Categories
mental health mental illness NAMI Recovery Uncategorized

Why I Support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

I was first introduced to NAMI when a friend told me about their Peer to peer program. I had heard of family to family, another of their signature programs. I signed up and was assigned to a class when one was starting up.

There were other people like me in the class and the mentors were doing well. That was the first time I had heard of recovery. We learned about relapse prevention, our illness, goal setting, advance directives and much more. We had a mindfulness exercise at the end of each session, I enjoyed it and even though I get really anxious, I signed up to mentor. I moved from that program to In Our Own Voice sharing my story of recovery. I still do those presentations.

I work as a Peer Mentor, but until very recently there was no standardized training. I took a mental health paraprofessional course years ago, have years of volunteer and work experience and recently took the NAMI Peer Support/Family Support Specialist training.

They also have support groups both for consumers and family, a warmline, and other programs.

The OC Warmline is only for Orange County, CA residents

Call or text: (714) 991-6412
Toll Free (877)-910-9276

They have an annual walk to raise money through donations. This year it was a virtual scavenger hunt. Usually it is a 5K walk. I walk to support NAMI because they have so many resources and have been able to help me and others.

Categories
alcoholism hams SMART Uncategorized

Ambivalence about alcohol and HAMS

I am in a stage of ambivalence about drinking. I don’t know if I want to be 100% sober, but I don’t want to have the negatives from alcohol.

I did a cost benefit analysis, but still am unsure.

Health-wise, mental stability-wise, employment-wise I should at least only drink in moderation.

The main things I enjoy about alcohol: the way I feel, not as inhibited, something to do when bored and reduces my anxiety.

The things I don’t like are: getting sick, hangovers, health effects (mental and physical)

I went to a SMART Recovery meeting not long ago. If you don’t know what that is, it is on-line and in- person support for problem drinking. It is different from AA in many ways, but it is a sobriety program. At the end of the meeting I picked up brochures. One was on another support organization called HAMS. (Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation support.)

There are very few online HAMS meetings, but they have a website with information and a forum. Members call themselves HAMSters. They don’t have steps but they have elements. They are suggestions on how to proceed but you don’t need to do them in order or do all. The first element was to make a cost benefit, pros/cons of using and pros/cons of not using. I have done them before, but did it again. I carry it around with me in case I forget why I want to drink less (or not at all).

The next element is to make a plan. Mine keeps evolving. I don’t drink and drive, which I want to continue. This was not an issue in the past, but I went to some meetup group meetings that included alcohol. So, if I go to those, I need to get a ride or stay sober. I know I want to reduce the amount I drink to a level where I won’t get a hangover. I was drinking a glass that held about 3 shots, which I have reduced to 2 and stick with one glass.

I can find things to do, other than drinking when bored, but I have to find a better way to deal with strong emotions. People around me have a bad day and get irritable. Then I react by becoming an anxious mess and drink to deal with the feeling. Or, I go to one of those meetups and get so nervous. Or, I had a long day and want to unwind.

So, here I am trying to decide what I want to do.

Categories
DBT depression distorted thinking support groups Uncategorized

The Abyss

I won’t pretend to know what Nietzsche meant by “the abyss gazes into you”. The quote came to mind as I feel like I am at the edge of an abyss, gazing into the void. I feel empty. I am ashamed of who I am. If people knew who I really am they would turn away in disgust. I want to disappear. 

I spoke of how sad I am. How I feel I have done terrible wrongs and should be banished, at a support group for mood disorders. The moderator talked about dbt and eventually got around to mindfulness. I have been trying that, but there are too many thoughts. It is hard to focus. Then he mentioned that my self-deprecating thoughts could be a symptom of borderline personality disorder.

That would have been fine, if he had a basis to suggest that, but he just pulled it out if thin air. I went home looking at the symptoms and anxious to talk to my therapist. I was a little anxious going in and very agitated by the end of the meeting. I had trouble getting any words in, it felt like a competition to speak.

I texted my therapist this morning and she wondered why he would have suggested that. She said my thoughts could go along with a number of diagnoses, including depression. And, I am depressed.

I usually find the meetings helpful, but lately I have been leaving feeling worse than when I came.

I get up and face my obligations, but I feel like hiding. “Fake it till you make it.” I never really liked that expression, but I am doing it.

If you got this far, thank you

tl:dr Depression makes everything worse

Categories
mental illness support groups Uncategorized

Sometimes 80% understanding is enough

support

I have not been feeling well. Depressed and anxious, a little paranoid. I decided to go to a support group. I was hoping I would feel better, sometimes I feel worse afterwards. Lately, I have been getting agitated and frustrated during support group meetings. I am not sure why. I wasn’t sure if i should go. I did not need to feel worse.

I was the first to share. I just let everything out. The suicidal thoughts, sadness, anxiety. I told them I was anxious about past work experience and now i have a new job and it is change and I am already upset about work. And, the past is never going to change.

Many people were depressed there. I listened to others and could feel the pain. I tried to give support. I could not express myself the way I would like.

This moderator tends to talk a lot. Sometimes, I find it annoying, but not that night.  He seemed to get what i was saying and made sure i am safe. (I am). He and others validated my experience. No one seemed to get the unbearable shame I feel. The moderator tried explaining to me that the path you take leads you to where you are and that I would not be me if things were different.  I knew what he meant, but it did not apply to what I was saying. Maybe, I was too vague.

I accepted the feedback and felt supported. I think I was understood about 80% and that has to be good enough.  I did feel validated and heard.