FIRST OFF LET’S START HERE
The last post I made took a lot out of me. I didn’t realize how much, until two weeks went by and I hadn’t posted again. I didn’t feel like I had much to say, especially after what was said in Not-A-Mother’s Day. I worried that I wouldn’t have enough to say for a substantial follow-up. Truth is, at the moment I feel like I don’t. And I’m sorry.
The outpouring of support and love from friends who read my last post and identified in some way was ASTOUNDING. It was my most viewed blog post yet, and was seen in more than 10 countries across the world. THANK YOU. Dear reader & friend: You’re the best. Really.
NOW LET’S SEE IF I CAN PROVE MYSELF WRONG
I don’t want you to worry, reader and faithful friend, I am not depressed! I am not sad! I’m quite good at picking myself up by the bootstraps (yes boots, because I prefer them to heels, thank you very much) and trudging forward.
We all hit bumps in the road of life. How we handle them essentially defines who we are. For instance: It’s quite easy to hit a bump, throw your hands up in surrender, give up, refuse to try again and let life trample you from there on out (whether by addiction, depression, what have you). But it honestly doesn’t sound like so much fun… does it?
I’ve hit many a bump in my day, and I like to think I’ve lived a pretty great life so far… It all comes from how we handle it. For instance, and I’m proud to finally announce this to my friends here, next week, I am attending Peer Support Specialist Training in Chicago Monday through Friday!
For those of you who don’t know, a Peer Support Specialist is a lot like a therapist or social worker without the Masters Degree, but with lived experience and a documented recovery. This can be any lived experience with a mood disorder, personality disorder, mental health issue, domestic abuse, substance abuse, addiction, etc. or any combination of them. The idea here, is that someone who comes from a path of recovery from any or all of those issues has certain knowledge that cannot be taught in a classroom. Someone with lived experience has a story to tell, and can relate to others going through the same journey (in their own way, of course!) on a deeper level than someone who only went to school for their Masters to become an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor), etc.
Martin is an LCSW. We established very early on in our relationship that he’s absolutely NEVER to “put me on his couch” (y’know, like in a therapist’s office). He’s my life partner, my best friend, my person, NOT my health professional. We stick very well to that line. Sometimes we have discussions about Mental Health in general, and I’ll share certain small aspects of conversations I have with my Therapist, but beyond that, he’s allowed me to make my own recovery journey. (For which I’m extremely grateful!!!)
I’ve attempted to go to Group therapies, gone through anxiety message boards, Reddit threads, Facebook groups, and more but a lot of them (if not all) left me feeling worse off than I was to start. I tried to discern why that was, and came up with one common issue: A lot of them came through as bitch-fests. People gathered together to bitch, whine and complain about this, that or the other thing, and try to outdo one another with their woe-is-me’s. NO THANKS. It felt like the folks there had hit the bump of a mental health issue and just given up. Let it swallow them whole and had essentially BECOME their disorder…
Here’s how I see it: I hit a bump almost 4 years ago, and was finally diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It was REALLY hard! But, at the exact same time, I finally knew that there was SOMETHING WRONG. I had a diagnosis, and therefore, I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t broken, I wasn’t a complete lost cause. My issues existed in a medical field, I wasn’t alone, and there was a way to fix it!!! I took it as a chance to learn, to understand, to conquer, to persevere, to make mistakes (inevitable!! EVERY ONE DOES IT!!!!) and to KEEP GOING.
I think this attitude is missing a lot, when it comes to recovery. An anxiety disorder doesn’t ever go away. There’s no “cure” for it. What I’ve come to understand both through sessions with my therapist and through my own journey with it, is that there are ways to redirect when things get to be too much, and even better: TO ACCEPT IT. Let it be. Let it happen. (SO MUCH HARDER THAN IT SOUNDS!)
To become a Peer Support Specialist would enable me to work with people like me, and help them journey past their bump in the road, without that white flag of surrender. Talk about a silver lining!
Wish me luck, friends!
If I can post while I’m away, I will do so. I hope to share thoughts, feelings, emotions and nuggets of gold knowledge that I come across with all of you!!!