Friday, March 8, 2019

The Role of the Therapist

The therapist upholds much in my relationship with recovery, which is a lifestyle. My therapist helps in diverse ways such as holding me accountable to my treatment plan, routine to maintain wellness, and self-commitments, or personal obligations. My therapist helps me combat self-stigma, encourages balance and routine as well as focus on wellness. In short, my therapist plays a significant role in my treatment team that consists of my psychiatric doctor, nurse, myself, and them, the therapist.

Whenever I have unanswered questions I take concerns to my therapist. My therapist finds resolutions pertaining to unanswered questions with my doctor, and general demands at the mental health center altogether. For example, when I had concerns paying for medication my therapist made a referral to the nurse to manage my needs. Also, my therapist can assist in scheduling appointments with the doctor whenever there is an emergency. Overall, the therapist plays a vital role in helping me stay accountable to treatment, keep distance from self-stigma, and to stay focused on a holistic outlook.

I appreciate sessions with my therapist, because they are resourceful, give straightforward input, and practice consistency. Holding onto negativity is easy. Therefore, being conscious of self-stigma is important to managing recovery. Limiting myself according to lack of awareness, and stereotypes of society weighs me down. I prefer to stay focused on my strengths, which my therapist helps reinforce in therapy, and to not let widespread fears dictate my outlook. I stay above self-stigma by reflecting my accomplishments, relationships with peers, and my faith in God. Moreover, my therapist reminds me of my many options to continue moving forward.

Part of my accountability to fulfilling demands of treatment is to manage a mood journal. My mood journal helps depict causes, and effects, of moods based on daily events, which I rate on a widespread color-based scale. My better days are the result of accomplishing my things to do list. While not-so-good days are typically plagued with unpredictable stress. Fortunately, my therapist and I review my mood journal, and corresponding events to determine triggers and warning signs leading up to my poorer days.

My holistic recipe includes my spirituality, support system, and personal responsibilities. In general, I aim to give God His time by praying, reading scriptures, and listening to uplifting music that focuses on Him. I feel more at peace whenever I worship and mediate regularly. I keep a handful of persons in my circle because they are my confidants, which requires trustworthiness. My personal responsibilities give way to making treatment a priority. My personal obligations are my livelihood; my son, our home, and self-care routine to balance life better. Therapy not only helps me manage my mood but also reinforces my self-commitments to enjoy recovery and life more.

Finally, my therapist holds many roles, which holds me accountable. My therapist gives me assignment to reflect on symptoms and such by recording a mood journal. My therapist reminds me of my strength that way I do not fall victim to self-stigma. Lastly, my therapist encourages holistic approaches that builds my wellness, and recovery based on my support system, spirituality, and routine for my personal livelihood.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Peer-to-Peer Advice


When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia 12 years ago my doctor gave me two pieces of information: (1) take your medication, and (2) manage your stress. Since then I manage my household, part-time job, and family obligations to my child. Still, I underestimated the importance of stress management. I was hospitalized last year due to what seemed like a decade of stressors. These stresses included financial hardship, the anniversary of my mother's passing, and birthday, the breakdown of important relationships to my support system, and lack of awareness of my triggers, and warning signs.

In short, triggers and warning signs are similar but different like a stop sign versus a yield sign on the road. Triggers are events or experiences that create negative consequences either emotionally, physically, socially, and legally. For example, a trigger may be going to a place that reminds one of a poor experience, and thus creates tension, stress, and dread, which leads to irritability and poor communication with others. A warning sign is similar, but it happens before a trigger settles. Warning signs are signs that lets an individual know they are not feeling well and require attention before symptoms and experience worsens. Fortunately, examining experiences helps one determine how to manage these triggers and warning signs better in the future.

I gained more wisdom from my hospital stay. I learned how to maintain a good place. While hospitalized I practiced a few coping strategies in order to stay focused in my place of wellness. Coping skills are essential to recovery. Recovery requires more than medication. Recovery to me is to keep trying. I define recovery to keep trying, because it is the act of striving for a better place of wellness. My coping skills include: therapy, rest, walking, writing, affirmations, trustworthy confidants, prayer, singing, reading faith-based material, motivational talks, uplifting music, and routine. The advice my doctor gave worked well for me. However, based on experience I had to focus more on stress management than anything, which meant awareness of my triggers, warning signs, and practice of my coping skills.

Finally, I encourage peers in recovery, and our supporters, to add a post-crisis management plan to ways to maintain. In other words, if medication works well do it, but focus on stress management or coping skills, and implementing a post-crisis plan. A post-crisis management plan is much like Mary Ellen Copeland's WRAP [Wellness Recovery Action Plan], or a psychiatric advance directive (PAD). They provide instructions on how to facilitate wellness during a crisis such as hospitalization. These Plans share pertinent information including how a peer functions when well, triggered, and how to best support us with preferred treatment, ideal facilities for recuperation, and preferences in how to manage our livelihood such as family, home, and communication with employer. I believe a post-crisis plan is essential to recovery because it acknowledges the many factors involved in recovery and life! Thus, from peer-to-peer I encourage us all to develop a post-crisis plan that way we can maintain recovery, stress management, and practice self-sufficiency by planning ahead.

How to Cope with Dark Seasons

I aim to empower those affected by mental illness. However, the truth about recovery is there will be many dark seasons. Still, I hope peopl...