Showing posts from February, 2014

January Book Review - Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon

I absolutely love Carolyn Turgeon 's writing-her trademark is taking fairy tales and then twisting them.  She makes them real and intensely relatable.  Her way with words and with imagery is just magical.As I was reading the book, Godmother , I found myself underlining passage by passage, as I related to the feelings of loneliness, lost beauty, and redemption. Here are some passages on loneliness and hardship : (I needed to get to work, to get out into the world before I was sucked under completely. ) (I was lonely, but I was surviving.) Beauty - Artificial: (I looked at them both and saw how vulnerable they were behind the masks of makeup, the elaborate clothes and hair.) Beauty: Lost   ( This is not who I am , I thought.  Sometimes I ached so badly for my former beauty that I wanted to pull off my skin like an old robe. - How sad that this is the passage that most resonates for me.) Redemption and Healing: (The clink of spoons against mugs

IOOV 2014 Part III - Coping Skills & Positive Affirmations

Coping Skills One of my biggest coping skills is not isolating.  I belong to many communities, like my church , several hobby groups, and a support group-I call these my “recovery net” and they hold me up when I need help.  I have a sponsor who I call almost every day and she’s someone I can call if I feel emotionally overwhelmed, but I’m not in a full blown crisis.  I try to keep my stressors to a minimum by journaling, eating healthy and balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and only working part-time. Lately, I have found a lot of joy and peace in doing more art and in playing piano for my church.  I think it is important for people who have any kind of severe illness to find a way to give back to their community, because it helps them feel like they are a valuable member of society, which is important considering the amount of stigma that surrounds mental illness.  I will also say that this year I have also discovered the importance of positive affirmations.  I used to think t

IOOV 2014 Part II Acceptance, Treatment, & Success

Today has been a good day-it's the first day in a while that I have actually felt energized, which is nice!  In this post, I am going to skip over the coping skills section, as it is another one that is a bit long-so look for part III soon! Acceptance Has been a long, difficult process for me.  It took me a long time to accept that I would need to learn how to manage my illnesses and live in recovery for the rest of my life.  Medication alone is not going to cure me. Mental illness is a part of me, but it does not define me.   I used to really struggle with taking my medication, but I think it was because I had not fully accepted that I needed it.  Taking my medication is no longer hard for me, but for a long time, I had to remind myself that I was sick when it was time for my medication, so that I would take it.   For a long time, I struggled with feelings of shame, resentment and disbelief, but it helped me when I thought that all of the coping skills that I learned and

IOOV 2014 Part I Dark Days

I  absolutely love doing the National Alliance of Mental Illness's ( NAMI ) In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentations!  Sharing my positive story, positive energy, and message of hope for a better life despite having severe mental illness really feeds my soul and gives me great energy.  I am very excited as I will now do IOOV presentations at a psych inpatient hospital on a regular basis now.  Besides sharing my story of hope to the clients and I getting energized in return, I also think that we-my IOOV partner and I-give the clients validation, humanity, and extra respect just by talking to them as equals, as fellow consumers who have struggled and who still struggle with mental illness from time to time, as opposed to the staff who mean well and probably do a lot of good, but will always represent an uneasy power dynamic.  I already did my first IOOV presentation yesterday and since it had been a while since I had presented one, I ended up modifying some of the sections quite

Adrenal Fatigue

I mostly speak about my mental health challenges on this blog, but as you know, I also struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia.  Recently I was contacted by a woman whose mentor, a licensed neuropath and expert in adrenal fatigue, created an amazing website and I want to share it with you all.  I have posted the website , The Guide to Adrenal Fatigu e, on my blogroll.  The symptoms for adrenal fatigue are very similar to fibromyalgia and CFS, with the main difference being that adrenal fatigue can be diagnosed by using hormonal testing, whereas fibro and CFS are only diagnosed by describing symptoms.  This is good news and should prompt people to get tested, because if one does have adrenal fatigue then one can begin the recovery process and may be fully restored in two years.  Like fibro and CFS, adrenal fatigue is linked to stress and the website suggests finding out what your main stressors are and eliminating them, even if they are big things like a job or t

Finding Myself Again By Defining Goals

I lost myself.  It was an easy thing to do-people noticed my success in my current activities and so started suggesting additional activities and goals for me to do that were similar to what I was already doing.  All of these things sounded worthwhile and fun and I got excited about every one; they also played to my ego, and I did not want to tell anyone "no" and so I wrestled with going against anyone else's vision of me. I forgot about my own vision. I forgot what my real goals were and what I, myself, really would like to do-I temporarily forgot who I really am and what I really know about myself, because I was dazzled by the visions and possibilities that people were suggesting for me, instead of considering if they really aligned with my real self or not.  I became overwhelmed, exhausted, tearful, and anxious.  I stopped appreciating the good things that I was already doing, because I was always looking years ahead at the far-off goals that other people we