I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sometimes Sadness Is Just Sadness

Jesus was portrayed simply as having the courage to be himself under any set of circumstances.  The Being of Jesus thus issues in enormous freedom. It delivers us from the need to impress, to win, or to protect ourselves.  It calls us only to be the self we are, the deepest self, the most real self.  (332, Spong, Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes)
I can be sad and still be myself in recovery.  I don't need to hide.  (me)
My doctor declared me, "normal," today, which makes me laugh.  My energy is low again and I was worried that my depression was coming back, but he said no.  "You don't look depressed and it seems like you're pretty motivated," he said.


Despite a lack of energy, I took care in my appearance, put on new clothes, complete with bright red lipstick before going out today.

 I went to where I work and talked with a few people who are affiliated with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  I just love networking and sharing with people my passion for wellness centered mental health.  On the way home, I stopped and got my emissions tested.  (Of course, I waited til the day before my birthday to get it done.) And THEN, I went to the bank and got a temporary debit card because of course, I had lost it a few days ago.


It wasn't even noon yet and I was exhausted.  Nothing appealed for food - too tired to cook, but instead of just fixing a bowl of cereal, I found a microwaveable meal with protein.  I've discovered that eating more protein and drinking more water really do help elevate my energy.  I smiled as there was a time when a microwaveable pizza would have made me anxious about the calories and fat grams.  Now I think of it as a source of energy that tastes good.  I ate and then cuddled with my cat for a little while.


I had to leave just an hour later for the second round of "must do's."  I saw my doctor and told him about my lower than average energy but also that I was dealing with the disappointment of breaking up with someone that I had really liked.  It's no big drama and we hadn't dated long, but it had been a long while since I had felt so hopeful about a romantic relationship.

"I think that's normal," he said.  "You're sad, but that's okay.  Everyone gets sad sometimes.  You still have motivation-you're not depressed-just going through some sadness. You're growing! Do you want to meet again in two or three months?"

Holy Sh*t, I'm just sad?! Hmmm...

On my way home, I stopped at the Kroger's that had the Georgia license tag kiosk and was delighted that despite my procrastinating, I am not going to get a ticket for no new tag.  I took the moment to look for manager's specials and was able to score a few deals for dinner.  At the checkout, I asked for money back to pay the neighbor's son for mowing my lawn a few days ago.


I got in my car with a big bravo - despite feeling tired and sad, I got every single of my mutha-f*ckin' chores done for the day!  (my mind swears when I'm excited, apparently...)

Maybe that doesn't sound exciting or grand to you, but it is to me.

I asked a coworker a few weeks ago what recovery means to her and she surprised me by saying,
"it means you've got your sh*t together.  You do what you need to do, whether you want to or not." 
It may not be the prettiest definition, but I think she's right.  Recovery is about doing what one needs to do, despite how one feels.  It means not giving up.  In order to get things done, we may need help, and that's okay.  The point is that one does not need to self-harm or self-medicate in order to get rid of unpleasant feelings.  You use your skills or call someone for support.

Now, okay, obviously that definition is a little simplistic.  Recovery is a process and I don't want to insinuate that someone who does not get all their errands accomplished in one day is not in recovery. That would be ridiculous.

However: not giving up, despite how one feels.  Doing what one needs to do, even if it's boring, even if it's stressful, even if it's tiring - that's recovery.

I'm no longer sad; I'm still romantically frustrated, but hey, that's life.  I've got sh*t to do.  Breaking down will just have to wait for another day.

 Read the May Edition of the Hope Is Real Newsletter and subscribe!  There are some metro Atlanta mental health events and info you may want to know!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

When Wise Mind Says Shut Up

Forget about self-confidence; it's useless.  Cultivate God-confidence. (The Message Bible, 356.)
(You can substitute goddess or spirit or Higher Power or ancestors or Love or anything else-The point is to have confidence in something bigger than yourself that guides your life, even if it's just trust in your own intuition instead of your ego.) 

Talking about the prophets and sin left me with my mind swirling a couple of Sundays ago during Bible Study. The people that were talking about how awful everything is really bothered me, but is my insistence on joy ignoring reality?

Here is what I eventually decided:
It is good to reflect on the atrocities of society, but it is not good to wallow in them. It is good to reflect if they cause us to move towards solutions, but it is not if we move towards despair. It is good to be aware of when I miss the mark, but it is not good if that is all of my focus. If I spend more time feeling instead of doing, then I have missed the mark. If I spend no time feeling but only do, then I have missed the mark. 
The answer seems to me to be found in wise mind - the balance of emotion and logic mind.
I do not relate to a Puritan mindset at all.  I feel like I have spent too much time in suicidal depression to choose any kind of theology or philosophy that focuses on sin.  I want to focus on joy while I can.  

Still, when I was just about to launch into my third dramatic speech during Bible Study last week, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear,         “shut up.”        All of a sudden, I was not sure if what I was about to say was true or just egotistical and so I decided to spend the rest of the meeting listening as much as possible.  
“Just because I do not necessarily relate to the feeling of sin does not mean that I should disregard the depths of someone else’s feelings,” my wise mind said.   
I then realized why I needed to stop.  It is good to state one’s opinion or belief, but it is not good if I am doing so because I am feeling threatened or invalidated.  I realized I wanted the person to share my joyous feelings because I was feeling attacked, but disagreeing with someone is not actually the same thing as being invalidated.  People are allowed to have different experiences.
By George, I may be growing up!
I have come to view my Borderline Personality Disorder as an angsty, emotional teen.  It is not good to label that part of myself as bad or “disordered” but to instead validate her feelings, mentally hug her, and then whisper in her ear, “It’s okay.  Being quiet right now isn’t about trying to please other people or feeling bad about yourself; you are good-it’s about realizing that your feelings are not the only strong feelings out there-I can empathize with someone without taking their shit on.  I can feel someone else’s feelings without giving up my own.”

Just a few days before, I had read this disturbing passage from the DSM-V:
Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity (i.e., prone to feel slighted or insulted); perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities. 
(In other words, difficulty with empathy due to defensiveness)
People with BPD have an ever changing identity/sense of self. Our insecurity prompts us to feel threatened when someone else is just expressing an opposing opinion or feeling.  This makes it very hard to empathize with others. Unlike what some people think, It is not that people with BPD are incapable of experiencing empathy, it is that we have to do extra inner work in order to access it.  DBT teaches us how to do that-Today I can choose to recognize that I am my own person; taking another’s feelings seriously does not automatically discount my own.  It is a big deal that I could recognize when I was starting to go overboard and wanting to convince everyone to feel the same way as I did in order to feel more comfortable with myself.

I believe we can most fully be in empathy with someone when we are in wise mind.  I can relate  and feel with a person without taking on their own self.

Wise mind rightly told me to shut up, consider, and think.  
It is not all about me.
What I eventually came to realize is that I do not relate to the way sin is usually talked about.  I try my best every day and feel proud that that is what I try to do. I put myself out every day to combat the stigma of mental illness. I feel secure in my intentions.  

So, what is my sin?  (Remember that sin simply means “to miss the mark.”). 
I sin every time I do not trust in the partnership of God and I.  I sin when I put material goods over spiritual goods.  I sin when I give advice, as if I know a person better than they do.  I sin when I waste my gifts and ignore my purpose.  I sin when I value making money over listening to the spirit. I sin when I think that I alone am right on any issue.  I sin when I do not trust in what I know is right.  I sin when I am not kind or jump to conclusions or talk badly about another. 
I sin when I view myself as a disorder, instead of as a human being, originally good.  I sin when I do not trust in the wisdom of my wise mind in partnership with Sophia, the wisdom of God.
So what do I do?
I reflect without wallowing; I move towards hope, not despair; I trust in myself and in my God.   
Never alone. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

All Can Change

God is the source of everything that is in every moment of time.  For this view, affirming that God is creator is not primarily a statement about origination in the remote past, rather, it is a statement about the present dependence of the universe upon God.  (72, Marcus Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time) 

I worry that I do not do enough.  I don't like calling people, so I don't call my senators as often as I feel I should.  I don't attend every march or rally-my feminist meetup is more of a social group than an activist one.  Where I have found solace is my work for mental health/disability advocacy and in my writing.  As much as I love to berate myself, no one can do everything - we must spend time where our talents lie.  I did not attend the March for Our Lives last week, but it influenced this writing.   The arts are important-writing is what keeps people alive in hope when their feet can no longer lift.  Writing has the ability to change people and movements years after the writer has died.  Will my writing do that?  ummmm, maybe? I only know that I feel my best when I write. 

Here is a piece of writing from the writing activity where I work.  This week's prompt was the first line in Anne Lamott's book, Grace (Eventually):
There is not much truth being told in the world.
There is not much truth being told in the world.  But if you look around, the truth can be seen.  The news will have you believe the lie that all hope is lost, that we shouldn’t try to make changes.  They are saying that because those in power know their time is up and they are terrified of what that will look like.  We must tell the truth if those in power will not.  If we are not acknowledged, then we must act out our truth anyway. 

The truth is the truth - no amount of ignoring will cause it to not be so.

The truth is that the world of absolutes has come to an end.  Everything is fluid; all can change, all can be made better.  Transformation and redemption always have the final word.  It is that time of year when we acknowledge that truth-this time the children who are fed up will enforce the truth to stay.
Additional Thoughts:

I hear a lot of older adults complain about how everything is so complicated know, with people deciding how they want to label themselves.  I think it's much simpler though: people have the freedom to be who they were created to be without worry of fitting into society's labels.  It is a wonderful thing.  I think God wants us to create with her outside the bounds of our rules but inside the borders of God's grace and love.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mental Gifts

That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each one of us is an original."  (The Message Bible, 402)

In the hospital, I overheard someone call another an “entitled Borderline,” and that made me feel like I was five-years-old.  Even when I got out of the hospital, I felt like there was a flashing sign on my forehead saying, “Borderline Personality Disorder,” even though I have had years of DBT training and am by now a pretty mild case.  I had had to be hospitalized due to severe insomnia and a fairly recent traumatic event.

I know that most people think of BPD as a bad thing and that it has an intense stigma, but I have found a positive dialectic in the “disorder.” Yes, I got the diagnosis because my life was miserable, HOWEVER, it introduced me to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which has completely turned my life around.  A way for people to learn how to regulate their own emotions, prevent crisis, handle distress, be in the moment, and have healthy relationships?  This is hard stuff that we don’t learn in school but should. 

I can on the one hand want to learn better ways of being while also being grateful that I was given the chance to learn these skills in the first place.  I realized something similar when I was hospitalized for an eating disorder many years ago - that I was going in with a disorder but that I was leaving with skills that all people should learn. Paradoxically, the gateway to misery is also the door to freedom.

BPD isn’t the only disorder that I have - you might as well just call me the walking DSM, as I have at one time or another been labeled with almost every type of mainstream mental illness.  I see this now as a positive for my job as a certified peer specialist because I can relate to just about any kind of mental health challenge experience in some way.

Here are the gifts of my mental disorders as I see them.

Borderline Personality Disorder:
Intense sensitivity/Empathy
The ability to deeply feel brings me the gift of empathy.  I used to hate being so sensitive as a child but I have to come to say that I would rather be intensely sensitive than apathetic.

the drive that I can put towards impulsive gestures I can also put towards my own recovery.  This has served me well in changing old ways of thinking and behaving.  It has made me a fierce advocate for others.

Severe Anxiety:
Chronic Pain/Mindfulness
My body acts up when I get severely anxious - back pain, headaches, tingly sensations in my arms, upset stomach, lightheadedness, even hallucinations.  Basically, if I experience a new weird pain then I know it’s probably anxiety.  I see these cues now as a warning sign.  When I start to feel a twinge of pain I ask myself what is stressing me out.  Once I figure it out, I can check the facts to see if the situation is as bad as my subconscious thinks it is and it never is.  

Sensory Overload/Freedom:
When I am severely anxious, I can have meltdowns like a little child because of being so overwhelmed by my environment.  I do not handle loud noises well and insomnia makes it worse.  In fact, it is one of the reasons why I choose not to have children.  These  meltdowns are deeply embarrassing to me and fortunately I rarely have them anymore but I understand why people meltdown better than most - I never blame the person but our society for making this world a much harder place to be than it needs to.  I understand the need for validation and how relieving a good cry can be. 

Restricting/Depression/Intuitive Eating:
I used to restrict in order to feel more in control.  Not eating eventually makes a person more depressed, so I would always end up in the hospital before my restricting had become totally out of control.  I realized that most likely every person in our society has eating issues and so I could use my treatment as an opportunity to become healthier than most if I was open to learning.

Depression/Acceptance of Death; Appreciation of Life
Ever since I was about eleven years old, I thought about death - a lot.  This forced me to come to grips with my own beliefs much earlier than probably most. I have a dark sense of humor and while I no longer want to kill myself, I am not afraid of death either.  I am very aware of the fact that no moment is for certain, so I really try to live in the moment.

OCD/Organization Skills:
It’s a cliche but it is true that I have organizational super powers.  I do not have cleaning powers, but I am known as the organizer at work.

Delusions/Creativity - 
Psychosis/Spiritual Connection/Curiosity:
I call delusions or psychosis as “getting weird.”  It’s really the best way I can define it for myself.  When I am in “psychosis” my mind is open to different and unusual ways of thinking and I don’t necessarily see these as bad.  It is good to have an open mind, to be curious.  To me, openness to the unusual gifts of the universe is one the best presents that I have received. During my last episode, I felt an intense and profound sacred connectedness with all living beings, especially people who have been through trauma, and I am thankful for that mystical and spiritual experience, even if it was unpleasant in other ways.

Disability/More Time for Art
I was at an art show yesterday, and I told several people that I was glad to be on disability because it gives me the time to concentrate on creating art.  Also, I have met many, many interesting and wonderful people that I would not have if I was not a part of the mental health and disability world. People with disabilities are invisible to most of society-I am glad to enjoy a point of view denied to many.

If I could choose, would I give up my disabilities?  I do not think it is a question that I can answer. The reality is that I have them, so I might as well look for the positives, instead of playing the victim in a Lifetime movie.  Even if I could give them up, they would only be replaced with some other type of hardship because that is the way life works.  Life isn’t easy for anyone, but it can still be a life worth living.

Follow me on Instagram as @BrightHopeArt to see my art and read more recovery stories.  Sign up for my monthly mental health newsletter.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Ethics and Repentance

Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives.  (Matthew 3:8)
Last Tuesday, I spent the day in Macon taking a continuing education workshop on certified peer support ethics. The presenters kept reminding us of the Hippocratic oath, which begins with the famous phrase, “First, do no harm” and I kept wondering to myself, “Why doesn’t this apply to mental hospitals?” 

It seemed to me that the staff at the last hospital I was in thought that as long as they weren’t hitting us, then they were being ethical, but there are other kinds of abuse other than simply physical.  Ignoring, gaslighting, coercion, calling people names, condescending tones, raised voices can all be a part of emotional abuse.  I consider chronic understaffing, poor training, and no deescalation skills as the breeding grounds for emotional, spiritual abuse and neglect.

Now, not all hospitals are the same - a few mistakes everywhere is expected, but the last hospital I was in stood out - the chronic understaffing meant that  all the patients had to stay in a fairly small room to be watched, people got angry that they had nothing to do all day and then the staff got defensive and started telling us that we were acting like children.  At one point, I thought there was going to be a riot and was genuinely scared. 

It seems to me that as long as we look at people as dollar signs, as objects to be bought, sold, told what to do, and drugged, then the mental healthcare system will be guaranteed to harm  their patients, the opposite of the Hippocratic Oath.  I am not against medicine or safe spaces, but I am also for the ethical treatment of human beings no matter where they are.  I believe that the concept of safety should apply to the whole person and should promote holistic healing, not further PTSD.

dictionary.com defines ethics as, “the branch of philosophy that deals with morality. Ethics is concerned with distinguishing between good and evil in the world, between right and wrong human actions, and between virtuous and nonvirtuous characteristics of people.”

It is evil to view people as an “other.”  Whether calling someone an, “illegal,” or a “mental patient,” the separateness causes the worker to put the other person down and believe that “those people” are not quite as human as they are, which leads to abuse and even death.  In a capitalistic society, it is the almighty dollar that always comes first - that is why we have not passed gun control, despite the horrifying number of public shootings - politicians favor the NRA’s money more than the people they are supposed to serve.   
How do we begin the undoing of capitalism?   
Our very nation was built by people who were bought, sold, and considered property.  It seems to me that this is the way the insurance, drug companies, and politicians view people with disabilities and if a disabled person is a person of color, then the risk of being abused or killed goes up even higher.  

This country needs major reform in all areas of life.  I do not believe it is ethical to view people as property or as objects.  It is not ethical to continue taking money from the NRA when the people are crying out for change.  Parents should not carry the fear that their  children will  be killed during class.

In the Bible study I attended just last week, we talked about how the kings of Israel always needed prophets to keep them in check. 
“People in power need truth tellers,” we said. 
I believe we must ALL tell our leaders how sad we are, how sad our society has become, how angry everyone feels - every person in our country is in a state of trauma and so to try to separate us into groups of an “us” and a “them” is even more demeaning and offensive.  Our country is struggling with a collective case of PTSD.

 When are we going to come together and say that community and love and kindness should be our focus, not guns, money, or false ego?  The American Dream was always just a mirage, anyway; what about a Human Dream instead?

A land without "others" and a land where all people are valued. It is fitting that this recent shooting happened during the Christian season of lent, for only a period of political repentance will bring about positive change.

How many children have to die before the politicians realize that there is no other - we are all connected, we are all struggling with trauma, we are all on the brink of insanity. A news reporter the other day said that the shooting was the result of mental health stigma, however, it is not the people with mental illness that we need to fear but the politicians causing the stigma in the first place.

Our society is standing on the brink of something potentially great - let us choose to systemically repent and change our ways.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Writing Was My Saving Grace

They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling.  (The Message Bible, 325)

The two writings below feel very special, almost sacred, to me.  They helped me and they helped my peers.   The first piece was when I was in a super angry, emotional state and the second piece was written when I was still partly sedated from the night before.  I’m amazed that my writing was still pretty good considering I wasn’t “in reality:”

“I already am the person I want to be.  Just because there are areas for me to work on doesn’t mean that I am not already the person I want to be.  I am proud of myself because I am taking care of myself. I have been responsible with letting my work know where I am.  I resent the idea that I am not already a success in my own way.  My emotional outbursts may be extreme but they are a normal traumatic response to an abnormal situation.  It is traumatic to live in a society where the number one reason for people to be killed by the police is to have a disability (50% of all cases of police violence involve a person with a disability).  I want to know how to constructively handle the rage I feel at living in such an unjust society.  I know my strong emotional outbursts are due to inner shame towards being here and I need to work on that.  It would help if my current strengths were noticed instead of just my weaknesses.”

(yes, I did, in fact, use accurate statistics in my hospital writing.  I cracked my peers up that I was so serious.)

“Funny how a crisis can make you see what is important to you.  Usually when I am hospitalized, I clothe myself in shame but today I am happy because it made me realize just who I love.  I’ve always said that I would never go back to the hospital - my goal was to be done. Now my goal is to do whatever it takes to stay alive, for I have people to love, animals to cuddle, books to read and books to write.  The world needs to know of the resiliency found in people who have mental illness.  Those who are beautiful glow with an inward light no matter where they are.  Those in houses with many lights will still never be able to see the light unless they are ever able to close their eyes and become one with the true beauty of us all.”

(I can’t remember her name but the woman sitting next to me wrote “thank you” after reading what I wrote.)
Writing was my main way of taking care of myself in the hospital. The expressive arts therapist had noticed how important my writing was and so saved it for me when I was transferred to another unit.  The fact that he remembered and gave it back to me is something I will always be grateful for - few places are all bad and he was a good one.  I used my writing to remind me of my goodness and what I valued, and I used it to ask myself questions about what I thought was going on with me.  I would love to do a workshop on the power of journaling one day - I absolutely feel that the journaling I did in the hospital worked saving magic - having something that I was good at reminded me of my worth and confirmed that despite being in a stabilization unit, that I still had strengths.  Perhaps most importantly, it gave me hope and it encouraged my peers.  

I left the hospital knowing that despite everything, I had a purpose and that purpose was to write.  The same thing happened when I left the trauma therapist - I told her I needed to get on with my life and start writing and she agreed.  The way I currently feel is that while my mental health struggles are not fun, if they give me a purpose and a talent, then they can be redeemed.  There is something special hidden in the deepest pain if we will take the time to fish it out, analyze it, throw away the parts that are no longer useful, and stand in awe of the strengths that shine despite having developed in mud and muck.  Writing is my way of polishing myself and turning my dirtiness into a diamond.

(Captain Marvel from 

Captain Marvel: Earth's Mightiest Hero Vol. 1 by (Text) (Text) (Illustrations) (Illustrations) (Illustrations)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Message To Youth: It's All Okay

“It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be, the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help.  Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ Gets help. (The Message Bible)  

Sunday night I went back to the church I grew up in and talked to the youth group about mental health. It was a surreal experience to know that X-Files is still popular and cosplay makes me cool - it was not so cool to be a nerd in the mid 90s.  I am trying to not think about my own youth group years with regret. I did feel victorious eating dinner with the teens like a normal person; I was so stuck in the eating disorder back then, memories of teenage meals are not pleasant.

I thought I would share some of my notes.  I tend to write a lot to prepare for a presentation but never get to cover nearly all of it.  I focused on giving encouragement to decrease the sting of stigma even more so than usual.  
No matter how intense or scary your experience or feelings are, know that God loves you and it is always possible to get better and to move toward the life you want. No matter what.  You may have to change your exact course, but a better life is ALWAYS possible.  


My story - always intensely sensitive and cried easily.  Yelling, loud noises, not enough sleep were top triggers.  As a teen, I struggled with thoughts of hurting myself, mood swings, restricting food as a way to feel in control; only told a few - I wish I had told my parents.  I was deathly afraid of the stigma and of hospitals. 

College is often when people first get diagnosed. 


College is tough - for many it is the first time that they have been on their own.  It introduces so many changes and freedoms and questions.  If you start struggling with intense stress, or urges to self harm, make an appointment with your college’s mental health center - that’s what they are for.

In College, I had more intense anxiety, panic attacks, more restricting, more mood swings, so anxious I couldn’t memorize music and had to change my major.  The first summer I came home I was severely depressed and had no motivation or energy.  

The importance of setting a goal - College was very hard for me-I didn’t know how to manage stress, but having the goal to finish no matter what is what kept me going.  I am very proud to have a degree.  

What keeps you going?

I continued to be  in and out of mental hospitals until I got to the point where I no longer wanted to go to the hospital anymore - I took a class called DBT and it taught me skills that help prevent crisis and keep me well. In the last eight years, I have only been hospitalized once.

Shame  - I knew that something was wrong but I struggled with a lot of shame for many years.  Because I so did not want to be “sick” I would stop taking my meds once I started feeling well and then I would relapse.  

It was only when I started looking at what keeps me well instead of what are my problems are and once I started learning skills that I could do on my own to help myself that life really started turning around.   The focus on wellness is part of my job and training as a CPSI don’t look at myself as sick anymore, but as someone with mental health challenges to overcome.  I look at what keeps me well as living skills instead of as coping skills.  I don’t think of myself as “mentally ill,” although I do acknowledge that I have some extra limitations (we all do in some way).

I see a therapist, psychiatrist, a nutritionist a few times a year, facilitate support groups, participate in the community (church, The Rise Theater), art.

A large part of prevention is doing those things that keep you well and reaching out when you notice signs that things are not as well.

More tips to help with stress…sleep, balanced eating, positive affirmations, mindfulness, relaxation, not abusing drugs/alcohol - THEY ALL HELP

Getting help is strong

Peer Support can be life saving.  I desperately wish that someone had introduced me to peer support when I first started experiencing high anxiety.  

Focus on your wellness and strengths.  
What’s right with you?  What keeps you well? 

I leave with these thoughts:

Consent: Everyone is in charge of their own body. Don’t assume anything - yes means yes.

Life is better the more I reach out, the more vulnerable and authentic I am, and the more I serve others. 

Don’t play “the comparison game.” Comparisons will make us miserable.

I’m on disability but I still have a full life.  I work low hours because I’ve found that helps me stay well.  Our worth is not found in our jobs - we are inherently worthy as children of God. 
Of course, only life’s experience will truly be able to teach any of these lessons, but it is my hope that some of the teens can learn these lessons sooner than I did.  I am so grateful that I can be honest and transparent with people - I find life to be so much fuller when I can give all of myself to the world and not just a thin facade.  I really do believe that life is meant to be full and enjoyed, although getting there takes a lot of hard work.  This hard work is definitely worth more than all of Trump’s hotels and golfing courses, bless his little, tiny heart.

(My goals for January)

Link Love:
when we compare ourselves (unfavorably) to others, we often beat ourselves up for not trying hard enough. It’s much more likely that the differences we see reflect an uneven playing field—a reality that Americans just don’t like to accept. Hard work just isn’t enough sometimes.

Huiting Xie - Strengths-Based Approach For Mental Health Recovery
Instead of employing the traditional medical model which emphasizes on pathology, focusing on problems and failures in people with mental illnesses; the strength-based approach allows practitioners to acknowledge that every individual has a unique set of strengths and abilities so that he/she can rely on to overcome problems. [...] Firstly, everyone possesses strengths that can be utilized to improve quality of their life.  Secondly, the consumer's motivation to have a better life stems from the focus on their strengths.  And, finally, all environments contain resources that help consumers develop their strengths.