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.

Friday, February 21, 2014

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 now use as a result of having mental illness have helped make me a healthier and more positive person than I was before I became sick.

Treatment
I have been inpatient hospitalized six times, which helped keep me safe, get onto a new medication regime and have taught me how to eat healthily.  I have participated in many outpatient programs and those programs allowed me to process my feelings, learn about and practice using coping skills and shown me that I am not alone.  I have taken art and music therapy at different times, which I have really enjoyed, because I am a really creative and artistic person AND because sometimes it feels safer exploring feelings in art and song than it does talking about it in a group.  I see my therapist once a week, I see a psychiatrist every other month, and I see a nutritionist every few months.  What really turned my life around is when I took my therapist’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy class or DBT and I have now taken it twice.  It has changed my life!!!  Its motto is that it creates a life worth living and in my case it really has!  DBT teaches four key skills: how to have better relationships; how to tolerate distress; how to be mindful or “in the moment,” and how to regulate your emotions, i.e. not have so many mood swings. 
This is a Creative Commons picture that I altered, originally photographed by William Murphy.

Successes, Hopes, and Dreams
Graduated in 2006 with an English degree-It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Proud of my life right now-I am able to use my DBT skills and to rely on my communities and for the most part I am doing better than I ever have before. Because of my hard work, last fall I was able to have my diagnosis of Borderline removed and now I am able to say that I am in recovery from it and the eating disorder.  I have moved away from only being comfortable in mental health settings and now am a full participant in the community and am the leader of my own book club and my own Bible study.  I have my own recovery blog and hope to one day turn it into a book to show other people that hope is real for a life worth living even if one lives with severe mental illness.

Link Love:

 Because conservatives don't value work. They value "having a job"—a thing defined by the most privileged aspects of employment in the US.

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