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Showing posts from 2018

Hashtags as Agents of Social Change

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I post on Instagram almost every day to promote this blog, so of course, I experiment with hashtags.  Common hashtags I  use: #alifeworthliving #focusonthepositive #focusonthegood #bethechange #mindfulness #gratitude #gratefuleveryday #artheals #mentalhealth #mentalhealthrecovery #recovery A lot of my posts are about recovery from mental illnesss/mental health challenges, and since I am privileged (*rolls eyes*) with so many of them, I will often times just go down a list of my disorders.  When doing this, I began to pay attention to how many other people use those same hashtags and I found it interesting: Mental Health Recovery Hashtags by Instagram Popularity #edrecovery 3,453,807 #edwarrior 1,361,899 #depressionrecovery 182,629 #depressionwarrior 24,095 #ptsdrecovery 167,424 #ptsdwarrior 28,879 #anxietyrecovery 131,513 #anxietywarrior 89,209 #bpdrecovery 79,089 #bpdwarrior 8,824 #ocdrecovery 15,999 #ocdwarrior 1,106 #bipolarrec

Jesus Didn't Have My Level of Anxiety

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I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. (403, The Message Bible) I am too hard on myself.  My anxiety causes me to second guess myself and assume I am doing worse than I often actually am.  I hold myself to impossible standards, to Jesus standards.  The phrase, "what would Jesus do," has haunted me since high school and I wish I had never heard it.  The other day I was holding myself up to this impossible standard when I had this epiphany: Jesus did not have my level of anxiety!   If Jesus' anxiety was to the level of mine then there would be some writing about the intensity in the Bible somewhere.  There is the normal amount of anxiety that most people feel and then there is a level that can disable a person from working.  This is the level that I have.  When I asked myself, "what would Jesus do?" I then realized that that is actu

"Recovery" Does Not Equal "Appropriate"

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"You look good today, Corey.  Appropriate!"  The peer at the computer laughed and then added, "People tell me to be appropriate all the time-do people ever tell that to you?" I laughed, and said, "yes. When did recovery become synonymous with appropriate?"  Yes, indeed-how?  I've been asking myself this question for several months now.  It started a few months ago when I broke down in tears during a theater rehearsal.  I called it a "meltdown" and "inappropriate."  I felt embarrassed and slightly ashamed.  "I should have managed my emotions better," I told myself. It's true that through dialectical behavioral therapy , I have learned many skills to help me regulate my emotions and that's a good thing, but somehow learning skills changed in my mind to mean, "become perfectly appropriate."  However,  1. Recovery is all about learning how to deal with the fact that we cannot be in total control.  We

The Life Changing Art of Dialogue

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"My goal is not to change anyone's mind or belief system.  My goal is to introduce you to different worldviews, so that we can support each other better.  As you know, being a certified peer specialist isn't about being right or wrong, but about connecting, learning, and supporting each other. This is what I love about being a CPS." Me, at the beginning of an LGBT Cultural Competency workshop. Dialogue is part of my religion and I feel no shame in evangelizing. I just got back last night from the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network 's annual recovery conference, where I facilitated a workshop on LGBTQ Cultural Competency.  I am so proud of myself, so proud to be a CPS, so proud of my peers, and so proud of the company I work for. Certified peer specialists are people in mental health recovery who have been trained in how to use our own lived experiences to support others in their own recovery journey. We believe everyone is their own expert. We do not g

Hospital Prevention Poems

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A lot of what I do both for myself and for my peers is hospital prevention.  I would not feel such a pressing need to prevent hospitalizations if they were more ethical, therapeutic experiences AND if they were not so expensive.  Even with insurance, expect to pay a few thousand dollars.  "What is it that you get from the hospital that makes you want to go?" I asked someone a few days ago.  The answer was, "attention."   AHA. YES I go to the hospital because I want mental health attention too.  With hospital prevention, it is important to realize the benefits of a hospital to see if you can get those same needs met in another way.  One may or may not get adequate mental health attention in a hospital.  One may or may not need more mental health attention AFTER the hospitalization because of post-hospital PTSD.   So, what can a person do?   First, realize that needing attention is not bad.  People with  physical health challenges need attention

The Hard Truths of Anxiety

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"There is nothing perfect, " August said from the doorway. "There is only life."  (The Secret Life of Bees) I hate anxiety. I mean, I really, really, really hate anxiety. I know I often talk about the gifts of my disorders but it doesn't mean that I enjoy them in the moment. I have been experiencing some pretty hardcore anxiety the past few days. The kind of anxiety I experience makes me incredibly indecisive-it's f*cking frustrating. The only way that I have found to combat this type of anxiety is to do something, anything. I wonder if normal people just go ahead and do what they need to do instead of mulling the thoughts and all its possible consequences for hours.  I would get so much more done if I didn't spend so much time thinking about my thinking. I'm currently reading the book, F*ck Feelings, by Michael and Sarah Bennett and I am loving it. It's written by a psychiatrist and his standup comedian daughter, so while it contains

Push Through or Surrender?

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May Jesus himself and God our Parent, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.  (439, The Message Bible) “When life gets hard, just push through,” the speaker tells the room of people in recovery. “Michael Jordan was sick and yet he pushed through and was able to score his team to victory.” I raise my hand, “Shouldn’t we stop to take care of ourselves when sick? Isn’t forcing us to push through dangerous?” I’m not trying to be argumentative - it’s a genuine question.  To me, telling people to push through sickness feels like he is telling us to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps.   There is a dialectic here. The truth is that in some ways we do have to push through, no matter what.  To not push through is to commit suicide.  It would be to follow through with an impulsive, self destructive thought or desire.  Last year, if I hadn’t pushed through the

You Are A Badass - A Book Review

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We are all perfect in our own, magnificent, fucked-up ways. Laugh at yourself. Love yourself and others. Rejoice in the cosmic ridiculousness.  ~ Jen Sincero from "You Are A Badass " What makes Jen Sicero’s self-help book special is its fun language - with the playful swearing, you feel like you’re talking to your older, wiser, and wise-cracking sister. It’s an easy to read book - in fact, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I skimmed through a few of the sections.  There really wasn’t anything super new in the message, but I think sometimes you need to hear the same words over and over again until you finally get it.  The best thing about the book is how it gets you bubbling over with excitement-I resorted to skimming towards the end because I was so excited about starting my next project.   A consistent theme is the importance of loving yourself - instructions telling you to love yourself are just about every other page.  If there was one thing I could give one

Evolve with Joy and Love

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we have two choices: embrace and love what we have and feel joy as deeply and fully as we can, and eventually lose everything—or shield ourselves, be miserable… and eventually lose everything. Living in fear won't stop us from losing what we love, it will only stop us from enjoying it.  ~ More Than Two by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert Another school shooting. Today in a coffeeshop I overheard an elderly white man say that he thinks school shootings are happening because kids aren't spanked enough today.  If there was better discipline, then kids would know the difference between right and wrong. That is a horrible thing to believe and say. I wanted to say something, but in the end I didn't because I knew it would not have changed his mind.  I think of people like that as dinosaurs on the way to extinction.  It is better to focus on the young people who are changing the system, rather than the people who are stuck in a bygone era. What do you do after another

Sometimes Sadness Is Just Sadness

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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. Yes. 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 ).

When Wise Mind Says Shut Up

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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