Welcome to My Bumpy Ride.......

Before you all read on, I guess it is best to introduce myself to you and let you know a bit about myself. I am Susan, and first and foremost, I am a mother to a wonderful young man. Though he is grown, he will always be that three year old little boy, that asked all those questions and expected answers to them all. Though I will tell you much about myself in this blog there is no one or nothing that is as important to me as him, even if I don't discuss him much, because he kina likes to remain private.

For years I was actively trying to find myself, but that was a big waste of time, since by doing so I was not living. All my life I have always known that I was "different", but was unable to know why that was. I first thought that perhaps it was because I was adopted, but that was not the case. Turns out, I am bipolar and pretty much have been all my life. This was explained to me about nine years ago when I had a major melt down. I tend to be more on the depressive side, but have on occasion been quite manic. My last episode was early thru mid 2008, with full blown depression. For five months, I bearly left my house, let alone my bed. Why am I telling you this? I just want it out in the open and let you understand that I discuss my illness from time to time.

Present day, I am currently a full time student, studying social work. At the end of 2011 I was approached by a mentor of mine, who mentioned a new program that was going to launch here in Rhode Island. This new program called the Peer Wellness Coaching, was something that I had always wished would become a reality and to add even more excitement was the fact that this mentor was inviting me to train for a position as one of the Peer Wellness Coaches.

So currently (spring 2012) I am part of the three phases of training and should be employed by the fall of 2012. What is even more excellent about this program is that they are aware of my education goals and are willing to work with me on maintaining those goals.

Also you might hear me mention NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), because I am actively involved with them. I am a facilitator and state trainer for the NAMI Connection groups (peer run support group) here in Rhode Island, and I also help teach high school and college students about mental illness through NAMI RI's Inside Mental Illness program.

So with all that being said...I hope you read on to my daily activities and thoughts and such.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Just Over a Year

I am not totally sure exactly why I stopped blogging really, but I decided this week that I would go back to it.  Seems that the best way to start back again is to let you all know what I have been up to this past year. 
My father passed away on October 16, 2012 and since then I have moved in with my brother in Dad’s house.  It was a good move and my brother and I have actually managed to find a way to make living together work.  My brother got a rescue dog named Duke soon after Dad’s passing and he already had an all black cat named Neddy. As any one of you all who have read my past blogs might know, I had two cats named Roo and Pooh.  I think the hardest part of moving in was getting the animals adjusted to one another.  Soon after moving in though, each animal got sick.  Roo got the sickest and I had to use a syringe to get food, medicine and fluid into him.  Thankfully all the animals made it through and even Roo seemed to gain most of his weight back.
Also I managed to find a part-time job for now on the weekends, with the initial belief that I would continue with school down here in New Jersey.  Well as it turns out I have to wait yet another semester to continue classes.  I am actually more on with that then I thought I would be.  My last two semesters that I attended classes I had to withdraw because of my parents being sick, and that really bothered me, but at least I was able to withdraw and not have those grades on my transcript.  Because I am not going to take classes, I am currently looking around for a job on the weekdays, so wish me luck on that.
About my job.  Honestly, I really can’t go into too much detail, so I am going to make it brief.  I work in a mental health crisis call center.  The good thing about this job is the fact that I get to use my training as a Peer Specialist.  It was because of the training I received in Rhode Island that I was able to obtain my new job.  In another blog soon I will get a bit more into some aspects of the job that are good and some that are hard to adjust to.
Ok maybe some of you are wondering about Denny.  Well let’s just say I had a decision to make and it was hard but I believe it was the best for both of us.  If you all remember I really love Denny, but his drinking has always been an issue.  It was not like we argued a lot when he was drunk, but it was really hard for me to see him damage himself all the time.  I tried to help him, but he was not receptive to anything I had to offer him.  The year that he was sober was nice and honestly I really thought he was going to make it, but he didn’t.  Moving was the option that I thought was best because I had a tendency to enable him.  I would do everything for him and by doing that I was quietly saying to him that his drinking was ok.  I covered for his mistakes while he was drinking and that was another way of saying everything was ok.  By moving three states down, I left him to deal with his own mistakes and let him really see the damage his drinking is doing to him.  I am letting him hit his rock bottom and I can only pray that he will find a way out when it happens.  I still talk to him on the phone and have visited twice since moving, but I make the calls and visits very limited.

Well that pretty much catches you all up.  The picture above was taken somewhere between Albany and Cooperstown, New York while I was visiting with my aunt.  Hope I didn’t lose too many of you because of my absence.  TTFN.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Centus ~ Tune in Words

PROMPT:  "Blah, blah, blah."  
WORD COUNT -  Not to exceed 103  (including the prompt)
PICTURES - Any Additional

My submission…

Having finished showering after cleaning out the gutters of his home, the middle aged father of three teenage daughters fell into the recliner with remote in his hand ready to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of football.  He was pleased to see he just made it to the kickoff of his favorite team against an important rival.

Just as the two minute warning of the first half was sounded, he heard the sounds of two of his daughters coming closer.  “Oh Geez.” He thought.

"Blah, blah, blah."  Is what he heard until, “Pregnant.”

Without hesitation, he reached for the remote and shut it off.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Centus ~ Auntie Edith’s Words

PROMPT:  "Words can be puzzling..."  
WORD COUNT -  Not to exceed 104  (including the prompt)
PICTURES - Any Additional 

My submission…

“Bye, Bye Auntie Edith!” the young girl yelled toward the old Volkswagen as it rolled away. She then turned to her mother behind her and asked. “Auntie Edith was your auntie too when you were a little girl?”

“Yes, Honey.  Auntie Edith is Grannie’s sister.” Her mother placed a hand on the little girl’s shoulder and slowly guided her toward the house.

“Mommy, are you sure she is Grannie’s sister, really?”

With a smile on her face the mother responded, “Oh yes, they are sisters.”

“I don’t think they went to the same school, because Auntie Edith’s words can be puzzling.  What is gnarly?”

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How a Story is Made

Jenny Matlock’s Saturday Centus
PROMPT:  "It's only words.   And words are all I have..."  
WORD COUNT -  Not to exceed 109  (including the prompt)
PICTURES - Any Additional 
Well here goes…

As I sit here and gather my letters together to try and form some sort of meaning, I totally realize that when the letters join neatly to one another they form words.  When the words join nicely, they can make some really pretty and meaningful sentences.  If I do it right those sentences can be gathered together and be combined to make paragraphs. Even more amazingly is how much more those letters came become and if lucky enough, a story can be told.  I do know however, in the end though, it’s only words.   And words are all I have to share with those that are willing to read.

Well that is it. Sorry I missed so much over the last couple of weeks.  I have been pretty busy with the new job and school starting.  I really enjoy doing these prompts from Jenny and will try to make time to do them, but I can’t promise anything at this time.  Hope all is ok with you all. TTFN

Monday, September 3, 2012

School Tomorrow

Classes start for me tomorrow.  I feel pretty good about it, though I am torn between Dad and his medical issues.  As harsh as this might sound, I do believe that I will be attending his funeral during this semester.  Originally they told us that for the most part, Dad only had the most two months and we were told that in the beginning of February and so far they are wrong.  I have noticed a big difference since I last went to visit with him.

Work is going ok.  I was really hoping to share something great with work, but honestly I don’t have anything like that to share.  My new supervisor is really showing signs on how she really is not thrilled with me being there.  Actually if it wasn’t for Medicaid requiring us Peer Specialist to be at each and every mental health center, I know I would not be at the one I am at.  It is sad but I am working to bring a positive presents.  

It is so hard to do that each time I walk in.  It makes no sense that if I am an employee, why is it that I am not given a key to the building just like everyone else.  Every day that I go in, I have to be buzzed in, just like the people receiving services.

I guess I was just expecting to be treated just like any other employee and I guess that is asking too much.  I am hoping that when the other Peer Specialist comes into the building tomorrow that we will be treated a bit differently.  As of now, two weeks in for me, I have only shadowed three times and the rest I finished up the online required courses and have been working on my resource notebook.  Had I not decided to work on that, I have how idea what I would have been doing. 

I did walk around and introduce myself to the other staff members and that seemed at the most part positive.  I was able to talk extensively with one case manager and she is so excited to see how this works out. 

Believe it or not you all, this is going to be short and sweet.  Just feel bad because I have not participated in Jenny’s prompts this week and actually didn’t blog at all.  Next week I will make sure I do.  Have a good one all.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday – New

Alphabe-Thursday through Jenny Matlock’s blog.  Today’s letter is “N.” So here goes…

Today I am going to talk about the word “NEW” and how it pertains to me right now.  The reason for this is because for me there is so much new going on for me and well that is why I decided to choose this “N” word.

First, I started my new job this week.  I like it so far, though my new manager is not really that receptive to me or my job being in her office.  At least that is the vibe I am getting and I really hope I am off on this. 

I guess for those of you, who are not regulars to my blog, I should explain my new job.  I am a Mental Health Peer Specialist/Wellness Coach (Links to Descriptions connected to titles in purple).  I am a peer, because I have mental illness, more to the point; Bipolar, Anxiety, and PTSD.  

Anyways, this is something brand new here in Rhode Island and some of the other mental health workers are not too excited about it, and the vibe I am getting from her is that I am more in the way and something new she has to add to her already busy schedule.  I hope I am wrong about her. 

Because I am new at this mental health center, there is a lot of training that I have to do, so most of my time for the first month will be sitting in front of my new desk taking the courses online.

Today I actually got a chance of going out on the field and also sitting with peer at the office.  For the most part I am shadowing the Social Workers to get acquainted with how things are working right now.  This is a great experience for me, not only because of my new job, but because I am also currently in school for Social Work: which now brings me to the next “new”.

I have a week and a half before I start my new semester at school.  Now I have been doing this for a little while now and honestly I don’t know why each new semester brings on anxiety for me, but it does; and I am really starting to feel the stressors of all these new things. 

It is funny, last spring I took off the semester because of my parent’s illnesses and did that because I didn’t want to be overly stressed out.  I took one less class this semester for the same reason and yet it seems that for each thing I take away, something new replaces it. 

Well anyway, that is why I decided on “NEW” for the “N” word today.  And this picture at the top really represents how I am feeling, but I know, once I get into the grove of things I will be alright.  TTFN.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Centus – Absent "E" and “T”

The challenge this week is to write another cohesive sentence without using the letters "E" or "T".

The sentence can be as long or as short as you like.
Number of words:  Whatever you need to write a sentence that actually makes sense without using the letter E or T.
Pictures: Any you like.
Well here is my attempt…

Raindrops fall from clouds much in a way humans cry.

Well that was it.  Was really hard actually.  Not sure if I can do any more is Jenny takes away another letter next week. TTFN

Friday, August 17, 2012

Updates in General

It has been a while since I have blogged about what is going on with me, so today I decided to and well here I am writing a “what’s going on kina blog.”  School starts in eighteen days and I am really excited about it.  I will be taking three classes, World Lit to 16th Century, Human Anatomy & Physiology, and Jazz History.  I will only have classes on Tuesday and Thursday’s during the day and Monday nights.  At first I was only going to take the Lit and Anatomy, but Denny decided that he was going to join me in Jazz History.  So well anyways that is my classes list and well I am pretty good with it.  What is exciting about this semester is that it is the second to last one at the community college and then I am off to the second part of earning a bachelor’s degree in Social Work at the state college.  It is so great to know that I have followed through so far already, even with the semester I took off in the spring. 

Ok so other news.  I have finished the training for Peer Specialist and Peer Wellness Coach and finally have a job.  I will be working at one of the mental health agencies in the area.  I got the call on Thursday and am really happy about that.  When I interviewed I brought my school schedule with me in case they asked for it and well they did and they proceeded to tell me that the encourage education and are really pleased that I am a Social Work student.  They actually said that it was an added bonus and are very excited to work with me and help me to maintain my high grade point average.

So starting on Monday I will be an employee over there and in fifteen days I will be working and going to school.  I honestly hope that I can stick with my recovery plan and not have any drawbacks.  The good thing is that last year I learned how to deal with my symptoms better and know how to look out for them and not let them get out of control.

In New Jersey Dad is slowly declining but still hanging on.  He is really weak and barely eats.  Honestly I think that he is fighting because he is worried about my brother.  Each time I go there, dad reminds me to take care of my brother when he passes away.  I will have to say that I am a bit worried about my brother as well right now.  It is summer and him being a roofer, it is his busy time, but he has not been going into work that much.  I asked him yesterday if he was feeling more depressed than his usual and he told me that he wasn’t.  I made him promise that if he was to let me know, and he said he would. 

Also another indication that there is something going on with my brother is his migraine headaches.  He has been suffering with them since he was around ten years old.  Usually he gets like two a month and the whole neighborhood knows he has them because he screams on the top of his lungs.  When he does this it can seem scary to someone who doesn’t know.  Anyways, those headaches have increased to around five to seven times a month.  I have begged him to go to a doctor, but he refused.  So that increase in headaches really scares me.

I have talked with the Hospice social worker about my concerns with my brother and described what he was like as a child and she told me she would do her best to work with my brother, but if he was not willing to work with her, there was nothing that she could do.  She has been working her way to talking with him now and hopes that he will want to talk to her when dad passes away.  She figures that right now he will talk to her with dad and after he will have enough trust in her to continue to work with her. 

What concerns me is how he is with death.  When my sister died there was discussion about maybe getting him some serious help, but honestly at that time I was in my own personal hell, I never really knew what happened.  I am pretty sure that all of us were messed up at that time and no one actually did anything to help my brother and he is still in a state of just existing. 

About three years ago my brother had a cat that he loved.  She got sick and died, and he basically locked himself in his room for months.  It was so bad that dad would put food up by his door, just so my brother would eat something.  What bothers me the most about that situation is the fact that my father didn’t think to get my brother any kind of help; instead he just placated the issue, until my brother came out of it.

I have way too much going on in my life right now that I know I am not going to be able to do anything like that for him and honestly I have no problems finding outside help for him.  It just scares me that there is only one human on earth that my brother truly loves and that is my father and when he is gone my brother will have no one in his life.  Honestly right now I can’t do anything more than I am doing right now and I really have to keep my focus on me, because in the end, I am the only one who can take care of me.

So here in Rhode Island, my concerns are with Denny.  He is back to drinking and I am slowly distancing myself from him.  It is something hard for me, because I love him so much, but if he is not going to do anything to help himself, I can’t be around that so much.  I have talked to him and reminded him how well he was doing while sober and how he she seriously consider quitting again.  So far since he has started drinking again, he has depleted the savings that I had worked so hard to establish for him and he has been suspended from his work because of absentness.  One more time he is absent, he will lose his job.  I guess there has to be a bottom that is hit, before he will learn that drinking is not a good thing for him.

Well this has been long enough and well I think I am pretty caught up for now.  Time to find a picture for today…

Ok this picture was taken when I was about eight or nine with my brother.  The reason I decided on this picture is because it is a true representation of the distance that is between us, even today.  Though I have tried to get closer to him, there is always that space between us.  It is funny actually because in all the pictures that my mother had taken of us kids back in the day, my sister was always in the middle, and this shot looks like she is just missing.  I wonder if it is in some way a clue of how it was going to turn out, my sister is missing.  So anyways that is why I decided to use that picture. 
Ok you all, TTFN……………

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday – Morning

Alphabe-Thursday through Jenny Matlock’s blog.  Today’s letter is M. So here goes…

M is for Mornings and how I love them.  There is something about the fresh and newness of the morning.  Some of my best photos have been taken in the morning and I wanted to share a few here with you.  Hope you all enjoy…

Taken at Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI, early fall

Taken at Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI, early fall 

East Side of Providence, RI on an early Spring Morning

Roger Wheeler Beach early spring

Pigeon feet in the sand at Roger Wheeler Beach in RI

I thought of Footprints in the Sand when I took this one morning at Roger Wheeler Beach in RI

Mid Spring morning at Roger William Park Zoo in RI

Nice morning shot of this lovely lady in Philly this past  Spring

I truely love dog walkers in the morning, they make for some great shots.  Taken in NH this past  Summer

Was able to also catch this man peddle himself on a skate board as the sun rose.

Grabbed this on an early morning ride in Maine this past summer

This one was an added bonus shot one morning at the Providence Peer in RI

I just love Frankfort, NY and was able to capture this on one of my early morning walks one Summer

Took an early morning ferry ride from Providence to Newport, RI and was able to get this shot.

While waiting for my first class last winter I watched in amazement as the sun was rising and had to grab my camera

These next two are what I got to watch one morning while waiting for the bus at around 6am

This is why I love the mornings.

Newport RI on an early morning summer day.  

I love being in Cambridge, MA and watching the morning rowers from the balcony of a hotel room as you drink your morning tea.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Centus – Absent "E"

Jenny Matlock’s Saturday Centus - The prompt this week is one sentence long.

The sentence can be as long or as short as you like.

The challenge is to write a fluent sentence without using the letter "E".   E is the most used letter in the English language.  Let's see how you do with an absent-e!

Number of words:  Whatever you need to write one cohesive sentence.
Pictures: Any number

Here it goes…

A small child can touch a soul of an adult who has built a wall to guard from an invasion that can possibility do random psychological harm.

Well there you have it.  That is my sentence.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  Thanks to the small child that asked the quiet and withdrawn man for his hand to help her walk in the bus as it was moving yesterday.  I witnessed him go from being totally withdrawn to smiling in seconds.  It was actually pretty awesome to see.  TTFN ya’ll.