Thursday, August 4, 2011

Positive Changes

There's a saying, "Recovery is a journey not a destination". With learning and changing happening every day then this makes sense. It's been months since I've written. The reason is two fold: it seems that no one is reading it and depression for two months. I'm working on the part of recovery that is for me breaking it down to basics one day at a time. I follow these simple steps daily: get at least eight hours sleep, get up, brush my teeth, shower, dress and go out side for a walk no  matter the weather. This simple activity is so hard, but necessary, on the depressed days. Performing these tasks can keep me from having my depressive symptoms get worse.

I have a new volunteer job at the office where the program I am in originates form:Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA: Delaware County Consumer Recovery Investment Fund, Self Directed Care Project. Volunteering is a huge part of my recovery because it gets me out of the house, makes me feel like I am contributing to the helping of other people and will look good on my resume. I fell into this job by just going in to see my recovery coach; she put me to work after our time was finished! I have several projects I have been working on. The one I just finished involved collating and decorating recovery calendars for folks who come by the office to volunteer and for a homeless center for women and children in Philadelphia. The decorating was as fun as being back teaching preschool again. My boss wants me to write stories of people's recovery that are in our program with the hope that other counties and places will catch on to the uniqueness, freedom, dignity and power that CRIF offers those in recovery from mental illness. Yesterday I went with my boss to present the program to Chester County, PA. It's exciting because people from as far away as the Netherlands are becoming interested in implementing the program in their communities. For me the presentation was empowering; a panel of mental health providers (including some NAMI people) were audience to my story of recovery and participation in the program. It went really well.

My goals have changed a lot since I first got into the program in January. Currently I am planning a visit to family in CT and a move back to CA at the end of September. I could not have accomplished these goals without the freedoms funds and support provided by CRIF. I have been away form "home" here in Philly for 7 years now and I am so happy and excited to be moving back. 

For more information on how to bring this impoartnat project to your mental health community please contact: 

Erme Maula, RN, MSN, CRRN, Cetified Peer Specialist
     Program Manager
Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA
     Office: 267-507-3873
      Fax:  215-525-9698

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pheonix Rising

     I really crashed and burned soon after that last entry and am just now coming out of that relapse into depression. It was hard to hold onto that I am even in recovery, because often the depression felt as familiar and as deep as it's ever been. That was frustrating enough, but to add to the torment, I lost my connection with God--or at least that's how it felt. A number of situations contributed to my biochemical plunge. For starters I had a complete falling out with the church that had come to mean so much to me. I wasn't getting paid at my job, (as of now I have only been paid for half the time I worked and it took months to get) I became highly irritated in the Bible classes by the most arrogant man/teacher I've ever met constantly talking about himself instead of staying on topic and last, but not least, the woman pastor was sending out the message that if by the end of her preaching you didn't feel moved by the spirit and inspired then there was something wrong with you. To summarize my experience, I found that although the church was open and accepting of all people, I sure did not feel accepted for who I am as a person in recovery from psychiatric disability. The lady pastor whom I so respected did not in turn respect me. Chalk it up to one of life's many disappointments. The problem was that I took it so hard because I had put "all my eggs in one basket"; my work, my worship and my socializing was all in that one place.

     Another relationship development was that I tried yet again for a friendship with the woman who believes that gay equals sin. I just kept thinking that she would be able to put her belief aside, but she can't because she is sure that only her interpretation of God and spirit are correct; in other words she is a bigot, by definition of the word itself. Although sending out friendly signals, she just ended up slamming me and rejecting me once again for not agreeing with her. I went through a lot of grieving about the loss of her frienship for good and although the toughest part is behind me, I'm most likely not done grieving. As I've probobly mentioned before, it's been 7 years and I left CA to build a life with her. With the church contacts gone, I have zero friends where I live and no family. I realize that would be tough for the average person with no depression issues.

     Fortunately I have strong family ties and support albiet long distance. I've made the decision to move back to CA sooner than I had thought I would. October (at the lastest) is my projection. So I had to think of something to give me energy to manage this move. I joined Curves (women's gym) and it really is helping already. I also plan on going to the local Metropolitan Community Church. That's it in a nutshell for tonight. I'm really tired, but I feel good just by becoming visable again here at my blog. To all the mothers, I hope your day was lovely. God Bless you and yours. Good night.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Let Go Let God

     Once again I was at the end of my rope; I let go and God held me up. I was so discouraged because I had planned on getting into this Certified Peer Specialist training program, but I was turned down because I don't have a year's worth of consecutive employment history recently. That was a blow, because I was so sure I'd be accepted into the training and that the challenge would be getting a job after completing the training. God had other plans for me (knowing how much I need to learn patience); I am the kind of person who wants everything yesterday! So I had to put the brakes on my peer counseling plans until next year.
     In the meantime, I figured out a solution for a problem that has been weighing heavily on me at my job with children at the church nursery. I know I didn't figure this out be myself! Then the last thing I felt like doing was starting a class today all about job and career choices. I don't feel well (have been trying to kick some sort of virus), but I dragged myself to school anyhow. Was I ever rewarded by hearing one encouraging testimony after another about how much this particular class helped people change their lives for the better! More to follow about the class; right now I just need to go space out...:-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chocies , Ideas and Spring Even!

     I'm not Irish, but green is my second favorite color so I got into wearing my green today to my new class orientation. I'm taking a career choices class in order to explore what direction I most want to move in. At the moment I work part time as an infant/toddler teacher and I'm seriously working on my book, but I know there's more ahead for what God has planned for me. In late May I hope to do a training to become a Certified Peer Specialist; after that I'll explore what job choices there are in that field. It's been many years since I have felt well enough to commit to full time work; it's very exciting and just short of miraculous that my time is finally here. I may even get my college degree(s) finally; they say it's never too late. I do need some guidance organizing what to do first so I eagerly await the beginning of class on March 28. While I'm already on campus I may do some sort of computer class as well; there's always so much to learn in that field even if just for my own personal use. Besides all these great ideas buzzing around in my head something even better happened today; there blooming in a corner of the campus court were a small group of white, yellow and purple crocuses. That scene made me estatic because the sun was out full fledged, it was 60-something (warmish for March here) and Spring has become a reality, not just a prayer!

     I was also relieved today to have my birthday be over. I had a good day yesterday, but it's always a challenge for me to be long distance from family on that special day. Yesterday I was really missing family and California seemed even farther away than usual! I'm grateful to feel the beginnings of a church family, but like most of us, I want it all! Why can't I have everybody I love in one state at one time where there is also the best job, climate and economy available?! Seems this world is just not meant to be so easy.


Friday, March 11, 2011

I Quit 30 Days of Truth List!

I'm not particularly inspired to write about anything at the moment. Just wanted to make it official that I'm done with this list of topics. I did watch a great basketball game tonight. UCONN Huskies beat Syracuse in overtime and have a great chance at becoming Big East Champs tomorrow night versus Notre Dame. If they win, then both the men and women would be reigning Big East Champs. I get excited about it all since I grew up there and went to UCONN for awhile.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ways God's Love Has Touched Me through the Earth

     I'm taking a GREEN CLASS at church, offered to help facilitate the building of a new GREEN CHURCH for Drexel Hill Baptist Church. Part of the homework for this week has been to think about God and my relationships to the earth. I am to make a list of the ways God's love has touched me through the earth; here's what I've come up with:

*  Great and joy and exhilaration of giving BIRTH
*  Healing and joy I feel at all OCEANS and especially in N CA coast
*  The energy of breathing while walking through TREES, esp. Redwoods
*  The FUN of playing in the woods growing up in Ashford, CT
*  LOVE from my pets especially Teddy Bear; all cats from Angel to Kee-Kee
*  Joy of growing, smelling and seeing FLOWERS and SPRING
*  SUNSHINE every day it's out replenishing my body and spirit

Next I was to list choices I've made regarding above list.

*  To spend as much time as possible at the beach getting the supercharge of air, ocean, sunshine and sea critters.

*  Want/need to spend more time walking through trees.

*  Taking the time to notice, grow and photograph flowers.

* Keeping/affording pets

*  Starting recycling (better late than never)

*  Member of Sierra Club and Green Church

Now choose 2 places that "grab" you and write a paragraph about each.

      The most extraordinary experience I've ever had in relation to feeling connected to the earth is when I chose to have a natural birth back in 1977. I felt really connected to the earth that we all come from during the process of being pregnant, eating healthily, finding a midwife and planning a home birth. The day itself was nothing short of miraculous. I got to spend transition in one of my favorite places, the bathtub! All my friends were there to support me. We had a special bath for the baby ready as soon as his chord was cut. The whole idea was that he have a peaceful and healthy entry into the world. I had not one pain reliever and I was fine with that. We even buried the placenta later in the garden. 

      Second is a hard choice, but I'd have to say my time at Big Sur coastline in Mendocino County, CA. My sister, my then six year old son and I made the journey. I was so excited I could hardly stand it; I didn't stop taking photographs until I was out of film. We stayed all day everyday and until after the sun set. We never wanted to leave! We camped out nearby and didn't mind the tent and uncomfortable ground; the fire was just right for toasting marshmallows.

Does your conclusion through your own experiences lead you agree with Psalm 24:1: "The EARTH is the Lord's, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it"? Simply answered, YES. I like the second verse too:  "For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the currents and the rivers".

Have you experienced any natural disasters which made you wonder about God's goodness as Job did? No, but I sure wonder about all the floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. that other people in the world have experienced and been devastated or dead as a result.

What feelings do you have about how the expansion of our cities, highways, and industries are affecting the land? When I recently read a Forbes list picking Philadelphia for the top of the most polluted cities list, even though I don't give Forbes much credence in their research, I felt all kinds of emotions ranging from sadness, powerlessness, anger and fear. I'm angry when I see litter on highways, side roads and even behind my own apartment building. I'm angry when oil spills occur causing animals to get sick and die and disturbing the whole echo-balance of the food chain; I'm even more angry when major oil companies take no responsibility for their actions and if they do it's too little, too late.I never liked the taste of the drinking water here so I'm annoyed that I have to buy and cart water in jugs home. Lastly I feel guilt like the Catholics taught me to--guilt about how long it has taken me to get back on this train since I fell off sometime in my 20's!

     To end on a positive note, I'm so excited about everything I am learning in this class and the blessing of being a part of the building of the first Green Church (that I know of). I enjoyed sharing about it here. ;-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Something I Wish I Hadn't Done in My Life~Truth Day 22

      I wish I didn't miss going to my Dad's funeral. I was not well between severe depression and the flu, plus I would've had a long plane ride, but somehow/someway I will always wish I was there to say goodbye, to pay my respects, to see everyone that turned out for him and to support Mom and my brothers and sister. It makes me so sad that I couldn't be there.