Each of us are in recovery, whether that be from: mental illness, substance abuse, abusive relationships, homelessness, etc. Whatever the situation, lets be an example to others that we can and do overcome tough situations by sharing our testimonies... Here is mine...
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Invisible Challenges: Self-Care
Me- On A "Good Day"
When's the last time you managed your self-care, well?- Today? Yesterday?- Or has it been that long? As a mother, employee, and volunteer, my ideal self-care activities have decreased from one extreme to another. In the past, I had pampering days that included leisure activities and visits to the nail salon, now this "me-time" has turned into tiny acts of self-reflection like maintaining my journal.
My days are filled with rigorous activities I enjoy like working with peers, sharing my recovery story to diverse groups, and caring for my son. Ironically, my job as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is to model great self-care for the sake of my mental health. However, that is an ongoing roller coaster that I strive to shut down and to restore balance, but I am moving too fast to take back my control!
Me- T.I.R.E.D. At the End of the Day
For example, besides my erratic sleep habits, I frequently skip breakfast and sometimes lunch because I am focused on my work, this does not bother me until later... Dinner, which I usually have but is not the most nutritious, is my only full meal. After dinner and preparing my son for bed I lack energy to dedicate to myself in order to have some sort of stillness and peace, therefore I retire early. However, I get up in the middle of the night to meditate and focus on "me-time," that is- writing in my journal and checking my social media sites for feedback.
Fortunately, I do take my medication regimen seriously and engage in the practice regularly. No matter how busy I get I always maintain good personal hygiene from my hair, to my body odor, and fresh scented attire. My appearance is not the issue, it's all internal like my mental health--invisible, but I know, if nobody else does, and that's my challenge.
In recognition of "National Recovery Month" (September) I created my "Optimal Wellness Challenge!" I challenged myself to take my medication at the same time each morning, to journal frequently, and to practice 10-minutes of meditation. Thus far, I am doing well with the activities in this order, my medication regimen, journal, and my biggest challenge- 10 minutes of self-reflection and meditation.
I created this challenge after my sister and peer challenged me in different areas of my life. My sister challenged me to engage in seven days of positivity, which I almost completed except on the last day I had a setback which prevented me from completing the challenge of recording what I was grateful for on my personal facebook page. On the other hand, my peer wanted us to hold each other accountable for our mental health in the areas I challenged myself in- consistent timing of medication intake, journaling, and meditation. I accepted these challenges in hopes of adding on a new healthy habit and overcoming my self-care setbacks. I've engaged in the Optimal Wellness Challenge for most of the month, and Tuesday will be my last day.
Despite my poor self-care reality, I am hopeful I can fulfill the Optimal Wellness Challenge by giving the remaining days of September my final push for the better. Because I prefer to lead by example, I am doing the challenge for my well-being first, and also to encourage peers to do the same, whatever their ideal self-care plan looks like.
Are you managing your self-care, WELL? How so? If not, when will you make that change for YOURSELF?
After a talk, a woman asked me if my faith contributed to my recovery because she noticed that I mentioned it throughout my speech. In addition to that, she told me that she observed people with faith as having a better outcome in their mental health recovery.
First, I came from a family with Christian values. My faith in God started to get intense during the latter years of high school, which in my opinion, is when I started having symptoms. In my experience religion plays a major role in my mental health- its delusions, its coping skills, and in my recovery. In medical terms they call my religious rituals and delusions "religious preoccupation."
Before I was diagnosed I was highly religious. In fact, I wanted to be an evangelist and to go to a Christian college. I would read my Bible for several hours a day throughout the day, listen to hymns, and meditate. Sometimes I would ignore people if they wanted my attention while I was meditating I was in such deep thought. Also, I …
Recently, a reader asked how to support, or what to say to someone who has persecutory delusions and confides in them. I thought this question was profound. By investigating this question it could help so many people maintain or develop a trusting relationship with their relative, friend, or client, etc. I asked the opinion of my therapist, and she gave some pointers and asked me to remember a time when I was psychotic and what could someone have said to me to make me feel more comfortable...
When I was at my peak of psychosis everything was a sign from God- that truck making a U-turn meant go back, that taxi cab driver telling me to stay out of trouble meant he was in on it too. While I was psychotic I heard conflicting voices. When I would ask someone a question on the phone the voices would give different information. I was extremely paranoid. And almost everyone was a threat. I couldn't confide in relatives because they would tell my secrets, I couldn't trust friends becaus…
In this entry, I'll share my experiences with Schizophrenia in regards to feeling lack of trust in others, paranoia, and isolation.... I remember my many episodes with Schizophrenia where I felt uneasy because of lack of trust in others. In the past, isolation was a giant bullying me around.
Sometimes my mind would take me to a place of fear, hurt, and an unsettling spirit, which started with what seemed like a strange look, or a different feeling around an individual, when in reality it was another symptom of my undiagnosed illness- paranoia. My paranoia was rampant and dictated my life prior to experiencing a crisis, which led me to jail and into forced treatment and to receive an official diagnosis of Schizophrenia in 2007.
In other words, my illness created enemies in my mind. For instance, I once believed my favorite kin was against me and I felt like she wanted me to fail, and I eventually thought she was conspiring to harm me. However, she never said anything to imply these f…