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 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

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