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alcoholism Dual diagnosis life lessons Recovery

Book Review: From Park Bench to Park Ave

https://anthonyhowardbrown.com/book/

I recently was introduced to the author of “From Park Bench to Park Avenue”, Anthony Brown, when he spoke via Zoom, to a group at work. His story is riveting. I have not been reading many books lately, but his was hard to put down, His writing style is like he is talking, telling you his story. And what a story.

When all you have are bad options, you make poor choices. He transformed his life from substance use, homelessness, incarceration to running programs and getting an education in nursing + much more.

He is turning a building, Brown Manor, into a home for homeless people, like he had been once. Proceeds from the book and donations are helping fund it.

I find him inspiring and definitely recommend his book.

Categories
bipolar Dysfunctional mental illness parenting Recovery schizoaffective Therapy trauma

Dysfunction Junction

My father had an undiagnosed mental illness, probably bipolar, but I did not know that at the time. He was just a moody, raging, jerk. People knew but no one wants to interfere. I remember we had an uncle who was physically abusive to his kids, maybe his wife, I don’t know. Everyone knew about it but nothing was done. We are all grown with families of our own now and the perps have died.

My mother is passive and anxious. She did not want to disturb anything. She would tell us our father was just joking and he is wonderful when he would say or do hurtful things.

My dad has passed and can’t hurt me anymore. My mom and I have a strained relationship. I don’t want to put any hope into it growing into more. But, we can be amicable and she does not upset me so much.

And, I had an older brother who had a psychotic disorder, maybe schizoaffective like me, but my dad did not believe in psychiatry so the only help he got was when he got picked up by the police for observation. He would stop any meds as soon as he got home. Nothing changed. He died young at 26. I don’t know if it was an accident or suicide. He fell at a waterfall. But, I felt I had lost my brother years before, when he first got sick.

Everyone else in my family is over it all. I don’t know if I should let it go or if I could heal.

I was watching a YouTube on dysfunctional “tricky” families and childhood ptsd. https://youtu.be/EBpF8sWycQQ

I could answer yes to almost everything and a few maybe’s. He suggests working with a therapist.

I have a new therapist. I don’t know what to work on. Day to day, things are okay. I kind of went through my family history with her last time.

Or should I be done with therapy? I am pretty stable and see a psychiatrist. Things in my day to day life are fine. My past is a mess, but maybe I should just leave it there. My father discouraged me from going to therapy. “You talk about the past and it just makes people sad.” I thought he was being ignorant. Of course, it is more than that. But, did he have a point?

I plan to ask my therapist next time I see her if she thinks I even need it.

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Inner demons mental illness Responsibility schizoaffective schizophrenia Therapy Uncategorized

Inner Demons

I have shame about past behavior. I am not ready to disclose to anyone. I have a therapist but am not able to tell. I won’t repeat or get in that situation again.

I don’t know if any or all is related to mental illness. Probably some

I lied, sometimes for no reason. I did not ask for help when I was in over my head, for fear. I am not sure why I was afraid.

I regret things that happened 20 years or more ago. But I re-live it like it is today.

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alphabet game Tagline Uncategorized

T is for tagline

What would an Orange County housewife be without a tagline. I am a Bravo TV fan and watch the housewife shows.

I am having trouble coming up with anything original. There are a few quotes I like.

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”

Camus

or

“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most”

Mark Twain

 

Maybe something along the lines of:

Schizoaffective disorder does not define me, but it has a strong presence in everything I do.

 

Categories
alphabet game bipolar schizoaffective schizophrenia

Schizoaffective Disorder

I was not sure what to choose for an “S” word, but this disorder affects my whole life. Also, most people have never heard of it.

Schizoaffective is basically a combination of a thought disorder, like schizophrenia and a mood disorder, like bipolar. There is controversy about the diagnosis. It can resemble bipolar with psychotic features except you have weeks of psychotic symptoms while not in a mood state (manic or depressed). Or, it can seem like schizophrenia with depression. There are 2 types, bipolar type and depressive type. I have the bipolar type and have had mania.

I had years of psychotic symptoms, it was either a long episode with periods of insight and lucidity, or a number of relapses. It all is rolled together in my mind. But, once I got on a good medication cocktail (I take several types), I have not had the severe symptoms. Now, I am more troubled by fatigue, anxiety and milder depressions.

Prognosis varies. I am married, have children, work part time. I had a psychotic break at 39. I know nothing about dating with a diagnosis or pregnancy and psych meds. Mental illnesses can be hard on marriages. We were married for 7 years before I was diagnosed. Fortunately, my husband is supportive and understanding.

I see a psychiatrist, a therapist, and go to a support group for mood disorders. Some good resources can be found through the National Alliance for Mental Illness NAMI.org and depression and bipolar support alliance dbsa.org.

Categories
alphabet game money

Money, money, money

Continuing the alphabet game with the letter M.

I worry about Money. I imagine that is common.

When I was psychotic I would spend and donate to causes because voices told me I should. It could have been worse, but I was isolating so I did not have a lot of spending opportunities. I remember something popped up on the computer screen once. I thought it was a message and I purchased it. It was a year subscription to something we did not need.

So, my husband took over our finances. Now, I am unsure of where we are at, which makes me anxious. I should have him go through it with me, he will, When I am ready.

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love Valentine’s Day

So many good “L” words

Laughter, life, listen.

I am choosing Love

I love my family. If it is possible, I may tell them too often that I love them.

My husband is wonderful. He did not sign up to be married to a woman with a mental illness. I was diagnosed 7 years into our marriage. He has stuck with and put up with me. I am so happy we found each other.

My son tells us he loves us even more than I do. He is a hugger and an all around nice person. My daughter is more reserved. She is great too, just quieter. I think she likes us. She loves the dog. We all do,

Valentine’s Day is coming up. We don’t really celebrate. My favorite day is Feb 15, when the candy is on sale.

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career job

I don’t have a career

I have a Job.

I work as a peer mentor in a mental health facility. About the only place you can work where having experienced mental illness is desirable. But, there is no room for advancement. And, there is no certification or required qualifications in my state and the pay is not great.

I like many things about my job. I work part time and have nice hours. My meds make me tired and I don’t have to be in until 9:30, which is doable. I work 4 days/week. I can make appointments on my day off. The people I work with are friendly.

In a former life I worked in the field I studied. I was a clinical laboratory scientist. Until. a psychotic break changed all that. I determined it would be too stressful for me to attempt to return and let my license expire years ago,

This is a better fit for me.

At the end of the day, it’s just a job.

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Hope Uncategorized

Hope

My word for the day is Hope.

I have high hopes:

Hopes that I will maintain mental stability

Hopes that I will continue to be able to work

I am content at the moment and I hope things only get better, or stay the same at least

My children are pretty much grown and I hope they have great futures

Having hope helps me to stay focused on my goals and not constantly worry about what could go wrong

 

Hope

Categories
Therapy

I don’t know how to do therapy

I am seeing a new therapist. I picked her because she has experience treating patients who have experienced trauma. At my first appointment, I told her at the very end of the session that I want to delve into the past because it affects me still. It took me the whole time to get up the nerve to say that.

So, I go in today and talk about my husband, kids, dog, work, anxiety level. Everything is okay. I ran out of things to talk about so I left early. The problem is, there is more, .i just don’t know how to spit it out. I guess I can tell her that next time. Maybe, it will take me a bit longer to get comfortable.

I am going to try to write down things when they come to me and bring that.