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, June 5, 2012

First Phase Complete!

On the 15th I will be heading back to New Jersey.  Dad is really starting to show signs of weakness.  I can hear it in his voice when I call him.  I pretty much call him every day and can really hear the difference in his voice since I had last visited.  I really didn’t want to go back and I know some people would disagree with me, but that was a few blogs ago and I am not going to get back into that.  The main reason why I am going is because my brother was invited to go on a weekend camping/fishing trip and I am making him go.  That is right, I am making him go.  He goes away very rarely and the fact that someone invited him is amazing in itself. 

Each time I talk to my brother, he is always saying that everything is lousy and for the most part he is completely right.  I know I could not handle going home every day and slowly watching my father fade away before my eyes.  I told him he better go and take a mental health break.  At first he was like no he didn’t want to go and stated that he didn’t like to fish.  After explaining to him that it was important that he gets away he said that it might be kewl to sit by the lake and just watch the water move.  I get that totally and finally he agreed as long as I went down there rather than have an aid stay with him.  Without hesitation I agreed, because after all, I am not the one that deals with the gloominess every day.  I get to go about my life and not have it right in my face.  Yes I feel what is going on, but it is easier for me to find a distraction.

My only fear is that during that weekend, if dad passes, I wonder if my brother will ever go away again.  I wonder if somehow he will blame me for making him go and him not being able to say good bye to my father the way he wanted to. 

Before my mom died I called my brother to have him be able to have some kind of closure with her, but because eleven years passed without them talking, it was awkward and neither one of them knew what to say.  After she died and I was at my dad’s house, my brother confided in me that he wished he had told her that he was sorry that he was a bad son.  I have no guilt on that one, because I told him well in advance that I was going to call him while I was with her and he could have formulated that out and said it to her.  I have no guilt, but I do feel for him.  I told him that he was not a bad son and why I believed it to be so, but that didn’t ease his mind.  Well I tried and even fibbed a bit.  So that one is on him.

Dennis is going to meet me in New Jersey on Monday morning and he will stay for three days.  He has always wanted to go to Philly and well it is pretty close, so I figure that I will take him there on Monday.  Tuesday I am thinking I will show him what a true boardwalk is like.  I think that I will take him to Seaside Heights.  Then on Wednesday we will both head back, but he might head up to his mom’s in upstate New York.  I don’t think that I can go with him because now that I finished my first part of training and passed that test, it is time for me to find an internship and begin that phase of the process.  Even though he has vacation, I really don’t.

Ok, it has been a while since I updated you all on my school.  Well, I signed up for my classes for fall and I will be taking Human Anatomy & Physiology, World Lit to 16th Century and Jazz History.  I am not looking forward to this semester, but I think I should do alright since I am only taking nine credits instead of twelve.  I am super excited because Denny is going to take Jazz History with me.  I didn’t think he would be too interested, but when we were talking about new activities he could do now that he is sober and looking to find new outlooks, I mentioned that I had to take a music class and he asked which one.  I told him that I am not too sure, but maybe Jazz History, he then said that he might be interested in attending a class like that one.  I am way excited to be taking a class with him and this one seems like it might be fun.

If everything goes right, I will be done at the community college next May and will begin at the state college in the following fall.  You have no idea how great that is going to be.  Even with all the pitfalls, I managed to finish half of my education and that would mean that I stuck through something, for basically the first time in my life.  I don’t really share that excitement with anyone, I kind of act nonchalant about it, but wow I am soooooo excited.  I will finally have proof that I can do something and do it pretty well. 

I really think that my new goal setting is working for me.  I know the big goal and it sits in the back of my mind, but I focus on the little stuff that will lead me to the big goal.  Believe it or not but the first small goal I gave myself was getting out of bed, then going out of the house, taking a bus, then volunteering somewhere and so on.  From getting out of bed to beginning to volunteering actually took me months to accomplish, but I did it and new goals were added and now here I am, years later, and I am in my last two semesters at the community college.  Yeah that feels real good, now that I write it out.

So my new small goals are, finish the last two semesters, continue on with the Peer Wellness Coaching, and move back in with Denny.  Not bad and amazing how big these goals would have seemed back in 2008 when I was fighting to get myself out of bed.  I think that is why I like working with peers, because I can share where I have been and not make it seem like that is the way it will always be, I can tell them how I got to where I am and how I am going to get to where I want.  What an awesome feeling to share that with someone and they take it in and run with it.

Oh and in case you’re wondering what my BIG goal is, I want to have a Master’s degree in Social Work and work with my peers using my experience and book knowledge to show how they can see that having goals are not a wish, but an actual possibility if they want to take the time and work into it, and deal with the fears as they come, rather than piling them up and make succeeding seem impossible.

Lastly, the picture above was taken during my emersion from my house back in 2008.  Once in a while, when I am feeling like I just can’t do it any longer and want to crawl into my bed and just die there or I get suicidal thoughts, I look through my photos and search this picture out.  If you look closely you can see the snow between the screen door and the door jam.  To me, snow is a sign of freshness and as you can see from the door it is weathered and tired looking.  To me it is me emerging from the doom into the clear fresh me.  Well anyways have a good one.  TTFN

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