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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011 Home from Dad’s

Been home since Monday afternoon, and have not done anything of real substance since coming home.  Actually I think this is the first time after the end of the semester that I have actually spent a good amount of time home alone doing nothing.  Dennis thinks that I will go into a depression and just stay at home, but I reminded him that I have to go out on Thursday for an ear Doctor Appointment.  I have seriously considered canceling, but I really need to have my hearing aids adjusted, so it is not an option. 

My visit at Dad’s house was quite stressful.  Between my father given up and my brother being my brother, I was counting the days as soon as I got there.  When I took Dad to the doctor, the doctor informed me that Dad is not doing anything to help himself at all.  The doctor basically told me that if Dad doesn’t do anything to help himself, he will die soon.  I realized this already when I first got there, but to hear the doctor tell me made it more final.  The whole time that I was there at Dad’s, all Dad kept saying is how he wished that he would just die.  I can understand that Dad is depressed and if anyone should understand it, it should be me, but I found it hard to deal with. I did tell the doctor to put my father on an antidepressant and I can only hope that Dad takes them.

My brother was another issue.  He is so friggin self centered that it makes me sick.  Luckily my brother does love my Dad and kind of watches to make sure he doesn’t upset my father, but that doesn’t always work. I can’t understand why my brother feels the need to play his drums right in the room next to my father or that he has a lot of guys at the house to change the boiler now rather than later in the summer.

Another issue is the bathroom downstairs.  If my brother would just get that project done and move my father to that floor so he will not have to do the stairs, than that would help a lot.  It seems to me that doing the bathroom would be the first project that he should work on.  My brother forgets that it is Dad’s house still and making him comfortable is much more important right now.

I guess I am just rambling and really not making too much sense, but I am aggravated to the extreme, and there is nothing I can do about it.  I was asked once whether I would still converse with my brother after my Dad passed away and I have been thinking about it.  My answer would be no I don’t think that I would really have anything to talk to him about.  There was a time when we were little that we shared everything with each other, but now he is a person that I could not even share anything with.  There is no reason for me to converse with him.

Well I guess I rambled enough.  Time to find a picture for today…

With my birthday coming and my love for Winnie-the-Pooh I find that this picture of a NYC bus with the sign about the upcoming movie that starts a few days before my birthday to be fitting for me right now.  TTFN

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 21, 2011 Upcoming Visit With Dad and My Son

Had a nice weekend this past weekend.  Denny and I went to Albany, NY.  I was able to see a really good friend of mine and Denny meet up and played golf with some of his college buddies.  Though I was not feeling quite well, I was able to keep in conversation and presented myself well in front of Denny’s friends.  My friend however, could tell instantly that I am not my usual self and understood.

In the morning I am heading to NJ to spend some time with my Dad and my son.  Honestly this is going to be hard on me, not because of my son, but because my dad lives with my brother and well that is a little on the tense side with me.  It would be so much easier if Dad lived alone, but he doesn’t and well I guess I have to deal.

Not much to write for now and I am not bringing my computer to Jersey, so I guess I will write when I get back. 

The picture today is of the lake that Denny’s friend lives on.  Not sure which one I am going to pick, but they all look very summer like, so they are all fitting with the longest day of the year.  TTFN

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011 What I Have Learned from the States I Have Lived

I have been thinking about all the places I have lived in my life and believe me there have been plenty.  I decided that I would write about what each state that I have lived in has offered me and helped to shape the person that I am today.

First state I lived in was New Jersey.  This is the longest I have lived in any state and I lived in many towns of New Jersey, but mostly in the central to northern parts.  What Jersey has offered me is a true sense of who I am and where I came from.  Though I moved out almost twenty years now, I feel as though my heart will always remain there.  When asked where I came from I answer without hesitation that I was born and raised in Jersey and I am there for a true Jersey girl.  Some say that my rough attitude comes from being a Jersey girl, but honestly it comes from the experiences I had while I lived there. 

Funny thing is about Jersey is when I married and had a son, his father and I decided that it was best to take him out of Jersey for a better environment and all through my son’s childhood years he voiced his dislike of our decision and when given the opportunity to move on his own, without hesitation he returned to the state that he mourned for.  I should have known at the time that choosing to move out of state, rather than a better town was in fact a bad decision on his father and my part.  Today I feel that I ripped out a part of him that I should have known was there.

The state that came next for me was Virginia Beach, VA and I remained for ten years.  There is not much to say about that state, just that moving out there was a really bad move on my part.  I should have taken note on my son’s view point on this.  I should point out that the state was ok for a state, but it was the situation in which I lived that made moving there the one of the worst decisions I ever made as far as moves goes.

Leaving Virginia was hard, but not as far as the area goes.  It was the situation in which I left that made it the worst choice I have ever made in my life and only those that were part of that choice would understand the magnitude of poor decision making it was.  I can’t undo what has been done, but I can learn from the mistakes I have made and move on.

Albany, NY was my third state and when I moved there I was not well mentally.  I however prevailed and found some of my best friends there.  People who understood and still understand who I really am, even if at the time of my arrival I didn’t quite know who I was and still really didn’t even when I moved out only nine months later.  Though it was a really short period of time that I spent there, it was the most significant period of time for me and for that I can only thank that area for excepting me and the problems I arrived in.

After leaving NY I moved to Pittsfield, MA with the man that treated me like no one has treated me before.  We moved into a house that was down by the river and we shared a three bedroom apartment on the second floor with a land lady from hell.  I learned a lot about myself during the four years that I lived there.  I learned that I can have opinions and have others listen to them and actually consider them.  I learned that I was an independent woman with thoughts and ideas and creativity that I could share with others.  I learned that my fears were valid and my excitements were a joy. 

Though Pittsfield, MA did not have much to offer in the way of activities I learned how to seek out enjoyment in activities that inspired me. I had the opportunity to meet very wonderful people, but also learned that people who come from the outside like me, were regarded at temporary people and in the end I proved that theory to be true.

So here I am today, four years in Providence, RI.  Since being here I have begun to really like who I am and not try to convert my thinking to those who surround me. Living here is was the first time I really felt independent and it is now the first time I lived on my own.  It was scary at first but I am slowly learning that sometimes it is really ok to just be with myself.  Because of my mental illness it is sometimes really hard to be alone and I am trying to learn that it is ok to feel that way and to really be with my feelings.  I have learned that I am really creative with my photography and have learned to take compliments from others.

The people that I have met here have been for the most part a real enjoyment for me.  Here is the first place that I have met many others like myself, displaced from other states, though there is a large base of natives here.  I have felt excepted here with all my good qualities and short comings.

Through all the places I have lived, I have accepted who I am and that I have a mental illness and it is ok to take the time to care for myself.  I have learned that I am able to share the experiences I have had with others and let them learn from the things I have done and not done.  I have learned that I am an important person with lots to offer.  I have learned that I have a voice and that I am intelligent enough to let my voice rise high for those that want to hear what I have to say.  I know that many times I need to remind myself of these things and I feel as though if I lose myself, I am capable of finding me again.

So that is about it.  Time for me to find a picture for today…

Today’s picture is of a wall at the partial hospital program grounds.  The reason I chose this shot is because, through the years I have learned to build a wall around myself to protect me, but I am starting to bring that wall down little by little.  It is hard to do and many who will run into this blog may not understand the need for protection, but I do and so do a few others.  So this shot reminds me that though the wall is slowly being open, it still remains and needs some protection.  TTFN

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14, 2011 Thinking about School and Opening

Been a little bit since I wrote last, but figured that I would today.  Things with me are ok and I am still at the program I told you about and will be done on Friday.  I think I am getting something from it, but part of me thinks that I will not be able to really get out of it what I need to.  Whether I do or not doesn’t matter at this point because I have to end this Friday because I have to leave for Dad’s on the 22nd.  There is a slight chance that I will go back after Dad’s, but I am not sure. 

At this point I am not ready to return to school in the fall.  There is no way that I am going to go back to classes with the way I am feeling.  Last semester was a complete nightmare and I am not going to go through that again.  At least with me not having classes I don’t have that added stress, but if I added it, I would be in the same position I was in last semester.  This is not good at all.  My goal for the summer is to be in the same mind set as last fall.

This weekend I will be heading to Saratoga, NY.  Denny has a golf tournament and I will be heading down to Albany, NY to visit friends on Saturday.  Not too sure about Sunday but I do know that both Denny and I need to head home in the afternoon.  So it is going to be short but sweet.

I have been trying to keep up with my photography and well I have gotten a few good shots, but I am my worst critic.  I know that I can pass up the opportunity that has been given to me.  Thankfully the gallery allowed me to change from opening this past spring to next spring.  I was way too sick to even get somewhat organized for the opening that we originally agreed on.  I still can’t believe that they think my photography is show worthy, let alone the amount of money they believe the shots are worth, but who knows, maybe they are right.  One thing that I did get done was a slide show to add to the opening and if I can post it I will try. (Nope, it wouldn't do it)

Well that is all for today.  If I can’t post the slide show here I am sorry.  Next blog will have a picture of the day.  TTFN

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011 Program Rundown

So like today is Friday and I have been in the program for four days.  I was only late the one day and left slightly early one day.  For me that is really good considering the amount of work that is done there.  Those of you who do not understand how being in groups all day can be exhausting, I am about to explain how it can be, at least at this program.

First we start the day relatively easy with a check in group that asks how we are doing and what kind of goal we have set for ourselves.  The goal might seem easy and in many cases it is, but sometimes it is hard to pick one because you want to make it easy, but you know that for that day you really want to get something done.  Now no one actually checks to see if you reached your goal, but the person who made it knows and believe me, it is a major let down if it is not carried out.

Next we have a group that is more of a learning type of group that focuses on existential therapy.  In one group this week we had to write our own eulogy.  I personally thought this was a bit on the morbid side at first.  I mean think about it, someone is suicidal and is asked to write their own eulogy.  At first I thought that it was counterproductive, until we were asked the last two questions.  The last two questions asked about relationships and how they would be affected whether we lived or died.

The third group to me is the hardest for me.  It is an interpersonal group where are split up into smaller groups and sit in a circle and discuss things on our mind and get feedback from the others in the group.  What makes this hard is that we as a group seem to ask the hardest questions to each other and when we don’t, it seems like the facilitator chimes in with even more difficult questions.  This group is the longest of them all at one and a half hours.  Sometimes when you are all done it feels like you got hit by a semi and you were only in a Yugo. (if you know this car, you have lived for a while…LOL)

After that group we have lunch.  Great time to rethink all that transpired in the last group.

The last group of the day is another type of learning group.  Today for example we discussed our own personal purpose of life.  It was broken down a bit and we answered a few questions before coming to our own purpose.

Now during these time and our breaks is when the various therapist can call you to join them for a half hour for individual therapy.  We have a half hour a day with a therapist.  They don’t however; interrupt the interpersonal group at all.  There is no distraction what so ever for that group.

For those of you who are not used to therapy, might be thinking that this is no big deal, but believe me, the shit you don’t want to deal with is basically thrown in your face and you have no choice but to look at it and when you are done for the day, it doesn’t go away. 

Ok so that is about it.  For today’s picture I have a shot I took this week at the program.  It is a beautiful tree taken like I take most of my tree shots.  Hope you like.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011 New Day Program Highlights

The start of any kind of therapy gets on my nerves and today was quite trying at the intensive outpatient hospitalization big time.  What I dislike about starting new forms of therapy is the questions they ask.  They are all the same and I often wonder why they can’t take the time to pass this sort of information between the different programs.  What even made today worse was the fact that two people asked me the same questions that I don’t even want to answer in the first place.  Is it so friggin hard to just have them talk to each other and leave me the frig alone.

What else I didn’t like about today was the fact that I had in my head what I thought the place would be like by taking what I knew from other places just like it, or what I thought was just like it.  Well it was so much different then I even imagined it would be.

The first group was exactly what I expected for a first meeting though.  Those of you who have done this sort of thing will know what I mean.  I am guessing it is a sort of check in group where each person says how they are doing at the moment and then tell the group a goal you have set for yourself for the day.  I took the easy way out, because I didn’t know what to expect.  I said I am fine and my goal for the day was that I find the right bus to take home.  (Just a note, it is faster for me to walk there and home. I didn’t realize how close the hospital was to my house.)

I have taken three different Psychology classes and had yet to even cover Existential or Interpersonal Psychotherapy and this place uses both as far as I can see.  We started out with Existentialism and learned about Freedom, Isolation, Meaning, and Death.  The meanings of these are what you would think and then some.  I guess I found it interesting, because I didn’t straight out reject it in my mind, so I will give it a go.


Before lunch we were split up into three groups and spent an hour and a half in an interpersonal therapy group.  This group was way different, we didn’t have a topic, and we just talked about whatever.  A few times I was quite uncomfortable because people started to cry and that makes me very uncomfortable.  I am not insensitive or anything to the feelings of others, but I wanted nothing more than to bolt out the door when they would cry.  The reason I wanted to bolt is because I feel for those that cry and begin to feel as though I want to cry for them and well I don’t publicly cry or for that matter cry at all, but publicly is way out of the question with me.


I am eating lunch and two times I was interrupted because a therapist and med doc wanted to talk to me.  The med doc let me finish eating but the therapist lady told me I could take it with me, but I just threw the stuff in the garbage because there was no way I was going to sit there and answer her questions with a mouthful of food.  The med doc took me out of the last meeting about stress to ask me exactly the same questions that the therapist lady asked me.  Again, I don’t understand why they just can’t compare notes and leave me the frig alone about it.


I was exhausted after the interpersonal group and it didn’t change by the time I got home.  Why is this sort of thing so exhausting?  It felt like I was hit by a mac truck or something.  I thought this was going to be like four or five days but apparently it can go for two weeks.  I don’t know if I can handle this for two friggin weeks.  I got home around two thirty and well I was asleep by three.  Because of this, I woke up at midnight and am totally messed up with my sleep.  I mean I should be happy that I slept as long as I did, but it would have been nice to have slept at the right times.  Because my nap last for so long, I am way late for my meds.  I have to take them around five with something that represents dinner and here it is almost one and I am not hungry and I have to take my meds with food.  Who the hell eats dinner at one in the morning?  I think I will have some crackers, since that would be enough calories to take the meds with.


I can’t believe that I have to do this all over again tomorrow.  What I found funny was what the med doc said to me when I told him that my anxiety level was so high that I was going to go home and take something for it and he told me that the program was going to make it to where I would not have to do that anymore.  I am wondering how they plan on taking years of anxiety and make it go away in two weeks.  Hey if they can, great, but honestly I don’t know how they can do that, but we will see and keep an open mind to it.


Ok, let me look around for a photo for today…


Because of me feeling like I am out in the cold with this whole therapy thing, I decided that this photo was perfect.  It was taken this past winter up where Denny grew up.  It was unbelievably cold that day and the wind was strong with snow in the air.  I felt for this horse when I captured him trying to weather the storm.  So since I am in my own personal storm, this photo is perfect right now.