Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ashley's Upcoming Workshop September 29, 2018

What’s On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! The Workshop (Description)
What’s On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! The Workshop An introduction to a peer’s second book, based on her lived experience with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Despite maintaining wellness, her condition is still an illness that requires work! Eleven years after her first breakdown that resulted in her diagnosis, she has yet another experience where her reality is in diverse worlds in her mind, only. Coping Takes Work! focuses on how she endures the second-time around, still struggling, but not giving in! Through these experiences, reflecting on her first break, and her recent, she still sees hope.

What To Expect from The Workshop
A group discussion on the following concerns and needs to prepare an individual for a crisis and/or hospitalization:

  • Warning Signs
  • Triggers
  • Practical Scenarios 
  • Your Coping Skills 
  • Advance Directive

The Facilitator
Ashley Smith is a lived experienced expert, certified peer specialist (CPS), and speaker. She is a trained speaker with NAMI Georgia and the Respect Institute. Ashley is managing her schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Her recovery journey began in 2007. Despite living with her conditions, she thrives evident by her resiliency, which she discloses on her personal blog, “Overcoming Schizophrenia,” (2008-present). Her first book, which is a collection of blog entries from “Overcoming Schizophrenia,” What’s On My Mind? However, her follow up book, What’s On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! that is devoted to the act of recovery, which is articulated in its title, “coping,” and the work involved. Ashely Smith self-published her book and wants to assist others to do the same. She is president and CEO of EMM Enterprise, LLC. Through EMM Enterprise Ashley guides individuals on how to organize, compile, and to deliver a self-published book! To contact Ashley, visit her blog or website…

Upcoming Book
Ashley Smith authors, What's On My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from Overcoming Schizophrenia, which is available on Amazon. Her book reflects on memories of her first breakdown in 2007 that is a vivid account of her processing of the diagnosis of schizophrenia, and bizarre thoughts while experiencing different realities. Likewise, Ashley's writing still shares her story. Her next  book, What’s On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! is inspired by her recent hospitalization in 2018, which she recorded in her journal during her inpatient hospitalization. 

Ashley practices recovery by living it, sharing it, and giving the God of her understanding all the credit for restoring her mind! Despite challenges of living with mental health conditions, which can disrupt all areas of one’s livelihood, Ashley is committed to mental health advocacy! Struggling for her livelihood, but not for her hope. The book, What's On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! is forthcoming...

Register TODAY
2018 Mental Health Conference Voices of Hope: Speaking Out About Mental Health in Church and Community 

  • FREE Event
  • Saturday, September 29, 2018
  • 9 AM to 3 PM
  • The House of Hope church, Dr. E. Dewey Smith (Senior Pastor), located: 4650 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur, GA 30034
  • To learn more about workshops offered, and to register visit:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Continue Acknowledging Recovery -September "National Recovery Month"

September is "National Recovery Month." It seems that I almost forgot this?! However, I do not want you to let this special month of recognition go by without additional reflection on the meaning of recovery.

Despite living with mental health challenges since my diagnosis in 2007, my definition of recovery changes to me! Although I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, my treatment team switched my official diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder early on without much discussion. As you may be aware, already, schizo-affective disorder is schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Over the years I gained a lot of knowledge about schizophrenia, and not enough about bipolar disorder, which I will work on, every diagnosis requires attention at recovery! Every diagnosis can damage a good person and their loved ones, however, recovery can overcome many struggles with mental health concerns...

In 2007, I was hospitalized. And, in 2018, I was hospitalized, again. Through my experience I gained a better understanding of mental health conditions, and the meaning of recovery to me. Even though an individual may experience a setback in their life and recovery, this does not change my definition of recovery right now.

Many persons may select the definition of recovery, 'to restore,' which is correct in most if not all dictionaries. Opposite, I used to hold the viewpoint that recovery is the same as maintaining a good place. I was wrong! Recovery is an action, which demands life-long attention. 

Recovery is to keep trying. While I was at my worse, without full-knowledge of the extent of how poor if a state that my condition had on me, overall, I learned how to cope better, harder, and to keep trying despite distractions!

I was writing my follow up book to my first, prior to my recent time away. My first book is a collection of posts from this blog entitled: What's On My Mind? and available on Amazon. Through my experience, and ongoing redirection, and effort to practice recovery, I learned a significant piece of wisdom... The definition of recovery is the effort to live, the strength to keep on, and the hope in trying again, and again... 

Do not let this month go by without paying closer attention to recovery for people like myself, and you, and others living with mental health challenges. Everybody is enduring a fight to overcome. Many persons are living with a diagnosis and continue to practice recovery!

My upcoming book, What's On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! will articulate my challenges, but also my triumphs during my inpatient hospital visit. My hospital stay required a lot of me, in order, to stay empowered, and to try again at recovering from my conditions. 

I remember a close friend's identification and common concern... whenever a somebody goes into the hospital an individual buys them flowers. However, when a peer goes into an inpatient mental health hospital some of us do not consider to purchase ourselves and fellow peers flowers... stigma. Mental health conditions are a medical condition too! Next time, if you know anybody going in or getting out of a mental health hospital consider buying them some flowers even if they do not value them generally, trying to put forth effort is always a good place to be in with the stigma we live daily. With that said, upon my return home, I brought myself some flowers, and a card to celebrate my mind, and recovery!

September is National Recovery Month. Continue to acknowledge it. Continue to learn more.  Continue to reach out, and continue to support recovery in its diverse meanings, especially this month (September, National Recovery Month!)... Thank you.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

My Blog, My Recovery, My Book, & My Life!

I just made it back home earlier this week... My spirit was fighting for my mind, daily, second by second. The mind is of this world, however, The Spirit of Him within my soul, always wins the victory! To my God, The One, The Spirit, to Him, the glory, forever! I thank You, always. Love, Ashley 
(Embracing My Mind, Facebook, September 15, 2018).

Ashley Smith, Author/Blogger, "Overcoming Schizophrenia" (2008-2018)
First, I thank you for reading about my recovery on this personal blog (not for pay), Overcoming Schizophrenia (started in 2008). I blog to learn, to share, and to inform someone about LIVING with mental health concerns, such as schizophrenia. I do this for me, for other individuals, and most importantly, for my God, He restores my mind. 

I am grateful for my mind, life, and another opportunity to share my lived experience, in order to support another peer, family member, and supporter. We, us, we welcome: self-improvement, awareness, hope, and support as we strive to practice wellness. I write, we read, I write some more, and WE share, and then write some more. I thank you for visiting, reading, and checking on me, my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia.

In short, my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia, is about- my lived experience with schizophrenia, which for me began in 2007. I was arrested, jailed, and hospitalized for five months. Ultimately, facing felony charges, predominately, because of my unknown life-long challenge, my medical concern; my mental health condition; SCHIZOPHRENIA.

Fortunately, the felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors, with time-served. I was 20 years old, I spent my 21st birthday in a court-ordered state psychiatric hospital in California. My family, and I did not understand, or know the challenges, and setbacks that my mental health problems would create, worsen, and disrupt.

Last month, (August 2018), I was arrested, and hospitalized. Eleven years later... this time in my other home state, Georgia. This time without my mother, who passed away in 2013 with breast cancer. In spite of living with these concerns, my faith enables me to find something, at least one part of my experience, which was negative, but can be turned around into a positive asset into my own recovery, as well as somebody else! 

Although my mental health condition improves in comparison to my first nervous breakdown (at age 20) having more work experience, and birthing, and caring for my son; and taking care of our daily needs, regularly, everyday, is precious. And so is my mind, "precious." My mind is precious to me because it helps me to maintain my livelihood; my motherhood, my independence, my opportunity to grow, and to learn, and to experience life; to love life, by sharing my recovery story with others; on this blog. Still, I have a strong foundation, the support of my family, in California, and also here, Atlanta. Moreover, a strong support system that include: family, treatment team, peers, and friends.

However, my schizophrenia did NOT disappear. Despite my many accomplishments my mental health concerns NEVER disappeared. My diagnosis is officially, schizo-affective disorder, or a combination of schizophrenia, AND bipolar disorder (mania), which was probably true for me in 2007, but was misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, alone. I experience depression, mania, and several other symptoms that schizophrenia possesses. To me schizophrenia is a thought disorder that alters an individual's thinking, thought-processing, behavior, and emotions and such.

I take at least three primary medications to help minimize the drastic impact that my diagnosis can have on my senses, and reality, and thus, lack of- reality. To help me maintain my livelihood, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; I take medication for the severity of my condition. I take medication because I see the benefits. Under the supervision of my psychiatric doctor, therapist, and other professionals in my treatment team's office, I take at least three medications: 1) an anti-psychotic, 2) a mood stabilizer, and 3) an anti-depressant.

This month, September 2018, is HUGE to me. Right now, I am celebrating my Overcoming Schizophrenia blog! My blog is 10 years old, and alive, still... Also, this month is my BIRTHDAY-MONTH (September). Despite my recent setback, and issues, I am still working on me, and my recovery. Unlike my last major setback (2007), this time I advocated to the judge for myself.

I have a lot of experience with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), here known as NAMI Georgia. Specifically, its presentation "In Our Own Voice," where the presenter(s) share their recovery story according to specific themes, and /or topics.

Also, I am a Respect Institute graduate that is a trained speaker, and individual living with a disability, who skillfully articulates the lived experience for themselves, peers, and others. Also, the Respect Institute of Georgia is sponsored by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network.

Lastly, I am excited about my rekindled spirit, and energy, on writing... Writing my next book:

Coping Takes Work!
by Ashley Smith

This book is a follow up to my first book, What's On My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from Overcoming Schizophrenia. Coping Takes Work! This book will focus on how I managed to endure the systems, specifically, the court-ordered hospital visit.

Finally, I am still recuperating, and writing. However, it is important to note that Coping Takes Work! is inspired by my journal, which I wrote in the hospital. I had to minister to myself, in order to stay hopeful, and positive about my potential release, and opportunity to be with my child, to share my experience, and to enjoy my life, again!

Eleven years ago looked similar to a few short weeks ago. However, I am well now. I am sharing my experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to live, and to enjoy the journey that my Higher Power chooses for me, still! Thank you. 

Much love,
Ashley Smith,
Blogger, Author, Peer, & Mother for My Higher Power- THE SPIRIT, THE ONE, THE CREATOR

Ashley Smith, Author of forthcoming book:
What's On My Mind? Coping Takes Work!

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