If you are having thoughts of death or suicide, call 1–800–273–8255 (TALK), or if you need immediate assistance, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.


"Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself"
Thomas Jefferson.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Recovery and You!

This morning I want to talk about Recovery and how important it is. When I say the word "recovery" many people instantly assume I mean "cured". Which I don't mean.  When I talk about recovery, I am referring to being able to get out of bed everyday and actually live a near as normal life as I can. I still have to get up and take my medication.

I have a mental illness, I know I will never be 100% cured as I have a brain disorder, but I can work around it and do anything I choose to do.  One thing you always want to remember is what works for someone else may not work for you but you want to keep trying new things till you do find what works for you.

For me it was: self-help work, peer support, and changing my way of living.

Self-Help Work:

I began enrolling in programs that required me to do my own work. Some examples of this are WRAP (wellness recovery action planning), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) lots of reading, changing my thinking habits from always being negative to learning ho to be positive, and going to school plus holding down a full-time job.

Now there is a lot of self-help information out there so take a minute to find what works for you and go from there. But give it more than just a minute. After a week if it doesn't work for you, than move on to what does work for you.

Peer Support:

I didn't have anyone in my life who could offer me this, so I hunted it down on my own. After taking the class I found a job in Peer Support and low and behold did I not only help my clients, but it helped me as well.  By me doing this job I was able to see the bigger picture out there and became the Assistant Director for the NC peer support Association (NCAPS), which now allows me to reach hundreds of people. So once I started learning how to take care of myself, I never stopped learning and I don't regret it for one moment.

Peer Support is not available in all area, so if you can't find a group, than start your own. Peer support does help you, even if you think it doesn't.

Changing my way of living:

By changing things in my life that do me no good, to things that do me good helped immensely. Every time I would start to think negative thoughts I would replace them with positive thoughts instead. That slowly turned my thinking around and before I knew it I was talking positive, thinking positive, and eventually doing positive things with my life. Changing also included what I listened too, and what I watched. By doing those two things I took all the negative out of my life and could concentrate on the positive instead. I also started taking vitamins, exercising, and eating healthier, all this combined added a great influence in my life.

Don't get me wrong, nothing is 100% perfect, but it is better than what it once was when I had no ambition, dreams, or desire to do anything. I now chose to do what I want, when I want too. So whats stopping you from trying new things in your life?

Gratitude List:

1) I am grateful for my recovery and finding what works for me.
2) I am grateful for the opportunities I have today!
3) I am grateful for being able to teach others how to find their recovery.
4) I am grateful for being able to wake up with a smile on my face and a lighter heart.
5) I am grateful for my puppies who help me smile everyday.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Dear Mental Illness

A letter to my mental illness....

Have I ever told you how much I hate you? Yet I love you for just as many reasons.

Reasons I hate you:

1) You've taken some of my family from me
2) You've helped me ruin relationships in more than one way.
3) you've helped ruin my life in many ways: example, self-harm, theft, jail, and even by messing up in school.
4) You've helped me ruin the lives of many.
5) You've even helped me hold on to relationships that I shouldn't
6) You've help me forget who I am.

The reasons I love you:

1) You've helped me bring back some of my family
2) You've helped me make over 2000 friends in the last 2 years
3) you've taken my life in a whole new direction (Thank You!)
4) You've helped me see that I am not Hopeless and that I am a good person.
5) Thanks to you I have made some great friends in life and experience some amazing relationships
6) You've helped me see where I belong
7) You've helped me see who I am and who I want to be.
8) Because of you I can make someone's life a better place, as well as mine
9) Because of you I can see clearly where I was and where I need to be.

Needless to say, I am doing great where I am now, even with all of your short comings. That being said, there are still 2 people who I want in my world but they aren't, my son and my father. I need their support, yet don't have it, yet I am grateful for this in my life who are my support systems. If your reading this, you know who you are.

To date, I have started school and am almost on to my Junior year while maintaining a 4.0 (who would have ever thought? LOL), I have certificates to teach 5 different classes, and am currently working on 4 more, and will reach my goal of starting a recovery college at the rate I am going and I owe most of it to you my mental illness. Thank you for helping to push me to accomplish these tasks.

Today I am grateful for:
1) My recovery
2) my friends and the many more I will make.
3) My new life.
4) The ability to overcome my fears.
5) My friends going through recovery and them making it...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Being a Peer Support Specialist

A few years back a wonderful job found me, it's called Peer Support. I had no idea what this position entailed nor did I even know how to go about finding this training. Then one day I ran across an advertisement for a class coming up to learn how to be a Peer Specialist, I was taken back.

Now to hunt down the man teaching the class and needless to say I did hunt him down. LOL. There was probably more then 10 calls a day and numerous emails asking to be in his class. It was while waiting to here back from him that I did all the research I could find and knew this was the job for me.

So after 20 plus years in the Restaurant Industry, I gave it up and walked into the unknown. Fear of the unknown is what stops many of us with a mental illness (and even without) from doing anything. But I knew that if I was ever going to get anywhere it was time to jump into the unknown. Jump I did and I am very glad I did as I never knew my life could feel as complete as it does now. Oh sure, there are still some things missing I am sure, however my life now makes sense as to where it didn't before.

For starters, I have learned that I can't nor do I need to save everyone. My dad and I have a very strained relationship. I have called monthly, sent him letters, ran up to Ohio when I heard he had a heart attack and then had to have surgery. If I would have to guess, I can honestly say my dad has depression and therefore has yet to want to come to reality that a child of his has a severe and persistent mental illness, let alone admit he has some form of one. I have tried is all I can say and I realized when I started this job that it is no longer up to me, but up to him. I can try and help, but I can't "fix" him. But yet I still adore my job knowing I can't fix or save everyone.

The position of being a peer support specialist has opened many doors for me: I have started going to college full-time to eventually become a psychologist, I have helped form a State-wide organization called the NC Association of Peer Specialists, started my own recovery education company (Recovery Can Happen), and have been trained in a variety of recovery concepts. Yes, my life seems full, but it's not. I still find the time to work as a Certified Peer Support Specialist, both on my own and for companies.

Yes, it is rewarding!

All to often we hear that people with a severe mental illness can't hold a job, they don't know how wrong they are. This is the perfect job. We get to teach people ways to help with their lives, get them motivated to find ways to live again, teach them interventions concerning self-esteem, hope, ways to rethink their negative thoughts, find resources that they may have never known about, and even maybe find them other services they might not have known about to get the help they needed. We do a lot more then that, but we show them what recovery is about through our own experiences.

All to often, when meeting a client, I hear them say" someday I want to be like you". Well, you can never be like me because you aren't me, but you can be similar to me and do what I do. Recovery is possible if you give it a chance.

Happy Blessings!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where am I?

My mind often wonders and I don't know what to do about it. How do I control it? Is it my Bipolar raging through or is it my Borderline playing games? These are things I wonder about daily as I wake up and realize I have nothing to do today and think about what I can get into to keep it busy. Everyday I look for things to research, complete, or even start. For I know if I don't do something to keep my mind occupied, I will do nothing but sit her and fret. Which is a no-no. Fretting gets me into trouble, trouble I don't want or need.

Currently I am trying to get my company off the ground, but all I see are dead-ends due to a lack of funding I don't have. Is it my mental illness that is blocking me or is it a lack of trying on my part? I don't see it as a lack of trying as that is all I primarily do from sun up to sun down is work on trying. Maybe I'm trying to hard. After all I see all these people doing what I want to be doing, but I just can't get there. Am I not opening my mind enough or maybe it is to open and I need to pick just one or two things and do it, finish them damn it.

Thats the problem with mental illness like Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder. Both illness are big about getting in over our heads, trying to please everyone, including ourselves. When in reality I know I have no one to please but me. But yet I try so hard to please everyone else instead, forgetting that I am the one crying out on the inside: "Help me, slow me down, walk beside me, hold my hand, tell me everything will be okay". When is it my time to have others guide me instead of me doing for them? All that sounds greedy, I know. However, in reality if you saw all I do for others without wanting in return, you'd see differently.

I have a big class coming up, am I nervous, no. I do these classes all the time. What I am nervous about is the money I'll be making. I know if I have that kind of money, I'll go on a spending spree and regret it later. Hell my mind is already racing at the thoughts of recovery books, classes, and programs I can get to teach. To teach, that to me is a funny phrase. I am already endorsed to teach 4 different classes and I can't raise enough people "to teach them to". Thats why I find it funny that I want to teach more subjects. 

I have to remember that Recovery Can Happen if I get it together!


Monday, January 16, 2012


For many years I liked whoever I was married to or dating liked. If they liked a certain food I liked it. If they liked certain people, I liked them as well. If they were upset, sad, or angry I was as well, same thing with being happy and so on. They cried, I cried, and the list could go on and on. It's called a "mirroring effect." You pick up on the people around you and act or like the things they do.

I had to find a way to break habit as it wasn't me. Eventually I would stop mirroring and start rebelling, which just created problems since the person I was with didn't understand where I was coming from or what was going on. I made it easy to leave or for them to walk away from me. Funny thing is, I noticed that I'm not the only one to do it. People with a mental illness have a tendency to want to please everyone or we run them off. Many of us though for the wrong reasons. We can't keep someone just because we are afraid to be lonely, nor can we simply mirror them to make them happy.

We need to be our own-selves. After all, we matter as individuals. Never stoop to please someone else by giving up your love for various things. Be that individual that you were born to be.

Some ways to stop:

1) never give up on yourself to make someone else happy.

2) just because the other in your life likes something, doesn't mean you have to like it also (unless of course you truly do like it).

3) try doing your own thing once in a while.

4) remind yourself your an individual, separate from your partner.

5) remember what you like and express it so that you never forget it.

6) learn to compromise.

7) look into self-esteem classes or groups

8) tell yourself every day that you are a unique individual

9) try it once and if you don't like it or aren't into it then let your partner know. honesty is the best policy.

10) every week, you and your partner try something new that neither of you have done before.

11) learn to recognize your own TRUE feelings and emotions.

Try a few of these ideas and if you find they work for you, keep trying them, if they don't then learn something new that works for you. After all we can't keep hurting ourselves in this manner. Remember, we are all each unique individuals who deserve a chance at a happy and long life. After all mirroring someone can drain us of our energy and freedoms.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taking for granted...

Well it has been over 4 months since I last wrote and I do apologize. My life has been extremely busy, causing me to forget where I started and that is here with my blogs. If it wasn't for my readers on any of my blogs, I wouldn't be where I am today. So thank you world.....

My recovery and peer support is going National. Starting in July I will be traveling to four different states teaching Peer Support training. If you'd like to know more please visit my training website at Click on training and eduction and follow the link that is appropriate for your area.

This week I am in the middle of a training class and this class has brought the most tears to my eyes then any other class ever has. First I did a WRAP training and at the time, I didn't know it but I has three homeless guys in my class. Low and behold they showed up at my Peer Support training class and all I could think of was "how in the world are these guys going to do the impossible when they can't even help themselves". Well, they sure have surprised me this week! Not only have they gone above and beyond my expectations, but they have taught me something as well; courage and will. Courage to realize that no matter how bad my life gets, it is up to me to keep pushing forward and remember that someone is always worse off then I am. Will to keep moving forward in order to succeed in everything I set out to do.

These three gentleman are the sweetest men that you could ever meet. They showed up each day, did the required work (never asking anyone for anything), and graduated both classes. They all told me that I inspire them and oh boy what a feeling that is. What was even more amazing, was the way the class rallied around them. One guy picked them up for class and drove them home. Two other students made sure they got lunch each day and one guy even made sure one had the ensure that he knew the guy needed. This was truly an amazing class! Thank you all for the lessons learned this week. All I can say is that I truly learned what HOPE is this past eight days.

I will admit that I have been taking my success at what I am accomplishing for granted but after this week, I need to remember that it is my students that make me successful. Without them, I'd be no where. Thank you goes out to my Peer Support class of May 2011.

It's time I start doing my gratitude list again....

1) I am grateful for the people I teach Peer Support to
2) I am grateful for the lessons I learned this week.
3) I am grateful for the terrific support system that I have in place.
4) I am grateful for the opportunities that my mentor Robert has given me.
5) I am grateful for my job as a Peer Support Specialist!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Recovery 101

Your at a crossroad with yourself and you want to be in Recovery, but have no idea how to go about it, yet even start. What do you do? Who do you turn to? Do you go join a group or do you talk to someone about your choices to be in Recovery?

The answer is: you look into yourself to make sure you are ready and you head off on a path that YOU direct. After all, only you know the correct path for You. No one can tell you how to do it, but they can aid you along in your journey.

So now your worried if you start this journey, whether or not you'll relapse. The truth is, you might but then again you might not. You find might the strength with in yourself to stay on your chosen path. However, if you do relapse, don't let it stop you from getting back up and continuing on down your new path. Think of a relapse as a way to move forward and learn from your mistake. Think of relapsing as a teachable moment for yourself. Just find the strength to keep pushing forward.

Some steps to help you while finding your path through recovery. 

  • Admit to yourself that there is a problem and seek the help you need. Find someone to talk to, mentor you, join a NA/AA support group, find a peer ran support group, see a therapist or a psychiatrist. You can even talk to a Recovery Coach if you need to and can afford one. Now-a-days there are so many places online even where you can get help. If you go the self-help route though, please remember to stick to it, no matter how much better it feels giving up. 
  • Change your thought process. Note that this does take time, so giving up is not the answer here. Instead of always thinking negative, start adding a few positive affirmations on a daily basis. Repeat them to yourself over and over a few times a day and eventually you will notice the negative thoughts slowly going away. Now keep in mind that this doesn't mean you will never have another negative thought, cause we all know thats just not possible in hard times or times of a crisis. So when you get those negative thoughts, work them out and if you can try repeating positive things to yourself. What you want to do is get into the habit of repetitive thinking, positive not negative.
  • Find new friends if you need to. You have your friends who will be supportive of you no matter what your dealing with, then you'll have your other friends. The ones that get pissed off at you because your no longer using, drinking, or wanting to be around negative people. These type of people are not your true friends no matter how much you think they are. The people that stick with you, encourage you to do well in your recovery are your true friends. They will stick by you through thick and thin. You relapse, they will help you recover. Sure the hardest thing you might have to do is tell some of your friends to back off so that you can get through this, but if they are a true friend, they will understand. If you need to, go make new friends. Easier said then done, right. However if you join a peer ran support group or join online communities that can pertain to what it is your going through, you'll be surprised at just how many friends you'll make that you can talk to who might just have similar issues to what your going through. I have 2 of the greatest friends (that I met online) in the world now thanks to others reaching out and me grabbing for it.