Once again, it has been awhile since my last post and mostly due to school. As I sit here and write this I barely recognize the person that started this blog. In a few weeks my Bachelors Degree will be conferred on my transcript. Shortly following will be time for the new adventure of grad school. This has brought on a period of reflection and self discovery.
If we look back simply at when I started school (again) almost two years ago I had no idea if I could even handle school. All I knew back then was there was no I was going to look back and have to live with not at least giving it my best effort. Today I look back after everything and know true meaning of being brave is not the absence of fear, but being afraid and doing whatever it maybe anyways. Obviously this is a lesson that I keep finding to be true and to usually pay off over and over again in my life.
To be honest it seems very surreal to go from the person I was (almost catatonic) to the person who openly publicly speaks, who steadily holds down a job, and who is “kicking butt in college”. My therapist mentioned to me recently about accepting that those two can both be realities. I can be someone who was absouletly broken and yet currently be someone who is doing well in recovery is ready and capable to handle the difficult talks and functioning above an average level.
With all this said, I never want anyone reading my blog looking at my life and thinking that my life is easy. There is very little in my life that comes easy. Yes, currently things are going fairly well. However, there are days that my anxiety and depression get the best of me. There are days that I’ll have a few more OCD intrusive thoughts. Today more than ever it is becoming clear that it is for me most likely a life long illness that I will need to manage. This includes utilizing the skills that I mention in my other posts.
Last, I just want to mention how thankful I am to all the people that have been there for me through this all. I thank the therapist who believed in my recovery even when I had no idea it was possible. I thank the therapist who patiently waited for me to gain trust after all I had seen. Who allowed me unapologetically vent and process my life all well non-judgmentally truly listening. I am thankful for the role my family has played as I learned to walk on my own two feet again. Helping me understand the potential of unconditional love. The psychiatrist that helped me break the stereotype and learn to trust them.
Now, I look forward to the next amazing adventure. I look forward to the knowledge I can carry into the future to help others. As always even if it is rare there will updates and information posted in the future. Wishing you all the very best.
Today in class we discussed automatic thoughts and the CBT Triangle in class. I thought this would be an excellent topic to share with those suffering. In CBT it is often thought that the event isn’t the problem, but our automatic thoughts about events is the problem. The triangle goes like this Event happens… Then we have our thoughts about the event, which leads to emotions, which leads to behavior. They’re all interconnected.
In CBT… We try to take a look at the automatic thoughts and see if we can come up with replacement thought/ a more positive thought. It is often asked… Is the automatic thought were having is true, helpful, and is there another way to look at it. Then we come up with the replacement thought.
Maybe a bad grade on a test or some negative feedback and a person might have an automatic thought of I’m horrible at school or I’m not cut out for this line of work. These are typical thoughts of someone who might have depression. Once the negative thought is realized we can then address by asking the previous questions and coming with a replacement thought. A replacement thought might be, You know I was sick I didn’t do well on that exam, but I can do better on the next one or this area of the particular career or class I struggle with, but I’m excellent at the rest and I can get assistance with the part I’m struggling with.
Recently I had the oppurtunity to tell my story for the second time at a CIT training event for law enforcement. The experince was great much like the first time. During the training one of the fellow speakers put somehting very eliquintly that I really liked. Today I want to talk about that.
She said that everyone has mental health… mental health is on a continuum and that we all just fall at different levels at different points in our lives. I thought this notion and the way she put this was awesome.
When you think of everyone as having mental health it leaves a very good start to encourage everyone to work on their mental health and be educated about mental health. This idea could prevent people from needing treatment later, at least possibly. It also makes those with mental illness more likely to feel less seperate and it maybe opens up for those who aren’t suffering from mental illness to view those struggling as more normal and an accurate picture.
I think it also in a way addresses a topic that has come up in my life a lot. I’ve had multiple people tell me everyone has problems, you don’t need a label, and there is nothing wrong with you. I agree… everyone has problems. I’ve even at one point said I think there isn’t a person out there who would not be able to fit the DSM criteria for some mental illness. I don’t know that I believe that anymore. Although, with this it brings up the point of what is a mental illness. When looking at this the answer it really comes down to when mental health is impeading your ability to function. When taking positive psychology there was a lot of talk about life above 0. The idea being that 0 is a state in which your surving and functioning at an okay level and below 0 would be the level of mental health in which you have a mental illness. There is also above 0. This is when you are more then just survivng and meeting normal function but exceeding.
Today seems almost like any other day. I’m back in familiar settings. However, today is my first day back from #OCDcon 2016. I’m ready to keep moving. I’d like to start by telling you all a little bit about what the conference was like for those who haven’t attended.
I think the biggest word that I would use to describe it is community. Through out my life I’ve been involved in many different groups and events. I don’t know any other place I’ve gotten this sense of community. Everyone there is fighting against OCD. Whether it’s their own, their clients, or a loved one. Knowing how horrible OCD is everyone is very compassionate. In our everyday lives it can be hard to talk about or to find others who can relate. However, at the convention there is a sense we are all in this together.
I think one of the other main things I noticed is the education that is gained. It doesn’t matter if you’re freshly diagnosed or an expert in the field the conference has lots of great information you can learn. They have different tracks for different things and lots of different sessions going on so there is almost always a session that will be of interest and give you valuable knowledge. They even have a bookstore set up if your looking for more knowledge.
I think the other thing that I gained from it is motivation. After attending Rogers my OCD has been on the mild end. I figured I’m at least 80% better if not more, do I really have to keep doing exposures, thought challenging, and everything else that goes with recovery. This really gave me the motivation to keep challenging OCD. It made me realize that I am still avoiding church as a result of anxiety from scrupulosity. It also motivates me to get my schooling done so I can help others. It motivates me to help stomp out stigma and spread awareness too.
Well I think that sums up a lot of it. I really could write on this subject for pages, but I’m going to leave it with this. Wishing all of you the best. Looking forward to SF2017!
It’s been along time since I’ve wrote anything. I originally thought this post went through on my phone, but there must have been a glitch. So, the day I originally was writing I had glanced over earlier in the day & noticed one of my multiple journals documenting my mental illness. At first when I started reading it I felt a little sad. I remember being depressed & I remember many of the things I wrote about at the time, however, it’s amazing how much I forget & don’t see my own improvement in just a short time. Once I reached the point in my journal about shortly after Rogers how far I had come was quickly brought to the for front of my mind again.
The biggest thing I got out of it is the potential for even the most seemingly hopeless circumstances to change. When dealing with a difficult situation it can feel like there is no possibility of things getting much better. The truth though is most the time things change. I speak from personal experience. I currently had a recent experience that explains this fairly well.
Recently I lost my job. I didn’t post it on any social media. I didn’t want anyone to know. It seemed like a very depressing situation. However, it all worked out for the best. I had really been wanting to go back to school for psychology, but I thought I would just keep working for the time as long as I had a job. Well when I lost my job I quickly got readmitted to college. I found a different job shortly after I started looking. In fact of the over seven jobs I applied to there was only one that didn’t want interview. This was a boost to my ego, which was a little damaged at that point. I finished up my summer semester with probably the highest score in both the classes I took and I had a much better time then I would’ve if I had been in that job that wasn’t right for me. I don’t know that becoming a therapist will work or is “what I’m supposed to do”. However, I do know I haven’t enjoyed school so much in my entire life and I’ve never had it come natural to me before. I do know from my experiences though that if it doesn’t work out something better for me will be planned.
This idea that things change and what seems like a horrible situation can turn out to be a good thing happens all the time. This isn’t something I’ve seen just in my life. I guess what I’m saying is… Keep your heads up and eyes peeled for how the situation will turn around.
Have a great day!
For those of you who don’t see my other social media. I did get chose to be a volunteer at #OCDCon. I’m super excited about that!!! It will most likely be my first time on a commercial airplane. Surprising since my aunt is a commercial pilot. Also, sadly this will be the farthest East I’m ever been from my hometown. I Believe it will be the biggest city I’ve ever been in too.
Just applied to volunteer at the #OCDcon this summer. I’m really hoping that I get to. I really really wanted to last year, but I didn’t get picked. I’m really hoping this year I will get picked. For anyone who plans to work in the mental health field I believing attending one of these conferences is crucial or at the very least very valuable.