Parents

My parents are simply terrible communicators. I have listened to them down-spiral this morning as they fought each other in bed resulting in multiple verbal traumas. After all of the coaching I have done, it was as though my dam had been made of paper and been asked to hold back a lake. There was no moment in which good communication skills, or even basic listening took place. The downside of living with people in such close proximity is that if they had a bad relationship, it sends negative vibrations throughout the environment.

Personally, logic should have prevailed in their argument instead of suppressed emotions. Uncorking on each other is a pretty unproductive activity and results in no progress forward. In the short time I listened, I heard vocal agitation, misunderstandings not clarified, NO I statements at all, accusations, judgements and insults. These are not the tools we should be using with each other when attempting to communicate something important.

The one thing I have tried to pass on to them is a practical application for the principles of mindfulness. Before driving as fast as one can down the emotion freeway, we need to stop for gas and make sure we are headed in the right direction before charging off. My parents have failed at doing this, which leads to the bulk of their issues. Fights like the one they just had only deepen the ongoing resentment and cause bitterness and anger to take root. It’s a destructive process and they need to be aware of that before it becomes the ONLY way they know how to attempt to resolve conflict or attempt expression.

My first job as a Peer Support Specialist is to repair the broken communication bridges between my mom and dad, and help them find a better way to speak to each other. Obviously, what’s going on right now is not working, and no matter how hard they threaten, they’re not likely to go their separate ways. They just need a better way of communicating. which will need to be something they are both equally invested in doing. At this point, it should be obvious to them that what they have going on right now is unsustainable, or at least, in desperate need of repair.

I have often been this person for my parents, but I detect now things are different. I have a unique position of regard, and I need to take that role seriously and balance my approach as a true impartial figure. Frankly, this is not hard since both parties are in a similar state of decay, and similarly need work done in order to rectify the issue. I’m optimistic though, because this deterioration today is a valuable lesson about how we don’t want to keep doing things. Fights hurt. Feelings get smushed. Crying and snot happens a lot. It’s not the best thing ever. What we need to be doing is looking at that and going: “How did I get here?” “What do I need to do to prevent myself from getting here again?” If we can divest ourselves of the need to ridicule and blame, then we are likely to make progress forward.

So for now there are tears and anger, but soon the dust will settle and they will be more receptive. In times of acute emotional crisis, the best thing is to focus on diffusing that heightened state with compassion and safety. Once out of the altered state, the work of understanding can be done.

The Prodigy

Milestone moment for me Blog! I have just received my 4 certificates of qualification from the Peer Support programs I enrolled in over the last few months, and I am pleased that my training is largely complete. I have volunteer hours I still need to log, but the hard work is done.

Yesterday I had an actual graduation ceremony at Recovery Innovations, International’s San Diego office. Only about half the class turned up for the event, but I was very glad my parents could be there. Every single classmate I gave a hug to spoke highly of me to my parents, which felt wonderful. As the ceremony drew to a close, I was the last person to speak before the gathering. I always find public speaking to be a bit “amplifying,” however, I think I handled myself with poise.

Someone I was not expecting to see was there, my old case worker Annette. Back in 2014 when I came out of the hospital, she was right there helping me get back on track. She got me into the WRAP classes and that really made such a big difference right away. As I got healthy and went back to work, we closed my case and I said my goodbyes. Here we are 4 years later and she’s representing NAMI San Diego watching my graduation from PET. “Before I met you I was but a learner… now I am the master.”

She gave a big speech about how proud she was of me and that really warmed my heart. She saw me at my lowest point, and now here I am reaching all new highs. It must have been refreshing for her to see that. I was moved by her words and my mom turned into a puddle. My instructor Gloria also stopped and made a special point to highlight my skills and accomplishments. I was showered in praise and compliments which was altogether overwhelming.

But well earned, Blog! I worked my ass off to get to where I am now. I didn’t ask for anything, I just did what I had to do to get myself back to a place in my life I could be proud of. My parents got a chance to see how hard I’m trying to change my life for the better, and that helps reassure me a lot. I want them to know I’m not just Eric the pot smoking chocolate eater, but Westin, the articulate and loving Peer Support Specialist.

I hope you all have a good Friday. I start my volunteer hours down at my old clinic next week to complete PET requirements. That should be a piece of cake. I wish for you all to have fun on your weekend and live in an action-packed non-boring sort of way. I vicariously thrive on your vices! Fulfill your desires and yes!

Going Ahead

Hello Blog,

Today is Wednesday, and I’m running game tonight. I have some fun shit planned for them so we’ll see how it goes. That can be my creative outlet for today, and I will ensure it keeps me up long into the night. I am very pleased with the progress of the story and the participation of my players. At first I thought I was going to merge them into two total characters, but now I am starting to think it would be best to keep them all separate. They are becoming too distinct and each backstory relevant to the plot. I need to find a way to capture who they are, and this was a problem that I encountered once I started to write it. Oh, If I hadn’t mentioned earlier, my D&D campaign is also a novel, or rather, three novels, which I am writing simultaneously. As the game unfolds, the book is written. At this point, they have completed nearly a book’s worth of plot advancement (on the order of 25 chapters). I suppose that will be extended until a climactic moment in which there will be a cliffhanger. The story is very entertaining, and the world in my head is so rich and full of detail, I really only select the level of detail I wish to convey while not being too tiresome.

Anyway, the writing of the thing is coming along well. I am into the second chapter and I haven’t really decided how long and how purposeful to make each one. I am going heavy on the history at first to get readers introduced to the universe and the physics. All has to be unveiled delicately, and not in a “here, look at this” sort of way. You see the quandary. I’ve never written a novel, but I’m not going to let that stop me from trying.

 

In other news, I’m a week away from my final certificate in my mental health Peer Support Specialist training. I truly feel more capable and functional in a variety of situations and symptoms. I think this is the right field for me, and a lot of what I feel is harmony. I know I can make a difference out there. I have an optimism in my heart that will not go out or be quenched.

 

I have not much time left here in San Diego. Soon I will be in West Sacramento, in a new shape of existence. I am gathering the elements together to make a new path for myself and I am proud of that. I will continue to pursue hope and happiness and deal with the setbacks as they come. I hope the best for you all today. I’m off to get my affairs in order and protect myself for the new life transition I am undergoing.

Graduation

Hello Blog. I am pleased to address you now as a Certified Peer Support Specialist! I graduated Peer Employment Training with a 97.5%!

I have taken the first steps on my path towards a new career helping people at ground-level. I want to be someone who people remember positively, not negatively. I have so much damage in my wake, and a great desire to pay the kindnesses done to me forward. I have begun to walk towards a better life and the steps I have made so far have enriched me.

Yesterday I completed 8 hours of Mental Health First Aid, after 75 hours of Peer Employment Training. Two certificates though! YES! I will have a forth in a couple weeks when i finish NAMI’s Peer and Family Support Specialist training. As you can see, I am serious about making my life into something I can be proud of. I feel more empowered and proactive than I have in months to be sure. I have, again, faced a relapse down and achieved stability after. I will not let those moments end me, but instead, show me a new beginning.

I have completed the bulk of my training down here and now I have come to find out we will be moving even sooner than late summer. Now the move is a short two months away, and we are already putting the machine of home-search into action. We are now looking for a place we are likely to spend years living in.

I saw a beautiful girl at training yesterday. I wish I could have told her what I thought, to boost her confidence, but the whole thing is an unwanted can of worms. Everything about the thoughts that formed after was terrible. A series of disappointments, misunderstandings and regret. It all happened within a couple of seconds. That’s all the consideration there is anymore because I’m becoming securely Asexual. Life can still have people in it, mind you. Love takes all sorts of interesting shapes. Isolation is not the answer to anything really. I just have a new proximity boundary which I need to respect for my ongoing health. Stability is paramount.

I hope you are all having a good weekend. I am enjoying a well-earned day off from the learns. I have many of dem.

In It

I am pleased to report that my PET training is going very well, and I am learning a great deal from my classmates. They are all so bold and open with their feeling, which inspires me to do the same despite my reservations. It’s not just the skills, but how they are implemented that is making a difference for me.

 

Today we are sharing our personal stories which I am a little frightened of. It is a abrasive feeling to talk about myself flatteringly, and this is the hurdle I am striving to overcome with this career path. I can’t deny the facts that I have done great things, but I still have my hands on the reins to prevent the glorification wagon from going over the cliff. My humility is one of my best qualities, which reinforces a desire to not proclaim self worth with any sort of volume.

 

But the facts remain that I have done good and I am doing better than I have ever been before. Even if I throw doubt at that, it doesn’t stick. Logic prevails. However, there are far more mercurial subjects that lend themselves to a more destructive path of logical reasoning. It can be both useful, and poignantly detrimental. I have plunged to my lowest lows because of that negative logic spiral. I learned my train could be hijacked.

 

I wish I had these skills a long time ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have been such an abrasive partner or husband If I had better communication skills, or better listening skills. I can logic that back a bit by also recognizing that even if I had been a good communicator, doesn’t mean that would be a mutual thing. All my partners had no true ability to grapple with themselves honestly, so nothing of true worth ever came to be between them and I. I see so clearly now what a functional relationship is supposed to look like. Even though I’m content that I will never have that for myself, I feel empowered knowing my future interactions will be significantly more diverse than they had been in the past. There are fewer mental obstacles to my success than I can ever remember before.

 

Well Blog, I think today is going to be a good day. I promise to be open and genuine with my classmates, and tell them the story of my journey as only I can tell it.

 

PET

Peer Employment Training is underway, and the next two weeks are going to be very busy. I, by the time it is over, have myself a state certificate for peer support. Truly, this is a monumental step in completing my MH training. I have a newfound sense of enthusiasm for my life.

Subsequently, I found myself wanting to reach out to Jax, because I miss her. Just talking to her, seeing the unique spark of her creativity and as rewarding. I guess the thought of leaving here next summer, and never seeing her again is pressing down on me. I don’t know why I’m feeling this, I just know she was special.

I’m full of thoughts. I know I’m improving as a communicator and in my emotional development. These coming days will be hard, but rewarding to be sure. Well, class is about to begin. See you later.

Slow and Steady

I am in a very fortunate position to have a safety net to fall back on in times of crisis. My family has always been there for me throughout the years, despite all my crash and burn events. It makes me wonder what life will be like when they are gone. What would I do if it all fell apart again? Hopefully I would be able to work something out, but the thought is worrisome. I still think that having a support structure is really important to recovery, since its not always an easy road. That is why I am getting back to volunteering, but also just good common sense. I know from experience that if left unchecked, I will slowly deteriorate into dust. Monitored, poked and occasionally questioned is best, since it keeps me in the present and also forces me to come face-to-face with my actions.

Right now, in this uncomfortable interval, I am homeless but not hopeless. I am pursuing justice as well as exerting my energy towards a MH career. I also have come to realize these things are not going to move at a speed that I feel normal about, nor are things going to be in my control very often. I am finding that the more little things I push into motion, the less control over the outcomes I have. I then find myself in this limbo between events, where I am unsure how to occupy myself without guilt. I have made with the fun for the most part with these past days, admittedly. Now I feel like I need to “get serious” or something and stop allowing myself to have largely unregulated fun. I feel guilty about doing things that are not productive, yet keep me distracted while the wheels are turning somewhere in the background. Maybe this type of conjecture is not resolvable, since there are great arguments to be made on both sides.

So I’m in a type of sullen paralysis where I do what feels good but, subsequently,¬†feel rotten about it. It’s not like I have demonstrated a desire to not work, or an eagerness to loaf. I do not prefer these as default states, as I have mentioned before, but vastly prefer ordered time be justified and valid. Work allots play, and so on. Now, however, things are different. I am not coping effectively with the feelings I am having and I feel like it is only a matter of time before I wear out my “welcome” and generate animosity in my environment. I fear this outcome though do not overly expect it will be true. These are things I fear. Hence the purpose of this place: to vent my feelings idly into cyberspace to avoid their residency in my brain. Ideas don’t stay in and not do anything.

So Blog, I am thinking that I will try to post daily, and start documenting the feeling I am having through this process. I have decided not to go back to doing therapy with Margaret as she has proven to be a bit out of touch now that we see each other so infrequently. I’m not in a regular therapy kinda place. I have the fundamentals down pretty well, but need real hands-on experiences dealing with all sorts of issues as they arise. Whether my interpretation of something internally or an observation about something outside myself, I need to know I have the tools and can use them. I find my parents and their dysfunctional system of communication is a good place to start.

I will keep posting as the days go on, and new emotions come up. We are all going through these things together at different times in our lives. This is my time to struggle,  and soon it will be yours.