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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Choices that Can be Hard

When I first decided to take the semester off, I was mad that because of my illness I was not able to handle the crises that have come my way like everyone else, and yet again I had to put aside something important to me for more months.  Now though, I am really glad that I was smart enough to see that I would have not been able to handle being in school and dealing with both my parents die.  Dad is still alive, but he is in hospice care and is getting worse quickly.  I am not in New Jersey, but I am in contact with my brother, dad’s caregiver and the hospice nurse. 

There are many people that would not agree with the next thing that I am going to share here, but honestly I think I am making the best decision for me.  I decided that I will not return to New Jersey when the time gets closer to my father’s passing.  I don’t think I can handle watching that at this time and honestly, I know it is something that my father would be ok with.  Maybe in that way, my brother is stronger than me.  The difference between me and my brother is, I was in the room with my sister when she died, and I never want to witness something like that again.  Because of me being with my sister when she died, whenever I am thinking about my sister, I have that image in my head all the time. I don’t want that with my father.  Maybe that is selfish of me, but I am the one who will be left here.  I am the one who has to continue to live in this world with my thoughts and feelings. 

Another reason that taking the semester off was a good idea is because of the new training that I have started.  Our state is finally starting peer support/mentoring jobs and I get to be part of the ground breaking of that program.  I have gone to two trainings already and have six more to go.  I will be working at a local mental health center and actually getting paid to do something that I really wanted to do for free anyways.

This is a program that I am so excited about that I could spit.  Ok that was kina gross, but hey, it is so exciting to have peer support.  You know someone who really knows, because they have been there.  With traditional treatment for mental illness you are given stability, expected to comply and give over control as you focus on your defects and have low expectations.  Well with this new form of treatment you can see that you can have hope for the future and that you do have choices and working with a peer is more of a partnership where you focus on your strengths and begin to have high expectations for yourself.  OMG this can be so enlightening!

What I find so funny about this training is the fact that I have been doing it all along.  The difference is that there is a bit more structure to it, whereas when I meet with a peer, we will know that we are working together toward those goals for them.  Another great part of this new training and upcoming job is that it is way ok to be open about my illness.  It would be understood that I too can get sick at times and that is ok.  I won’t have to always be on guard about symptoms as much as I am now; I can take the time to take care of me as well.

 I will still continue with my school.  Nothing is going to stop that.  In fact, next week I will be registering for my fall classes and I am a bit nervous about that, but excited at the same time.  What makes me nervous is the fact that I have been inside my head quite a bit, but I am not sure if that is my illness or the fact that I have been dealing with family issues.  If it is because of family issues, than I am having a normal reaction and that would be ok, but if it is my illness, than I am kina screwed.  The training is helping me quite a bit though.  It keeps me busy in my head and I get to think of something else.  Because of this I wonder if my classes at school would have actually been a good idea.

Anyways, this again has been a long blog.  I am sorry about that, but if you got this far, let me know with some words of wisdom or something.  Let me know you were here.  Oops I forgot a picture.  Let me take a look. 

Ok this picture was taken in 70’s and it is my sister, father, brother and me, during a vacation somewhere.  I chose this picture because this is how I remember my dad and how I would like to continue to remember him.  TTFN

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