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, September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011 Run Down of Classes

Middle of the week for me in school.  Officially I have been in school for a full week now and let me tell you that this semester is going to be full of work.  I didn’t realize that I could end up with more than I had in the previous semesters, but that is exactly what it seems like.  Even though it looks like I am only going to have one final exam at the end, which is excellent by the way, I feel like the other two classes are going to hit me hard.

In Biology each week I have to do a PowerPoint presentation and a 25 question quiz.  Of course there is also a lab each week, but the good part about that is I don’t have to do a lab report.  One thing that is great is I have thirteen weeks of the semester and only have to do ten presentations, quizzes and labs.  What this could mean is that I will be done with this course at the end of November and only concentrate on the other two classes.

Physics is not too bad.  There will be homework after each class and of course reading the chapters in the book.  I have to take a total of four exams and basically those are my grade with only ten percent of my grade being my homework and attendance.  Again I have to attend the labs, but I don’t have to do lab reports.  So that is not too bad.

Intro to Social Work has no quizzes or exams at all.  I will have to do three 5 to 8 page papers, which I am actually looking forward to.  The first one that I have to do is the history of Social Work.  I get to pick a concentrated subject, and I have decided to discuss the asylums of the past.  Since I chose that area I get to continue through for the other two papers.  The second is on Social Policy and the last will be on the Social Work Profession.  The great thing is the concentration I chose will be great for all three.  Attendance is a part of our grade and we also have to write a journal entry each class about the material that we went over.  Being that I blog, I think I have that area covered.  If you miss a class, you lose out on the points for attendance and the journal entry, so being there is very important.  If you miss more than three classes, you are automatically dropped from the class.  Pretty scary stuff if you think about it.  What if I have a semester like the last one?

This past Saturday I went to the Rhode Island Rally 4 Recovery.  I hope you all have them in your states, because it is a great resource for information on recovery from addiction and mental illness.  I brought my camera and took a few pictures.  Here check out the shot I got of some balloons…

I didn’t stay long though.  I really don’t know why I didn’t. I guess it was because this year the event was packed with people and I was beginning to feel anxious, and I really try to go with it and avoid taking Adivan.  Guess it was getting much and actually I left the medicine at home.

Well I am going to head out because I have less than an hour before I have to catch the bus.  TTFN

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 10, 2011 First Week of a New Semester

Well, I finished my first week of classes and really I was able to fall right back in.  Not that I am overly excited about the new semester, but at least I don’t dread walking to the bus stop in the morning.  Looks like there is going to be a lot of work for each class, but I think I can manage it pretty well.

There is a photo contest at school and I was seriously considering doing it, but my embarrassment level kept my camera at home. This sort of thing really gets to me and I really begin to hate my mind, however, today I am going to go to this state’s Rally 4 Recovery and am bringing my camera to take as many shots as I can and then email them to the director. I remember last year they were looking for photos that were taken at the event.

Dennis is on vacation in Los Vegas and he seems to be having a good time.  Next year he is thinking about taking his vacation while I am off of school, so the both of us can go somewhere together.  I am worried that he is in Vegas because he is so early in his recovery and to me that is not the place to be at all, but so far so good.

Last spring I decided to put my NAMI Connection peer support group on hold until I felt better enough to run it.  I don’t feel like I am totally ready, but I feel as though I have to do it to get back to a normal routine again.  So on the third of October I will be starting my group up again.  There is an older woman that attends the group and I called her to let her know we are starting up again.  She was so happy to hear that and told me that she had a very hard time this summer and she told me that she could really use the support she gets from the group.  This helps me to feel like I am making the right decision.

Update on my parents. Dad is basically the same.  He is having problems with walking and has problems with his bowels, which is really depressing him, and he gets angry really easily.  I have finally gotten him accepted for his long term insurance, and that means we can get a home healthcare aid in five days a week.  I am hoping that will help in the hygiene area. I can’t understand why he is giving us a hard time about taking care of his hygienic needs.  Mom is back on chemo because she has stage three lymphoid cancers. She is also having problems with her walking, because of low blood pressure when she stands.  They have brought her a wheel chair to use in the house.  Also she has had a serious persistent cough for the whole summer and they have no idea where it is coming from.  It makes it hard for her to talk.  This is hard for me to handle because all my life my parents have been very physically active and to see them limited by their health problems is difficult.

Well I guess that is about all I have for updates at this time.  Ok let me take a look at my photos and see which one I would like to share today…

Today I chose a shot that I took with my phone of the parking lot at the Roger Wheeler Beach here in Rhode Island.  Being that school has started and Labor Day is over, this is going to be the norm for that parking lot for the next seven months.  Just a small sign that summer is over.  TTFN 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 3, 2011 Getting Out

Four days til classes start.  I am all ready as far as supplies go, but still waiting on two books that I need for one class.  As far as being psychologically ready, well I guess I am as good as I am going to get with that one.  I am happy about the fact that I don’t have an 8am class and only one day that I have a 9am lab.

For the past two weeks, I have made sure that I have gone out and did something, just so I don’t fall into the trap of staying in and getting more stuck in my depression.  I am feeling pretty good about doing that, because I feel like I am accomplishing something, instead of feeling like I am worthless.

Got some really good shots this past week.  I am going to share some with you all here….

I have decided that I am going to be more proactive in getting my portfolio ready to show and hopefully get the photos ready for the showing in the spring.  I have way too many pictures that I am not sharing with the world.  Some people think that I am really talented, and though I like the photos I take, I don’t feel talented at all.  Sometimes I think that the way I perceive my photos are better than others would.  I guess I have to give it a chance and deal with rejection in order to see if I am good at photography.

If I happen to be good enough to sell some of my shots, I decided that I would turn whatever money I get into better equipment.    I know what camera I would like and I could really use a tripod.  Maybe with better equipment, I can take better pictures. 

Well, I guess that is about it for today. TTFN