Journeyman's Row
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A New Year's update long overdue

Posted on March 5, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Welcome everyone. Welcome again. Please forgive my prolonged absence from posting updates here. While the right words were a test to write, the timing is what has been more difficult. Without further ado, it is time to get caught up. There are two reasons why I haven't been posting new blog entries since last fall.

Yes. On October 11th, 2018, two years to the day since I began my journey with you on this website, I had my first-ever national blog published. To have a renowned non-profit such as NAMI publish my writing was an amazing accomplishment I had not expected to happen. As a show of respect for the gracious opportunity, I tip my hat again to the submission editor, Ms. Luna, as well for the most fortunate timing. Dare I say twice?

Yes. Twice. On November 1st, 2018, I had my second-ever NAMI Blog published. I did expose stigma and discrimination from the local mental health community in what I revealed. However, I also sacrificed my ability to be an advocate here in my own hometown. I am still shunned by several community leaders, since no efforts have been made to address what has happened. Regardless, my determination to continue being an advocate remains strong in large part thanks to NAMI.

Before I talk about what happens next I feel I need to talk about what happened since. When I began this website, I wanted to use the opportunity of facing adversity to blog about such experiences while they happen. Unfortunately, I have not been able to particularly since November, and for this I have regrets... Even though I am as much a human being at the will of my faults as anyone else. This past holiday season was much more difficult for me than in recent memory.

The night before Christmas, I had already been very uptight from anxiety about gift opening because of still living with my parents (for those who used to tell me they wished they lived at home). Early Christmas morning, I posted Merry Christmas comments on a number of my friends' Facebook pages. With no regret, to be honest. However, doing this triggered a surge of depression from the family pictures I ended up seeing. I was unprepared and the experience was... difficult. New Year's was almost as overwhelming, but with anxiety about the months ahead. Fear that will follow me through this entire year.

When I say that 2019 is a crucial time in my life, it honestly is. Certain things given more time thanks to my Resource Case Management have to happen this year. This is neither happy, apocalyptic, nor sad. Simply a matter of fact. So, just after the New Year I considered my situation. I was scheduled for my first psychiatric evaluation at the end of January. Although still unemployed, my treatment progress was moving along. NAMI had been willing to publish two Blogs already. I still had two un-published submissions that needed to be shortened from 1,500-1,600 words to 1,000 for NAMI's new submission guidelines.

Despite being only a few days after the stressful and depressing holiday season, I quickly refined both drafts and submitted them on January 8th and 12th. Between mid-January and mid-February, I wrote two more article drafts and submitted them to NAMI on February 1st and 17th. I kept thinking back to last summer, when I felt all hope was lost because of the discrimination, and how NAMI had given me a chance to publish nationally for the first time. The second reason I haven't posted many new blog entries, for the last six months, is to capitalize on NAMI's opportunity. I have been diligently writing to take my advocacy to the next level, in part to rise above what happened last year.

I am very, very hopeful NAMI will be interested to publish these four new submissions sometime this year. Believe me when I say the last two article drafts are absolutely stunning. On the other hand, I haven't explained what the first reason was for my lack of posting. I have already shared why, but I wanted to address this issue here and more in the future. It is not wrong to want to wrap yourself in a warm blanket of positive feelings. If I could every day, oh believe me I would. However, many people with mental health conditions have a difficult time talking about their negative daily experiences and feelings.

Mental health professionals involved in treatment are not the only necessary source of support. Emotional support from friends and family is important for someone with a mental health condition. Not having a genuinely helpful person to turn to on a personal level can be very difficult.

Sure I have already shared negativity about how my holiday season went. Most or all of you are probably still reading this. However, surrounding many people like me is an unspoken expectation to hear 'good' news. Sometimes only good news. Not how poorly you may be doing on any given day, how depressed or anxious you are feeling. Not again... Still? Why? Have I sought help? What did the counselor tell me to do? Not that anyone who reads this doesn't care; of course not. But for someone like me, who has been stigmatized for a long time, I depend greatly on my friends as a support system because I've had bad experiences in treatment environments.

Quite often I have to put forth a lot of emotional energy every day to deal with my situation mostly alone. This is from the impression that sharing my negative reality is not what people want to know about. Thankfully, I do have a best friend who I converse with almost on a daily basis. She has been one of the best people I have been able to connect with, because we are both honest, realistic, and are able to discuss our mental health issues and feelings. Optimism that everything will be alright does not work for everyone. Especially with me. Many people have a tough time feeling confident or being able to talk to someone about how they are doing if it involves negativity.

Guilt usually keeps me from saying anything at all. On any given day, I don't want to say my life is not in a happy-go-lucky place. No offense intended to anyone this may apply to. A considerate check, in private, if you are curious or concerned how a person is doing can go a long way. Even more so if the friend, family member, or even considerate co-worker has mental health diagnoses as I do. I wholeheartedly and sincerely thank those who have checked on me in recent memory, and extend to them the kindest appreciation. It sure beats being told I drive a certain kind of car or live in a certain part of the community...

If you can really get me to laugh, good humor is one of the best medicines I've found.

As I wait and dearly hope NAMI will be interested to publish my four new submissions, I am probably not going to post a new blog entry for a couple months at minimum. The days and months ahead are becoming increasingly challenging to deal with. I owe and thank my slowly developing mental health treatment team for their weekly efforts to get me on track. Especially the best Resource Case Manager I could have ever hoped to be assigned to. In the near future, I may also have the luck of connecting with a renowned advocate from the West Coast as well. That in and of itself would make my year beyond even my best expectations.

Thanks again to all who read this. More updates as they become available.

Categories: To Know Me Better, Mental Health & Awareness

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