for candles so they can celebrate the Sabbath. And the son says, “Dad why did you take our food?” And the father says, “Son, without food we can live several days but without hope we can’t live more than an hour.”
The article appeared in the 2009 August issue of Synthesis and is attributed to the Managing Editor Isabel Anders.
I finally got a new puppy a few months ago and decided to name him Zukee Kind Heart. I searched everywhere for another rescue mini schnauzer but I never found one that would work. Some were incontinent, others did not get along with other dogs. It was a very difficult decision to get a puppy because they are hard work. Some people told me that puppies were worse than kids. Now, they are entitled to have their own opinion but I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t have any children of my own but I do have two nieces and two nephews and a lot of my friends have kids that I have watched grow up. It is so much harder to be a parent because it’s forever. You can’t just abandon a child for hours at a time unsupervised. I put my folks through a lot when I get sick. So I can only imagine how hard it would be to be responsible 24 7 for the care of a child.
Zukee is a handsome, smart, loving, loyal dog and I am grateful he is in my life. Zuke just needs to learn not to bite and has to get along better with my mom’s dog. When I bend over to get something for him under the couch he jumps on my head. And he doesn’t like the word bad, it makes him growl. Just like Jubee, he is very protective of me when I am walking him somewhere and when he sees someone walking in our neighborhood he barks and howls exactly like she used to. One of my friends said the biting and aggressiveness is just because he’s a puppy and he will grow out of it. I have no idea what Jubee was like as a puppy because when she was born there were lots of hurricanes. She was probably very similar to Zukee when she was a puppy. SAFE did not tell me about her history. I didn’t want to know. Meet the new love of my life, Zukee.
I live with Bipolar 1, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Driving Anxiety, and Social Anxiety. I take all of my meds as prescribed. I am well educated, I have a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and I am a certified rehabilitation counselor. I am looking for a job that needs me—the unique me. One of my best friends has a successful career and lives with Bipolar and Anxiety. He has offered me hope and encouragement at times when I needed it the most. I have not found my niche in a career yet.
I had a full time job helping other people get jobs. I was rejected for the job I initially applied for partially because of my poor eye contact. I knew that was part of my Aspergers so I asked for help. I did a mock interview and two weeks later I was offered a temporary position. I told them before I was hired about my Driving Anxiety and my Aspergers. I was really blessed with how I got that job. But some of my coworkers were less accommodating than others. Sometimes I worry that I will never be financially independent. I am forty and I still live at home. I have a dream to be an author. But that seems like a selfish dream. I want to help others with disabilities in any way I can that does not involve driving on the interstate or other excessive travel. I believe with the right combination of medications and therapy, individuals with mental illness can succeed in today’s world, especially if we are given a chance!
I haven’t had a lot of good job opportunities yet and sometimes feel like I am being discriminated against. I was offered a job in 2013 and there was a lack of funding so I could not take the job. When I tried to reapply for another job in 2014 one month after my hospitalization I was told that the job I had originally been offered was given to someone else and the job I was applying for was the same kind of job only ten times more driving. They knew that I had driving anxiety. This was a job helping people with disabilities so it seemed hypocritical. I think that my disabilities make me more empathetic and a better counselor. I wish employers could see that.
At a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance conference in Miami, I met a young Muslim woman who just published her second book, this time about her experiences with Bipolar. I got to see a Canadian woman doing a funny one woman show. But for me the highlight of the conference was meeting Patrick Kennedy. Dr. Kay Jamison is one of the most famous individuals with Bipolar. Her book An Unquiet Mind changed my life. I met her in 2008. She has been my hero since 2002 (my initial diagnosis and hospitalizations). While it was fabulous to meet this kind, gracious, eloquent lady who is hero to millions of people around the world, some of my peers became my heroes too. One fellow consumer and friend is a therapist. I have been told by therapists that I will never make it because I have too many issues that I don’t have under control. It’s so sad when the helping professionals do more harm than good. That is why we need to help each other get the resources we need to be the best we can be.
I am very thankful for my family. Lots of people have inspired me to go on when I wanted to give up. I was in a pubic speaking group for nine years. There were times that I’ve given speeches at my worst when I can barely stand but their support has meant a lot to me. Everyone in the public speaking group always made me feel validated. We have to advocate for ourselves. We always have to use our coping mechanisms and we can’t be ashamed to ask for help when we need it. We always have to see the person first and then the disability/ies. I picked the degree I did because I have wanted to help people with disabilities since I was in high school. I want to give other people hope and encouragement the way that others have helped me.
I have nothing against the National Suicide Hotline. They have done a lot of good over the years and they have saved lots of lives. There’s even a rap song called 1800(national suicide phone #). Go to youtube to listen to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ju6Q8Azcmg. Sometimes you have to find other sources for help. You should only call the national hotline if you really are in danger of doing it. If you’re a danger to yourself or someone else. Other lines are crisis lines or warm lines but a crisis can just be you’re freaking out about something. Crisis lines and warm lines have prevented a lot of hospitalizations for me. You can call but if you hear another line ringing and it’s not an emergency, you have to get off because the other call could be. Sometimes they only give you a few minutes to talk too. NAMI is the best source of information on warm lines but sometimes you find things by accident if you’re trying hard enough to research it. I wish that everyone who volunteers for the national hotline knew about these other places. Very few do. But just google NAMI warm line and you should be able to find them. If not, just go NAMI’s Website and call the NAMI National #. Trust me, you will be glad you did. They listen without judgement and are really patient. I recently relocated back to my home state and they have a warm line they call an Emotional Strength Line. I wish I could meet these folks irl and give them hugs because they feel like my friends. They encourage me.
I have had a rough time sleeping off and on since moving back to my home state. I had a short stay in the hospital. It was the nicest hospitalization experience I have ever had. So it’s good to know that I have somewhere safe I can go if I need it but once people find out how great it is it will be harder to get in. Some stuff in my personal life has bogged me down and made me think too much but I think now that I have a doctor I really like and lots of options for a therapist I should be okay. I was really sad when my first therapist didn’t work out. I’m very happy with where we live and my parents helped me set up a really nice space for myself in the basement and I have my own entrance. I’ve wanted this for a really long time. Last night I made my first dinner for myself for the first time since my folks asked me to dogist Jesse for a weekend. I have my own cute little kitchen. My mom’s an awesome cook but it makes me happy to cook for myself and others. I don’t have a dishwasher and a few other appliances but I don’t need them. My small fridge and stove are enough for me. It was so good to use my old dishes again. I hadn’t used them in at least 12 years, to my recollection. We got them when I had my first apartment in 2006.
https://www.naminycmetro.org/insideoutwards/ I found this video as a link on the NAMI site. It’s very moving. It’s pretty short and it’s worth the time it takes to watch it because it’s very encouraging. Sarah Jessica Parker narrates it.
This blog post is a lot longer than I planned but I hope that it’s helpful. Feel free to send me a message if you need help finding warm lines in your area. When I first saw the rap video with the song, I was very moved and one individual posted 125 reasons to live. I have read that list a lot and share it when I can. Unfortunately I don’t know how to get permission from the to put it on my blog. But the most important thing is, I can say I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to give up too. I know my family would be really devastated but what about those with no family and few friends? How do we get those individuals to see the value in their life? I always try really hard to find three good things about every person I meet and compliment them on it when appropriate.
I was recently really sick for two weeks. Psychosis returned and I ended up staying one night in a local psychiatric hospital. After I got out of the hospital and got stable, I decided I had to block two people on linkedin. They were both friends a long time ago but I haven’t seen them in years and might never see them again. I decided they both triggered me. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision. But if someone bothers you enough and asks you questions you don’t want to answer and another completely ignores you, why hold on to them?
Let’s back up here. Everyone knows what I’m talking about here, right? You are on Facebook or Linkedin or Twitter or whatever you choose for social media. You see an inspiring post by a former classmate. Or maybe you heard your former high school crush just got married or got a great job and you want to congratulate them. What do you decide to do? 1.) You contact them directly by phone because you still have their cell number. 2.) You email them because it’s been too many years and you probably aren’t in their book of phone contacts anymore. 3.) You phone a mutual friend to make sure it’s okay and plan for when you’re ready. 4.) You decide to say goodbye to both of them because it’s been too many years and too many things have changed.
Now these are all viable options and every one of them is acceptable. But for people living with Aspergers and Severe mental illness/es such as myself, this kind of decision can be extremely crippling. I hate do this but I am going share something here that is really personal. I liked this guy for a long time and I left Facebook in 2011, glad to be free of him and happy to let him go to lead his own life but keeping my connection open with him on Linkedin.
I got re-connected with of one of our former classmates and at first, it was great. But then things got weird. I’m not going to specify who this person was or anything about them. I’m going to speak in the neutral gender here. I chose to let this person back into my life (well through email and phone not literally in my life) and it was a big mistake. After about two years of correspondence with the classmate, after I got out of the hospital and got stable I realized had to break ties with both of them.
They both ended up triggering me and making me feel bad about myself. The old crush indirectly but the acquaintance of the old crush directly. He/She kept asking me questions that I didn’t want to answer and it started giving me migraines. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make because I know He/She was just trying to help. But I started to feel that both of them were jumping on me and I had to run. Run fast. Get the heck out of where I was and move forward. So, now, my life is pretty awful getting over this. I have lost a lot of sleep and I’m a mess. So I pray for their health and success and my health and success. I now bid them adios (goodbye) siempre (always). I can’t keep looking backward when I’m trying hard to move forward. I have to put myself first and get healthy and strong again. Goodbye pain, self doubt, anxiety, and insomnia. Hello hope, faith, and determination. We have to be our own best friends.
I have so much time and nowhere to go. I am thankful that I learned how to entertain myself at a young age. I have a lot of things that I can do to make myself happy and pass the time. It’s still not easy being stuck at home all of the time. My sister gave me one of the official masks but my mom still doesn’t think it’s wise for me to go anywhere. Mom takes advantage of the hours especially for the elderly at the grocery store. I joked about buying a gray wig on amazon.com. But I would never actually do it. What I can’t understand is, I ordered the Mr. Rogers Documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? And I never got it even though they said it was delivered. I don’t know why someone would steal that. I have kept myself busy with a Great Courses class on Nutrition, playing video games, reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching stuff on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and occasionally doing my yoga classes online and doing church services.
I have spent a little time on researching agents but I haven’t been bored enough to work a lot on my book. I haven’t been inspired because it’s at the point where it’s going to be the most difficult to reminice. I have written a draft and I’m sure that I’ll have to make a lot of corrections. I probably do at least four crossword puzzles every day. I still occasionally play the piano. Yes, I’m reteaching myself. I read somewhere that playing music was just beneficial to your mind as reading. If I’m remembering correctly. I can play Misty and a few other songs pretty well. My right hand is better than my left because I’m unsure of a few of the chords.
Today we had a zoom family session and it was really nice to see everyone. I said we should do it every weekend. It’s good to connect online and I’m getting used to using my webcam again. My yoga studio has livestream classes and I just briefly use the webcam because I think it’s distracting to have people’s videos up. It’s just like when you are in class, you can’t help but look and see what everyone is doing. The beauty about yoga is that no one is judging you.
My bio feedback therapist decided she didn’t want to make me wait until after the quarantine to have therapy so her assistant comes twice per week to do bio feedback with me. He’s a really nice guy and he’s kind of my key to the outside world right now. I feel bad for him because he’s alone. I feel bad for everyone who is alone right now. I have discovered spotify and I like it very much. Almost everyone song that I wanted to buy on itunes is on there. Since my phone is not doing very well and it is my only working ipod, my brother suggested spotify.